Thursday, March 17, 2011

February 2011 Goal Update

I'm a little late on my goal update for the month of February. So, let's get right to it:

1. Lose 52 pounds
At one time, I was down 4 more pounds for a total of 16 pounds lost, but it fluctuates up and down and has never made it all the way back down. Basically, I'm weighing the same as I was in January (give or take 1 to 2 pounds).

I took measurements of my body at the beginning of February, but when I went to take them again they were so off from the original (in both directions) that I know something is wrong. I need to learn how to take proper measurements and start over.

I have slipped somewhat on my healthy eating plan, but I always jump right back on track with my next meal. I'm not hitting an average of 3 times per week exercise, so my consistency needs work. On a postive note, I have been walking a lot more, taking stairs whenever possible and keeping busy on my feet as much as possible versus sitting on my tush all day.

March outlook:  Become consistent with exercise, at least 3 times per week. Walk daily. I will lose 4-8 more pounds. Take measurements again the proper way and re-evaluate after one month.

2. Enter my writing into at least 12 contests (1 per month)
This month, I sent my poetry to 2 seperate contests. The point is not to sit around hoping for a reply or a win, it is to get myself into the habit of writing and releasing. My initial goal here is to boost my writing confidence by continually sending my stuff out into the world.

March outlook: Incorporate daily writing practice, even if only 15 minutes a day. Entry into at least one new market.

3. Become more fluent on the guitar
Boo! I've hardly played this month! I can't figure out why. When I end up sitting down with my guitar, I love it. Not sure why discipline to practice everyday is so hard to come by....

March outlook: DAILY practice!!!

4. Read at least 24 books
I enjoyed Number the Stars by Lois Lowry so much in January that I decided to seek out another by the same author. The Giver by Lois Lowry did not disappoint. Once again, this is another book I'm embarrassed to admit I had never read, but now that I have, I believe it sets the benchmark for all distopian novels. Was it easy to imagine happening in our time? Yes. Was it suspenseful and full of wonder? Yes yes. Was it full of interesting, intellectual characters? Yes yes yes. Loved it.

I also checked out Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Of course, it was the title that captured my interest. Unfortunately, the title was the only thing. Basically the book told me the reason I am fat is because I eat meat. I kept reading hoping to glean some facts I could use in my day to day life. It told me to eat fake cheese and butter. No thank you. Then it began to detail, blow by disgusting blow, how poorly animals are treated. I almost threw up. I'm sure that was the scare tactic the authors intended to turn readers into full-fledged vegetarians, but it merely managed to intensify my need to research the claims further. I liked the authors' "no-nonsense" approach, yet their way of getting a point across to the reader was borderline insulting. In conclusion, I didn't walk away with anything remotely useful from this book.

I've begun to read The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene but haven't finished yet. This is a book I should probably purchase because it's a reasonable guide to follow for healthy eating. It also introduces an exercise plan that utilizes levels as a way to work towards your ultimate goals. This is a book I want in my home library.

I'm also a quarter the way through The Vampire Armand which is Book #6 in The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. I will provide a review when I'm done reading.
During February I also read my fair share of e-newletters, magazines, newspapers and blogs.

March outlook: Finish The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice. Finish The Best Life Diet and let it motivate me to exercise! Make another trip to the library and read at least 2 more books.

5. Make $1000 per month for extra income
I didn't earn a cent this month. However, I think I have a better handle on how Ebay works. I also got Paypal up and running and am ready to post my first item in March.

March outlook: List something on Ebay. If it sells, list again. Work on marketing my writing.

6. Get out of credit card debt
With all the work I've been putting into my apartment, and the poor economy effecting my husband's business, my credit card debt situation is still the same.

March Outlook: Organize paperwork and call consumer crediting counsel to get some assistance.

7. Spend under $150 per week on groceries for my family of four.
Much improvement this month. One week I spent more than $150, but the rest of the time I was able to keep it well under that amount. Our average spending for groceries in February totalled $139/week. This  includes toiletries and other non-food items. I've had to learn to go without and make do more than once. We also ate out twice this month for a total of $43. These two times were a treat. Limiting our trips out to eat takes immense discipline but we appreciate, and look forward to, our trips out that much more.

March outlook: Work on menu planning so cooking dinner is not such a chore. Shopping is more pleasant when I know ahead of time what I need, and it helps me better utilize coupons and save more money.

8. Get my foot in the door someway, somehow working in a library and/or bookstore
No luck here. I look daily, but I haven't found any openings.

March outlook: Keep searching!

9. Get all my pictures organized and labeled, both print and digital
I have managed to get some organizing done on my computer. It's a step in the right direction. The first half of February I was still knee deep in apartment renovations, namely reorganizing and cleaning after getting new paint and carpet. My print pictures are all in one place at least. This month I displayed some framed pictures that were in storage. I want to swap out others and get my print pictures better organized.

March outlook: Continue getting pictures on computer labeled and organized. Swap out some framed pictures to start fresh.

10. Post to my blog AT LEAST once per week, preferably more.
This did not happen in Februrary. My last blog post was so disheartening that I wanted to give it the space it deserved.
March outlook: Get posting!

11. Get my husband on an airplane, and finally visit Chicago 

Didn't happen this month. But now I have my daughter working on daddy too. I just know he doesn't want to disappoint us! Even if we don't get him on a plane, I see a road trip by car or train in our future.

March outlook: Gotta make that of our biggest obstacles to travel right now.