December 31, 2011

Year in Review - resolutions

I don't normally make a lot of resolutions for January 1st. Sure, there are some goals that I shoot for year round, but I haven't been too tied to the calendar to start things off. But this year was a little different. It was all about the calendar.

Back in January, I decided to have a new goal every month. As I wrote then:
I was out on a run December 30th when I decided to take on the Dry January goal I had read about a couple days earlier. As I ran, I decided that I would keep this monthly theme throughout the year. Each month I will take on a new challenge. By focusing on one thing at a time, I think I will have a better chance at success. Also, there is a built in ending point so I think it will be easier to wrap my head around the commitment.
I didn't have the whole year plotted out at that point, just the first three months really. The monthly resolutions came into focus as the year went on. Some were things I wanted to improve, some were suggestions from friends, and others were challenges I wasn't sure I could complete. There is a list in the sidebar, but for review the resolutions were.

Jan - no alcohol
Feb - workout every day
Mar - write an hour every day
Apr - no fast food
May - no coffee
June - no tv
July - better food choices/lose 10#
Aug - meat only once a week
Sep - 30 minutes or less online
Oct - become a morning person
Nov - NaNoWriMo

Each month was challenging in its own way, but I was surprised to find that many were easier than I had built them up to be. Giving up coffee was not enjoyable, but there was little withdrawal and I wasn't a zombie without it. No tv and no fast food were more logistical challenges than anything else.

Eating meat only once a week was not a real sacrifice, and July's goal of making better food choices was a nice lead in. I did not lose the ten pounds that month, but I was ten pounds lighter when showed up at the marathon start line a couple months later. 

The more difficult challenges were toward the end of the year. Spending less than thirty minutes online wasn't exactly a struggle, but it was enlightening. I waste more time than I use when connected to the internet, and the thirty minute limit really made me focus. October's goal of becoming a morning person was probably the hardest on me. The act of rolling out of bed by 5:30 wasn't that difficult, but as the month wore on, the missing hours of sleep took their toll. November's goal was the one that was clearly not accomplished, but I am still happy with the effort and the discipline it took to get as far as I did.

Of course, I was hoping to have some of these thirty day challenges carry over. I drink a little less alcohol, I definitely watch less tv, I spend less time online, I am making better choices with food, and this morning I weighed in twelve pounds lighter than I was at this time last year.

Having this rotating goal set up was an interesting experience. I haven't decided if I will do the monthly goal thing next year, but I would highly recommend it if it interests you at all. By attacking things in bite sized chunks, they were easier to take them all on. I certainly wouldn't have written down twelve goals for the year on January 1st, but now I can look back on a nice list of accomplishments,

December's goal was sort of a secret. I wasn't sure if I was going to accomplish it, but it looks like I will just make it in under the wire. More on that in the next post.

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