0027. two thousand nineteen
Hello there + happy new year!
I took an unexpected hiatus to slow down, refocus, write more lists, do what's on those lists, and think about ways to maximize 2019.
Say what you will about this time, but I love the fresh start and this holiday: the general festivity, the restful day after, the new number, and the possibility of a whole, brand new year. How do you feel about it?
To say goodbye to 2018 we made dinner with friends and just hung out and talked as we would any other night. We discuss silly things but also the unsettling stuff and even if we don't come up with any solutions, there is that discourse and I love them for it. The same happened with my family over Christmas. I wrote about it a bit on instagram - we don't always see eye to eye, but we agree on this: we are beyond fortunate because we have food on our table, a home to gather in, and people who will always have our backs. What else could we need/how frigging lucky! We discussed ways we can give back to those who need it most and it got me thinking of something I wrote down in 2017 (the benefits of never throwing away a note): what you can do together > what you can do alone. It's one of my guidelines for the year and I can't wait to see it in action.
Of course to give back and work in a team, you need to take care of yourself first: "you cannot produce your best work on an empty tank."*
And so that has been my aim for the start of this year - for the past week I've been running through lots of items on my winter list and thinking about all that I wish to accomplish. I have a bunch of essays I'm working on that delve into different topics and I cannot wait to complete and get them out here. I had no idea what I was doing when I started the blog and so I used four little words (nature + travel + lists + sustainability) as a guide. All I knew is that I wanted to write, since then I've found myself moved by other topics as well and it's exciting.
One of my goals with this space is to inspire others to live sustainably for the sake of our planet, but also to follow their dreams and enjoy all the little things along the way. I've found that the two are correlated: when I focus on how lucky I am and all the beauty around me it's easier to say no to so many things I don't need - it's easier to see my priorities. I want to write the blog I always wish was out there - a combo of practical solutions and creativity, but also words that uplift and remind you of all that you are and all that you can be. Because while life is beautiful and extraordinary, the process of getting to the point where you can enjoy and live out your dreams is even more so.
This is a rambly mess to say this: resolutions get a bad rap. I cant really say why because I've never felt this way. Yes, I make plenty of goals that don't always get completed but I don't beat myself up or feel bad about it. I love the process, aspiring, the idea of all that I can do in a year and it is these lists and the state of the world that always push me to do more, to keep trying, to keep making more lists because in my mind the other end is stagnancy, non-growth, not reaching, complacency. What we do each day is how we live our lives and I believe it's because of my incessant desire to write things down that I'm at this point - happy, enjoying every day of my life, doing all the things I want to do, yet always trying to do better and finding ways to help others there. There's no finish line to growth but there are certainly plateaus.
And last year, for all it's beauty and adventure, I think I plateau-ed. I'd been giving everything to my students and so for my sabbatical I gave everything to myself - I prioritized sustainability, travel, and once in a lifetime experiences while putting some other things aside. All to great benefit - I'm ready to tackle what was set aside and more. I've learned what fills me up and what I can push aside to simplify even more than I already have.
For years I've been all over the place: multiple notebooks at once, mad scientist type disarray and this year I want to combat that once and for all. Last year's planner goes until the end of this month so it's been perfect for experimenting with layouts, page design, and figuring out what serves me best. Actually being mindful about what I write down and how I want to approach each day, week, and month has provided clarity and coherence. Writing each day down (as opposed to opening a notebook to the date) has somehow made time feel slower and more intentional - an unexpected benefit from my self-set challenge to not buy anything new. And I love that I'll always have these logs, memories, dreams and ideas to look back on.
Now how am I getting them off paper and into reality? This is my current approach:
⭖ General resolutions/guidelines for the year:
+ Keep moving forward
+ Work on being present (less multitasking)
+ Un-digitize phone: get a clock, timer, radio
+ What you can do together > what you can do alone
+ Letting go + organization + action (get rid of more stuff)
+ Betterize: communication, processes, relationships, everything
+ Less things/More places. Less consuming/More creating. Less hesitating/More leaping.
(I've kept these words on a post it in my planner for two years and they still speak to me, I don't think I'll tire of them anytime ever.)
⭖ Daily trackings: Makes habit forming/changing so much easier because I love checking off the little boxes. Examples: walks, runs, stretching, no alcohol, no sugar, no allergens, reading, journaling, drawing, etc.
⭖ One big monthly goal, project, or challenge. January: Stuff out every day.
⭖ Guiding words: For anytime I'm unsure or need a focus - whether you pick one or a combo and make it daily, weekly, or monthly is up to you.
Examples: aspire / balance / begin / challenge / change / courage / creativity / evolve / explore / growth / gratitude / health / improve / inspire / release / wellness
I'd truly love to know - what are your goals or resolutions for the new year? How do you stay motivated?
PS. Planners are on sale right now and I was super tempted to buy one but instead looked through a bunch to see what aspects I like and can adopt for my own - happily, I think I finally figured out what works for me, post coming soon.
* I knew these words were by Alexandra Franzen but I couldn't remember where they were from. Upon searching I realized they are from this great podcast episode I listened to years ago and from which I have a few other notes to myself - it's worth a listen.