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2008 New Year’s Resolutions: First Quarter Update

I have decided that 2008 is going to be The Year of Change for Me. I made many personal improvements in 2007, but now that I’m smarter about changes, I can focus on the changes that I want to make and make them. But I’m a hardcore perfectionist, and I don’t like making mistakes and I don’t like failing.

I am regularly hand rewriting my resolutions. With each rewrite, I update. I make minor changes based on the current progress. I add new resolutions incrementally, in small steps so that I can achieve them. I feel good about my progress so far, and I look forward to your encouragement, suggestions, and more improvement in the next quarter.

End of First Quarter Resolutions Update

  • I am a runner.
    • I follow my training plan.
    • Rob and I take regular walks.
    • I work out in preparation for the Fitness Test. After I read a Washington Post article about those terrible fitness tests I always failed in high school, I decided that I want to do the test at the beginning, middle, and end (before or after the marathon?!) of my marathon training. The fitness test should give me a good way to measure my overall fitness.
  • I drink caffeinated beverages on special occasions only. I choose water, juice, or beer the rest of the time. This resolution started off as giving up caffeine completely, but I have decided that I will try just limiting myself. After two full caffeine-free months, I have started drinking it occasionally with our Friday night Döners and a few times on our England trip. I am happy with this arrangement, but as soon as it starts to control me again, I am giving it up for good.
  • I do not need sleeping pills to shut down my mind at night.
    • I get regular exercise. Not doing so well, but you just wait until the weather warms up! The first beautiful day was yesterday, and the run was awesome.
    • I have a regular bedtime. Doing better than I ever have before in my adult life, but we still need to get more serious about actually turning off the light at a regular time as well.
    • I control my thoughts. This is huge. I usually can’t fall asleep because my mind is racing, but I have been using deep breathing to focus my mind and slow my body down. It’s helping a lot!
    • I avoid caffeine after 17:00. Not really a problem, except on Fridays.
  • I am organized at work.
    • I save and file only what is necessary. This one takes time and a sometimes difficult decision (Will I really need this later?), but I am getting better at it.
    • I back up my files regularly. Not a problem. Sandy reminds me on Mondays to back up, and so I do.
    • I use lists and tools to organize and accomplish tasks (ClockingIT, IWantSandy, tasktoy, Google Calendar, and 4×6 index cards). The 4×6 index cards are really my key. I think, though, that you should use whatever works for you best. I thought I’d be the last one to use a paper ToDo list, but until I get a fancy cell phone or PDA, the note cards are perfect.
    • I clean off my desk before leaving and I put everything away in the right place. I love this one. It sucks sometimes at the end of the day, when I just want to get home, but man! do I love it in morning! Try it for two weeks and you’ll be hooked, I promise.
  • I am organized and clean at home.
    • I do the dishes first thing in the morning. Combine a small sink and a small dish rack, and you have the necessity to do the dishes every day. I love doing the dishes, so starting my day off with this relaxing task is really nice.
    • I do at least one small task (< style=”font-style: italic;”>We don’t actually have a couch (imagine carting one up 4 windy, narrow flights of stairs!), but it sounds best. Not doing so good on this one, but I’m at about 50%. That’s pretty good, consider it was a 0% in 2007. Keeps the place cleaner, too–definitely a bonus!
    • I clean off my end table and my side of the desk before leaving the living room. Just like the clean desk at work, this has the same good feeling in the morning: a clean workspace.
    • I put away any clothes strewn around the bedroom before climbing in bed. Usually, by this time of the night, I don’t want to do anything else, so I’m not doing very good at this so far. I still have three quarters of the year, though. Baby steps.
  • I do not let myself get distracted during scheduled work times.
    • I close Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, MySpace, and other nonessential programs. Yikes. I’m doing pretty good on the Google Reader, Facebook, MySpace fronts, but not so great on the Gmail front.
    • I write down or tell Sandy about distracting ideas so that I remember them later. Love it. If you haven’t yet tried IWantSandy, it’s time.
    • Facebook and MySpace will be there when I get done. I will not miss anything.” Sometimes, when I get tempted, I just write this a few times. I helps.
  • I maintain a Zero Inbox.
    • I use labels and filters for productivity and clarity: @respond-to, @needs-action, @waiting-for-response, @reference, @##-month-delete (03, 06, and 12). Label use: Awesome.
    • I schedule time to respond to 2 to 5 emails each day. Regular responding: Not awesome. I just added this three weeks ago, so it’s still in its early stages.
    • I check @needs-action and @waiting-for-response daily. This one is easy, and probably needs some modification. There’s no really action required here, just checking the labels.
    • I check the @##-month-deletes regularly with Sandy’s help. Haven’t hit even the three-month mark yet, but this one looks very promising.
  • I want for everyone what I want for myself, or love my neighbor as I love myself. This one is kind of hard to measure, which is one sign of potential failure, but I because I am writing and rewriting, the phrase is constantly in my mind.
  • I am content with what I have. Getting much better with this one. I had a money-spending success in Liverpool. I’m getting better!
  • I take my contacts out every night. I have this really bad habit of not removing my contacts like I should. I have no problems with my eyes except that they are dry in the morning. Still, I really do want to take care of my body, and I know that I need to change this habit to ensure that my eyes stay healthy for as long as possible. I like being able to see. We have budgeted new glasses for Lindy, so next month, I’ll be getting new glasses. I think that will greatly help this resolution. (I haven’t bought new glasses since my freshman year of college!)
  • I floss every night. As a child, my dentist always told me that my teeth looked great, but I needed to start flossing. I had a really hard time doing that because I hated using floss. Then, in 2005 I discovered the Reach Access Flosser. All of a sudden, I no longer had to fight with the floss to stay on my fingers. I didn’t have to deal with cutting off the circulation in my fingers while flossing. And not surprisingly, I started flossing semi-regularly. Now, I am making it official: I want to floss every day. I want to have healthy eyes and teeth!

What do you think? Are you attempting any of the same goals? How are you going about them?

6 thoughts on “2008 New Year’s Resolutions: First Quarter Update

  1. Linden

    02 Apr on 2008 at 17:11

    @charity: Man, my Dr. Pepper thing sounds like your sugar thing. I have resolved to give it up about four or five years now, and I’m never successful. I went cold turkey this year, but Rob finally talked me into moderation. I’m drinking no more than 1 a week (for our Friday night Döner Dinner) or on special occasions (like our England trip!). I like this method: I get to enjoy an unhealthy favorite, but I am limiting myself enough to where it isn’t too unhealthy. Everything in moderation, right??

    And I am so glad that my flossing resolution is helping you too! I almost didn’t post it for embarrassment, but I decided to in the end. I mean, who honestly flosses everyday except dentists and their kids? So let’s check in on each other with the flossing thing… I was kinda slacking to, but your comment, inspired me! :D

    You said you didn’t want to clog up my comments with your resolutions… maybe you should write a blog about it! :)

  2. Charity

    01 Apr on 2008 at 17:27

    I intended to respond to this earlier but got lost in the demands of the day – I normally refuse to make New Year’s Resolutions on principle, but this year I decided the timing was right.

    I refused to gain weight by hibernation this winter and made several resolutions regarding exercise and nutrition – health in general. I haven’t met the overall goals, but I’ve lost about 8-10 pounds. I keep trying to give up sugar…

    I am also trying to be “greener”. And relax more (release control). I have specifics, but I’ll not clog up your comments with them all. Organization and cleaning are part of my anal habits to relax about – but flossing. I gotta do that or I have gum issues (and I don’t have dental insurance). I just got a new flosser thingie from my dentist – I think it may be what you’re talking about. You’ve inspired me to give it another try. I’ve been down to once or twice a week. :(

    PS – I WAS wondering about your summary for “The Yellow Wallpaper” – so thanks!

  3. Дж. Хьюз

    01 Apr on 2008 at 12:33

    Sehr gut, Frau Müller! I posted my first quarter update last night.

  4. Linden

    31 Mar on 2008 at 14:56

    @sarah jo: Yay! I love these survey/meme type things, and this one is especially interesting.

    For anyone who is wondering, my summary of “The Yellow Wallpaper” in six words or less is “Can a lunatic free them?” Can you think of a better one? (This is a challenge I am issuing to some of my classes this semester. :)

    @david: Part of my reason for posting my resolutions on my blog is for accountability, but another part is to find out that others share the same goals. So very cool that we are working on improving some of the same things this year!

    Incidentally, why exactly have you not written your resolutions down? I mean, it’s not like you’ve been at boot camp or anything! ;)

  5. David

    31 Mar on 2008 at 14:15


    I have many of the same resolutions, and for the most part I have been living up to them. However, I have not written them down to actually monitor. I think that I’ll follow your lead on this one. Thanks for the idea.