Make Everything Count

It's New Year's Eve, that time of year when everyone's talking resolutions and about how they are going to be better in every way in 2014 (after one last night of heavy 2013 drinking that is).  It's the time of year for weight loss goals followed by leftover holiday candy binging and a sense of failure when none of it works.

Hooray for 2014!

I asked my husband about his resolutions this year and he had a rather interesting take on things.  He says the whole idea of resolutions is stupid, and that January 1st is no better day to change yourself than say, February 1st, or September 17th.  Why wait, he says.  I asked him if, regardless of resolutions, he wanted to change anything about himself or his life and he said no.  He is already working towards his goals and is perfectly satisfied with the life he leads.  Wow, if only we could all feel that way.

While I agree with his point about waiting for change, the New Year sparks a time of reflection for me, and that prompts me to question what I would change about my life.  For that reason, I always think about resolutions, regardless of most of them being cliche and useless.  I am at a point in my life that is all about discovery and working towards the life that I've always wanted.  For that reason, I think it's important for me to point myself in the right direction.  There's a lot of things that I'd like to work on this year, but I've boiled it down into one short phrase:

Make everything count.

Now that's pretty vague, so I've broken it down into a few smaller goals.

  1. Spend time on art. In 2012 while I was still going to school I read 55 books.  In 2013 I only read seven.  I also wrote poetry and watched interesting movies, and listened to music with substance in 2012.  Last year I did hardly any of that.  I've got into the habit of spending my time watching movies and TV that I don't actually care about and listening to music I don't like on the radio because, well, that's what's there.  There are so much better things I could be doing!
  2. Have personal projects. I want to work on my writing and photography without necessarily having a set goal other than to create.  To kickstart things, tomorrow I will be starting a photo 365 project (at the risk of being cliche).  It will not be photos of anything in particular, I just want to push myself to take an interesting photo every day of the year using my DLSR.  I also will be starting a journal in which I will be writing a sentence a day.  This idea came from my creative writing professor Benjamin Alire Saenz (look him up he's a great author) and I've been meaning to try it for quite a while now.
  3. Learn to love my job, or find a new one. I have a good job at Sam's as an auditor.  It has great hours and decent pay and I've advanced quite a bit in the past year.  That said, my Sunday nights are filled with dread for Monday morning.  That's now how I want to spend my life.  This isn't about career advancement or happiness, it's about finding joy in my day to day life. This leads nicely into:
  4. Focus on my business. Last year I developed a love for photography and decided I wanted to make a career of it.  While I've done a lot of dreaming and planning, I haven't actually gotten down to the wire and created a legitimate, pay the bills kind of business.  This year I need to put in the hours to establish myself and make that happen.
  5. Eat good food and be healthy. Last year I spent several months calorie counting and lost a pretty significant bit of weight as a result.  During that time I cooked a lot of great food, tried new things, and felt a thousand times better than normal.  And then I stopped cooking as much.  Calorie counting became frustrating and restrictive, I put some of my weight back on and lost that healthy feeling I had enjoyed so much. This year I'd like to re-explore that relationship with food where I can be healthy with out restricting calories, per say, but by cooking and eating really good food.
  6. This one's a big one for me- Save money. I started reading Eat, Pray, Love, last night and realized just how badly I want to travel.  The idea of a trip to Italy, or anywhere really, with my husband just seems so romantic and wonderful that I'm ready to pack my bags and leave tonight.  But then reality sets in and I realize there is no way I can afford a trip.  But you know what?  If I set aside a bit each month then eventually I can.  It won't take much sacrifice and the reward will be so worth it.  Yes, my husband and I will be going on some kind of adventure, and I'm starting to work towards it with this next paycheck.

OK, so I started things out a bit cynical in this post, but the truth is, I love the idea of a new year as a new beginning.  I'm young with a lot to look forward too and I think it's a good exercise to look back and to figure out a set of goals for the next time around.  I'm starting this new year full of hope and confidence and, until next year, I'm not looking back.

So what about you, what is your New Year's resolution? Or are you already happy with the life you live (If so, bravo!)