Hi, hello, welcome back! This is basically a goals/resolutions post, but calling it a “bucket list” made it sound way more fun, and perhaps I’m trying to play mind tricks on myself. I find that thinking about it as a bucket list automatically puts me in a positive mindset about what to look forward to and enjoy, new things I want to try, and adventures I want to go on. It’s like daydreaming in the form of list making, two activities I dig individually and must be even better when combined so… this has got to be a good time.
As I do on the blog every year, I focus on sharing the personal goals because I repeatedly learn that taking care of yourself comes first and tends to be the hardest task to keep up with. Career aspirations and achievements are important too, but never at the price of health or losing your mind. So let’s take pleasure seriously, make time for ourselves as best we can, and not feel bad about needing a break. The following list is of things I want to do this year that make me smile to think about, shared in the effort that writing them down is already a step closer to attaining them, even if I don’t end up doing it all (or maybe I will! Oh the thrill!!)
1 | Visit Japan
We were so sure for so long that our 2018 international trip would be Italy, but after seeing so many of our friends visit Japan last year and hearing about how amazing it was, plus realizing that O has never been to Asia and it’s been about 18 years for me, we decided this destination should happen first. We’re planning to go in Spring to catch the cherry blossom season, which feels like redemption for how we missed the peak of cherry blossom season in Copenhagen by about two weeks ha. We will also probably be eating Ramen the whole time. I’m terribly excited for this adventure, it’s going to be so different from any of the trips we’ve been on, and I’d love to hear anything you know about what things are a must-do while in Japan!
2 | Take a knife skills class
One of my goals last year was to explore cooking, and while I’m feeling really good about having tried new recipes and successfully hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, I thought about where I felt slowed down and knife skills are where I think I could improve and make a big difference overall in my pursuit of kitchen confidence. Plus the idea of taking a knife skills class sounds so fun and would make a pretty unique date night activity, no? Definitely more fun than watching YouTube tutorials.
I’ve been thinking a lot about exercising my maker side, creating out of fulfillment rather than obligation, and I feel myself turning to cooking for that since I can’t think of many things more rewarding than eating and sharing good food prepared yourself. Would love if this ends up finding its way onto the blog in some way.
3 | Run faster
For once this is an exercise related goal of mine that isn’t focused on losing weight, and that makes me feel good. I started getting serious about fitness almost two years ago, initially motivated by losing weight, but as I’ve kept up with it I’ve learned that it’s far more motivating to work towards performance benchmarks than to aspire for a certain body type. In short, I keep going because I want to keep getting stronger.
I’ve never liked running because I was never good at it, and I took that as a challenge over the months to work on it believing that running would hurt and suck less the more I improve. Seeing myself getting better has turned running from what I once considered the devil into something I now enjoy (when it’s over, feels so good) and I want to keep going.
I’ve found that I’m not nearly as motivated about going further as I am about going faster (I have zero interest in running 5k’s or marathons). I also have this weird and maybe morbid fantasy that if I need to outrun something for my life, I’ll be able to. Fantasy might not be the right word, but wouldn’t it be great to run really fast?? I currently can barely hold 9mph for a series of 45 second sprint intervals (I take HIIT classes through ClassPass), but I’m hoping to improve to 10mph. Let’s outrun those cheetahs (I am aware we can never outrun cheetahs).
4 | Spend less time on my phone
This one is huge and essentially encompasses a lot of different things I want to do because it’s about getting my time and focus back to do all those things, like this list!! It’s an especially tough one because my phone is a major life line for my business, basically a more portable lap top and camera that always proves to be one of the most useful and valuable tools ever. On the other hand, I don’t need to be scrolling through Facebook while I shop for groceries, or checking Instagram while everyone is eating together at the table. I’ve been catching the way I’ll mindlessly bring my phone out to check social media while I’m with others and notice too late how I’ve made them feel unimportant, or how I’m supposed to be getting work done but suddenly I’m on my phone watching a marathon of funny dog videos. I need to set clear boundaries that reinforce my phone as a tool, not a distraction.
I got an app called Moment that tracks your phone usage and breaks it down into how much time you’re spending on different apps. The first day I used it to record my phone activity, it told me I had spent 7 hours on my phone that day. 7 HOURS. My best guess before was that I spend 2 hours a day on my phone. Crazy how all those little moments you think you’re only briefly picking up your phone can add up, and a hard awakening to feel like I’m always so short on time and yet so much of it goes to this. I had spent 51 minutes on Facebook, 1 hour and 48 minutes on Safari, and 3 hours on Instagram. We all knew Instagram is the big one.
I’m still not entirely sure exactly what boundaries to draw, but distinguishing between using my phone for work or as a resource vs. endless scrolling is important. For one thing, just having that Moment app has been motivation so far. The next day I had logged 5 hours, and the day after that was 3 hours. On the day I had logged 1 hour and 28 minutes, I went on a walk with my husband, finished procrastinated errands, and wrote a big chunk of this blog post. My hope is that in those quiet moments where I can take a break, I’ll first turn to things like reading books, planning our trip to Japan, or giving people my undivided attention.
I do enjoy social media. I love engaging with others, the creativity it can often encourage, and the entertainment it provides. It can also be draining and frequently make me feel not good enough, and it will always be beneficial to spend less time on it. Considering it’s a huge part of my work, I need to figure out a healthier relationship with it. Your perspective or advice on this is much appreciated if you’d like to share. Ready and excited to free up more of my time.
5 | Get back into pottery
I had wanted to do this last year, didn’t, and I’m going to try this year. I was previously taking pottery classes at a recreation center and learned that I love throwing clay on the wheel. It takes an incredible amount of focus, patience, and stillness to make pottery, and I feel like it did so much for me mentally as well as being SO fulfilling to make a bunch of pretty bowls and small vases. I stopped going because the studio was really far from home and made it hard to keep carving out that long commute time. I also felt like I needed to take a class with more structure and guidance, so I’m setting out to find a course or even a few individual classes in LA for that. You bet I dream of having my own pottery studio and being a badass like @tortus, that would be DOPE.
6 | Stretch
Every time I see that word I say it in the voice of Baz Luhrmann in that sunscreen song (know what I’m talking about?) Last year was the first time that I really noticed my flexibility is not what it used to be, and while I’m not trying to say I’m old, it reminded me that I’m getting older and need to continue prioritizing my health. I could feel the muscle tightness holding me back at the gym, and it dawned on me that I spend most of my work days sitting in a chair, which makes it even more imperative to keep up with daily stretching.
The brief stretch routines at the end of the classes I take are not enough, so I’m going to have to do full body stretches and foam rolling at home on my own. It feels best doing this right after workouts, but I’m most looking forward to doing this on rest days at the start of the day, as a work break, or to relax before bedtime. Thinking it could also be yet another thing to do with O for accountability and for a more cute reason, bonding. I turn to YouTube for a ton of good videos on full body stretching from 10 minute basics to 30 minute yoga stretching. It helps so so much to have a video to follow along with.
7 | WRITE PERSONAL PIECES
It takes me a very long time to write anything. I’m the type of writer where I have to formulate the sentence perfectly in my head before writing it out, then I stay stuck on it editing it to death before moving on. It’s a slow, often painful process, while other times I’ll hit a flow and the words will rain. I know that can have a lot to do with subject matter, but I also know writing is a muscle and needs to be exercised, which I haven’t done outside of blog posts.
I learned that Jerry Seinfeld credits his success to writing a new joke everyday, saying that it’s not about perfection or writing something amazing every time, it’s about consistency and practice. Boy does that apply to everything, preach. So far my plan is continue writing daily in my journal that has prompts (mentioned it before in a monthly favorites post, it’s Soult Journals) and writing personal pieces to share on the blog.
8 | INVITE PEOPLE OVER FOR DINNER
Repeating this goal from last year, with a few more things going into it that make it an even better goal this year. First, of course we want to hang out more with friends and people we’d like to get closer to. Second, this forces us to get better at cooking and make things outside of the daily meals we make so regularly at home. Third, having people over is practically the only thing that motivates us to thoroughly clean the apartment haaaa. We need this as much as we enjoy it. Entertaining at home has quickly become one of my favorite things.
Thank you so much for reading. I believe so much that putting your intentions and hopes out there can do a lot for bringing you closer to them, so let’s hear them: what are you excited for or planning to do this year? Share any of the same goals, or have a different approach to this yearly ritual?
Happy New Year <3