Sunday, December 28, 2008

Review of 2008's Resolutions

Last year I made some resolutions, which I thought might be easier to keep if I called them suggestions. You can read that post here.

So of course last week I started thinking, "How'd I do on those resolutions?" It's impossible for me not to make resolutions--except for the year my only resolution was to recover from the crippling postpartum anxiety and depression--and now that I have a record of my resolutions on my blog, I HAVE to analyze my progress. I'm too analytical for my own good, not to mention self-critical (I'm always asking myself things like, "But was it REALLY my best?") This is not the best way to maintain good mental health, but as long as I keep it in perspective through positive thinking and prayer take my meds, I can use my tendency to push myself to accomplish some of my goals.

I've always said, if your child has to have some emotional baggage, you could do worse than to have a perfectionist. They'll drive themselves crazy, but they'll never lose a job, get pregnant out of wedlock, take drugs or do anything socially embarrassing. And they will ALWAYS make New Years' resolutions.

Here are 2008's resolutions and my assessment of how I did with them.

1. Read the Bible daily and spend more time in prayer.
How it went: I got bogged down in Jeremiah AGAIN (really, I should just skip him) and quit for three months or so. Then school started and I found myself waiting in my car for 15-20 minutes a day to pick Miss Pink up from school. I was enjoying reading novels, and then the thought came into my head, "I should really use that time to pray and read my Bible. I'm always saying I don't have time to do it, and here I have been given this extra time every day when I can't do anything else BUT read or listen to the radio." So I sort of took that realization as God taking away my excuses for not spending time with him. Maybe it was even a direct order; I certainly felt chastened enough to obey.

I've been prayer journaling with the book The Power of a Praying Parent and also with the book of Psalms, which are prayers themselves, and the results for my spiritual and emotional and family life have been amazing. I had a better Christmas because of it, too--listening to Christmas songs on the Christian radio station, and thinking about what Christmas means for my faith: I would get teary-eyed almost every day, and also I remembered to pray for people who needed help, when I might have forgotten otherwise. I'm not boasting about my spirituality AT ALL; I'm just thankful that I took the opportunity when it presented itself, and that I was able to ignore the CD of Blue's Clues that kept Mr. Blue quiet in the back seat.

2. Exercising 3-4 times a week.
How it went: Pretty well for most of the year. I'd say my average was about 3 times a week. I went 4 days a week many times during the spring and summer, dropped down to 3 x per week during the fall, and have been abysmal during December. I'm actually ready to go back, though.

3. Learn to make homemade stock: chicken, beef, and veal.
How it went: Mostly a bust. I made chicken stock a couple of times, with the bones of a leftover roasted chicken but then the next time I had a chicken carcass (it sounds awful describing it like that, but at least I didn't call it a corpse or something), I left it in the fridge for around two weeks, all because I was too lazy to throw it into a pot with some water and onion. I never tried to get beef or veal bones to make stock with them, either. I'm not too bothered, since the chicken stock was better than canned broth but you can buy stock in cardboard boxes and it's as good as what I made, if not better.

4. Read at least one book that requires Serious Mental Effort and goes outside my intellectual comfort zone every month.
How it went: Pretty well, which I expected since reading is something I live for enjoy. But this was the first time since I left grad school that I read for more than pleasure. I read histories, biographies, and historical novels set in the time of Henry VIII and his children, especially Elizabeth. I read classic novels I'd never read before, and discovered that I like Dickens more than I thought I would. I'll keep this resolution up in 2009.

5. Make music an important part of my life again, with the help of the iPod, of course.
How it went: Mostly a failure. In fact, the iPod needs to be charged and has needed charging for more than a month. I like the iPod when working out, but that requires fast music. I don't listen to other types of music since I rarely have a chance to just chill and listen to music instead of paying attention to the kids. I can't listen to music when I read--books or blogs--or when I write. Which pretty much excludes all my leisure time.

I did discover some new-to-me artists and I have other music I want to obtain, so it wasn't a total bust. I need to charge the iPod and listen to it instead of plugging into the TVs at the gym. Still, I won't make this a resolution for 2009 because I've decided it isn't crucial to my happiness.

6. Write every single day, even if it’s one sentence about that day or a thought I had.
How it went: Do comments on others' blogs count? If so, then I ruled. I didn't write a blog post every day, although for a month or so I did make myself write fiction 15 minutes a day, and I almost finished that short story I rashly promised to send those of you who wanted it. Then the holidays happened and I stopped. (Well, would you want to write about a woman who's contemplating committing adultery, at Christmastime? I thought not!) But I am going to do that again because I got much more creative when I was making myself write. I do some form of this resolution every year. You'd think I'd either get more disciplined with my writing or just quit. But for some reason I can't allow myself to quit, and at least I wrote a lot of blog entries, Bible studies for church, and let's not forget my immortal comments. ;-)

7. Scrapbook more “slice of life” type things that capture how we live now, rather than the same holidays every year.
How it went: I still did the major holidays and celebrations, but the scrapbook based on my "week in review" blog posts, with accompanying pictures, is unique in the way it captures the details of our current life that we would have forgotten in ten or fifteen years. I'll mark this one a success.

8. Serve a few meals on my wedding china, which has been used only once or twice since we got it over ten years ago.
How it went: I totally forgot about this one! It never even occurred to me to do this. And now that I realize it, I don't think the quality of my life was harmed by using regular dishes or (gasp!) paper plates all year. We did have some candlelight family dinners, thanks to Miss Pink's coaxing.

I have a couple of new resolutions to add but I'll save those for the next post. Tell me, am I totally nuts to be analyzing this so deeply? You can tell me what you think, because it won't matter. I'll make my little lists anyway. I can't change my nature that much.



  1. I thought we were supposed to make one resolution for New Years and here you are with a list! Boy, an I an underachiever! (Actually I make none!) I think you did really well and if you mean your goals then analyse away!

  2. I think you deserve a pat on the back and a hearty "Well Done!" I"m not even sure what mine were for 2008 or if I made any. Or where I may have written them down if I did!

  3. I declare you "not nuts" because I planned to do a post exactly like this one! Or maybe we're both nuts & that's why we've been friends so long. Good post - I chuckled all the way through. --Leann

  4. I think it's great. Usually we just make resolutions and forget them. it's awesome that you're checking back.

  5. I think it's great. Usually we just make resolutions and forget them. it's awesome that you're checking back.

  6. I've slowly threw away resolution-making habits at every year-end. 'cos I hardly remember or worse, I didn't pull through... oh terrible me!

    I think you did pretty well, except for the last one though *laugh*

    *Champagne Held High*
    Cheers to a wonderful 2009!