Some people (like my husband) are not big fans of setting New Year’s resolutions. I am definitely not one of those people.
Even as a little kid, I liked the idea of starting over, trying again and, as far as resolutions go, literally opening a fresh journal to a new page in life. For years, my resolutions read like a laundry list with tasks like writing in said new journal every day, but as we all know, just saying you’re going to achieve something doesn’t mean you’re going to do it, especially if that goal doesn’t fit into the framework of the lifestyle you already live and the mindset with which you go through life.
Nonetheless, I’m still passionate about the idea of what a new year might bring, and I like the idea of setting New Year’s resolutions so that I can continue to grow into a better person living, in my opinion, a more meaningful life. And so, as I’ve grown up, I’ve continued to spend time thinking about how I want my new year to progress, but my perspective of goal setting has also changed.
So where to go from here?
This year, I thought hard about the kind of life I want to lead and the kind of person I want to be. Instead of sitting down with a numbered sheet of paper ready for a brain dump of things I want to achieve, I narrowed my thoughts down to three key themes I want to focus on throughout 2015. These are:
- Stress less
- Simplify, unplug and live mindfully in the moment
After deciding on these three over-arching themes I wanted to focus on this year, I thought about how I could make them a reality in my everyday life, which led to five general things I’d like to achieve this year:
- Prepare for emergencies
- Maintain physical and mental health
- Pursue challenge and education
- Improve on personal habits
- Actively pursue social relationships
And then, under the umbrella of each of these goals, I thought about what I could and would like to do to achieve them. That’s how I ended up with a list of things I’d like to do in 2015 that includes the following (though this is not a comprehensive list):
- Fill out a medical directive
- Get monthly massages
- Take one social media free day every week
- Look into taking a class on something I enjoy or try some DIY projects
- Volunteer where I can make a difference
- Say “thank you” more
In addition to these things that I’d like to achieve, I try to tackle two things on my Life List every year (last year I helped brew a batch of beer). I gave myself some options from my list to focus on for 2015, but of course if something else presents itself (as it often does), I’ll definitely take advantage of the opportunity. The things I think I may be able to tick off from my Life List in 2015 are:
- Complete a triathlon
- Hike the John Muir Trail
- Spend the night on a houseboat
- Give a Kiva loan
- Participate in the Scale the Strat fundraiser
- Take an arts and crafts class
Well, here we are, nearing the end of February.
Now that we’re past that first chaotic hump of the year and settled into a routine, I can say wholeheartedly that my decision to walk into the new year with a clearer vision of a different way of living and thinking supported with individual goals is working well for me. About once a week or every couple weeks, I revisit my New Year’s resolutions to see how things are coming along, which is helping a lot.
It’s not my intention to just tick things off a list, but to make progress in achieving a lifestyle and mindset that suit me well. As such, I’ve made some awesome progress in the first several weeks of 2015 by meditating nearly every day, sorting out some messy medical paperwork I’ve been putting off, reading lots of great books, getting back in touch with friends I’d lost touch with and signing up for an art class at the local university.
We are also well on our way to thru hiking the John Muir Trail this summer and officially have our trail permits in hand. I am beyond excited for this adventure, which I’ll be sharing with Cory and our boy, M.
One of my favorite things I’ve done this year is cut social media out of my life one day each week, and that has been nothing short of undeniably liberating. This is almost always a Sunday, but occasionally it’s another day a week. On that day, I just don’t check into Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and instead, I find other ways to fill my time when I’d normally be inclined to reach for my smartphone.
I’ve discovered that I’m really not missing out on anything at all, and, in fact, I’m finding new ways to fill that time with the people around me in that moment, without any need to share it with anyone else. I’ve taken weekend backpacking trips without my phone, and Cory, A2 and I have spent time lounging in our garden, playing yard games and chatting. One Sunday we even unearthed some art paper and paint and went to town creating art, though none of us has ever held a paintbrush before.
So far, 2015 has been a great year.
My head feels clearer and my heart feels lighter than it has in quite some time. I’m working hard to just ‘let it go’ … and it’s working. One day, one hour, one moment at a time, I’m turning 2015 into my best year yet.