Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Resolutions in Review -- A pass/fail test

Another year over, a new one just begun....

I've liked making resolutions for as long as I can remember.  There's something about it that soothes the part of me that likes to set goals, look ahead, etc. 

If you're interested in the background of my 2013 resolutions:
the original resolutions,
an early March progress update,
a mid-year progress update.

12 resolutions, roughly in order of priority.

1. Hardest effort ever at a couple months of speed training, then hardest effort ever training for an early fall marathon. The idea is that this work will lead me to a marathon PR by 11 minutes and 30 seconds in Berlin in late September. PASS (with an asterisk).   Technically, my resolution was hardest effort -- pass.  But as to the 11:30 PR at the marathon -- fail.  I worked with a speed coach until the end of April, and did marathon training from mid-May until the end of September.  I will say that I did the runs on the schedule.  I sometimes fell short on pacing, but I put in my hardest effort to date.  I toed the line in Berlin with 814.8 miles under my belt from the 19 weeks of training leading up to the race.  The most I've ever had in a training season for a single race. 

2. Cook at least 52 real dinners from recipes.  PASS (with an asterisk). I posted updates on this resolution about the first 30 recipes I cooked, and I think I have another post among my drafts that I never finished with another list of 10.  But even without the documentary evidence, I think I succeeded.  And if I missed by a few meals, I'm going to go ahead and say it's close enough for government work.  The idea was to cook more and it worked.  I was irritated that my resolution related to dinners.  I definitely made several breakfasts, lunches, and desserts from recipes as well.  If those counted, I'd be over 52 for certain. 

3. Quit Facebook. Not actual facebook suicide, I'm leaving the profile up, and I may log in on weekends to check for messages and/or invitations, and I'll probably check if I'm tagged in a photo by someone else just to make sure it's not horrifying, but no more daily reading what's going on with friends.  PASS. I logged on about sporadically to get email addresses and to respond to a couple personal messages, but at some point, I was out of town and I couldn't pull up my electronic boarding pass because I needed to upgrade the operating system on my iphone.  I did that and it logged me out of facebook and then I couldn't remember my password, so I legitimately stayed completely off for months.  This past weekend, I signed back on, accepted about a dozen friend requests, and posted a status about my hiatus being over.  But I'm thinking I'll spend less time on it in the future.  I did spend more time on my phone playing sudoku and looking at Pinterest in 2013, but the resolution related only to FB -- time will tell how this shakes out in 2014 resolutions!  

4. New to me country (a repeat resolution, since I'm not sure I really achieved this in 2012). If all goes as I hope, the new country will be Lichtenstein, and that will be on about October 4.  PASS. I went to Lichtenstein in October.  It was not terribly exciting, but I was there.  The food struck me as expensive.

5. Study Italian at least once a week and attend an Italian conversation class regularly.  FAIL. I attended a conversation class frequently, but I almost never studied on my own, which was what I need to do most.  I survived when we were in Italy, and it really didn't matter too much since my husband's family speaks dialect instead of Italian (at least the older relatives).  I wish I'd done better at this, and I will need to focus more on this in 2015, which I expect will be our next trip to Italy (barring a death in his family) (ugh, why did that thought come into my head???). 

6. Weight management. Right now I'm sitting just over the halfway point of the 10 pound range where I've hovered for the last few years. I want to get to the bottom half, ideally the bottom, and stay there. FAIL. As of the Berlin marathon, I was comfortably in the bottom half of the range.  In fact, I spent much of the year there.  But the last few months of the year have seen me back in the top half of that range.  Ugh.  This may have to be a higher priority in 2014 because I am not content with where I am right now. 

7. Entertain at home at least 6 times, at least 3 times included people who haven't ever come over for dinner before.  PASS. We had exactly six dinner parties, four of which included people we hadn't invited over before. Among others, we had our traditional "rehearsal dinner anniversary" make-your-own pizza party, a blueberry-themed dinner for our local version of the blueberry festival that we didn't attend this year, and a German-themed dinner with several friends who were also running the marathon in Berlin.  One strange pairing was a night we planned to have an unmarried neighbor over alone.  One of hubby's co-workers called that night to see if hubby could meet him for a drink -- he was going through some hard personal times.  Instead, we invited him to join us for dinner in half an hour.  We thought it might be weird considering the two guests seemed to have nothing in common, but to our great surprise, they COMPLETELY hit it off (in a non-romantic sense, which was actually good since part of his personal turmoil includes a divorce).  But even on random things that we had no ability to discuss (folk musicians?!), they gabbed away together happily.  It made me smile.  We also had our next door neighbors over, which barely counts since we love them so much and spend a lot of time with them in general, but I planned a menu and they joined us, so I am counting it.   We also had my husband's boss and one of my former co-workers and her husband over, which was fun but challenging because I'm a vegetarian and husband's boss's wife is no dairy...  I also hosted book club and various friends for breakfasts, but I didn't count those since we weren't entertaining as a couple. 

8. Finish our wedding scrapbook.  FAIL. I have the scrapbook sitting out in plain view in the living room, but it's still only about 60% complete. And we've now been married more than four years. Sigh.  This needs to make the 2014 resolution list so it's done before we get to our five year anniversary. 

9. Less procrastination at work. The three big areas where I drag my feet are voicemails, reports, and reviewing records. I need to check voicemail at least once a week (we have a log, so I can see who is calling, so I answer the calls I want, and let the "ugh" ones go to voicemail, then I suck at checking messages). I need to do initial case reports within 3 weeks of it hitting my desk (for most my cases, it's actually easier to do it sooner, rather than later, because the later I wait, the more information I have that I need to include). I need to review records within 60 days of receipt (I sometimes let "not urgent" stacks sit for way too many months).  PASS.   I was totally on the ball with voicemail and reports.  Records review was a bit tougher, but I think I did better than I have before, so that's progress.  The reports became easier because I mounted a big whiteboard in my office on which I track my 10 or so cases that have rolling reporting deadlines every 3 months.  This resolution was really the only thing that pushed me on voicemail.  I hated it, but I did it. 

10. Update our stairwell photos through the end of 2012. The stairs between our first and second floors on one wall are full of photos of the two of us beginning with our very first photo together, and presently ending in Sweden in 2010.  NO GRADE ASSIGNED (if I have to choose:  FAIL). I chose and ordered photos beginning with Russia in 2010 and ending with China in 2012. Then I went to an Ikea in a BFE suburb to get the frames, but they didn't sell them anymore. So I tried another Ikea near Austin, and no frames there either. So I bought similar frames in a different color and I have put all my photos with my law school roommate (on the other side of our stairwell) into those new frames, and I have used those original frames to frame updated pics of me and hubby. AND I've hung several photos so "our" wall goes up to April 2012, but now I'm stuck.  I have 15 photos left in matching frames that I need to hang, but no more room on the wall.   I could go to using the "law school roommate" wall, but again, I only have 15 matching frames left and I can't even find more online.  This resolution ended up being quite a mess and it remains unresolved.

11. Sunday organizing time. I need to set aside at least one hour every Sunday before 6:00 p.m. to prepare for the coming week -- that means making my lunches in advance (with the current running commute plan, I have to bring Mon-Thurs lunches on Monday), planning my outfits (including shoes and jewelry), packing my outfits (including laundry bags), and pulling together any "other" stuff to bring to the office on Monday (usually bills that need to be paid, greeting cards that need to be mailed, etc.).  FAIL.  Some weeks I'd prepare my week's outfits and/or lunches on Sundays, occasionally both, but I still ended up with too much to do on most Monday mornings.     

12. Regular non-drive commute to work.  PASS. I ran to or from work over 100 times in 2013.  As of late September, I'd run 78% of my possible commutes.  I didn't count Mondays as possible since I needed to bring my laptop and clothes, and then I had to get my car back home.  And I didn't count Thursday nights since I had to take my laptop back home where I work on Fridays.  That left 5 possible commutes per week.  And on average, I did almost 4 of the 5 per week until we flew to Europe on Sept. 25.  Sadly, we came back from Europe during the second half of October, and the commuting on foot pretty much ground to a halt.  We were in California for another week toward the end of the year, and I travelled a lot for work in November and December, but even when we were in town, I just didn't do it very often.  Only a handful of other times.  I was just plain lazy and out of shape.  But prior to the end of September, I rarely skipped a commute because I was lazy or didn't like the weather -- it was usually because I had an evening commitment that I felt was really important -- volunteering, an alumni event, or a work dinner.  I am very content with the way this worked out. 

So that's it, my 2013 resolutions review.  Since they were weighted by priority, it's misleading to say I got a pass on 7 of them (with 2 asterisks).  And in reality, resolution 12 (commuting on foot) was a huge change that took up a lot of my time -- I wish I'd assigned it a higher priority. 

In retrospect, the first four resolutions meant the most to me, and I gave myself a pass on all 4 of them (with 2 asterisks). 

All in all, a pretty solid year.  I'll take it! 

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