Hello again! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. Let me take this time to wish you and your’s a Happy New Year! Speaking of the New Year, I guess it is time for New Year’s Resolutions.
To be honest I have never been much of a fan of making New Year’s resolutions. To me, it always seemed that you should be able to make a change any time of year so why wait until the new year. This year though is different for me for some reason. There are a lot of life changes I want to implement and now is as good of a time as any to get started. I have learned over the years that I am more likely to do something if I state it publicly so (deep breath) here goes.
It is all about gaining more balance.
All of my resolutions in 2012 relate in some way to gaining more balance in my life.
1) Spend more time with family. I want to do a better job with making time to spend with family. I want to be more of an active participant in planning events and activities not only with/for the whole family but also with each individual member of the family. My goal this year is to find at least one activity that I can participate in with each individual family member on a regular basis. It might be ping-pong, Wii, or throwing a football with my step-son. It might be an art class or jewelry making with my daughter. It might be hiking with my wife. Who knows, all that matters really is that I make more time to be with each of them – as a family and individually.
2) Lose 25 pounds. The first fifteen pounds will not be too hard to lose. I have lost that 15 before – several times (the first five is just holiday weight). I know from experience that the last 10 pounds will be the hard part. I can lose the first 15 by exercising more and by making some minor changes in my diet. To lose the full 25 I will have to make more major lifestyle changes. I am already a runner and I know that just running will not get me all the way to my goal here. I will need to step up the running (which I was planing to do anyway), really cross train at least twice per week, make some changes to my diet (especially in the amount that I eat at lunch and dinner), and work my upper body more. Once I am successful at losing 25 pounds I will be at a weight I have not seen since graduate school (when I was 26 years old). More details on some of this will show up in other resolutions.
3) Step up the running. I did a decent job in 2011 with continuing to run regularly but due to a combination of some minor running injuries and several busy times with work I did not run quite as much this year as in 2009 or 2010. I do not want this to become a downward trend with my running and therefore I plan to focus more on running in 2012. The main way I will accomplish this is that I commit to run in at least two 5Ks and one 10K this year (I did not run any races in 2011). I generally don’t need to train for a race in order to keep up with a running exercise routine, but due to the noticeable downtick in my running in 2011, I feel the races are necessary to help me take by running back to the level where it was in 2010. Putting these races on my schedule will help me have the extra motivation I need to stay focused on my training – running 4 to 5 times per week. Training for the 10K will help me build up my long runs to 6 or 7 miles compared to the 4 mile weekly long runs I did for the majority of 2011.
4) Meditate regularly. In 2011, I found Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project. With this project, Susan provides participants with free instruction video’s as well as related blog posts on how to meditate. I have known for a long time how beneficial meditating can be but it is something I have had a hard time working into my regular schedule. Even since signing up for the Open Heart Project I have only meditated a few times. Open Heart Project participants get two meditation video’s via email per week from Susan Piver and my immediate goal is to meditate each day that I get one of these emails. By July 1, I want to implement a daily meditation schedule.
5) Develop a personal yoga practice. This relates back to resolution number 2. I need to work on overall conditioning and body toning. I have never really enjoyed lifting weights but from what I hear I can accomplish the same things via practicing yoga. I played around with yoga a little in early 2011 but tweaked my lower back in the process and have not given it much of a chance since then. 2012 is the year I plan to develop a personal yoga practice to help tone and strengthen my upper body. In addition to the physical aspect of yoga, I am also interested in the spiritual component. There are so may yogic traditions that I have found it difficult to grasp onto any of them. If anyone knows of someone out there that is offering free yoga training/advice online (similar to what Susan Piver is doing with meditation) please let me know.
6) Write a hand written thank you note or tell someone personally how they are making a difference or doing something great every day. I have always been terrible at writing thank you notes. When I was a kid I would never get around to writing thank you notes for gifts until my Mom finally coerced me into writing them through some sort of potential disciplinary action. Today writing these thank you notes is completely on my shoulders and so unfortunately I often never do it. But as I get older I realize more every year how important being thankful is. Telling someone you appreciate them for something they have done helps them feel good and insures that they are likely do to something equally positive again sometime. Putting the positive energy of a thank you out into the world helps the thanker feel good too. There are enough people pointing out the negative in the world today. People need to hear about the good things they are doing and they need to know that these good things are being noticed. This year I will either write a hand written thank you or tell someone personally how they are doing something great every day of the year. I will write about some of these experiences on this blog. To go a little further with the idea of thankfulness I just want to state here that I think expressing gratitude is one of the most important forms of prayer.
7) Start a second blog by April 1. I will continue writing at Steve’s Thinking Space but my ultimate goal has always been to go beyond what I can accomplish here. So I am starting a 2nd blog. This new blog does not have a name yet but writing about many of these New Year’s resolutions will fit well within it. My plan for this new blog is for it to be a place where I can write about my experiences with handling the challenges of being a husband, dad, employee, individual, contributing member of society, spiritual being – in short it will be about the challenges of achieving appropriate work life balance. I want it to be a place where I write about my experiences and through my writing I hope to help others that are going through similar challenges. My planned launch date is April 1 at the latest. Stay tuned for more! I can’t wait!
8) Blog more! Between Steve’s Thinking Space and my soon to launch second blog I want to get to a point where I am publishing a blog article at least once per week. Many of these blog posts will probably be shorter than what I have been publishing here so far. I have a lot of ideas and I recently realized that it is probably better for me to get these ideas out there in writing more quickly rather than letting them build up in my mind. I tend to let the ideas build up and by the time I do write a blog post I incorporate two or three ideas into one long article. When I let the ideas stack up like this, I start getting frustrated and even grouchy when I just can’t seem to find the time to put them in writing. Instead I hope to get to a point where I write shorter blog posts about individual topics. By devoting even 20 minutes per day to writing I can get my ideas out there faster and avoid the frustration and crankiness. So I need to get more organized about my writing by carving out at least a few minutes per day to put words on paper (or really to type words into WordPress). 🙂
So I have a lot I want to accomplish in 2012. I realize in order to do this I will need to organize my time better. I will probably need to get up earlier (and go to bed earlier) each day in order to incorporate the mediation, yoga, daily writing, etc. It will be a challenge to accomplish all of these changes in 2012 but these are all things that I have wanted to do for a while – so I am ready!