Small Changes: January 2011

by Rachael on December 31, 2010

As of about ten minutes ago, I’ve decided that I don’t believe in grand resolutions. Even the biggest new year’s resolution I’ve ever made and fulfilled is one that required two years of work beforehand (when I didn’t even know that I was preparing for life as a freelancer) and seven months of work afterward to realize. Small changes, though, I certainly do believe in. Who knows just how radically I can change my life a bit at a time, even by stealth?

November’s change has been a success: I found Lunapads* (which I ended up using for the first time last month) to be more comfortable than any other sanitary product I’ve used before. December’s changes were perhaps less successful. We did indeed purchase just 25 holiday cards, and we did indeed purchase fewer gifts. However, due to illness and a snowstorm and general disorganization, the holiday cards still haven’t gone out. They wish the recipient all the best in 2011, so it shouldn’t be a big deal that they don’t go out until next week. But the fact that they haven’t yet gone out has been a source of stress for me. If I’m giving things up, shouldn’t I be giving up the associated stress? Or, as I suspect, am I so accustomed to stress that I unconsciously seek ways to generate more? Perhaps next year we’ll give up on holiday cards altogether.

Even more disconcerting, though, was just how many gifts the Critter received this year. It shouldn’t have been a surprise: he has two pairs of aunts and uncles on either side of the family, plus two pairs of grandparents, plus a great-grandmother, plus a step-great-grandmother, plus a step-great-grandfather and step-step-great-grandmother. No-one gave him anything we wouldn’t want him to have, but altogether, the gifts added up to a lot. I want our non-Christian Christmas to be a non-commercial Christmas, and so clearly we have to think of some creative ways to limit or transform the gift-giving-to-the-Critter aspect of the holiday.

Looking ahead to next year, I’m hoping to make many changes in the kitchen. One goal is to buy as much as we can from local sources. Given that we live in the northeastern United States and I know little (um, nothing) about preserving produce — beginning with where the hell we would even keep any of it — meeting this goal could be a challenge in the 32 weeks of the year that we are without our CSA share. Where will we get our vitamins if not from dark green leafy veggies from California? Honestly, I don’t know. So, in January, we start with just apples: no more apples from Washington state! Because the local groceries tend not to sell local apples, we’ll need to go to a farmers’ market to get them — which means we’ll be able to learn more about what’s available locally in this part of the world at this time of the year and, I hope, devise plans for more small changes in the coming year.

What small changes are you planning to make next year?

* Link provided for information only; I am not affiliated with this company.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle @ The Parent Vortex January 2, 2011 at 1:27 AM

I started canning last year and found it really satisfying and not as difficult as I’d imagined it would be. There is the problem of storing all the jars, but the jam is delicious and well worth the effort.

I agree with you on making incremental changes. Even little steps can make a big difference when you add them all up. Happy new year!
Michelle @ The Parent Vortex recently posted… A Year of Playful Meditation on Self-Discipline and Parenting

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Hillary January 2, 2011 at 3:50 PM

I think that’s a great idea. Living in the Northeast I understand how overwhelming the food thing can be. I like the idea of picking one small habit to change.

I’ll have to think about it.

Another thing I’m working on is an earlier bedtime. I’m traditionally a night owl and it’s really hard for me to adjust to this whole kid’s need me to be well rested early in the am thing.

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Amber January 3, 2011 at 11:41 PM

A few years ago the idea of canning terrified me, and now I love it. It’s really a whole lot easier than I expected it to be. I even made pickles while I was in labour with my second baby, so you know it’s not rocket science.

Not that you need to can, but if you want encouragement, there it is. :)

As for me, this year I am working on setting up little systems to make my life smoother. My first step? No checking email before breakfast. Even if I really, REALLY want to just take a quick peek.
Amber recently posted… What I Learned in December 2010

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Rachael January 14, 2011 at 8:49 AM

If you’re looking for ideas for blog posts, articles about your systems would be great. As for me, I think my next WAHM post (or the one after that) is going to be about backsliding. Ah, well.

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Rachael January 14, 2011 at 8:47 AM

I neglected to include a link in this post, but I should give credit for the idea of making one small change at a time (one per month) to the folks at Hip Mountain Mama. The One Small Change Web site is here.

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