I know it’s a little early to even have thoughts of New Year’s resolutions, but something about tidying up after Christmas—putting the gifts away, throwing out all the crumpled wrapping paper, and doing all those dishes—makes me want to jump start the new me…or, the chance at a new me, anyway.

j0309664I’ve not really been serious about blogging before. I’ve always wanted to do it consistently but I’ve had two fears: 1) that I would neglect my daily journal, which I don’t want to ever give up and 2) that I wouldn’t find time to keep blogging and that I would quit and feel like a failure.

But I’ve realized that 1) I don’t have to give up my journal to blog. There are many things I would write in my journal that I would never post to the internet—and vice versa. And 2) being afraid of failure has stopped me many times in the past from doing things and I’ve got to get rid of that habit.

The beginnings of this blog will be based on this time of New Year’s, a time when so many people set new goals for themselves. They feel as though the slate has been wiped clean come January 1 and now they can actually do all those things they’ve been promising themselves they’d do for months now.

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always been of the persuasion that there is no time like the present, and it’s silly to wait until January 1 to start exercising, quit smoking, write a novel, be a nicer person, or whatever the goal might be. If you realize there’s something you need to change in life, just change it. Stop waiting for January 1, or next Monday, or even tomorrow. Time isn’t going to wait on you.

This time last year I decided I would do something about changing myself and becoming a better person, despite my opinions about the “new year” being the time for it. But I had many things I wanted to accomplish this past year, like volunteering more, like finding a home church, like being more positive, like checking up on my Grandma more often. I didn’t feel like the massive list of goals could be tackled without a plan, and I’m a girl who loves a plan.

So I made what I call a “Weekly Goal Planner.” I made a giant calendar in Excel that shows every week of the year. I numbered each of those weeks, and I put one goal on every week. It’s easier to train yourself to pray every day or be a better listener if you give yourself an entire week to focus on that one goal. I found that by giving myself that entire week, things became much more habitual and I didn’t have to think about them as much (if anyone wants to see the Goal Planner, just let me know and I’ll post it). In the middle of the week, if I thought of something I’d like to do, like workout more frequently, instead of beating myself up about not doing it now, I assigned that goal to a week in the future and let myself forget about it for the time being.

Growth and change are just as difficult as they are important, so I found by breaking up my little goals, they were much more attainable and as a result of achieving them, I gained more confidence in myself. It’s a lovely little cycle.

I’ve already made my 2010 Weekly Goal Planner. Of course it isn’t completely filled out but, as the year progresses, I’ll think of more things to fill in the blanks. But it occurred to me today that there are some big goals, some long-term goals, that I want to accomplish, and I don’t think they can be contained on a weekly basis.

Since I’ve always wanted to blog, I’m going to do it. And since I’m going to do it, I’m going to use this blog for accountability. Every Sunday, I’m going to post a resolution update—I’m going to re-list my resolutions and give the world a status update on each one. This is the one thing I’ve never tried, and I’m a little scared to (there’s that fear of failing again), but I’m going to do it.

Here is my list:

1) I will write more. Whether in my journal, whether snippets of poetry, or whether I somehow start writing fiction again, I am going to write. I love writing—I’m just lazy. Playing video games is easier than writing. Doing the dishes is easier. I can come up with a million excuses and things to do instead of writing, but I’m not going to anymore. I am going to write.

2) I will read more. This year, I’ve read only 8 books (one of which I finished reading today). The year isn’t over, and there is at least one more book, possibly two, that I hope to finish by 2010, but my unspoken goal has always been at least 12 books per year. Now the goal is spoken. I will read at least 12 books in 2010.

3) I will honor the Sabbath. For me, that’s going to be Sunday. I realize there’s a lot of cross-denominational debate about what day of the week constitutes “the Sabbath,” but honestly, I don’t think that God’s going to be pointing fingers on judgment day saying, “Shame on you for honoring my day of rest on the wrong day of the week.” Seriously? Some cultures don’t even have days of the week. It’s all semantics. Anyway, I’m going to obey that commandment. All the others are obvious and easy (don’t steal, don’t cheat on your spouse, don’t murder, etc.) but for some reason, I’ve always neglected this one. I’m not sure what exactly this will mean, but I am going to honor the Sabbath.

4) I will find a home church. This was actually one of my goals this past year, and I failed. I certainly did try, but I could’ve done a much better job. I’m not going to let my discouragement keep me from continuing the hunt. I’m not a “churchy” girl, but I know I need a church family. God has a place for me, despite my pickiness, and I’m going to find a home church.

5) I will take better care of my body. I realize this is a loose goal. I don’t want to say, “I will work out X days a week” or “I will lose X pounds” or “I will eat more vegetables.” There was a time in my life, during college, when I was routinely working out, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep. I never quantified those things, but as soon as I was “healthy” I knew it. It’s physical and mental. When I’m finally taking care of myself again, I’ll know that I’m doing it right. At the moment, I’m not. I feel sluggish and disappointed in myself. I will take better care of my body.

6) I will be more loving. This isn’t to say that I don’t love people. I love my husband and do my best to take care of him. I love my parents and call to check on them frequently. I love my friends, my family, even strangers! But I’m talking about a conscious and quantifiable love. Conscious in that I want to do what’s best for others before I do what’s best for myself. I want to help others with the right spirit. I want to do my husband’s laundry without thinking the entire time about how it would be nice if he would help me more around the house. I want to check those proofreader marks for my coworker without thinking that I’m above the task and that they could do it themselves. And I want to shower people in love rather than judgment. That will be the hardest part for me, because I’m very judgmental. But I want to be more loving, with a pure heart, and I will.

All of these things require time, but mostly they just require time management. I’ve got to be smarter about managing my time so I can stay committed to the goals that are important to me.

Besides resolution updates, I hope to use this blog for other things, things I’ve always wanted to blog about but never have! I think the resolution updates are going to keep me coming  back to the blog, and the rest of the posts (crafts, recipes, book reviews, etc.) will keep others coming back.

Happy 2010 everyone—may it be full of blessings!