Review of 2012 Goals

So, how did I do with the goals that I wrote out last January for 2012?  I didn’t do badly – I accomplished the things that were important to me and as the year went on, did good with setting priorities and not spending time on things that were ultimately not the direction I wanted.  [Except for my desk, all the photos are from the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.]

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These are not my accomplishments – those will go into a separate post.  My accomplishments definitely took a turn away from the goals and resulted in a number of these goals getting dropped.

For my own satisfaction though, I like to look over my goals, see how I did, and enjoy their contributions to 2012.  Since I will shortly deleting the 2012 tab for the 2013 list, they were added to this post where I discussed how I set goals and summarized them at the beginning of this year.  For information on accomplishing my goals and determining monthly goals, click here.

Spoiler alert – this is pretty lengthy, so feel free to skip or skim it.  I’ve written it up for my own satisfaction and future reference for setting new goals, determining whether something should still be pursued or if a goal should be dropped permanently.  The astericks are to give a blank line between each goal for some visual space (WordPress removes empty lines in lists).

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  1. Read “Jesus Calling” and its Bible verses each day – Changed
    I didn’t like this book after a while and didn’t feel it was challenging me in a positive way.  I went back to the “Daily Walk” from “Walk Thru The Bible” for a while – they have a great program, but I find that reading through the Bible in a year results in me remembering very little later.  After trying a few other things, I finally settled on using YouVersion, an online Bible and devotional, which I wrote about here.
  2. Take more short trips – Done!
    I did numerous local trips to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (earlier walks are listed at the end) and Colonial Williamsburg (this is one of many posts).  There were also overnight trips out of state to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.  I even got a day trip to Norfolk, Virginia, where I visited the botanical gardens there.  It all helped satisfy my wanderlust and gave me a number of wonderful photos to share over time.
  3. Declutter and organize the house  – In process
    I really, really meant to do this diligently each and every week.  I didn’t have time and I couldn’t face not having a life in order to do this.  Nonetheless, I did make progress, just not as quickly.  Several large and persistent problems were resolved, including old piles of papers and my rolltop desk.  I also hit on a much better method of dealing with the the on-going excessive mail that comes in every day so that I’m not rebuilding the piles as quickly as I dispose of them.  I posted here about my progress this summer.  Below are some before and after pictures of my desk.

  4. Improve my physical self – Partially done
    I had the best intentions of improving my cardio with swimming more diligently.  In the end, I couldn’t sacrifice two hours / three days a week to do it.  I did maintain a good exercise schedule between the gym at work and my lunch hour walks.  My achievement might be less than I desired, but I’m happy to have maintained consistency and done something most days of the week.
  5. Continue to evolve my blog – Done!
    I really had trouble the first few months of this year with not having a random word to use as my prompt as I did in 2011.  Between April and May, I had a major case of discouragement and trying to figure out what to do with my blog.  I wrote about it here and got excellent feedback from my readers.  I thought about it for quite a while before finally posting about it.  Since then, I’ve been much more comfortable with the direction of my blog and what I’m doing with it (remembering my life, sharing it, and being an encouragement to others – click here for more detail).  I also started adding in a great many more photographs after numerous compliments about them and comments on how much they were enjoyed.
  6. Continue taking photos – Done!
    Oh yes, I added thousands of pictures.  I even flipped the counter on my camera, going from picture #9999 back to #1.  In addition to my trips, I took a number of pictures while hanging out in the yard, between the robin who outlasted me and the goldfinches pulling the seeds out of the basil on the deck.
  7. Set up second blog for writers / diarists – In process
    When I switched over to Living The Seasons, I repurposed as a resource for bloggers and diarists in a blog called A Daily Life.  My intention was to write original material and have guest bloggers.  Neither of those worked very well.  I didn’t have time to write material or to even follow up with guests that I thought had something worthy to contribute.  I follow a blog called Everything Scrivener, which reblogs posts about using the writing software, Scrivener.  I find it worthwhile to read and have gotten a number of excellent ideas from it.  I recently had an ah-ha moment to use a similar format for A Daily Life and in 2013, will repost ideas I think are worth knowing and spend less time developing new material.
  8. Scrapbook my life (I found a class to take to help with this) – Dropped
    This class, from the Digital Scrapper, was excellent but in the end, I wasn’t sufficiently interested to keep up with it or do it.  It’s not that it’s unimportant, but my personal journals and blogs contain this material, albeit not in a 24 pages of a photo album.  If I did this, other things wouldn’t have gotten done and so this did not happen.
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  9. Take a self portrait class – Dropped
    I found a really cool class on this, but wasn’t not sufficiently interested to pursue it further.  I read some articles on taking self portraits and made more effort to both take and post pictures of myself, such as these here (last photo at bottom) and here.
  10. Write & publish an e-book – Dropped
    I actually got this underway and enjoyed the process, but ultimately gave it up due to a lack of time.  I shared a small part of my book about doing a daily challenge here.
  11. Participate in NaNoWriMo – Dropped
    It was an idea that really appealed to me, but I’m glad I didn’t do it.  I wouldn’t have wanted to take away the time from the rest of my life to prepare for it.  In November, I spent ten days away from home as my favorite boy toy and I wandered our way down the east coast before visiting our daughter for Thanksgiving.  There’s no way I could have completed this in only 20 days.
  12. Put together more photo albums – Got one more done
    I wanted to put together several albums from last year’s photos from our trip to Harper’s Ferry and from Christmas 2002 (digital photos, all ready to go).  That didn’t get done, but I did put together an album of 2011 photos for sharing with a friend.  I posted it on-line here.
  13. Organize my photos – In process
    I started using Adobe Lightroom this year.  It’s been a frustrating learning curve, but I am slowly getting everything organized and labelled, making it easier to find photos for my blogs and photo albums.
  14. Scan more photos – Dropped
    There are services that will (for a price), scan photos.  I think this will be better than trying to do it myself.  I’d like to do this, but have not yet taken any action.  I would like to do so before anything more happens to these pictures.
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  15. Consider continue writing my spiritual memoir – Undone
    I wanted to find my notes, read over what I’ve done (years ago) and consider whether or not to continue.  On the other hand, I have some really good blog entries that do some of what I intended.  I might still get this done before the end of the year.  Maybe.
  16. Print all computer journals – Undone
    I don’t think this would be hard to do, but I didn’t sit down to do it.  They are backed up off-site and should be safe until I do something further with them.
  17. Scan handwritten journals (at least some of them) – Undone
    This would be so time consuming.  I need to find somewhere to take these to have them done.  On the other hand, I really do not want anyone reading them without first editing.  I should check into getting them cut out of the spiral bound notesbooks so I can scan with a feeder.  I can then have them rebound.  Maybe next year.
  18. Put together a cookbook of favorite recipes – Dropped
    I think it’s a great idea, but it has no appeal to me.  It might if I start cooking again.
  19. What do I want to do about food preservation?  I don’t think I want to can, but maybe dehydrate or freeze stuff when produce is cheap and plentiful? – Dropped
    Too much time and effort for the results.
  20. Stay in touch with my niece – Not as successful as I wanted
    I did really good for a while, but fell off.  We’re both busy, but that’s really no excuse.  She lives out in California and will stay there.  If I don’t make an effort to stay in touch, I’ll have no relationship with her.  I need to make this a higher priority for next year.
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  21. Give the dogs more attention – In process
    By January 10, I realized that giving the dogs attention was contradictory to many of the goals that I set for this year.  I’ve struggled off and on with this all year.  I’ve made effort most nights after work to sit on the couch for a while to cuddle and pet the dogs.  They love it and if I don’t leave the table fast enough after supper, they’ll come to nag me.  I haven’t walked them much – two of them don’t like it and the one that does (the beagle) has a bad back and can’t go for very long.  I don’t think there are any easy answers to this, but I don’t want their lives to fly by without me giving them attention either.

And that’s the review of my personal 2012 goals!

Keeping What Resolution Makes Me Happiest?

Recently on the Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin asked,

What resolution (successfully kept) would make you happiest?

That didn’t take much thought – getting the house decluttered and these piles gone would make me soooooo happy.

Now, I want to enjoy my accomplishments also.  I’ve decluttered quite a bit since the beginning of the year when I set this as a 2012 goal.  Our little extra room in the attic got cleaned early on.  I didn’t think to take a before picture, but here’s how it still looks now.  Before I decluttered it, you could barely walk to the bike and that was all you could do.  The floor was deep in wall to wall stuff and junk.  It looks pretty good, eh?

Thankfully the camera isn’t showing how dirty the floor is! I might have kept it cleaned up,
but I haven’t done quite so well keeping it actually clean.
It’s much more fun taking pictures at Williamsburg than vacuuming.

I’ve kept up on the piles of paper coming into the house.  I cleaned out our master bedroom closet.  I also cleaned out the pantry, getting rid of old and unused items.  Unfortunately, I had to do a second time after it got all messed up.  I’ve been more diligent in keeping it straightened up since the second cleaning, but I think it could use another clean again.

Let’s see – what else have I done since January?  I made inroads in organizing my home computer photos and documents.  I cleaned out files and the fileroom at work.  That felt good and it was nice to not have the files so crammed in.

But I haven’t made much progress on the old piles and it’s frustrating me.  I WANT THEM GONE GONE GONE.  It helps to do this with some company to keep me amused and provide short breaks for lovin’.

My faithful companion. He’s the best company and would rather stay with me than occupy the couch (like another dog in our household). Notice all the boxes as I sorted, organized, and put stuff away?

So a few weekends ago when it was lethally hot out, I spent the weekend working off and on trying to tame more piles.  I realized that huge stack of magazines in my office had no place to go if I wanted to keep them.  I know this is not going to sound very profound, but I really had to start small if I was going to accomplish this.

I decided that one of the shelves in my office had stuff that could be mostly tossed out.  I had literature from our move to Virginia that was no longer applicable.  There were old Photoshop magazines to toss, outdated because of the changes in the software in the last few years.  I also got rid of tourism information from other states we lived in.  If we ever go back, I’ll replace it then.

Can you believe it? A whole shelf open and free.
That is a GREAT accomplishment and really encouraged me.

With a free shelf, I went through the magazine piles on my table and floor.  Many went into a pile to go to a friend.  A few more got tossed.  Ultimately, I cleared a big area on my table and floor between the magazines and reshelving books that I was done reading.  I could spend hours sorting through my books, so I resisted that and only evaluated the books I was putting away.

I also cleaned a bookshelf outside my office.  I’d never transitioned the books to it as planned and it eventually became another pile of stuff.  I put away old receipts, office supplies, stuffed animals, some pantry items (I keep an overflow pantry upstairs), and a bunch of other things.

It’s easy to get derailed with this kind of project, at least for me.  I hate doing it and I dislike trying to figure out what to do with all of it.  What should I keep, what should I toss, what will or will not be important later.  One of the things on this other bookshelf was 5 years of my Dayrunner daily calendars.  Five years!  I think they got pushed around since we moved in here and eventually accumulated in a corner.

I’d put rubberbands around them, which were already sagged or broken.  I’ve never been able to get rid of these and have them going back 15+ years in the unfinished part of the attic.  I still can’t stand to get rid of them.  They have no value.  The phone calls, questions, and projects are long done and stale, even the ones from just a year ago.  If my notes were important enough, they were copied or scanned and put into a permanent project file.

But each time I open up my daily sheets, I’m transported back to work, what I did, who I worked with, my joys and frustrations in the workplace.

So I got my cooking twine and tied them up into a sturdy bundle, got a storage box out and put them in the unfinished half of the attic with the other ones.  Someday I’ll toss them, but not today.  I didn’t want to stop decluttering to argue with myself why I didn’t need to keep them any longer.  That’s an argument for a different day when I’m not getting rid of so many other things.

All those years of history. . . I couldn’t toss them out.

Each time I left the room – to get a box, go up to the attic, whatever – the beagle followed me.  He’s not too big on cuddling, but he’s great on staying in the room and being there with me.

He’s also a restless sleeper and changes positions every 10 minutes or so.  At one point, he took over the easy chair.  I don’t think he looks very comfortable, but he didn’t seem to notice.

Notice how squished his face is? He does that a lot.

I made a huge dent in the piles.  There’s still a lot to go, but I’m happy to have some working room and to have cleaned off the table and floor at least.  I haven’t done much since this weekend.  Between going to Atlanta and doing regular chores the other weekends, it wasn’t a high enough priority.

But framing this question to myself – what resolution (successfully kept) would make me that happiest – plus some success with this goal, is helping keep me motivated to stay after it.

How about you?  What resolution do you need to work on that would make YOU the happiest?