Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Resolutions - Updated

Hmmm, I have long rejected the New Year's resolutions concept. This has gone hand-in-hand with the fct that I seem to renew or refine my personal goals on a biweekly or monthly basis.

I have been painfully aware as many podcasts and blogs pointed out recently that thinking about achieving goals is not the same as doing what is necessary. Especially to the point was Roy H. Williams' 7-Step Secret of Success post and Forging Habits of Steel: 7 tips on making and breaking habits from The Art of Manliness that have been rolling around in my mind.

So what the heck? In for a penny, in for a pound.
  1. Daily prayer time.
    Yeah, I know. This is a constant renewed resolution for me. You'd think that was a no-brainer, right? Ok, it is a no-brainer. Want to love God more? Hey, spend some face time with Him daily just like I do with my family. Except I don't do it. I intend to, but somehow that time is always spent somewhere else. For the last couple of weeks though I have been fairly regular by dint of riding the exercise bike each morning and praying/reading the Bible (right now, the fantastic and eye opening translation of Genesis by Robert Alter). Thanks to Jen's reminder that "you pray before battle" and that every day is important in our spiritual battle, I hope I can realign my priorities and improve on my morning routine to the point where the prayer/reading is a non-negotiable "must" for each day.

  2. No book buying for a year.
    Actually, this is just from curiosity to see if I can do it. To see what it feels like to be able to only buy a book if absolutely necessary for the book club (my one allowed exception). It isn't as if the Dallas Public Library doesn't have a gigantic selection, complete with new books coming in every day. I actually feel giddy about this one.

  3. Return to making a weekly meal plan. And to picking a recipe from a different cookbook each week.
    Why I quit doing this last year I don't know. Well, except maybe because I was seduced by those many cooks who just waltz through their market and come home with a gourmet meal inspired by what they picked up on the way. Now, this has never been my style. I'm a planner. Not all that flexible. Well, wait, I am flexible about meals in that I may not follow my meal plan at all and do my improvising after I get it all home. In fact, I actually may improvise while buying groceries. But first I have to be switching from the plan I had to begin with. I just don't work well from ground zero on the run.

  4. Spend dedicated time every evening to writing.
    I've got bulletin inserts to write, am constantly behind on book reviews, and there are various other irons in the fire that I've promised to this or that person. Also when mulling over these projects is when God does some serious tapping on my soul. This is reflection and, I suppose also a sort of prayer, that I'm not gonna get any other way as I have recently realized. Eventually it comes out as something that must be written down in some form, whether review, insert, or post. However, if I don't set aside some dedicated time to just write all this ain't gonna happen. I have to be working toward that goal for all the thinking to matter. And then, why not write it down? Just as with the prayer, I often find excuses not to do. That's gotta stop.
Ok, that's plenty. How about y'all?

Oh the irony! Shortly after I wrote this yesterday, Rose and I went to Half-Price Books with two bags of books to sell. However, I (wo)manfully strode right past the books to the DVD section. Since the main point of the resolution wasn't to save money I felt justified ... and came away with three movies for $6 each that I'd been wishing to watch again but didn't have the forethought to have rented whenever that impulse came to mind. Lady in the Water, A Knight's Tale, and Die Hard.

Oh, and I scored Season 6 of The Simpsons ... which Zoe the Intense and Wash the Destructor (you must say this as "Destruct-or" is said at the end of Ghost Busters) had strewn over the back yard some time ago, complete with deep scratches.


    1. Tante Leonie1/2/10, 11:50 PM

      I don’t usually make resolutions either, but this year there are a couple of things I’d like to do:

      Eliminate caffeine completely. I’m down to one cup of tea a day, and the finish line is in site!

      Practice slowing down by refusing to run for any metro, tram or bus. There will be another one.

      Read more poetry.

      Meditate at least once a day.

      Read Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time.”

      (Julie, I notice you have had a troll or two popping up in the comboxes since changing over your system. Does this mean you will need to moderate comments now or go to registered comments?)

    2. Ah I'm the same way with making time for prayer. You wouldn't think it would be so hard to do something that's so good for you!

      Though New Year's is, I suppose, a convenient time for setting new goals, I agree it's sort of silly. Who only does that once a year?! Not to mention, anything with resolution tacked onto it, is almost destined to fail (it's like a New Year's curse or something...)

    3. I found your blog through a link on Why I Am Catholic. While I have a similar resolution for this year--spending more time in prayer--I know I could NEVER promise to abstain from buying books for an entire year. I am breaking out in hives just thinking about that! I wish you luck in your resolutions, and pray that you and your husband will have a joyous and blessed 2010!

    4. Tante ... on the troll thing, I have been pondering what to do. Certainly I am annoyed that Blogger's system lets people through that Haloscan kept out without me having to think of it. I'm trying to figure out what causes the least amount of trouble to commenters as I really hate having to type in random letters just to get a comment in.

      Denise ... no kidding. That is why what I present here for resolutions are things which I will be re-resolving constantly. (My life, oh heavens, so full of resolutions, so lacking in follow through...)

      Miss Linda ... welcome! Well, the book thing is just kind of a fun thing. Sounds strange, I know. But there you go. I'm just interested to see if I can do it.

    5. No book-buying! Unthinkable!

      Reading more poetry -- now that's more like it.

      Happy New Year, Happy Catholics!

    6. To find daily prayer time, what I did was ask my guardian angel for help. I asked him to help me find fifteen-twenty minutes a day,every day, to say the rosary. I asked him to alert me if he could tell that time was coming up that would be free, and I'd go do it.

      It's worked. For almost four years running now, I haven't missed a day of the rosary (and I've added in the St. Michael Chaplet, too.) I even got awakened one night after I'd fallen asleep without doing the rosary. :-D

      Seriously, ask your guardian to help you find time to pray and to remind you to pray. It's amazing.

    7. Mack - you'd think so except that I have so many sources to borrow great books that I truly do not need to buy them.

      Philangelus - again, you'd think that would help except here's the thing ... it is my unwillingness to give up that 15 or 20 minutes to talk to God that I wrestle with. My guardian angel is no slouch about reminding me but I am the one turning a deaf ear. The times pop up, but I have to be willing. Such is my struggle ... God's time versus my time. :-)

    8. Hmm... Okay, then take about two minutes and pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the grace of "hunger for prayer." I started the whole rosary thing after a few years of no daily prayer when I got very consciously hungry for the rosary one day.

      Building it into a routine also seems to help because then it's no longer my time. It's set-aside time, like the time it takes to drive my son to the doctor or the time I spend in the grocery store.

    9. Yes, that is precisely why my resolution ties it to my morning bike time. :-)

    10. Potamiaena1/4/10, 8:31 PM

      Hi All-Happy New Year! I LOVE resolutions. Two years ago I gave up sugar and artificial sweetners in my coffee. I had resolved to abstain until Jan 31, and reassess my resolution at that time. I have been additive free for two years in my coffee and ice tea! Yea Me!

      Now my 2010 resolutions are:
      1. Daily prayer in the am, at least 10 minutes, first thing, reading great Catholic blogs does NOT suffice.

      2. Lose 30 lbs by July 1. I'm doing Weight Watchers and vow to write down all my food intake.

      Julie, thanks for your blog. You amaze me with all you get accomplished.

      Movie suggestion: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Bollywood musical with nice visuals and dancing. I got it from Netflix.

    11. Julie--I've never given up book buying for an entire year, although I've "fasted" from purchasing books and/or craft supplies during Lent. That was difficult enough!

      I'm curious to see how you do. Keep us informed!

    12. Julie,
      This is a very good list of resolutions, especially for this writer. My writing time has to be in the morning, however; otherwise, can you spell L-A-Z-Y?!