Five Things: Resolutions

I love the New Year and I love making resolutions. Every year there are plenty of articles detailing exactly how useless resolutions usually turn out to be, but I just can’t help myself. I love starting out a new year with good intentions and I figure that even if they don’t last, I was a little better than before for a little bit of time. One of the things I kept reading and hearing about making your resolutions stick was to share them with others, so in the interest of success, here are my top five resolutions for 2014.

1. This blog. As I mentioned in my last post, I let my blog languish so long I forgot the log-in information. Hypocritically, I’ve been nagging my daughter to blog more because a. I love reading her posts, and b. I think she has some aspirations to be a writer and a blog is a good excuse for writing often. Naturally, she nagged me back until I agreed that maybe I had some things I could write about. I’d like to post at least once a week, but with this internet connection, we’ll have to see.

2. One push-up every day. I can practically hear the chorus of “Ooh, go crazy!” but one of my beliefs is that if you want to stick with it, you have to make it too easy to quit. As I start each year, I think, “Hey, this should be the year I commit to upper body strength!” Every year I think that means I should do a classic three sets (or more!) of different pushups every other day. Every year I bag it by the end of January. This year I decided just one, just one a day for 365 days. The total will probably be higher than I’ve managed any other year. And once I’m down there, one seems pretty pathetic so I do a couple more. Exactly a couple – I would have thought this would be a bit easier. It’s not.

3. Sunday Purge. Though we still have no idea when or where, we are definitely moving this summer. Anyone who moves regularly knows that the third year will kill you. You don’t accumulate so much in a two year tour – that basically feels like you are either moving in or moving out – but in a three year tour you can start to squirrel things away. Basement, closets, attic, garage – each one isn’t too bad so you don’t mind popping another thing in there. The next thing you know, you have six months left and enough baking supplies to open a Cinnabon franchise with no start-up costs, just to mention one area of excess. The regular movers among us will also understand the horror of the Anything That Gets Packed Eventually Has To Get Unpacked Phenomenon and thus the Sunday Purge Resolution was born. Using my finely honed Get Rid-of-It skills, each Sunday I plan to pick just a shelf, a drawer, a closet, or a corner to look through and decide what stays and what goes so that Moving Day isn’t Panic Day.

4. Break 2:00 in the Vienna City Half-Marathon. Oh, I hate saying that one out loud. History shows it’s pretty risky – 2:00 has been my goal for seven half-marathons. 2:04 is my PR. I’m giving the Hanson Running Marathon Method its day in court this time since my running girlfriends have had some incredibly impressive results with that plan. And since I suspect their results were more based in dedication and talent than the plan (one of which I can muster), I have resolved to commit to this plan and Run All The Runs! and see what’s possible. I read this book and liked the science but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was ultimately hooked by the fact that the run paces are over a minute a mile slower than those at which I usually train. So far, I’m finding it  easier than normal to lace up my shoes for an easy run day after day, but the real test is when the speed intervals get long and longer. Then the only thing that going to keep my going is the dream of 1:59 on the timing board as I round the corner into the Hofburg Palace courtyard in April.

5. Read more non-fiction and longer books. I have shelves full of books that have lived in at least two houses with me. I want to read them. As I finish a book and am thinking about what to read next, I go and visit them and dream about reading them and yet there they still are. This is the result of my annual reading resolution which began as Read More Books Than I Did Last Year until the year when I read 44 books and realized that it might just be possible to read 48 books in a year (just four every month! Not even one a week!). I made it that year (deployed husband) and the next (we moved and then I was only working part-time), but over time it became clear I was making my goal by choosing books that wouldn’t get in my way.  I was often reading with an eye toward being finished, groaning and getting annoyed when a story took too long (here’s looking at you, Titus Groan), and not savoring them along the way. Therefore, I have resolved to not keep track (after all these years, it’s already killing me!) and read the books I’ve collected and dreamt of reading, books about WWI, and design, and Shakespeare and doorstops by authors I love like Dickens, and China Mieville, and Neal Stephenson, and Mark Helprin. And to slow down and enjoy and learn and indulge my curiosity.

Some of these are more goal than resolution but with all of them I hope to capitalize on the positive energy of a clean slate to be just a little bit better than I was before.