Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Christmas Is Over, Now What? Part 2

Christmas is over, the new year is two days away. About this time of year, people start making New Year's Resolutions, setting goals, sometimes making decisions about their lives that may or may not be productive throughout the year.

When I was in my teens and early 20s, I never gave a thought to "new year's resolutions," and from what I saw of older people around me who did, it seemed pretty silly. Those resolutions never seemed to come true, or were even talked about much beyond New Year's Day. So why bother?

As I got older, with a husband and children, I tried to set some goals for myself, or even for the kids, to  have something to work towards. Again, it never seemed to work out the way I wanted. And then I began to wonder why. If you take the time to set out some goals for yourself, why don't you accomplish them? I decided  to start asking people about their resolutions, and if they actually followed through with them during the year. What I found surprised me.

One person told me that in the middle of a New Year's Eve party, standing in front of a gigantic table loaded with delicious, extremely rich food, she told everyone around that her number one resolution for the next year was to lose weight. That year she gained 25 pounds.

Another young lady told me that at midnight on New Year's Eve, she looked around and saw most of her friends kissing their boyfriends, while she stood by, "kissless." Her number one resolutions was to not only get a boyfriend, but to be engaged or married by the following New Year's Eve. The following New Year's Eve, she did have a boyfriend...but not the kind you'd want YOUR daughter kissing!

A male friend told me his resolution for the coming year was to invest for the first time in the stock market, because many of his business associates were making a lot of money. When I asked him if he knew anything about the stock market ( I don't), he said no, but it seemed easy to learn about. He lost a lot of money that year.

What does this all add up to? Making decisions on the spur of the moment, calling them "New Year's Resolutions," and not putting any thought into what that resolution actually means. It appears that a good many people, of all ages, make their "resolutions" exactly the same way. They get caught up in the excitement of the New Year's moment, and whatever comes to their mind becomes a "resolution."

If you have something you truly want to do during the coming year, why make an off-the-cuff decision about it? Why not take the time to think about it, make it a goal to be accomplished, and then think about what it's going to take during the coming year for you to accomplish what you want?

Suppose you have a story started, and you want to turn it into a novel, finish it, and get it off to a few publishers by December 1st. That's your goal. What are the steps, or objectives, you need to take to accomplish that goal? You need to think that much time do you actually have to write each day? Don't set a certain number of words or pages for yourself that you have to struggle to get down. Be realistic in what you can accomplish on a daily basis, and each step will become much easier.

The point is: when you make a New Year's Resolution, give it some time and thought. Is this really what you want to accomplish this coming year? Is it a realistic goal, given your personality, your attitude, your willingness to overcome whatever obstacles might come up during the year, including things like your "real" life: outside job, family, children, etc.  You need to consider all of this before commiting yourself.

If it is important enough to say, This is my goal, then it is important enough for you to take the time to think it through, and come up with the steps you need to take to accomplish the goal. Just be sure you are realistic. Don't set yourself up for failure by deciding that you HAVE to do something each day that simply may not be easily done, due to your other obligations. And LIFE! LIFE has a way of coming at us at the most inconvenient times and under the most inconvenient conditions, so be sure to make allowances for the things you can't control, and make the most of those things you can control.

Make a goal plan, follow that plan to the best of your ability, but don't let it get you down, and don't allow yourself to become discouraged if you fail to do something in the time you've set for yourself. Remember, without failure there is no success. Hmm...somebody famous said that, but I don't remember who!

Happy New Year, everyone, and Happy and Realistic Resolutioning!!

Until next time,
That's a wrap.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday's Meanderings: Christmas Is Over, Now What?

Christmas is over! I wonder how many of you feel as I do, that it was great while it lasted, but I'm glad that it's over? I love the preparations for Christmas: the decorating of house, tree, and the outside, planning the menu for Christmas dinner. But I don't love the shopping in all the crowds, and I don't even like wrapping gifts. I just like seeing the finished project sitting under the tree, all bright and colorful and shiny.

But then it's over. The last guest leaves, the first load of dishes is in the dishwasher, and there's a mountain of food left over to be wrapped and put in the freezer, or made up into "care" packages.  There are still a few gifts to be sorted out and put away; the Christmas table that was so beautifully set is a mess, remnants of dessert on cheery Christmas paper plates to be thrown away; soda cans to be made sure they are empty before putting them in the recycle sack; and the lovely tablecloth, place mats, and napkins have to be washed, ironed, and put away for the next year. All of this is the 'real' work of Christmas. To say nothing of finally taking down the tree and putting away all the lovely, funny, and quirky decorations!

In my house, the latter means carefully storing away 15 large doll-sized Santa Clauses, each from a different state and/or part of the world that I've been in. It means taking 7 Snowdens ( remember them as Target's Christmas symbol during the lat '90s and early 2000's ?) and lovingly wrapping them up and putting them in their own packing boxes; it's bubble-wrapping my 7 piece Victorian village so none of it gets broken...a major job with all the little people, horse-and-carriages, trees, street lamps, and so on. And then there are all of my furry creatures to put away: 3 mooses, 2 reindeer, one singing mouse, 20-some bears of all sizes including several very large ones; one large, standing Tigger, one small talking Tigger, 3 dogs of various sizes, and one lion who surveys his kingdom every year. There's also the nativity scene, several china and porcelain Santas, all of my Santa paintings, and my other Christmas wood paintings. And I've probably forgotten some.

All the excitement and music and glamour and anticipation, and even the work is over, and slowly but surely the "normal" world comes back into focus. Now what?

We'll talk about "now what?" in my next post.

Until then,
That's a wrap.