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2018 Goals: How I did in January

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Photo via Unsplash

2018 kicked off with a bang, and January was an insanely busy month. I spent a lot of time working, not much time blogging (sorry), and even more time plotting! It took me a couple weeks to really set my intentions for the year, but I’m glad I took the time to really set things in place. I feel great about 2018, and January set the foundation.

Here’s how I did with each of my goals over the past month!

Overall Goal: Don’t Overthink It!

I did pretty good with this one! I said “yes” to more work opportunities, bought a diffuser I’ve been eyeing for months, and set up some big goals for February. Instead of talking myself out of things, I just went for it – and it felt great!

Read 50 books.

I got through 2 books in January (not counting the 2-3 cookbooks I read…maybe I should count those?). It’s not a lot, but given I started the month with the flu, and I worked a TON, I was happy with it. I ended January in the middle of reading 2 different books, so while I didn’t quite hit my monthly goal of a book each week, I’m well on my way.

Hike 100 miles.

I made it about 5 miles this month. It was cold and rained all month, but I got out when I could. As it gets warmer, the number will totally go up!

Clean up my beauty routine.

January was all about using what I already have to cut down on waste. I researched some clean products to replace my not-so-clean ones, and I’m looking forward to trying out more products from Maple Holistics!  I consider this one a “win” because I started the process by reducing the amount of waste I create in the process!

Create a wardrobe of high quality, sustainable clothing.

The past month was all about purging my wardrobe of items that don’t work for me anymore. I got rid of a lot of clothing that doesn’t serve a purpose for me anymore, doesn’t fit, and is just plain worn out. Some of the clothes went to ThredUP, some were donated, and a lot of them ended up in the trash/recycling. I plan to finish this process in February, and start to plot out and save for new pieces. Creating a better wardrobe starts with starting over, so this past month was great for that.

Travel solo more.

It’s still too damn cold for this, but I have been itching to rent a cabin for a weekend and just hole up with a good book and tons of snacks. We’ll see if I can make this happen!

Overall, I consider January a success! I set some goals, and got to work on them – there are 11 more months to keep working at it!

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NOTE: I’m going to be taking the rest of February off from the blog. I need the break to focus on my vegan challenge, working longer hours, and taking some time for myself. I’ll be back in March with an update on how the vegan plan went, and hopefully I’ll be back with way more inspiration for better content. Have a great February, and I’ll see you in a few weeks!

2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

Meal Planning 101 / Summer Nail Polish / Sweat List / Home Office Makeover

I thought it would be nice to end the year looking back at some of my favorite posts from 2015!

While this blog has only been around for 6 months, it has been a busy second half of the year. 85 posts in, and I still feel like I’m finding my legs. After looking back at this blog and my old one, I’m starting to figure out what I need to do in 2016. Here are just a few goals I have set for the coming year:

Add more personal style and home-related posts

I realized my “Style” section was mainly just beauty product reviews. I’m not great at taking photos of myself, so I will work to get better at that in 2016. I also didn’t get to do many home projects this year (thanks to having no budget), so I want to do more of those next year too.

Choose a visual style I actually like and stick with it

I’ve come a long way with my photography skills over the past year (thanks to a new camera), but I really want to start toying with a more consistent visual style. Right now, I mainly do clear, mildly saturated photos – which are great, but not the “look” I want the blog to have.

I also want to nail down the look of the blog, rather than using a standard theme – but that may be a while down the road. I learned a ton in graduate school about creating style guides and all that…and it’s time I put all that to good use.

Interact more with the blogging community

I’ve enjoyed getting to know people through blogging, and interacting with many of you who comment on the blog, but I can do more. I want to start meeting people who blog (particularly in the Seattle area), and find more ways to broaden my circle of internet friends! I also want to do more work with brands, and getting myself out there will definitely help me with that!

Get on a better schedule

I’m writing this the night before it’s posted, which is not smart. I’ve toyed with different schedules in the past, and I need to find one that actually works. I don’t know if this means I’ll post every day, every other day, or whenever I feel like it. I’ve abandoned a lot of posts over the last 6 months because I just couldn’t get them done, or by the time I sat down to write, they didn’t interest me anymore. I want to make sure I’m writing about things I enjoy, even if that means taking Afternoon Glow down to a few posts each week.

So, for the rest of the year, I’ll be sharing with you my favorite posts from my Food, Home, Life, and Style sections – as well as where I want each section to head in the coming year!

Well, I’m off to make some truffles and get things finalized for the holidays! Have a great rest of the year, and I’ll see you back here with amazing new content in 2016!

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!