Objectives 2015.

Well, this year’s been absolutely insane.

My objectives have moved around a bit due to rescheduling pregnancy, but I’m not doing too badly.

1: I am making well over £50/day between all my work. 100% accomplished.

2: I have finished both books and published them as well! 100% accomplished.

3: Speaking German? Whoops. 0%.

4: Certificates? Oh dear. 0%.

5: Deadlift, squats and shrugs nearly at bodyweight and we’ll be trying for a baby in March! 80% accomplished.

6: #NoNothingNovember2014 still adhered to. I feel much better for it too. 95% accomplished.

7: Ebay established and raking in the money. 100% accomplished.

Plus we are prepared for TTC, including my crazy diet plans; we’ve made, grown and got so many things for free or cheap; my garden hasn’t grown much, but it’s ready for next year and the foraging was a huge success; the blog has went well with regularly scheduled posts; I have done some reading and crafting, though nowhere near what I would like; I’ve kept dinner parties, events and celebrations rolling over, especially now I am making enough money to balance them, and the house seems great, the dog and cat are healthy and Jon seems incredibly happy with everything. So the year’s went well. Total targets around 72%. Not too shabby. 🙂

As for next year’s goals… I have no clue yet.

We’ll be trying for a baby in February-March, so around 9 months of the year are accounted for as “what happens happens”. Provisionally, my goals will be centered around that idea.

1: Keep eating my perfect-baby-diet until I’m breastfeeding and need to adjust it a little for milk purposes. This means 90% Paleo, sugar, dairy and wheat negligible, low carb with refeeds, high vitamin and mineral content, plenty of water, 2 cups of coffee daily (no more no less), no alcohol and as few meals out as possible.

2: Actually learn German this year. Honest. I need to put any time off work to good use anyhow.

3: Get stocked up with everything baby related cheaply or for free. If you have any money-saving or time-saving baby tips, please share!

4: ?

5: ?

6: ?

7: ?

Intangible goals are also a bit up in the air, so… 😦

Until the plans are more solid, that’s where I am. To be honest, I’m nervous about planning anything around my first pregnancy. I’ll have to wait and see how everything goes.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Let Go Of These 25 Things Next Year.

New year’s resolutions are often about doing more, adding more, holding onto more and more things… Which is very good, to be honest. Doing more exercise, finding more time for family, making more money, working harder in the garden or reading more books are all honourable, valuable things to add to our lives.

But for everything we add, we need to make some space. So why not balance every addition with something we can let go of?

1: Hopelessness.

Why let go?

There is nothing we can’t work on, there is nothing we can’t fix or live with. There is always a way and there is always something nice left.

How do I let go?

Whenever you feel hopeless, write a list of everything you still have by your side and everything you have to look forward to.

What does it pair with?

Goal-oriented resolutions, such as weightloss, strength gain, work goals or creative work.

2: Keeping up.

Why let go?

You aren’t anyone else. You have a different life, different means and needs and different end goals than them. If you compare yourself continually, you will never be enough.

How do I let go?

Set yourself personal goals and keep detailed track of your progress and setbacks. You are your main point of comparison.

What does it pair with?

Shared goals and group activities, like gym attendance, courses and family resolutions.

3: Hang ups.

Why let go?

A hang up leaves you constantly slightly concerned about unlikely events and overly worked up about inevitable events.

How do I let go?

Look at your situation for what it is, rather than what it could be. Focus on reality and now and try and work for the best realistic result.

What does it pair with?

Relationship goals, work goals, anything where you depend on other people for your success.

4: Boredom.

Why let go?

Boredom is a choice, not a state. You have endless books, tv shows, music, hobbies, projects and ideas within your grasp.

How do I let go?

Whenever you feel bored, try and pick up one of your hobbies. If you haven’t got enough to go around, then you might need something new!

What does it pair with?

Tedious and repetitive goals, like dieting, studying or keeping accounts.

5: Perfection.

Why let go?

Nobody is perfect, nothing is perfect. It’s fine to aim for the stars, but if you can’t accept anything less, then you might be stressing yourself.

How do I let go?

Rather than set yourself a pass-fail test, set yourself percentages. Aim for 100% always, but 80-90% is still great.

What does it pair with?

Any goal that feels like all-or-nothing to you!

6: Miserliness.

Why let go?

We don’t need a quarter of what we own, let alone of what we want. Clinging onto things rather than people can make us weak and nervous.

How do I let go?

Share openly and freely. You don’t need to give everything away, just to balance your savings with your socializing.

What does it pair with?

Money and savings related resolutions.

7: Grudges.

Why let go?

A grudge does no good. It makes you feel bad and treat others badly.

How do I let go?

Write down your grudges. Write down how they make you feel and in what ways they continue to affect you. On a separate piece of paper, write things you can do to actually improve the situation. Burn, bury or bin the grudge list and keep the improvement list.

What does it pair with?

Everything and everyone.

8: Fretting.

Why let go?

Once you’ve identified a problem, any further worrying is just bad for your health.

How do I let go?

Work out what the problem is, work out solutions and try and distract yourself from it. Consider a mantra, such as “this is finished/solved now”.

What does it pair with?

Any high-end resolutions where the 100% target is quite hard to reach.

9: Procrastination.

Why let go?

Putting things off only feels good in the short term. In the long term it can ruin plans.

How do I let go?

Try and set yourself a list of tasks and goals and stick to it. Make sure everything is done.

What does it pair with?

Unscheduled resolutions where your goal could be accomplished at unspecified times.

10: Despair.

Why let go?

Despair is like a grudge, hopelessness or fretting. You’re letting yourself stay sad over something rather than working with or against it.

How do I let go?

Try and find the positives rather than focus on the negatives. Don’t desire to feel sad, desire and seek happiness in everything you do.

What does it pair with?

Resolutions where setbacks are part of the game, especially self improvement.

11: Compulsions.

Why let go?

Compulsions are like faulty instincts. We do them without thinking and they can easily hurt us or others.

How do I let go?

Find out what you do compulsively and make a point of stopping it for up to three months. Replace it with healthy behaviours. After then, a new habit could have formed.

What does it pair with?

Quitting-based resolutions, like diets, kicking drugs and removing maladaptive behaviours.

12: Stress.

Why let go?

Stress is a part of everyday life and often the only thing that keeps us going. But it’s also destroying our bodies and our sanity.

How do I let go?

Practice meditation and mindfulness. You can meditate to leave the stress behind and be mindful to push it out of yourself. You can use meditation and mindfulness techniques anywhere, at any time, for however long you like.

What does it pair with?

Time-restricted and work based resolutions.

13: Weakness.

Why let go?

Nobody wants to be weak, or chooses to be weak, but we can choose to either embrace or defeat our weaknesses.

How do I let go?

Make a list of things you cannot resist, things you cannot do or cannot fight. Systematically work through them until you feel more accomplished.

What does it pair with?

Generic, intangible or unmeasurable resolutions, such as “be better at maths” or “spend less”.

14: Talking down.

Why let go?

Talking down to yourself and others is a bad habit that encourages negative thinking and asocialness.

How do I let go?

Try and find something positive in someone every time you have a negative thought about them (even yourself) and say the positive instead of the negative.

What does it pair with?

Social, positivity and self-esteem based goals.

15: Fear.

Why let go?

Fear makes us reluctant to try new things, to return to places that upset us or to act as we would want to. It stifles action and keeps us in one place.

How do I let go?

Think of all the things your fear prevents you from doing. Think of how much better your life would be without the fear. Bit by bit, build up the courage to face your fear.

What does it pair with?

New and exciting resolutions, resolutions to change, self improvement resolutions.

16: Social anxiety.

Why let go?

Social anxiety stops us from being our true selves and keeps us far less or far more socialized than we would want to be.

How do I let go?

Unless it’s at a clinical level, you can cast aside social anxiety by making a point of socializing as much as you want, being yourself around friends and family and talking yourself up for important events.

What does it pair with?

Any resolution that depends on other people for success.

17: Pain.

Why let go?

Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of human experience. But when pain becomes who you are and devours your life, you start to lose control everywhere.

How do I let go?

Write a list of things that pain interferes with. Decide whether they’re reasonable or unreasonable to you. One by one, address the unreasonable points on your list, until pain is no longer restricting you.

What does it pair with?

Recovery resolutions, health based resolutions and emotional resolutions.

18: Hoarding.

Why let go?

Hoarding things can make us feel temporarily good, but when our physical, mental and emotional clutter becomes too much, we lose sight of true priorities.

How do I let go?

Make a stock-list of the items you hold onto and hoard. Write down your reasons for keeping them. For every reason you have to keep them, write down two reasons to throw them away. Persuade yourself to part with a few items a week, until you feel in control.

What does it pair with?

Cleaning, organizing and decluttering. Mental health and destressing. Emotional health and healthy relationships.

19: Wastage.

Why let go?

As the opposite of hoarding, wastage is when we let too much go. We are often denying ourselves things we want and throwing away valuable resources in the process.

How do I let go?

Find a use for everything. When you’re about to get something new, ask yourself if you already have something that does the job.

What does it pair with?

Reducing spending, fighting shopaholism and any resolution based around simplicity, minimalism and saving.

20: Disrespect.

Why let go?

Disrespecting others only makes social situations uncomfortable and awkward. It can feel good briefly, but after the event you are in a worse situation.

How do I let go?

Try and treat everyone with a minimal level of politeness. For example, make a point of not swearing, even around friends and family, so as to get in the habit of not swearing around anyone else.

What does it pair with?

Social-based resolutions and any resolution where you depend on others. Stress reduction and self-esteem boosting.

21: Blame.

Why let go?

Holding onto sadness sometimes makes things feel better. After all, it’s harder to recover and move on than it is to keep blaming others again and again.

How do I let go?

Find what actions and behaviours of yours are causing some of your issues. Try and find at least one thing you did to cause your situation.

What does it pair with?

Stress reduction and general life improvement.

22: Self-loathing.

Why let go?

Sometimes it can seem as though self-loathing hurts nobody… which is why it’s a problem. If you feel that self-loathing and self-depreciation doesn’t hurt anyone, you are doing yourself harm.

How do I let go?

Try and find something nice about yourself and focus on it whenever you feel down or bad about yourself.

What does it pair with?

Every goal you expect to reach needs you to love yourself enough to go for it.

23: Stubbornness.

Why let go?

When we’re too stubborn we can sabotage ourselves and stop ourselves from reaching goals or accepting constructive criticism.

How do I let go?

Ask yourself what you’re guarding against. Make sure that whatever you’re scared of or angered by isn’t causing you to be unnecessarily restricted. Try and be conscious of when you’re being stubborn and try and let your guard down once a week.

What does it pair with?

New experiences, social resolutions and anything where advice and support from others.

24: Loneliness.

Why let go?

Loneliness is as much an internal experience as a physical reality. The feeling of being alone in a crowd, or in perfect company on your own is internal. And when we feel lonely, whether we are around people or not, we aren’t comfortable with the safety and support our friends and family have to offer.

How do I let go?

Reach out to people. Find people who you can get along with and talk to them. Go and visit friends and family. Find a place where you feel welcome.

What does it pair with?

Letting go of loneliness pairs very well with any solo resolutions. When you’re on your own and working hard at something, having people to return home to could be a comfort.

25: Anger.

Why let go?

Anger is a fire that consumes your energy and your mind. It can interfere with healthy processes and relationships.

How do I let go?

Practice meditation and mindfulness. Learn to calm yourself down even at the most tense of times with breathing and mantras. Learn to focus through.

What does it pair with?

Any self-improvement resolution. We can all get frustrated and learning to control our anger will help.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

New Year Objectives.

First lets review last year’s objectives.

My tangible goals for this first year of self-improvement were:

1: Be fluent in French.

I met this objective. My French is to a level I can consider fluent, although I will always strive to perfect it. I can now work tutoring, translating and writing in French, as well as enjoy French news, films and novels.

2: Speak at least GCSE standard German.

I missed this objective by quite a margin, so I will recycle it this year. I started strong, but got waylaid as I delved into work and other objectives and my German level hasn’t really moved since May.

3: Get to a point where my artwork is selling.

I only just met this objective by selling a couple of paintings and scoring three ghostwriting deals in the past month. Gods bless the internet.

4: Get to a point where my tutoring is providing the £50-100/week minimum I should contribute.

Objective met, hugely exceeded and I’m really glad it was, seeing as I may be the main earner for a few months in the New Year. Hoping Jon will find his feet quickly and get a new paycheck soon, but anything could go wrong, so I’ll need to keep earning around £300-500/week to keep us steady. In early January it may be hard, but from February it will definitely be back to usual earnings.

5: Get my garden and chicken-keeping started.

The garden has been kept beautiful, though it’s a bit dead and snowed under at the moment. The flowers are very attractive and I look forward to their return in the New Year. We got a great harvest of parsnips, broccoli, lettuce, herbs, beans and radishes and a moderate harvest of tomatoes, potatoes and courgettes. Heavens know what happened to the beets, swedes, pumpkins, melons and peppers, though! Despite the illness that took the flock, I have learned a lot about keeping laying hens and look forward to getting some pullets late next Spring.

6: Finish writing two books.

Not really met. I finished my novel and started the second book. And my guide to economizing is about 2/3 there. Haven’t started my book on beginners housekeeping yet. I’ve written a few children’s books, but that hardly counts.

7: Deadlift, squat and shrug my bodyweight.

Objective not met. My deadlift died a death when I started getting back tension that wrecked my form, but I’ll try again soon. Last I did them they were at 35/65kg for doubles. Squats are at 40/65kg for doubles at the moment. Shrugs are not on the rota right now, but are at 45/65kg for sets of five.

My less tangible goals for this first year of self-improvement were:

1: Keep fit and healthy.

Met. I have maintained my body weight, increased my weightlifting and flexibility, lost some fat and even decreased my WHR by shrinking my waist and “gaining” in the chest and hip areas. I’ve been generally eating well, even if I abuse carbs and coffee from time to time, have eaten plenty of organic vegetables, fresh meat, some game, own produce and foraged fruit. Almost every single meal has been cooked from scratch. As a percentage, well under 1% of meals were not made by me and under 5% included pre-prepared sauces or products containing dubious substances.

2: Learn as many skills as possible pertaining to running a home.

Met. I can now: darn, knit, bake, make jam, make pickles, make chutney, grow various plants, keep hens, keep a cat, clean a car, light and cook in a fire, control mold outbreaks, iron, hand-wash, bleach things, scent a house, cut and dry kindling and logs, make useful bags and household items, coupon shop, make compost and hold dinner parties. A total of 23 new relevant skills.

3: Be as self-sufficient as possible.

Met. We supplies our own eggs, greens, potatoes and beans. Soon I will not have touched benefits in a year. I have earned my keep through housework and paid my keep in moneyed work.

4: Read whenever possible.

Not fully met. I have had chances to read that I have used watching animes, documentaries or films whilst crafting.

5: Paint whenever possible.

Not fully met. I have slacked a bit in the past few months. Although general crafting has been continually productive.

6: Experiment more in the kitchen.

Met. I have worked out several ways of making Paleo baked goods, of keeping the WWW interesting, of using a roast or reusing leftovers. I have made my own chocolates and oat bars for Jon.

7: Keep the house in order and Jon happy throughout.

Seeing as this was something that wasn’t really for me (well, not directly), I am asking Jon to rate it out of 10 and add his commentary.

“House in order would be a 9/10. There have been times when we have been busy, but other than that it’s always been in order. She has kept me happy to the best of her ability, but with the issues I’ve had with work and health it must have been a difficult job.”

That gives me a total of 9/14 goals met, or 64%. Obviously the unmet goals are mostly at 50% completion, not 0%, but it wouldn’t be right to count them as successes. And 50+% success isn’t bad at all.

So, with everything in mind, what are my goals for the new year?

Tangible goals:

1: Make £50/day, 6 days a week minimum so as to keep us supported until Jon gets his first new paycheck.

2: Finish “On a Budget” and write “The Beginner’s Guide to Housekeeping”. Self-publish both.

3: Speak at least GCSE level German.

4: Get certified as a native speaker of Spanish and a fluent speaker of French.

5: Deadlift, squat and shrug my bodyweight before I’m pregnant.

6: Continue to adhere to my #NoNothingNovember challenge.

7: Establish the eBay shop once Jon’s back at work and I’m pregnant. No upper limit, but would like to break £50/week in profits at least.

Less tangible goals:

1: Work towards TTC, prepare for the baby and learn about basic childcare.

2: Try and avoid buying most things new. Make, grow, buy second hand, barter/trade, buy in a charity shop. Always consider the cheap options before buying anything.

3: Grow and forage more plants than last year. Document growing and foraging.

4: Keep the blog as active as possible.

5: Read or craft whenever possible.

6: Continue attending events and clubs and holding dinner parties as soon as we’re stable enough.

7: Keep the house in order and Jon happy throughout.

As stated on the objectives page, there is no minimum number of goals I must achieve. It’s just a list of things to give my life direction and make the most of the year ahead. These objectives will not change, but if anything interferes with them I may postpone them or prioritize another one. Hopefully I can exceed this year’s 9/14. 🙂