I used to hate New Year’s resolutions, because I felt like they were often unreachable goals that were impossible to follow through with consistently. But, I’ve grown to really enjoy using the New Year as a time to regroup from the holidays, think about what happened the year before, and write down some simple, achievable goals to improve my daily life in the year ahead. I like to write down my intentions in my daily planner so that I can remind myself of them periodically throughout the year, and look back at them at the end of the year to see what I have accomplished.
I recently went over my goals from last year, which was the second year I set simple intentions for myself, and I was surprised that I had succeeded at working some new habits into my life just by having the written reminder throughout the year. Some were as simple as floss daily (probably TMI, but I was able to make it a habit!) and take more non-iPhone photos (which was easy to get excited about).
Others, like restarting this blog, seemed like they would be difficult, but once I started taking more photos of work we were doing in the house and my days with G, it was easy to think of regular posts.
Health related goals are so cliche, but I think it’s because every person can improve in that area, no matter how healthy you think you are. I wanted to exercise regularly and eat more vegetables last year. The exercise goal was a great example of why I love written intentions better than strict resolutions. Sometime during the spring, I reworked that goal to “do something physical every day.” The simplicity made it easy; even if I did 5 minutes of stretching and my favorite yoga positions, I was taking time out to concentrate on my body and my health. This mantra helped me get into much better shape this summer, and most days I didn’t do more than 5-15 minutes of easy to moderate workouts in my living room. As for eating more vegetables, S and I started making vegetarian dinners 2-3 times per week, using more beans, tofu and eggs, which helped us to concentrate more on vegetables as main components of the meal rather than afterthoughts. Some of our favorites that we’ve made consistently this year were these Black Bean Burgers, this Chickpea Curry, and this Peanut Tofu with Cauliflower Rice. We use frozen broccoli (roasted with spices) and frozen spinach (with salt and olive oil) as simple sides a lot, because we love them both, they are easier to keep stocked than fresh veggies, they are quick to make, and they pair well with just about anything.
2015 was my first full year staying at home with G, and one of my goals was to find ways to work from home (I previously worked in public relations and as a writer and editor for both news and trade publications). This goal did prove more difficult than I expected. As any stay-at-home parent can probably attest, it is much more difficult to carve out dedicated “work” time than it seems, especially if you have a partner who works long or odd hours. I can’t say that I have succeeded at this goal to my satisfaction, but I have learned a lot of valuable lessons about both parenting and keeping a consistent freelance schedule, so I’m really excited about carrying that goal over to 2016!
Here are some of my 2016 intentions:
Go to bed earlier.
Be more present (less Facebook and Instagram throughout the day).
Plan my days and weeks to be more efficient.
Meal plan weekly (to ensure healthier choices and waste less food).
Do something physical every day (even just stretching).
Eliminate blame from my life (partially inspired by this video).
Drink 2 liters of water daily.
Tell people what I want or need, politely, instead of substituting politeness for what I really need.
Write one blog post per week, even if it’s not something elaborate.
Learn how to use my DSLR camera and improve my photography skills.
Always set one hour per day for work.
Continue to focus on minimalism and organization in our house.
Photo via A well traveled woman.