A Year in Preview

Ah, New Year’s resolutions.

My dear readers know all too well that while I’m pretty good at coming up with ideas and insights, acting upon them is not usually part of my game plan. My past is strewn with the carcasses of ideas that blossomed and went to seed in my head, without ever resulting in fruitful action.

There’s the soup and bread bar in downtown Chicago, stocked by local community gardens, and staffed by people who need a little boost to get back into society. There’s the sustainable urban farm. There’s the ‘becoming an incredible novelist and moving to a tiny cottage in the south of England.’ There’s the ‘learning to play more than OutKast and Michael Jackson songs on the guitar’. There’s the marriage to Tim Tebow (ok, so that was an idea that deserved to die–but anything can happen if you just believe, right, Tim?).

I became embittered toward New Year’s resolutions quite some time ago. I can’t do them. My tendency is to look at too broad a picture, plan too far in the future, and forget that I have to act today, in the small picture, in order to arrive at that future.

That said, however, I still do like the idea of starting a new year with a clean slate, and have thus made a series of  lifestyle goals to give me some practice living in the small picture.

12 Goals for 2012

January: Work out for 1 hour each day. I love being in shape–I do not, however, like the uphill battle to get in shape after a semester spent substituting sugar and caffeine to gain the energy normally derived from sleep, exercise, and nutrition. But my overworked metabolism is about to hit the age where I can no longer eat 13,000 calories a day, sleep three times a week, and bounce back with a bi-weekly run and an occasional nap, so healthy habit development is a must.

February: Sugar cleanse (that is, cleansing from sugar, not with sugar, though I suspect that I’d be way better at the latter). This means no sweets/desserts. And probably no coffee, because this girl has never met an undoctored coffee that she could appreciate. Coffee connoisseurs can talk all day about the raspberry and dried apple notes in their coffee, but my unsophisticated palette can only pick up ‘bitter with a side of dirt’. Oh my lanta. . .February will not be a happy month in the my household. I’ve always kind of hated February, anyway. What a stupid month. The holidays are over, spring hasn’t yet sprung, and the Valentine’s-Day-eager stores are decorated as though a color-blind Cupid vomited all over them. March, come quickly!

March: 1-month fast from extraneous technology (very loosely defined as “Facebook”, “random Internet browsing,” and “TV”). This has been strategically timed to keep me from the March Madness Mobile, because when I ride that train, baby, I’m all in. And the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors does not yet consider it acceptable to stop a client mid-session to check a game score.

April: Sew an article of clothing. I love sewing, but I forget it in the whirl of daily life. I need to learn the art of intentional recreation, as opposed to frittering my time away staring at walls or singing into my hairbrush pretending to be the girl from Pentatonix.

May: Graduate. If I can pull that off, I’ll consider it a month well spent.

June: Cook with 3 new and preferably odd ingredients (here’s looking at you, Buddha’s hand!). During the school year, I tend to stick to tried-and-true recipes because I don’t have the time and mental energy to figure out how to resurrect culinary failures. Without school, I’ll have a ton of brain power to devote to culinary creativity (because school is obviously the only part of life that takes thought).

July: Turn in a completed book manuscript. I’m not sure it’ll take this long to get to that point, though in its current state. . .well, it could be even longer than this before I’m happy with it. But I’m going to give it my best shot.

August: Find a job. My backup, in case I’ve already found one: read two books from my To Read list. This is one backup plan I really hope I need to use.

September: Can, dehydrate, or otherwise store some produce for winter. Just for kicks. And because I’ve always secretly wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

October: Visit a city I haven’t been to before. This one may not work, depending on the achievement of my August goal. If I have no money or a job that depends on a lot of weekend work, this may be a pipe dream; then again, perhaps I will be homeless and thumbing rides across America, in which case I shall consider it more than fulfilled. We’ll see.

November: Practice guitar for 1/2 hour a day. Playing “Hey Ya” and “Beat It” over and over again doesn’t count.

December: Marry Tim Tebow. Because what’s a list of New Year’s resolutions without the flavor of impossibility?

I found 2011 to be. . .unpalatable, to say the least, and I was not the least bit sad to see it go. 2012 holds a lot of exciting unknowns. . .I don’t know if I’ll be moving to a new city, or just settling more intentionally into the one I’m in now. I don’t know if I’ll be employed at all, let alone what my field of employment will be. I don’t know if this will be the year I have to put to use all that Youtube training on how to change a tire, or if my favorite sweater will finally bite the dust this year, or what color my hair will be by the end of it all. In fact, my future after May 12, 2012 is entirely unknown at this particular moment.

I’m mostly excited.

And even more mostly terrified.

What about y’all? You excited about 2012, or sad to leave 2011 behind? What goals do you have for the year, and how do you plan to carry them out?

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