First of all, Happy New Year!  I hope this year is better than the last and brings each of you much happiness and success.  There’s no reason for this time of year to be the only time of year to make a positive life change. However, it seems kind of like a clean slate so each January, we all think of ways to improve ourselves and our lives.  Whether you call it a resolution, a goal, or just a hope, I wish you the best of luck and hope that you are able to remain dedicated to what’s important to you.

For me, in 2014, I am focusing on a few areas in my life.  
Health & Fitness
Last year, I met my goal of losing 20-24 pounds and staying in that range.  I’m really proud and excited about my continued success but I know that I will not be able to maintain that success without continued action and caution.  During the month of December, I enjoyed a few too many sweets and threw caution to the wind as far as my diet was concerned, knowing that I’d be buckling down again in January.  I started running last year and I hate it. But I love it.  It seems I do best when I challenge myself and have to beat a personal goal.  This year (am I really saying this!?) I intend to run 300 miles in 2014.  Why 300?  I tossed a few ideas and numbers around in my head.  My thought with 300 miles is this… 6 miles per week for 50 weeks.  If I run 2 miles, three times a week, I will have 2 weeks when I don’t have to run at all.  That is a pretty tight schedule and if I get behind, I’m screwed.  I’m hopeful that my own fear of failure to meet my goal will keep me on track.  I might run 3 miles twice a week.  Or maybe there will be weeks when I run 3 miles four times.  I don’t know how this will work out.  All I know is that the more I run, the easier it should get.  The further I should be able to run.  What this doesn’t take into account is sickness or vacations or holidays or injuries.  I can’t predict the future but I think if I am dedicated, this is possible.  I think this will be my most challenging goal of 2014.
While I don’t think this will be my most difficult goal for 2014, I think it is the most important.  After what happened on December 7, I decided to stop yelling at my kids.  Since then, I’ve only “yelled” once, and I’m not sure that counts. Truly not trying to justify it, but I was yelling out of panic, not anger. Dexter started wadding up a map from one of their books that was certainly not the trash he was about to turn it into.  I told him to stop, but he didn’t hear me over the enormous sound of paper crinkling so my voice quickly escalated into a yell, as I shouted “stop! Stop! STOP!”  He stopped.  I looked up at Ryan like a deer in headlights and said “does that count??!”  This was on December 16.  I haven’t yelled since then!  On Sunday, Theo lied several times about something insignificant and it was really making me angry because I knew the truth.  If I hadn’t already committed to no more yelling, I think I would have lost it.  Instead, I put my hand on his shoulder and got down on his level.  I said very calmly, “you’re not telling the truth and mommy is getting really upset.  I don’t want to yell at you so I need you to listen to what I’m about to say.  Are you listening?”  He nodded.  I already felt myself calming down.  “Theo, I need for you to go sit on your bed until you are ready to tell the truth.”  He did.  It worked.  There was absolutely no reason for me to yell.  It’s degrading to the small, innocent person I’m yelling at and it makes me feel like the worst parent alive.  No more yelling.  Please look up the Orange Rhino Challenge for more information.  Since learning about this, I began following a Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond group on FB, which has already posted so many useful tips and interesting articles about the potential damage that yelling can cause.  Eye opening, really. 
I did Project 365 in 2012 for about 3 1/2 months.  The goal being to increase the amount of pictures I’m taking, to take pictures of different things, to improve my photography skills and abilities, and to increase the likelihood that I will force myself to spend some time sorting and organizing my photos into something meaningful (aside from a space eating monster on our external hard drive).  I’ve gotten super lazy about taking pictures of the boys unless there’s some occasion to do so.  The best pictures I’ve taken have been of ordinary moments and I’m hoping to capture some of those again in 2014.  So, I’ve agreed to participate in Project 365. My friend Mindi has promised to encourage me along the way, since she just wrapped up a successful Project 365 in 2013.  I can do this!  I will take at least one photo every day and post one picture that represents each day of 2014 in weekly posts.  Wish me luck – this will be tough for me to keep up with!
The things that I mentioned in the previous post are still important to me and will continue to be a work in progress, but as far as “resolutions” are concerned, this is it.  Three.  Running 300 miles.  365 days of no yelling.  Successfully completing Project 365.  
Will you join me in any of these?  What are your goals or resolutions for 2014?

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