Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Resolutions: A Commitment to One's Self

I always make predictions for myself on New Year's Eve... what I think my life will be like over the coming year; how things will have changed by the time another Christmas rolls around. When I was a teenager, my predictions were shiny and bright. I'd meet the love of my life, get married, have pretty little babies. But not too many years passed before the predictions always included losing weight.

Predictions make me stop and think. They make me take action for the things I desire, and make me change my course of action to fix things I *don't* want to happen the next year. That's how I get to my resolutions.

In 2008, all I could think about was my weight. My prediction was that I would weigh 190 by January 1st; therefore my resolution was to eat healthy, exercise, lose weight. I really really wanted it, and it never even occurred to me to make a resolution about anything *but* weight loss. After all, losing weight is hard work and takes a lot of time, effort, and concentration.

For 2009, the healthy eating and exercise are already such an intrinsic part of my lifestyle for the most part, that they no longer require a resolution. I predict that this year I will reach my goal weight, but I already have the tools in place for that to happen. So I can focus on other things, too, and for the first time in about 16 years, my resolution is something other than 'lose weight.' And I can't tell you how freeing that is.

This year, I'm going to tackle the photos and videos that are lying around (or sitting in a file on the computer) gathering dust for the last ten years. When my kids were babies, I started a photo album for each of them. One weekend a month, I would put a few photographs in each album... plus put some in the family album. But things got really hectic in my life back in 1999. I was working and trying desperately to keep my house and raise my kids alone, and the photo albums went by the wayside. I have boxes and boxes of pictures from 1999-2002, and then I went digital. I have THOUSANDS of pictures on my computer. But my kids' albums... and the family album... all stop at 1999. That's TEN YEARS of photos to catch up on. I have to look at them, choose which ones to print, edit them, date them, print them, and put them in each of five albums. And guess what? My daughter who is 3 doesn't have an album at all! So I need to start hers as well. That's a big resolution, I know. But if I spend, say, two hours every weekend on albums, I think I can get a good chunk of this accomplished.

This project is very important to me. I want my kids to have a visual record of their childhood, to look back and smile and remember the fun times we had. When my mother died, I got a hatbox of family pictures. There's a stack of pictures of me as a baby and toddler, quite a few of me at 3 and 4, a couple at 5, and then there's just not a whole lot else. Maybe 2 or 3 pictures at each age unless we went on a trip somewhere... then there were a few more. I don't even know how old I am in most of the pictures. And I have so few pictures of me between ages 10 and 15 that I wonder if my parents even had a camera then. It makes me sad, since I have no siblings to remember fun times with, and my parents are both deceased. My four grandparents are long gone, too. So all I have is that cluttered hatbox of photos. I want something better for my kids.

That's why I also write in journals for my kids. I write them letters, or write about the things they do and say that make me smile. I've slacked on that, too, so I hope that by focusing on *family memories* this year, I'll write a little more often.

I'm really excited to get going on this big resolution, because it's something tangible I can do. I've wanted to work on this for SO LONG. Now I am going to really do it.

What can you do this year to make a difference? What commitment will you make to yourself? When January 1st rolls around next year, will you have accomplished your goal? What can you do to make that happen?

If your New Years' Resolution involves losing weight, may I humbly suggest using the Habit-A-Week Challenge as a springboard. If you take one habit each week, you will have a really healthy lifestyle well before summer... and that will probably result in weight loss. But whatever you do, choose something that will work for YOU, and stick with it. Don't give up. You don't want to waste anymore time making the same resolution year after year but never following through. Life is too precious for that!

I challenge each of you to make a resolution you can live with, and leave your commitment to yourself in the comments on the post. Then, next year we can all look back to this place and see our resolutions and evaluate how we have done. I'm in, how about you?


Dutch said...

Thank you for the Habit a Week Challenge. I am going to try it for the new year. Merry Christmas

Kimberly said...

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions because I think they set people up for failure. New Year's resolutions are all about perfection.

So I will do what I have done for the past 6 months. I will face each new day with enthusiasm to do all I can do in that one single day to stick to my plan and move by butt off the couch to exercise.

Vickie said...

I worked on the kids albums last year. I was just as behind as you are! And I am writing to tell you that there is hope!

I started on the youngest's first - because she also had nothing in her album (and like you, didn't even have an album). Her's was the shortest and an easier task to accomplish! and I did get hers both started and caught up to current.

The other thing that I did - was not try to start where I left off on the older kids - but to start at current and work back. So that I could keep up with the current stuff (which I am) instead of never catching up. It might be psychological - but getting a handle on current so that i didn't stay behind did wonders for me.

PS - I got albums where pages can be added. So, I am able to go back and add as many pages as I need. I started out with albums with fixed pages - where I had to have every picture in order to put any in - and that was very stressful.

I love that you write journals. I have often wished that I had written down key events from each year. Like a chronical.

WOrking on my pics - I wrote a time line - and that helped for dates. this is the year we went to florida, this is the year Grandpa died, this is the year we met Uncle Tom in Chicago for the weekend. The time line really helped with dates.

Katschi said...

Have a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
I know it doesn't look how you'd like it to be and despite all the sh*t that's gone down in your life recently, I hope you're well.
I hope your kids are well.

2009 will be full of success stories in our blogging world, I just KNOW it!
My conviction to lose the extra fat has never been stronger. So that's resolution #1. Resolution #2 is to FINALLY get this damn house decluttered. Nothing profound :)
Be well, my friend!

SeaShore said...

I like that your resolution is more a goal, or even a project. I usually feel the way Kimberly does about resolutions, but I like your take on them.

Merry Christmas.

ryry the adventurous said...

Those journals and photo albums are such an awesome idea. What a great mom you are!!! Merry Christmas Lyn, I am thankful I met you.

Change for Good said...

What a great idea! Your children will be so appreciative of this. My mom is a big scrapbooker, and her gifts are so priceless to me. Since you have said that many of your pictures are digital, I would also suggest to you:
I've made several books through that site, and they turn out great.

Thank you for your blog. I appreciate your words.

Merry Christmas!

Sabs said...

I believe one should have goals just to make them easier to focus on.

I am also Waaayyyy behind on photos:-(

Deb said...

Sounds like a great goal for 2009! I dabble in scrapbooking and the best piece of advice I ever got about getting through years and years of photos was to first organize them by date/event/ etc. and THEN start organizing them into albums or scrapbooks starting with the most current and working your way back.

Good luck on your project.

Michelle said...


What a great goal for the coming year/s - & I'd imagine a useful distraction from "head hunger", as a bonus ;-)

Whether or not you're going the whole hog with scrapbooking decorations & all, I'd highly recommend using albums & any decorations/stickers/papers that are marked acid & lignin free. The acid & lignin are what slowly turn the photos brown & ick over the many years. I'm not sure about in the US, but here in Oz, it's fairly easy to find such stuff - esp. at specialty scrapbooking stores.

And I second the suggestion for refillable albums ;-)

Take care, & happy holidays.

Barefoot Pixie said...

I've also had "lose weight" be my resolution for as long as I can remember. I don't know if I'll meet my goal weight this year or the next but it is still a resolution, I guess. But my goal this year is to run a 5k - The Race for the Cure - in May with my brother and sisters. I've never done anything like that and my family has all agreed to support me and participate. I appreciate your take on resolutions/predictions.

Merry Christmas!

Hanlie said...

My New Year's Resolution is not to lose weight, but to eat healthy and exercise until it becomes my way of life. I have a big new project lined up and of course, we will probably emigrate this coming year. So, it will be a year of change and good-byes, but also growth and new challenges.

Good luck with the photo's... That should take you a while, but it's a worthy project!

Andrus said...

Love the Habit-a-Week challenge. I'm a big believer in making resolutions and I don't limit myself only making then once a year.

Natalie said...

oh, i just need to do SOMETHING to start getting my kids pictures organized! i am like you... my weight loss is now such a part of my life that for the FIRST TIME in my life it does not have to be a resolution. but oh how i need to get more organized!

Karyn said...

My goals for this year:

1. Incorporate exercise into my life on a more consistent basis

2. Finish decluttering my house. (The basement will take a long time)

3. Be consistent on the accounting work I should be doing for our company

4. Do something creative everyday (including work with photos)

5. Write everyday

Juice said...

Great resolution - I look forward to hearing about your progress on your blog!