Thursday, 7 January 2010

Where Do You Want To Go This Year?

By Notes From The Frugal Trenches

In many ways this is an incredibly exciting time of year, people make plans and resolutions galore and are determined that this new year will be their best yet! There is nothing wrong with hoping and planning, but I recently read that the vast majority of people fall off the bandwagon within 6 weeks and feel overwhelmed with grief and frustration. Looking at previous years, I can now pinpoint just where I went wrong, I was determined to do too much. I looked at where I wanted to be and was determined that if I lived according to a big list/plan and stuck to my never ending lists of must do's, I would get there. Needless to say, my good plans came crashing down within a matter of weeks. I soon realized that in my determination to simplify I was actually complicating my life, I was giving myself more things to do without reducing the other things that got in the way. I was magically trying to find another 10-15 hours in my week, well no amount of fairy dust would magically give me that amount of time without making cutbacks elsewhere. The reality was, I wasn't realistic, I wasn't simplifying, I was complicating.

Maybe you are struggling with energy and eating right. Perhaps you'd love to shed 10 or 15 pounds, or grow your own and live off the earth. But at this place in your life can you actually grow your own? Many of us can't yet, but we can certainly start with the determination to eat breakfast each morning and shop locally. We can read a book about food, become interested in the slow food movement, try growing herbs in pots or put our name down for allotments. All small, practical and relatively easy changes to make.

My personal dream is to have a small holding. I would like rescue animals, my own hens for eggs and a place of peace and tranquility. There are times where this dream seems impossible, where it feels like it is slipping farther and farther away. And yet the biggest barrier is getting over the fact I want my dream to be a reality now, that I'm letting a sense of entitlement slip in. So what do I do instead? I keep my blog real and document thoughts I have on the future, I spend time in the great outdoors, I learn about keeping hens, I spend less so that I can save more.

My hope for 2010 is that people do not feel yet another year has slipped by without being able to achieve the changes they'd like. My hope for 2010 is that we view the year as a part of a long journey, a journey of further discovery of self, a journey of education and a journey of hope. My hope is that we learn to simplify, reduce and see that small steps really do make you stay the course.

Hopefully, your goals this year can be SMART so you will see 11 months from now just how far you've come.

S - specific
M - measurable
A - achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic
T - time-based, tangible

May all our Co-op readers have a SMART year! And if you find that pixie dust which magically gives you another 15 hours a week, do share ;)

What are your plans or resolutions for this year? Are they SMART? Do you feel they are realistic?