I set two goals in November: 30 workouts, and 30 blog posts in 45 days. How’d I do? About 19 and 19, if memory serves. Not a stellar performance but I accomplished the *intent* of my goal, which was to make time for things that I enjoy and had lately neglected.
Along with that, I’ve spent some time taking and editing photos lately and learning a LOT about our new camera. I picked my Dad’s brain this last week nearly every day about white balance, especially.
This is our friends’ new baby, 2 or 3 weeks old and still a bit smaller than Mackenzie was when she was born. So precious and photogenic, but I spent 3/4 of the shoot fiddling with the settings on my camera, figuring out what was what. 🙂
With the black sheet in the back, and the white dress, indoors with grey light coming through the window and overhead lighting, “auto” wasn’t going to cut it for white balance, and averaging didn’t work well for metering. So I switched it to spot metering on her face, and guessed “shade” but ended up shooting lots in RAW because the skin tone was coming out too warm and I didn’t trust myself to play with the numbers quite yet.
Anyway, it was totally fun and I took the time to learn new skills. That makes up for the fact I missed my blogging goal, right? 😉
Another goal I set for myself, back in the early summer, was to read the Old Testament all the way through (King James Version). I ended up reading it with a commentary at the same time, to help me make sense of it. I thought it would be boring, difficult to understand, and a bit of a chore (just being honest, here!) but I wanted to do it so I could have a really solid grasp of what was actually in it, rather than just knowing snippets and general stories. The experience ended up being really enriching and lovely. I didn’t quite make it through before the year ended (~85 pages left) because Jeremiah and Ezekiel slowed me up a lot, but I averaged 5 pages a day + commentary for many many months. Devoting that much time to it also made it more meaningful because I was really motivated to “get something out of it”. 😉
Scott recently read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and I was struck by his strategy with regard to self improvement. At one point, he chose 13 virtues and devoted one week to each, and worked on them in rotation throughout the year so he hit each virtue 4 times. He would tally his actions weekly to track his progress.
I have found I also do much better at concentrated efforts that target a small area of my life. If my goals are too broad or too long, I just end up feeling guilty later on for not having performed them exactly, and I miss any “progression” that may have taken place.
So this year, I have decided on some habits I would like to have, and some things I would like to accomplish, and I plan on focusing on 1 habit and 1 task each month. Of course just mulling over how I would like to improve has made me more likely to progress in all these areas even if it’s not “the month” to focus on them specifically. At least that’s the hope!
Here are some habits on the calendar:
- Twice weekly strength training with my new medicine ball!
- Read at least 5 books a day to Mackenzie (emphasis on new-to-her library books about things she likes).
- Weekly note or phone call to say thank you or just to reconnect (I’m a hermit that tends to email instead)
- Focus on listening, rather than talking. I tend to be very quick to give my opinion and carry conversation, and I think I miss out on a lot of good insight others have to share.
- Be 5 minutes early to church. We’ll be moving to 11am church this week so we’ll no longer have to drag Mackenzie out of bed to go. No excuses now, right? 😉
- Get more sleep. I used to get 8 1/2 hours of sleep a night to feel really rested. I haven’t felt well rested for two days together in probably several years now. Time to bring it back and see how it feels!
- Monitor my idle time. There is a lot I enjoy doing that is also enriching, but I sometimes find my little “free” time is frittered away just because I’m not conscious of what I’m doing with it.
- Scripture study before work. I did this really well for most of 2009, but slipped somewhat lately, and I can feel the difference. I really enjoy having a quiet breakfast time with Mackenzie where I can study before the craziness of the day begins.
And some tasks (things I can cross off a list):
- Read the New Testament & commentary – not in a month, but my goal will be to get a bit ahead that month
- Attend the temple 12 times – again, not all in a month, but maybe a few extra sessions that month
- Create a Bean cookbook and make it maintainable (easily expanded to add new recipes)
- Plan our meals for a month. I always dismiss this as “not for us” but hey, I don’t know until I try!
- Spend a cozy month with the camera, reading the manual, and possibly prepping to teach a basic picture-taking class for friends (anyone interested?).
How about you? Anything you’re going to change for 2010?
(Confession: I actually purposefully scrubbed our toilets and scoured the kitchen on New Year’s Eve so we’d have a fresh start to the new year. Hehe.)