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Resolutions – February 2012

Here’s how I did in February:

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Every Month Goals:

stick to my new budget

Unfortunately, I didn’t make my budget this month.  I put aside all the money that I was supposed to, my bills are all paid (early), and I paid off a credit card this month; however, I still overspent.  The rule is that whatever you have left over goes toward the next biggest debt or into savings.  I did some of that, but not all.  Mostly, I overspent at the beginning of the month (and not cooking makes a huge, huge difference in what I spend on food), and then didn’t compensate at the end of the month.  And – full disclosure here – I spent some of my tax refund on some books and three movies.  So, even though I still have tax money left over to put toward my last credit card, I didn’t make my budget.  What I’m finding though, is that there are definitely patterns to both my necessary and emotional spending.  Understanding those patterns will help me make changes for the better.

Also, I’ve reached the point where I am putting up a mental resistance to being locked in.  I certainly do this in other areas of my life, but it’s easier to see it, and recognize it for what it is, here in the money department.  When I attempt to make behavioral changes, it begins fairly easily because it’s a new adventure.  It’s exciting!  I can do this!  Think of how great it will be when I’m done!  Soon enough, I emotionally start pushing back against the not as exciting parts, the restraining factors, such as not eating whatever I want or not spending whatever I want.  

The trouble is that eating and spending whatever I want to have landed me somewhere that is itself a confined space.  In order to break out of these self-constructed walls, I have to confine myself even more.  It’s like wearing a straight jacket inside a padded room.  If you can bear the straight jacket long enough to prove yourself, you will be released from both the jacket and the room.  But sometimes it’s easier to just give in, chuck the jacket, and enjoy the relative freedom of your padded cell.  I mean, it’s pretty comfortable in there, right?  I may not have much money to do whatever I want, but I can do whatever I want with the little money I have.

I don’t like the straight jacket, but I want more than this padded cell I’ve built for myself.  I’m wrestling with the jacket, and I got an arm loose this month, but I’m willing to tighten it back up in March, because it’s working.  I am in better financial shape than I have been for a long time.  I have one small credit card left to pay off, an emergency fund in the bank, and I started saving toward the yearly necessaries for next year (tire replacement, oil changes, doctor visits, new glasses, gift giving, etc.).  That feels pretty great.

spend time with family or friends I rarely see

This month I spent a lovely and relaxing weekend with my great friend Vicki and her husband Tony in Chilhowie, VA.  You can read all about it on Wednesday!  I would have posted about it sooner, but I shot over eleven hundred pictures and it took me too long to pick out a few to share (okay, I shared more than a few, so consider yourself warned).

go someplace different or go to an event (in other words, get out of the house!)

I’m double dipping with the Vicki trip, because I stopped at Radford on my way home.  I cruised around campus, took a drive past my old apartment, and then spent some time driving around the countryside that I used to know so very well.  I’ll post about that soon.

do something randomly nice for someone

In February, I did three nice things.  Of course what I mean is three purposefully nice, helping someone out, being especially kind, following through with those good intentions brand of nice things.  

Resume:

Being Thankful

I am so far behind in my Thankful pages!  I have January in my recorder and February somewhat in my head, but I fear that I am dropping the ball on Thankfulness.  I still feel the same way in my heart in terms of awareness and facing the day with hope and thankfulness for what I have – I’m still seeing the good more than the negative.  But it truly bothers me that I haven’t been writing about it.  Maybe it’s a simple fear of too easily falling back on old habits of discontent and blindness to all of the wonderful blessings that God has given me.  And I do fear that.  But there is also a great deal of joy that I get from the writing and acknowledging and sort of reliving the things I’m thankful for when I post them here.  I miss it.

That is something to definitely work on in March – making time to write the Thankful pages.

writing more substantial blog content

Something else I wasn’t good at in February.  I’ve kind of lost some of my spark.  It’s coming back ever so slowly, but again, this is a resolution that involves a time factor.  I often feel quite squeezed for time.  I’m often torn between doing what I want to do in the moment, like read a book, and what I feel I should do, like write a post.  I don’t think I should feel guilty for reading instead of writing, but I do.  And there are reasons that I want to write.  It will make me a better writer, for one thing.  But should I make myself write in the same way I make myself go to bed on time?  Something to think about.

the Queries

I did do a new Query in February, but I forgot to change the picture.  If I can make the time to transcribe even some of the questions I’ve already asked people, then I can get back to at least two a month.

To Do:

adopt healthier eating habits

I would say I’m 50% done on this one.  I’ve been cooking much more (side benefit = I’m actually learning how to cook) and have almost cut out the soda completely.  I am aiming for 75% healthier eating in March!

exercise

I would estimate that I’m at zero percent on this one.  Maybe negative one percent.  Negative one percent to zero.

de-clutter my house

I boxed up a few things, and then I started going through more books.  And then I had to read a few books to see if I wanted to keep them or not.  And then I was on a reading kick.  And then I didn’t do any more de-cluttering because I was busy reading books.  

I did scan the recipes I want to keep from a lot of random recipe books and cards and pamphlets and pages torn out of magazines that have been gathering dust on the shelf.  That way, if I ever don’t make a recipe from the scanned files, at least they will take up less room than not making a recipe from all the books and cards and pamphlets and pages torn out of magazines.

Also, I have mentally de-cluttered most of the rooms in my house, so I have a basic idea of what I want to sell or donate.  What do you mean, that’s not the same thing?

take a photography class

I’m enrolled in a class that starts March 20th!

go to bed at the same time every night

I’m making some progress here – not where I want to be, but progress.

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So that’s February, and now…

On to month three!

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