Resolutions times 100
Anna Jones has set an impressive record for New Year’s resolutions made and kept.
At the start of 2012, she delved into a project that would take an entire year and reveal determination that is rare for goals laid out Jan. 1. That’s when Anna instituted what she calls “My 100s,” a set of seven goals, each to be accomplished 100 times.
“I started out needing to walk and see my trainer more,” Anna says. “I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions, but everyone knows once you get to February, your enthusiasm has gone down the drain. It’s like dieting – one bad day and the whole thing is over.
“So I decided to be more flexible and give myself a year to reach my goals.”
Anna planned systematically. She arrived at the number of 100 repetitions because “you can do just under two times a week” and meet the annual goal. “So if you’re going on holiday and skip a week, it’s okay.” She used a lined notebook and allocated four blank pages, 25 lines each, to each of seven goals.
“I love to write lists,” Anna says. “So I tracked goals that way.” She kept the notebook on the kitchen counter and logged each activity upon completion, every one a step closer to filling the pages and reaching her goals. “It’s like mowing grass,” she says. “You can’t see progress looking forward, but you can look behind you and see you’ve done a great job.”
For exercise, Anna’s attorney husband Gregg, who walks every morning, inspired her. “I’m generally lazy,” she says. “If I got in the car to go see my trainer, I would think, ‘I really don’t want to do that today,’ and I would drive on.” Once she set her 100s, Anna started walking to and from visits to her trainer. Eventually she would walk two miles, stop at the trainer’s, meet a friend, and walk two miles again with the friend after the training session. Her trainer would check in periodically to ask how far into her goal she had progressed. In all, Anna took 104 walks and saw her trainer 107 times.
She also read 108 books, becoming the go-to source for friends needing reading ideas. Although she recorded every book she read, she doesn’t remember each one. That’s where the records come in. Anna knows she turned the last page of her last book on Dec. 31. Her favorite? America’s Medicis: The Rockefellers and Their Astonishing Cultural Legacy by Suzanne Loebl. Number two was Lynne Olson’s Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour.
Anna’s DVD selections – 164 in all – were all about “happy endings and beautiful sets. I wanted to be taken away from the drama you read about in the papers.” The Way, starring Martin Sheen and written and directed by his son Emilio Estevez, made the top of her list. Next up was the Irish musical film Once, then the TV shows Justified and In Treatment.
Anna says she “tends to be shy in new social situations,” so her 100s included a social component. “I pushed myself to say yes when friends called, and I participated in 108 social ‘events,’” ranging from school coffees to meeting friends for lunch to black-tie galas. “Whew. What a social butterfly I turned out to be!”
Recipes were easy. “In a single meal, I could try several new recipes. I like to cook and have a lot of cookbooks. This part was really fun.” Anna made 133 new recipes. Monkey Bread, Tangerine Chess Pie and Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup topped the experiments.
The only goal Anna didn’t reach was making 100 new cocktails. Once she started examining cocktail recipes, she realized, “they call for all these expensive, esoteric liquors, and you only need two tablespoons per recipe.” She made nine cocktails.
Looking back, Anna says, “My girlfriends, who were all very enthusiastic and supportive, wanted to know if I was going to make up a new list for 2013. I thought maybe I’d attack my friendship rolodex and have 100 people to dinner, but then I thought I’d just let sleeping dogs lie. It was really fun and gave me a great sense of satisfaction.
“It was easy, because my goals were to do more of the things I like to do. Anyone can do it. Just tailor your goals around your lifestyle.”
The downside? “Now I have a liquor cabinet full of bottles with two tablespoons missing.”
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