January 1, 2011

A Clean Slate

2011.  It's really hard to think that 2010 is already over.  While the past year brought many wonderful moments, there were also some less-than stellar experiences.

I may have appeared to be absent from blogging for the last few months, but I remained active in my writing.  After some work and health-related issues caused me to feel defeated and withdrawn, and probably slightly depressed, I discovered the beauty of making blog posts "private" from the eyes of the world.  In a way, I felt guilty for keeping things to myself.  I know there are people, either those who already read or may potentially stumble across this blog, who might relate or be a sounding board for advice and opinions on my struggles, but I also felt that enlisting privacy on my writing gave me a personal therapy release that was more important to my mental well-being.

I've thought about making those posts public, but ultimately feel that keeping them to myself is what would be best for me.  I'm ready to move on from the places my blogging has taken me, so I'm starting 2011 with a clean slate.

I'm not one to make resolutions with the new year.  I like to think of myself as a goal-oriented person.  To me, making a resolution is deciding to make a change.  When you resolve to do something, you change your direction.  When you set a goal, it's deciding to work towards something that will improve your current state.  I think the reason most people fail at their resolutions is because it's hard to change and there is a lot of self-pressure, which can make a resolution quickly turn into a negative.  The good thing about a goal is that they don't have to be finite--you can work towards a goal throughout your entire life.  It doesn't really matter when you meet your goals, just that you see them through.  And, when you set a goal for yourself, you give yourself something to look forward to and it gives you hope.

With my clean slate, I'm going to set some new goals for myself.  Because sharing them keeps me accountable, here are my goals (which are not necessarily goals for the year):

1.  Organize.  I'm not a terribly unorganized person, but I could use some improvement in this area.  Mostly, I would like to organize my craft room/office and our basement.  We've done a good job of keeping a clutter-free house with the exception of those two areas.

2.  Start grad school.  I've always wanted to get my Master's degree and I think next summer or fall would be the time to get to it.  I'm leaning towards taking online courses through the school my husband works for (can you say tuition discount?!?) because I want the flexibility, but I'm also worried that I won't have the discipline.  When I start, I'll probably just start out with one class and see how it goes.

3.  Catch up at work.  The quick and dirty of my work situation is that the company where I worked since college, all seven years of my professional career, closed it's doors on September 30th.   Fortunately, I was able to find a job immediately and was only off work for a week.  There are some aspects of my new job that are foreign territory for me, but I am trying to learn as fast as I can.  The learning curve, along with the to-do list that was waiting for me at the start, has left me to feel like I'm on the defense with my projects.  I want to get to a place where I feel caught up so I can approach my job from more of an offensive perspective.  I think I'll be most effective once I get to that place.

4.  Try new recipes.  I'm always trying new recipes, so I guess this isn't a new goal.  I do, however, want to do a better job of documenting my cooking because I'm always tweaking recipes.  I've always wanted to make a personal cookbook through Blurb or MyPublisher, so I'd have all of my favorite recipes all in one place in a nice, bound book with pictures and notes.

5. Create opportunities to be creative.  I need to make more room in my life for my creative outlets.  Whether it's knitting, scrapbooking, cake decorating, home decorating, writing, singing, sewing or photography, I want to continue to be creative and improve on my skills.  I want to push myself to learn more and to try new things.

6.  Put more into my blog.  I'd love to update the content more often.  I'd love to maybe start a blog just for all of the things I wrote about on private settings.  I'd love to get a blog design makeover.  Oh, and I'd love to finish blogging out our wedding--which can happen now that I got the rest of my photos from my photographer when I picked up my album last week.  I'd also like to be more interactive on other blogs.  I think I follow some great bloggers and I would like to make my presence on their sites a little more known by being a more active commenter.

7.  Read books.  I have a lot of books laying around just waiting to be read.  I pick most of them up at yard sales and thrift stores, so I get them pretty cheap.  Not paying much for them makes me want to buy more and leaves me with no sense of urgency to read them.  I got my husband a Kindle for Christmas.  He really likes it and, no surprise, I like it, too!  I think I want one, but I need to read more to justify it.

So, that's it.  These are the goals I'm putting on my plate, sans deadlines.  But, here's hoping at least some of them can be achieved in 2011.

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