Last year was the first year that I officially did New Year's Resolutions. I made great progress on some and hardly any progress on others. I liked the difference between the resolutions and my birthday checklist so I'm making another set of resolutions for the new year.
1.) Eye Contact - This is the one hold over from last year's list, but I really need to work on it. This point was driven home to me this month when I was talking to people after a school function. There was a very good looking man there and I could not look him in the eye. When I was driving home I was so annoyed with myself for not being able to do that. I know that I avoid looking people in the eye because of lack of self confidence and I really avoid it when I find the person attractive because I'm sure that they will be able to read it all over my face. Well it is time to change that. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact. With everyone. Not just the good looking guy, but the grocery store clerk, the co-workers, the man on the street. This is really the scariest one I'm doing because I feel like I'm revealing something vulnerable about myself. I also know that this one could really change my life in so many good ways if I can follow through.
2.) The Simple Life - This is the biggie. It started from the thought that I really need to make a concerted effort to pay off my credit card bill. It is standing in the way of things I want to do like go on more trips and eventually buy a house or condo. I need to step up my payments which means I'm going to need to cut back in other areas. From that one idea lots of little money saving ideas have sprouted and others tangentially related have popped up. Some of these don't just lead to dollars saved but an improvement in my quality of life, thus the title. Here are a few areas in this category.
a.) Cook at home more. I've been struggling with cooking for a while, but there are so many benefits to cooking at home. The obvious one is saving money. What I'm bad about is having things to cook at home, but picking up food on the way home anyway because I'm tired and don't feel like cooking or don't feel like eating what is at home or just being lazy. I need to work on buying stuff from the store and then actually eating it. I'm really bad about this in terms of lunch. I grab something quick way too often.
The side benefit of course is if I am cooking at home I am going to eat healthier. My healthy eating goal is to cut out as much pre-processed foods as I can. Eat fresh so to speak. I have really high hopes for my latest cookbook acquisition. The author is from England and eats in this way: lots of simple ingredients, lots of fruits and vegetables, elegantly.
There is one more cooking thing. I have a horrible, horrible sweet tooth especially for baked items. I eat them all the time. Well I'm not going to stop myself from eating sweets (I would die) but I have to make them here at home mostly from scratch. There will be some exceptions if I am at a nice restaurant or as a special treat, but what I want to stop myself from doing is picking up ready made things from the grocery store or cupcake shop. Of course the other great part about this is that I will be actually be learning how to bake. It's a win win all around.
b.) Fun on the Cheap - Now I am not a fan of people who are cheap. I don't mean people who are trying to watch their money or have financial reasons for restricting the cash flow. I mean the people who are just downright cheap. They never spend money on anything, leave bad tips and complain when they have to spend an extra dollar two. But I know if I am going to pay more on my credit card each month then I will need to watch my cash flow a little better. I talked about this last year in my travel resolution. I freely spend little amounts of money. $5 here, $10 there. I don't think about it and it quickly adds up. Most of that money flows when I am out and about in the city and I want to get a better handle on it. A lot of it is food related which goes back to the previous point, but I would also like to find things around the city that don't cost much to do. There are a whole raft of museums that I have never been to that are free or cost very little to visit. I could go for walks in the park or ride my bike. Everything that I do for fun doesn't have to have a dollar amount tied to it i.e. The Simple Life.
c.) Disconnect - When I started thinking of ways to save money the first thing that popped to mind was my cable bill. I'm not really sure if I could completely give up cable, but I'm looking at my options. When I imagined what my life would be like without cable I started thinking of all the things I would probably start doing. Read books, go for walks, exercise, cook and bake, write letters, sleep. Things that would make my life better. I want to work on doing those things and turning off the TV and computer (eeep!) every once in a while.
So there you go. Only two, but two big ones. Resolutions are something that I work on slowly over the year. It isn't going to happen right away. Many people try to do their resolutions cold turkey and fail more often than not. I am going to fall down on them some days and do marvelously on others. If I have changed my course, even just slightly, by the end of the year it will be a success.