2015 Resolutions

A very ambitious list.

I’ve been slipping — and it’s got to stop. So I’ve decided to set up and stick to some New Year’s Resolutions.

1. Fight the Social Media Addiction

I spend entirely too much time on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Actually, if you spend more than 30 minutes a day on social media — and aren’t being paid to do it as part of your job — you probably spend too much time, too.

Think about it. Yes, you enjoy it. It’s a nice, convenient social experience. But it’s also a timesuck. And the time you spend online looking at cat photos and clicking like buttons is time you could be spending doing other more rewarding things like engaging in personal interactions with family and real (not virtual) friends, working on projects that enrich your life (or bank account), and getting some fresh air and/or exercise. These are all things I want to spend my time doing. I don’t want to sit in front of the computer after breakfast, tune into Facebook, and look up two hours later to discover that half my morning is gone and nothing constructive has been done.

So I’m placing a limit on social networking:

Less FacebookFacebook:

  • No checking in between 8 AM and 8 PM. “Checking in” refers to logging on for the purpose of reading new updates on my newsfeed and checking and responding to comments on my or other people’s updates.
  • Maximum of 3 updates per day, including updates of photos or links but excluding updates automatically generated when I post to my blog. These can be done at any time.
  • No likes. (I actually began doing this a few months ago and I find it very rewarding, mostly because it prompts me to share more meaningful commentary when I like something.)

Twitter:

  • No checking in between 8 AM and 8 PM. “Checking in” refers to logging on for the purpose of reading new tweets, checking and responding to notifications on my account, and adding or removing followers.
  • Maximum of 12 tweets per day, including photos, links, tweets automatically generated when I post to my blog, and retweets but excluding scheduled tweets. These can be done at any time.

LinkedIn:

Stop using it. Period. This should be pretty easy since I only check in once every month or so and always leave with a bad taste in my mouth.

Google+:

Really? People still use this?

I know this sounds silly or even kind of extreme — almost like a mom setting parental controls for her kid — but I have identified a problem and I have decided to tackle it by setting limitations. Let’s see how I do.

2. Watch Less TV.

I think I watch an awful lot of TV, especially when you consider that I (1) don’t have cable or satellite TV, (2) only get 4 live channels, and (3) rely mostly on Netflix, Hulu+, and other Roku-available content for options. Again, I think this has to do with the long winter nights — I certainly didn’t watch much TV when the sun was setting after 8 PM.

What’s reasonable? I think 5 hours a week is reasonable. That’s less than an hour a day. That might seem a bit low, but when you consider that I’m out with friends a few evenings a week, it should be pretty easy to maintain.

Read a BookAnd there is this added cheat: a movie — no matter what length it is — counts as just an hour. But, at the same time, an “hour-long” TV episode watched without commercials, which is really only about 44 minutes long, would also count as an hour. I’ll need a scorecard to keep track. It should be interesting to see how I do.

What will I do instead? That’s easy: read.

3. Lose 15 Pounds

MeasureYes, I need to lose weight again. Doesn’t everyone?

Back in 2012, I lost 45 pounds and went from a size 14/16 to a size 6/8. Since then, my weight has crept up a bit, although I’m still able to (barely) fit into all of my new clothes. Time to nip that in the bud and go back to my goal weight. Remember, I burned the bridge to fat town back in 2012.

I’m not very worried about achieving this. I’m going to use the same diet I used in 2012 to lose 45 pounds in 4 months. I expect to get back to my goal weight within 2 months but will likely stay on the diet for an additional month for the added benefits it offers — mostly appetite reduction. That’s what made it possible to keep the weight off as long as I did.

In my defense, since the last 10 pounds came on very quickly — over the past two months — I suspect it has a lot to do with my reduced activity level. Winter means short, cold days here in the Wenatchee area. Unless I’m out doing something that keeps me busy and warm — like skiing or snowshoeing — I’m not likely to be outside. And there isn’t much exercise indoors — although climbing scaffolding can be pretty exhausting after a while. This is my best argument for going south for the winter and I may do it next year. (Yeah, I’m a snowbird for health reasons. That’s the ticket!)

Oh, and if you’re one of those people who think “big is beautiful” and that being thin is something that society forces upon us to make us feel bad about our bodies, wake up and smell the deep fried Oreo you’re about to shove in your pie hole. I never said I wanted to be thin. I’ve said (elsewhere in this blog) that I wanted to remain a healthy weight for the rest of my life. The added benefit is the ability to look good in clothes, have lots of energy, and feel better about myself. Don’t be an idiot. If you’re more than 10% over what’s a healthy weight for your height, you owe it to yourself and your family to shed those extra pounds. Trust me: you will be glad you did.

4. Write More

Writing PadOne of the things social media time has stolen from me is writing time. Instead of sitting down to write a blog post or an article for a magazine or even a chapter of a book, I spend that time on Facebook or Twitter or even (sometimes) LinkedIn. Or surfing the web. This are mostly unrewarding, unfulfilling activities. I get so much more satisfaction out of completing a blog post or article — especially when there’s a paycheck for the article.

I want to blog more often — at least four times a week. Blogging is something that makes me feel good. I wish I could explain it. I think it’s because I’m documenting the things I’m doing, thinking, and feeling. Creating an archive of these things.

I’ve been blogging for 11 years now and am very proud of that fact. I’m also thrilled that I can go back and read about the things that interested me so long ago. Why wouldn’t I want to do this?

I also want to explore new markets for paid article work. I have opportunities and when I can focus I can write and submit work I can be paid for. Why aren’t I doing more of this?

And I definitely need to complete a few work-in-progress books that I’ve started. And turn some of my blog posts into ebooks I can earn a few dollars on.

And I sure wouldn’t mind reopening some of the fiction work I began 20 or 30 years ago — work that was once so much a part of my life that I’d think about it in bed to help me drift off to sleep. Time to bring all that back into my life.

5. Just Say No to Starbucks

Say No to StarbucksWhy do I go in there? The coffee isn’t even that good!

I live in Washington, for Peet’s sake (pun intended), a place where there are coffee shops on nearly every corner and more drive-through coffee stands than gas stations. Why am I going into Starbucks, a place where saying “medium” instead of “grande” can earn you a snicker from the order taker?

Chocolate Covered Graham CrackersAnd don’t say it’s the dark chocolate covered graham crackers. Although it could be.

I guess I just don’t like the idea of supporting a global corporation with mediocre products when I could be supporting small, local coffee shops with slightly less mediocre products.

What I really should do is stop drinking coffee in the middle of the day.

This will be easy to do once I set my mind to it. I just have to not crave coffee when I walk into the Fred Meyer or Safeway supermarkets.

Scorecard

Because I’m so anal, I’ll keep a scorecard to see how I do. I’ll try to report back with success — or failure — at year’s end.

Wish me luck!

And why not share a few of your resolutions for 2015? Use the comments link or form for this post.

8 thoughts on “2015 Resolutions

  1. Love the article Maria and you are right on point with the social media time suck. You’ve inspired me to place limits on my time on social media. This year I’m joining a fitness challenge that lasts for 60 days and will continue with this throughout the year in a commitment to keep me moving and increase my energy.

    • If we spend more than an hour a day on social media, we really NEED to start putting limits on it.

      I’m not sure if I could do a fitness challenge. Not until I’m more settled into my home and have a good handle on what my life will be like. I still feel as if I’m living in limbo! Losing weight will be relatively easy to manage and track. Once spring comes, I’ll be a lot more active outdoors, too.

      Good luck with your fitness challenge!

  2. I’m down with the self improvement, in fact I’m one of the most relentless folks I know for entrepreneurial and personal development. And I’m totally a HAES, my body size is my business person. I’m not fixing to eat an Oreo, I’m about to hop on my bike so I can ride to the studio where I teach hooping, and soon some sort of fat people yoga. I’ll never be within ten percent of the obesity guidelines, and I will do my best to never speak to myself in shaming way. And that’s totally cool, its my body.

    • They way I see it, we have to look into the mirror and like what we see — both visually and under the skin. After allowing my body to go to hell for too long and then regaining a slim, fit, healthy body, I honestly don’t understand why more people don’t do what it takes to get to and maintain a healthy body weight. Once that’s achieved, the bike ride, hooping, yoga, and any other moderate exercise is easy.

      For me, when I lost 45 pounds in 4 months, I had all the energy in the world. After all, I’d been used to lugging around 45 extra pounds with me every day. When that was gone, I was already fit for an active life!

  3. I committed to doing at least 3 things to advance the business side of flying a day, during the week, since the flying is the easy part…

    Your social media rules are really good! I will try it… for a month. I’m a total addict and it bugs me. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • The social media addition really pisses me off, too. There are so many better things we can be doing with our time!

      There are a few resolutions I didn’t make this year — even though I wanted to. Five were enough for one year, especially with construction on my new home reaching a fever pitch. But I do want to spend more time promoting the tourism side of my business. I’ll try to tackle that in the spring when my home is finished and I can devote more attention to it. In the meantime, I have enough to keep me busy.

      Good luck to you!

  4. Good luck with your resolutions Maria! I don’t really think you’ll need luck though, it sounds like you have a plan and plenty of determination, that’s normally all we need. I like your checklist too, that totally appeals to me!

    Good for you regulating social media and taking that time back for yourself. Over the years I’ve tried many times to get into using Facebook or other social media outlets but I just can’t stick with it. It’s just takes too much time. I still try to participate, but that’s about the most I can muster. I think you’ll be very pleased with the extra time you have and with your efforts to connect with local friends instead.

    • You’re either very smart or very lucky that you didn’t get sucked into Facebook. I’m definitely enjoying that extra time every morning. I’ve been blogging more, which is more important and rewarding for me. I’m also getting a lot of bothersome paperwork done. Not fun but necessary.

      Resolutions are a funny thing. We make them to improve ourselves but so often fail to stick with them. But I think that if we really want to make our lives better, it’s in our best interest to stick to them. My silly checklist will remind me daily about staying on track. Let’s see how long I last!

      Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

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