New Year, New Resolutions
I know many people are scoffing at the cliche of making new year resolutions, but there’s something to be said for looking at a fresh year ahead and taking time to map out what matters. In my leadership meetings at work, we practice the art of journaling monthly and quarterly goals to stay on track of projects and goals (and yes, I’m purposely using the word art because it takes loads of practice to get good at it). Since doing it for work, I’ve realized there are tons of benefits to doing this on a personal level as well. The hardest part of resolutions is keeping them, but if you have a plan to think through the steps and stay accountable with monthly check-ins, it's not so bad. It’s also not the pretty side of making goals and resolutions, but it’s what makes everything happen.
I really pride myself on being a highly-productive person and one key to staying motivated is being honest with myself about my daily priorities. This really helps when I'm making resolutions, too. This past year I've been taking “I’m too busy” or “I didn’t have time” out of my vocabulary because it's almost never true. If I didn’t do something, the reality is mostly that I chose to prioritize something else instead. And that’s totally okay - the hard part is being honest about it. Once I got the hang of it, I stopped feeling guilty because I accepted responsibility for how I choosing to spend my time. It also helps to see what I'm currently prioritizing. Think of it this way, if you find yourself saying "I don’t have time to read a book or go to the gym” but you make time to watch 3-4 hours of Netflix during the week, you’re currently prioritizing Netflix instead of those other things. It kind of slaps you in the face when it’s put like that, but life is made up of those daily priorities. I’m trying to choose wisely and find balance. A good book to read on this is 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. I don't agree with everything she says, but she makes some really valid and motivating points.
So, this year, in addition to monthly goals I’m setting to stay accountable, I writing down three big goals I’d like to practice throughout the year. Things that keep me happy, healthy and encourage long-term growth.
1. Make time for travel
It’s no secret that I love to travel. In fact, I try to share it as much as possible. And since it brings a lot of value and inspiration to my life, I'm always trying to make it a priority to go to new places - even though it feels challenging and expensive to invest in, I never, ever regret traveling. Last year I traveled a bit more spontaneously (which was great!) and this year I’d like to plan in advance. In addition to traveling to new states, I'm ambitiously dreaming of visiting two countries this year. Adventure is always a priority and I plan to have it that way for as long as I can.
Prioritize mental and physical health
Last year I focused more on mental health and to be honest, dropped the ball on physical health. After taking on some freelance gigs, I found my schedule pretty challenging last year and it took some time to learn how to make everything work. Looking back, I learned how to stretch myself in healthy ways and feel more excited to tackle projects in the coming year. I just want to make sure I'm squeezing in more physical activity to stay healthy (and happy). Here's a few ways I'll be doing this:
- Attending a small personal training group! If you can afford it, nothing is more motivating than standard appointment times and people waiting on you to get your butt in gear.
- Getting back to yoga. A yoga mat and youtube is all I need, so I’m planning to carve out 10-15 extra minutes in the mornings 2-3 times a week. It’s a great way to set daily intentions and stretch out tight muscles from pesky desk job pains and tough workouts.
- Go to therapy. This is something I’ve done off and on for years and it’s always helpful to check-in, self-reflect and work through issues from a fresh perspective.
- Self-care Saturdays: Once a month, I’m giving myself a Saturday to not work on projects, clean, run errands, or anything that isn’t rejuvenating or rest-related. As an admitted semi-workaholic, I’m REALLY excited and looking forward to this!
Invest time and money into learning
When I graduated college, a part of me felt a little sad to leave behind the constant learning. Granted, we all learn from life, people and work, but there’s something special about challenging your brain to learn something completely new. Last year I took a copywriting course at a portfolio studio and this year I’m taking a Visual Design program through Skillcrush to work on my design skills and I’m stoked. I wasn’t sure if I could make it work with my schedule, but I told myself that there will basically never be a perfectly convenient time to do anything, so I’m making it a priority anyway. If I find the program useful, I’ll definitely share a review for who might be interested in brushing up their design skills!
What are your resolutions this year? I’d love to hear them!