Resolutions for 2013: The 52 & 7 Challenge

Reading on Pier A in Hoboken

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I promise I did make resolutions at the beginning of the month, but only wrote them down in my old fashioned paper journal. Since its the last day of January, I thought I had better share them! I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin over my recent anniversary trip, and am feeling inspired to change my life in little but significant ways in 2013. Instead of the traditional practice of making resolutions and then completely ignoring them, I am going to jump on fellow ENFP Jon Acuff’s bandwagon: The 52 & 7 Challenge.

Spiritual

  • Read the Daily Office throughout the day, not just AM & PM
  • Practice Examen/Journal at least once a week

Family

  • Plan at least 2 date nights with Nick in mind

Social

  • Go on 1 double date a month to spend more time with couple friends we rarely see
  • Schedule a Dinner Group Connection Event

Career

  • Treat my office work day as if it starts before 9 AM (get there early)
  • Be more efficient in order to leave the office by no later than 5:30 PM
  • Blog at least 8 times (once a week on average)
  • Pitch 1 article to an outside source like RELEVANT or A Practical Wedding

Financial

  • Start a Roth IRA and mutual fund (Baby Step 4)
  • Eat out less/have dinner at home 2-3 times a week
  • Bring lunch to work at least 2 times a week

Physical

  • Go to bed earlier (Get 7.5 hrs+ per night)
  • Exercise 20 mins 2-3 times a week
  • Aim to lose 7 pounds (1 lb per week)

Mental

  • Project a more positive attitude (complain less)
  • Read at least 1 chapter a day (give up mindless TV if necessary)
  • Read 2 books (1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)

The first deadline for reviewing these goals from the time I wrote them down is February 25th. I’ll be checking back in to let you know how I did.

What resolutions or goals have you made for 2013? How is it going so far?

Erika’s 2012 in Review

Welp, it’s that time of year again – that dreaded time when we look back and realize how many resolutions we made and failed to accomplish the year before. In a smart move, I publicly made only five for 2012 – which were:

  1. Write more
  2. Become more active
  3. Reach our financial goals
  4. See new cities
  5. Remain baby-free

Remain baby-free.
Yay! We did it! Remaining child-free enabled me to accomplish much of my other four goals with fervor.

Write more.
I look at this goal now and just have to laugh. The good news is – I did write more than last year… but only barely. I posted 20 times (21 including this post!) and had 5,200 views, up from 2011’s 12 posts and 3,300 views. So thank you, dear readers, for showing up and listening to my not-so-regular musings. (Click here to see the complete report.) I went into my year with a part-time job and great expectations about new opportunities for blogging now that a steady, meager salary could be counted on. What I didn’t expect was that two months into my new job I would go full-time, and then soon after be offered a raise and more responsibility. It has been a blessing financially and for personal growth, but an obvious direct challenge to my lofty writing goals.

Reach our financial goals.
With the failure of my writing goals came the triumph of our financial goals. We became debt free by the end of May, which was an incredible feeling after struggling somewhat financially in 2011 in our first year of marriage since I didn’t have a job. We saved up a 3 month emergency fund by August. Then we bought a Jetta with that e-fund. Ok, a new used car wasn’t a dire emergency, but a great deal popped up and with my sister getting engaged and living all the way in Virginia, it seemed like a good time to upgrade to a car that could actually make it on the highway. I also started contributing to my first 401K in July, like a real live adult! As of today, we have rebuilt our 3 month e-fund and are looking forward to the financial freedom next year will afford!

Become more active.

2012 Workout Summary
It took me until the summer to finally kick my butt into gear, but I finally started to accomplish this goal! Looking at the stats above, I am definitely proud of the improvement I made in the latter half of 2012. While I continued to gain until August, I finally buckled down and lost 12 lbs. which put me back in a my healthy BMI range, and have been maintaining since.

See new cities.
After years of talking about it, we finally traveled to Chicago, IL in May to celebrate our 27th birthdays and becoming debt free! I absolutely adored it – the architecture, the parks, the deep-dish pizza, the sculpture, the crowds of people biking and running along the river… I finally understand why everyone has been telling me I would love it for years! Then in October, we planned a last-minute weekend getaway to Burlington, VT. I had no idea it would be such a hippie fest – I figure it is the northeastern equivalent of Asheville, NC. Burlington offered such good food, a relaxed atmosphere and gorgeous fall scenery. It was just what we needed right before Superstorm Sandy hit and Hoboken was turned upside down.

All things considered, I set achievable goals and made progress in all of them. Some were home runs, and others I only made a slight dent, but looking back I am fairly satisfied with the way 2012 turned out. The good news is that a fresh year is right around the corner. Stay tuned for next year’s goals!

How did you do with your 2012 resolutions? Where did you succeed or fail and what are you looking forward to next year?

Gaining Momentum (and Shedding Pounds)

Yes, this is me looking like a hipster.

People! I’m not burying the lead on this one. I completed week five of my commitment to getting healthier, and I am very excited to share that I am .10 lbs shy of losing 8.5 lbs and I am feeling great! It is shocking to find that I am feeling healthier and more confident now at 2-4 lbs over my “freshman 15” weight than I ever did at 18 years old. The difference is intentionality – pursuing change and actually seeing results.

I am beginning to see that being disciplined in my diet and exercise habits is strengthening my those muscles (literally and figuratively) and making me want to be better disciplined in other areas of my life. Being intentional about my eating and seeing successful results is making me want to show up here and write more often. (Shoutout to my friend Paul at Hunting for God for being one of the catalysts for completing this post!) Success in my physical health is making me want to grow spiritually. This is showing me – hey, you can do hard things. And you know what? They’re actually not that hard. Ok, being disciplined isn’t necessarily fun and doesn’t really feel good, but I am finding that it is worth it. I can feel the momentum building.

This is not a dramatic, overnight life change. It is being intentional, one meal at a time, one day at a time. Living a healthier, fuller, happier life requires me to choose 30 minutes of activity instead of watching a brainless 30 minute TV show. It’s stopping myself from mindlessly surfing the net and instead reading articles that challenge my thought processes and my faith. It’s reading the daily office on my lectionary app on my commute or listening to worship music instead of playing games or zoning out. These little choices – one by one – they add up.

We watched this TED talk at work some weeks back that was another one of those pushes towards readjusting my priorities. (Yes, we have “TED talk Fridays” at work where we start off our morning eating snacks and watch something inspirational, how great is that?) Psychologist Shawn Achor talks about how to be happy at work – and the catch is, it’s really about being happier in life in general first (shocker). But seriously, if you are sitting on the edge, debating whether or not to start making that first choice to begin changing your life, watch this. I dare you to be uninspired.

Now… if I can only get a handle on my less-than-ideal midnight bedtime sleeping habits and succeed at practicing some of these things before my work day begins! Ha 😉

*This entry brought to you by my subway commute home ten days ago and a miraculous spare 45 minutes before dinner group last night (See? It can be done.)