Revolution Evolution

I love New Year's Resolutions. Last week I looked over what I had done (see earlier post), and I had a nice little list of ones for 2014, tucked away in little word files on my computer. Patrick and I had discussed joint resolutions. Most of mine were kind of task-oriented — see how easy? I could knock them off in one day, if needed.

But that's the problem with being married to a writer. There we were at Original Pancake House, discussing resolutions. And sometime after that discussion — and before the teenager behind us ended up puking up all his strawberry pancakes all over the floor — suddenly I was not so enamored of my resolutions anymore.

For instance, my BHAG was to knock off every item on the 27-item list of home improvements I had made for Ashland about 6 weeks ago. It's a pretty comprehensive list of things that need to be done, including:
cleaning out the basement and the garage
new shades for the guest room
redoing the upstairs hallway
repainting the guest room
re-doing the 1F ceilings and floors
framing all our art
getting a new refrigerator
….

See what I mean? Doing all those things would have been a nice long list of achievements I could cross off. But honestly, some of them I care a lot less about than others. And we have 2 more houses that would have been neglected. So I'm replacing it with the far more nebulous:

Resolution #1
To do at least one project in each home that restores the home's sense of spirit.

Over at Ashland, that likely means a series of items that includes the floors and ceilings on the first floor, and likely some painting and elements as well. Much harder, but also likely more rewarding.

Our joint goals were repeats of past resolutions, and were goals that Patrick had that I agreed with. They are:

Resolution #2
At least one date night a month.

These are things that are not work obligations or the like, and were enormously successful in 2013 (even if I forgot to list it in my earlier post.) Sign me up. And,

Resolution #3
An evening with friends (dinner here, out to dinner, whatever) at least once a month.

This was extremely successful in 2012, and we even introduced people that have formed fast friendships. Patrick's goal is every other week, but I'm being conservative at monthly. Also looking forward to it.

But the one person left out of these goals of spending intentional time with people was the most important one — my daughter. So, even as I strive to spend good time with her daily (as well as movies and homework and cooking and pet time and all that), I have:

Resolution #4
Go an an awesome family vacation.

Beatrix loves travel, and is always talking about places we have gone and where we will go. I'm hoping for Costa Rica, but I'm pretty sure any vacation with her will be great.

A lot of my tasks on the earlier resolution list had a lot to do with learning and expanding my skills. So I decided to combine them into:

Resolution #5
Embrace curiosity through learning.

The specific tasks:
Fund 4 Kickstarter campaigns (I'm trying to suss how it works)
Watch 10 TED talks (Love the idea of TED and other similar events, hate watching videos online)
Complete online accounting course

The will likely get supplemented with other opportunities; I've been wanting to check out Coursera for example, or take a one-evening wine course, or take a class at IFP. I'm excited about what I can learn.

These lead me to the final resolution, which is by far the most nuanced and complicated:

Resolution #6
Provide outstanding services to my consulting clients.

I'm caught in a bind right now. In cases where I go above and beyond the call of duty (as in, several last-minute save-the-day instances for fiscal sponsorship clients at IFP in the past 2 days), I don't insist on the recognition I deserve for that.

At the same time, especially with a lot of clients and a lot of things going on, I feel I could be stronger and more pro-active in better meeting their needs. While I always get things done for them, sometimes it feels very last-minute and hectic. In 2014 I want to learn more (see Resolution #6) so that I have stronger skills, and to come up with a system that reassures everyone (including myself!) that my clients are incredibly important to me, and that I routinely go above and beyond the norm to provide excellent and comprehensive service to them.

I had a lot of other ideas for resolutions: find a violin teacher for Beatrix, do more crafts, read more books, finally get a cemetery plot, more blog posts, exercise, etc. I guess I'll just have to do those things without the driver of a list of resolutions. What I have will keep me very busy in 2014, and is (as usual, sigh!), relatively hard to measure. But if I can do these things to the level I want to, 2014 will be an incredible year!


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