Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I don't typically like to do the New Year's resolution, at least, not in a traditional sense.

The artificial time stamp we created signifying a new year has this weird effect on people where, while usually drunk, they make unrealistic expectations to become a better person.

While I fully support becoming a better person, most people set unrealistic goals and pile too many of them on to actually complete this. Sure, they might hit the gym for a few weeks, but generally, by May, those gyms are just about empty. Most research shows that only about 60% make it past the first month and less than 50% make it past 6 months.

So instead of just saying, "I'm going to get into shape and quit smoking" here are my more realistic goals.

1. Lose Weight
Yes, I know, a little hypocritical based on what I said above. But to me, I'm not going to say, "I'm going to go to the gym 5 days a week all year" Or "I want to get down to my high-school weight." I simply wish to become what I was before I injured myself. This is going to take more than just gym time and has several sub-resolutions.

1a. Workout 
Just last week I started weight training for the first time in 4 months. Not working out for that long takes it toll on a man. I still can't do the aerobics I would like to do, but I can do certain sit-ups and arm exercises. I'll have to bust out my 25 lb weights and start doing at least a half hour workout a few times a week.

1b. Eat better.
Things have been so busy lately and I've been so tired just by the nature of my injury, that Sallie and I have just been eating what's convenient. We typically don't eat fast food, but its so easy to pick up some Taco Bell on the way home and not deal with it.

This is also true for dessert snacks, potato chips, and candy that have been left here from our various holiday parties. I normally don't eat that stuff, but when I'm hungry, I'll throw a handful of Cheetos and some brownies in my mouth until Sallie procures said fast food.

1c. Posture 
My posture has never been great, but spending the past few months mostly sitting down has made it even worse. I noticed this in pictures from holiday events. My neck might as well just come out of my chest.

Not only does a better posture make you look skinnier, but it strengthens your abs and helps with back problems.

2. Languages
I want to have a basic knowledge of another language.

I have the foundation for Spanish, but I always found Spanish to be sort of boring and ugly. So I'm abandoning the six semesters of Spanish I took in high-school and college.

I'm thinking French might be the way to go. With how much I love cooking and how often the French come up in cooking, it's only natural. Plus, next time I go to Europe, France is on the short list of places we want to visit. Now, I'm not planning on being able to have a conversation in French, but I want to have a basic working knowledge: "Where's the restroom?" "Another bottle of wine please." "We saved your asses in World War II." Phrases that will come up often.

3. Frugality
Sallie and I have been forced to be fairly frugal the past several years, but we still have a lot of luxuries we could do away with.  

July is marked on our calendars for when all three of our surgeries will be paid off as well as a personal loan we got from our credit union 2 years ago. By May, the sewer company debacle will be paid off. That'll free up almost $500 a month, but until then, its time to tighten the belts and get aggressive on some of our debt.

I've taken a few steps to save money immediately.
3a. Gamefly, although was a great and relatively in-expensive service, has been cancelled.
3b. We will probably turn Netflix to the streaming only option.
3c. We're also going to close off parts of the house that we don't use much, make sure nothing is left plugged in, plant some bushes in front of our house, plug up our fireplaces, etc. Just do things that will shave a few dollars off of our utility bills.
3d. Go out less. Sallie and I are huge foodies, which will make this one hard, but we are going to try and cut down on going out to eat by at least 10%.

4. Make our living quarters ours
We've kept putting off home improvement stuff for money reasons, time reasons, laziness reasons, but that list just keeps getting longer and nothing is getting done about it.

So to start, Sallie and I are taking a 4 day weekend in mid-January and we are going to strip and paint the upstairs bathroom and the future site of the Story office. (Large upstairs bedroom)

Once it gets a little closer to spring, the yard is going to get seeded and we're going to grow proper grass and try to choke out the crab grass.

And this will be the third time making this promise, but this year, we will have a fully functional garden.

5. Take last years resolutions a step further
This is part of my building on last years complete-able resolutions.

5a. Become more than an amateur baker. Last year, I wanted to know how to make bread in an old fashioned sense. I wanted to kneed the dough with my bare hands, not use any machinery other than the oven. But I still rely on recipes.

This year, I want to come up with some of my own bread recipes. Not only that, but I want to expand my baking into other realms like cakes and pies.

5b. Become a brewmaster. Well, that's really the ultimate goal. I'd love to be a brewmaster at a brewery. I know how beer is made now. I've gone 8 or so recipes. This is the year that I start making my own recipes, modifying ones I find, and once I'm able to walk again, I'm going to try to get an apprenticeship at one of the local breweries around here so I can see how beer is made in large quantities.

6. See more of St. Louis
I love my city. When people come into town, I want to show them why this city is so under-rated. At the same time, I feel like Sallie and I go to the same dozen places over and over again.

Our goal this year is to eat at each of the places on the St. Louis originals list at least once. We want to participate in community events more whether through a church or a local institution like Schlafly. and in general just get out more. Go for walks downtown, take advantage of Forest Park, or explore areas we've barely been to.