The Next Year.

Of course, the last few days of any year are an invitation for reflection, an opportunity to dream and to imagine what life would be like if we somehow managed to finagle the dedication and excitement we felt on the first of the year to the very end of that same year. How could things be different this time next year? How can I be sure that the disappointments and frustrations of this year END this year and don’t carry into the next?

The last few weeks here have been really challenging. The week before winter break our oldest caught the flu which led to me getting the flu (worse than the kids), which led to the babies getting the flu, and my youngest son getting the flu and eventually, R getting the flu, too. We’re on week three of someone (mostly the adults) feeling under the weather and I can promise you, it’s exhausting.  For me, what feels like an endless slump where no matter how hard I try (at cleaning, at cooking nutritious foods, at anything…), nothing has been enough to get us all over that hump and I. am. tired.

So… while New Years is a welcome distraction and a moment of hope that things will turn around, I think it’s also fair that I set my resolutions like a mother and take the opposite advice of what you will read in most books about goal-setting. For the majority of what is to follow, my goals aren’t really measurable or quantifiable. I can’t say that I’m going to run 3 days a week because you know what? I have kids. We get the flu (for weeks at a time, ugh!) and setting goals like that, at least in this season, is an opportunity to feel frustrated. Instead, what I want to do is set general goals and at the end of this coming year, I want to look back and see that these areas have been improved upon. Progress, not perfection. (The motto of motherhood!)

With all this said, here are my thoughts on 12 things I want to accomplish this year:

  1. Improve my bedtime routine. Eliminate TV, read books, light candles or run a diffuser. Drink water or herbal teas instead of unhealthy choices. Start a gratitude journal. Breathe. Listen to affirmations or soothing music.
  2. Improve my morning routine. Find a time to reliably wake up earlier than everyone else. Journal, meditate, plan the day ahead. Start a morning yoga routine. Find that sacred space that this introverted mama needs to keep her sanity.
  3. Read. Read more books. Lots of them. Ideally, one a week (52 this year).
  4. Take better care of my skin. Drink more water, make nightly cleansing a ritual. Moisturize. Dry brush.
  5. Prioritize my health and well-being. Juice more, eat more fruit, have green leafy salads more often. Drink more water. Exercise when there’s opportunity. Find balance with enjoying downtime and days without to-do lists.
  6. Cook 10 recipes from Bryant Terry’s cookbooks. This should be easy to do but it’ll help me collect an easy win and inspire me to seek out healthy, inspiring vegan recipes. His cookbooks always seem so grounded and beautiful with a soul that is hard to find in other cookbooks. I need more of this in my life!
  7. Re-examine social media use. I’ve already said goodbye to Facebook, but perhaps this is my year to focus my energy here. I’ve had multiple people urge me to do a YouTube channel which, I’ll be honest, I cannot fathom, but maybe this is a year to come out of my comfort zone and try it. It’ll also be a good way for me to do my hair and makeup more regularly. 😀
  8. Knit something for charity. I already have the supplies and know what I’m going to do – just putting this here for accountability.
  9. Work on hand lettering. Finish the Postman’s Knock lettering course. Journal/create. This was a goal from last year that never went anywhere but it’s still on my list!
  10. Institute a weekly dessert night. Ok, ok. This is an indulgence, for sure, but there are ways it can be done healthfully (even if dessert is only a small fruit salad). I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have a night each week where we enjoy a small dessert following family dinner. (Family dinners are nearly every night already so we’re halfway there.)
  11. Invoke my grandmother. Yep. That means crossword puzzles, word searches and making homemade Christmas ornaments. I’ll leave out the smoking.
  12. Keep a written calendar/planner. I am a long-time user of the Uncalendar which is an awesome planner whose most charming quality is that it’s undated. I’m going to commit to finding and using a calendar religiously this year.

My goal isn’t to start all these at the same time. It’s too much and it’s a recipe for failure (see: three weeks of flu). Instead, I’m going to reflect on these goals as often as possible – hopefully daily, at a minimal, and try to make incremental efforts towards being in a better place this time next year. Progress, not perfection.

What are your goals for 2018?