December 31, 2011

2010 Resolution Evaluation; New 2011 Resolutions

New Year's Eve parties came about, I'm pretty sure, because if you eat an entire box of boneless chicken wings on your own, you won't have room for Doritos and powdered doughnuts. With friends over, you can have some of everything! Without feeling silly about how many boxes/bags you opened! And without, just for example, drinking the entire bottle of champagne yourself!

Remember these resolutions?


Ha ha, me neither! I had them hanging up by my computer so I'd remember to look at them and do them, but then when we changed the house all around they got lost I think, because I don't know AT ALL where they are. ...Oh. Here they are. They were in one of the deeper piles on my desk.

1. I will be less of a self-conscious sissy about hair dye. FAIL. I bought burgundy hair color, but I didn't use it; I researched REALLY bold colors (pink, blue) but didn't buy any. Instead I continued to fuss about roots and timing, and about the hassle of getting dye on towels and pillowcases, and about what strangers at the grocery store would think about it. I did use a boxed blond color for summer, and I liked it okay, but another reason I didn't use the burgundy was that I really liked the boxed blond when it grew out beyond looking just rooty: I liked the mix of my own hair color and the lighter blond, and I didn't want to lose that phase by using a new color.

2. I will try to keep up with my digital photos. FAIL. I kept up for a few months, but then the Snapfish uploading tool broke and I got discouraged. I looked into switching to another service, but didn't. I did finally catch up by doing about four months of photos all at once, but then I've let it slip again.

3. I will persist long enough with the fish tank to know if it's something I want to pursue. SUCCESS. Knowing I was going to persist experimentally took off some of the pressure to LOVE IT OR GET RID OF IT AND MAKE THE DECISION RIGHT THIS SECOND, and I do find I like the tank and want to keep it. I don't have an urge to get a larger tank, though.

4. I'm going to act with less inhibition on generous impulses. SUCCESS, but with a note. I did quite a few things this year where previously I would have gotten into a knot about it, and it was fun. BUT, the note is that I thought more about it, and I think it's NOT such a good idea to keep acting on such impulses: it seems to set up situations where the recipient feels uncomfortable and/or burdened, and wonders if they should reciprocate, and feels awkward if they don't want to. It can actually make people feel BAD, and that's not what I'm going for, obviously.

So while I'm still going to act on such impulses when it's fun and also seems like it can't set up bad feelings (one-time things, or buying a cute shirt for my niece, or buying something for Paul, or sending in something for the assistant teacher instead of just for the teacher), I'm trying to channel some of the generous impulses towards good-works-type impulse-buying. For example, I saw a great deal on Lands' End backpacks and lunchboxes ($10 down from $40 and $4 down from $12, respectively, plus 40% off so it was $8.40 per backpack/lunchbox set), and I bought several sets to donate to a local food/clothing pantry that tries to provide backpacks and school supplies in the fall to kids who need them.

I also found out that our lower elementary school has trouble keeping a supply of clothing on hand for accident-clothing-change replacements, so now I have my eye out for some 75%-off clothes to donate, and I've already sent in two packages of 75%-off underpants and three pairs of pants and three shirts---all of which were low-priced but CUTE, unlike the enormous "Dopey" shirt (INAPPROPRIATE IMPLIED-MESSAGE ALERT) and rolled-up sweatpants they sent Elizabeth home in when she needed a change of clothes NOT THAT I'M STILL STEWING ABOUT IT.

This has been FUN for me. And this type of buying takes away my worry that I'm overdoing it and maybe making someone else feel uncomfortable and obligated, while still using a character trait I enjoy and think is worth cultivating.

5. Buy or make Bath & Body Works lavender-vanilla conditioner. SUCCESS. I bought a bunch of bottles on eBay and now I have enough to feel like I can use it any morning I want to.


This year's resolutions:

1. I'm putting "Don't be such a sissy about hair dye" back on the list.

2. The thing I said above, about channeling the generosity impulse into good-works-type generosity. I'm thinking it could be really fun to use my clearance-hunting impulses for this: if I find a winter coat or backpack for one of the kids on 75% off, couldn't I buy two and donate one? If I find a bunch of great basic long-sleeved cotton-knit shirts at the irresistible price of $1.74, but my kids already have too many shirts, couldn't I have the fun of buying a rainbow of them anyway, but then donate them? YES! Yes, I COULD!

3. Send at least one Any Soldier package. I even bought a bunch of stuff that would be good for packages, I just haven't done anything about it because of "Who to CHOOSE" decision-paralysis.

4. Buy food for the food pantry bit by bit, when I'm grocery shopping anyway. Our grocery store has huge bins right at the front of the store for donations, so all I have to do is (1) remember to buy extras of a couple of the non-perishables I'm buying anyway each week (extra box of pasta and extra jar of sauce, or extra jar of peanut butter and extra box of crackers) and (2) have the bagger bag them separately so I can drop them into the bin on the way out. ...Actually, that sounds like a hassle. Okay, so my resolution is to figure out a way to do it but without it being so much of a hassle, and then do THAT. I think this has the potential to make grocery shopping a little more fun, if I can figure out how to do it easily.

5. Do 30 minutes of housework in a particular room on a rotating basis each weekday. I started this in December but it's not off the ground yet. And I'm concerned that this might be more discouraging than useful, because of the way earlier rooms might already be back to their usual states before I'm several rooms further down the list. But when I tried it, I found it was useful for doing not just regular housework chores (dusting, vacuuming) but also for doing things I'd been putting off (cleaning out all the stuff that rolled under the TV table, put away a clutter pile in the dining room, cleaning the bugs out of light fixtures). It was like instead of thinking "Ug, I don't want to do that, I'd rather check Twitter," I was thinking "Well, I have to be in here cleaning anyway, I might as well do THAT." I made a list of all the rooms in the house, and I just looked at the list each day after lunch to see what that day's room was.

6. Buy a couple of cute tops. They can be t-shirts, even, but then they need to be embellished in a cute way.

7. Find a conditioner that works well for Elizabeth's hair without smelling like grown-up-lady perfume OR Kool-aid.

8. Try to move one number on the scale (like from a 2 to a 3 on a scale of 10, for example) on giving hugs and pats and hair-ruffles and so forth. I don't think in terms of physical touch, so I think I don't give enough of it to the kids.

9. Order a bottle of expensive French perfume. (Good idea, AndreaUnplugged!)


What are you resolving this year? And if you're not making resolutions and think they're stupid, be SURE to tell us all about it. (I'm sorry. It's the champagne talking.) (No, I'm not sorry AT ALL! Ha ha ha ha ha!! -The Champagne.)

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

For number 4, keep a wad of grocery bags in your car and bring one in when you go to the store. Fill it up as you shop and then it should be easier to keep it together at the end.

L said...

Good for you with all. I like #8 and also the champagnes comments at the end.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- !!! YES. THAT is a great idea.

Paige said...

For #4, like anonymous said, keep it separated as you shop. Then, when you get to the end, to avoid getting it mixed back in, have them ring it up as a separate transaction. Not only does it keep things separate, but you also get a receipt for the things you donated. I do this with the clearance stuff I buy at Target, too.

andreaunplugged said...

I haven't given it much though, but these are the things that come to my head quickly.

I'm going to send a few crappy day presents to my real life friends. I've sent a few to my internet friends, but know my real life friends would appreciate them too.

I also need to keep up with my pictures more too. Either by blogging them or by going through them and printing the good ones.

And I always intend to cook more things out of the cookbooks I have, so maybe I'll get around to that this year. Unfortunately with the internet, and magazine recipes, I always get distracted from using my cookbooks.

Barb said...

I like the way you think, Swistle. "Moving from a 2 to a 3 on a scale of 10" is such an approachable way to think of a goal.

Bunnyslippers said...

I always have the one new recipe a week goal, but this year I'll make it one new or one resurrected recipe a week, to take some of the pressure off. (I tend to get stuck in culinary ruts.).

Crappy day presents for more friends is also a great idea.

I really need to eat healthier.

Doing My Best said...

I'm almost certain that I need to devote some SERIOUS EFFORT to eating more ice cream and sending more Crappy Day Presents ;-)! (Who said resolutions couldn't be enjoyable?)

Bratling said...

GET ORGANIZED. And yeah, I'm putting it in all caps, because I have what I call the "black hole". Once something goes in there, odds are that it'll never be found again! Technically speaking, it's my sewing closet. Realistically speaking, it's a pit of despair. I'm 6"0, and until today, it was piled up to my neck with shopping bags, cardboard boxes, and loose pieces and scraps of fabric and supplies.

I didn't realize until this year that After Christmas Sales = storage sales. I bought seventeen bins of various sizes (and I'm reusing others!) labeled them, and proceeded to empty the black hole and do a bit of preliminary sorting. Honestly, while I've made progress... as in everything that was once floating around in the closet is now messily (I didn't have time for neatly packing everything) stashed in said bins.

I have ribbon racks coming in the mail, and I may end up ordering more that the two that I did--while each one is supposed to hold 70+ rolls of ribbon, I have a huge Aldis bag full! I crave organization. I want to be able to locate the supplies I need in five minutes or less instead of hours! So that's my goal. Organize my stash. I still have to figure out what, exactly, to do with my pattern collection!

Rachel said...

Ive got 18 things on my 2012 goal list at my blog, but some of my favorites are read with the kid every day, and try 24 new vegetables. I love the possibilities of this moment.

Misty said...

These kinds of giving speak to me as well. I wish our grocery kept a donation bin in the front. I think these are great ideas for helping out in your own community.

I am still figuring out what I would like to focus on this year. This is helpful though. Oh and I love Swistle + The Champagne. :)

HereWeGoAJen said...

I have been working on the cute tops one for a while now. It's surprisingly hard.

I think I need to put "get a good hair cut" on my list.

Slauditory said...

I don't know what your daughter's hair type is, but I have to say that hair conditioners from the "natural" or "ethnic" hair care aisles smell good, like cocoa butter, coconut, or lemon. Some are for fine hair, some for coarse. Also, Garnier Fructis' shampoo and conditioner smells like citrus.

Snoopyfan said...

I am going to do more crappy day packages for real life friends (I did one this year for my friend who has had a crappy year-liver transplant- and she loved it) and continue to try to get more oragnized. My husband and I are both by nature packrats and slobs. We need to step it up!

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I LOVE your resolutions and want to steal them.

I remember your generous impulses resolution from last year and sort of adopted it for myself. And I came to the SAME CONCLUSION, that it makes people feel unnecessarily awkward, or sets up a horrible sense (on their part) of reciprocity. When that is the LAST thing I intended. So I love the idea to channel that desire to give into more charitable types of giving.

The 30-minutes-a-day housework plan is another one I want to adopt. I also want to try to work in 30 minutes of exercise each day. We'll see. And I'm giving up sweets for January a) because I don't eat a TON of sweets anyway, so it seems like a more workable way of improving my eating habits than giving up pasta (the horror!) and b) because my best friend is doing it and I decided to tag along.

I don't normally make resolutions, simply because I am HORRIBLE at keeping them. But maybe if they are someone ELSE'S resolutions, it will be easier. :-)

Lauren said...

And then when you forget to bring in a bag for your donation groceries (as I always do), you can open up the baby seat part of the shopping cart and use that to keep your items separate. Great resolutions!

Swistle said...

Lauren- OH, I like THAT idea TOO!

Heather said...

I dont do resolutions as such, I do the day zero project instead. Having a longer time to do it takes the pressure off me.

For the grocery donations, here is what I do. I have one reusable grocery bag that is a different colour to the others. When I throw things loosely into my cart, I put the extras straight into the bag and when I get to the checkout, I put that bag through first and ask them to pack straight back into it. Then I can just empty it when I get to the donation bin.

velocibadgergirl said...

I love your resolutions! Mine are to continue the Great Decluttering of my house and to get back into a regular yoga class. Boring, I suppose, but the decluttering is going to be pretty epic.

Swistle said...

Heather- Good one! I have a different-colored bag I can put with the others right now, and then I'll never forget it! ...Unless I forget all the others too. But I rarely do that anymore.

velocibadgergirl said...

Bratling, I know this is weird since you don't know me, but I really really really want to see pics of your newly-organized sewing closet! I puffy pink glitter heart storage bins and labels and ogling other people's organization projects.

Superjules said...

I LOVE the idea of channeling the generosity impulse into good works.
Oooh, and I haven't sent an Any Soldier package either yet.

I'm apparently going to be lifting some of your resolutions; hope you don't mind.

VirginiaMom said...

I may be able to help you with the conditioner. Sally's Beauty Supply carries CureCare Conditioner "a professional hair and skin conditioner." It's VERY inexpensive, unscented, and works amazingly well. I've used it on more than 50 foster children over the years and everone in my biological family uses it, so we buy it by the gallon. A gallon costs about ten dollars. It does come in 20 oz. bottles too.

MrsDragon said...

On the grocery shopping conundrum...why not grab a hand held basket along with your cart? Put your doubles in the hand-held basket as you shop. That way they are all together when it's time to check out and can easily be bagged/kept together. You could even check out separately, if you want the receipt for tax purposes. : )

Jessica said...

Hehe, I love the late-night addition of the perfume to the list.

Josefina said...

Of course, I am extremely curious which perfume you choose. I hope you'll update after the purchase!

Swistle said...

Josefina- L'Artisan Passage d'Enfer!

heather said...

I love Neutragena (i know I spelled that wrong but close) conditioner. It works amazing and has two different strengths you can buy. Its a little pricey (mayve $4.50?) but it goes a long way and I believe meets your non stinky criteria.

Alice said...

Ooh, my resolution was a vague "be more thoughtful" thing, so these ideas on where/how to easily donate are very helpful. I DON'T automatically have those impulses, so I need ideas and a system to make it reliably happen!

Paige said...

My resolution is to get in shape. How novel of me! I'm certain I'll be the only person in the gym this evening...

As far as conditioner for Elizabeth's hair, maybe try some of the Herbal Essence line. Their stuff always smells clean and fresh. I use the "Hello Hydration" conditioner and it smells like coconuts, but not in a Malibu Barbie way.

Shalini said...

OK, I'm late to the party here, but might I suggest a super awesome Goodwill and/or thrift shop for #6? I don't know what it is about finding stuff at thrift stores, but I feel like I am WINNING everything. (Downside: not online, takes more time.) (Those could also be upsides.)

Tess said...

Man, I HAND-WRING over someone like you, who has such CLEAR talent in the thoughtfulness/gift realm. I totally AM the asshole who is not good at gifts herself, and so feels awkward/obligated. Reciprocating causes me stress, because I WANT to do it, but I'm so HORRIFICALLY BAD at it. I would like to move from a 2 to a 3 on this. I'd be curious to know if there's something specific you feel has made you such an excellent gift-giver, and suggestions you have for improvement in this area.

Swistle said...

Tess- I think it's pure Birth Into It. It's something I LIKE, so it's EASY and FUN. Not that I always SUCCEED, of course: I've done the equivalent of giving a sweater knit out of cat fur to someone allergic to cats. But pure VOLUME gives me a good number of successes, and it's not a struggle to work on improving it.

I think it's probably like everything else: someone not born to it can improve SOME, just as I'm hoping to slightly change the way touch is not one of my love languages. But it's probably an 80%/20% thing, where it's not worth struggling TOO hard to improve it, when you could instead work in an area that comes more naturally.

I suggest thinking of, say, ONE or maybe TWO extra gifts to do in the entire year. Maybe pick one or two situations where it's no big deal if you fail: like, a gift to a teacher you won't see again after this year, or buying a tin of mixed nuts for the mail carrier at Christmas, and see if you like it. Or do the charity-donation thing to practice in a totally safe way: cans of tuna to the local food pantry, for example.

Hippy Chick said...

I added hair color to my resolutions this year, too! I dyed it on a whim right after Thanksgiving and while it wasn't perfect, I loved the color! It's dark burgundy, black cherry-ish. I was so glad I took the leap, you will be, too!

Rebecca said...

If you haven't yet, try TRESemmé conditioner for Elizabeth. That's what I use on my hair, and on my younger son when his hair gets too long (it's wavy and grows OUT rather than down and gets almost matted without conditioner at that stage). It smells nice and clean, but not perfumy. It's thick but rinses easily and makes detangling so very much easier. My hair is waist length and fine so I get tons of tangles and nothing works as well on my hair as TRESemmé.

Kristin H said...

My resolution this year is to always use the right size bowl for cooking or baking. I tend to go too small. One of these years I'll resolve to use the right size square of wrapping paper when I wrap presents, but I'm starting small.

Omaha Mama said...

I just broke down today and decided to do resolutions this year. I was trying not to, but couldn't help myself. I linked back to you...because I really like your green frame with your resolutions in it and am going to try and do one like that myself. I like your design and the bright colors. I should have added 'make the resolution frame' to my list!

Swistle said...

Omaha Mama- YES. Do it! It makes a GREAT resolution!