Traditionally, Aaron and I have always set goals for the new year. When we make our pilgrimage back to the East coast to spend the last 2 weeks of December with our families and friends we have LOTS of time in the car. It’s when we do our best dreaming. It’s usually on the drive back to Albany from Syracuse after a whirlwind of presents, Italian food and family time that we start chatting about all the things we want to accomplish in the coming year. We are both fortunate to have big loving families but the holidays are always crammed tight with so much eating, socializing, eating, gift giving, drinking, socializing, eating, sitting, talking, eating (you get the point) that naturally our goal setting chats usually revolve around simplifying life and practicing moderation.
I decided to approach this year with intentions instead of resolutions and themes instead of goals. For example, last year my resolution was to exercise more but this year my intention is to do more of what makes me feel good. Last year my goals were centered around getting my blog up and running, connecting with like-minded people and hustling to create my wellness business… not this year, instead I am focusing on themes for each month that in turn will inform my choices. For example, the theme for the month of January is CLEANSE. So when I am making decisions about my life I am making sure I align them with the theme of cleanse. … I like this approach because I am not struggling to keep track of tons of individual goals and instead, I can keep the overarching theme of CLEANSE in mind and make real time decisions that support that. It’s been really refreshing actually. Taking a step back from being regimented and allowing space. Here are some of the ways I am infusing the CLEANSE theme into my day to day : )
Every year we start the first two weeks of January off with a food detox where we eliminate the “Big 5” (added sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, white flour). I spent the afternoon yesterday preparing food for the week (and I actually did some meal planning, yay!). I made choices at the grocery store that supported my theme- instead of buying a bunch of pre-packaged chicken for various meals for the week I got a whole organic chicken and used every last bit of meat on that bird to make 3 separate meals AND the stock for my soup and roasted rice dish. I also felt more connected to my food. I was the one separating meat from bones on the bird- and it took time. And it wasn’t pretty. It’s so easy to forget that a chicken breast actually comes from a real, living animal. I had an urge to say Thanks to this particular chicken. Thanks for nourishing my family.
I love coming back to my own house after travelling back east for two weeks. We spent the weekend unpacking, cleaning and de-cluttering. I felt appreciative for being back in my own space. I felt grateful for our little house and it made me want to take care of it! We did a deep cleaning of the kitchen and bathrooms. We put away unnecessary appliances that had been cluttering the kitchen counters. We re-arranged furniture and made use of old pieces for new purposes (Evie got a new craft desk made from the end-table).
I have been reading lots of social media strategy blogs (Peg Fitzpatrick) and was planning to create a whole strategy for my blog posting this year, but honestly the thought of doing all that planning took the wind out of my sails (and the fun out of writing). Instead I am setting aside time to write and using my themes to guide me. That’s it. No master plan. No big strategy. Just me getting inspired to write about well-being, happiness, life, purpose. I’m also taking unnecessary stress off my shoulders by not accepting freelance gigs that don’t feel right or that take more time to negotiate payment than actually getting creative and doing the work. I am giving myself permission to clear projects off the queue that are dragging me down. It feels fresh and simple around here!
We’re always operating on a budget but this month I am making a conscious effort to cut out unnecessary spending. I’m making my tea at home instead of stopping at Starbucks. I’m trying really hard to meal plan and do one shopping trip each week. I’m excited to have friends over to our house for happy hour instead of meeting at a bar. We even sat down and talked about our budget for the year- how much money do we need for vacations? How much money do we need to save? Getting those numbers out in the open at the start of the year makes it feel more accessible.
My biggest bad habit lately has been looking at my phone too much. I realized how often I was checking my phone when I accidentally left it behind one morning last week… I cannot tell you how many times I reached into my bag to grab it- even when I knew it wasn’t there! I felt like Golum with My Precioussssss. To help cleanse my mind this month I am choosing to limit my screen time. When I feel the impulse to reach for my phone I ask myself this question “what is it you need right now”? It’s a simple question. What do I need right now that my phone will provide me? Nothing.
I am looking forward to a great year full of intention and appreciation for life. I am going to give it my best effort every day to be mindful of my decisions. It’s all I need to do. Just simply be aware of the moments and choose from a place of presence.