It’s not really any secret that most people highlight weight loss when they’re putting together their New Years resolutions each year. What can I say – I’m not much better … I seemed to be doing ok last year, but still only managed to lose about 25 of the excess 60 pounds that I had to shed, and so here we are again this year, poised to give it another go.
The funny thing is, as cliche as it may be to say keep citing diet & exercise on my resolutions year after year, I’m trying to frame it in a positive manner and take advantage of all of the exercise enthusiasm that seems to be in the air here in the first couple of weeks of January before the masses realize yet again that losing weight is really hard and just sitting on the couch watching American Idol is a much easier way to wind down at the end of the day than doing time religiously every night on the treadmill!
One thing that I’ve been trying to teach myself over the last couple of years is really the importance of focusing on the positive. No, I may not have technically met very many of the goals that I set out for myself last year, including that one about losing it all right before Christmas that in hindsight was really just kind of silly, but I did manage to drop 25 pounds off of that target, which is still better than how I started the year back on January 1, 2011.
I stopped drinking diet soda entirely, something that for the better part of a decade I would’ve thought was completely impossible.
I finally admitted to myself that I can’t in good conscience continue to eat potato chips like I always have and actually expect to lose weight.
And frankly, from the looks of these blog posts, I’ve just been a lot more conscious about all of these things that together make up my weight loss efforts, both the ones that have failed as well as those that succeeded.
So while I may not necessarily be quite where I want to be just yet, I also can’t exactly look back on 2011 and write it off as a failure, either. I did a lot of growing last year, and finally in the good way for a change!, so as I mentioned a few days ago when I first talked about my 2012 New Years Resolutions, I think my real goal just needs to be to continue working towards that goal that I already started last year. And though I do need to both push myself harder and in different ways this year, I think it only makes sense to ride this collective enthusiasm that everyone seems to have for resolutions for the next couple of weeks and see how far it will take me…
Happy New Year, everyone – now let’s go lose some weight together!
So where do we go from here???
As I somewhat eluded to in my last post, the more I’ve thought about it there aren’t really a lot of changes in my resolutions from 2011 to 2012 – some because I didn’t exactly accomplish all that I had set out to in 2011, and others simply because they’re really good things to always be striving to improve on in general. Nonetheless, as a tradition I think it’s still always a good idea to rededicate oneself to these kinds of things from time to time, so without further ado, here’s what I would like to accomplish in 2012:
Continue working to lose weight
2011 was a good start with about 25 pounds down, but I’ve still got a ways to go. What I now need in 2012 is both acceptance that I’m going to need to reserve more of my time towards making this goal, and then also motivation to keep me pushing at it until I get to where I want to be. My guess without looking at a scale is that I have about 30-40 more pounds to go, which is totally reasonable in a year’s time or less if I can find the time and the drive…
Make haste to wrap up my remaining creative projects from last year
So the number probably sounds worse than it really is, but I’ve got a total of 10 things leftover from last year that I need to finish up creatively before I can take on the new projects that I have planned for 2012. Some are bigger than others, and they might very well take all of the first quarter to finish entirely, but rather than jumping from one to another and spinning my wheels like I did a lot last year, my new direction is to work on these one at a time until each is done. If I feel myself getting excited about something else, I need to figure out how to channel that drive into finishing what’s already on my plate first or I’ll never get anything done!
Make strides to take on (and complete!) new creative challenges in 2012
Likewise, I also want to use that same approach for the new things that I want to do as well, and I do have some cool things in store for the new year once I get the old year finally packed up and on its way. I don’t want to say too much, but whereas last year involved a lot of building new things, my plan this year is to be very content-focused … meaning lots and lots of writing, and hopefully some other new avenues to explore that I haven’t necessarily tapped yet…
Do a better job of managing my time, both personally and professionally
This one frankly applies to so many different areas of my life, it’s not even funny. Much like in years past, I want to do a better job of spending quality time with my wife (and Cleo!), I want to be able to devote more time to trying to lose weight, I want to make better use of my creative time when I’m trying to write … along with more time at Disney World, the beaches, and laying about time just for me as well! I think it’s mainly about learning to curb my dicking around and really focusing on the task at hand, whatever that may be.
Baby steps on this one, but I do recognize it as an important one because it’s really the keystone to just about everything else on this list.
In addition to the big ones, I’ve also got a couple of other more manageable tasks that I’ve honestly just really been putting off for a long time, so it seems just as well to list those here while we’re at it…
Really Settle in and Make Our House Feel Like a Home
I don’t think we’ll be in the neighborhood to actually buy a house for ourselves for another couple of years, so in the meantime I’d like to make a point in 2012 to do some simple things around the house to really make it feel like our own – cleaning up and re-doing the massive gardens out front, finding some patio furniture and maybe even a pool or ping-pong table to make our backyard more inviting, and perhaps even finally finishing unpacking the last boxes that are still sitting around from when we moved in last spring! The sky’s the limit…
Backup. Our. Files.
Frankly, it’s a little embarrassing to be as big of a geek as I am and not have a reliable backup system in place, but this is just something that I’ve been putting off forever that really has to get done. A decade’s worth of writing, probably 50 GB of digital photos and another 150 GB of music and video … in this digital age, it’s just irresponsible not to have a fail-safe in place should the unthinkable happen. I need to finally take care of this once and for all in 2012.
Find a new place to display my toys
Seriously! My legos are getting a little out of control again because I simply don’t have very many places to put sets once they’re completed … in fact, at this point I think I’ve got just about the entire series of Alien Conquest sets still sitting there in boxes waiting for me to put them together because I won’t have anywhere to actually put them when I’m done! I know that I need some shelves or something, but I kinda wanted to avoid just throwing up rows of shelves on a wall like I had in my bedroom when I was 12 … I’m 31 now, so I want something a little classier for my toy displays this time around…
So there they are – what do you think? Some are pretty ambitious, but standing here on day 1 with the full 365 days left to go, I think they’re more or less reasonable and should serve as a good set of guidelines to help drive my year.
Last year I started a trend that I think I want to continue – in taking a few moments to look back at what I accomplished this year before trying to lay down new goals for next. And besides, as you’ll see soon enough that for the most part the majority of my 2012 resolutions are pretty much the same as they were in 2011 anyways, so at least this way I get to write something fresh!
Published a new book, and almost a second one
What I expected to be a simple archive collection from the comic strip I did with my sister a few years ago proved to be a bit more frustrating than I had anticipated by the end of the process, but ultimately it was worth it because I think the end result in full color really looks beautiful and does the project proud! Also, not to spoil anything, but I’ve almost got my next book completed – it just kind of fell behind the horse with the holidays and whatnot, so hopefully that’ll be out sometime early spring…
Got about 90% done with several other major projects
No excuses – I kinda took on a bit more than I could chew in 2011, and as a result I have several really cool things that are almost done, but not quite. I have a well-known bad habit of jumping from project to project when I get excited about new things, and as a result sometimes older ones get left behind … but it’s something that I’m going to be working on a little harder in the new year!
Did A LOT of blogging!!!
Over 120,000 words worth of blogging, to be exact! And even though I’m not generally in the habit of tracking word counts on everything that I write, it’s become sort of an interesting motivator for me because I look at this blog as more of a long-term journal just for rambling and brainstorming and keeping track of life and whatnot. So in this particular scenario, more is better.
Moved to a new house
We’re still renting, mind you, but earlier this spring we found an opportunity to move into a larger place that has more amenities that we’ve been looking for, so in the end it was definitely worth uprooting the family and enduring the 2 months of chaos that it took to get us out of the old and into the new!
Got a puppy!
Cleo … cute, little beagle-pointer mix … I’ve blogged about her once or twice … maybe you’ve heard of her?
Lost 25 pounds
And granted, I have a feeling that I very well might have gained part of it back with all of the snacks and cookies and other holiday indulgences that I’ve been enjoying the last couple of weeks, but it’s significant nonetheless because 25 is a big number and I’ve been trying really hard at losing weight this year…
Made the trip home for Christmas
And here we are today! What can I say? It’s sometimes tough living on the opposite end of the country away from family, especially during the holidays when my nostalgic tendencies are in high gear, so this trip has really been a nice way for me in particular to wrap up the year and try to recharge the old batteries after being absolutely buried in work for the last 12 months! Knowing that it doesn’t happen often has really pushed me to try to make the most of it while we’re here, and overall it’s really been a lot of fun.
Now that that’s out of the way, though, I suppose next we have to come up with some of those dreaded New Years resolutions for next year, don’t we?
I kind of liked the way that I laid things out in the last post as far as things done in 2010, so I thought it might be interesting to try presenting my resolutions for 2011 in this same fashion as well. I’ve noticed over the years that the more resolutions I write, the more I end up missing anyways, so who knows – maybe the hidden benefit of summarizing my resolutions will be an actual chance at achieving them!
I’ll let you know in a year…
Get to and maintain a healthy weight
I know, losing weight is probably the most popular resolution in the world, and yet it shows up on people’s lists every single year because we’re all horrible at it! I’m certainly not the only one, but regardless of how everyone else chooses to address the challenge this year, I really feel like I need to make this my #1 priority this year, for so many reasons. Not for nothing, but I’m really hoping that my latest discoveries will be the tipping point for actually giving me a chance at making a difference this year…
Make some significant strides with my writing & publishing efforts
Last year was a good year for me, but now that I’ve got some momentum, I want 2011 to be even better. I’ve got a ton of new things that I want to work on this year – writing efforts, new books, new websites – and even though it’s going to be a bear trying to get even half of them done, I think the farther I get the more aware I’m becoming of the prize at the end of the road (writing full-time).
Spend more time…
- doing things with my wife.
- lounging around Walt Disney World.
- relaxing and doing things just for me (usually playing video games).
I decided to bundle all of these together because in reality, they’re all just time management issues that require both less time wasted doing stupid stuff and more productive time spent on the things that I do need to accomplish. As I mentioned, 2011 is going to be busier than ever as far as my writing is concerned, but it’s important that I don’t completely seclude myself from these other things that I enjoy, too.
Spend less time…
- milling over politics and random controversies.
- getting sucked into debates that I’m reading purely for the drama.
- thinking about productivity and more time being productive.
Again with regards to my previous objective, the “good news” in trying to spend more time kicking back and relaxing is that aside from actual work, there are still other areas that are ripe for improvement to get some “free time” back. If I had instead written a new column every time I got all worked up over some political argument last year, I’d have never had a single late column the entire year! Need to focus on what’s really important…
Expand our family
And last but certainly not least, a shared resolution between me and my wife is to see some new additions take place around our home! First and foremost, we’ve recently been trying to get pregnant, so hopefully something will come of that in 2011. Also, it looks like things are finally shaping up where we should be able to get a dog like we’ve always wanted. Finally, sometime this spring Sara’s sister is going to move in with us for a while, which should be fun just in general to have another person around. If all goes according to plan, our house should be quite the bustling place come Christmas 2011!
So there you have it – five “simple” goals for 2011. Sure, I could add plenty more, but honestly if I can just manage these ones as they are, I should come out just fine at the end of the year…
So apparently I didn’t actually make New Year’s resolutions last year, but nonetheless before I lay out some goals for 2011, I thought it might be interesting to look back over what I did manage to accomplish in the previous year first. I always tend to get a little hard on myself when I don’t meet these things, which is made all the worse because I also set extremely high expectations for myself, so I think it’s good to take a look back every now and then and consider the high points even if they weren’t necessarily expected at the beginning of the year…
Started blogging again on a regular basis
I honestly never realized how much I missed doing this until I actually started back up again … plus, it didn’t help that my blog was getting weighed down by all of those stupid LoudTwitter posts! The bottom line is that I think it’s really neat to be able to look back and see where I was a 6-months / 1-year / even 5-years ago, and jotting down my random thoughts via blogging makes that possible.
Published my very first book
And some seven years in the making, no less! It’s hard to believe that I first entertained the idea of putting out a book of humor columns way back in 2003, but I suppose life just got busy and it took me a while to see things through. That said, I’m hoping that having the first behind me now will act as sort of a catalyst of more to come in the new year…
Actually made money with my writing
Granted, I won’t be buying my first yacht with the proceeds from book #1, but it did get my foot in the door and some actual revenues for my taxes, which I’m sure the IRS will be happy to finally see after … well, a while! Again, I’m hoping that this year’s performance can if nothing else serve to get the ball rolling for more writing income in 2011.
Went on three separate, very awesome vacations
What can I say – we work hard, we play hard! But seriously, my wife and I had kind of come up short in recent years of spending time together due to other obligations, so it was really nice to actually set aside some time for us for a change. I think we were gone for something like 5 weeks total – a long weekend in Seattle, about 3.5 weeks for our road trip, and then a week out at Disneyland for our anniversary. Good times, indeed…
Paid off a boatload of debt
Now I’m not going to list numbers and we certainly could’ve done more if we hadn’t gone on all of the vacations, but it was still a fairly significant dent nonetheless and got us one step closer to being debt-free and saving for a house. In addition, we also started making regular contributions to an emergency fund, which also still has a ways to go, but I think is going to provide a vital security blanket when I’m finally ready to transition careers some day.
I suppose the more that I think about it, 2010 was really all about laying the groundwork for more things to come in the future. There are a lot of other things that could go on here as well if you wanted to talk about half-completed projects and things that didn’t go as planned, but I think as it is, this is a good, solid list of five accomplishments that I can be proud about looking back at the past year.
Now as for 2011…
When we were out for Sara’s birthday last weekend, at one point when we were BS’ing with the other couple at our table, the topic of scuba diving came up. I told all of my fun stories that I remembered from long ago – seeing baracuda and nurse sharks and eels in Florida and then returning back to Michigan to dive with basically nothing. The ironic punchline of the whole thing is always that I moved to the Tampa area so I’d be close to the water for diving, even though I’ve lived here for 7 years now and haven’t done anything of the sort since…
To add insult to injury, I pulled out my old dive log off the shelf this morning and realized after flipping through it that I technically haven’t been diving since 2000 – over a decade!!! Sure, I guess I’ve been “busy,” but sometimes I look back at diving much like playing the guitar and it’s another one of those things that I really miss doing, even though I have no idea when I’d have the time to do it anymore these days.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that I’ve got a ways to go before I think I would let myself go out again. First and foremost, I’m not doing so great with my weight right now, and I can only imagine how much lead I’d have to be carrying to actually get my fat ass down to the bottom! I don’t want to make this post about being overweight, so let’s just say that there have been some advances recently that I’m really hoping are going to help and leave it at that.
Secondly, in addition to actually losing weight, I kind of need to get comfortable with the water again. I’ve never really been super comfortable being in water over my head, but somehow during the dive class that I took over a decade ago, everyone managed to help me calm my nerves in deep water at least when I had my gear on … maybe it helped decrease that whole fear of drowning – I don’t know! That said, having been away from the hobby for so long has definitely caused that fear to return – specifically, I had a couple of problems when went snorkeling during the cruise last year, and even the deep parts of the lazy river over at Stormalong Bay at Disney make me nervous, even with lifeguards literally every five feet along the wall.
That’s basically two things that I know I need to work on if I want to don a regulator and explore life under the sea again. I think I can do it – the weight loss coming before the swimming proficiency – but it is something that I’d like to start working more actively towards, maybe next year. Sara has expressed an interest in diving as well, so it could be something cool for us to do together, plus I know that my old dive buddy Tim would love to do a little exploring the next time he’s able to bring his family down to visit.
One last reason that I want to get back into diving – this entry this I found in my old dive log:
6/21/98 : Davis Reef – Islamorada, Florida
Best dive so far!!! Saw a nurse shark, two eels, two lobsters, and Buddha! Tons of beautiful fish…
Who knew I’ve been a Buddhist all this time?! Apparently only King Triton and his court.
I just realized that I still hadn’t posted these, so I’m just going to throw them up real quick and be done with them.
Now because we’re already three months in … does that mean that I only have to do three quarters of these???
Anyways, here they are…
1. Lose weight by my 30th birthday.
I’m tired of being overweight and this seemed just as good a goal as any. Unfortunately, it means that my time is rapidly growing short, but well, let’s check back on this one later…
2. Pay off enormous amounts of debt.
This is one that I’m actually very proud about because Sara and I have done very good at not splurging too much and focusing our extra income at our bills thus far this year. I won’t give any numbers here because it’s kinda sad and it’s going to be a long road, but so far, so good!
3. Start making money with my writing business again.
I feel like I’m kind of getting to a place in my life where this either needs to start making progress towards being a career or it’s going to die away, so I’m trying to focus more on this whenever I can. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time, but I know it’s one of those things that I just have to pour ridiculous amounts of time into if I ever want it to become a reality.
4. Spend more time at Walt Disney World.
Unfortunately this one has the ability to counteract numbers 1, 2, and 3 if we’re not careful, but we didn’t spend nearly as much time over at Disney last year because Sara was doing battle with nursing school. Now that it’s over, though, I’d like to see us start spending more time there, even if just to walk around, eat dinner, watch fireworks, and randomly challenge each other’s high scores at Buzz and Toy Story Mania.
5. Spend more time with Sara in general.
Again a victim of the great nursing school massacre of 2008-2009, there was a considerable gap there when I didn’t really get to see my wife at all unless I was running her lunch to her at two in the morning or getting married to her, so now that it’s over we’re trying to do better, and frankly, this is another one where I’m feeling pretty good about it thus far. We used to go see movies like crazy and we’re starting to get into that again (as duly noted here), and hopefully numbers 4 and 6 will help here as well…
6. Explore the area to find suitable places for our house.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’re probably still another year or two off from buying a house of our very own, but as we get more debts paid off and move forward in life, this is one of several of those major life changes that we’ve got coming up ahead on the horizon so we might as well start planning for it now! We both know that we want to stay in the Tampa Bay area and I’ve got a few ideas on where to start (I’d like to be a lot closer to the city, but also near the water), so something I’d really like to do this summer and fall is really start scouting around for places where we might like to, well, settle down and *gasp* raise a family…
So there they are – let’s check back in six months (more likely 11 or 12…) and see where we’re at!
That’s right – I finally found the resolutions that I wrote almost two months ago now, and although at first I was thinking about re-writing some of them given what’s transpired over the last seven weeks, going over them a second time I think I’m just going to run with them as-is because I’m actually pretty content with where I am thus far.
I’m not sure if I want to do it every quarter or wait for the six-month mark, but I think this year I’ll do a couple of follow-up posts to track my progress along the way. I’m trying to take these things a little more seriously this year, so fingers crossed…