Saturday, January 17, 2009

Resoultions for 2009: Is it too late for it already?

Setting goals for the coming year (ok, the year is not 'coming' anymore...its already there) is always lot of fun. It makes me look forward to the new year and it makes it sound promising. It also imparts a feeling that I'm evolving as human being and not just aging. So here I'm, writing them down in black and white, for all to see and committing myself to them.


1. Have 20% down payment for our house by the end of the year. We're a little over 10% right now, so this seems doable, but I wanted to set right expectations this year, because of the state of economy.

2. Invest 10K in stocks to keep. This is BEB's demand. He is not happy with us keeping all our eggs in a single basket so he wants to build an investment portfolio.

Health and Fitness

1. Keep up the workout schedule from 2008.
I would like to elaborate a little here - I'm extremely proud of my achievements in this area last year. On Dec 18, 2007 we bought a new bike for me and begin to bike regularly. We kept at it until our India trip in May. While I was in India I couldn't exercise well and indulged in various Indian delicacies which resulted in my putting on about 4lbs. I wanted to lose this extra weight but biking wasn't helping much there. So we joined a gym and it has really helped me achieve some of my fitness goals. This year we want to be a little more aggressive towards this goal. I estimate that we went to gym about 70% of days last year. This year BEB wants to up the ante by taking off only for 50 days through the year. So thats what our first fitness goal is.

2. Keep up the good eating habits from 2008 but work on portion control: We worked to cut down our fat intake aggressively in 2007. It resulted in weight loss for BEB, and he really liked himself better that way. We tried to continue that in 2008 and soon got tired of the tasteless food. I didn't feel like cooking because even I myself didn't like the food cooked with so many omissions. So I reintroduced some oil and salt into my cooking and the results were wonderful. We ate more of healthy food and liked what we ate, indulged ourselves ocasionally and felt healthy overall. The additional fat was taken care of by the extra exercise we were getting at the gym. With all this experiment I feel that moderation is the way to go in order to eat healthy. Depriving ourselves from everything we liked didn't work too well in the long term.The only thing I see amiss from our eating habits is portion control. Both me and BEB are foodies and even though we have learnt to control the kind of food we eat, we still have to work on the amount we eat. We usually dine together, sharing anecdotes, talking about our respective workdays and life in general and usually keep eating till we are completely stuffed. I will try to be more vigilant about how much we eat.

3. Eat Slowly: One thing I keep reading about is that eating slowly helps in losing weight. What I feel however, is that besides losing weight, it also helps us in enjoying our food better and that I believe, is the key to being a good cook. I come from a family of fast eaters and due to the demands on my time, I have only nurtured this habit over time. Now I want to shift gears and try eating slowly and mind my food.

4. Increase the intake of proteins: Indian cuisine leans heavily towards whole grains and vegetables but lacks in proteins. This issue is especially problematic for vegetarians like us, who don't eat meats or eggs which are a n obviuos source of proteins for others. This year I'll try to make pulses, lentils, beans and soy a bigger part of our diet so that we can get proteins we need.

5. Better regime for Skin care and oral care : I have a very sensitive skin and thats why I need to be really vigilant about maintaining it. Caring more for it was my resolution last year but I couldn't really keep it that well. I'll try again this year. Also I'm good at brushing my teeth but not at flossing them, I will try to stay regular at that too.

Career Goals:

1. Aspire to become a better employee - continued from 2008. Last year I tried to get rid of my erratic work schedule and settle into routine working hours like everyone else and was successful to a big extent. This year I want to be proactive in my work and go an extra mile that what is expected of me.

2. Work on my dream career: I recently dabbled a bit in sewing and dressmaking and found that I still love it. I'll get some more books on sewing from library and try to sew more.

3. Be regular with my blog posting: Although this blog is more of a sounding board than a source of income, I would still want to keep blogging regulary. This is something I enjoy and after an year I find that I could write at least a few posts that had value for some other people so why not!

3. Learn Dutch Language: This is a hobby that I picked from my visit to Europe recently. My Sister-in-law initiated me into the language with a few words to enable us to get around in Holland. On our flight back I picked up a newspaper and a travle brochure in dutch and was immidiately hooked. There's something really exciting about trying to read a 5 word sentence and ...FAIL, after a long time. I want to be able to read and understand a dutch novel by the end of the year. Its not really a career goal but I figure it will be a good exercise for my brain and an added lanuguage is a skill anyway.
Social Goals
1. Keep in touch with friends and relatives in India: Make at least two non-regular phone calls to touch base with friends and relatives overseas. Populate my calendar with more birthdays.
2. Make friends with at least 2 new families: By get acquainted I mean, going to each other's place, taking trips together. Having a relationship where they can count on us and vice versa in times of need.
I know how corny the above goals sound, and selfish too. Let me explain - We have been in the US for two years now and till date, whenever we get stuck, we can think of only one family to turn to. I feel that thats not a very pretty situation to be at, especially when we are thousands of miles away from family and friends. It also leads to a lot of boredom, specially for husband when there's nobody around to spend time with except your spouse. Since we had fairly big social networks always, I don't think there's something inherently wrong with our behaviour. I think the only thing amiss is that since we're so used to social network built automatically that we never actively pursued it. It was fine in India, because we knew so many people through schools, work etc and wherever the wavelengths matched, it was the begining of a lasting friendship. It is different here, because we never studied here, worked with a limited number of people, and have no connections through our families. So here we have to actively pursue whatever little connections we make. Also a big issue earlier was my being very picky about friends, again this worked in India because I had a lot of people to choose from but I quickly realised that I was wrong in doing that. Nobody's perfect, so it will be foolish to expect that somebody will fit all your criteria, before we can make acquaintance. I now feel that a better way would be to just keep in touch, if there's a connection, friendship will evolve, if not, we can still keep in touch and stay on talking terms. So as corny as they sound, I'm still going to stick with these goals for this year and see where they take us.

Spiritual Goals:

1 Learn to let go:This is something I really need to work hard at and at multiple levels - I often try to juggle too many things at a time and get frustrated when some of them don't work out the way I want them. I will have to work to understand that its ok to not do that fabulous deal at Walgreens, its ok to pay the 25C penalty on a library book once. I'll try less to become the superwoman.

Besides this, I also have the memory of an elephant - while it comes in handy most of the times there are times when it is not such a good thing - I never forgive some one for hurting me, especially if that incident deals with my big ego. While I am still not sure giving somebody more chances to hurt me would be a good idea, it would be nice to be able to forget the incident and all the negativity attached to it and move on. I wish I could just let go of all the bitterness I feel towards the people who wronged me. I'll try to do that because even writing it in here makes me feel much less bitter. I hope I'll be so busy keeping up my other resolutions that I won't have time to feel negative about others. :)

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