I ended 2010 feeling simultaneously restless and exhausted. Something about this past few months of work and dog care and photos and attempts to balance it all left me incredibly unmotivated and yet wanting so much more. It's a terrible feeling to want to be doing so much but lack the motivation to tackle anything. It resulted in a lot of to do lists with nothing crossed off. Hence my 2011 goals list was at one point about 10 items long - double what I wanted it to be. So I gave it some thought, came home last night and whittled that list down to five things.
Before I list them, I feel like I should explain their purpose. Most of my 2010 goals were photography focused. I did them with them the hope that this past year would be the one where I made the jump to full-time photographer. But something happened in 2010 that I didn't count on. I started a new full-time job that I actually love, and slowly but surely (and after some soul searching), I became convinced that I'm actually happy right now with photography as a hobby - a hobby that affords me buying fancy new photography equipment.
With photography no longer my singular purpose, I actually wanted to introduce a little more balance in my life. I wanted goals which I thought would be more fulfilling as a whole to my life instead of being so focused on one aspect of it. And I think that's why I started feeling restless at the end of this year. There were all these other areas of my life I felt were lacking, so in 2011, I'll focus on those.
Goal 1: Workout
Last year, my contract ended on my gym and I opted not to renew. There's a gym I can use for free at my office, so I saw no point in paying for another one - one that I barely used. But the thing is I barely use the one at my work either. I do miss working out, so my plan is this. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I can stay later at work, I'm going to use my lunch hour to fit in a quick 20 minute work out (30 if I can). And the other days of the week, when I have to walk Taylor in the mornings, I'm going to start running with him to the park. I walk him there now, so if I start running him there it gives me a little extra calorie burn. And I don't have to alter my schedule, I'm just going to start making better use of my time.
Goal 2: No more fast food meat
This is a carry over of sorts from last year. I did better about grocery shopping for ethically-raised meat, but I didn't do as well when I ate out. I want to stop giving money to corporations that treat animals as nothing more than dollar signs on their bottom line. If I do eat out, I want to make sure that what I order, does not contain meat unless it is advertising that the meat is local, organic and ethically raised. Thankfully there is the best sandwich shop ever steps from my work that has this exact philosophy in mind. I love you Hannah's.
Goal 3: Less money on clothes
I spend a lot of money on clothes, accessories and shoes. According to Mint.com, it's the budget item I'm most likely to overspend on. I'm not proud of it. I'd like to make better use of my money in 2011 (hopefully by throwing it at a house), so this is one area I know I can monitor and control easily. I'm setting a goal to not spend more than $100 a month on clothes, shoes or accessories - basically anything to outfit myself. Even that seems ridiculous to type because I realize that amount would be a complete luxury to most, but it's something I think I can achieve and is actually a reduction for me. Again, I'm not proud of this but it is what it is.
Goal 4: Ambiance dinners
My parents came to Chicago for a wedding in October. That Saturday night that they were in town, Mike and I made them dinner. As we set the table, my mom started asking where the place settings and candles and fancy napkins were. Mike and I had the candles but nothing else. We ate on mismatched places with mismatched silverware. So for Christmas, my parents got Mike and I proper place settings - table mats, napkins, napkin rings, candles - the works. I love them, and I want to start using them on a regular basis. Because the other thing my parents impressed upon Mike and I was the importance of sitting down to a nice meal on a regular basis. She and my dad do it often, and they've been married for more than 30 years. I figure this is one piece of advice I should take. So that's it. Mike and I are going to have weekly ambiance dinners.
Goal 5: Photo a day
Lexi, this one is for you. I have toyed with the idea of doing the photo a day for a year challenge before. And I've always loved the idea of doing it, I just didn't think I'd have the commitment to stick through with it. And I'm still not sure if I do, but I guess we'll see. Lexi did help me see that I don't need to be lugging around my fancy camera everyday. I have a decent camera on my phone, and a small point and shoot that's pretty portable. Not every shot needs to be of the best quality. Sometimes, just getting the shot is good enough. So I'm doing this. I hope this goal will help me stay creative and challenged with my photography throughout this year, while also serving as a great way to document my year.
I do know though that there's no way I'm going to be able to post a photo every single day. I don't turn on my laptop every night. So what I'll do it take a photo every day and do a weekly collage of my shots. Here's my first one, a self-portrait taken on 1.1.11.