Revamping the New Years Resolution


Well I somehow managed to survive Christmas with my sanity somewhat intact. Actually, our Christmas was quite relaxing once the shopping, cooking and kids were out-of-the-way, but with Christmas quickly coming to an end I realized that the New Year is right around the corner.

New Years means, for many, a fresh start. It is the chance to create change and live the life you dream of. Each year we head into the New Year with high hopes and a long list of resolutions. If you are anything like me that list is long-lost somewhere around the 3rd of January and you are spinning the same cycle you were last year, and the year before that.

Resolutions can be a great way to get your goals in focus and prioritize all the things you want to achieve. The problem with resolutions is that many of us are focused on the wrong goals. Change is always difficult and it comes with an enormous amount of pressure when it comes in the form of a resolution that is usually announced to every single person you know on and after New Years Eve. “What is your New Years Resolution?” is a predictable question during the holiday season, and one that we feel pressured to answer with something life-changing. “Lose weight”, “Quit smoking“, and “Get out of debt” are among the most common answers to the resolution answer, and for the most part, they are the most un-achieved resolutions as well.

Why is it that we always lose sight of our resolutions? Failing to achieve your New Years Resolution does not make you a failure, there are many reasons the excitement of our resolution fades with the winter weather. The number one, and most important reason is our resolutions are often unrealistic. We try to change everything all at once and we shock our systems. We all have that friend who vows to quit smoking at the stroke of midnight every year and is lighting up again by 12:23 a.m. If you truly want to achieve your resolution goal you need to break it down into small, more manageable goals that you can achieve throughout the year. Yes, it is that simple…

Say for example, you are like the millions of Americans that want to lose weight in 2012. Instead of completely changing your diet on January 1st, hitting the gym for 3 hours a day the first week, and basically starving half to death, break the big goal of losing weight into smaller, more manageable goals, such as, for the month of January aim to eat healthier snacks. February, join a gym and start with working out 2 days a week for 1 hour (or more depending on your current physical state), do this while you are still eating healthier snacks as planned for the month of January. For March aim to eat one healthier meal a day, go to the gym 3 times per week for 1 1/2 hours, and continue eating healthy snacks. Continue on for the remaining 9 months of the year, each month adding another small goal and continuing on with your previous months resolutions. Before you know it you will have changed your entire lifestyle without the stress or panic that accompany immediate and outright changes. It is not realistic to completely stop doing anything all at once. It takes time to form habits and it takes time to break them as well. Poor eating, lack of physical activity and weight gain all occurred over an extended period of time and they will all take time to reverse, both the habits and the effects.

My plan for 2012 is to make 12 resolutions. One for each month of the year. This way I get the challenge of completing a goal, but I also get the change I constantly require to stay focused. I will post my list soon, but for now feel free to share your own New Years Resolutions (and how you plan to break them down into more manageable goals) in the comment section below.

Cheers.

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Old and Decrepit….


I think I have finally come to terms with the realization that I am getting old! This shocking information came to light in the form of New Years Eve… while most other people my age were out at parties, bars, or spending time with friends. I opted for a quieter celebration ceremony. The bf and I decided that we would celebrate by taking my parents out for a nice dinner at my moms favorite restaurant, then head home to ring in the new year with a bottle of wine!!!

Luckily we easily found a babysitter for the little devils angels, and headed out early, armed with our reservation number. I should probably add that it took me 3 hours, and at least 19 outfit changes, before I was ready to go. The clothes I had purchased for the evening suddenly seemed baggy (even frumpy) once I was standing in front of the mirror at home, so instead of the charcoal grey dress pants, plum-colored fitted dress shirt, and flowing black shrug I planned to wear, I ended up in jeans and a dressy blouse… not exactly New Years attire, but I was comfortable, and I was wearing clothing, to me that was satisfactory enough.

Upon our arrival at the restaurant I was glad that I had pre-planned enough to get a reservation, the place was packed full… people were lined up out the doors waiting to get in, and piled up indoors waiting to get seated, even with the reservation we waited about 20 minutes or so for our seat…. But dinner was fantastic! The restaurant we went to was a buffet style with every type of food imaginable. My mother, in her glory, enjoyed a feast of many different seafood delights. My father and the bf were more content with ribs, steak, and other ‘man’ food, while I tried a little bit of everything. It was a good time, we chatted, filled up, and left happy….

Happy and tired apparently…. Upon arriving home I poured two glasses of wine and sat down with the bf to ring in the New Years, and watch the City TV New Years Bash Countdown…..

Well…..The next morning I awoke to find two glasses of wine sitting right where I had placed them, untouched, and the sad realization that we hadn’t made it anywhere near midnight!!

Although the night was wonderful it got me thinking about New Years Eves of the past. In my younger days I probably would have been dressed to the nines, (the nines being: a skin-tight, too short, flashy, trashy dress, with strappy, sparkly, shamefully uncomfortable stilletos, and not much else) I probably would have overpaid for tickets to a local club, where I would have seen the same people I saw any other day of the year, doing the same things they always do, while listening to the same music that the same DJ always plays… I would have danced too much, drank too much, and probably would have woke up on the bathroom floor….

This seemed to be the general pattern of New Years Eve in my ‘younger’ years. So… although it may be depressing to admit that age and maturity are finally catching up to me after two children, and countless lessons learned, I can proudly say that I awoke New Years Day comfortably in my bed! No headache, no hangover, and no mess to clean-up. I guess growing up is not all that bad!

Writers Remorse….


Sometimes I feel obligated to write a post for my blog, and so I whip out something quick off the top of my head without any thought, or serious inspiration, and post it quickly just to have something new on my page. Often times looking back later at these ‘thoughtless‘ rants I feel remorseful. I think to my self… ‘well that was not how I wanted that to come across’, or ‘I wanted to say that differently’. 

 But I refuse to remove something once it is posted and so they stay. I will, I am sure, at some point contradict things I have written before on my blog, during these rushed-to-post moments, as my mood, or opinions change (which is quite frequently for me, I am sort of like a person with split-personalities, except mine are all me, there is no Sheila, Shelly, or Sharon that randomly pops out to cause havoc… I am the only one responsible for my actions, unfortunately!)

But for my post-a-day 2011 I have decided that each post  I write will actually have thought put into it. I will not rush to post something “just because” I will take the time to truly say what it is I want to say, and avoid the writers remorse that 2010 often left me with.

So to all the great writers I have come across in the ‘blogging’ world and all those I have yet to find. I wish you all great success in 2011… may the world be your oyster, and may your creativity flow freely from within.

Happy New Year Everyone!!

See You On The Flipside


an old post card

Image via Wikipedia

Just a quick post today wishing all of you in the blogging world a Happy New Year.

For many people I know 2010 was a time of growth and change, for me it was a little more stuck in limbo… there was a lot of change, new beginnings, growth, and endings. There was much happiness, with the birth of my daughter, and a few tears, as there always is with change. There was pain, and there was pleasure, but most importantly there was acceptance, and realization that life doesn’t always go as planned.

For 2011 I have high hopes, I plan to see more of the positive that life has to offer, I plan to write more, and learn about myself, share myself, and grow through that writing. I plan to laugh more, live more, and love more. I plan to enjoy life and get to know myself.

So to all of my friends out there in the blogging community, where ever you may be in the world I wish you all the best on your journey through 2011 and I hope all your dreams and goals come true.

Live, love, laugh and most of all learn.

Happy New Year Everyone…. see you on the flipside!

I Resolve To…..


Dictionary.com defines the word Resolution as;

– the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about my resolutions this year. Usually I stick to the same basic ideas;
  1. Spend more time with my kids, family, and friends
  2. Get organized
  3. Write More/Write Better
  4. Quit smoking

But this year these don’t seem to cut it, they don’t inspire me to change the way my life is, which (I won’t lie) is a situation that desperately needs a change! I thought of hundreds of resolutions, I wrote and re-wrote list after list, some serious, some a little more light-hearted. Among those exterminated from my final list (which will follow at the end of this post) were;

  • I will stop considering other people’s feelings when they so clearly do not consider mine. – although this may be helpful to me, but it may cause more drama than good in the long run!
  • I will not lie ever again – I do want to be more honest, but never lying again can be a real issue in itself, look at the movie Liar, Liar!
  • I will make myself happy, no matter how many bottles of wine it takes – hmmmm…. I don’t think becoming a raging alcoholic will do anyone any good, even if it does make me smile more.
  • I will Quit smoking  (well, I will cut back, I will smoke light cigarettes, I will not smoke while sitting down.) – It is probably in everyone’s best interest that I DON’T attempt to quit smoking this year, perhaps that can wait until 2012!
  • I will start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store – or one from each store within a 30 mile radius, that should at least double my chances of winning!
  • I will not swear – that is just setting myself up for disappointment
  • Eat healthier by adding more lettus to my BLT’s – I better rethink, and expand on this one!!
  • I will clear the clutter from my bank account by taking a trip to Las Vegas

Although some of the above may be beneficial in some way (mostly to me) I doubt that they will provide the changes that I desire in my life at the moment. So I sat down last night, in the dark, quiet comfort of my house and thought, really thought, long and hard about what it is that my life needs at the moment….

I decided that I am sick of goals that just get pushed aside, goals that are for the benefit of everyone but me, I am not worried too much about my health and so working out, or eating healthy are not top priority to me this year, I am generally active, and I don’t eat too badly. I also decided that the number one thing I need to focus on this year is my happiness and my confidence levels. I decided that I need to learn to make myself happy. I have spent much of my life relying on others to do things for me, to make me happy, to make me whole. I need to learn to give ‘myself’ these things. And so…. My final list of resolutions reads as follows;

  1. Be a better mother – Over the last few years I am ashamed to say that I feel as if I have neglected the need of ‘family time’. With the birth of my daughter L (now 10 months old) I think it is time I get back to the groove of having quality time with my children. I want them to grow up with a strong sense of the importance of family. I want them to know that no matter the shape, size, or situation a family means love, time, and happiness. And so… I resolve to spend more time with my children, “real-time” getting to know them, and helping them learn and grow. The same goes for time with my family and friends as well, I have neglected them all beyond all belief in the past few years, and I want to spend 2011 reconnecting with the people who love and support me in spite of, or because of, my mistakes.
  2.  Sort out my issues –  As I said before I have relied on other people for entertainment and fulfilment for a long time, it has become a serious issue in my life. It has been the root cause of many of the mistakes, poor choices, and trouble I have faced. I plan to find the source of my insecurity with myself, find ways to amuse myself, and learn to truly love myself without the needing the constant approval of another person.
  3. Inspire myself more – I have lost the unlimited creativity I once had. I used to see inspiration in everything, I could open my eyes in the morning and be filled with a million wonderful things to be grateful for, a million things I could write about, a million things that I could easily turn into a million more. I want to start writing more, yes, of course I do, but it is more about the “wanting” than it is about the writing. I want to actually ‘want’ to write and feel inspired by my writing for myself, as well as to inspire others if possible.
  4. Laugh more – Life is too short to spend worrying, I want to laugh, love, live and enjoy each and every moment I have. I used to be the person that people came to when they needed to smile, or feel good. I used to enjoy helping people see the bright side of any situation, and although I can still easily speak the words they need to hear I don’t feel those things myself inside. I want to be happy and joyful again.
  5. Procrastinate less – I am the queen of excuses, I can easily list a hundred reasons off the top of my head to not do something I want to, or should do, right now. I never seem to get anything finished, and most of the time I barely get them started. So this year I am making the choice to actually “DO” something, no matter how big or small if I want to do it, or need to do it, I am just going to do it!
  6. Do what makes ME happy – I think this is what ties any and all of the above goals together. I want to do things that make ME happy. I know that in life it is important to consider others feelings, but I also think that too often we neglect ourselves because we are worried about what others think, feel, or how they will react. Well…I am done with all that! Don’t get me wrong, I will not intentionally hurt someone, but I will not hurt myself or neglect my needs either. I am going to make my choices based on how I will feel, or what I will accomplish in the long run, not based on what others will think. I once gave up a great opportunity in life because I was worried about hurting someone close to me… it is now years later and that person is long gone from my life, as is the amazing opportunity I turned down. I chose to put someone else before my dreams, needs, and success, and that person was not worth it. I think that if someone is meant to be a part of my life they will stand by me, support me, and still be there when I am done with whatever I choose to do. I want to do what “I” need to make myself happy, and hopefully through being happier myself, I will be more able to make others happy as well.

 

For some these goals may not seem like true New Year’s resolutions, and sure I could have just written a list of things I will never accomplish and forget it in a week, but that is what got me where I am today! So instead I have chosen goals that will last not only through 2011, but throughout my life. By accomplishing these personal goals I will be able to take on the others with confidence and pride. And who knows maybe these ‘personal’ goals will lead me towards others…. the sky is the limit in 2011 and I am ready to fly!!!

This Year It’s All About Me!!!


With a New Year fast approaching I can not help but reflect on years past, looking back over time can be a very depressing thing to do at times. Each year after Christmas is complete and I discover my sanity still (somewhat) intact, I set out to start my list of New Years resolutions. I am the type that makes big, extravagant, life-changing resolutions. For days I write and re-write my list of goals until it is perfect, until it reads exactly as I desire the next twelve months of my life to play-out. Each year I include important items on that list such as; write more often, complete your book, volunteer, choose a course for, and attend, college, and spend more time with my family. Each year begins with great gusto, I set out to accomplish these goals with the force of a warrior intent on single-handedly saving the world, yet each year this list of goals is quickly pushed aside for more pressing issues that require my attention, like; dishes, laundry, children, and life in general.

This is especially true of the last few years of my life, where I feel I have accomplished ‘nothing’. I know that this is not actually the case; I have moved 3 times, worked, had a baby, started to write more, loved, lost, gained, lost some more, and learned a hell of a lot from my mistakes…. but place my list of accomplishments next to my list of resolutions from the last few years, and it is unimpressive.

Somewhere along the journey of life I have lost my desire to set out and achieve great things, not that I don’t try now, but my achievements are very different at this point. The last few years I aim more to just make it through the day in one piece, rather than make it around the world in one year. I strive to have happy children, rather than make children in Africa happy. I aim for passable, rather than perfection. I still have goals, they are just simple, and often seem un-rewarding in a sense. I don’t jump for joy when I get all the laundry done, the house clean, or the kids to bed without a fight. I don’t celebrate when I manage to cook dinner without starting a small kitchen fire, and I don’t hoot and holler when I spend time doing something that I actually wanted to do. Instead I get things done little by little and force myself through each day. It’s saddening at times, I think back to years ago and often wonder what happened to that young girl with big dreams and even bigger drive? I wonder where the part of me went that wanted to achieve greatness? I know the dreams are still in me, but I excuse them at the drop of a hat… I push them aside with the justification that I have children who need me, a family to support, and responsibilities to tend to, I convince myself that my dreams are unachievable, and that is a terrible thing to do to yourself.

So this year, as I sit down to write my list I am going to remind myself that yes, although I have children who need my care, love and attention to be happy, I also need to be happy as well. I need to remember that the happier I am, the better I will be as a parent. I need to remind myself that sometimes life can wait, and that dreams (no matter how big or small) are worth at least trying to achieve. The worst that can happen is failure, and even failure is a lesson learned, thus success in some sense.

I will post my list once it is completed, and I hope others will share theirs… this year my list will consist of simpler goals, but goals that will fit ‘me’! One of them is definitely going to be “Do what makes me happy, even if it seems hard, or wrong.” The next year is going to be all about me, because I deserve at least one year of attention I think!!!

Holy Crap! You Survived! Well, So Far Anyway…..


If you are reading this post I must congratulate you on surviving Christmas!!!

Way to go!!! Woo Hoo!! You did it!!!

Wether you have a ‘perfect’ family tradition that seems to flow smoothly and freely, with little effort at all (which would mean your name is either Mary Poppins, or Martha Stewart, and you can go straight to hell!) or you were subjected to a ‘less than desirable’ family affair, you know how difficult the holidays can be! So, give yourself a pat on the back, you managed to make it through in one piece! (although for some the hangover you are suffering may be part of a bittersweet accomplishment)

In-laws, and cousins, sisters and step-parents, the gatherings of the holiday season can be overwhelming at times. (to say the least) With deep-fried turkeys, baked, boiled, and burnt. Potatoes, presents, pizza, and pie… you survived, and that is another reason to celebrate!!

Granted, you probably consumed a minimum of 3,000 calories, according to Diet Bites. That is with less than the sites listed amount of food, some of which consists of; 1 cup of stuffing, 1 cup of gravy, 6 ounces of turkey, 1 cup of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of Cranberry sauce, 2 buttered rolls, and 2 glasses of wine. (click the link above to see the entire list of foods and calories)

If the fact that you consumed more calories in one meal than some people do in an entire day is not stress enough, there are often presents that need to be returned. Oh don’t act so innocent… you know you hate that ugly sweater Aunt Betty got you, or that grill from Grandma Genie, you know, the exact-same grill she gave you last Christmas, you also know where they came from, and what you would rather have received. Returning these unwanted, less than thoughtful, gifts means; long lines, tired mothers with candy-high children who are eager to get their spoiled butt home to the plethora of new toys, games, and gadgets Santa left for them under the tree, grumpy, tired, and obnoxious customers arguing over return policies, and even grumpier customer services clerks arguing right back. It means congested roads, stupid drivers, and over packed malls with ‘over priced’ sales. It means not only returning the improper item, but often going out in search of something to replace it with. This also means thinking up a lie for when the ‘gifter’ arrives for a visit and asks, (while suspiciously looking around your home) “Did you like the (snot green,ugly, or useless) crystal bowl we got you for Christmas?” While you sit, sweating on the couch trying to look innocent as you figure out how to hide the new T.V. mounted on your wall in plain sight!

There is always the option of re-gifting those undesirable items that (obviously thoughtless) family members chose to present you with. If you are a re-gifter it is important that you take note, and remember ‘who gave you what gift.’ I once witnessed a very awkward moment where a re-gifter friend of mine, re-gifted a gift to the original gifter!!! Ummm… Awkward!!! With re-gifting you run the risk of looking like the ‘thoughtless gifter’ yourself as well, so it may be best to only re-gift ‘unwanted’ or ‘tasteless’ items to those which you don’t value their opinion. Also be sure you check for, and remove, any old tags from the item you are re-gifting. Another awkward situation can arise if the gift receiver opens their gift to find a tag reading ‘To: Shelly From: Jane’ and their name is Amanda! So be very careful when choosing to re-gift, it can be more tasteless and tacky than the original gift itself.

If all these thoughts don’t cause you to down a very large bottle of wine, very quickly, as you sit crying in the bathroom, door locked, and sappy music blaring, there is also the added stress of the boxing day sales, everywhere!! I could never figure out why anyone thinks shopping on boxing day is a good idea. Sure, you can sometimes find great items at alow price, but the real bargains are often found at the end of the ‘boxing week.’ For me, fighting through the crowds is not worth the couple of bucks I can save on most items. For bigger items you may decide it is worth the savings, and opt to face the fury, if choosing to shop on boxing day it is important that you are prepared for anything, because all that is crazy, out-of-control, and just plain ludicrous, can, and will, be seen while out shopping on boxing day. If you thought Christmas shopping at Walmart was bad, be prepared for the same cart ramming, fist fighting, profanity shouting chaos, times 100!! You must bring your patience when shopping on or around boxing day, it is usually best to hire a babysitter and leave the kids at home if at all possible. Strollers and large crowds are not a good combination, and it will only lead to elevated stress levels in all aspects, on all involved. You must also remember to consider how much of a deal you are actually getting before you purchase an item, be sure you know the regular price of the item, and how much you will save if you are buying it during a boxing week sale. Through years of working, and shopping retail I learned that there are many ways a store can create the illusion of savings that are not actually there. One of the most common ways of doing this is to advertise a large percentage sale (Such as 50% off) and then add the words “the original price.” When you are taking a percentage off a ‘sale’ item (or the lowest ticketed price) you are clearly saving money, but when you remove a percentage off the ‘original price’ often times it turns out that the amount you are saving is very minor, especially after you factor in taxes, and the time you spent awaiting the purchase itself. The other important factors in boxing day shopping are 1) to plan your shopping route ahead of time. There is nothing worse than driving back and forth in boxing day traffic, in the exact fashion that driving in Christmas traffic is terrible, as is driving here-and-there in boxing day traffic (perhaps worse when you factor in all the young drivers who just got cash for Christmas and are now out driving around looking to spend it) and 2) the longer you wait to shop the lower the price will be! Retail stores ‘need’ to move inventory after Christmas to make room for the new seasons items, they will do this by first listing a sale price that seems to be a good deal to quickly sell off as many items as possible on the busiest shopping day which is boxing day itself. They will then proceed to lower this sale price repeatedly until the items are sold out, and there is room for the new stock to hit the sales floor. (This is the sole reason I choose to shop at the end of boxing week. I save more money, and I don’t have the stress of miserable people, long lines, and insane crowds in tight spaces!)

The snowball of stress comes to a peak with the New Year fast approaching. If Christmas with the family, gift returns with disgruntled customer service reps, and boxing day shopping chaos wasn’t enough to drive you mad, you have one last chance of winning an all expenses paid vacation at the local loony bin with New Years Eve’s extravaganza! The beauty of this event is that you don’t have to go anywhere to feel stress unless you choose to. Opting to stay home often effects no one but you! Your friends and family will ‘understand’ that you decided to stay in and enjoy a quiet night, they will still be able to venture out enjoy the party without you… In fact, by staying in you probably provided them with hours of entertainment, and deep discussion on how much of a loner, loser, snob, baby, geek, suck, and/or bitch, you are for not showing up to start the New Year with a bang! If you do decide to go out for the night you will pay too much money for any venue you plan to attend, any daycare you may require, any dress you decide to purchase, and any beverage you choose to drink. If you opt to attend a house party, rather than a orgainized event, it is almost guaranteed that either you, your date, or one of your friends, will get way too drunk, kiss a stranger at midnight, or ring in the new year on the bathroom floor. The stress then increases with the size of your hangover New Years Day, the realisation that you are out of Aspirin and everything is closed, and the number of children who require your care and attention first thing in the morning.  

The good news is, you survived Christmas with all the chaos and the drama it entails! That is a victory you should be proud of, and once you make it through the anarchy that is the beginning of the New Year you will be set and ready for a fresh start…. Then all you have to do is choose, and stick to, those New Years resolutions!

How hard could that be, right?

After all you are a survivor!!!

 

Happy Halloween


It's that time of year once again, Halloween u...

Image via Wikipedia

With another insanely over commercialized holiday upon us I figured I would rant about Halloween!  And what better way to start then with a brief outline of this ghoulish date; 

The origins of Halloween date back to a Celtic festival. The Celtics celebrated the New Year on November 1st and believed that the ghosts of the dead would return to earth on the last day of the year to damage crops and wreak havoc on the town’s people in search of human bodies to possess. So on October 31st of each year the people would dress up as ghouls and ghosts to avoid being possessed by said demons.  

The trick-or-treat element of this holiday is thought to have originated through the catholic religions declaration that November 1st be All-saints day, and November 2nd All-souls day. People would travel village to village begging for “soul cakes,” the more cakes they received, the more prayers they would offer, hence the request for treats on this date. 

Now vastly commercialized, this event is a big money-maker for big box stores, and candy companies. Each year we ask our children what they want “to be,” and race around trying to find the perfect costume; this inevitably leads to travels to ten different stores, looking at ten different princess costumes, fighting with ten different mothers, who have ten different daughters, who all want the same dam costume as “your” little princess….who would of course make a WAY more believable Cinderella than the little brunette girl at Walmart

Each year we spend excessive amounts of money, on excessive amounts of candy, with the expectation that hundreds of little ghosts, goblins, ballerinas, and Barbie’s are going to come knocking at our door asking that expected question…”trick-or-treat!” and you would NEVER want to be caught without candy on hand, or the “trick” is on you! Each year we end up with a lot of extra candy, and a few very tired, yet very over-sugared children of our own! 

So why do we do it? Because we are parents…. Despite what we mumble in moments of weakness, we love our children. We enjoy seeing them have fun, and even though dental bills are expensive, we enjoy spoiling them with goodies and treats. 

Luckily for me this year my son has decided to be a Zombie Army Man, and my daughter (who is too young to actually trick-or-treat, but heaven forbid should miss out on the excitement of the event!) will be a ladybug. Her costume is being handed down from a friend, and my son’s cost a total of $1.00 for face paint! I guess I have the extra cash to spend on candy now, for the hundreds of ghosts, goblins, ballerinas, and Barbie’s that may, or may not, show up at my door!!