Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New To-Do List

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This happens to me every year.  Christmas winds down, and I start to think about New Year's resolutions.  Notice that I said resolutions, plural.  Because I never have just one.  About a thousand ideas flit through my mind, from things I've been wanted to make or do, to self- or home-improvement projects, to half-baked ideas that might seem more reasonable if they were couched in the formality of a resolution.  Because calling something by a fancy name makes you want to do it, right?

On this year's list?  Here's a random sample:

1. Learn to crochet.
2. Have a paperless kitchen (no paper towels, paper napkins, etc.).
3. Become a "serious" blogger.
4. Finish making Christmas presents before December 1 (not on the afternoon of January 2).
5. Really organizing the closets.  All the way this time.
6. Finish some sewing projects.  All the way this time.
7. Keep the house clean.
8. Fit into my pre-baby jeans.
9. Eat a "real food" diet.  (May or may not help with #8.)
10. Be a better person.

Even I can see how a list like this is setting myself up for failure. 

I've tried, in the past, to do really manageable goals.  A couple of years ago, I resolved to call one long-distance friend each month.  Not a lot of calls, just one a month.  Even a phone-phobic like me can make one call every thirty days, right?  I called a friend in January.  She was having a major life event, and I ended up talking to her at least once a day for about two weeks.  I was so glad that I connected with her at just the right time.  Then, even thought they had been pre-entered into my calendar, complete with phone numbers, I never called any of the other eleven friends.

The only New Year's resolution I can remember actually keeping was in college, when I decided to wear pink every day for the entire year.  Thanks to some smart shopping, like a pink winter coat, I actually kept the goal. 

Even though I know my list is totally unrealistic, I know that if I put my mind to it, any one or two of these things could be accomplished.  Heck, if I really, really wanted to, I could do all of those things in a year.  But do I actually have that amount of motivation?

The same thought process rolls through my head at the beginning of Lent.  I think, "This is my chance to spend the next six weeks making a real change in my life."  And some of those things that didn't make the New Year's cut get dragged out again.  So Jonathan is skeptical about my "granola" ideas of no paper towels.  So we do it for six weeks...that's easier to go along with, right?

But the truth is, I don't follow through with those endeavors either.  (And to be theologically thorough, using fewer paper products or dieting or cutting out any given food group is not the point of a Lenten discipline in the first place, but that's for another day.)

So here's the deal: there are obviously a lot of things I'd like to do this year.  And I think I'll probably work on most of them at some time during the next twelve months.  A couple of those things I'm really serious about, like learning to crochet.  And being a better person.  And some of them I'm already working on.  (Since we've been married, Jonathan and I have always used cloth napkins.  It's just the paper towels that are so hard to let go of.)  But some of those things are probably not reality.  (I mean, who am I kidding about making Christmas presents ahead of time?  What would Christmas be without crazy last minute crafting?)

What about your New Year's plans and goals?  Did you make any?  Do you have any follow through?  If you need a fail-safe success, here's one: resolve to wear pink every day, and then you can borrow my pink coat.  It's gone the way of the pre-baby jeans, and you're welcome to use it for the next year!

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