Saturday, December 31, 2011

10 Ways to End the Old Year and Welcome the New

1: What has been your most memorable moment in 2011?

Let's face it, traumatic moments stick with you more, so the most memorable moment is coming home to the death of my doggie.

2: How much have you changed overall in 2011?

I have learned a lot about how to work with my autistic student, learned about new changes in education that made me want to homeschool and, for once, happy that I am not employed as a teacher. I learned about publishing ebooks with smashwords, and how to do some promotion. Something has changed, something has matured. I look back on the past decade and see what my mother-in-law always says: "I would never go back to my twenties! They were the hardest years of my life!"

3: A person who has impacted your life in some way this year.

Just one?? We all learn from each other. I've met some amazing teachers and substitutes. Saw myself in a few of them! I've helped some amazing kids and young adults. Some of them helped me! I hope they all grow up to be caring and considerate individuals. Even the lady and gentleman who cut my hair (I only had it cut twice) this year gave me some advice. There are those that inspire me who are most influential. Those that support me leave marks, but those that love me leave the greatest marks of all.

4: Something you’ve learned this year.

I learned that I can publish ebooks on smashwords that people will read. I learned that I really don't want to be a teacher in this day and age. I want to love what I do, and while I am a good teacher, I can impact the lives of others without the politics of the educational system. I love writing and want to focus on that.

5: Describe an adventure you had this year.

I do a lot of complaining on my blog. Ranting is one thing, being honest is another, but who wants to read a bunch of complaints? When I was looking back for an adventure, I thought, 2011 was supposed to be a better year, and yet here I am dwelling on the things that broke, the stresses, and where was my happiness?

It's easier to write about the bad things that annoy you, to get them off your chest. Life is an adventure. There are bad things. I think the greatest adventure this past year was hiking in Turkey Run state park. Especially when we came up a trail and convinced ourselves there was a shortcut, but there wasn't and we had to backtrack.. Then there was the tornado warning and we all had to go in the basement! Later in the year we went to Holiday World and got rained out and drove home in a wicked storm.

2012's adventure? High school. (In August I will follow my student there.) And at the same time, Kindergarten! (My youngest starts school.)

6: Any words of wisdom/advice for anyone?

Focus on using your words wisely.

7: 10 things you want to say 10 people.

1. I love you.

2. I cherish our talks together.

3. Just because you forget about me, doesn't mean I forget about you.

4. Remember me when you win the lottery!! :)

5. Try harder to save money.

6. Watch for opportunities and don't be afraid to try, even if it seems everything is okay right now.

7. Things often come in threes, or when you are not looking for them.

8. Begin to see the wonder in tiny moments every day.

9. Failure is how we learn, so figure out what to do, or how to do it the right way. Keep trying.

10. You can learn to love life. Sometimes it takes more effort than you think. You have to learn to love yourself first.

8: Things you hope for in 2012.

I hope for.. money saved, words used wisely, a family trip, savoring the small moments, good health, and taking advantage of sunny days.

I hope a friend talks to me that I've been missing.

I hope to get an agent for the book. I hope to finish two or three more books this year.

9: What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Summer break!

10: Anything you wish to say to end 2011/start 2012.

The key to happiness is excitement for the future, so make every day count. After all, you don't know how much time there is.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Personal Discussion on Resolutions

It's that time again: New Year's Resolutions!

I realize I never shared any with you readers last year. I wrote them in a journal, however, and pulled them back out to see if I accomplished them. I have divided them into categories so my left brain and right brain would both be happy.

All goals associated with
the boys were met. I am such a good teacher! No, they are just growing and learning. :) I have a role in their development, sure, but they were going to learn these skills anyway.

Goals regarding my marriage (what, don't you have some?) were often determined by my daily health a.k.a. tiredness. Steady work also makes for longer days, so there's only so much time left for reconnecting and decompressing. We have worked together to find ways to be together, to appreciate each other, and to plan mini dates. The ideas I had in January did not always work out, but I remained flexible and changed them.

Travel goals still remain, partly due to the fact that 4 year olds don't travel long distances in cars well. :) But as he ages, I need to focus on saving for vacation travel so that when he is old enough, I have enough money.

My personal goals almost remain the same! This means that I did not accomplish them last year. They are either too big or I am lazy...BUT it's a new year.

As I pondered what goals I have for this year, I searched the internets for the Top 10 New Year's Resolutions.

1. Spend More Time With Family And Friends
This is our legacy! Of course we want to spend more time with the people we love, because they are going to hold our memories when we are gone. No really, what is it you want most when you are in the hospital thinking about how little time you have left? More time with family, to appreciate the small moments, to impart wisdom, to share those warm bubbly feelings of love.

2. Get Fit!
This is about being healthy. This is where I feel I have fallen short. I don't really know if I have any health issues, for sure, but I think I do and need to have them taken care of. No one knows your body like you do, so if you have concerns, like me, you (and I) should get to a doctor and share them. I think another goal fits in here, anything food or cooking related. And you know exercise is great for other areas of your health, mental and social, so that fits here as well. Which is part of number three..

3. Lose Weight
This is the general label we place on our resolutions, but I think number 2 is much more important. This may be why this goal fails. Stress can lead to weight gain, depression to overeating, so if you aren't addressing the mental and social aspects, you won't achieve the weight loss, nor have the motivation to make the lifestyle changes necessary.

4. Quit Smoking
Not an issue for me.

5. Enjoy Life More
This is about getting a hobby, going to the theater, taking vacations, and all those fun things you always wanted to do. This goal takes financial and health planning. This goal could also just be a social goal, playing with your children, joining a club or team, or going out with friends or on mini dates. :)

6. Quit Drinking
Also not an issue for me. I'd give advice about 4 and 6 but you'd not believe me.

7. Get Out of Debt
Again, financial planning. I read an article on this titled something like Live Debt Free, and it was just a candid story about people who did. No tips, the only advice was to pay off your debts as soon as you can. Hmm, most people accrue debt because they have to, like the 7,000 dollars in water repair this past year, or 13,000 in student loans, or 1,700 for a used car. Or how about a house? Of course, paying them off is ideal, but in order to do so, you have to budget. For me, the water debt is immense. Student loans have programs in place to help deal with them. The water debt has no programs. I don't expect to get out of debt. As soon as the water is paid off, the house will need a roof or central air. That's how it goes. Unless we get pay increases, we will be accruing debts to pay for these things. The trick is so keep it manageable.

I decided to go see what Dave Ramsey thinks my budget should be, so I went to, signed in, clicked on the financial health tab, and went to the budget calculator. One you enter your amount, it spits out some numbers. Firstly, the only thing we come in under budget is our house. I said we got a great deal! But upon further examination, he allots 5% for utilities. Does he LIVE in America?? What electric bill is 5% of your income, let alone water, gas, or phone and internet?! Good grief, my utilities easily take 10% or more. There are some months where it is less, but when I have to pay the expensive months, other things are not in the budget, like clothing, medical, and savings. There is no clothing budget, ever. That's what GIFTCARDS are for, and birthdays and Christmas. We also shop at Goodwill and yard sales. 25 cents for that? Sure!

8. Learn Something New
This was something I wanted to do last year. The things we want to learn are supposed to be fun. It's just that often the lessons we learn are not the fun kind! Be careful with this one.. Perhaps this should be amended to "remember what lessons you have learned", because I'm sure I learned some new things in a year, but I do not recall them right now.

9. Help Others
Ample opportunities abound for this one. If this is number 9, why aren't more people out there helping?? If we are to give 10% of our income to charity, as Dave Ramsey says, what would you give it to? What about our time? I give a lot of my time to my church.

10. Get Organized
Perhaps the best way to do this is to SIMPLIFY. Here's my half-baked idea that I won't follow, but if you can, more power to ya and I want to hear about it! 1. Empty a room of your house, a closet, or nook. 2. Place items back in the room that you need, furniture, appliances, toothbrushes until the room looks like one of those pictured in Better Homes and Gardens. 3. See all the rest of that stuff you didn't put back?? Get rid of it! Put it in a yard sale and save up for a vacation!

So the truth here is that people set these goals and NEVER follow through. (See me for an example.) Why?

You know why! Laziness, unmotivated, excuses, etc.

So what advice is out there to finally do it this year? 2 options:

Option one
1. Choose your goals
2. Break them into smaller steps
3. Get support
4. Make a routine or schedule the event in

Option two
1. Create a plan
2. Write it down
3. Think year-round
4. Remain flexible

I go with option two often. It doesn't get me anywhere and is quite
right-brained. The left-brain is furious at the right-brain when it does this. The two sides can shake hands over step 3 of option one. THIS is what I have been missing. SUPPORT. I have to SHARE my personal goals with others so they can cheer me on, do it with me, or at least hold me accountable. I often skip this step and make a schedule that I don't follow or flake on the routine because I don't hold myself accountable.

So what are some more realistic and achievable resolutions?

Speak positively about others.
Take time to relax.
Learn a new recipe. Preferably something healthy..

And here is the correct way to actually Achieve them, by Richard Wiseman. He follows Option One.

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