originally published January 2006 on GetCrafty.com

New Year’s resolutions have never worked out well for me. I’ve tried for years. I’d make the requisite list and have the best of intentions, but just never really got around to making it happen. I think the resolutions seemed too much like rules and my heart just wasn’t ever in it.

This is not to say that I have no use for goals or improvement however. I can’t help but get excited about the New Year. Perhaps because Christmas is such a huge undertaking, January seems like this big blank slate. It’s not just a new page in my calendar…it is a new calendar all together. An opportunity to do things different as well as repeat what worked last year.

The new year is a golden opportunity to evaluate and redefine. An old coworker once told me that he uses his birthday as a time to review the previous year and
make changes if needed. This is some of the best advise anyone ever gave me. And why wait until your birthday when you can do it this week? I’m lucky because my birthday is in mid-March so if I get off track after my January evaluation two and a half months later I can start over when my birthday rolls around. I can even pretend like that whole January and February thing never even happened!

2005 was a great year for me. I got promoted at my day job, I was a bridesmaid in a close friend’s wedding, I finally got a computer and internet at home and craftily speaking…wow! I formed the I.C.E. Collective with two friends, we organized the Indie Craft Experience in the summer and during the holiday season, we joined the Beehive Co-op, we participated in many local shows as well as in Renegade Brooklyn and Chicago, we had a live interview on a local radio station and a huge write up in our local, alternative newspaper and I started writing this column.

There is always a flip side though! In 2005, I ran up a ton of credit card debt, my apartment was in varying stages of a-mess all year long, I ate a lot of expensive, unhealthy lunches because I was too busy to pack a lunch, I didn’t spend enough time with my family and too much of the time I spent with my husband was in front of the tv. In 2005, I spent a lot of time just plain exhausted.

Clearly, in 2006 I need balance. I want to keep my crafty momentum going but I have to prioritize and decide which things I did last year that were the most effective so that I can make time to see my family and friends and keep my apartment looking cute. I feel so much more relaxed when my apartment is clean and I am much more productive with my sewing.

I also need to keep my money in check. My biggest weakness is going out to eat and for drinks. In the past few months, I’ve already made major headway. I’ve entirely cut out going to the coffee shop unless it is to meet a friend, whereas I used to go every day for my morning coffee. The coffee in the break room at my office is far below my former-barista standards, but it is f-r-e-e. We eat at home a lot more and have beer in the fridge most of the time. And, I�ll admit it, if I�m ready for an evening of sewing and there’s no beer at home, I walk to the gas station a block from our apartment and I buy myself a 22 oz. Budweiser. It costs $1.75 and if I pour it in a fancy glass I am good to go! When I think back to my younger $6 gin-and-tonic days I cringe at how many times I pulled the credit card out to pay my bill which often crept over $20. Some might say my classiness has been depleted but I just keep telling myself that the debt isn’t worth it. And I’m going to get out from underneath debt, one 22 oz. at a time!

So I’ve come up with a few small practices I’m going to implement in 2006. I guess they are resolutions, but I’m not calling them that in hopes that I can
actually pull them off!

__Watch much less TV. It slows me down when I’m sewing, stifles creativity, takes up gobs of time and I’d rather read anyway.

__Don’t use my credit cards!!!! There are instances of true emergency, but NOTHING else is worth the weight of debt.

__A weekly check list of chores. I don’t know who hates cleaning more, me or my husband. A list will keep us in order. And instead of me having to remind him that it’s his turn to scrub the tub, I’ll let the list do that dirty work!

__I�m going to go out less so that means I have to have people over more. This is three-fold….it costs less, will make me keep the apartment looking cute and it is just plain fun!

__We are doing great at cooking dinner at home, but we need to do better at taking our lunch to work. If my husband can make a big pot of soup each week and I can make some big batches of different salads then packing lunches will be super easy. Plus, we have to go to the farmers market every week. They have the cheapest and freshest food in town.

I’m not sure how I’ll make it all happen this year, but I’m hopeful. As I write this there is a big pot of soup on the stove. I’m a big believer in getting started. Most of the time that’s half the battle. So let’s get 2006 started right!

What are you doing different this year?

Christy Petterson lives in Atlanta where she writes, sews, works in PR, organizes crafty events, roadies for her drummer-of-a-husband, eats the yummy food he cooks her, drinks coffee, goes for walks and spends time with her friends and family.