Friday, December 30, 2011

What I learned in 2011 and New Year Resolutions


New Year's Eve, 2011. Time to look backwards, then forwards.

What did I learn in 2011? Weight-loss wise, I learned that exercise alone is not enough for me to lose weight -- at least not at the fairly reasonable intensity of an hour five days per week. I gave it a good go for about four and a half months, and lost not a gram nor a centimetre. Of course I'm sure if I exercised three of four or more hours a day there would be a different result; but one hour five days a week seemed to me to be achievable consistently even with work and family to consider. There are health benefits to exercise other than weight loss, but if weight loss is what you are after then exercise is not enough.

Anything else? I love love love to read. I already knew that, obviously, but the knowledge has been reinforced recently. I've had a hectic reading schedule as a judge for a fiction award -- at the moment I need to read a book every two days for the next two months -- some are great but some of the books are atrocious and I certainly don't want to be reading those ones. I look forward to this committment being over. Why? So that I can get back to the long list of books that I want to read that aren't part of the award! I want the time to plunge back into the George R. R. Martin series, to re-read some old favourites, to read a new-found 'Anne of Green Gables' prequel (not by the original author) in the bath. To find new interesting bloggers and read their entire archives. I want to finish this batch of reading so I can do some more reading!

I've learned I'm not such an outsider in my mother's extended family as I have always felt. They are all fit and tanned and athletic and not at all academic. Always lovely to me, but I've never felt really comfortable with them since I was a little kid. There seemed a long period when I just didn't fit in. Whether I am more secure now with my own little nuclear family, or they have all grown out of sulky teens/tweens now (I am one of the eldest of my generation), or some other reason; Christmas was really comfortable this year. I had seen them more often than usual due to several events like my cousin's wedding (I live in a different state) so maybe that helped too. Maybe the change is in me.

I have learned that working from home is hard to juggle. I get easily distracted (I'll just stack the dishwasher/check my blog feed/ pop up to the shops/watch this segment on TV...) and have trouble separating work time from home time. When you are in an office you are away from other things that need doing and also have the "police" of your workmates and boss. At home, if making a cup of tea takes 20 mins there is no-one to care but yourself. And, eventually, your client. So managing that issue will be one of my resolutions.

Which leads neatly into ... 2012 New Year's Resolutions

Since this is a weight-loss blog, I will start with that. There is some acronym I can't remember that says goals need to be measurable and achievable and accountable and a couple of other things. Whatever. I will start 2012 at approximately 79 kg (174 pounds), and I want to get down to 58 kg. That is 21 kg to lose -- but as I've said before I may be happy with 63 or something around there. We'll see when we get closer.

*I'm not going to make a final long-term goal for now. For the moment, I am only looking at the short term. Two months, four kg. By the end of Feb, I will be 75 kg. Earn my first glitzy weight-loss charm at last. When I've done that, I will look at the next bit.

How is this to be achieved?

Firstly, continue/get back to the exercise. An hour of vigorous exercise five days a week. More would be fine. Until the kids go back to school at the beginning of February, this will mainly be using the Kinnect. Dance is good, and some of the games on the Adventures disc are really high cardio. I've been doing well on this front so far, the trick will be not to slack off and get lazy with it. Five days a week! I can go to the gym on the weekend to get some weight training in.

Secondly, sort out something with my diet. Very restrictive diets certainly make me lose weight, but I can't stick to them. I don't want to give up my "treats". But I quite liked the meals I made for myself when detoxing; so my plan is to modify meals to reduce fat and calories. Cutting down on calories will probably mean cutting down on (but not cutting out) carbs. Less, not none. Tonight I made fajitas -- lean meat marinated in spices and lime juice, lots of vegetables, a little bit of oil. But the two tortillas added about 300 calories and plenty of salt. I will, in future, wrap my fillings in lettuce leaves instead. Just as delicious; far fewer calories, no artificial preservatives or added salt or sugar. I'm sure I can make modifications like this to many meals, yet still have some chocolate when I want to. And stay under my calories limit of 1340, five days a week.

Non-weight-loss goals?

*Organise my work time better so I am doing paid work in the hours allocated for it. My time while the kids are at school will include exercise, lunch (and tea breaks), and work. Other things are for outside work hours. Oh, except grocery shopping is much easier without the kids, so I will be doing that in school hours. And things like hair-cuts and waxing ... you see how easy it is to fill the hours with non-paid-work? But not TV or blogging or housework. If I'm going to make a real go of this freelancing business then I need to devote a reasonable number of hours to it. Three billable hours a day.

*In 2012, I am not going to over-commit myself. No work scheduled for school holidays. One week buffer between projects to allow for illness and emergencies and rush-jobs for special clients (I started doing this a few months ago and those buffer weeks fill up quickly!) I am not going to judge any awards in 2012 -- this year's 66 entries meant hundreds of unpaid reading hours. No free proofreading or manuscript critiquing for my writing guild. I need to take a year off all the volunteer stuff to make time for some other things. This doesn't mean no volunteering ever again, but in 2011 it has taken me away from my family and my own writing and paid work so much that it has become a huge burden and I need a break from it. I will continue reviewing the free books I get -- I get to choose which ones -- and slush reading for ASIM magazine as that only means a couple of short stories a week. So I guess I am still doing some unpaid work. But not nearly so much. I remember the good old days when I had time to volunteer at my kids' school; helping out with the home readers and in the library. When I could spend time with my family on the weekend instead of catching up on work. When I could play computer games in the evening without feeling guilty about it because I had so much work to do. In 2012 I am pulling back a bit.

*My own writing. My novel. My word-child. 2012 will be the year to finish the first draft. I have paid work projects booked in until the end of March. I have blocked out the first two weeks of April to do some writing; then it is school holidays. I stress about booking out May to write my novel; it would mean that if I get an enquiry now I would have to put them off until June, five months away! That is a long time for someone with a finished novel to wait for an edit, and I would likely lose their business. So I am undecided about that one. If I get an enquiry soon I might give them May and block out June for myself. I like to have a couple of clients lined up.

I also want to do some incidental writing. Chuck Wendig has some great short story prompts on his blog, they used to be every Friday but I'm not sure if he has kept up with that. It's good practice, and would also be great if I could get some short stories out there.

Well, that is enough non-weight-loss rambling for a weight-loss blog. In 2012 I want to be a better wife, better mother, better friend, better person, re-start learning the guitar, sing more, help Jasmine with learning the violin, get the house and garden in order, have more fun ... but my four measurable goals are:
1) Lose 4 kg in 2 months
2) Work smarter
3) Stop trying to do too much
4) Finish the first draft of my novel

See you in 2012

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