Goals for 2012

Ah, New Year’s Resolutions. You end the year feeling tired and like there are so many aspects of your life that need to change. A new year begins, which seems like a perfect opportunity. Over the course of the year you slowly lose your resolve until it’s time to make resolutions all over again.

I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. In the past I’ve found them silly since so many people renig on their previously passionate commitments. With that said, I have a new-found outlook and that is that goals are important. Goals should be set in order to help you achieve what you want. Creating New Year’s Resolutions can really be a great time to decide on the goals you’d like to achieve for the next year.

I really enjoyed a recent post by Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point about New Year’s Resolutions.

http://www.healthytippingpoint.com/2011/12/wait-until-the-7th.html

A few takeaways:

1) Divide your goals into categories (i.e. personal and professional)

2) WAIT. Wait until the “OMG, it’s a New Year, anything is possible” hyped-up energy has cleared.

3) Be specific.

Taking her advice, I waited a few weeks to make my goals so I could make definable goals that I could stick to. Here are a few of my goals for 2012:

Personal Goals

– Work out at least 2x per week
– Incorporate yoga into fitness regime
– Read more books – 1 every 2 months
– Strengthen relationship with Ben
– Travel to see parents more often
– Save money
Professional Goals:
– Excel in new position
– Complete class to further Graduate School goals
I tried to make goals of a manageable size. I now read 1 book every 3 or 4 months, so my new goal is to read 1 book every 2 months. Instead of promising myself I’m going to work out like crazy 5 days a week, I tried to set a realistic goal to prevent disappointment.
I really do believe 2012 has great things in store, and am going to make a conscious effort to make my goals a reality!

 

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A Weekend in Monterey

Over New Year’s Eve weekend Ben and I escaped to the Monterey Peninsula. I’ve been to Monterey a few times and have enjoyed all the tourist traps (the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Steinbeck’s House and more). This time, I wanted a relaxing vacation away from noisy tourists.

We found a great hotel (that allows dogs!) in Pacific Grove, a town on the water next to Monterey. After arriving and checking in, we walked to the boardwalk that was filled with joggers, families and people walking dogs.

The scenery was breathtaking.

Later that night we got ready for a special New Year’s Eve dinner at Jack’s Restaurant at the Portola Inn. We rarely get gussied up for a night out, so it was fun to dress up and visit a fancy restaurant. Another motivation for the timing of this trip was to escape New Year’s Eve craziness. Instead of going out and partying with the crowds, we decided to have a nice dinner, relax in the Jacuzzi, and drink some champagne in our hotel room.

In the morning we found a local eatery (Halle’s Diner, great atmosphere but the food was only okay) and ventured to the coast once again. We drove down 17 mile drive until we found a deserted strip of beach to throw the ball for Harrison.

My dog has an obsession with the ocean. As soon as he can see it or smell it, he freaks out. He had a blast running up and down the beach chasing his ball until the ocean waves caught it and swept it away forever. The rest of the day was spent napping and venturing into Monterey for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.

In the morning, we decided we needed a change of scenery and drove to Carmel. Known for upscale shops and eateries, Carmel is very reminiscent of St. Helena and many other Napa Valley towns. We had an especially noteworthy breakfast at Katie’s Place in downtown Carmel. Not only was the place so packed we had to sit at the bar to eat, but one of our plate’s could have fed a small family.

I got the Santa Fe Benedict with spicy Hollandaise sauce. By far one of the largest meals I’ve ever had, and it was also out-of-this-world good. And now I feel like I need to detox.

We ended the trip on another beautiful white beach, in Carmel.

More than simply relaxing, this trip was cleansing. It was the perfect way to end 2011 and ring in 2012 with a clear mind and refreshed spirit.

Travels in the Monterey Peninsula, the Home of Steinbeck

Though I could not say John Steinbeck is my favorite author of all time, I have long appreciated his unique writing style, his focus on people who make up the outskirts of society, and the fact that many of his stories are set in the very state in which I live.

Visit any town in the Monterey Peninsula (most especially Monterey and Salinas) and you will be inundated with plaques and museums dedicated to the prolific writer. Though very touristy, after I read Cannery Row I visited the historic Cannery Row of Monterey to have the unique experience of seeing the actual buildings and places the characters of the book visited.

Seeing the places that inspired Steinbeck’s subjects and characters drives home the notion that one must understand the deep-seated roots of an author like Steinbeck to fully understand the issues grappled with in his books. His novel Tortilla Flat received attention for focusing on Monterey inhabitants of Mexican descent, a character unique to that time and place. His own real life interactions with marine biologist Ed Rickets set the stage for Cannery Row and several of his forays into non-fiction works highlighting local marine life.

When I entered college with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I naturally gravitated towards majoring in English. Books are the one subject I always enjoy studying. Even still, I struggled with the decision because the popular perception of majoring in English is that you can’t do anything with the degree. Upon entering the job field, I found this not to be the case. Majoring in English taught me how to write well, evaluate ideas and think critically and many of the jobs I’ve gotten have been based on those skills. Further, in depth analysis of famous works and their authors lead me to a deeper understanding of the issues facing our world and for that I will always be grateful.

A Quick Vacation Home

The Friday before Christmas, I finished my last day of work for ten days and flew to Arizona to see my family. I scheduled a 4-day trip because I wanted to have time to come home and get errands and house projects done before taking another trip to Monterey last weekend.

I love going home to visit Arizona family and friends but my trips always feel somewhat rushed. Not only do I need to spend quality time with my parents, but my visits to Arizona are some of the only times I get to spend with some of my best friends who I’ve known since Elementary School.

The morning after I arrived, my parents and I headed to the house of our family friends who we have known since I was in kindergarten. We had a great time eating a wonderful meal and playing with the new addition to the family–kitty Stig (named after Top Gear). Allison and Stig:

Isn’t he adorable? I’ve always been more of a dog person, but baby Stig was so cute I was tempted to smuggle him home in my purse. He’s so small he would have fit juuustt fiiinnneee.

I spent the rest of my vacation hanging around the Christmas tree, drinking hot cocoa and eating popcorn with my family and running around visiting friends. It was lovely to see everyone, but I missed Harrison terribly and couldn’t wait to return home to my own bed!