Thursday, December 10, 2015

2016 Goals

Goals goals goals. I always feel pressure to get my act together by the magical date of January 1. Looking over my 2015 goals I'm left with ... yes, either continue or start the things you said you were going to do. Meal prep, regular exercise, a study plan, read one novel per month, buy quality food and products (did you see The True Cost on Netflix?) These are doable and enjoyable. But lately I've been finding myself raising my voice more than I'd like, feeling frazzled and disorganized, and pulled along rather than in control of my schedule. I'm not accomplishing what I'd like to, small-scale and big picture-wise and it's driving me nuts.

The theme of 2016 will be the pursuit of EQUANIMITY.

Outer order ⇄ inner calm

Somewhere I read this quote, maybe apocryphal, attributed to Jane Fonda: Discipline is freedom. That's what meal prep and regular exercise provide: a schedule and structure and a way to shore up your self-control each day (ie, I've already decided what I'm going to eat.) Scheduling yoga - even if it's 15 minutes in my bedroom at the end of the day. Planning our meals for the week so I don't end up getting takeout. Laying out the girls' outfits the night before. The kids themselves drive me crazy because while they can fight and pester each other, they can't quite play together yet. So that baseline crazy is not going to budge. While my children often seem beyond my control (??), other aspects of my home and work life can be brought to heel.

I'll be calling on the following source materials:

♦ I found so much of myself in Ben Dolnick's Letter of Recommendation: Kitchen Timer in the NYT magazine which concludes:

Without my timer, I am apparently inclined to fritter [my life] away with all the prudence of an overcaffeinated squirrel. With it, I am thoroughly constrained — and I am free.

How many times a day am I carried away by the "many gusts of trivial desire"? The time check on the phone that leads to checking Instagram that reminds me to back up my photos... and on and on. This cycle causes me anxiety -- anxiety about wasting time, anxiety about how unphotogenic my house is, anxiety about the things I'm not doing, anxiety about being a dull person who chooses mind candy over stuff of substance.

I so needed a timer after I read this article it (plus some socks to make the purchase over $20) was my first Amazon Prime Now purchase and it was delivered to my house five hours later. I'll report back if this strategy to keep myself from tumbling down the rabbit hole of Internet, phone, Netflix is efficacious.

♦ Alana Chernila's The Homemade Kitchen, the introduction to which might be one of most wonderful things I've ever read. One of the opening pages contains a photo of her kitchen - it has two features I'm planning to steal as soon as possible: a rainbow assortment of Le Creuset pieces (why choose one color?) and a sofa in the kitchen.

♦ I didn't completely love this recent On Point episode about finding and appreciating grace because I also value rawness, raunchiness, imperfection, unprettiness, and unbridled effort but the cultivation of inner calm - equanimity - spoke to me.

♦ My Get To Work Book (check it out here). I found this on Instagram and ordered one (I think I'm not alone in digging office supply porn, a genre I'm naming S&3M (have you spent 10 minutes picking out a new pen? You know who you are.) Then I found the stamps pictured below. As I was pouring over these stamps I was thinking - is this silly? But no -- there's something cool about turning a dreary old to-do list into an artistic outlet, a dynamic neon mandala of your year.

(Some examples of 'how I use my get to work book' here and here).

via @gettoworkbook

♦ Currently listening to Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin* (other scheduled womanifestos: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert; Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes). Good commute listening.

* She is the daughter-in-law of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin (net worth over $100 million) so I do take her advice with a grain of salt -- um, methinks you have some household help...

Action items for January:
// go to the gym 15 times
// at least 15 minutes of yoga on 15 days
// cook for the week each weekend
// read one book (I would say novel but I have two memoirs lined up, Carrie Brownstein's Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl and William Finnegan's Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
// two dates with Luke
// use the next two weeks to map out my study plan and complete December and January's topics
// take two days of vacation and de-clutter while the girls are at school

See you Jan 31!

What are your 2016 plans? I'd love to hear. And you can come over and use my stamps.

Resolutions 2011 // Word of 2012 // 2013 // 2014 // 2015 //  Summer 2015 and Summer 2015 eval

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