Reverse Engineering Resolutions

Happy New Year - What shall I resolve?I’m not sure what else to call Reverse Engineering Resolutions – maybe “Backing into Some Goals” or even “Blatant Cheating for the New Year.”

No matter what it’s called, this is yet another installment in the Resolutions series.

I already set monthly goals.  If I take those monthly goals and add them together, they look a little more impressive as a set of accomplishments for the year.

Example:  Loosing two pounds in January sounds pathetic and not worth trying.  Loosing 24 pounds in 2013 sounds a bit more worthwhile.

Example:  Saving $20 a week sounds simple.  Saving $1040 this year (20 x 52) would make it worthwhile.

Before I actually commit to my resolutions, I wanted to see what the monthly goals would create over the course of a year.  Since I’m achieving my monthly goals more often than not, it’s a good baseline.

Selected Monthly Goals

I set monthly goals in ten categories each month.  Sharing all ten would make for a very long and very boring blog post.  So here’s the highlights.

1.  Life Skills for Kids

So far I’ve managed to teach my kids one new skill every other month.  It takes about two solid months for me to teach the skill and then turn the skill into an actual habit.

Last year, I managed to get the competent in calendar usage and putting away their own laundry.  They can also take out the garbage (including putting a fresh bag in the can) and vacuum.  We’re working on being able to run the washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher responsibly.

Using that logic, my kids should be able to learn SIX NEW SKILLS this year!  I’ve already picked “learn to cook” for this month.  But there’s still room for some good solid stuff.  Planting and weeding the vegetable garden comes to mind.  So does matching up the misfit socks and putting them away.  Ooohh… what about using the shop vac to clean out my car?  Making their own sandwiches for school lunch?

2.  Good Habits for Me

I’m doing about as well as the kids.  One new habit a month is too much.  But one every other month is reasonable.

Replacing six bad habits with six good habits this year would be awesome.

For starters, I’d like to stop going through the drive-through every day for a diet soda on the way to carline.  I want to replace it with a big container of water.  It would be a healthy change.  If I took the $1.08 I spend every day on a diet soda, it represents $194.40 per school year (180 days).  I have better things to do with $200 than drink chemicals and create trash.

Once I master that, I have a few other little changes with a big impact.   Stuff like replacing my evening glass of wine with a cup of herbal tea (at least a few nights a week) or getting up five minutes earlier instead of pushing the snooze button (the extra five minutes would let me make all the beds before heading downstairs).

3.  Big Scary Things

I don’t think one big scary thing a month is reasonable.  Maybe it should be more of quarterly or annual goal.  At the moment, my big scary goal is to purge through the four boxes of files (and to be filed papers).  I spent months being scared of it, and it’s been an emotionally draining task.  Three months later, I’m almost done.

My next big scary goal is to write that e-book I’m dreaming about and actually sell it on Amazon.  Just thinking about it makes me queasy.

Beyond the e-book, I have a few other big things to tackle.  I’ve been working on a bucket list, and the process has made me realize that I have some big dreams.  One by one, I’ve decided to tackle them.

5.  Marriage

I confess – my husband gets neglected.  I’m so busy with everything else that I forget to invest time into my relationship with him.

My goals haven’t changed, but I’ll restate them.  During the school year, I try for a coffee date and a lunch date each week.   When offered, we send the kids on overnights with grandparents.

This year, I’d like to add a monthly night out with babysitter.

Nothing earth shattering as a goal, but I leave it on my list every month to remind me to make it a priority.

8.  Give Back to the World

Another “reminder” goal.  For most of 2012, my giving back consisted of making sure the stuff I purged out of my house was donated to charity.

For 2013, I want to do more.  I want to take my excessive crochet hat inventory and turn it into a force for good.  I have no idea what it will look like, but I’m determined to figure it out.  I’m giving myself the rest of January to come up with a plan that’s big and bold.

I skipped:  #4: Adventure / Family,  #6 God, #7 House, #9 Business, #10 Just for me.   I have goals in those categories, and I actually typed them to be part of this post.  They just didn’t survive the editing process where I deleted boring stuff.

How do goals translate to resolutions?

In some cases, they work well.

For small stuff (like swapping diet soda for water) it just makes sense.  Looking at the decision to skip the drive through soda habit for a single day seems silly.  But when I visualize it over the course of a year, it has an impact.  I like the visual of  two new pairs of shoes much better than two giant trash bags of empty styrofoam cups.

For big stuff (like the ebook) I’m ambivalent.  Resolving to publish and sell an ebook this year sounds great. It would have looked impressive to list it on New Year’s Day.  But it lacks the structure to become achievable. Without breaking it down into steps, it remains more of a dream than an achievable reality.

For other stuff (like my marriage) it just doesn’t work.  It would be ridiculous to make a big list of “I resolve to CONTINUE to…” stuff.

(hmmm, maybe a big list of “continue to” items is a good idea.  it feels good to list out all the good habits and things i’m doing right.  i want to celebrate success AND i want to keep doing the good stuff.)

Reverse Engineering Resolutions Works

I don’t think it should be the ONLY way to come up with my resolutions or goals for the year, but it does help.

If the goal is to come up with a set of resolutions that I will actually accomplish, then this is a useful part of the process.  Particularly since I already set and achieve monthly goals.

(on the other hand, if the goal is to make a list for New Year’s Day to impress people, then i’m falling short.  oh well.)

In some respects, it’s cheating.  If I start with a monthly goal that I’m already achieving, then that will translate into a New Year’s Resolution I actually keep.  I can live with that.

How are you coming on YOUR goals for the year?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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