Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012!!

That dead zone between Christmas and New Year's always depresses me; it's after the holidays so when you look at the Christmas decorations all you think is "damn, I have to take those down" but you're too full from all the Christmas junk food (and pending New Year's) to do so.  I do love the holidays, though.  I basically revert back into a 12 year old when the tree goes up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  That's where I've been the past month, by the way.  Baking.  And wrapping.  And decorating.  And when I wasn't doing one of those things I was asleep in a heap.  Or fixing my leaking roof (but that's another story for another time).

So what did I accomplish in 2012?  Let's have a look:

I learned how to budget.  Since my husband and I both used to work (and don't have any kids), we fell into that comfortable (but not necessarily smart) area of "we can pretty much buy anything we want and don't have to worry about debt".  That changed when I made the decision to leave my job in May, which basically halved our income.  We had to adjust, fast.  Part of that was learning how to coupon (thanks largely in part to sites like The Coupon Project, which does most of the hard work for me), but it was also learning how to organize myself and my shopping trips, and keeping track of our spending (it definitely wasn't pretty the first few months!) 

I lost 30 pounds and more importantly, have kept it off (mostly!  I'll be honest; there's some fluctuation there).  Dieters will tell you it's not too hard to lose the weight, the hard part is not finding it again.  That is probably the most honest statement I have ever heard.  Losing the weight happens easily, almost without effort once you really get into your groove.  It's when you stumble out of your groove and find yourself staring down a box of chocolate covered chocolates (okay maybe that's just my fantasy?) that you have to make a decision: swallow hard, clench your fists and walk away... or dive face first into that box of chocolates, sucking them up like a runaway mini hoover then immediately regret it (and regret it even more when you get on the scale the next morning).  PS. I've done both, and while the second plan seems like a good idea at the time, the first is definitely the better option!  Learn from my fail, people.

On a semi-related note, I would just like to say right now that maybe the best feeling in the world is looking at your driver license and discovering that you weigh less than what you told the DMV you weigh.  Victory!

I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time and won!  This was a personal goal I've been batting around for years but never took seriously in because I was too , but the truth is I was really just afraid because what if I failed?  Or figured out I wasn't a writer?  Fortunately, Jeff Goins came to my rescue in the form of You Are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One, which basically says sit down, shut up, and start writing (but in a much nicer way, of course).  And you know what?  It's all true.  If you write, even if you write horrible babbly nonsense (read: what I write on almost a daily basis), you are a writer.

I started this blog.  Again, a personal dream of mine has always been to have a blog where I can connect to people (am I nerding out too much for you here?).  This is nice because it folds neatly into some of my other goals (write a book, market, etc). This blog has been an interesting endeavor: if you go far enough back, you'll find the first post where I said I wanted to post every day (that lasted for about a week, by the way).  I've talked about writing, illustrations, budgeting, tried out new recipes, babbled on about our house (and the improvements we've tried to impart upon it), our dogs and almost everything in between.  And you know what?  I love it.  I love writing, even when I have nothing useful to say (okay, that's most of the time).

I think the big lesson this blog has taught me is it's okay to set a goal, and it's okay if you don't make it.  Sometimes that means you have to reassess your goal, because your first goal wasn't exactly... realistic (ahem.  ME!).  I think a much more reasonable goal for me is to say I'm going to post three times a week; the truth is sometimes I don't do anything but clean and write, and how interesting is that to talk about, honestly?  So there need to be off days.  But there should definitely be a schedule.

I survived 12/21/2012!  Here's a badge to prove it:

(I didn't say it was a good badge...)

More importantly, what do I want to do in 2013?

-- I want to reach a realistic balance between my budgeting and healthy eating.  It's a hard balancing act (at least for me); trying to stay under budget while still avoiding things like frozen pizzas and pork rinds.  We've definitely improved 100% since even a year ago, but I still think we have a little way to go - we've toyed around with meatless meals a few times but have never really committed to them much beyond once a week. What if we upped vegetarian meals to twice a week?  I also want to continue to improve with coupons - sites like The Coupon Project will take me 85% of the way, but it's up to me to finish the last 15%.  One of my favorite memories of 2012 was standing outside of Safeway, holding a receipt that said I spent $8.40 and saved... wait for it... $17.85.  Coupon success!

I want to finish a book and have it ready for editing.  This is going to be a hard one for me since I tend to falter halfway through a project then just kind of... taper off... but I've already committed myself to this project by quitting my job.  So now it's time to either write that book or start sending out applications to nearby companies.  Sink or swim time!

I want to get in shape and lose a little more weight.  Those are two separate things in my mind - you can be in shape without having to lose weight.  Right now I'm at what's considered a healthy weight, but I'm in terrible shape (seriously, it's sad).   I'd like to strengthen my core muscles and perhaps start a walking routine (then maybe someday.... in the far future... graduate to running.  That feels like a million years away, though!)  I'd like to lose a few more pounds as well, and I'm on track to do that.  Almost there!

I'm definitely excited to get started on 2013!  What are your goals?

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