Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 New Years' Resolutions

I've sort of struggled with coming up with 12 resolutions for 2012. Not because of the number, or because of the resolutions themselves, but because I keep asking myself "why?" The why of these goals has been nagging at me, and I'm going to answer that why in each resolution.

1. Save to increase our emergency fund. This why is pretty apparent! Our risk is increasing with the purchase of a house - so much more can go wrong! We'll aim for six months or so of expenses, and it'll be a few months before we can figure our new average expenses, but no harm in setting the intention now.

2. Buy a second car with cash. This why is also pretty clear: Peanut and I expect to need a second car this spring. I want to be able to pay cash for this one as well, meaning that if we get it before June, we'll have purchased two cars outright in less than a year. (Something I hope to never repeat again.)

3. Flirt with The Compact. The why: I really admire people who stick to The Compact - their ability to find great previously owned items, their commitment to the environment, their acceptance of what they already have. I'm not sure if I have the willpower to stick with it myself, so instead of setting myself up for failure, I am committing to at least think about The Compact before every purchase. I'm working on creating some sort of reminder card or token I can keep in my wallet.

4. Pay extra on our student loans. The why: Our combined student loan payments are around $400 per month. If we pay just $500 a month, we cut almost a third of the time it'll take to pay off the loans, not to mention how much that would save over the life of the loans. This year, I resolve to pay that extra $97 per month all year long.

5. Go to 52 yoga classes. The why: I always feel SO GREAT after yoga class, but I frequently have to work myself up to get there. It's either the money or the time or the weather or whatever. Rather than commit to something "failable" like saying "one class per week", I'm committing to 52 classes, which will hopefully average to one per week.

6. Develop a yoga home practice of three days per week, or 156 sessions. The why: I want to progress in my practice faster than 52 classes will allow me to. There are positions I want to master that require practice on my own. I also want to prevent myself from using money or weather or other excuses as reasons not to work on my physical strength and inner peace, and developing a home yoga practice answers those excuses. This one does need to be fairly regular to be useful, but I also want to give myself the ability to be flexible. (ha ha!)

Personal Growth
7. Become a better conversationalist. The why: I'm an introvert and this is something I struggle with. I feel self-conscious at parties where I don't know a lot of people or around my new extended family of in-laws. I want to develop skills to put me at ease in these types of situations, which I will run into for the rest of my life. I'll read some books on the subject, develop lists of questions to ask people about themselves, and just...try. (Interestingly, I'm not afraid of public speaking at all. I regularly speak in front of students or other crowds, and have addressed thousands of people at a time without batting an eye. It's the one-on-one conversations that freak me out.)

8. Read more than 100 books, including a number of classics. The why: I always want to read more than 100 books a year, but I'm being pulled towards the classics this year, I think as a rebuttal to all the brand-new not-even-out-yet books I read in 2011. Some of my picks include Les Miserables, Dracula, Great Expectations, Babbit, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Middlemarch, and some Sherlock Holmes. Please leave recommendations in the comments!

9. Nest in my HOUSE. The why: WHY NOT?! This is the first place I'll live in where I can paint, make changes, and settle down. I want to make sure to take advantage of that, and not just sort of live there without changing the colors, putting anything on the walls or buying outdoor furniture. That's how I'm used to living, so it will be a bit of a struggle to change my ways. This is a resolution partially in conflict with #3, Flirt with The Compact, which is why I gave myself a bit of an out there. I'm an underbuyer, so it's hard for me to work up the gumption to spend money on non-necessities - I don't want to put more obstacles in my way. I will, however, be looking for pre-owned stuff before popping over to Ikea or whatever.

10. Get wills, living wills, and in-case-of-emergency paperwork in order. The why: it's important. I've made bits of this resolution a goal many a month, but just haven't got anything squared away. Perhaps as a resolution it'll fare better.

For Fun
11. Make a quilt, start to finish. The why: to keep focusing on a crafty, productive hobby offline. I'm still working on a baby-sized quilt from 2011, which I'll finish this spring. I'd like to pick another project and finish it by the end of the year. I got some ideas at a quilt store the other day, and I'm taking a class in February that will help firm up the skills I am missing.

12. Travel with my mom and sister. The why: I don't think we've done this in many years, and we keep talking about doing it. Of course, this will require their participation, but we've got a plan and I'm really going to push to make it happen. Aside from this, I don't expect to make many travel plans this year, so I want this one to count.

There you have it - my 12 resolutions for 2012. I've bookmarked this page and started a chart to track my progress on these goals. I'm heading into the new year with confidence that all of these goals can be achieved and then some.

What about you? Making resolutions? Think the whole thing's a sham? Got any recommendations for my classics reading list - or books I should read no matter when they were published?


  1. I've got Lady Chatterley's Lover on my list of books to read this year. Good luck with the classics, they aren't always easy or enjoyable to read but I always have a feeling of satisfaction once I've read them. Taking a class for your quilting sounds like a practical way to help you achieve that goal. All the best with your goals.

  2. Thanks, anonymous! I've never read Lady Chatterly's Lover, so it's going on my list as well.

  3. Consider making a quilt the way our grandmothers did by using worn clothes. One of my favorite quilts of my grandmothers was made from old cotton shirts that her sons wore. It is long gone so a few years ago I went to Goodwill and purchased a dozen or so men's shirts. They were 100% cotton and I chose shirts that all had some blue colors. I cut them up and made a queen size quilt from them that makes me smile and reminds me of grandma!

  4. I just finished Great Expectations and was blown away! Definitely going to give more Dickens a go.

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  6. One of my favorite books this year was "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" by Winifred Watson published in 1938. I'd never heard of it, but it was on a featured book table at the library one day. I loved it.

  7. I think the problem with doing yoga at home is discipline. I've been meaning to do yoga/pilates at home, using what I know and also YouTube, but I've been too lazy, ugh. If you have any tips with your effort this year, please share!

    I make a list of monthly goals so I just made 3 big resolutions, which are on my blog - basically, to work out, to get more freelance jobs, and to wear make-up daily. :)


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