May 1, 2003
I’ve had my shiny new goals for a month now. Just putting them out there and hoping to achieve them is not enough. I need a plan, I really do. Last year’s results make that clear enough. I did best on those goals where I had the clearest, most detailed ideas about what I needed to do, even if I didn’t always follow through on those ideas as I originally intended. I lost thirty pounds because I had a plan: track my eating, stick to my Weight Watchers points limits, and workout at least three times a week. Of course there were weeks when I didn’t do even one of those things, but there were enough weeks that I did that enough of those things that I succeeded in reaching a reasonable goal weight and was able to go to WW and not have to pay a meeting fee for the first time in about ten years. I got seven quilts done because I kept a list of specific projects in my planner and updated it as I went along, and because I set deadlines for myself as I worked. I didn’t get the house organized because I never got specific about what I was going to do and how I’d know when I was done. I let the size of the whole project overwhelm me. The little bits I did whenever I’d think “hey, I need to get this house in shape” didn’t add up to anything close to what I wanted to achieve. I hope this year is going to be different.
I’ve decided to do monthly check-ins this year, rather than the “about every six weeks or so but more or less often depending on how I feel” schedule I followed last year. A month is a long enough period of time to get something significant done, and several of my goals have monthly timelines to them anyway, so it seems like a natural fit. I can use the check-ins to record how I’ve done and what changes I need to make to the plans I’ve laid out for myself in order to do better in the future. Continuous improvement isn’t such a burden when it’s all about me.
So, one month in to a new goal year, how am I doing? Okay, but not great. On the body front, I gained a few pounds, in part because I didn’t exercise a whole lot due to being busy and sick and all the other typical excuses. (The exercise log tells the story.) I was still able to go to my Weight Watchers meeting in April and not pay for being over goal, so that gets me a passing grade on this goal for April. Now that the warmer weather is here (in fits and starts, true, but eventually it’ll settle in), it’ll be easier to get out and walk and bump up my activity that way. My plan here is much the same as it was last year: be aware of what I eat, track points if my weight starts to creep up, and workout at least three times a week.
I did well on my reading and quilting goals, easily finishing two books (see the book log) and completing one quilt. Between the TUS book club being reinvigorated and the list I’ve been keeping of titles I want to check out, I should have no problem with the reading goal. I have plenty of quilts on my “to make” list in my planner, so the only obstacle to meeting that goal is finding the time to cut and design and sew. Now that Japanese class has ended, that’s a few hours a week I’ve got back at my disposal, so that will help.
The house goal continues to be difficult. I decided that this year I’ll focus on one room each month, inspired by an article I’d ripped out of a magazine, which laid out what to do in each room– cleaning, organizing, maintaining– and when. I would have done this last year, but somehow couldn’t get past the way the article and my house didn’t match up. We don’t keep our games in the family room; oh, what to do about that step in the checklist? Run over to the laundry room and take care of it, straying from the room of the month? Skip it entirely? Such dithering seems very silly when I think of it now. I don’t follow the instructions when I make a quilt from a pattern, so why was I getting concerned about following them in a housekeeping article? This year I decided I was not going to let some person who’d never seen my house tell me what to do. I’d use her format and her ideas, but make them fit me. I made a copy of the article and set to cutting and pasting pieces of it into my own plan for April’s room of the month, the dining room. I chose to do it first because I’d gotten a late start, and that room has the least stuff per square foot of any room in our house. To call it the “dining” room is really a misnomer, since we dine in it only a handful of times each year. It’s really the quilting studio and Bubba playroom. Where other people might have a cabinet full of nice dishes, I have a cabinet full of sewing notions. I sorted out that cabinet this month, relocating some things to other rooms and throwing out some things that weren’t of any use to me or anyone else that I could think of. But at that point, I stalled. I did a little dusting and wiping, but fell fart short of the thorough spring-type cleaning I’d intended. The globes on the light fixture did not get a bath, and the curtains did not come down for freshening. So, while I made a little dent in the room, and more than I’d managed last year, I still can’t call this goal a success for April. Perhaps I’ll catch up, though, since I’ve invited people over to quilt at the end of this month and the thought of guests always motivates me.
Coming next month: a full report on the room of May, the living room, in which I’ll attempt to answer the question, “How many magazines do you need to keep around, anyway?”