Monday, January 3, 2011

You Say You Want a Resolution

The important thing about Resolutions or goals or whatever you want to call them is that the successful Resolutionary makes those resolutions specific and precise. None of those namby-pamby jackwagon goals like “lose weight”, or “get organized”. Those are resolutions that are bound to fail, usually by February 3rd.
Instead, the dedicated Resolutionary studies other, successful Resolutionaries, and steals, I mean, borrows their successful formulas. Why reinvent the wheel? It isn’t going to be easy, but a resolution is not a dinner party.
Good Resolutions should have clearly defined tasks and timelines. They must hold each Resolutionary accountable. It’s so satisfying to check a task off of a list. Holding that in mind, make that list of tasks so that you and your fellow Resolutionaries see clear consistent progress toward your goals, whether those goals are Invade Russia or Paint Bedroom.
So put on your berets or Fidel hats, your Che T shirts or Mao suits and let’s make our action plans.

One goal of mine is to be happier, but that goal is too vague for success. One way to make this both achievable and realistic is refine the goal and make it more specific. I need to have some idea of what would make me happy. Philosophers have been debating about what happiness is since the dawn of philosophy, but I think with a little soul searching we can make a task list for this one. Gretchen Rubin’s blog details every day what she does to achieve her happiness goals. One of her mantras is:

Outer order contributes to inner calm.

This might be my mantra numero uno for 2011.
I conferred with Comrade Hunting Creek, who is totally into task lists, checkmarks, gold stars and Resolutionary Agendas. He got out his legal pad, and started making lists. No vagueness there!
“You need to get rid of a ton of books”, he said.
I agreed. That’s doable. I’m sure it is safe to donate my college textbooks to a good cause, considering I graduated in 1980. No likelihood of a post graduate pop quiz at this point.
“Also fabric.” What! Get rid of my fabric? Did they ask Picasso to get rid of extra canvases? Did he have too much paint? I ranted. Comrade Hunting Creek waited.
“You know, you can’t possibly, ever, in three lifetimes sew all of these patterns, or use all of this fabric.”
You said that before and I bought you off with a pool table, I countered.
“I will finish setting up your sewing studio and you’ll see. It will make you happier to have a clean, organized space.” He is bribing me. I might, grudgingly, part with some fabric. (Don’t tell him I said so.)

Getting into the Resolutionary Spirit, Comrade Hunting Creek suggested the following Resolutions for Chez Hunting Creek:
(After all, it takes a gulag)

Get rid of things we don’t need.

To make this an achievable goal, we need to break this down. We decide to do the following:
Sort one room/shelf//drawer/ closet until we’re finished every week. Fill a box or more of stuff to donate. Actually donate it.
So far we’ve already gotten rid of six boxes of books, and gotten rid of one entire bookcase.
Well done, comrades!

Clean out closets and drawers of clothes that we don’t wear.
I protest faintly that ALL of my clothes are too big now, but if I get rid of everything I will be shivering naked in the snow, like our French Comrades in 1812. Comrade Hunting Creek is unsympathetic. He says, “Just buy some new clothes already!”
No problem, comrade. Consider it done.
I decide my second 2011 mantra is:

Look cute every day.

(Which I totally stole from Trena at Slapdash Sewist, but a Resolutionary has to do what it takes to make the Resolution Happen, whether it is stealing good ideas or marching in Long Marches. Whatever.) Looking nice does make me feel better. I have noticed that when I am wearing nice clothes I feel better about everything. This is a totally doable resolution. I just need to stop my bad, work at home habit of wearing whatever is clean and least wrinkled right out of the laundry basket and organize that closet. See above resolution.

Winter is such a bummer for two California kids like us, so we also resolve to do some fun stuff like go out to the movies once a month and entertain more.

Resolution number three is thus:

Go out at least twice a month, to movies or plays or museums.

Number Four:
Entertain at least once a month. Brunch, lunch or dinner. Just do it.

Now that the house is approaching that magical state of Outer Order, we can ask people over and not worry about them turning us in to Hoarders TV SWAT Team.

Lastly, we decide we need to use some of our cookbooks. Let’s make a new recipe every week, I suggested. Comrade Hunting Creek looked skeptical. Just one, I said.

So our last resolution is:

Make one new recipe every week. (Desserts do not count, said Comrade Hunting Creek.)

My sister gave me the new Sunset Cookbook, so this one will be easy to do. I already make a weekly menu plan, so I can work those new recipes into the plan.

Your Resolution List list will be different than mine, but that is the beauty of the real life, doable actionable Resolution. Fellow Resolutionaries, you have nothing to lose but your chains!


beangirl said...

"Your Resolution List list will be different than mine, but that is the beauty of the real life, doable actionable Resolution."

No. My resolution could be different than yours... but why? You put most of my things on your list. I'm sure I can work around anything that's not completely accurate to my own personal needs. Well, it's a gulag after all. I'm sure we all have to work for the common good.

Thanks. That's saved me a lot of time and effort. Wow, I guess the resolutionary effort is a success. Yay! I mean, Power to the Proletariat! Now where did I put that Che t-shirt....

sewing spots said...

Lovely post. I hope you will share details on your progress! These are things I think we all struggle with. Good luck!

kbenco said...

I love a noble, self improving post like this. Most inspiring. I am sure I should do something similar, but if I made a list I might feel compelled to act on it. Hmmm.

Karen in VA said...

This year must be the year of the's top on my list. I actually started in November when I took a car full of stuff to the new Goodwill on Rt 1...still lots to go....(yes, we're neighbors-I live near the other Hunting Creek)

AuntieAllyn said...

All good stuff! One of my top priorities is to de-clutter . . . my place isn't all that "cluttery", but I'm going to be moving this year (after having spent 25+ years in the same location) and I don't want to move a bunch of stuff that I haven't seen/looked at/thought about in years.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I love the resolution to entertain at least once a month! I used to entertain fairly regularly, but then I let "using the dining table as a cutting table" become "store all sorts of sewing crap in the living space" and never entertain because I hate putting away my sewing stuff. However, I recently boxed up all the sewing crap--not crap, actually, just linings for the most part so I don't have to haul them back and forth for every project--and keeping it in a box is not a bad solution. I am having book club over in February. Maybe that will be my start.

Decluttering and entertaining are extremely intertwined.