And we meet again....

Two years ago today, I smoked my last cigarette.
At that time, I planned to go on the patch and give quitting smoking a try. For the 6th or 7th time. On January 3rd, 2010, it stuck.
Instead of 'resolving' to quit smoking, I made a goal to not smoke THAT DAY. And the next day, I'd make the same goal. And the days began to add up. And they turned into weeks. I celebrated 100 days. I celebrated 200 days. I celebrated 1 year. And today- I celebrate 2 years of being smoke free.
This is not to say that at any point I haven't wanted to smoke. Because I have. I have had an unlit cigarette in my hand. I've smelled it. I pretended to flick it. I have practically salivated over the thought of that sweet smoke in my lungs, quiet burn of the tobacco, rush to the head. 

But then I stopped.

Remembered how far I had come.
Remembered how many days I could count smoke free.
Remembered why I quite smoking.
Remembered how it feels to run and run and run and breath fresh air easily.
Remembered what it feels like to say I did something amazing and good for me.

And now, I hardly even remember what it was like to be a smoker.
I made a goal, I stuck with it and I achieved it.
Resolution made.
Resolution successful.

The definition of resolution is a resolve or determination; the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
To me, this means a resolution is a journey- not just a destination. It is a course of action. Oftentimes, we create resolutions using words such as 'never' and 'always.' I think that is way too much pressure and makes the resolution seem like an impossible goal. When I quit smoking, I didn't tell myself  I'd never smoke again. Each day I just made the choice not to smoke. This is merely a mind trick but it works. I didn't feel pressure and if I slipped up, tomorrow was a new day.

I read this article today on the care and keeping of resolutions. It gives 10 tips to make the resolutions attainable.
In creating my resolutions this year, I'm following this writer's advice:

1. Make the resolutions well-rounded. Not all my resolutions are about health or finances. I focus on all areas of my life.
2. Less is more. I'm the queen of stretching myself thin- over schedule, over commit and overachieve. This year I put a limit on my resolutions.
3. Think timely. My 30th birthday is 17 months away so my resolutions focus on goals associated with that.
4. Set goals- and schedules. Each resolution is going to have a few specifics to help me stay on track.
5. Use the buddy system. I'd like to connect with people who share my resolutions so if you read one you can relate to- let's talk. :)
6. Establish rewards. I think this is huge. Recognizing achievements, no matter how small, is crucial in order to succeed.
7. Also establish penalties. This is something I had not thought of before. This writer suggests 'beneficial consequences.' You are not completely letting yourself off the hook, but your consequence is a benefit to others. For example- if you break your resolution this month, instead of treating yourself to your normal monthly movie- put those funds toward a charity. I like the idea of incorporating this into my resolutions.
8. Create checkpoints. I think this goes well with tip #4. Each month, I'm going to do a post on where I'm at with my 2012 resolutions.
9. Learn from the past. We can't predict the future. Maybe 2011 ended differently than we expected. How can we use that knowledge in 2012? I know I had some unpredictable events occur that make me refocus for 2012.
10. Don't hide your resolutions. Hello...I'm blogging about them right now!! For me, posting goals on this blog and talking to friends about them helps me stay accountable. I know a lot of people are rooting for me. It gives me the extra boost I need when I just want to quit. :)

So without further ado...

NicMarie's 2012 Resolutions

1. Spend 10 minutes a day reading my Bible. Remember  back in October when I created goals for the remainder of 2011? One of them was to complete the 'Read the Bible in a Year' I started 5 years ago. Guess what? I didn't finish it. I gave it a really good effort on December 31st, but Ezekiel is just boring. So that's when I decided it doesn't matter if I read the entire thing front to back. It just matters that I'm spending time daily with God, reflecting on his teachings and growing spiritually. Originally, my goal was going to be to memorize a verse a week or read certain books of the bible, but I'm not going to put restrictions on this resolution. Once a day I'm going to grab my bible and set a timer for 10 minutes. And read what I feel like. Some days I might read longer than that. Some days 10 minutes might be a struggle. But each day is a chance to learn, to grow, and become more Jesus-like.

2. Spend 10 minutes a day writing in my journal. I started a journal in 3rd grade. I've consistently kept a journal since 6th grade. In the past few years, I've written less and less. That's not to say I haven't needed some emotionally cleansing writing, I've just not done it. Sometimes it's because I don't want to deal with the feelings. Because putting them on paper makes them real. Sometimes it's because I know that once I start, it's going to be a flood and I think 'that's going to take an hour, I'll do it some other time.' I'm not putting it off anymore. Everyday, for 10 minutes, I'm writing. I think it's the cheapest therapy money can buy. :)

3. Eat as green as possible. I'm still on a no-meat diet. Mostly no-dairy. After the holidays- lots of sweets, weird eating schedules, fattier food than I normally would make, larger portions- I feel the need to detox a little. I have some recipes to try out and I'm making sure that at least one of my meals each day contains a healthy dose of green vegetables. When I'm eating clean and green, I feel amazing.

4. Minimal credit card use. Last year, my goal was to not use a credit card for all of 2011. That promptly lasted 2 weeks until my car broke done. Then sometime around October I got lazy and my credit card magically became my payment method of choice. I know it's impossible to never use a credit card (booking plane tickets anyone?) but I'm not going to use my credit card regularly. I have built a more realistic budget this year and I'm on track to only have one debt payment by my 30th birthday.

5. Train for a marathon....safely. Last year I started training for a marathon and completely overdid it. Too many miles too fast. Not enough rest days. Improper equipment. After being injured, I've gotten smarter. I have a few race goals in 2012 and one of them will be a marathon. Anybody else interested?? :)

6. Spend more time with family and less time with the TV. I noticed that once I get free time on the weekends, my ass gets parked on the couch watching some mindless shows. Or surfing the Internet. Or some other mindless, fruitless activity. My parents, sisters and all extended family live in town and I can go months without seeing them or having any meaningful conversation. This year I'm going to make a better effort to call them up just to say hey. Or grab some coffee and pop by for a visit. It doesn't have to be a huge get-together, relationships are built on the little moments. I don't want to look back on my life and realize I made  more time for things that don't matter instead of building memories with those I love.

7. Control my hobbies. Remember this post where I also said I was going to knit 2 hats by the end of 2011? Well, that didn't happen either. I crocheted one and one is still in progress. I'm shooting for a Valentines Day gift (sorry, T). I realized I do this every holiday season- come up with a bunch of cool, crafty ideas and then about drive myself nuts trying to finish them all in 2 weeks. It's insane. This year, I'm planning smarter. I'm going to work on a list of knitting projects I'd like to complete and then give them due dates. I'm also still doing book club, but I"m going to suggest a few books from my 30 before 30 list so I can kill 2 birds with one stone. And again- I'm giving myself due dates. I used to read on my breaks at work and I'm going to start doing that again. Not only does it help me get my reading in, it is a nice break from work.

8. Control my schedule. I mentioned earlier how I stretch myself thin. This might be an understatement. Often my calendar is so jam-packed I have to schedule time just to do my laundry. I think this goes back to my need to please and achieve. This year I'm allowing myself to say 'no' to people if my week is already packed and not feel bad about it. When I over schedule, it's usually because I don't want to hurt someone's feelings if I tell them I can't make it. I'm realizing it's okay to come home from work and spend time decompressing. Not every second needs filled with an activity.

So that's it. 8 resolutions. More than 5, but less than 10. This year I'm: reading my bible, writing more, eating greener, gaining control of  my finances, running, spending time with people I care about, working on crafts and making time for myself.
I think they are manageable and realistic. I plan on monthly updates on my progress and I'm sure many of them will get mentions in the Sunday 7.

As I've said before, being who you truly are is a daily journey. I use resolutions as time to reflect and refocus.

To be completely honest, I'm excited about these resolutions (I know, I'm a nerd :)). Each of these came from me considering what I feel like is missing in my life or what is out of balance.

Each one is step in the journey of EvenMe.

Do you have 2012 resolutions? What method do you use for creating them? Do we have in any common?