After the balloons have descended, the ball dropped, the confetti cleaned up, and the champagne popped, what remains is just another year – A year that is ours to make what we can of it.
2017 is a year of promise. This year, my little boy turns 3 years old and my baby girl turns a full year young. Meanwhile, Aaron and I, both, inch closer to the fourth decade of our lives while hoping for a new level of maturity to set in. Much of this journey will be revealed on this blog as the year unfolds. In the spirit of getting older and hopefully calmer and more self-assured, I have created new challenges for myself this year.
I am not much of a resolutions gal. I have tried to hold on to a resolution or two in the past but contributing to the statistical reality that most resolutions get broken by February, I realized that those just don’t work for me.
Instead, I decided to hold myself accountable to something challenging every month or more specifically 28 days out of respect for February. Deciding some of these came easy, others, I had to ask for Aaron’s help.
Here’s what I have planned for the year:
January: No Sugar – Exceptions are tea/coffee and fruits
This means no desserts, no soda, no hot chocolate, or anything else that contains added sugars of any kind. Most importantly, this means NO BISCUITS!! I love my Indian biscuits and especially love dunking them in a hot cup of coffee or tea when I am tired or sleepy or just need a break from everything around me. Alas! My love for biscuits and the comfort it provides also means I inadvertently consume a whole lot of flour, sugar, and all the unhealthy stuff that goes into making them as yummy as they are. They have to go.
February – No Processed Foods – No exceptions
This means no fast food, no Costco chicken nuggets or fish or mozzarella sticks, none of the convenient goodness that I sometimes am guilty of serving for lunch as a side.
March – Walk every day – Exceptions are when it rains and if we are on vacation where walking may not be an option
Whether it is with the kids, one of them, or by myself; whether it is early morning, afternoon, evening, or after the kids go to bed, I will walk. How much? That depends on time and opportunity but walk I will.
April – No Swearing – No Exceptions
I never swore until recently, as in, a few years ago, and then I just started. Just like that, swearing seems to have gotten normalized into my vocabulary. This has to stop. I have a toddler who grasps every word I say, repeats it, and then uses it perfectly in context (because he is smart and has an intuitive sense of language) so this just has to end. Now. I need my speech to go back to its clean self leaving all the swearing to when the situations truly deserve them and hopefully when my kids are outside of earshot. This will be a yearlong effort.
May – Meditate
I have dabbled with this a few times in the past but nothing seriously or consistently. I would like to do this for 28 days and see where it takes me.
June – No Phones at the dinner table AND no non-photos/videos related phone activity around kids
Guilty. In my defense, I do keep it at the dinner table to take pictures or videos of the kids. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I have my phone with me at most times is for that very reason. That won’t change. What will change is reading, messaging, or browsing when the kids are around. In a few moments, TJ has even yanked the phones out of our hands and thrown them to the floor to demand our attention. This isn’t fair to the kids and I certainly do not want him on his phone in his teenage years ignoring what we say. Payback being you know what, and all.
July – No staying up past 11:00
No matter how hard I try, I always end up staying until 11:30 p.m. or later and because baby girl still wakes up 2-3 times a night, I am sleep deprived beyond description. I have to absolutely start going to bed early and I am going to aim for 10:30 but not feel guilty if I make it into bed by 11:00 p.m.
August – No buying anything – Exceptions are groceries and other need-based items
This is my birth month so I am partial to myself this month. While this is a fact, it is also a fact that I have practically stopped buying anything for myself in recent times. There was a phase when I bought two good handbags for myself during my handbag-buying craze, and months post postpartum when I still didn’t fit into a lot of my clothes and needed to buy new clothes to clothe my new body. Other than that, most buying has been for the kids which may continue. This should be a fairly easy challenge to complete. Challenging, nevertheless because I get tempted easily.
September – No Red Meat
We don’t really like pork unless we are doing ribs or bacon so giving that up would be easy. We do cook a whole lot of beef in different forms and the occasional lamb or two so this will be a good challenge to have. At least, it’s only for a month. I like cooking with red meats not because they necessarily taste better than seafood or chicken but because I find cooking them really easy. I find Indian cooking very time consuming and labor intensive.
October – Read a book a week
I used to love reading. I still do but I just don’t have the time, focus, or attention span anymore to give a book all my little available time. Whenever I can, I read ebooks and that works well. In fact, I just finished reading Mrs. Funnybones two days ago. Still, the challenge for this month is to actually read one physical book a week. So I am looking at reading 4 books – not ebooks but books like they were supposed to be. I typically prefer non-fiction. Suggestions welcome.
November – Learn to play video games with husband
Guess who suggested this challenge? He he yes, so this may happen in November. I have tried to learn to do this briefly in the past but gave up really easily. I am determined to learn to do this, this time around because as the kids get older, I want them to know that mommy can be cool too. ha aha…and maybe I’ll join the family in a game or two, too, as long as we have enough number of consoles.
December – Gratitude Journal
I thought a gratitude list or journal for every day of December would be a good end to the year of self-inflicted challenges.
It is my hope to successfully accomplish these goals but if I don’t, I won’t be too harsh on myself. These are ideals and all I can do is hope to meet those. If I fail, accepting that failure, having given the challenges my best shot, I’ll have been better off for having gotten however far I did. Besides, if I fail a certain month, there is always the next month’s challenge to look forward to anyway.
As another personal goal, I will be writing 6 letters – actual handwritten letters to six people, just because. I will need postal addresses and stamps and all that good stuff but as someone who benefited greatly from the practice of letter writing back in the day before the internet, I am excited about writing these. They don’t have a monthly schedule. I just want to write these before December 31st, 2017.
Have you planned anything special for the new year? Resolutions? Goals? Feel free to use my challenges or modify them as you see fit.