I know a good goal is supposed to be measurable, be written down, have an end date, be specific, and all that. And generally speaking, my goals are.
But for the last two years, I've made a goal that had none of these qualities. Each year, it was just a small thing I wanted to do to change the way I live my life daily.
Last year, I wanted to start eating breakfast. I have not been much of a breakfast eater. I tend to feel pretty sick in the mornings (it was particularly bad in high school, when I would be curling my hair or putting on makeup and then suddenly have to spend five minutes laying on the tile floor to avoid throwing up all over myself; in the last couple of years, it has become fairly rare, to my great joy), and food didn't appeal to me at all.
Now, I eat breakfast virtually every day. I can't think of the last time I've skipped breakfast. I feel better in the mornings; my eating throughout the day is more regular. It's fantastic.
This year, Bart and I both decided we wanted to get more sleep. We are kind of terrible at staying up late, doing nothing, and then cursing ourselves the next morning. We often joke, when the clock is ticking towards midnight on a weeknight, "Is tonight the new Thursday?"
Over Christmas vacation, I read an article (thanks to Ashley for the link) saying that your happiness would be increased more by an extra hour of sleep than by a $60,000 raise (and you know me and money; can you even IMAGINE how happy an extra $60K would make me?). I thought, "I could really do with some more sleep. I'm sick of feeling exhausted all the time, of waking up and thinking, 'how soon can I get back to bed?'" and I decided that this would be my life-style changing goal for the year.
Since the beginning of the year, I have gotten 8 hours of sleep most nights. I feel kind of stupid that it's taken me so long to put a priority on sleep. That I've let mindless Facebook or Google Reader browsing take away hours of sleep.
It's easy to feel like going to bed makes the day too short, that I get less time to do the things I want, but when I wake up and don't want to die, when I wake up and can get ready, make lunches, straighten the house, do the dishes, and get my stuff together before leaving for work on time, it seems a small sacrifice to make.
And when a giant crash from the apartment above woke me up at about 5:00 a.m. this morning (no idea what it was), I didn't think "ACK! I'm only getting 5 hours of sleep tonight and you've now robbed me of 15 minutes of it!" and then hyperventilate about not being able to get back to sleep. I just thought, "Six and a half hours down, ninety minutes to go."