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My New Year’s Resolutions-Reflections

So, I’ve been tracking my 5 New Year’s Resolutions here. I thought I’d do a little update to describe my experiences thus far. Well, as you can see, I’m going better on some than others. In brief, out of 13 days:

1. 5 Minutes of Meditation per day – I’ve hit all 13 days. I’m really enjoying myself on this one. I feel like it is helping me to be more calm and mindful on a daily basis. I’m mainly just doing slow, deep breaths and counting them as I focus on the sound of each breath. Each inhale/exhale takes me about 20 seconds, so I just count 20 breaths, which takes me over 5 minutes. Sometimes I do a body scan meditation or focus on feelings of compassion toward others, but the breath is always my anchor.

2. Write 30 minutes/day for 5/7 days (working on a book). Well, I haven’t hit this one yet…not even close. I’m going to have to revise this resolution, but that’s okay. I guess I was a little too ambitious. My “revised resolution” (is that an oxymoron?), is to write for 30 minutes 3 times/week. Any type of writing will do. Usually, this will mean a blog, but if I’m so inclined, I’ll try to chip away on my book.

3. Read for 30 minutes/day for 5/7 days. I’ve made this one 10/13 days, so I’m doing well here. I finished a Stephen King book and now I’m reading a series of his-The Dark Tower. I don’t really care what I read, as long as it is a book and that it is for 30 minutes/day. I continue to listen to audiobooks as well. I might try reading 15 minutes of a psychology or philosophy book while at work and then read at least 15 minutes of a “fun” book at home.

4. Practice guitar 30 minutes/week. I haven’t succeeded at this one, but I remain hopeful and determined. After taking 6 one-hour lessons over a year ago, I hadn’t picked up my guitar since the lessons ended (until today), I’m a little embarrassed to say. And I bought a pretty nice acoustic guitar convinced that I would be learning to play my 6-string. I’m sure this happens to a lot of people. It’s one of those “reach exceeding our grasp” things.  I think one obstacle is that I’ve forgotten so much, I think I could benefit from a lesson or two to help me get rolling again. I did play today for 15 minutes though. I need to get my callouses back again, because it hurt my fingers!

5. Sleep at least 7 hours/night for 5/7 nights. I haven’t succeeded on this one either (I made 6/13 nights). However, if you check out my spreadsheet, I’ve been pretty close (out of the 7 nights I didn’t meet my goal, on 6 of those nights I slept for 6.75 hours).

A few more thoughts on my resolutions:

  • Using the tracking sheet helps
  • Having a level of accountability is motivating-I know a few people actually read my blog and might be looking at my tracking spreadsheet, so I have an extra incentive to follow through.
  • I’m glad I didn’t put more resolutions down-these are enough for me!

Now, I did find a strategy that has really helped me reach 2 of my goals pretty easily. My youngest son, Kai, likes me to lay down beside him while he goes to sleep each night. This usually takes me between 15-30 minutes. I used to take my iPhone in with me each night and read the news, check email, and play games while he conked out. Now I lay quietly next to him and meditate. After I meditate for between 5-10 minutes, I take out a small book light and read. Ta-da! I’m very happy with how this strategy has worked out-it’s like I found a pocket of extra time each day. My son even asked me what I was doing with my breathing while I was laying down with him, and I explained to him about meditation. He started doing some with me-very cool!

Again, if you’d like to download my spreadsheet and put your own resolutions (goals? aspirations?) down and track them, you might find it helpful. I’ll do another update in about a month to let you know how it is going.

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