Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mid-Year Review

On January 1 of this year, I blogged about my goals for 2011. As I was thinking about this the other day, I knew I was falling short in most areas, if not all of them. I need to refresh my memory not only with what my goals for the year are but also why they were important to me at one time...

1. Bible Study - D
Sad to say, I've really dropped off here. I was doing well with my own personal study, but I had to change my focus in order to write some articles for a monthly (now bi-monthly, if at all...) e-magazine that a friend of mine was putting out. I'd be so intensely studying for the article that once I finished writing it, I'd "take a break". A lengthy break. A 3-week-long break before starting work on the next one. And now, since I haven't had to turn in an article since late May and I don't know when my next deadline will be, the break has turned into over a month now. I need to return to what I was studying before the magazine articles took my time...

2. Weight Loss - C
Well, the Christmas holidays set me off and I'm just now getting back to losing weight again. Of course, the weight I'm losing now is the 7 pounds I put back on... But it's going well right now. I've lost 5 pounds of that over the last month. I've been exercising more regularly. First it was through 20-minute segments of strength training and cardio, based in part on Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred. More recently it's been through swimming laps at the pool a few times each week. I'm noticing a difference! That's encouraging! Now if I can keep it up, I'm on a good track to lose some more. I'm dreading the plateau I always seem to hit, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve this time...

3. Cooking - A
While I haven't tried many recipes yet from Cooking Light or Now Eat This!, I have been more adventurous in my cooking. I chalk that up to a wonderful book called How to Cook Without a Book. Yes, I know. Funny title. But it's such a great book! Basically, you learn cooking techniques. Then you should be able to cook a wealth of recipes without having to rely on a recipe. I now make my own pasta sauce for a lot less than I was paying for jarred sauce - which I always tweaked anyway! I can make a frittata and I know how to vary ingredients based on what I want or what I have. (Of course, since those are baked, they'll be on our fall/winter rotation. I don't like to turn the oven on if I can help it during the spring/summer...) I've also learned about various pasta dishes that are quick, easy, and flavorful - and I can make it any way I like. Bring on the experimentation! Soon I hope to try a pasta/spinach/ricotta dish, maybe with some Italian sausage mixed in for protein and spice. I also want to try my hand at spanakopita (Greek phyllo pies with spinach and feta). I love what I learned and I'm excited to be able to use it! Yes, I'll still use some cookbooks and actual recipes for things, but I'm no longer afraid to jump out on my own and try something new.

4. Photography - F
I have done soooo little with this. I think it's mainly because I'm overwhelmed with photos on my computer that need to be edited, renamed, and filed into iPhoto. I won't say how many months worth, but I will admit that this is the worst I've let it pile up. I thought summer would be a great time to get it under control again, but it seems we're busier now than we were during the school year. Actually, it's just that when I think about it, I'm busy with something else. When I'm not busy and have some time to work on it, I don't think about it. I need to make a list.

5. Reading - C
Earlier this year, my reading started slow. I think a lot of that had to do with reading classics. While they aren't bad, and it's something I wanted to do, they are definitely a slower read for me. And the fact that I spent a lot of time watching six seasons of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix instead of reading makes for slower-growing book lists. I gave up on reading one classic a month in April, I believe. I had started rereading Lord of the Flies, a favorite from high school, but it just wasn't a great as I remembered. Then I got Decision Points from the library and needed to hurry with it because it was a popular book. I had been 11th in line for it when I placed a hold on it. It was a good book, but it took me a while to get through it. When I had the chance to get back to LOTF, I just wasn't interested anymore. Plus I have too many other library books on my shelf that aren't classics that I need to get read - that I want to read more than classics right now. I'll go back to my old habit of picking up a classic every once in a while... This month, I did read four books, though. I think my total for the year is currently 14...? I've got a long way to go to reach my goal of 36, which I still want to achieve. I can do it!

6. Blogging - D
January was good. February and following months, not so much. I still put some blame on Facebook. I've often come up with statuses for FB that would be better suited for a blog post, but I just shorten them and go on with life. I watched - and enjoyed - Biggest Loser and American Idol this year, but I never felt the need to blog about it. I did write about some articles from my current magazine subscriptions, but not many. And I've let my magazine perusing slide, too. I'm a few months back. I've decided to let Real Simple lapse when renewal comes up. I like it, but it's not one I use much. Cooking Light, on the other hand, has some really useful tips throughout, as well as some great-sounding recipes. Of course, I need to try those recipes instead of just looking at them... My 6-month gift subscription from Lindsay runs out with the August issue, but I decided it's one I want to keep around for at least another year. Last week I renewed it. Maybe I'll pick up blogging about some of that again. As for blogging about life, there's a lot I could do right now. But I feel the need to hold back sometimes. Maybe I'll blog and save the entries as drafts for posting a little later when there's some distance between me and the situations... (I tend to not share a lot of things with a lot of people... That's a big admittance right there.)

So, what does this mid-year review show me? Of the things I thought important at the beginning of the year, only some have held true. I need to decide which of these goals are most important and focus on them. The others can hold off a little longer. Priorities change for various reasons, and right now Bible study and health need to take a higher place in my life. And reading has just always been a pleasure I can't let go of. Writing is an important outlet for me that I've let slide. I need it, and I need to get back to it. I'll work in photography when I can, but I won't worry if I don't do all the things with it that I'd like to.

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