Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Goals

So we all do this... hey its the new year!  Every year I make all kinds of grandiose resolutions that I rarely keep. All sorts of things from exercising more to eating healthier to keeping up with the laundry (and there are only two of us, so laundry shouldn't be that big of a deal, but it is.) It gets to the point where you wonder, why should I bother making resolutions? I never keep them. After the initial bang of excitement and bright lights, they go up in smoke. Like fireworks. Pretty while they last, right?

But lets take a step back and analyze that.  EVERY YEAR I make new resolutions. Every single year. Usually mental ones. "I'd really like to learn this." or "I want to weight lift." or "I plan to cook at home more often." But I make them EVERY YEAR. What does that tell you? That there are tons of things I WANT to do and I WORK on (if only on the short term). How is this possibly a bad thing? Working towards continual improvement in my personal, academic, and social life. So what if they fizzle? At least I'm trying.

Supposedly, in response to a reporter's question, Thomas Edison said this:

"I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."

Well, I have succeeded in proving that several methods of organizing my home and finances do not work.  Last year I created a "Master Plan" notebook based off a blog I found, with printable sheets from that blog. That is all well and good, but I don't want to have to re-handwrite my chore chart every single week without failure. I don't want to hand write everything. Some stuff is okay. But if I'm in a hurry, my handwriting is generally illegible. The problem? PDFs can't be edited unless you have a special program. 

The solution: A free online PDF editor. I downloaded organization sheets I thought might work for me from LifeYourWay and started uploading them to PDFescape. This lets me make basic changes to the PDF without starting from scratch to design my own to-do list or hand-writing everything. 

I know I sound like a bad infomercial right now, but with all the chaos of buying a house and moving this year, there are things I'm not doing (like I forget about one bill per month. oops.) Editing these to-do lists online will hopefully allow me more organization because next month I just have to open last month's and make a few minor changes. (Hint: I haven't found a "Save As" feature, so if you need a duplicate format for a different task, you'll have to upload it again under a different file name.)

The other change I'm making this year is to make my goals more specific, with deadlines, task lisks, and measurable accomplishments. A study at Dominican University proved that people who write down goals generally accomplish more than those that do not. Make a list, check it twice, cross off the ones you've completed and ADD MORE! Don't stop when you reach the end of your goals. There's always more interesting things to do! This also means that you don't have to have everything planned out by January 1. It is an ongoing process.

One of the things I did succeed over the last year is reading the Bible more. I have YouVersion on my phone. Every morning I try to get to work a little early, sit in my car, and read a couple chapters from the selected Bible Reading Plan. The app tracked my progress. I got through most of the New Testament in a year and every day that I opened it there was a little green progress bar that said "Hey, you're doing great, only x more to go!" Did I finish it? Nope. Did I read significantly more than the year before? Yep. So did I fail because I didn't complete the goal or did I win because I made progress?

I'm calling it a win. 

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