As I lay on the couch, piecing together my idea for a post on themes versus resolutions, I went through the various themes I’d had in previous years, out loud to my boyfriend.
“’07 was well, just surviving. ’08 was the Year of Relationships. And this year was the Year of Finances.”
“So what’s 2010?” he asked.
I took a deep breath.
The Year of Organization.
My theme is usually based on the big hairy elephant in the room. Last year, I was over-drafting my bank account at least once a month. I never had enough money to last till the next paycheck. I had zero savings and three maxed out credit cards. I was perpetually without and didn’t have anything to show for it.
Enter 2009: The Year of Finances. It took me a while to figure out what would work for me. I had a lot of bad money habits and I really didn’t want to change many of them. After a few months of trying different things out, I finally got on board with Dave Ramsey. As I related in my previous post, I was able to not only stop over-drafting my bank account, but I paid of the credit cards, got current on my student loans, paid all my medical bills, and socked away almost three months of living expenses. In total, I paid down nearly $5,000 in debt.
So, when I say 2010 will be the Year of Organization, I know it will be a challenge.
The Year of Finances sucked. It wasn’t all la-la-la, I have so much money to throw into things. I had to budget, I had to forgo vacations, I didn’t get to buy any tech gadgets… and I had to start drinking coffee at home. I’m kidding, but it really was a painful change to make. I had a lot of great support from other Ramsey-ites (thanks to Michelle, Ashley and Kendra!), which helped.
Why this theme
As I said in the previous post, you should pick a theme that solves the most of your problems. And most of my problems these days seem to come from a complete and utter lack of organization. And there is mounting evidence that if I don’t make 2010 the Year of Organization, it might kill me.
I have two jobs.
I love my “day” job working in marketing research and don’t see that changing anytime soon. I work for a company that genuinely cares about me; I have a great boss and believe that management wants me here. I also have my own company that I work with after-hours and on weekends, which scratches my entrepreneurial itch but also fills my every waking moment outside of work. Having two careers is tough, and there’s a lot of schedule juggling to make it all happen without losing any integrity or quality in one or the other.
I have time-consuming allergies.
I have six – count them – SIX allergies. Four are environmental (dust mites, cat hair, mold and trees), but the other two are the tough ones: food allergies. I’m allergic to both wheat and soy, which means I pretty much can’t eat anything manufactured, processed or pre-packaged. I take medication for my environmental allergies, which works sometimes. I have to wash our comforter, comforter cover, sheets, special allergy pillow covers and mattress cover in hot bleach water every other week, which usually eats up an entire Saturday. I have to pre-cook my meals for the week, or I end up eating stuff I shouldn’t or not eating anything at all. And if I don’t make everything click exactly right, my allergic reactions usually take the form of intense fatigue.
I can’t say no.
They always tell people to make realistic goals. Saying “no” just isn’t a realistic goal for me. Start a local chapter of Social Media Club? Yes. Start a company? Yes. Put on a conference? Yes. Write some ebooks? Yes. Sit on this special committee? Yes. Take on a new client? Be on a radio show? Plan an unconference? Write for this new blog network? Yes, yes, yes and yes please! I like doing a lot of things. But that takes organization.
I’ve always been “messy” and I’m tired of it.
I don’t want to shatter anyone’s perception of me, but um… I’m really messy. Right now, I have four coffee cups on my desk, a spoon, two open bottles of water, and various tiny pieces of paper with notes on them. I never really finish the process of getting the laundry into the appropriate drawers, if by some miracle I fold them, and I don’t use my home office because I can’t move in it. When I was a kid, my mom coined the term “fire path” to describe the clear lane from my bed to the door in an otherwise unruly bedroom. I’ve always blamed this messiness and disorganization on my creativity… a big brain like mine simply can’t be bothered with details. But this isn’t really who I want to be. And I’ll be the first to admit that a neatly-appointed space just feels nicer.
I know there’s a long road ahead as I fumble through what doesn’t work before I find what does, but a New Year’s Theme shouldn’t be easy. And if I have anything like the kind of success I had in the Year of Finances, then the Year of Organization is going to be a very good one.
If you haven’t shared already, what’s your theme for 2010? Why?
Photo courtesy of austinevan via Flickr.