Tuesday, January 03, 2012
I am a true believer when it comes to New Year's resolutions. If you don't aim high - if you don't make plans and set goals - you will just wander aimlessly and before you know it, another year will have passed. I set resolutions to give myself some direction.
This year I ended up with ten that I think are doable, but (to greater or lesser degrees) are also challenging. For this year - my Jubilee Year - especially I wanted to have some unique ones; I also wanted to have some 'practical' objectives, to develop good habits, become healthier, and to progress as a person.
These are The Ten Commitments I've come up with:
1) minimum of 10 minutes of exercise daily
2) minimum of 30 minutes of creative writing daily
3) sort computer files and bookmarks (and KEEP them organized!)
4) submit application for British citizenship
5) be able to stop taking prescription medication: in this case, that means concentrate on improving - and stabilizing - my blood pressure
6) sign up for a class, whether noncredit or credit
7) take a 'real' cruise!
8) aim for a BMI in the 'ideal' range*
9) rework my diet / nutrition
10) finish 'my' recipe book
*I need to lose twelve more pounds to get 'there.' It's an indicator, not a finish-line, but it will mean I'm improving my fitness, and that's the really important thing.
And there they are. I reserve the right to adjust, tinker, tweak, add-on, and whatever else I might deem necessary as the year progresses.
Ambitious? I hope so. If they weren't, if they were simple goals, I wouldn't have to think about them, I'd just... DO them.
Doable? I believe so. I cannot say with all certainty 'Yes, of course,' because again, if it were that simple, they wouldn't be resolutions, they would just be part of what I'm doing now, and probably long since achieved.
I'll keep you apprised. Have a good 'un, Sparklers - carpe diem!
Monday, January 02, 2012
I've mentioned this a few times and to a couple different people. This year, sometime in February, marks Elizabeth II's 60th anniversary of becoming the reigning monarch. (Seems a little strange to celebrate the death of someone, but such is the life of royalty, I guess.)
In October, I am turning 60, and I'm making 2012 MY Jubilee Year.
I've got some plans for things I want to do to mark this milestone, and some of my resolutions are based on this jubilee theme as well. I'll try to get the resolutions written up into a readable format (hah) and post those tomorrow.
Meanwhile, these first two days have gotten the year off to a flying start. Like Thanksgiving and Boxing Day, yesterday was a day devoted to the kitchen - which suits me fine. We had our traditional New Year's Day dinner of roast pork, and instead of sauerkraut (it can be difficult to find here, or at least to find what I'd consider 'good' sauerkraut) I made a British dish with red cabbage and apples. My grandmother always said as long as you have pork and cabbage for New Year's you'll have good luck all the year through.
Good company to share our dinner with, and the Christmas cake I made came out pretty well, so they tell me: I don't eat fruitcake myself. But everyone at the table except me was British, and they scarfed it up, so... I'll take their word for it.
There's four or five pieces left, and tomorrow I'm going to wrap them and freeze them individually - Himself will have a treat every few weeks. We aren't sure how well the icing (marzipan and royal icing, a British tradition) will hold up to freezing and thawing, but if that doesn't come out right, he said he'll just pick that off and eat the cake. The cake should be fine to freeze.
I was pleased with it, I'll say. The English Christmas cake is a very unfamiliar thing to me. It's quite heavy, weight-wise, but the proportion of fruit / nuts to flour / sugar is so high (probably around 80-20, if that, no kidding) that the recipe seemed to me as though it couldn't possibly work. But there 'tis, so I guess it did. Took something like four hours to bake it, if you can believe.
The snow-covered ivy leaves I decorated it with are made from royal icing. I had some icing left after covering the cake, so I thought I'd experiment. As I said, I was very pleased!
The guests left this morning, we cleaned up the few leftovers at lunch and supper, and it's back to healthy diets now. I didn't lose any weight these last couple of weeks, but equally I didn't gain any, so I'll call that an achievement. I've signed up for a couple new Spark Teams (new to me, that is; I don't know that they're newly organized) that I plan to use to get my exercising 'sparked.' That's been the biggest problem area for me all along, so I'm really psyched to get that in place.
Caught up laundry, took a pretty brisk walk this afternoon (cold!) for 1-1/2 miles, got some plans worked out for how to go about things I want to get done, spent the better part of two hours cleaning up computer files (it's one of my resolutions), and - I think that's it. Today was a holiday here since the first fell on a Sunday. Tomorrow it's back to business as usual for everybody.
I didn't make a resolution to blog daily this year, but I figure if I don't quite hit 'daily' I will come close. I want to try blogging in the morning, though. I haven't decided whether I will do a review-of-yesterday kind of thing or just see what turns up. Eh. The pressure's off.
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
Sunday, January 01, 2012
Just a quickie. I found the following a while ago and figured this would be a good time to post it.
Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!
William Arthur Ward (no idea WHEN he wrote this)
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Yes, I CAN!
Seems as though New Year's resolutions are like SlimJims, the dried beef jerky strips: you either love 'em, or you hate 'em.
There was a good article on Spark in favor of resolutions:
And I've seen about an equal number of essays that disparage resolutions.
I know, you can't wait for me to check in with my two cents' worth. My opinion: Yes. Make resolutions. BUT - do them rationally.
Now, some people are put off by the very word 'resolutions.' Maybe it conjures up failures from years past, or the assignment of some English teacher who required you to come up with three then expand on them.
Many of the same people who cavalierly dismiss resolutions will enthusiastically endorse goals, however, which leads me to ask: is there any real difference? Aren't resolutions, and goals, and targets - and aims, challenges, objects - essentially saying the same thing?
My dictionary says a resolution is, among other things, a decision. There's no better time than January first to see the glass as half-full, because there is great motivation to be found in the fresh start / clean slate of a new year.
Set some resolutions along the lines of the Spark article linked above, or try using the 'SMART Goals' technique to come up with resolutions. You remember SMART, the acronym for 'Specific - Measurable - Attainable - Realistic - Timed.'
Your resolutions should be specific, in the sense of giving you some guidelines to follow. It's all well and good to decide you 'will become healthier in 2012.' But give yourself some direction by listing a few ways you can become healthier, such as becoming more fit or losing weight or working to reduce your blood pressure.
Measurable: once you have your specifics in place, you can determine the best ways to measure progress. Remember, if one of your resolutions is to lose weight, the scale may not be the best method to track progress, so give measurable some thought.
And there's no sense in setting yourself goals you cannot achieve. 'Become a perfect size 2' may not be possible, but 'Fitting into my favorite jeans' might be attainable. Only you can decide which resolutions are truly possible for you, and that leads directly on to--
--realistic. Don't set the bar so high you set yourself up for failure. If you've been leading a sedentary lifestyle, is it realistic to state 'I will run a full marathon in six months'? Instead, narrow down your aspirations to a more realistic level. 'I will walk 10,000 steps per day' may be more realistic, and may even help you ultimately achieve a goal beyond the initial resolution.
The fly in the ointment could be 'Timed.' Plenty of advice out there will say not to give yourself a deadline - and plenty of equally valid advice will tell you always to set a deadline. This is where 'realistic' and 'attainable' can be useful elements. Give yourself a target time to aim for - but try to work out what interim steps you need to get to the target date, then work out how long each of those 'mini-goals' might take you.
Sure, you want to be slender, fit, toned, healthy - who doesn't? But the best encouragement and motivation for self-determination can be found in resolutions you set to challenge yourself on your way to improvement.
Spark has another good article entitled 'The Worst New Year's Resolutions You Can Make.'
It will give you help on the pitfalls to avoid when drawing up your own 2012 resolutions.
You know what our old friend Rob Browning said. 'A [person's] reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?' Or as the popular saying goes, 'Always aim for the moon: even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.'
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are! I'm wishing you the best and brightest of new years - carpe annum!
Friday, December 30, 2011
...to post for today. I am chafing at leaving these last few blogs in such a state, but 'people' before 'computer,' resolutions or no resolutions.
We're sitting entirely too much shooting the breeze (raining like mad all day today, so no chance of taking even a leisurely stroll), and probably eating entirely too much, but wotthehell, as Mehitabel was wont to say.
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!
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