2012: Setting the Bar Low

Welcome to Deep-Fried Friday, where I give my deep thoughts on juicy/crunchy topics. Today’s is – I feel so original – RESOLUTIONS. Like many others, I make New Year’s resolutions. Usually, it’s only one or two big things, but I definitely take inventory of where I am now and where I want to be in the future and set a few goals for the upcoming year.

While there are some large things I want to accomplish, I wonder if too many times we fail because we aim for the unattainable. There is a SMART model out there for goal-setting, which suggests that one’s goals should be:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Realistic
T – Timely

Focusing on the Attainable and Realistic, I’m thinking that this could be the year to SET THE BAR LOW. It’s like my primary care physician said when she realized my general aversion to fruits and vegetables (unless they can be fried): She didn’t tell me to up my count to six servings; she said that usually people don’t make that big a change, so I should just aim for adding one more serving . . . for now.

So here it goes for setting the bar low. For 2012, I will:

Not be the worst lawn on the block. Sure, I could wish that I would suddenly develop a green thumb; that I would plan a backyard retreat, a vegetable garden, and a rose-bush hedge; that I would plant a landscaping spread worthy of a magazine front cover. But realistically, I just need to make sure I’m not an embarrassment to the neighbors. I don’t want my weed count bringing down property values or making people assume that no one lives in that untended house.

Regularly pull that one hair that grows longer than all of the others. Some of you have this issue too. There’s that one hair on your arm that inexplicably grows to Crystal-Gayle length, or maybe it’s on your back, your leg, or wherever. Perhaps you need to groom hair that doesn’t grow too long so much as where it shouldn’t – ears, back, upper lip (ladies), between your brows to form an evil-unibrow stare?

Should I tell you where mine is? What the heck. Let’s simply say I could happily chant, “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin.” (Thank heaven it’s blond.)

Purge my dresser/closet of high school and college clothes. I’ve been out of school for over twenty years, and I have deluded myself into thinking I’m going to fit back into that black suede skirt I bought at Lord & Taylor during a college break. It ain’t happening. Period.

I also have white satin shorts that I wore with my drum major outfit in high school. I’ve been telling myself that they are a keepsake. But my sons are not going to want me to pass down satin shorts the size of Barbie’s bum to remember their mom by. Secretly, I was hoping that one day, I might be able to slip into those babies and zip them all the way up. It’s time to face facts. Satin shorts are not in my future, unless they are stretchy elastic boxers that I borrow from my husband after eating too much raw cookie dough.

Shower before 3 p.m. every day. I discovered that mornings in my house work better if I get my kids off to school, then shower and get ready for the day. Then I discovered that it was comfy to go to my writing nook in my cozy pajamas and get some work done. After that, what was the point of getting dressed before cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, or vacuuming the house? Come to think of it, day clothes were also unnecessary for reading a novel, paying bills, and making a grocery list. Before I knew it, there were days when I finally jumped in the shower around 4:00 p.m., only to make sure that I wasn’t wearing pajamas when my kids returned home from school.

I am better than that. I can take that shower at least by 3:00 p.m., leaving plenty of time for my hair to completely dry before the family returns home.

Not eat my kids’ candy without their permission knowledge. Be it Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, or Christmas candy, I am one of those parents who has been known to sneak a few pieces of chocolate when the kids aren’t looking. I choose whatever rationalization works best in my mind:

  • I helped my kids get the candy; I deserve a cut of the action.
  • I need to make sure the candy is okay for consumption. (Erin Brambilla’s got this covered.)
  • It’s just one piece, and there are all of these other pieces still left.
  • They don’t like this particular kind all that much anyway.

And somehow, candy that you eat on the sly, without anyone knowing, doesn’t count toward your calories for the day. You barely admit it to yourself, so it sure ain’t going in the food diary.

But this year, I need to acknowledge that I am eating that candy. I need to look my children in the face and at least say, “Hey, I’m eating this” before I pop it into my mouth and make googly eyes of satisfaction. If my kids can’t get to me in time to prevent the Hershey kiss from melting on my tongue, that’s their problem. They should have resolved to lock their candy away in 2012.

I’m sure I could think of more. But those will do for now. How about you?

What are your New Year’s resolutions? What resolutions would you make if you were setting the bar low this time?

For a genuine look at goal-setting, check out 2012 and Planning for Success in the New Year by Kristen Lamb, author of We Are Not Alone.

30 thoughts on “2012: Setting the Bar Low

  1. LOL Fun post! I can’t imagine not showering until 4pm unless I’ve been sick! Because I do *nothing* until after it, even read! I think my low bar resolution would be to mark 2 things off my to-do list before playing any co
    Puter games LOL.

    1. I would have NEVER thought I’d wait that long to shower either. And I didn’t until this past year when I got so caught up writing, cleaning, etc. Thankfully, it hasn’t actually happened often.

      Computer games are SO tempting, aren’t they? 😉

  2. Showering earlier *does* help. But it sure is hard to do. As for vintage high school clothes, I still have a whole outfit that I wore when I was sixteen. Some years it fits, some years it doesn’t. I also have my old denim jacket with the sex pistols patch on the back. I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of them. Good luck on making yourself throw away the white satin shorts. You know, you might be able to donate them to a costume shop. That might make getting rid of them feel less like a loss. 😀

    1. A denim jacket with a Sex Pistols patch? That IS a keeper, Catie! I do refuse to get rid of my Koala Blue sweatshirt that I purchased in college. I still wear it, and it’s rare because Koala Blue was a store started by Olivia Newton-John and her producer’s wife which only lasted a couple of years.

  3. Wow – showering. What a concept. When I didn’t have a day job (and I think I was going through a depression), sometimes I’d go for a couple days without showering. But now, for me, showering makes the world seem a little brighter, makes me feel a little readier to handle the day.

    Oh crap. I’m at work – and I didn’t wake up in time to take a shower. Oh well…tomorrow is another day. Good thing I had a very sedentary day yesterday. (excuse me while I go wash my pits in the bathroom…)

    1. Hilarious, Christine. Also, living in southeast Texas and having straight, fine hair means I really shouldn’t go that long without. The heat and humidity can get to you pretty quick here. 😉

  4. So funny, Julie. I liked the story about the candy. I love See’s candies, especially the scotch mallows, and sneak into the box when no one is around to savor one all by myself during the day. Then, when everyone wants to know how they disappeared, act innocent! Ha! I believe in the “set realistic and attainable” goals plan. Why set the bar so high that we set ourselves up for failure, right? That’s just dorky. My resolution is to think positively and switch my negative thoughts into positive ones.

    1. Great, Patti! It’s definitely part of the candy plan to “act innocent!” Great resolution. I have some higher goals than these as well. Maybe I’ll share them eventually. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I love the SMART chart. It makes sense. I don’t do resolutions any more. Can’t stand the disappointment when I don’t achieve them. lol I guess I set them too high. Oh well. Good luck to all of you who had!

    1. Yes, the SMART is actually helpful. I have used that model to establish some real goals for 2012. But I figured I might as well throw in a few low goals too. 😉

  6. ROFL!! Love it. It’s all about managing your own expectations, eh?! I wish hubby would adopt the “don’t be the worst lawn in the neighborhood” attitude because as long as it’s mowed every 2 weeks or so, I’m happy. Weeds are like grass/flowers gone wild so I don’t mind them in the least.
    The fact that you’ve hung onto high school clothes for 20 years concerns me. LOL! Yeah, ditch the shorts and whatever else you got piled up there (likely out of style anyway) and make room for NEW stuff!
    And your showering before 3 pm – very doable!
    Some of mine resolutions are to vacuum at least once a month and if I can’t manage that, hire a cleaning lady. Call in sick more often to stay home and write. LOL!

    1. I love your thinking that “weeds are like grass/flowers gone wild.” Wonderful perspective IMO. 🙂

      I never thought about how if I get rid of clothes, I should be allowed to get NEW ones in their space. What a fab idea!

      Good luck with the vacuuming, Natalie. I suggest everyone buy carpet and flooring the color of dirt so no one actually knows how long it’s been.

  7. Funny! Ditto here for the garden that doesn’t embarrass the neighbours and that’s it 🙂
    And the pinching chocolate ssh!

  8. Definately not your run-of-the-mill New Year’s resolutions! I like that they are simple and yet attainable. And eating chocolate on the sly? I don’t think I could change that habit 😉

  9. I LOVE this list. Totally feel you on the lawn thing. Our front yard is okay (the back is just a plain yard, we can’t plant anything because our Golden will destroy it) but every spring I have a big landscaping plan, and every time I wind up putting out a few wilting annuals and complaining all summer.

    And ditto on showing earlier. It does help but ugh … so much effort!

    1. Ah yes, Stacy. My gardening skills are so bad that I am seriously considering plastic plants in the hanging baskets this year. Do you think the neighbors would notice? Would they even care? Maybe they would just be happy that something is there. 🙂

  10. You are so funny! Some days I do better than others on the showering front. Like, I did well this morning. EXCEPT. It was nearly noon and I thought, “I haven’t brushed my teeth yet.” I mean, yuck! But I was showering. Then the kids woke up before I went back in to brush and then a furniture repair guy came and then it was lunch and suddenly I was like…wait a minute…my teeth are grimier than normal. Ick. LOL!

    I like your low bar goals though :). (And thanks for the link-up!)

    1. It’s especially hard as a young mom to get that dang shower in, Erin! If not for the infant vibrating seat, I probably would have had to go with dreadlocks for the first sixth months of my child’s life. LOL.

      And I can’t smell your breath at all from here. I’m sure it’s fine.

  11. I should definitely set a few more house chores on my resolution list – like tear down the wallpaper upstairs in the former owner’s baby’s room. It’s awful! But, we primarily live downstairs, so we have let it go for three years now. AWFUL!

    I set the usual goals for me this year – take better care of myself being the primary one. I recently was diagnosed with GERD (it’s feels just as yucky as it sounds, BTW) and I need to get back to my exercise and eating healthy.

    I also decided that I’m shooting for the stars this year – self-publishing two books. I hope I can actually meet this goal….

    1. It is amazing how one has grand plans on moving into a new house, and before you know it, you look up and it’s been years. I have a few projects myself left to do (five years here). Sorry about the GERD diagnosis. I hope you’re feeling better with a plan for helping that issue. I’m cheerleading you on for self-publishing the books, Tiffany!

  12. Thanks for the laugh, Julie! Uhhh….I have that one hair on my chinny chin too! I have to keep an eye out for it. And it’s so easy to get on the computer and start writing, facebooking, tweeting and not shower until the afternoon. But, alas, like you…I think I need to make a plan to do that earlier this year. Of course, I may just put clean comfy jammies on afterwards! 🙂

  13. LOL. The good thing about setting the bar low is that not only do you meet the goal, you can only go up! The satin shorts had me laughing. Have a good week 🙂

    1. Thanks, Ryan! Yes, the satin shorts were a bit much, but they went perfectly with the tall white boots, white & marroon satin shirt, and cowboy hat I wore. I think my hubby would have liked to have known me back then. Those days are looooong gone.

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