Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Jan. 16, 2015

A round "tuit"

A recent newspaper piece about New Year's resolutions caught my eye. According to the article, which included data from the University of Scranton's "Journal of Clinical Psychology," 45 percent of Americans usually make resolutions at the start of a new year, but only eight percent are successful in achieving them. The top 10 resolutions for last year were: losing weight, getting organized, spending less and saving more, enjoying life to the fullest, staying fit and healthy, learning something exciting, quitting smoking, helping others achieve their dreams, falling in love and spending more time with family.

I don't need to lose weight and I don't smoke so I'm good to go on those items. Also, I'm relatively frugal, I enjoy life and I seem to learn something new every day - like how many people are successful with their New Year's resolutions. Through my teaching, I try to help others achieve their dreams. I'm already in love and I spend as much time as I can with my family. That makes eight out of 10 - not bad! But staying fit and getting organized? Well, let's just say they need some work.

I did make a few resolutions in the past to address those items, but I wasn't very good at keeping them. One year, I resolved to get up at 5 a.m. to exercise. Husband Art just laughed. He knows how much I like to laze around in bed as long as I can in the morning. He described it as one of those "sounds good at 9 p.m., not so good at 5 a.m." ideas.

My greatest success with the exercise idea involved my "WWW" scheme. The WWW stands for "Walk with Wanda." Wanda is a friend at work and, if I just pencil "WWW" in my agenda and can convince her to stroll on campus with me two or three times a week, at least that's a start! Of course, that too is an idea that sounds great in the fall and spring, but less so in the winter.

OK, what about getting organized? I've had some success with this one, jumping into it several times each year, whether it is the New Year or not. The first step is to get rid of clutter. I would do better on this part if I could just close my eyes! I tend to be too sentimental about letters, photos, our daughters' toys and school projects, and many other things. But since I have trouble pitching them out, most are saved in a fairly organized fashion. So maybe this teacher can give herself a C on that one.

I realize to get an A, resolutions require measurable goals with set deadlines. But that just seems awfully regimented for something that is supposed to make my life better.

Until recently, I felt I was doomed to my C level of performance. Then I discovered the "tuit" model for achieving better results - as in, "I need to get around to it."

When I attended a conference last fall in San Antonio. I saw the small round wooden "tuits" at an exhibitor's booth. I had seen them in various forms many places in the past, but had always thought of them just as a prompt for a smile since we all seem to say we'll get "around to it" frequently.

But I decided to pick some up as part of a new strategy to actually get some of those put-off things done. I placed the "tuits" in strategic spots - on my living room desk and my bedroom dresser at home and on my file cabinet and inside my top desk drawer at work. Rather than make me feed bad that I'm not living up to some previously-set standard of perfection, they make me smile - and then think, "Oh, I need to get around to ...," filling in the blank with whatever strikes my fancy at the time.

That last part comes from Art who has been operating in that mode for quite awhile. He says "time is time," so it doesn't matter if he gets to a particular job immediately or does something else he was going to do now and gets to the other one later.

So what are some of the things we've gotten around to lately?

At home, I finally took the plunge and bought new drapes - something I'd wanted to do for years. Just last week, we set up our old humidifier in the living room, but finally put a new one in the bedroom. Art put the new combination alarm clock/charging station he got me for Christmas on the headboard of our bed. And we're working on a plan to transfer our old VHS and DV tapes to mp4 format.

At work, I began consolidating information on my computer desktop so I don't have so many individual items cluttering it up. I also arranged to have some historical materials transferred to proper offices for safekeeping.

And I decided to do something fun, too. I've been thinking about joining Facebook for months and just never - well, you know! So I mentioned it to daughter Katie and she helped me create my profile and post a couple of photos.

It's no secret that if we don't enjoy something and it is optional, we'll hit the delete button. For Art, he counters this by immediately following something he really doesn't want to do with time spent doing something he enjoys. But for me, it seems to work better to just move ahead until I get a round "tuit."

Gloria in front of drapes her round "tuits" reminded her to buy.

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