1. Lose weight
This goal has not gone well at all. In the past month I have managed to make it to my local Zumba class once. The excuses have mounted up and made me realise I need to look for other exercise opportunities. My current workplace has a gym onsite with a reasonable monthly membership. I may try pay-as-you go at first to work out if it's cheaper than paying a monthly rate.
My attempt to stop eating so much rubbish has not gone well either. However I have made one positive change. Instead of investing in ready meals I have been cooking big batches of meals in the slow cookers. I have inherited some plastic takeaway meal containers from my mother and they are a handy portion size. All I need to do is remember to take the meal out the freezer the night before. Him Indoors and I have noticed a big change in our weekly shopping bill since we adopted this tactic. On average we're spending £30-£40 on our weekly food budget. This is a massive drop from the average £50 we used to spend and still run out of food halfway through the week. Finances will be discussed later.
Assessment: Could do better.
2. Make more of an effort with my writing
Thankfully this goal seems to have gone a little bit better. This week I started the Open University course A174: Start writing fiction. The fees are covered by the lovely ILA and is part of the reason why I applied for it. My life is rather hectic at the moment and I like being able to study when and where I choose. Today I spent two hours working my way through the first block and I've been very impressed with the content so far. The course materials include an anthology and audio CD. I was chuffed to learn that Alex Garland and Tim Pears were contributors to sections covered by the CD. It was very inspiring sitting on the shitty bus into town and listening to writers express their love for their craft as well as imparting some words of wisdom.
One of the exercises encourages you to use a paper notebook for assignments. Today I've enjoyed scribbling down ideas on paper. I may decide to start writing first drafts on paper before committing them to an Open Office Writer file.
Write in for Writing's Sake is chugging away nicely. Being the moderator has encourage me to contribute and get more writing down. You've got to lead by example, haven't you? Some of the stuff I have produced has not been amazing but at least it has got me writing. I have got some ideas for the site and which direction I want it to go in. The first big change is moving it over from Tumblr to a Wordpress platform. Tumblr is a tad clunky and I'm wary of how often its servers seem to go down. Also the site is a bit irratic in IE, as I discovered from user feedback and my own experience when I tested it. You forgot things like that, especially if you use other browsers (I'm a fan of Chrome personally).
Assessment: Doing well, keep going!
3. Be more organised
At the moment I'm channelling this goal into small areas such as planning teas for the upcoming week. I hate wasting food and try to avoid throwing things out whenever possible. I've started using my pocket diary the Mothership got me as a graduation present. More of my social events tend to be written in there than on Google Calendar these days. Lately I have been using Google Calendar for long term events, such as reminding me to pay off my overdraft before the interest free period runs out.
Next month I would like to be better at managing housework. I am a very messy person and it takes me a real effort to tidy up. Also I'd much rather spend the time cleaning doing other things. But then the mess builds up and it takes twice as long to clean up as it should do. Also I am very bad at starting something then wandering off halfway through never to return. Last Monday I cleared out some old Masters coursework and it still needs finished off.
Assessment: Good start but need to make time for boring tasks (and finish them!).
4. Be better at keeping in touch with people
This is my most successful goal in January so far. In the past month I have seen a number of friends I had not met up with for a while. Sometimes this was bitter sweet. Last Thursday I had tea and cakes with a friend who is moving to another city for job purposes. It made me sad that she was going and I regretting not making more effort to meet up on a regular basis.
Yesterday I went to see Glasgow's local ice hockey team, the Braehead Clan. It was a really good atmosphere and surprisingly chilled out considering the violent nature of the game. Fans were good natured despite the Clan's defeat to the Belfast Giants (who seemed to play rather dirty in my opinion). The tickets are a tad pricey for a weekly outing at £15 for me. I could stretch to going to two games a month at the maximum due to current finances. However the best part of the day was seeing friends that I had not seen since New Year. There was some good banter and that helped make the day.
Next month I may have to cut back on social outings due to my OU class. This is unfortunate but we shall see how it goes.
Assessment: Excellent stuff!
better at managing in more control of my finances
This month has not gone well. At the beginning of the month, myself and Him Indoors sat down and made ourselves do the budget outlined by moneysavingexpert.com. It highlighted some good areas but there were some ugly bits. I was horrified to find out how much money I had withdrawn and had no idea where most of it had gone. Now I have started writing down what I spend in a little cashbook to help keep track. It's a start and hopefully a good habit to keep.
Alas I had a slip up last week. In my folly I decided to withdraw the last of my cash the day before I got paid. I thought it would not be a problem. Except a payment for something online came off my debit card and pushed me a couple of pounds into an unauthorised overdraft. Lesson learnt this month: don't clean out your account the day before payday.
Assessment: Not a great start to the year but it's onwards and upwards from here.