2012: Looking Foward

I always feel like I do things halfway when it comes to resolutions, but this year I figured I would really write them down and do my best to actually work on them. One thing I have to remember is that January 1 is just a day and that I don’t necessarily only have this opportunity on this day. I can make resolutions anytime I feel the need to, though January 1 is just as good a day to start as any other. I have other ideas for things I’d like to do differently but I just haven’t figured out completely how I want to do that, so some of my “resolutions” will just have to wait until later.

1. Maintain my weight. I feel really great about my weight, for once in my life. Even if I don’t lose anymore (and I am on the fence about this), I want to stay at the weight I’m at. I plan to continue to follow Weight Watchers online, unless something like another pregnancy happens, and in this case, I will have to alter things a bit.

2. Exercise more regularly. Even though I’ve lost a lot of weight, it was not really due to exercising, and this is something I need to work on this year. The problem I have with exercise routines is that I feel like if I don’t get everything “done” in a week that I planned on, I feel like I’ve failed. So I guess my plan is to just have a specific goal in mind with weekly exercise but not to dwell on it if it doesn’t happen. Also, I will have to realize that there will be some weeks that the amount of exercise I want/need will not happen either, and that is ok. The weekly goal I’m shooting for is:

a. 1 exercise class (bellydancing, zumba, jazzercise, etc.)
b. 2-3 of one of the following:
-25-30 minute segment of interval walking on the treadmill with “weight breaks”
-25+ minute walks around the neighborhood, Newburgh trail, State Hospital, etc.
-Home workout video (dance, yoga, aerobic)

I should be able to keep track of these pretty easily, because I enter exercise on my Weight Watchers account.

3. Make music for myself. Things get so busy that I often forget about using my most successful coping skill for myself – music. I really miss having the opportunity to do this more often, but I think it is important. So how am I going to do this?

a. Start every day with music. One of my Music Therapy professors at SMWC mentioned once that she likes to start her day with even just a few minutes of music at the piano or on the guitar. She said this seemed to start her day off on the right foot. Ways I can do this include 1) playing an already-written song on the piano or guitar, 2) improvising on the piano or guitar, 3) singing a song a capella while getting ready or driving 4) listening to a song while getting ready or driving, 5) spending a few minutes working on a new song, 6) playing instruments or singing a song with Anya, 7) doing anything musical that helps to jumpstart my day

b. Be more comfortable playing the guitar. I am planning to take guitar lesssons for at least a few months so that I can improve my skills.

c. Write more songs. I really love songwriting, so I am going to make an effort to write at least 3 to 5 original songs this year. I already have 5 or 6, so having a few more to add to my collection would be great. Maybe someday I will be comfortable enough with my voice to actually record them!

4. Continue to read more. Reading has always been one of my favorite pasttimes and I’m happy to have a little more time to do this now that my Master’s is finished. I have already started doing this in the past week or so, but I am hoping to read a little each night in bed. I have started a reading list on Goodreads.com so that I will always have ideas of books to read. I hope to read 12 to 15 books in 2012, including professional books about MT and music and books for personal enjoyment.

5. Write more. Writing is another thing that I used to enjoy. The past three years, I have written a lot for school but have not had time for writing other things like poems, songs, short stories, etc. I have several books on writing for self-discovery that have different writing exercises. I would like to spend a little more time doing this. I am going to make it a goal to do 1-2 writing exercises a week, even if I only have 10-20 minutes to do them. It will take me something like 5 years to get through all the exercises in the books at this rate, but it is at least a start and I just do not have the time right now to do daily exercises.

6. Have more deep, in-depth discussions in my life. This is a difficult one because time with friends is limited, but I do miss the late-night conversations I used to have with others in my college dorm room, at coffeeshops, or in the music lounge in the early hours of the morning when we were supposed to be practicing. Obviously, those are mostly things of the past since I don’t have access to a lot of those friends and/or locations. So I’ve decided to post 2-3 questions a week on Facebook and invite my FB friends to reply to them. I will take the questions from a book I have called “If: Questions for the Game of Life.” I know I’m a dork but I love questions and hearing others’ thoughts on things. I’m hoping this will spark some more in-depth and stimulating conversations for me. This might also help me to keep in touch with people I don’t talk to very often. And if I start to feel really ambitious, I may actually start a blog with my own responses to the questions, but we’ll see how things go.

7. Develop my Music Therapy business. I have several plans for my business this year. Of course, the ultimate goal is to get enough contracts to be able to leave Cross Pointe so that I can be on my own.

a. Get my website up and running. I’ve had a website for a couple years now, but it has never been what I wanted it to be. Hopefully this year, with Eric’s help, I can get things up and running the way I envision them. I will also include a professional blog about music therapy and other music-related topics.

b. Finish designing my Music for Wellness and Self-Discovery course and teach at least one section of this course this year. I have been working on this off and on for a few months and have several facilities who are interested in allowing me to teach it. I just need to finalize it and choose the location that will work best for my purposes.

c. Present at conference. I am hoping to write a proposal this spring to present on a specific topic at conference in October. I haven’t completely decided on a topic yet, but right now I’m considering a presentation about using live music for relaxation. Many music therapists seem to use recorded music when facilitating relaxation experiences in music therapy sessions, but I actually prefer using live music and there are lots of ways I have used this in my work over the years.

8. House projects. We want to do a few things with the house, some of them are bigger deals than others. Here are just a few things:

a. Install new carpet in the other 3 bedrooms. We are hoping to do this in January/February.
b. Install new kitchen counter. This shouldn’t be too bad expense-wise or time-wise; it’s just going to be a big mess the day or two that it is being installed.
c. Install new kitchen floor – probably tile.
d. Organize closets and drawers. I have an ongoing list of things that desperately need to be gone through.
e. Paint the barn. We have been trying to get this done for a few years now and it just hasn’t happened.
f. Paint the fence. This is another thing that we’ve been planning to do for awhile and it just hasn’t happened yet.

9. Things to look forward to. We have some fun things planned for the year, including:
a. Our 3rd trip to Europe
b. A weekend trip to Cincinnati to go to the zoo
c. More than likely a weekend trip in October to celebrate our 6th anniversary
d. American Music Therapy Association conference again this year

I’m sure I will think of other things I want to do this year, but I think this is a good start. Ultimately, all of these things lead to taking care of myself. Self-care is beginning to be a huge issue in the music therapy world, as it probably is in other professions. Most people rarely take the time to do things for and take care of themselves, even though it is really important to do so. This past year for me has been a lot about self-discovery and learning to accept others’ actions even when I can’t change them. This is definitely easier said than done, but it’s something I am slowly working toward. Looking at my life and being able to identify all the things I want to do differently to improve my quality of life makes me excited to see what the new year brings!

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