Resolutions 2015

The Christmas holiday rush is over.  Now is the time to reflect and ponder over how you want to approach the new year.  What changes do you need to make in your life?  What realistic changes do you want in your life?

There are needs and then there are wants.  A need is something that you need to do with your life to set it on the right track like resolving to pay all of your bills on time, or saving enough money for your emergency fund, or going to the doctor to check out that strange condition you have.  A want is to lose 10 pounds before your high school reunion, or to go on a much ‘needed’ vacation to X locale.  Whatever it is you resolve to do, be it a need or a want, create a plan to make it happen.

I’ve been thinking about my resolutions since Thanksgiving.  I’ve already started putting my plan to work.  Here’s my game plan and my resolutions.

1. It starts with a notebook.

ks1 ks2If you want to stick to your resolutions this year, start off by getting a notebook that suits your needs.  I purchased a nice Kate Spade notebook for this year’s resolutions to reflect the journey ahead.  I chose this one because it was pretty to look at from the outside.  I liked the simplicity of the notebook.  It was wire-bound (which makes it easy to flip pages) and pretty.

I also bought a Kate Spade agenda mainly for it’s functionality for what I do.  It will allow me to keep track of this year’s resolutions while making it easier to visually see upcoming events, blogging projects, and schedule games for me and the Devils’ photographers and writers (as well as my NY Rangers assignments).

This agenda was perfect for me because it has a blank monthly calendar at the beginning of each month and then a daily lined calendar following it to write in more detailed info.  I’ll get into why this is important in the following points.

Agenda, $36; Notebook, $14.

2. Write out your resolutions.

There are many things you may want to resolve to do this year to improve yourself or your quality of life.  Try to be realistic in those goals.  Write out each resolution in your journal and then use the journal as a diary to see how you are making those resolutions happen.  It’s okay to admit failure.  As you go along, you may find that the resolution is no longer what you want in life.  That’s okay.  But if you find you still want to make that resolution come true, start finding a different way to make it happen.  If at first you don’t succeed…

Here are my 2015 Resolutions:

  • Focus More. So much time is wasted away by focusing on everything else but the main thing.  I plan on focusing more by taking these steps: 1) Deleting all Game Apps from my phone (with the exception of the Mahjongg strategy game that actually helps develop brain functionality).  2) Focus on the task in front of you so that you can complete it without any distractions (that means, if I’m writing, I need to have the TV turned off as well as the phone and any social media applications).  3. Spend down time on the commute reading books, instead of wasting time on mindless activities.
  • Be more in touch with humanity.  One thing that bothers me is being so connected to technology that I fail to connect with actual human beings.  What happened to the written card or letter in the mail?  What about a phone call instead of a text message?  By putting a device between us and the person we are communicating with, we’ve started to lose touch with humanity.  I want to spend this year reconnecting with people.  I’ve lost touch with good friends over the years.  I plan on reconnecting with them next year.  Everyone loves to get a card in the mail.  I’ll be sending more of those out next year.  Maybe I’ll even visit a few friends this year in person.
  • Read 52 books a year (a book a week).  This resolution has fallen to the wayside in the last 2 years.  In 2015, I plan on correcting that.  If I want to read more youth focused books like Percy Jackson, I’ll read it.  But I have to read at least 5 classics this year.  Those take a little longer to read, but youth books are usually easy to breeze through.  I also want to read “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy as my one BIG book to read throughout the year. [2014’s big read was “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas.]  I’m also going back to my rewards program for each book completed.  I’ll reward myself a dollar amount according to the book read and how it was acquired (if purchased, 3x cost of book; if borrowed from the library, $50; if a classic, $100.)
  • Buy what you need. Buy what you want only 2x a year.  To combat having more than enough in the house, I want to bring back what was so special about birthdays and Christmases.  Throughout the year, I’ll be making a list of the things I want and only splurging on them for the two occasions (with the exception of the new fall wardrobe in August).  Throughout the year, I’ll only buy what I need (food, etc.).  [Only exception to the wardrobe rule is life changes like: if I lose weight or become pregnant and need to purchase new clothes.]
  • $500 Emergency Every Day Fund.  I want to have an ongoing $500 emergency fund for every day expenses for the ‘just in case’ I forget my lunch and need to dine out, or need to buy a book for an upcoming event, or whatever happens during the daily course of life that I did not budget for that month.  This is more than enough for those items I didn’t see coming.  Basically, this is the miscellaneous budget that needs to be refilled every month, not the big emergency fund.
  • Make a better Christmas.  Throughout the year, I’ll be planning for Xmas 2015.  Since my brother missed Xmas 2014 because he is deployed, 2015 will be bigger and better than ever.  Throughout the year, I’ll be not only shopping for Xmas but creating a better Advent by buying gift cards for those in need.  This year’s Advent will focus mainly on charity.  Throughout the year, I’ll be preparing for that Advent season and Xmas.  And yes, I plan on being overly generous to those in need.
  • Mission 40.  In a couple of years, I’ll be 40.  I told myself in my 20s that I would have an amazing yogalicious body by the time I was 40.  I got this idea after seeing a photo of a 40-year old woman who practiced yoga.  She had the most amazing body I had ever seen.  I wanted to be like that when I grew up: strong, lean and healthy.  So with that dream just 2 years away (did I procrastinate or what?), 2015 and 2016 will be devoted to that dream.  That means living a better, healthier lifestyle dedicated to being a better yogi and athlete.  That means going to the gym 3 times a week and rewarding myself monetarily with each objective (to go towards the birthday/Xmas wish list).  This also means coming up with a realistic weekly plan (using the agenda).  For each week I’ll state a goal on what I would like to accomplish and work towards doing that each week.  The agenda will also be used to track exercise/food/water intake.
  • Build a better blog.  I’ve actually been working on this for the last two months.  A good blogger develops blogging resolutions.  While I’d like to say I’d like to write every single day, some days I have too much to write about and not enough time to write about it.  In other words, blogging every single day is not realistic to me.  But blogging 3x a week may be more realistic for me.  I want to make sure this site and my other two sites have better, qualitative content.  As I evolve, so too will the blogs.  I am trying to keep in mind that this is a “Diary” so I need to focus on making this more about that journey to being a more perfect me.  {That’s why I’m sharing my resolutions}  It’s not limited to just doing something I love like cooking or sharing journeys I’ve come across…this is also about becoming the person I envision myself to be.  She’s not necessarily a perfectionist, but I want to be that perfect person I see that I have the potential to be.  She is not perfect, but she is striving to be a better human being.  So in the next few days you’ll see a new, revamped site.
  • Pay off all bills; save for down payment on new house; generate a million dollars.  Everyone has some sort of financial goal.  Me?  I’ve got the simple, the difficult and the outrageous.  Simple is paying off all bills.  Difficult is saving for that down payment because I am a spender.  Generating a million this next year?  It’s outrageous, but I created a dream board a couple of months ago.  I keep looking at it thinking I must be nuts that I want those things.  But then I keep looking at that house on the beach, the view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (from an apartment), that yogalicious body, the qualities in life, love and joy that I want and that million dollars in the making and I start to re-evaluate what I want out of life.  It provides me with a mission to pursue the type of life I want.  If you can dream it, only you can say yes or no to it.  I choose to finally say yes to it.  Every dream has its own time.  Try making your own dream board.  You won’t believe how it can truly change your mind about what you think you can have.  It opens your mind (daily) to the possibility that those things you dream about can become yours.

 3. Keep track of your resolutions.

Using the journal, I like to put down all of my ideals on how I can make those resolutions happen.  I set up rules for myself.  Take for instance the 52 books a year resolution.  I have rules set up for how much I can earn money by reading.  That money goes into a “Fantasy Wardrobe” fund.  I usually throw the money I earned from this resolution towards obscene purchases like a Balmain skirt or a YSL bag.  It’s my treat fund.  Since I’m only buying things for my birthday and for Xmas, that is the money I’m using for whatever designer purchase I have my heart set on at that time.

I’m also setting up rules for fulfilling my Mission 40 goals.  It’s better for me to set up monetary rewards than it is for something like a “spa day” or a “manicure” or whatever floats your boat on things you like.  Setting up a reward I want and will appreciate will help me work towards another goal that is more satisfying than a spa day at Bliss.  Who knows, that money earned could go towards a pre-birthday wardrobe (i.e. if I lost weight and dropped a few sizes, I’d need a new wardrobe…that money earned from the Mission 40 goal could go towards that new wardrobe).

I was watching “When the Game Stands Tall” and saw a neat trick the coach had his players perform.  Each week they had to put their goals on an index card and read it out loud to the team.  The first was their training goal.  The next was their practice goal.  The third was their game goal.  They created weekly realistic goals and went out to accomplish each of those goals on a weekly basis.

During my first week for Mission 40, here are the goals I am setting:

1. Go to the gym 3x a week (1 day can be for golf if too sore).

2. Do 100 sit-ups; 75 push ups daily.

3. Do yoga 2x a week.

4. Eat less carbs, more fruits/vegetables, drink more water.

5. Monitor, journal all food/exercise/water.

6. Walk 10,000 steps daily.

While this may look like too much in that first week, let’s look at this realistically…

The main challenge is #1…getting to the gym.  My gym is Chelsea Piers.  A number of conditions can crop up in January like polar vortexes or snow storms.  Those two things could prevent me from getting to the gym.  There are a number of excuses I can come up with on why I can’t go to the gym…but if I make it a goal that week, I have to see to it.  Maybe that first week I can get there once, what’s the back up?  It’s actually everything else you see there.

Doing #2 and #6 daily…that’s still exercise I can do at home or at the office.  I can go outside and walk around my neighborhood (unless there’s a major storm).  In midtown NYC, I can walk underground.  There are ways to stay out of the elements during the week that can net me 10,000 steps a day.

Doing #3 is actually simple for me in the AM.  I just pop in the Yoga for Abs DVD and roll around in bed doing the moves (because the floor is too hard on my back).

The rest is about diet and journaling my food intake and activity.

For each weekly goal that was not accomplished, I have to re-evaluate at the end of the week what I need to change.  If I can’t get to the gym 3x that week, but could make it 1x, then the next week, I will try to match that and get there 1x, but I’ll also try for 2x…and then work my way up to 3x or more.  During the hockey season, more than 3x is unrealistic for me.  But 1-2x is realistic.

Sometimes we set our sights too high and when it doesn’t work out we quit.  Instead, after each week, re-evaluate the goal and change it into a weekly goal that is realistic for you.  You’ll find that the more you work at that goal, the more you’re ready to take the next step towards a bigger goal for yourself.  It takes baby steps to making a resolution work.  Just remember that.  Baby steps to the finish line, not leaps and bounds and then you’re magically there.  It takes a lot of work to make a dream happen.  Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying to you.

Notice I didn’t put “Yoga class” for that first week.  Taking classes takes a lot of courage.  I find that trying to just get myself into shape at the gym, doing some yoga at home, and then working up my self-esteem towards taking a class…like I said, everything takes baby steps.

What you mark out as those baby steps you write down in your journal.  This is where you find your confidence to take the next step in your journey.  Resolutions are really a journey in changing yourself.  You have to look at it as that, or don’t bother making one.

Use your agenda to map out your weekly goals.  This is a way for you to keep track of your daily progress.  Log your feelings, emotions, triumphs, etc. in your journal, as well as your ideas to better yourself and your resolution.  I highly recommend that Kate Spade agenda because it puts your daily/weekly/monthly agendas all in one place.  If you’re like me, you need to see what is going on monthly, but you also do most of the detailed daily stuff in the weekly agenda.  This agenda puts both types of calendars in 1 spot.

Keep in mind that you’re not going to achieve every goal on a weekly basis.  It doesn’t mean you are a failure.  It just means you need to re-evaluate your game plan.  The only way you will find success is in doing what works for you, not what works against you.  So don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t accomplish your goal that week.  Just do better the following week by re-evaluating how you can make the goal work for you. Do you need to take a step back?  Do you need to push yourself more?  Whatever it is, come up with a new game plan if the current week’s game plan didn’t turn out the way you hoped it would.  If you accomplished all of your goals that week, reward yourself.  Don’t reward yourself with something that will work against what you’re working so hard to accomplish (i.e. if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t reward yourself with an ice cream cone).

Reward yourself to a small reward like a manicure, or a new book, or do like I do…pay yourself for accomplishing your goal and save that money up for some luxury purchase you’ve been dreaming about (like a trip to South America).  At least with the monetary goal, you’re using that reward towards another goal/dream in life.  Out of all of the years I’ve instituted a rewards program for achieving my goals, only the monetary reward worked.  As you’re working towards your goal, you can see moneywise how well you are doing by how much money you’ve earned along the journey.

4. Enjoy the ride.

Resolutions are not always a solo journey.  You meet a lot of people along the way when you are working towards achieving a dream.

My 52 books a year, netted me a book club where we can discuss books together.

Mission 40, I meet new people at the gym or at the golf range all of the time.

Making a better Christmas, part of that is meeting people and knowing what their story is.  My plan is to give out $200 gift cards to people I know personally that are in need and could use $200 at Xmas time.  It means visiting the food pantries.  It means talking to a random homeless person and understanding why they are where they are today.  It means reconnecting with the world instead of judging them because of where they found themselves in life.

This Christmas, I found myself overflowing with very expensive gifts.  I had over $520 in gift cards to spend at Target.  I love Target, but I hate shopping there because every time I go, there’s always some family I run into that has only a few dollars to spend on food or no money to spend on a toy a child wants.  They take a look at my overflowing cart and they look away ashamed that they are so poor, while I’m overflowing.

My friend told me today not to be ashamed of that cart.  My heart breaks for those families, but it’s not like I’ve never shared the wealth.  She told me to look at how overly generous I’ve been with so many other families.  Those kids in shelters (and the foster system) that asked for extravagant gifts for Xmas this year, I bought them everything but the Xbox and the bike (I can’t ship the bike and the Xbox…for obvious reasons).  I felt so bad about the bike that I sent her a collapsible scooter instead, because that was easier to ship.  There are so many families I helped over the holiday season that my friend reminded me that I paid it forward well in advance of the holidays and I was overly generous to each and every child.  The universe saw what I did and rewarded me handsomely for it by being overly generous to me during the holidays.

It’s in my character to give.  It’s hard for me to take something for myself without feeling bad about it.  My mother told me I was always like this.  I was always willing to give, but when it came to getting what I wanted, I’d take into account our financial situation and pick the cheapest toy on the shelf, even if I could have the $20 Barbie doll.  I’d stare at that doll longingly, but choose the toy I didn’t want because it was the least expensive item on the shelf.  Even if she said I could have that Barbie doll, I’d profess I didn’t want it and walk away with the other toy.  I’d do this because I take nothing for myself.  When I do, there is a level of guilt there.  It goes along with the Cancerian territory.  It’s a trait of ours.  We give of ourselves freely, but seldom take for ourselves.  When we do, we feel extreme guilt.

That’s me, every single time I shop in Target.  For some reason, while I’m there I always run into one of those families in need.  I watch people complaining about how they can’t afford X, Y and Z bill but walk out with a $60 game or some other frivolous expense.  What it reminds me of is to give freely to those who really are in there with $8 to spend on food for a family of 6, and it also reminds me how to write for people that are still searching for ways to get their lives in order.

That’s what this post is really about in the end.

Moving into 2015…

So as we move into 2015, this site will change.  I’ll keep you posted on my resolutions throughout the year, because this is a diary of a perfectionist wannabe.  I’m keeping the favorite topics you love here.  I’ll be delving into different culinary pastures as we try to keep it in sync with my resolutions.  Yes, I can be a foodie and be on a diet at the same time!  I’ll show you how this year.

I’ll still be doing my arts, entertainment, reading, etc.  Travel…it’s not something I’ve done much of since my surgery.  I’m waiting for my wanderlust to kick back in again (plus, with the latest addition to the family being a little high maintenance, it’s a little difficult to leave him alone because he will trash the house out of anger).  Plus, with saving for a house, spending $10k on travel this year just isn’t on my list of priorities.  I want the house more.

Throughout the year, I’ll also be sharing tips on how I’m decluttering and reorganizing at home.   I’ll also be sharing some financial tips, and sharing with you what I find and what’s working for me.  In other words, this will become an all around lifestyle blog without the sports. 🙂 You’ll have to go to my hockey site for that information.

Looking forward to chatting with all of you in the new year.


New Year

About Michelle Kenneth

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