December Reflections

The month is almost over and as usual, I am raring to go forward into January, but first a look back at December’s resolutions.

December’s Resolutions
For work: post something creative each day
For fun: give myself a daily present
For family: kiss in the morning, kiss at night (and family dinners still)

This month I started using the “Habit Bull” app on my phone to keep track of my goals, since everything was a daily goal. I liked the app mostly for the clever and frequent reminders about my resolutions–it helped keep me on track, or at least, it didn’t annoy me or make me feel guilty even when I got off track. Which of course, I did.

The problem with daily resolutions is that by definition there isn’t a margin of error. So for instance, when I got sick and stopped following my resolution to  kiss in the morning and at night because of germs and then Scott went out of town, there’s no get out of jail free card. Fortunately, there’s no jail either. Out of 25 days, I met this goal 13 days.

I didn’t track family dinners on Habit Bull since it wasn’t an “official” goal, so I can’t say for sure how well we did. It also dropped off because I was sick and Scott went out of town. I think that this is a permanent 2015 goal though, so we’ll revisit.

The same goes for work. I posted something 12 out of 25 days. Part of the problem was time, part of the problem was running out of things to say. Still, having this resolution probably meant that I posted more than I would have otherwise, so that’s a net positive. If I were to do something with this theme again, I might have “do something creative every day” and post less often– maybe every other day, or once a week. I’m going to see if I can finish out the month with a streak though, so expect to see something here tomorrow.

1 Daily Present was my favorite resolution. I successfully gave myself a present every single day. The cynic in me thinks I cheated, because most of the time, I just appreciated what I had or gave myself a break, but I’m counting it. Some days were big presents like buying Eula Biss’s new book, On Immunity (huge, I know). Some days were little presents, like watching an episode of Gilmore Girls that I was probably already going to watch. But giving myself one daily present made me so much kinder and gentler with myself, and it made me appreciate what I have so much more that I really can’t recommend it enough as a practice. It seems selfish or self-indulgent on the surface but it is so kind. Like family dinners, this is probably another permanent resolution.

I made a couple of side resolutions this month–to bike to work once a week and to avoid restaurants. I failed on both counts, biking to work only once all month and eating in restaurants 10 out of 25 days. Yikes. I still think I spent less on restaurants than in December though.

I also finished the books I planned to read, plus a couple extra this month:

Just Finished:
For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage by Tara Parker-Pope
The Best of It: New and Selected Poems by Kay Ryan (I sort of skipped around, but I think I got most of them read)
No Plot? No Problem!: a low-stresss, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days by Chris Baty

Currently Reading:
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Up Next:
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk  by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lammott

January is a tough time for me because the temptation to make new resolutions is overwhelming (and apparently itybn spills over into my reading list). There’s the tried and not-so-true exercise everyday resolution, write every day resolution, lose weight resolution, give up sugar/alcohol resolutions, the list goes on. I have to keep in mind that I already have three questions that I’m asking myself this year*, and a plan for answering them, so there’s no need to go wild with resolutions again. Focus on what I already have.

Like I said, I hope to finish December with a streak of posts. Some topics to expect in the next few days include what I got out of For Better, resolutions for January, a money update, maybe another blackout poem, and a surprise.

*The questions, in case you forgot, are:
What makes a (good) family?
What do I want to do with my life?
What is fun and how do I have it?

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