New Year's Resolutions 2016!

Hmm. So I'm noticing a trend over the years here. My resolutions are shrinking. I used to have a list of about 10 things for the year ahead. Many of them were very grandiose. Now I have a few things that I'd like to accomplish - and none of them are particularly exciting. Is this a sign of age? Is it knowledge that I'm only going to accomplish about five or so of the things anyway?

I think part of it is that I made diet and exercise a priority the last couple months of 2015 and it paid off. Now I don't feel the need to set resolutions for health or exercise. My resolutions are more about getting the obstacles out of the way rather than trying to think or plan in some new direction.

So here they are...

1. Clean My Office / Declutter the House

We've been in the house for fifteen years now. Crap has accumulated. I started getting rid of things room by room, but I was really only making a dent where the problem wasn't so bad. I need to start going deep and tackling the rooms that are frighteningly overstuffed.

I got this book from a tiny Japanese woman that practically has a cult following: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The gist of it is that you put everything in a big pile and go through everything one at a time. If an item doesn't bring you joy, you get rid of it. (To be honest, I haven't read it yet so I may be wildly misquoting the book.)

I'd love to live more minimally. I'd love to have the house looking like a Japanese Zen garden.

I recognize that I have a lot of crap everywhere. My office is on the verge of unusable. I know there are many people that say they can't get anything done when their office is a mess. I wonder how much my sloppy office is holding me back. I can look at pretty much any corner and see useless or misplaced items. It's gotten to the point where I don't have clean space to put the things I want to hold on to - it's started feeling like an insurmountable task.

I considered hiring an expert to help me organize and declutter. But I figure that it's something I can handle with a little persistence. I think I'm going to pick a day of the week as "declutter" day. I'll dedicate four hours or so to getting rid of crap and organizing the good items someplace useful. My office comes first, then I start going through the house room by room.

2. More Home Cooked Meals

Sometimes I think that people live in New York solely because they don't like cooking. We're a city of people that like to eat out or order in. I'm no exception. When David and I were first seriously dating, he told me that he would like to be eating in more often than we had been doing. Although, I can cook, I prefer to order in.

Near the end of 2015, I started cooking more of my meals at home. They were usually pretty simple: roasted vegetables with a bare amount of spice and oil along with a roasted or grilled meat. I stopped trying to make extravagant meals with a lot of preparation. I loved it. The meals were delicious simple and satisfying. Clean-up was easy. I never felt bloated after dinner and woke up feeling great.

My next step is lunch. I've developed better lunching habits by going to salad places in the neighborhood. I won't be able to keep that up when I start spending more time at Cherry Grove in the summer as there is no Chop't on the island. I've got to figure out how to make satisfying lunches at home. Part of me rebels against making lunch for some reason. I can wrap my head around dinner at home, but not lunch. I guess it's just something I have to get over. My current plans is to make some chicken breasts ahead of time, have some decent cheese on hand, have a good ranch dressing in the fridge, plenty of veggies and make my own salad. While I'm at it, I should have some homemade lemonade on hand and some iced tea for a good Arnold Palmer. Maybe I should look at some Martha Stewart books for delicious salads at home? I don't know. As I'm writing this, I can feel my resistance to making myself salads at home for lunch. It'll take some experimentation.

I also need to figure out the concept of bringing my lunch to the woodworking studio. The food options near the studio are terrible. I guess I need to get back to my school years and figure out how to pack a lunch.

Anyway, there's some work I have to do in finding enjoyable and satisfying meals at home.

3. Water Water Water

I know. I know. We all say we're going to drink more water. However, I've had some blood tests in the past year that show me that I'm really not drinking enough water. It's affecting my health. I once worked with someone that had a big water pitcher and he knew he had to go through that pitcher of water twice a day for his daily requirement. I'm going to find a system like that. If I don't track my water intake, I just don't do it. I've got to find a simple method for making sure that I'm drinking enough and keep at it.

Maybe I should use the Don't Break the Chain Method to help develop a water-drinking habit?

4. Learn to Play the Ukulele

This is my "fun one". I want to have some instruments at Peace House that I can play. I kept meaning to bring a guitar out there, but I think an ukulele is an even better idea - it has that beach-y vibe, it's small, and it's a fun sing-along instrument. I've picked up a few songs already by joining a Patreon account of an ukulele teacher. I was thinking about taking classes, but for now I think I'll stick to a self-learning thing. There are a lot of apps and websites that are designed to help you become very proficient (since there aren't ukulele instructors scattered liberally through the U.S.).

5. Run More 5Ks

I ran my first one this past year and then another one soon after that. I love them! They're still work at this point - they're not this effortless breeze for me. But the more I stick with them, the easier they are. It's nice to exercise outdoors with a group of people.

I'll do the same 5Ks that I did last year most likely and find others to do. Maybe I'll travel to places outside of NYC to for 5Ks.

So that's my rather modest list of New Year's Resolutions. This all assumes that health continues to be a priority: that I'm making it to the gym, that I'm eating cleanly and continuing to lose weight. There are other things I'm making a priority in 2016 like getting to the woodworking studio, but that's more life than it is a resolution. I've got a big list of things to build in 2016: a bed, two deck lounges, a coffee table and three end tables. Those are all more or less doable.

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Today was my first acupuncture session. I had pulled my back out about a week and a half ago. I told myself in Africa that it was time to try acupuncture, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. So with my back out, I decided it was time to make an appointment and try it. I had heard various stories of people going to acupuncture and the needles having a visceral and sudden effect on their body. Sometimes it was described as a jolt of electricity, sometimes it was described as a sudden withdraw of tension. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be a kick-ass year. I've gone though my usual routine of New Year's resolutions to make sure that I grab this year by the brass ring. I've done this enough to know that some resolutions stick, some only last a few months, and some never happen. But that doesn't mean I shouldn't try to live more intentionally.