Setting Goals Instead of Resolutions As the new year begins, ditch the tradition of breaking your resolution and instead aim for a goal that you can achieve. BY ANGELA GALA
Don't quit your resolution after one failure, make your goals a year-end target.
Do you make them? I never do. I am always daunted by a resolution. I feel that it is something to which I must immediately commit and any deviation from that commitment is failure. Wow, the pressure is intense. Instead I set goals for the year, which seem to me a little more forgiving.
This year I am going to set a goal to entertain my friends a little more. When I say a little more, I mean anything would be more than I entertain now. I recognize the irony that the party planner never entertains. With a business to run, a husband, three children, parents and all that comes with them, entertaining hasnít been high on my priority list; how unfortunate.
Entertaining doesnít have to be expensive, but it takes a thought and preparation. What am I spending my time on? Will I remember it a few years from now? I always remember good times with my friends. Youíve heard it before, the dishes will never be done and the housework never finished. Life isnít a series of routines, but I tend to forget that. I donít want to stop trying to have fun.
As I thought about this I sat down and prepared a list of the reasons I donít entertain and I was amazed at how completely silly they were:
1. My house isnít finished because the landscaping isnít finished.
2. Itís too hard and takes too long to prepare the meals I want to serve.
3. My house isnít clean enough and I would rather spend time with my kids and my husband than cleaning every square inch of my house.
These are the main reasons I could site not to entertain. Was I kidding? How ridiculous! Who cares about any of this? I donít look at my friendsí houses and think about any of these things. Iím always happy to be with them and happy that they have invited me. If Iíve ever found a dust bunny or a dirty potty, it proved them human and only made me love them more. Do I think so little of my friends to believe that they are shallow enough to look for things by which to judge meóno, of course not. Itís all in my head, not theirs.
Regarding the first point, no oneís house is ever finished. There is always some maintenance or decorating one wants done. Itís an unfortunate byproduct of our society that we place so much emphasis on our homes looking like a magazine picture spread. I donít want my house to look like a decorator came in and took over. Iíve already done that and I didnít like it and didnít feel comfortable in it. I felt like it belonged to someone else. My house is a home where three kids and two adults live quite happily and not always neatly. Add some candles and a little wine and everyone is happy. It really is that simple.
On the second point, our friends donít care what I prepare, they just want to be with us. Food doesnít have to be complicated, just reasonably good. Even if it isnít good a friend would be grateful for the effort. Keep it simple and prepare what you know. If you want to take a little risk who better to do this with than your friends.
Part of what keeps me from entertaining is that I donít ever feel like I get enough time with my husband and my kids and the thought of scrubbing every inch of my house on a Saturday just to have my friends over is daunting. The more I thought about this the more silly I recognized it was. With the number of people living in my house (some of whom have yet to learn the basics of tidiness) it can get messy quickly. My children have chores everyday, they could be increased on a Saturday to prepare for guests. Being together and doing anything is a gift. Some of my best memories are the chores I had to do with my sister. As much as we hated every minute of doing them itís still what we laugh about now and just a part of daily life that binds us.
The bottom line is that I have been lazy, in thought and in deed. Iím making excuses for not making the effort. Life is too short to not make the effort to be with the people you like most, itís too short to be a series of routines and itís way too short to buy into what every media outlet will have us believe; our homes should be showcases and our parties perfect. Only we can break these cycles.
Angela Gala is principal with Rogers & Gala Creative Partners, a firm that plans parties, weddings and special events nationwide. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.