Not going to lie, I was dead set on starting my New Years resolutions on the first of the year. In fact, I spent most of the second half of the 2016 making a million lists of goals I wanted to achieve in 2017, touching on everything from fitness to blogging to sewing. But New Years Day came, and I hadn’t begun instituting a SINGLE goal. It was almost like the year ended and started over before I was ready, which seems a bit silly, since I spent a lot of time and energy getting excited to get my life together on January 1st!
So where did I go wrong? Accountability. Experts say announcing your intentions to others is the key to keeping resolutions (like picking a gym mate or a diet partner), and that’s the one ingredient I left out of my make-2017-the-most-awesome-year-yet recipe. So, I’ve resolved to start “my new year” the second week of January, as well as to share some of my goals for this year!
(I totally recommend this waiting-a-week strategy, because frankly it’s really unrealistic to become a fitness maven, do a detox, and live in the present moment like your life depends on it the moment the clock strikes 12, especially if you have already had a few cocktails and, like me, have to wait for your guy to close the bar.)
How I plan to keep my New Years Resolutions
Like most people, I am addicted to my little pet habits and routines, such as taking an Instagram picture of every home cooked meal and, as of last year, flossing every night before bed. (So adult!) I figured if I am going to create these habits and routines anyway, then I may as well create ones that propel me closer to my goals and resolutions.
In addition to sharing some of my goals for the new year, I’m also noting how I am breaking those goals down into chunks, and what new habits and routines I will establish to help me achieve all of these very responsible goals with ease!
Anyway, from small to big, here are some of my big goals for 2017 (though I have about a million more!):
Do 15 minutes or more of yoga everyday
Yoga has actually helped me untangle and reset a lot of mindless ideas and habits I had about fitness because of my dance background. I love how you can subtlety strengthen and tone basically all parts of your body with a calming, low impact practice, so instituting a daily practice is top of my list this year.
I did a pretty good job integrating yoga into my every day routine for about two months at the end of last summer. Here are some of the things I learned: 1) The best time of day for me is as soon as I get home from work, 2) if I “do less than 15 minutes”, then I usually don’t do anything at all, 3) I like doing it every day if every day is different.
The Plan: Jumpstart the year with 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne (check, started Sunday!). On Mondays, make a weekly schedule of each day’s routine and stick to iiiiiiittt. Stage my yoga area for success with a mat, water, and a device to play the video (essential oil diffuser optional!).
If you’re thinking of joining me, I highly recommend Yoga with Adrienne for at-home yoga. She is simply a wonderful instructor and sweet soul, and her videos are well produced, and free of any pretentious bullshit. She does great videos for beginners, though if you are already into yoga, she has some pretty challenging practices in her line up!
Meditate every day for 5 minutes or more
Mindfulness meditation made a huge impact on my life in 2016, and I’m excited to continue cultivating kindness and compassion in my every day life…but I really gotta get on the stick with my daily meditation! Fortunately, I already know a few things that will help me be consistent: 1) I can’t meditate too late in the day or I will totally fall asleep, 2) I get a real kick out of seeing my session log on my Insight Timer app (highly recommend), and 3) I am statistically more likely to meditate right after yoga practice.
The Plan: Piggyback my meditation on my daily yoga habit!
If you’re thinking of joining me, awesome! I think mindful meditation is something every single person can benefit from. First, I recommend reading my Mindfulness Meditation Accompanied by Mad Men Gifs post in order to get acquainted. Then, download the Insight Timer app so you can track your sessions and also start and end each meditation with a pleasant, resounding bell, instead of a phone alarm. Word of warning: meditation is a word fraught with different meanings to different people, and while none of these definitions are harmful to practice, I believe the most beneficial and down-to-earth school of thought is vipassana or mindfulness based practice, and that is what I’m recommending.
Become a better cook
It’s amazing how much confidence I’ve gained in the kitchen in the last year, feel like I’m on a roll! To keep this groove up, I know I need to reach out and try more recipes, so I’m going to start meal planning by recipe, rather than riffing on the same few staple recipes I always make. I feel that planning ahead and giving myself plenty of opportunities to cook each week will increase my proficiency, but also accomplish a few other goals, like wasting less food and eating out less (which we were REALLY bad about in December with all of our travel and irregular scheduling).
The Plan: Make a meal plan every Sunday, containing one recipe from a foodie blog and one recipe from a physical cookbook each week, because we have some amazing cookbooks just lying around. Check up on the day’s plan each morning to ensure familarity with the recipe and that all ingredients are procured in advance of cooking time.
^So far this goal is really panning out! I made a very delicious meal plan for the week, which I will be cooking myself. Sunday night, we had Baked Rigatoni, based on this awesome Bon Appetit recipe, and Monday, we had Braised Short Ribs and Grits, which were completely delightful. I’ve already packed the pasta bake into freezer portions and made just enough of the short ribs so that each of us had a perfect portion.
Improve my photography
I feel kind of douchey typing that goal, but the truth is that I really want to learn how to take better pictures! I take pictures of everything from the board of directors for non-profit groups, to Linda’s jewelry, to, of course, every meal I am about to consume. I’ve gotten to the point where shooting on auto is just plain dissatisfying, and after a short tutorial on shooting jewelry for work from my friend Jessica, and the loan of a Nikon from my friend Mike, I have all the tools I need to learn how to take better photos using natural light. (My blog photos will benefit immensely!)
The Plan: Spend a few minutes every Sunday taking a few photos in natural light. Set up a few key places in my house with the right lighting to take photos of things I always take photos of, such as our dinner and full length shots of costumes and sewing projects. Remember to bring the camera to daytime events!
Learn conversational French
This. Is. The. Year. I live with a native French speaker and took formal classes from middle school to college…it’s time to get my act together! I really think I’ve gotten over a huge hump as far as confidence goes, but I still need tons of help with tenses and learning new vocabulary. Fortunately I’ve already learned some things that work for me, such as writing/recording new phrases that I learn conversationally from Jeremy, and doing Duolingo once a day. The bad news is that I haven’t been able to find a formal course for my level in my area, so I think the answer might be to hire a tutor, someone who can both help me practice speaking (like Jeremy), but also explain to me grammar and assign homework so that I can form better sentences on my own.
It’s hard to quantify language fluency, but I think this is more of an emotional goal: feeling confident enough to speak French in French company without having to revert to English to be understood.
The Plan: Do 20 XP in Duolingo every day. Hire a tutor that can meet at least once a week by 3/1. Ease into speaking French at home, and record all new phrases after each significant conversation.
Get up earlier
This is honestly one of the major sore spots in my life and always has been. I am such a nightowl, and am plenty embarrassed to announce that I rarely get up more than 30 minutes before I have to be somewhere. However, no one can deny the benefit of adding a few more hours to the day, and I’m making this my priority in 2017. That means changing a whoooole bunch of habits, including getting to bed earlier, switching up my morning routine to something I look forward to, and perhaps even (gasp!) scheduling things earlier in the morning to ensure that I get out of bed to be somewhere. To help, I’ll be in bed by midnight (which is a habit I’m already in…except when Jeremy wants to lay on the couch and watch Netflix until 3am and I just can’t say no), I’ll go screen-free once I retire for the night, and I will start showering in the mornings. (Just to give you a little perspective on how hard this is for me: ever since I was a little girl, I always chose to take “full” showers at night so that my hair could dry while I was sleeping and I would never have to worry about rushing out the door with my hair still wet. What did I tell you? Habits and routines are key!!)
The Plan: I’m not going to over do it on this one, and am setting a goal to rise at 8am every day, including weekends. (I know a lot of you early birds are probably laughing at me right now 🙂 ) I’m going to work up to this by getting up at 9am for the rest of the month, and will shoot for 8:30am on February 1st.
And now for some super exciting, extra adult goals!
Be ready to buy a house in 2018
Whaaaa? That’s right, I have my sights set on home ownership next year. My brother and I have decided to go in on a house together, and we’re hoping it’s a specific historic one across the street from us. I’m not at liberty to say too much right now, but basically, we have an opportunity to buy a home originally built in the 1880s, which is being restored by a local non-profit to fit our budget and needs. Home prices in Sanford are rising (which is great for our town!), but Sada and I want to secure a “family home” before this neighborhood blows up. (Because while that would be great, it would blow if we were priced out of our own hometown after all of the hard work and heart we’ve put into it to make it popular, haha….but seriously.)
We are both first time homebuyers, and we would try to purchase the house for under $200k, so we need about $7000 for our down payment, plus closing and other expenses. We’ve got a good head start on that, so I’m setting a goal to have that in hand by the end of 2017, though we probably won’t buy until some time in the middle of 2018. More about our potential house as the details firm up!
The Plan: Put 20% of any income right into savings, and of course, constructing a proper budget and sticking to it throughout the year. I’m a little behind on the budget part of the goal, but I have done the ground work to put one together and have managed to spend very little money this year 😉 Anyone have any favorite budgeting tools they would recommend for a young couple?
And of course, I need to keep good track of all of my relevant employment and financial info throughout the year, which brings me to…
Be ready to work from home full time by 2018
WHOA, it’s an adulting two-fer! I have always wanted to work from home, and after an incredible year of making freelance costumes for multiple clients, I’ve gained the confidence I need to make this happen. I have a few coals in the fire as far as costuming, and I am hoping to add in a few more freelance opportunities this year that can grow into full-time income next year. Ah!!
I’ve been telling people that when young adulthood puts you through the wringer between ages 18-25 (which is different for everyone), thinking about your “dream job” or “ideal work life” can seem like the most childish, unrealistic dream of all time. It certainly did for me, but 2016 really made a different in my mentality, and that’s key to making a real life change. I work for a wonderful company right now that is very supportive of my creative goals, and other than the fear of the leap, there’s really no reason that if I plan carefully and make wise choices that I shouldn’t be able to do this. More time at home = more time sewing, more time writing, and I really hope more time blogging!
The Plan: Keep saving and spending wisely. Exceed the expectations of current clients with carefully crafted quotes, quality work, and spotless timelines. Continue learning: spend time drawing and sketching every Tuesday night (when Jeremy is at the bar), take a Burda pattern drafting course by 3/1, and try out some projects with skills outside my wheelhouse. I also would like to get my studio set up for success, get cards made so that people can actually contact me for things, attend at least one convention this year (shooting for Megacon), and of course, form a cohesive business plan for the future.
WHEW. So that’s what I’ve got on my plate for 2017 (plus the aforementioned million other goals, from going up the stairs at least 5 times every work day, to using less water, to keeping my herbs alive this year…you get the picture: habits!). Really looking forward to the seeing the year develop, and I feel very confident about my goals so far.
How about you kids? What are your 2017 New Years resolutions and what is your plan to keep them? Tell me all about your life in the comments!