I’m starting with the (wo)man in the mirror…

It’s that time–2011 is gasping its final breaths and everyone is itching to make the changes we’ve been putting off the last few months in anticipation of the New Year.

And I have to admit, I have been looking forward to this demise of year about 6 months into it. Don’t get me wrong– a lot of really wonderful things happened this year–I enjoyed my first full year at my new company, working with people I love; I was able to enjoy some wonderful travel experiences with very dear friends; and I have had the opportunity to experience new things and meet new people who have helped give me many memorable and fun experiences to add in the “good” category for 2011.

However, the amount of hardship and pain that was felt this year, especially by some of the people I love most, is difficult to ignore. There have been so many adversities– from lost jobs to lost loved ones–and every blow just seemed the hang heavier on our collective hearts. I stopped saying, and even thinking, “It can’t get any worse…” because it usually did, even up to 12 hours ago when I learned of the passing of a former schoolmate’s sister is a car accident last night.

Due to these circumstances, and my own life “growing pains,” this year has caused a lot of self-reflection and inaction–ie, letting life live me. There have been so many things that I have felt out of control of and so essentially, I chose to not really make any major decisions because the whole process was overwhelming. And in some ways, this was in fact a good “lesson learned”– I finally was able to realize that it is actually OK to not always have an answer, sometimes you just have to let life happen (waayyyy easier said than done though, for sure), but, I also think I’ve hit a point where I’m ready to start being a bit proactive with myself and my quest for happiness, and to that end, I’ve been keeping notes on all the things I want to accomplish in 2012.

And what perfect timing on that, considering this is the ultimate list-making time of the year. So, without further ado… my list o’resolutions:

Volunteer 12 places. After following Parr’s wonderful blog posts about her 25 days of giving for Christmas, I got inspired to try to find different ways I can help out in my own local community. I’ve felt pretty terrible that I got so wrapped up in the consumer part of this holiday and was constantly running around doing a billion me-centered things, I really didn’t do anything that was truly focused on the meaning on this holiday (well, at least the meaning that means the most to me). I’ve been steadily involved with different community service groups before, and have gotten burnt out by the drama that inevitably comes from being a part of these kind of organizations because its members constantly feel taxed on time and resources (or by my own bad habit of getting entirely too wrapped up in trying to “fix” all the problems), so I think just devoting one day to a different place each month will help me keep me focused on what I’m really trying to accomplish. It’ll also be cool to explore 12 different causes that mean something to me and see where these opportunities take me. I’ve already started thinking of some organizations I’d like to work with and look forward to checking them out more!

Read 6 books. I have been so terrible with this recently. Our bookshelves are lined with books I’ve been looking forward to read and every time a day off comes up where I have nothing specifically planned (which seem so incredibly rare these days…), my first thought is to finally finish/start/re-pick up whatever latest book I’ve had on the nightstand. But then I end up running errands, or playing Words With Friends, or dicking around on Facebook, and then the day/night is gone. So, I’m going to read more, but I’m going to be realistic about how the goal I set for this. I would love to read 30 books, or commit to doing so, but let’s be real: 6 would definitely be an accomplishment after my lackluster reading rate from this past year.

Complete 1 new project a week. This one might seem lofty, but I’m being pretty lenient on what constitutes a “project.” There are some bigger things I want to try to tackle under this goal, but I’m also counting trying a new recipe or completing a simple craft. Especially after discovering my most recent obsession, I certainly don’t have to worry about running out of inspiration for this. I already started working on one of the cool things I found on the site, and hopefully I’ll be able to show off the finished result of that soon. :-)

Write 1 blog a week. Now that I’m dedicated to doing all this awesome shit, I should have plenty of fodder to blog about! :-) Seriously though– I need to keep this going better than I have, and I need to learn that blogging doesn’t always have to mean book-length essays. I think I unintentionally burn myself out because I end up getting more involved in my posts than I intend (As you read Exhibit A…), and so I just have to keep in mind that indeed, brevity is the soul of wit.

So, there you have it– there are other things that I’m hoping fall into place based on the perspective change I’m trying to achieve–but I think aforementioned goals will lay the foundation for all this… Fingers crossed. :-)

So, what are your goals? Anyone out there already come up with their list o’resolutions? Or are some of you on Team I-Don’t-Believe-In-Resolutions?

Well, at any rate, I hope everyone has a Happy (and safe) New Year. May 2012 bring us all the new beginnings we’ve been hoping for!