Increasing energy: Erin’s first set of 2010 resolutions

With the start of the New Year, I’m working diligently on my 2010 resolutions already. In my review of Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I mentioned that my first quarter of the year is focused on gaining more energy. Without more energy, my remaining resolutions can’t possibly happen.

I’ve written in the past about how getting adequate sleep is linked to an uncluttered life. If I’m exhausted, I’m less likely to eat well and exercise (also energy related), tackle items on my to-do list, think and work efficiently and clearly, keep up with chores, stay focused, and respond well under stress. One hour of missed sleep can tank my productivity the following day.

Less than a week into 2010, though, and I’ve already had to tweak some of my resolutions. For example, when I was planning how I would achieve my sleep resolutions, I apparently forgot to factor in that I have a baby in the house. Although he has started sleeping through most nights, he’s not sleeping through all nights. I’ve quickly learned that my plan to get eight hours of sleep a night is more likely to happen if I schedule nine hours on the calendar.

Here are my energy resolutions that I’m working to turn into habits during the first quarter of 2010:

  • On nights when I work the following morning, begin bedtime routines at 9:00 p.m. (Change into pajamas, pick out clothes for tomorrow, feed pets, wash face, brush teeth, change son into his pajamas, curl up in bed with a book, etc.)
  • Lights out at 10:00 p.m.
  • Out of bed the first time the alarm clock rings at 7:00 a.m. (No snooze!)
  • On Monday evenings, create a healthy meal plan and shopping list for Wednesday through Wednesday. (I currently do this, I went ahead and put this on the list, though, to make it a priority to keep doing it.)
  • Grocery shop each Tuesday. (Again, I do this, just wanted to reinforce.)
  • When in town, eat out at restaurants three times a week or less. (I’m counting coffee and soda stops in this.)
  • Go to gym every day per training schedule for April race.

The point of these resolutions is to improve my sleeping, eating, and exercising routines, which will hopefully give me more energy. By the end of March I’ll report back about if I’ve noticed any improvement in my energy level. I have some intense resolutions planned for the second quarter of 2010, and I’m going to need more energy than I currently have.

How have you decided to structure your resolutions for 2010? What resolutions are on your list? How are they going so far? Remember, if you break a resolution, just start again the next day and tweak any plans that may need it. Good luck!

39 Comments for “Increasing energy: Erin’s first set of 2010 resolutions”

  1. posted by Barbara Tako|ClutterClearingChoices on

    Good ideas! For the resolution to have more energy, I might add: eat breakfast every day, consider taking vitamins, and stay hydrated throughout the day(drink enough water).

  2. posted by bright and blithe on

    My mantra for this year is “one thing”. I’ve never been much of a resolution maker but I think this perspective might actually work for me…


  3. posted by Eric on

    Just a silly addition to the list.

    * Get a yearly physical done. It’s amazing what they might pick up and and help you with. If nothing else they might be able to make recommendations.

  4. posted by Kaz in Oz on

    I’ve divided my year up into roughly quarters thanks to your post Erin.

    My first quarter resolution is to get the house on track. 1 room per week for 14 weeks, while maintaining the system. I’ve set it as a challenge on the forum, so now I’m accountable. I’m only 4 days in and have managed 2 rooms, the study and the laundry – but I have had hubby home for the first 3 days. I’m on my own for the next three days, while entertaining a 4 and 6 yo (boys) over the summer holidays. I’m tweaking the linen cupboard and doing a few decorator things (repurposed of course). My plan is to then move around the house from bottom to top. The garage is Hubby’s domain though.
    Along with this though comes establishing some sort of routine here. Not entirely easy as I work all manner of shifts and Hubby is responsible for alot of the care of the boys. With my youngest starting school in a few weeks we are no longer going to be able to eat dinner at 10pm as we did tonight, nor decide what we are going to eat at 8pm. So the first quarter is quite full on, as we haven’t yet even looked at starting a routine thing – that may just wait till the week before scchool starts.
    And the goodie – smart shopping. I’m on track with this. I have limited my exposure so far to the shops and only today went and got a few groceries and 2 tins of paint from the hardware shop, where I can usually go through a few hundred dollars and buy all sorts of things I don’t really need.

    2nd quarter is to get my health back on top. I joined the gym in August and have been unable to go since late October thanks to developing heel spurs – thanks to the gym. I figure that by April the weather will be cooling down a bit and I will feel more like getting out and doing a bit of bike riding. It’s way too hot and humid here now.

    Third quarter is career focus. Getting my Clinical Nurse Specialist application completed and obtained is the goal – though I have been promising this to myself for the last couple of years.

    Fourth quarter is to get through the whole Christmas season without having another meltdown. That one will probably be the hardest as it coincides with the anniversary of my 5 year old son’s death. This past Christmas marked 10 years and was my hardest yet. I was completely unprepared for Christmas as a result. I planining on starting early and finding plenty of distractions – kids, career etc – to get me through it.

  5. posted by Jennifer Lachman on

    I hadn’t considered energy into my resolutions but since I have already failed at fufilling it 2 out of 4 days perhaps I should consider this. I will have to think about it but it will involve getting to bed at a decent hour, around eleven instead of one. And I will have to get myself into some type of morning routine.

  6. posted by Alix on

    I second the comment about getting a routine physical — have your iron and vitamin D levels checked — they can have a *huge* impact on energy! And staying hydrated is another great tip, mentioned above.

  7. posted by Liene on

    Erin – excellent post, and a good plan – something I could also almost 1:1 relate to myself. Energy is especially important for a mother of small kids. I could really use some advice on how to stick to personal plans while taking care of kids – as a mother of two I often let my plans go.

  8. posted by [email protected] on

    Energy is a great area of focus, and sleep is a key part of that. It’s kind of like spending money to save it. Somehow, getting enough sleep opens up more time for *doing* during the waking hours.

  9. posted by Erin Doland on

    I already eat breakfast, get regular physicals, and am well hydrated. Didn’t add those because I don’t even think about them any longer — they’re that ingrained in my behavior. They are terrific suggestions, though, for people who don’t already do these activities.

  10. posted by Malena on

    Erin, I have never made a resolution in my life, but if I don’t get a grip on the clutter and disorganization in my home this year, I’ll go nuts. I think I could live the “everything in its place” if everything had a place. So, like you, I intend to try to get more sleep, which hopefully will help me have the energy to face the tasks that are holding me back.

  11. posted by Plain Good Sense on

    Can I ask how you balance getting to the gym on a regular basis now that you have Dash? I don’t have kids yet, but see this as a definite challenge when I do. We work out at the YMCA, which has a daycare facility in it, which is awesome. Does your gym have a similar facility, or do you and your husband take turns watching Dash while the other one gets to the gym?

    Best of luck to you on your first quarter goals!!

  12. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Plain Good Sense — Our gym offers childcare, as well. If the weather is nice, I’ll run while pushing Dash in a stroller around our local track (we have a stroller made for this purpose). Also, my hubby and I swap “Dash detail,” so I often go to the gym when he’s on babysitting duty. So far, it hasn’t been an issue.

  13. posted by Christine Simiriglia on

    My first resolution is always to “take down the damn tree”. I have a pet peeve about holiday decorations left up until Spring. Read more here: http://www.organize-more-stres.....pring.html

  14. posted by Amy on

    I like your resolutions and the idea to focus on one area per quarter. By the second quarter, the first quarter’s goals should be firmly in place.

    I’ve broken mine down to monthly goals. Much easier to look at 30 days than 365. Plus, if I fail, I don’t feel like I’ve failed for a year, just for a month. I know that’s totally psychological, but in the past once I’ve blown it, in my mind I’ve blown it till next Jan. 1.

    This month I’m going to bed by 11 each night, continuing my good exercise habits, losing 4 lbs, reading 4 books, and writing on my blog every day. So far, so good.

    Good luck!

  15. posted by Meredith from Penelope Loves Lists on

    I’m also re-committing to getting more consistent sleep. I find that it affects every area of my life, including my energy level and my “cranky pants” level.

    If I don’t have enough sleep, I turn into “Stabby Mommy”.

    Thanks for giving us such a concrete way to think about this. Really useful.

  16. posted by chacha1 on

    One of my goals is to do yoga daily. In 2009 I fell off my routine due to 1. overscheduling 2. disemployment 3. frantic job-hunting 4. weird temp schedule 5. early schedule at new job. This year, it’s non-negotiable. Even if all I have time for is a single Sun Salute, I’m going to take that five minutes and be mindful.

  17. posted by Another Deb on

    I can relate to Amy’s comment about feeling like a resolution can be “blown for a year” if you fall off the wagon. For example, if you have a candy bar, you might feel like you have ruined your diet and might as well eat everything in sight. I liken that to breaking a dish in your china cabinet. You don’t go right in and break them all, do you?
    Every bite is a choice, every snooze button or missed exercise session is a choice. Are you going to let a cookie or a late TV show make that choice for you?

    My resolution involved tracking what I eat and journaling the weight, food, energy level and daily victories over clutter. I have to place the link to the file right on my desktop so I don’t forget it!

  18. posted by lola meyer on

    When life hands little blocks of time to me, ie, waiting for a traffic light, on hold with a phone call, sitting in a waiting room; I’m going to do my deep yoga breaths. It always entices me to sit up straighter, feel more energized by the oxygen intake, and feel more relaxed by the exercising of the diaphragm muscles. A good use of what would be wasted time.

  19. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    One tip that has done me well for many years now: keep the same schedule whether or not you have to work the next day. Don’t “jet lag” yourself by sleeping late on weekends and then having to get back on track for Monday. I know you young people like to go out late (I am almost 50), but nothing good happens after midnight as your grandmother used to say. if you do have to stay up later, get up at the same time anyway and take a nap that afternoon.

    I found keeping my sleep pattern the same also keeps migraines at bay. Some of those weekend headaches aren’t (just) hangovers.

  20. posted by Diane on

    How old is your son? Maybe his bedtime routine could start earlier?

  21. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Diane — He’s just six months old. We actually LOVE his nap and bedtime schedule right now (except when he wakes up at 2:15 in the morning because he’s teething). Our doctor has signed off on it, too, so that’s not something we want to mess with right now. He’ll switch it up on us quickly enough πŸ™‚

  22. posted by Mikey on

    Great plan, but keep in mind that not everybody requires a full 8 hours of sleep (as evidenced by recent studies)–for some, 6 or 7 hours works just as well, and too much sleep can have the opposite effect of sapping energy. Everybody needs to find their own optimal amount of required sleep for good health and energy levels.

    Also, you don’t feed your pets until after 9:00pm??

  23. posted by Cynthia Friedlob, The Thoughtful Consumer on

    In my latest blog post I explained that I’ll be asking myself a few questions about my activities in 2010 as an alternative to making specific resolutions. I think this approach will work better for me. The questions are:

    1. Is what I’m doing either necessary or enjoyable?

    2. Could I approach it in a way that would render it either unnecessary or more enjoyable?

    3. Is engaging in this activity the best expression of my authentic self (who I really am and want to be)?

    I also plan to remind myself that it’s not necessary to be perfect; it’s just necessary to do the best I can. Those of us who have perfectionist tendencies can be so easily derailed from what we’re doing or would like to do by trying to be perfect.

    Happy 2010 to all!

  24. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Mikey — Cats are fed twice a day … the second feeding wards off being clawed in the face in the middle of the night πŸ™‚

    I actually require between 8 and 9 hours of sleep to function at my best. My husband is between 6 and 7. During my high school and college years, I needed 10 hours — naps were my friends back then.

  25. posted by Eric Nishio on

    You’ve got some good and realistic resolutions for the year, and they’re all interconnected. Will you be posting updates on your progress?

  26. posted by Marcella Ortiz on

    I’ve just started reading your posts, Erin, and the posts by other people in the community. I’m impressed!
    I never thought about making quarterly goals. It makes so much more sense than setting one gigantic (almost never realistic) goal at the beginning of the year).
    My first quarterly goal will be to eat healthier. I’m a marathon runner with an Achilles heel for poutine and potato chips- especially at work lunch times. I’m doing amazingly well so far – the slow cooker has been such a great help with my busy schedule. I’ve already cooked and packed this week’s healthy lunches in the fridge.

  27. posted by Melanie on

    Timely post. On to the treadmill!

  28. posted by Pat Kilmain on

    Quarterly goals – what a great concept! I started reading to help deal with my chronic paper drift, and I’ve gotten so many other good ideas/help here. The paper drift still exists however, and I am making the one in my home office my January project. The goal is to have all the piles cleared up by 1/31. I’ll be ready to start working on my taxes if that’s done. Otherwise, I know from experience that the mess distracts me……

  29. posted by JLBanker on

    I really need to get to bed earlier myself too. I think I am going to start trying this.

    On eating right, do to a medical condition I have, I have been forced to eat more balanced/healthy meals, take vitamins, avoid fast food, and (the hard one) give up Chocolate!!! BUT it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I eat right and I feel great. In fact people at work are commenting that I seem to be a little too hyper lately. By about 2pm I would be falling asleep at my desk but now I feel at the end of the work day like I did around 10am. I have so much energy now.

    Of course I HAD to make the change but people should really try and eat healthy for at least a month. The best thing is if you don’t like it after 30 days there is a McDonald’s on almost every corner.

  30. posted by Andy @ Simplicity on

    One of my plans for this year is also to get out of bed as soon as the alarm clock rings. The good news is, I did it first go this morning, had lunch early and left work early. What a massive bonus having lots more time at home πŸ™‚

    The thing is, I always knew this was a good idea, didn’t do it but I’m finally acting on it.

  31. posted by Richard | on

    I’m working hard on my resolutions too. It feels great you know. Good luck to the rest of you out there and Gretchen of the Happiness Project, I follow her blog and its great!

  32. posted by Peg Bracken Fan on

    Men do not “babysit” their own children. Sorry, one of my pet peeves.

    LOVE the blog and good luck with your resolutions! You seem to be off to a strong start. Will you be checking in with us on a regular basis to update us on your progress?

  33. posted by Chrissy on

    Funny, I was just trying to figure out how I was going to meet my goals this year with all this lack of energy. So far in 2010, I have felt like I’ve been hit by a truck, so it’s been hard to keep up with my resolutions to be more organized and be more active.

    I get enough sleep (about 7 hrs), but my main problem is not being able to wake up when the alarm goes off. I don’t just snooze — I completely sleep through the alarm. It starts going off at 6 am, but I don’t actually hear it until 7:30.

    I apparently need an alarm clock that shoots water at my face!

  34. posted by Erin on

    I really like the idea of including items you already do on your list of resolutions/goals. I agree that it helps to reinforce them and reward yourself for creating a good habit.

    I work with a lot of sleep psychologists, and they suggest removing all electronics from the bedroom – don’t charge your cell phone or computer in the bedroom, turn the alarm clock backwards, etc. These all help to create higher quality sleep. Happy sleeping!

  35. posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    Peg Bracken Fan – I agree, it’s one of my peeves too. Maybe in this case though Erin also “babysits” when he’s at the gym.

    I like the idea of getting the yearly “physical”. About 15 months ago I went to my GP for a routine prescription and was asked about my heart. It turns out that I have a mitral valve prolapse (at this stage I’m looking at surgery in 4 or 5 years).

    The heart valve issue is one of the reasons for my reduced energy levels – I simply don’t get as much oxygen flowing around the system as I otherwise would. The interim solution is not more sleep (although the lack of oxygen can lead to narcolepsy in advanced cases) but more oxygen in one’s environment. Hence I now have a little fan (on my bedside drawers chest) that is directed at my pillow to give me better air circulation while I sleep. It’s small enough that doesn’t really reach DH to disturb him.

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  37. posted by Laurel Alanna McBrine on

    Try Bikram yoga every day for two months or as close to that as you can manage – it will change your life.

    Also, cut out all junk food, wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, peanuts, citrus, red meat and bad fats for two weeks after which you slowly introduce the items one at a time and gauge your reaction to them to see if you have a sensitivity.

    Not easy, but not impossible either and you will be amazed at the energy you will gain.

  38. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Laurel — I’m a regular yoga practitioner, and I don’t eat junk food (the vast majority of our food we eat at home comes from our CSA, and I even make our bread). I’m not allergic to any of the items you listed, as I have been extensively tested. I lack energy because I have a genetic disorder that requires great amounts of energy to constantly heal my body, and I have an infant. Even the healthiest of individuals meet their match with a baby that lives to the beat of a different drummer πŸ™‚

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