Will Your 2015 Goals Improve Your Character?

In the last week I have absorbed my share of blog posts, magazine articles, columns from cultural thought leaders, Facebook posts and not just a few Tweets all about New Year’s resolutions.

√ How to make them.

√  How to keep them.

√  How and why most people fail at them (always a cheerful topic).

But I noticed an absence of column inches dedicated to what makes a resolution ‘worthy’ of one’s time.


According to USA.GOV, almost every year the most popular resolutions include losing weight, quitting smoking/drinking, getting a better job, saving more money/getting out of debt, and a couple of bucket list items like volunteering and taking a nice trip.  And, considering the propensity each goal has to populate the list year after year, that’ll probably tell you how well we’re all doing with these.

Be honest: we’re 7 days in – have you already cheated on your diet? #thanksalot  #you’rewelcome

NYRFunny!So, for myself, I thought I’d take the whole thing in a little different direction. First, I don’t believe in ‘resolutions,’ but I do embrace setting goals and then putting some things in place to help me stay on track. You know, like maybe doing a blog or something to hold me accountable to do a better job of getting to know my neighbors.  #ahem

I want to focus on goals that are worthwhile enough to IMPROVE MY CHARACTER, not just my waistline or my checkbook. I asked myself: what kinds of goals would move me toward being:

√ Less materialistic, and more generous?

√ Less judgmental, and more gracious?

√ Less negative, and more joyful?

√ Less self-focused, and more patient and resilient?

√ Less frozen and more welcoming?

So based on those criteria, here are my Eat Play Thaw Goals for 2015

1) I’m setting a goal to Eat More in 2015

For Pete’s sake, has no one else thought of this one yet?  Am I the only one? We spend so much energy on goals to eat less, why not a goal to EAT MORE?

In 2015, I’m setting a goal to eat more with my family, eat more with my friends and eat more with my neighbors. (Yes, I know the correct grammar is ‘eat more often’ but it’s a play on words. Roll with it.)  According to TheScramble.Com, 60 years ago the average dinnertime was 90 minutes; today it’s less than 12. Ouch. Furthermore, kids and teens who share family dinners 3 or more times per week are less likely to:

  • Be overweight
  • Use drugs and alcohol
  • Engage in sexual activity
  • Have fewer emotional and behavioral problems

And more likely to:

  • Eat healthier foods
  • Perform better academically
  • Have better relationships with their parents
  • Be stronger emotionally and have greater life satisfaction

Call me crazy, but isn’t this a no-brainer?  Count me in.

Deeper connection can happen around sharing a family meal, so why not extend this goal to my friends and neighbors? I know that when I carve out time to share a meal (or cup of coffee) with a good friend my soul – not just my stomach – gets fed. So why wouldn’t I set a goal to be more purposeful about that? Life is always right around the corner.  Deep human connection is the strongest underpinning to navigate whatever may come.

Last May, I set a goal to connect over a shared meal, coffee or other activity with at least one neighbor – which I didn’t already know very well – per month for 12 months.  (see “I’m Declaring War on the Seattle Freeze!”) Well, if you’ve been watching the counter in the upper right hand corner of my blog, I surpassed that goal in December with the help of a couple of cast-a-wide-net block parties and coffee klatches.  So now I’m eager to go a little deeper with those neighbors I’ve met and simply enjoy having them over for dinner, one by one.

2) I’m setting a goal to Play More in 2015

Four weeks from today I’m turning 50.  And I intend to celebrate all year long!  Life just keeps getting busier and more complicated and I’ve learned that if I don’t plan intentionally to recreate and play, it just won’t happen.  I’ve already put the wheels in motion to block out special time this year with as many of my dearest friends as I can. Next week, I’m going on my first cruise with my best friend from college.  I’m planning a Suncadia weekend with the women who’ve tracked with and supported me while I’ve cared for my mom (another post for another time).  And, good heavens, if the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl again…. party in the ‘hood!

Recreation and celebration remind me of the great blessings in my life, which in turn move me toward pouring out blessings on others.  Exhaustion and bitterness serve no one.

IMG_5460Jaz and I will also be taking our master bathroom down to the studs and completely remodeling it this year.  Now, for some of you who can recall the near phone call to the divorce attorney over a past wallpaper debacle, you’re thinking: soooooo, how is that playing?  And, how is that going to improve your character versus just making you crazy?

Hear me out. While some may fear the havoc a remodel might work on their marriage, Jaz and I thrive together when we’re transforming a space. Jaz has amazing gifts in craftsmanship. I love to create and design.  And I believe good character is developed not just from ‘working thru the hard stuff’ but in understanding what your soul needs to thrive amidst the celebrations and the heartaches.

Jaz and I get in the zone together when we remodel a space. Check out our powder room that we did start to finish (above):  Jaz designed and built the custom vanity, mill work and cabinetry and installed all the tile. I sourced the stone (remnant), tile, fixtures, lighting, hung the wallpaper, painted the ceiling and stained and varnished the vanity.

Demolition on the master bath starts next week. I can’t wait.

3) I’m setting a goal to Thaw More in 2015

I’ve been having so much fun getting to know my neighbors that I can already see that I’ll most likely extend my Eat Play Thaw adventure past May 1 of this year, as I had originally planned.

  • I’m going to continue my Neighborhood Coffee Klatch every 4-6 weeks
  • I’m going to continue with my cherished Neighborhood Book Club
  • I’m going to organize a Neighborhood Block Party for National Night Out in August
  • I’m going to continue having a neighbor over for a meal or activity once a month
  • I’m going to continue to explore and write about opportunities that all Seattleites can engage with to build deeper connections and make transplants feel more welcome
  • I’m going to keep asking anyone who stumbles upon this blog to Join the Thaw Challenge and go on record to reach out and get to know their neighbors (hint-hint).

I don’t know where it all will take me, but I’m pretty sure it will push me to ‘get over myself,’ embrace and enjoy the wonderful diversity in my community, and keep an ‘others-focused’ placeholder in my life.  That sounds like pretty good character-building stuff, doesn’t it?

I feel good about my 2015 goals.  How are you feeling about yours?

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