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Going Vegan for February

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Photo via Unsplash

In January, I decided one of my 2018 goals is to stop overthinking things. To honor that, I’m going vegan in the month of February!

Going vegan is something I’ve talked myself out of trying for years. I’m already a part-time vegetarian, vegan-before-6 kind of gal – so why not go whole hog and see what happens? Add in that I’m in a cooking rut, the winter months always make me feel like crap, and I could use a hormonal “reset,” and you have a recipe for change.

For now, I’m committing to going vegan for a full month to see how it goes. I spent January researching recipes, trying out adaptations to my favorite foods, and getting my pantry prepared. Oh, and I ate my last cheeseburger last weekend before I say goodbye for a while.

I’ll see where I am at the end of the month and assess things from there. Even if I go back to my occasional cheeseburger, I still plan to work more plant-based meals into my life.

My husband won’t be joining me on this one – at least not full time. He worked more vegetarian meals into his life, thanks to my gold-star cooking. I’ve also tried a few vegan recipes out on him already, and he seems to like them. At this point going vegan isn’t for him, and that’s fine. He’s supportive of my doing this for me, and leaving him to his own devices when he wants some meat or cheese. I’m sure he’ll end up eating a lot of what I cook anyway – he has a hard time saying no to falafel, black bean soup, and just about anything else I make!

I’m not sure how much I’ll post about this over the next month, but I’ll definitely let you know at the end of February how going vegan went! Until then, check out my Instagram, where I’ll be sharing all the delicious new food I’ll be trying out!

2018: Moving Forward

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Moving forward into 2018, I struggled to decide what my overarching goals were going to be for the year. I moved between making traditional “resolutions,” a list of small goals, or choosing a mantra to set the tone for the year. Since I struggle with decision paralysis, I know that’s something I should probably work on this year. Figuring out what the hell I want to do in 2018 is just the beginning!

To make things more manageable for myself, I’m taking a two-pronged approach: choosing a mantra, and making a list of fun, easily-attainable goals that go along with it. My hope is that I can spend the year tackling the decision paralysis and constant feeling of disappointment. I also want to focus on filling my life with people, objects, and experiences that make me happy.

So, moving forward, my 2018 mantra is going to be:

Don’t overthink it!

I do this with EVERYTHING. If given the choice between something I really want, and something that’s just “okay,” I will almost always talk myself out of the thing I want. My closet is full of clothes I don’t wear or even like that much. I will spend days fiddling with my Amazon cart before I end up buying what I wanted in the beginning. Decision paralysis is a huge problem I want to fix in 2018, and it’s going to be a year-long process…I can just feel it.

I plan to start by spending January purging my home of things I don’t really love anymore. I’m looking forward to filling my life with better things, making new friends, and spending money on experiences over stuff. I also want to find the perfect pair of wide-legged jeans, so I can start my journey to dressing more like Chelsea Handler or Harling Ross. #fashiongoals

In addition to one major goal for 2018, I also have a few small things I want to accomplish in 2018. Some of them are goals I started on years ago and want to continue, and some are brand new!

Read 50 books.

I made this a goal last year and didn’t even come close. I think I stopped at like, 17 or something. However, it re-ignited my love of reading, so I’m trying again this year. So far I’ve read one: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit…highly recommended in this current climate!

Hike 100 miles.

I also aimed for this goal last year, but only set out to hike 50 miles (I made it about halfway). This year, I want to focus on finding new hiking trails and challenging myself more. Getting outside is good for me in many ways, and I need to keep it up – even on rainy days!

Clean up my beauty routine.

My skin was doing great in 2017, until I was forced to switch birth control pills thanks to some migraines and other issues. The cystic acne I suffered from pre-birth control is back with a vengeance, and nothing is helping. I’m hoping that cleaning up my beauty routine of nasty chemicals will help. I’ll probably write about it more soon, and let you know what’s working!

Create a wardrobe of high-quality, sustainable clothing.

In addition to getting rid of decision paralysis, I want to create a wardrobe I genuinely enjoy. My other goal is to be more mindful of where my clothing comes from. I’m guilty of owning a ton of “fast-fashion,” and want to focus on buying quality pieces from companies that use sustainable materials and practices. I want to spend January purging my closet of things I don’t really like or wear, and make a game plan to shop more mindfully in 2018.

Travel solo more!

I enjoy traveling, but I haven’t done a lot of solo traveling in my lifetime. This year, I want to go somewhere on my own – even if only somewhere nearby for a weekend. There are so many amazing places to visit around here, and I want to branch out on my own more. My husband isn’t the best traveler, so I’m sure he’ll be fine with staying home while I venture out a little. If you have any suggestions of places to chill in Washington, leave a message!

What goals are you aiming for in 2018? I’d love to hear what everyone else is up to this year!

A New Year…and I’m already behind

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(A new planner for a new year. Thanks to Profresh Style for the inspiration!)

I might be the last blogger to get on board with 2016. After ringing in the new year with family, I feel like I’ve been trying to catch up on sleep ever since – and I’m failing woefully! If I could have one decent night’s sleep, I’d be in heaven right now!

I decided to take the first week of the year to think hard about what I wanted to accomplish in 2016. I’ve tried resolutions in the past, and never live up to them (except that one year in college when I gave up soda). I’ve also tried a quote or mantra, but I rarely live up to those too – and even if I do, it’s due to coincidence more than intention. So for 2016, I’m trying something new:

I’m not doing any of it this year.

No goals, resolutions, declarations, mantras, or laundry lists of things to do – I can’t do it this year. I think after having such a rough 2015, I’m ready for whatever 2016 brings. My life is still very much in flux, and it doesn’t seem right to start setting goals for a future that is still uncertain. I’m still trying to find a job, trying to blog on a regular basis, and we’re moving in a couple months – and these things will impact where things go in the coming year.

The blog is one thing that I’m hoping to work on in the next year. While I learned a ton by blogging 5x/week about a wide variety of topics, I find myself burnt out from it. Creating quality content is a lot more work than I ever imagined, and I worry this blog will turn into a carbon-copy of everything else I read. How many posts about holiday cookies or Target hauls does one really need, honestly? So for the near future, I have to think about where I want the blog to head in the next year.

Sigh…more to think about, right?

Prepping 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

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It seems early to be talking about this, but the new year will be here in only 11 days!

New Year’s resolutions seem to be a tradition as old as time. Every year, we commit to spending the next 365 days improving our minds, bodies, finances, health, and organizational skills – and every year, millions of us barely make it through the month before quitting.

I’ve been the person to make bold declarations and watch them fizzle out, and I’ve also had resolutions that I stuck to for the entire year (and often far beyond that). Since I’m one of the few who has had success with yearly resolutions in the past, I thought I’d share some advice on how to make 2016 your most successful year yet!

Prepping 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

One: Start thinking early!

Even though you have plenty of time left to declare your 2016 resolutions, don’t put it off until the last minute! You have a better chance of being successful if you choose a goal carefully.

Make a list of ideas, then really take time to think about each one before choosing the right resolution. How easy are they to pull off? Are they year-long goals, or something you can do in a month? What will you need to be successful?

Two: Try several smaller goals rather than one big one!

Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose [insert insane amount of weight here],” consider breaking it down into smaller, monthly goals instead. That way, instead of feeling defeated after a month of only losing a pound, you can celebrate actually finishing something!

As an example, here are some smaller goals that will be much easier to achieve – and will help you stay healthy throughout the year:

  • Do 30 minutes of exercise every day for a month
  • Cook dinner at home every night for a month
  • Go vegetarian/vegan for a month
  • Take a walk after dinner every day for a month
  • Give up dessert 6 days a week for a month

My most successful new year’s resolution was during my senior year of college – I decided to give up soda for a year. It was tough for the first month or so, but I did it – and over a decade later, I still do (99% of the time). It helped me get rid of chronic headaches, bloating, insomnia, and saved me a ton of money!

Three: Keep it a solo affair!

Don’t choose a goal that is dependent on anyone else for it to work – it will just give you someone to blame when things go wrong. Also, it’s not a good idea to team up with your spouse/friends with this specific type of goal-setting. You’ll be disappointed if others quit early, or you’ll feel bad if you do.

For example, I would love to set a goal that I wake up every morning to a perfectly clean kitchen. It’s insanely easy for me to do when I live alone…but impossible when I don’t. The only way I could achieve this is by nagging the shit out of my husband, who is supposed to do dishes every night (but does not), or do them myself. Neither option sounds right to me, so I can’t make that a goal.

My husband, however, could make it his goal to do them every night…but that’s just a pipe dream. 🙂

Four: Consider a mantra for the year instead!

Last year, I decided not to go with a specific “goal” for the year, and instead chose a mantra to live by: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Since I knew 2014 was going to be a big year with a lot of changes, I wanted to leave things more open-ended.

Even though I didn’t always live up to that mantra, I felt like a lot of moments in that year were driven by that mantra. I quit my job, packed up my car, and drove cross-country – by myself. It was a huge challenge, but one that was for sure outside my comfort zone – and was totally worth it.

Instead of a set goal, try finding a mantra/quote that sums up what you want 2016 to look like. Here are some great examples:

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Five: Check in periodically!

Keep a journal (or if you blog like me, post it online) where you “check in” with yourself every so often. Every day/week/month (whatever works for you), go back to your goals and see how well you are achieving them. 

Celebrate your successes (made the bed 5 days this week) rather than dwelling on failures (forgot to make the bed 2 days). If you find yourself slipping up a lot, consider changing your daily routine/habits to better achieve your goals – or retool them to fit your needs.

One year, I resolved to eat vegetarian every day until dinner. I found that too challenging with my busy work schedule and budget, so I switched to one vegetarian meal each day – and found that much easier. I didn’t feel like a failure at all – just someone who needed to rework my goal to fit my life better.

 

There you go! So what are you thinking about improving for 2016? I’m still stuck between setting a realistic goal, or going with a mantra like I have the past couple years. Any good ideas are welcome!