Saturday, January 01, 2011

Little things that improve my life

Often, it's accomplishing little things that make me feel the best about myself and my life. I came across this post at Real Simple yesterday and it's almost as if I wrote the list myself. These are things I aspire to, just as listed, but never do consistently. When I do them, life goes more smoothly and feels better. I've cut the list down to the basics; for details, see the original post. I'll keep working on these in 2011:
Clean Dishes
1. Nightly: change into pajamas an hour before going to bed. [This supports my main resolution of getting enough sleep]
2. Daily: put dirty dishes into the dishwasher immediately after a meal
3. Nightly: make and pack lunches for the next day while making dinner.
4. Daily: shred, recycle, and/or trash junk mail immediately upon entering the house.
5. Daily: hang up your coat immediately upon entering the house.
6. Every Sunday: Plan out meals for the week and create a grocery list. 

Hanging 2011 on one resolution

Sleeping Beauty - 2nd
Photo by Béni Rivière
Happy New Year!

I have one main resolution this year: Get enough sleep. 

Sleep deprivation affects your health, your weight, your looks and your happiness. I feel like all my other goals for 2011 hang on getting enough sleep.

Mainly, those goals are to continue the projects I focused on in 2010. Last New Year's Day, I cleaned out the garage so that we could finally get BOTH vehicles in out of the winter storms and that started a domino effect of cleaning out, purging and rearranging that is still going on. I've made a lot of progress (I keep having to remind myself of that) but I've still got a lot of work to do.

I've signed up for my writers group's Finish The Damn Book Challenge. That means my writing goal this year is to have a book ready to land on an agent's or editor's desk by the end of the year. I also have plans in the works for a second (focused, less personal) blog - more on that later.

I also want to be less of a grumpy unhealthy hermit. (We all want that, really)

I think the key to all of this is getting enough sleep.

Once upon a time, before I "grew up" I went to bed at 10pm pretty much no matter what. Short of a real emergency, if stuff wasn't done by 10, too bad. It didn't get done. (This is where my mother points out that I may have gone to bed at 10, but I often read until after midnight. Fine, if I'm awake enough to do it, but now I'm lucky to read two pages at night before my eyes droop shut). Too often these days, I stay up way too late just wasting time on trivial things that don't further any of my goals, simply because I'm desperately looking for "some relaxing time, dammit!" That time would be better spent getting some real sleep (or at least reading a book), so I can get some real things done the next day.

I also have an "anti-resolution" of sorts: I'm not going to plant a garden this year. It's one of those things I think I should enjoy, but I don't have the time and energy to commit to it. I get delusions of grandeur when planting every spring, which goes from "a couple tomato plants" to tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, celery, cucumbers, melons, and on and on. The first really hot week of summer sends me inside to hide and before I know it, the garden is over-run with weeds and I spend the rest of the summer in futile attempts to get ahead of the weedy onslaught. This doesn't really hang on the more sleep thing, but it will take away from the guilt of the "things not done" at the end of the day.