So, it's 2016. It's been 2016 for not even four whole days yet. And, since the year is still so new, it seems that most everyone (or, at least, most every American) is spending at least a little time thinking on what they want to do differently in this new year. Lose weight is a common goal. Save money is another. De-stress, have more fun. Cut clutter, become more organized, redecorate. . . All of those are topics I saw on numerous magazine covers while standing in line at the grocery store Saturday morning.
I'm not immune to the desire to change things now that it's January. I'm right along with the rest of my fellow Americans in hoping that this will be the year that I shed some bad habits, ingrain some good ones, be less frustrated, laugh more, avoid financial squeezes. I want 2016 to be full of everything I'd wished I'd had, done, seen, felt in 2015 and at the same time be less of what I wish hadn't crept up on me last year (weight, clutter, stress, intermittent financial hemorrhages. . .)
However, from past experience, I know that great expectations and good intentions often fizzle before we're even three months into each year. Then those expectations have a tendency to turn into more frustration, more stress, more weight (either due to bad eating habits, stress eating, or just the lack of energy that feeling like you're a failure can bring).
So, rather than start this year with great expectations and a to-do list no mere mortal could successfully complete in twelve short months, I'm trying to be more realistic, specific, and goal-oriented. Instead of my typical list of Exercise, Ride, Sew/Knit/Create, Smile, Get Horses Home, this time I'm trying to break it into bite sized pieces.
Ride has been bulleted into ride 2x per week 1st half of January, 3x per week 2nd half, and 4x per week the rest of the year. Because life tends to get in the way of my riding (due to my habit of putting everyone else ahead of myself and then not being able to fit an hour or two with my horses into my day very often) just riding twice a week as a start will be a big accomplishment. And hopefully once I've done that, adding a third ride will be a little easier, and then a fourth should cement the habit. Not only does it give me a little leeway to ease into it instead of feeling like a failure that I didn't jump right into the saddle at least three times the first week of the year, it gives my family an adjustment period too--time for them to become a little more self-sufficient.
Sew: I would like to work on one sewing project per month. I'm staying flexible on what those projects are, and how large they might be; I just would like to be more consistent in my sewing. Also, I'm thinking this might help ease the holiday gift-making pressure next fall. There is no reason, if I get a great gift idea in April, that I have to wait until November or December to sew it.
Knit: I would like to make several pairs of socks this year, mostly for gifts but also one or more for myself. I would also like to make one dishcloth per month, both to bolster my own kitchen supply and to have ready for gift-giving come December.
Blog more falls under Create, as blogging is my writing outlet, and writing seems to be something I need to do fairly regularly or I just get discontent. And, if I'm riding, sewing, and knitting on a pretty much daily basis, I'll have lots to blog about.
I do really need to lose some weight. Not because I've gained a ton, I'm still in regular women's sized clothing (versus Plus sizes), but I've again reached the weight that is uncomfortable for me personally. I want my flexibility back, and I want to fit into the size jeans that aren't baggy in the hip and thigh while fitting in the waist (I'm a bit thick in the waist and have virtually no hips--a combination of genetics and four pregnancies). So, I must exercise more (Ride works well here, and so does running and cross training, all of which I enjoy). Plus, I've been dealing with anemia for the majority of 2015 without a whole lot of success, and I need to get my health back. So, amending my diet for more iron-rich food (including more red meat/organ meat because pills and iron-heavy veggies just didn't give me the kick that eating 1/2 a venison heart gave me in November when I shot my deer) is a must and should also help with the weight loss. I'm not shooting for a pie in the sky number here, ten pounds should do the trick, and twenty would be awesome (because then for sure I'll be back in those jeans that fit right).
Get Horses Home has been on my list for so many years it's embarrassing. Completing this goal will be no small endeavor, but at least now I know it is not going to happen by waiting on others to assist me or by working for a paycheck at someone else's barn ( because my paycheck less board, farrier and vet costs is not leaving enough each month to ever get this project finished). The personal budget just isn't going to allow for an major expenditure for stalls, electricity, and water in the barn, plus 5 acres of fencing and cross-fencing. In order to bring my own horses home, I'm going to have to actually open the horse boarding/training/lesson business I've been wanting since I was sixteen. Because it is that business that will provide the funds to support my own horse passion (and pay the loan which I will need to take out to create the infrastructure. . .) So, I'm going to have to face my fear of rejection and start applying for business loans. And once approved, I'm going to have to do some construction, and then marketing, in order to get this business off the ground in 2016.
Smile is going to require quite a lot of de-stressing by way of not taking on other people's problems or responsibilities. In other words, sticking up for my needs (both health and creative) and not allowing other people's problems (or shortcomings) take up too much of my time, energy, money and health. Plus, I'm pretty sure if I'm sewing, knitting, riding, writing (blogging), boosting my iron levels, losing weight and have my horses finally living at this little place here that smiling is going to come much more easily and often than it has in recent years.
Welcome, 2016. Let's see what we can accomplish together.