Tag Archives: resolutions

New Beginnings

New Year’s resolutions are convenient because they are tied to the calendar. A fresh new calendar means a fresh new beginning, a way of wiping away the past and starting from scratch. I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. I prefer, instead, using my birthday as a time to start something new. After all, in the world of me, my birthday is my New Year.

There is, however, an even better time for putting new resolutions and ideas into practice: moving to a new house.

We are moving to our new house in June. It is the house that, at this point, we plan to be in at least until the kids are all off to college, which means at least another 16 years. It seems like after that we could reasonably downsize. By then, of course, the kids will be coming home for holidays, and bring with them significant others, and eventually, perhaps, kids of their own, so maybe we’ll have this house longer than twenty years. Certainly the bank hopes we will.

I have been looking over my cluttered desk in my office here, and daydreaming how wonderful my new office will be. My current office is a spare bedroom, that’s about 115 square feet. There is a single window looking out back into the tops of some trees. None of my books are here, as they won’t fit. I have this small desk, and it is constantly cluttered. My new office is nearly three times the size of my current office. I like having a lot of sunlight when I work, and my new office has window on three sides. In that respect, it is more like a sun room than an office. All of my books will fit in the new office, although I’ll need to get some half-sized bookshelves to go along one wall.

I think that my new office will solve all of my problems. I’ll write better in my new office. I’ll have a desk that can handle a bigger screen, and they’ll be no need to hide the mechanical keyboard in a tray beneath the desk. I will separate the areas that I work and write. On one side of the office, I’ll have desk where I do my work. On the other side, I’ll have a desk at which I can sit and write. That desk will face toward the backyard, which overlooks the trees and woods of the local park. It’s important to be able to stare out at nothing when I am writing, and the trees make a pleasant nothing to stare at. I imagine that once I am setup in my new office, that bestseller that I’ve been meaning to write will finally take shape. Traffic here on the blog will increase a hundredfold because of the improved quality of my posts thanks to my new office.

Of course, the office is just one part of the new house. There is, for instance, a large space in the utility room that can be used for storage. Instead of tossing all of the junk in there haphazardly, I plan on putting in shelves, and stacking things neatly on the shelves. I plan to keep extras. One shelf will have a supply of every kind of light bulb we need for the house. On another shelf we’ll stock the toilet paper. The tools will be neatly organized, and some of the more frequently used ones will be hung on the wall. I will install bolts that can hold the ladder so that it is no longer stored in the guest room.

Moving into the new house seems like the best time to reorganize the kitchen so that is it more sensible and functional. I am always preparing food far away from the dishes and utensils I need, so when we get into the new place, I’m going to figure out where I will prepare the food and put the dishes and utensils there.

This is a great opportunity to clean out the closets. I give clothes I no longer wear to Kelly when she takes things for donations. We’ve filled the car with these donations, and yet the closet seems as full as ever. This time I’m really going to purge. The closets in the new house will be empty when we arrive, and should appear only half-full once we’ve moved in.

The new house has a big deck in back, just off the kitchen. The deck overlooks the woods to the local park. We generally eat dinner together as a family, and I am going to resolve that we try to eat outside more than we do inside, at least between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Yes, moving to the new house will be a new beginning, and I can already feel my life improved by these big changes I intend to make. I explained all this to Kelly, and she reminded me of a few things:

  • We’ll need to put the table the kids use to do their homework in the office for the time being, so I’ll need to work on just one desk instead of two.
  • Until we get that shed, all of the bikes will need to go in the utility room. That’s better than in the living room where they have been, but it means I’ll need to hold off on the shelves, and thus, the organization of the junk that goes on them.
  • Kelly reminded me that I never know where anything goes in the kitchen, and besides, she prepares dinner more than I do, so she should be the one to organize the kitchen for peak efficiency.
  • The closets in the bedrooms are somewhat smaller than what we have now. I’ll have to use a closet downstairs in the family room for my clothes, no matter how much I manage to get rid of.
  • May thru September is peak mosquito season. Eating dinner out on the deck every night sounds nice in principle. In practice, it may be more irritating than it is worth.

Except for all that, boy I can’t wait to move into the house, and get started on this new beginning!

New Years Resolutions 2011

These are my personal resolutions for 2011. These are not my writing goals for 2011. I am trying to keep things simple here and so I’m focusing on only 3 things.

1. Get back into shape

In 2006-2007 I went to the gym religiously, worked with a trainer, and by the summer of 2007, managed to get myself into the best physical condition of my life. Since then it has been all downhill. That’s not to say that I am in terrible shape, but for the first time in my life, I am seeing physical signs of middle age creeping up on me:

  • While my weight has not gone up substantially (it hovers right around 160 pounds), I have an increasingly noticeable gut. As someone who has never had to worry about this before, this is particularly embarrassing. Family members have pointed it out in good-natured fun, but in truth, it horrifies me and I’m taking advantage of the new year to do something about it.
  • Even more noticeable: my face looks fat. “Full” might be the more proper word, but I’m not sugarcoating anything here. To me, it looks fat. I really noticed it for the first time a few weeks ago when I had the 16-year old photograph of me at work updated with something more recent. I was so happy to get rid of that old photo but when I saw my face in the new photo (and in subsequent photos), I was shocked.
  • My overall energy level has been down and I think it is directly related to a lack of exercise and eating well.

I don’t plan on returning to the gym, hooking up with a trainer again and going through all of the pain and agony of getting back into shape that way, but I do plan to take steps to improve the overall state of my health:

  • Regular cardio activity, primarily on the elliptical we have at home.
  • Substantially better eating habits, including cutting out a large portion of the junk food and sodas, packing my lunches more regularly, and listening to Kelly about making better food choices.

This is a difficult thing to measure since I’m not really trying to lose any weight. I haven’t yet measured my gut (I’m too scared) but I’ll do that in the next day or two. I’ll also use the new work photo as a benchmark for how my face currently looks and I’ll check monthly to see how things are doing. Energy level is much more difficult to gauge so we’ll just have to see there.

2. Go paperless

Back in September, I went to a “paperless office” at work. It was surprisingly easy to do and in the months since, aside from books on my bookshelves, there has rarely been a sheet of paper in my work office. In 2011, I’d like to begin doing the same thing at home.

My home office is currently full of paper and we have file cabinets full of statements and receipts and goodness knows what else. For stuff that’s already there, I don’t plan on going back and scanning it all in, but beginning January 1, I’m going to attempt to get rid of all new incoming paper. I’ve been using Evernote (premium edition) for nearly a month now and it seems well-suited to this task. I can scan in any paper (receipts, statements, etc.) and then shred the originals. Within Evernote, I can add metadata to the documents and the scanned PDFs are also searchable.

Most of our statements are delivered electronically already but for those that aren’t, I will switch them where possible and scan them where not. It is slightly more time-consuming upfront, but saves tons of time on the backend (as I have discovered at work).

And I’m looking forward to a clean, paper-free desk at home.

3. Better manage my time

Ugh! This is a tough one. There is so much to do in a given day and only so many hours in which to do it. Nothing new here, but I feel like this has gotten away from me a bit. During the week, my days involve:

  • Getting ready for work
  • Work
  • Picking the Little Man up from school
  • Dinner
  • A short period of time before bed
  • Bed

At first glance it doesn’t leave much time for family or for writing or for exercise for that matter, but I think there are some things that I can do to better manage my time so that I can get in everything I want to do without feeling stretched thin. I’m not sure what those are yet, but certainly getting into better shape is a good start since that will leave me with more energy and requiring less sleep. Other things:

  • Making the 5-7am period the time in which I do all of my writing-related work and avoid doing any writing-related stuff outside that time
  • Making better use of the “scheduled” posting feature to post blog updates
  • Using my lunch hour for reading
  • Keeping most of my evenings clear to spend with the family

It’s still not entirely clear how this will work out, but I hope to do better in 2011 than I did in 2010.

So there you have it: my resolutions for 2011. What are your New Years resolutions?