I’m not a big subscriber to the whole “New Year, new me!” thing. I think this mindset tends to make us overlook our triumphs over the last year and put it in our heads that this is our ONE chance to change ourselves.
I prefer to set intentions based on reflection – I take stock of my achievements and pitfalls of the previous year, and determine how I can continue the lifelong process of self-development, discovery, and improvement.
Last year I had some setbacks and some successes (check out 2018: My Year in Review for the highlights), and as I look back on these experiences, I’ve decided some ways I can work to improve my life in the following year:
Lower My Debt
At the end of 2017, I met with a financial advisor who evaluated my financial health and gave me tips to lower my debt with the goal of buying a house in the next few years. I know my debt has lowered and my credit score has gone up since then, but this year I plan to track my debt levels and strategize ways to bring it down more quickly and (hopefully) less painfully. I’ll give updates periodically to share how it’s going!
I’ve always been a pretty frugal person, but sometimes I get way into “treat yoself” mode and blow all of the progress I’ve made in my savings. I already have some trips and other little things I’ve been looking forward to for a while, but in order to have my little splurges, I need to reign in my spending on other things and continue shopping for the best deals.
Establish a Routine
Before I moved to LA a year and a half ago, my best friend and I had a pretty good gym routine. Since I moved, I’ve fallen off the wagon, climbed back on it, and trailed onto it with one hand while being dragged behind it. What I’m saying is that I’m getting better at going to the gym, but I need to improve my regularity. My goal is to start going twice a week for 45 minutes, and go up from there. I might also start to add a yoga practice back into my routine!
Improve My Diet
I will NEVER give up my love of food (especially sweets), but I could use more fruits and vegetables and fewer refined sugars and processed foods in my diet. I’ve done a good job of eliminating all but a few sodas per year, and I eat less processed foods than I used to, but I can do better. I can reduce the number of packaged emergency snacks in my desk drawer at school, or at least looks for some healthier alternatives. Avoiding packaged and pre-made foods will probably also aid in my goal to save money.
Protect My Time
In 2018, I somehow managed to work a little less from home… like, you know, a normal person. I still bring grading home and have to plan on nights and weekends from time to time and there have been a number of Sundays when I still feel “the Sunday Scaries”, but overall, my work-life balance has improved this year because I learned that I need to take care of myself personally before I can take care of my professional life. I’m learning that sometimes, both personally and professionally, I need to say no and walk away from things that are unnecessary, don’t bring me joy, and instead suck up my time and energy. Instead, I want to focus on putting that energy into myself and the people and things I value.
Do More of What Makes Me Happy
If I’m protecting my time and reclaiming it for myself this year, then I want to do more with my time. I just began trying hand lettering and calligraphy, and I want to continue developing that skill. I want to write more posts here, and write more in general. I want to keep cooking and baking. I want to take more trips, create more memories, and invest more time and energy in myself and the people and things I most value.
I know 2019 will inevitably have its own setbacks, frustrations, and disappointments, but I hope that I can continue to work on myself, my relationships, and the things that matter most to me in order to continue improving my life and the outlook I have on it.
New Year, old (but slightly better) me!
I’d love to hear some of your New Year’s Resolutions! Leave a comment to share what you’re working toward this year.