08 January 2013

2013 Intentions

We’re officially over a week into the new year, which means you’re probably over discussion of New Year’s resolutions. Say, how’s all that water drinking going? Did you get to bed earlier last night? I bet you did after that strenuous workout at the gym!

Seriously, I hope that any and all changes you’re trying to make in 2013 are going well. I’m trying a few new things myself, but I’m refusing to call them resolutions. Resolutions sound so official. If you don’t do them, you broke your resolve. BROKE. Not unlike breaking a promise to yourself. That’s way too much pressure for these little life changes.

Instead I’m taking a cue from a few other ladies and calling these intentions. No one says that someone “broke her intent”, they just say... well, nothing. Or maybe, “Oh, guess you didn’t get to that today. You’re still pretty great, high five!”

So here are the few things that I intend for this new year. Some seem blogging-specific, some general-better-person-ish, but I do think and hope each one ultimately improves both blog and non-blog life!

Try [at least] 13 projects from my new YHL book

Hey! Lookit what my folks got me for Christmas!

Me and everyone else in the world, judging by its position on the NYT bestseller list, eh?

Honest truth: I really worried that getting the Young House Love book would make me like John and Sherry less, that I’d finally start to see cracks from marketing themselves that revealed less likable personas underneath. But no; the book is filled with fresh projects that let their lovable quirks shine through. It’s fantastic and inspiring and makes me want to add the Petersiks to my dream dinner party guest list.

I figure if they can complete 243 “secret book projects” and create a delightful book about them – in addition to writing eight blog posts a week – then I can certainly do 13 in 2013. I’ll keep you posted! (Pun totally intended.)

Create happier, healthier blog habits

This is a biggie. But I don’t really like vaguely broad goals, so I’ve come up with three things in particular that fit this general intention. First, I should stop writing so ridiculously late at night, often twelve hours after my creative peak for the day. Putting it off means I stay up later composing posts more slowly and editing... more, uh, badly. (See? It’s late.) I love you guys, but this blog is not worth losing sleep over.

Second, and similarly, I want to stop putting so much pressure on myself for this space I’m creating. If I want to write about it, it’s blog-worthy. If I don’t want to write about anything, the world will continue to spin. My mom may call in a panic later in the day to make sure I’m still alive when she sees no new posts, but that’s about the worst that could happen.

And third, I’d like to contribute to blogs that aren’t my own, in the act of leaving a comment. I read a ridiculous number of blogs... life blogs, food blogs, decorating blogs, DIY blogs, some written by friends, some written by total strangers. And I comment on none of them, basically out of self-consciousness. (Hilarious, right? I’m shy on their blogs, but I’ve got no problem sharing the crazy over here!). Bottom line: it makes me happy when you guys leave comments, so I need to do the same for others.

Clean every day for twenty minutes

Yes, yes. This is a common goal. But I have a plan! No, a system! And I’ve kept to it!

A recent start-of-the-year link roundup at Apartment Therapy highlighted this older post, which gives you a list of theoretically 20-minute tasks (haha!) to get your house clean in thirty days. The order of the scheduled tasks didn’t make a lot of sense to me, plus certain tasks were too large (clean kitchen AND living room in twenty minutes? no way, dude) or too small (I don’t have a porch and I don’t drive a car, so that day was pointless for me). So I made my own rotating, 28-day schedule:

If you have a home similar in structure to mine – and if you only have yourself and a reasonably neat husband to clean up after – then maybe that would work for you too! (Which is why heck yes I put my name on that crappy graphic. I know how Pinterest works.)

I intentionally put easier tasks on weekdays and harder (deep-cleaning, organizing) tasks on weekends, at a frequency that works for us. Plus, the beauty of that schedule is that I hit every room every week... so if I fall off the wagon and miss a day, it’s okay, I’ll get to it next week.

Still, to encourage myself to stick to it, I copied this month’s schedule onto a calendar in my kitchen (a dry erase marker on a photo frame, first shown here... same trick goes for our meal plan):

So far it’s working! I put on my iPod, set the timer, and go to work. Usually I end up working longer than the required twenty minutes, just to finish what I’m doing – but not that much longer, because I have other stuff to do. I’m not sure our house is really that cleaner just yet, with only twenty minutes of work, but whatever. It should help in the long run (I dream of keeping a perpetually company-ready home) and anyway, the habit is what counts.

Eat more frequently

The last on my list of intentions, and yes, it sounds completely counterintuitive amidst resolutions of losing weight and exercising. But here’s the thing: when I eat more frequently, I eat the same or less overall. And my body seems to LOVE THAT, because when I have consciously spent months eating a healthy snack every two or three hours, it responds by slimming up. I know, crazy. I’m a scientist and even I think METABOLISM IS WEIRD.

I was good at this at my old job, but I’ve had trouble eating more than once per day at the new job. A big lunch = sleepy afternoons, so I’ll get more productivity if I don’t eat half my day’s calories – essentially the first calories I get for the day, when I skip breakfast – right in the middle of the day. New goal: never be hungry.

So yesterday I made a batch of baked oatmeal for breakfast...

...and managed to get another banana in before lunch. I forgot to eat my early afternoon snack (vanilla yogurt!) until 5pm, which pushed the late afternoon snack (granola bar!) off the menu entirely. But even that was an improvement – I didn’t have seconds at dinner, and I turned down the brownie that Mr. P offered at 8PM. WHAT IS THIS CRAZY WORLD?

So, there! My intentions for 2013. Or, if not 2013, at least January. Because while I intend to do them throughout the year, even a month of self-improvement is better than none. Here I go, dear readers! Thanks for helping me be accountable!


Christal said...

You know, I've adopted that eating style, too. And while our whole wing, practically, giggles when they see me in the break area and asks if this is my 2nd or 3rd lunch (which are kinda valid questions), it really works for me. :-) The only catch is that I carry an emergency snack in my purse because I've gotten used to eating small amounts every few hours and I want to avoid a toddler-like meltdown.

Miranda said...

Yay, go you! I've been trying to comment more too. ;)