Monday, January 2, 2012

The Year Ahead (and behind)

As each new year begins, I like to take time to reflect on the past year and think about all of the different things that have happened...good and bad.  I don't wait until the clock strikes midnight.  Instead, I spend the weeks leading up to New Year's Day with the thoughts of the past year running through my mind.  I tend to do this while running, driving in the car, or taking a shower (the best places and times to think, if you ask me).  It allows me to think about everything that I have done individually and that my family has experienced so that I remain grateful for everything I (we) have and also motivated to accomplish and experience more.  As I'm reflecting, I am also thinking ahead.  I try to think about the things I want to accomplish in the upcoming year and I begin to make a mental list of the things I want to do in the next 365 days.  I don't make resolutions, but I do make plans.  I think about what I want to focus on for myself and my family.  I think about the physical challenges I want to undertake (did someone say marathon?).  And, I think about the professional and personal enrichment goals I want to achieve.  After a few weeks of reflection and planning, I am able to start the New Year with a solid set of plans for myself and goals for the year.  By taking the time to think about all I have accomplished over the past year, I am able to start the new year with hope and excitement and a feeling of pride and accomplishment, rather than with a sense of desperation and anxiousness.  I do not see January 1st as a point to change my life and make it better.  It's already great.  I see January 1st as an opportunity to set some goals and make some fun plans for the year ahead.  It's a chance to challenge myself to face my fears, do something new, and step further out of my comfort zone.  I am always growing and evolving, and each year just brings new opportunities and experiences.

So, after so many weeks of reflection and planning, I have the following goals for myself:

1) Learn to knit
2) Learn to hula hoop (and make my own hoop)
3) Make pasta from scratch
4) Learn Italian (at least start)
5) Go hiking with my family more
6) Spend more quality time with my girlfriends
7) Go on a real date with Paul once a month
8) Play more games with the kids
9) Spend more time each weekend doing fun things with the kids and less time cleaning and running errands
10) Make homemade bagels
11) Start paying off debt and create (and stick to) a household budget
12) Plant gardens - lots of them
13) Run a marathon (more on this in my next post)
14) Complete a triathlon (with my Dad!)
15) Finish my thesis (almost done!)
16) Make baklava
17) Make homemade pierogies
18) Increase my running pace
19) Start writing a book (more on this later)
20) Pursue freelance teaching, researching and writing opportunities
21) Take a writing course
22) Travel more (and to new places)
23) Get the house more organized (I'm soooooo glad I have pinterest for this one)
24) Incorporate strength training into my fitness routine
25) Start doing yoga

It's a pretty good starting point.  Quite honestly, I see these lists as an ongoing work in progress.  As the year unfolds, I'm sure my interests will change and new opportunities will present themselves.  I'm always ready to add new goals to my list.  So, here's to a happy, healthy, productive, and exciting 2012.  I know many bloggers out there are making big changes this year and taking on new challenges.  I'm excited to see where we all end up when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. 

Are you ready?


  1. Agreed - running, driving, and showering are the BEST times to get some serious thinking done. Your list of resolutions is downright impressive. I want to mention so many of them...but I'm going to give a shout out to #16 and #25, especially. Best of luck with all these amazing goals!

  2. Thank you for the comment, Alyse! I'm excited about my goals and hoping that I accomplish them. Even if I don't get to all of them by December 31st, I still have a working list of things I want to do in the somewhat near future.