I feel a mix of contradictory things that are making it a struggle to write this post and hope you’ll stick with me through what I intend to end on a positive note. I both look forward to and dread goal setting, much in the same way that I came into 2017 pumped about another year of blogging but still felt a large part of me hurting from the burnout and general antsy-ness over what I want the future to look like.
Goal setting gets most stressful if there’s pressure to share them in a way where it feels like we need to impress others and be like “See, I’m going to have a lot of big things going on this year,” without really knowing for sure what that means. I don’t say this out of judging anyone else but out of self-reflection, of how I’ve often felt and still sometimes feel about this ritual I ultimately find necessary to do.
This is a part of why I stick to sharing only the personal goals, but it’s also about how these goals are my most neglected and hardest to keep yet the ones I know are fundamental for everything else. I’ve repeatedly learned that taking care of ourselves comes first before succeeding in anything, to maintain healthy habits and a sense of well-being, and how this got so hard for me to do is frustrating for me to think about.
When I talk about hurting from the burnout, I’m mostly referring to how my relationships suffered. I wasn’t present and isolated myself in the pursuit of my work. I got too comfortable with the idea that the good relationships will stay, and they will, but they still need effort and nurturing. I want this year, and really every year, to be about strengthening my relationships, to putting people first and not making them feel second to my phone. I don’t want to turn down experiences with important people for more work, understanding that sometimes it can’t work out that way but a lot of times it can and should.
So my list of goals this year mostly focus again on self care, but also on being more intentional about the time I spend with others and myself. Rather than trying to predict how likely or unlikely I am to fulfill these goals, I’m noting how good this list makes me feel and how much I want to try. I really am excited to try!
INVITE PEOPLE OVER MORE
O and I have a joke that we only throw one party a year, which I don’t know why we consider it a joke when it’s just the truth. While it doesn’t have to be parties, the point is to actively make plans with family/friends or people we want to be closer to. It also became more apparent to me over the holiday that the best home is one you share with others, and even better if it can be shared over a home-cooked meal. That leads me to another goal:
I’m very unconfident about my cooking, sticking to the same three meals that I would not want to make for guests since I honestly don’t know if they’re actually good or if O and I just tolerate them because it’s all we make. I want to try new recipes and get to a point where I feel comfortable casually inviting others over for dinner, sharpen my kitchen instincts, create delicious memories, and ultimately I want to build the confidence to host Thanksgiving and Christmas without ordering pizza for backup.
TAKE BREAKS AND NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT THEM
Ideally this would be in the form of having a designated rest day once a week where I schedule nothing, but I also mean this as being kind and understanding to myself in those moments where I just need to stop and go away for a bit, or to make room for spontaneous adventure. I think about how in fitness, it’s during rest and not during the workouts when our bodies make their gains, and I believe the same applies with work. Working non-stop cultivates losing sight of the bigger picture, and it’s in rest when I gain clarity and focus. This cannot be compromised.
MORE PHOTOS OF PEOPLE, NOT THINGS
When I scroll through the photos on my phone, all of it is for the blog or Instagram and none of it is for personal documentation. I love the pretty things and I love that it’s my job to find and share them, but they don’t hold the most meaningful memories. If we go somewhere cool, I’m likely to shoot the scenery rather than the people I’m there with. I thought about this as I considered putting a photo album together of a trip O and I took but we were hardly in any of the photos. Of course I want to remember the places, but I want to remember the people, too.
DO THINGS I WANT TO DO
A few things fall under this supremely lofty goal and pertain to the blog + exercising my creativity. I hear a lot from creatives reminiscing about their earlier days when things were more simple and free and open and honest and I can totally join that dialogue too. When something that started as pure expression turns into a means of survival, the heart and joy of it all can get lost.
Last year I found myself thinking most about doing the things that would bring this blog the most growth rather than considering what I really wanted to do. Of course any business needs to put into effect what will help it grow, but not at the expense of killing the spirit.
I still battle with the fear of sharing or trying new ideas, the fear of not getting the response I hoped for, and last year when I thought I wanted to expand the blog content I chickened out at the first signs of not getting a good response to it. I want to commit to or at least execute things I believe in and that bring me joy regardless of what anyone says or doesn’t say. I want to incorporate more of myself into the blog without minding that some are just not going to be interested. I want to stop trapping myself in trying to appeal to everyone.
While I want to stay positive and uplifting, I also don’t want to avoid the hard things. I like keeping things lighthearted and playful around here, but I’m afraid this has sometimes come across as not challenging or welcoming you guys to engage in something deeper and more real. I want to write more, to share things I feel strongly about, or to simply tell a story.
I want to create without the pressures of having to document it. Learning pottery last year has been huge for me in this way and I’m so grateful to be able to continue it this year. I also want to spend time playing with watercolors. Have you tried watercoloring? It is one of the most magnificent phenomenons of this world. I learned about watercolor pens last year and showed them to O and he even said he wanted to get into watercoloring too. It’s happening.
I’m repeating this goal from last year of reading one book a month. Last year I fell short of the goal and read a total of 8 books, which is 8 more than I would have read if I didn’t set that goal, so I consider that a success! It can be such a struggle to choose reading over other to-do’s when there’s down time, but every time I sit down to read it’s like I’ve previously forgotten how much I love reading. I stay most consistent with reading when I designate some time before bed to sit with a book. The bonus is that it definitely helps me sleep better after.
Also the same goal from last year, where I kept up with working out 5 days a week up until my toe injury at the end of last year. I’m not shy to say I’m really proud of myself for this one and finally finding a way to stay motivated about fitness. It’s been tough getting back into it after having to stay off my foot for a while, but having my morning workouts back has unquestionably improved my happiness and I want to do this forever.
I’ve never made this a legit goal of mine before. O and I have been talking for a long time about writing up a budget and we haven’t yet simply because we haven’t made time for it. We need it more than ever now with our wedding coming up this year, international travel dreams, plans to grow our family (praying for pregnancy this year, keep my secret safe), and save for a house- the agony of the hunt!! Hoping it’ll bring us some peace of mind to plan out our spending and savings for everything we want to do this year.
I’ve been beaten over the head from reading material on achieving overall wellness that meditation needs to be a part of my life. It’s strange how sitting still with myself for 10 minutes makes me feel anxious and restless and so far this has not come easy to me at all, but I do have 10 minutes a day I can commit to doing this and I’m convinced it will all be profoundly beneficial. I use the buddhify app for guided meditation, in case any of you are looking for a way to get into this, too. Of course, if you have any tips/resources to share, please do!
Rooting for a year of largely personal growth, though I still have those scary dreams for HOM that I hope I can share with you soon. Thank you so much for reading through <3 I’d love to hear from you if you have any of the same goals or what your hopes and dreams are for this year, from the business you want to grow to the drawer you want to clean out- nothing is too big or small.