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When it comes to New Years resolutions, I’ve gone back and forth. Some years, I think that goal-setting is the key to making the most out of the next 365 days. Other years, I think establishing “resolutions” just because it’s a new year is dumb – after all, why can’t I simply start them on Feburary 17th? What makes an empty calendar so special?
The truth is, it’s not. The only magic of the new year is the faith we put in it, and some years I just don’t feel like doing that. But after looking back at a mediocre 2014, I’ve decided to once again experiment with this whole resolutions thing. Unlike years past, I’m creating a very long list this time around – either out of impatience, boredom, disappointment, wine… or all of the above. Some of my goals will be harder to achieve than others, but that’s kind of the point. If 2015 is an empty vessel of possibilities, I want to reach outside of my comfort zone and see what happens. Let’s get started!
1. Create a separation between work and home.
Working from home has some tremendous advantages: freedom to work wherever I please, freedom to work in my pjs, freedom to work my own hours, etc. It also has disadvantages: freedom to work wherever I please, freedom to work in my pjs, freedom to work my own hours, etc.
Notice that those lists are both the same? That’s because this kind of freedom can be both a blessing and a curse. If you’re not disciplined enough, freedom to work whenever you want can result in not keeping yourself to task during the day because of all the distractions (the dog barking, the TV, laundry, etc.). You can also have the opposite problem, like I do: being able to jump on my computer at a moment’s notice results in working all the time and ignoring everything else. Sure, it’s 11pm and I have the TV on, but I’m still on the company website or drafting emails. For me, this kind of freedom has interrupted just about every aspect of my life; many days, I’ve worked a majority of my day from my bed, not gotten out of my yoga pants, and/or absentmindedly snacked (worst of all) while doing these things. This inevitably leads to poorer sleeping habits, poorer eating habits, and a general loss of finding time to relax.
To put an end to this, I’ve made myself a new rule in regard to my computer: no more working from just anywhere in the house. From now on, my computer will reside in my home office, and only in my home office. At first glance, it seems like I’m torpedoing one of the major advantages of working from home; but for me, keeping a designated spot for my computer will help split a more defined line between work and leisure. This will lead to better sleep, better eating (snacking in the bedroom: no more, no more, no. more.), better focus on the task at hand, and better overall well-being (I won’t feel like such a bum).
2. Clutter control.
No, not organize. GET RID OF. Last fall, I started a habit of trying to clean out one (tiny) spot in the house each week. This almost always resulted in a donation pile or trashing things I’ve been holding on to for way too long, so I’m sticking with it. 2015 will be the year of less stuff. This past Christmas, it was the same thing: all I really wanted was a coffee maker. I got way more than that (some really great stuff too!), but I found that I was also more grateful for all of the other unexpected and thoughtful gifts.
(2a. This doesn’t really belong as a separate item because it’s so closely connected to goal #2, but I’m aiming for no clothes shopping until after Lent. I’ve given up shopping for Lent before, but I want to start even sooner this time. This will be tough for me, since I’m the type of person who will buy a shirt in 3 colors if it fits really, really well. I guess this goal essentially means no shopping at Target until the summer!)
3. Get out of the damn house and go out to dinner
In 2014, I couldn’t make my mind up if bothering to go out on dates was even worth it. The whole getting dressed up and mystery of first dates was fun, but the effort seemed almost laughable with some of the whack jobs I met. There were one or two guys that were worth seeing a second or third time, but ultimately no spark to be found (which I dunno, in some ways is worse than the crazies for lack of entertainment). It felt like a giant waste of time, but sitting at home made me feel like I was purposely avoiding dating (which wasn’t true, but kind of felt that way). I’m on the fence about this one, but I’m taking a friend’s advice and picking a completely arbitrary number (15, for 2015) of dates to go on this year. And of course, sprinkling in some much-needed dinner time with friends each month will accomplish the same thing but with a much more reliably fun outcome.
4. Set a posting schedule and stick to it.
As I mentioned in my 2014 recap, I took a step back from my post frequency last year while I got used to a new job. While it was necessary, I didn’t really like it, and there were some frustrating moments of writer’s block. To help matters, I’m setting some new goals to create a more steady pace for regular updates on this site, whether they are personal posts, small projects, or larger DIYs (now that I’ve got a better handle on work, it’s going to be easier to manage home improvements, which I hope means getting back to a pace I’m more content with).
5. Do one creative DIY per month.
To that end, I’m setting a goal for doing more small projects that will keep the creative momentum going. Most of last year was about finalizing some large and often messy tasks (skim coating. shoot me.). Which can also be boring. I’d almost forgotten how much I like doing the smaller projects, like creating wall art, small woodworking DIYs, or sharing small home improvement tips that make projects go more smoothly. This year, I’m hoping to do more of those, which will also help with goal #4. I just started one tonight, so I’ll share as soon as it’s done.
6. Be more honest and open (aka, Haters Gonna Hate, and They Can Do That Elsewhere)
Ok, time for a confession: I had a moment of dishonesty on this blog last year. I don’t mean a well-intentioned dishonesty, like taking too long to get a post published (which I’m super frustrated at myself for doing too often). I mean I actually went against my better judgement and posted a response to a comment that wasn’t true to myself. And I regret it, but not for the reasons you might expect.
I could go on and on about how bloggers feel when they post something personal, because I know that most would say something similar (and have). But I’m pretty sure that you’d all understand how vulnerable someone might feel to share personal stories on the web, leaving oneself open to an influx of criticism. Thankfully, my readers are some of the most amazing people on the planet, because 99.99999% of you (that aren’t unavoidable self-promotion spammers, of course) leave wonderful, encouraging comments (and I read them all). But as you might expect, all it takes is one insult in a sea of encouragement to make someone fixate on the negative. I’m certainly not immune, which is why some comments don’t get approved. Constructive feedback is good and necessary, but this is also the internet; sometimes, someone’s just being a dick, and that really has no place on this site.
One such nasty comment took place late last year during a personal post, and instead of deleting it, I chose to respond. I took the time to craft a polite response and published it, but what I really wanted to say? Bye, Felicia.
True, this response is not at all kind, and I probably would have regretted saying it just as much as not saying it (and it’s not all that clever either). But instead of feeling better for being polite, I was upset at myself for being inauthentic. It felt a lot like the times in high school when I tried to be nice to make people like me more, only to become exhausted and just decide to be myself anyway. This is, after all, my little (tiny) corner of the internet. I don’t expect that everyone is going to like this site; or want to read it, even if they’ve read it in the past; or agree with me 100% of the time. I don’t plan to be obnoxious either, but I am perfectly okay with being a chatty, beer-drinking, power tool-loving, cursing, sometimes funny blogger who takes pride in her accomplishments (however slow-going at times). I felt guilty for saying the too-nice thing, not because I wished I had a witty comeback, but because it wasn’t me. So for as much flak as I might risk for saying the wrong thing in the future, I am setting a goal to continue to push myself to be exactly who I am behind the computer screen.
7. Tell my love story (so far).
In the same vein as #6, I’ve been meaning to share a story with you guys for a while. It will be hard to write, but I feel like it’s time. There are lots of bloggers that happily tell tales of finding forever love, but what about the stories that aren’t complete yet? I had a few unexpected realizations in the last year when it comes to love and heartbreak, so I’ve been working on getting these thoughts down and ready to share.
I’m keeping this list short, but mostly because they probably aren’t at all surprising. More will be added to the list later this year once I’ve checked off one or two of these.
8. The kitchen.
Ugh. Only one last room to skim coat and paint. Can someone pretty please just send me some magic elves to finish these walls while I sleep? I will be forever grateful. For a recap on the plan in this room, check out the mood board.
9. The laundry room.
At the end of 2013, I’d just finished installing the tiled floor in time for my new washer and dryer. In 2014, all I managed to add was tile to the back wall. The final work needed on this room is relatively small, so it’s time to get to it! I’m feeling that old familiar excitement of seeing this project come together, so chances are you’ll see some updates about this room soon.
10. The office.
With my #1 goal splitting a defined line between work and home, it’s become obvious that I need to work on improving my home office (formerly called my craft room or study-o while in school). This means finishing the desk chair, building a shelving unit for the back wall, and putting up some art to make things more inviting. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure I created a new mood board after changing the room color, so I’ll have to work on that shortly.
11. More landscaping & exterior work
I didn’t share this in 2014, but I bought a large number of plants last fall and have been trying to figure out what is going to grow/look best in both the front and back areas of the house. I decided that seeing how they fared over the winter will help me figure out which areas need to be filled in more, so expect a post on that when spring rolls around. I also have a few more interior plants, but just like the fiddle leaf fig, I’m waiting to see if I can keep them alive before I share!
One more to add! I love to learn new things, so honing a new skill this year would be nice. I’ve been debating taking either singing or guitar lessons, but keep waffling* back and forth between which idea I like more. Which would you choose?
What isn’t on this list:
1. “Balance” – sure, I could have used this over-hyped word in goal #1 this year, but in my opinion, there’s really no such thing as true balance. It’s always going to be give and take. Some days will be more about work; other days will be more about the blog (aka my work-hobby hybrid); and some days will be more about watching @Midnight on Hulu and having pancakes for dinner. By accepting it from the start that I’m never going to find the perfect balance with any part of my life, I don’t feel as guilty that my house isn’t Pinterest-worthy at
every any waking moment.
2. Weight loss. Would I love to lose a few pounds? Sure. Of course. Yes. Absolutely. Da, darling. But what I really need to work on is bringing healthier eating habits into my life rather than side-eyeing my bathroom mirror. Last year, I kicked my unhealthy soda habit, but not my constant eating out (conveniently, I had an unfinished kitchen to blame). This year, I want to rededicate myself to keeping fresh snacks around the house to replace the crap I usually grab. It may not be a complete overhaul to my diet, but that’s kind of the point. Little changes are easier to stick to, and ultimately result in a healthier me. Same goes for my workouts: I’m focusing on stronger, not skinnier.
Phew! Another long post complete. If you got through all of that in one sitting, you deserve a cookie (and maybe coffee?).** Anyone else ready to tackle 2015? Did you set resolutions too?
*Anytime I use that word, I almost instantly crave waffles.
**Acceptable substitutes: beer, wine, Mexican food, pancakes, chocolate, ice cream.