The Plan, Hammered Out

I’ve really been putting a lot of thought into my plan. Before I start, I’d like to give you some background about myself. I am a planner. Big dreamer, list-maker, future-jumper…I plan. Problem is, my plans are so elaborate and well-done that I can’t keep up. My follow through, as my husband will tell you, is less than steller. I get so exhausted from all the planning, that I just give up once I start falling behind.

So, in an effort to make it stick this time, I’ve come up with a plan (HAHA!) I’ve come up with 12 ‘themes’, one for each month of the year, and organized my goals into those themes. Now some of my goals ecompass the whole year. In fact most of them do. Some of them even go outward to 18 months, because I have a larger goal of moving at that time. But the beauty about this plan is that it lets me off the hook. Each month I can just focus on one area of my life, one or two goals, get some habits broken or set, and then before I get bored I can move on to the next! Perfection.

Here are my themes for 2010. I think this would be perfect for anyone, because the themes can be changed to fit any goals. 2011 might have different themes, as if The Plan works my life will be different in a year. I’ve listed my goal for the year as it relates to each theme, plus I’ve made some attempt to make each goal measurable.

Self-care: This is a big one for me this year. I don’t feel good, and a huge part of it is because I have a Gluten-Intolerance/Eating Disorder (binge eating) double whammy that is making me sick. I’m also low in Iron and Vitamin D, both of which zap my energy. 

My goals for Self-Care for 2010 are to give up gluten for the year and to start taking a daily vitamin with Iron, plus Vitamin D. I also have my No Weigh plan, which fits here. No weighing myself for a whole year.

Frugality: This is self-explaintary. I have a goal of being more frugal over all in my life–with money, with other resources–because I know that in the long run it will free up my time, energy, and attention for the things that I really want in my life. Wasting resources, then spending all my  time working so I can have more resources that get wasted, is a silly and unreasonable loop.

My goal for frugality for 2010 is to keep track of all spending for one year, and to keep to a goal of spending no more than $100 per week (plus about $600 twice a year when our local store has a stock-up sale…so that’s about $125 per week for five people.) I’ve revised this part of this goal to read: I will shop in season and as locally as possible (the Western US), and as ethically as possible, and to stop wasting food. $100 per week is a guideline more than a goal.

Simplicity: I love the idea of simplicity. It makes me think of hippies on a commune, or living in a yurt in the woods, or the Amish. The plain fact is that my life is not simple. At all. I’d like to make it more so, but I know it’s not something that will happen overnight, or even in one year. I don’t want to live in a yurt (most of the time I don’t anyway), but I do want to introduce a measure of balance and peace into my life.

My goal for simplicity for 2010 is to exercise 10 minutes everyday. You might think this goes in the self-care category. But this 10 minutes is going to be more than exercise. It’s going to be 10 dedicated minutes everyday where I’m not focused on anything but just moving my body and my own thoughts. Those will be the ten simplist minutes in my day, and I’m making a commitment to not let them slip away from me.


I pondered long and hard about this one. Sustainability is important to me, but I struggle about focusing on it because I don’t feel like I’m in a position to be sustainable right now. We live so far from everything that we have to drive or be hermits. There is no recycling within 250 miles of my house. We have a 90 day growing season, if we’re lucky. All of this is a bunch of boo-hoo that gives me an excuse not to figure out how to be sustainable right now. 

My sustainability goal for this year is to read Sharon Astyk’s book about Adapting in Place when it’s published later this year and to follow her Independance Days monthly thingie. And to really come to understand that you can practice sustainable living no matter where you are.

Life-long learning:

Every year I try to choose something to learn, some new something that I didn’t already know. This year it’s sewing. I want to be able to confidently sew my own clothing from scratch. That includes scary stuff like zippers and darts and button holes. Also, I’m very focused on my education right now, and that would fall into this catagory.

My goals for 2010 are to complete at least one project a month, including making myself a dress that I would actually wear out of my house, and to get accepted to and begin the BFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College.


I want to be happy. Who doesn’t? By happy though, I mean that I want a life where everything in it that I have control over makes me joyful. That means work that is fulfilling and satisfying, a strong marriage, happy kids…but for me it also means freedom. I’m claustraphobic. I can’t stand elevators or stairwells…I can’t sleep with my feet tucked in…and I absolutely hate the feeling of being stuck. To me, joy looks like the freedom to do new things without worry.

My Joy goal for 2010 is to save $1000 per month into a freedom savings account. This sounds like a financial goal, and in a way it is. But the freedom that money will by will be a great joy to me.


I’m typically a very forgiving person. In fact, when Kevin is asked what I’m like, that’s what he says. She’s very forgiving. I don’t hold grudges. I can usually see beyond a person’s actions to the anticident behind it and understand that whatever has happened has a reason that doesn’t have anything to do with me. I also would almost always choose balance and peace over being angry anyday. It’s just my nature.

There are two situations in my past that have been super hard for me to find forgiveness regarding. I might talk about them more at another time, or I might not. But my forgiveness goal for 2010 is to write a letter to my aunt.


I am the world’s worst housekeeper. There is ALWAYS something I’d rather be doing. Not to mention that having six little brothers really gave me a high tolerance for chaos and mess. I married a sligthly-OCD only child with very little tolerance for mess and a real talent for cleaning, so it all balances out pretty nicely. Still, I need to pull my own weight, right? Right?

My 2010 housekeeping goal is to declutter. I want to really go through and get rid of anything that isn’t serving a purpose in our house. This dovetails nicely with my goal of moving in summer 2011–less to pack! To make this measurable, my plan is to spend at least an hour a week decluttering.


One of my 2009 highlights has been the epiphany that I am capable of supporting myself without resorting to work that I hate doing. I think this feeling that how much I made was more important than whether I wanted to spend 8 hours a day doing it stems from finding myself abruptly a single mother when Adrienne and Nick were 4 and 2. I was 23, terrified, flat broke, and on my own. Money mattered. Money still matters, but I have the experience now to earn it as a writer. And all I’ve ever wanted is to be a writer.

My goal for 2010 is to get to a point where I’m earning as a writer as much as I earn now at my part-time job, about $1000 a month. My ultimate goal is to be a novelist, so to that end my goal is to write at least 1 hour a day on fiction projects.


I’m not a religious person, but I am spiritual. I believe that what I put out into the universe has consequences beyond myself. I believe that there are things I don’t understand, big things that are miraculous and wonderful. I consider myself to be a Unitarian, but unfortunately there is no Unitarian church within 250 miles of me. Seattle has more than one, which is exciting.

My goal for 2010 is to learn more about Unitarianism, and to listen to services on the internet at least once a month.


I do pretty well on this front. I’m married, I have great kids, I stay in touch with my family. The one area where I struggle some with this is with friendship. I’m not great at maintaining them. (Boy, I’m confessing all over the place on this blog lately.) I’m shy by nature, and struggle with something of an inferiority complex. I find myself sometimes wondering–why would this person want to be my friend? I relate to people much better online than I do face to face.  

My 2010 relationship goal is to actively seek out connection with other people. To make this measureable, my goal is to have non-work-related contact with someone outside my family at least once per week.


This one doesn’t really have a goal. December is ALWAYS my goal-setting month, and 2010 won’t be any different.

So here is how I envision 12-theme The Plan working. I’ll make a list of the things that I’m promising myself to do on a regular basis. In fact, I might as well do that now:


  • No Gluten
  • No weighing
  • Take a vitamin
  • Track spending
  • 10 minutes of exercise
  • 1 hour a day of fiction writing


  • $100 on groceries
  • Declutter for one hour


  • Independance Days
  • One sewing project
  • Save $1000
  • Listen to one Unitarian pod-cast

I’ll post on the last day of each month with my progress. I’m sure there will be posts during the month as well. Like I said, there are goals here that I can’t complete in a month. That isn’t the point. Each month I’ll write about that theme, I’ll talk about resources that relate to it. But most important, if I’m faltering, I’ll have the chance to rededicate myself to that goal and really think about why I made it in the first place. This is a flexible plan.

Barbara Sher, in her wonderful book Wishcraft, has an exercise where she asks the reader to really think about what they want their life to be and to write it down. Not what they think it can be, but just throwing out expectations and reality and writing what would be a perfect day. One perfect day. In the next few days, I’ll write my perfect day and talk about how each of my goals will bring me closer to that day.

I also plan to come up with some sort of form or something to report monthly on my goal progress.

There you have it folks. A 12-theme The Plan program.


Filed under body, mind, spirit

2 responses to “The Plan, Hammered Out

  1. I love this, This is my first year of “resolutions” I think this is the best simple plan I have seen, If you don’t mind, I am so stealing or Borrowing your plan lol Ohhhh my mind is thumping. I would like to add that I started a vitamin regimen 4 years ago. I researched about 4 months about vitamins, And I think you might do better with seperate vitamins rather then a multi. Vitamin D3 is better for you. I also take a probiotic, echinacea, vitamin c, and vitamin e. I plan on adding a few more this year. I have all my kids on this same regimen only lower doses. I do not immunize or vaccinate my kids anymore, Had some bad experiences and learning about what they put in those things made me crazy. Not one of us has been sick in over 3 years, nothing. And my twins were 2 months preemie and my 2 year old was a month and half preemie, My twins were born with trachial malaysia and the baby with thyroglossal duct cyst. Dr.s said they would be high risk for all sorts of illnesses. Nothing in 5 years for the twins and nothing for 2 years for the baby. Just a thought, But I am a true believer, I was feeling so sluggish and just not right until I started taking the vitamin d3 and vitamin c especially. I have tons of energy now.

    • I have tried taking the seperate vitamins. I always end up not following through because I hate it so much. They taste so bad! I was on a super high-dose of Vitamin D for a while–50,000 iu–cause blood tests showed I was real low. This is common with gluten intolerance, because it leads to malaborption, and also with living in the mountains cause even in the summer the sun is at a weird angle.

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