With Christmas right around the corner, and the new year not too far behind, I’m in a bit of a funk today. It doesn’t help that I’ve got an awful tummy ache, a HUGE zit slowly coming to fruition right on the corner of my lip, where no amount of concealer will help, and The Man and I seem to be having some kind of standoff re: my inability to come up with any ideas on what to cook for his parents’ Christmas Eve shindig.
None of this matters a year from now, so it’s time to take away the power I’m giving to these stupid little non-happenings, and put that intention into something more useful. Let’s start planning what I’ll be working on making better this year, shall we?
First, a little recap on last year’s resolutions is in order…
1) Learn to swim. I took classes, and did learn some basic water safety and managed to learn to float on my face and on my back, plus swim short distances. There’s still a lot to learn, and I’d love to get better when I can afford more lessons, but considering that it took me 30 years to get to the point where I wasn’t deathly afraid to be in a swimming pool, I think I’d call that a resolution accomplished.
2) Start running 5K races again. I ran one 5K this year – resolution not accomplished. However, it’s important to note that I did run lots of 3 mile runs on my own, which is one of the reasons I wanted to sign up for 5Ks in the first place. So this wasn’t a complete failure, just not as fleshed out as I would have preferred.
3) Budget food expenditures. I did great with this one. My food costs did go down significantly this year, in part because I was dirt poor after quitting my job in May, but also because I started putting a cap on what I allowed myself to spend on groceries. Now that I’m eating better, my costs have gone down even more.
4) Put money in my savings account. Totally rocked this one! For the first half of the year, I kept a savings account in anticipation of my summer trip to Croatia and Italy. After returning from the trip, I started saving 30% of every freelance paycheck; the amount I’ve saved will hopefully not only pay off my taxes at the end of the year, but will also give me enough left over to pay off of a credit card. Which leads me to…
5) Pay off credit cards. I did pay off one credit card this year, but promptly opened another to pay for an iPad (idiotic, yes). Now I have four cards, and about 11K in CC debt. It’s kind of shitty, but I’m not panicking. Once again, I’ve got a plan – and a better reason to make it happen, but I won’t go into details just yet. Let’s just call this resolution a complete failure so far.
6) Be happy and have fun. I’ve had some great times this year, and overall have gone out of my way to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. In comparison to where I was last year, I’m a MUCH happier girl with a lot more going for me. It can always be better, of course – can anyone be TOO happy? – but overall, I feel like I did a great job on this resolution.
7) Finish writing at least one of my books. Failure…utter and complete failure.
8) Create a schedule and stick to it! Hmmm. Not sure I’ve accomplished exactly what I thought I would when I wrote that line, but my scheduling ability has definitely improved greatly over the last year. I pack a lot more stuff into each day now than I used to, but could still stand a lot of improvement. Procrastination remains one of my biggest flaws, and it’s something I’m probably going to spend my whole life working on. The biggest thing that’s helped me start putting my thoughts and activities in order on a daily basis is the new planner I started using a few months ago, the Action Day Planner. It’s great for list-makers like me, with places to separate out weekly tasks, daily goals/deadlines, your daily appointments, and then space to make notes about your big-picture goals and steps to help achieve them. If your mind gets jumbled with tasks and goals at all levels of importance, it’s a great planner to have. It’s made my life SO much easier.
So, what am I thinking about for this year’s resolutions? My biggest concern lately is finding a kind of personal freedom that I’ve been lacking lately. I experienced so much beauty and joy on my trip to Europe this summer, and also had a great brush with extreme spiritual power. I walked away from Assisi with a heart full of joy and light – part of it from visiting St. Francis, but part of it from running into one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding an hour’s conversation with. In her, I saw a portion of what my life could be if I could just start taking a look at the world through different eyes – so I did. And it worked.
I want to expand on that, and to live my life with much greater spiritual intent, but certain parts of my life have me feeling trapped and powerless after a certain point. I’m at a weird crossroads where I have to decide between two extremely different kinds of lives, and choose the person I want to grow to become. I’m frightened – incredibly frightened. Paralyzed might be a better word for it, because I’ve had a pretty good idea for some time that only one of the two possible roads would suit me to a t, and it will involve causing pain to others in the beginning. I’m finding it hard to dredge up the courage to move forward with doling out the pain, even though the adventure that lies beyond is so tempting to me. I’ve just got to spend some time working up to it. I found the strength to quit my job this summer – I’ll find the strength to do what I need to if I just keep working at it.
So here’s what I’m thinking overall. This list will probably grow and/or morph by New Year’s, but it’s a start.
1) Grow my personal freelance business. I want to have a website, pricing structure, service list, and detailed portfolio put together by the end of February 2013. I’ve got enough work on my plate right now that I don’t necessarily need more, but I’d like to get my schedule together a little better to maybe free up some time for one or two more clients. It would be great to be making at least $45k by the end of the year, between my full time gig and my freelance situation.
2) Expand my marketing prowess. Become a member of the AMA. Sign up for a social media scheduling and analytics program like Sprout or something similar, so I can schedule more, faster, and set up analytics to give my clients more information. Blog about marketing daily (on my business site – don’t worry, I won’t bore you with too much business stuff here, hopefully).
3) Declare a new personal style. I’ve been working towards this slowly but surely, but it’s time to move forward in fashion. I’m a 31 year old professional with a creative streak, but all my clothes say is that I’m stuck in the 9os. My “uniform” is jeans, a t-shirt, and Chuck Taylors, which would be fine if they were nice jeans or cool t-shirts, but that’s not the case. It’s time for my clothes to reflect my place in the world. Stat.
4) Start seeing a personal trainer! This one’s in the bag, because my newest client is a trainer, and we’re going to swap specialties. My goal is not to lose weight (though it will be a great side effect) – I want to get into the best shape of my life, feel healthy and alive (with more energy to think straight and work hard), wear a smaller pants size, and feel strong and capable enough to join one of the many dance teams that dance in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parades.
5) Join a marching krewe/dance team. The Sirens of New Orleans, the Pussyfooters, the Bearded Oysters, the Camel Toe Lady Steppers, the Muffalottas…the list goes on. It’s a pretty new phenomenon, but ladies are lining up to get in costume and dance their way through Mardi Gras – and I want to dance, too!
6) Read more. I’m going to start off small on this one – with just a book or two a month. I used to read voraciously, a few books a week at the least. Now I’m lucky to read a few books a year. That’s just complete bullshit, and it’s got to change.
7) Write more. See last year’s failure, above.
8) Pay off my credit cards. Even though I didn’t manage to make this happen yet, I am proud that I’ve been able to move away from using my credit cards over the last few months. Sure, I’m still in debt, but just being able to stick with my actual bank account and not overspend money that I don’t have is a HUGE step for me. What can I say – I’m just not great with telling myself no. But I’ve gotten better, and will get better still. As soon as I pay my taxes, the rest of my savings is going to paying off a card. Also, I’m waiting on a payout from some stocks I bought a few months ago, and that should pay off another card. Then if I play my cards right, I can live off of my day job and use my freelance jobs to pay off the remainder of the CC debt. To make this more attractive, I’m going to tell myself that I’m not allowed to save for travel until the cards are paid, so that as soon as the cards are paid off, every cent I’d normally be using for CCs is going to go into my fund to go on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
9) Stop letting my relationships define who I am and how I act. I won’t go into this any further, but I know what I mean, and that’s enough. It’s time to start following my own path, and if anyone doesn’t like it, they’ve got to go.
10) Travel more! Buy a car! Run longer distances! Downsize my physical possessions! Excel at speaking to people about my professional capabilities! Learn to do something new! Make things! Take my cats to get their teeth cleaned! Go back to Pagan school and learn more!
Take control of my life.