Confession time: I never believed in New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, if you want to change, why not just change? Why wait until an arbitrarily assigned date? And most people don’t stick with their resolutions – there are all those jokes about people who get a gym membership in January and only go once or start a diet that is ‘failed’ by February. Why?
But lately, I have come across many things I’ve wanted to change or start but didn’t have the time. Between trying to balance being a mother, wife, blogger, ghost writer, virtual assistant and supply teacher, and the abundance of holidays in fall and winter, it felt like my pile was too big. I kept just wanting to ‘get through’ something – that week, that holiday, that month – that it never felt like a good time to start anything else.
December especially is a time for running – running around shopping, running out of time/patience/sanity, running yourself ragged trying to get everything done. I absolutely enjoy every minute of it, but things like eating healthy, getting things done and sleeping enough tend to slip by the wayside.
Adulting is cray and we need a specific day to set aside for new projects or bettering ourselves. It actually makes perfect sense.
So I get it now. Mea culpa.
January is a good time to pick something up or make a change. It’s a brief reprieve from all the busy holidays and a bit of a quieter time. And you’ve finally made it through all the things – family obligations, busy weekends, holiday dinners, insane amounts of gift shopping – and you can settle down for some ‘me time’.
Plus my son is getting older (I know, he’s only 3.5 months, but that’s huge as compared to 3.5 weeks). Soon he’ll be sitting unassisted and I’ll have time when my hands are free and I can do things. Might as well make those things have some impact.
I thought that, since I had my change of heart, it would be nice to share our New Year’s Resolutions and hear yours in return. Plus, since we have the benefit of having a blog (obv), I can do follow-ups and progress posts to show how our resolutions are going!
So without further ado, here are my resolutions for this year:
1. Learn How To Crochet…and Quilt…and do more cross stitch!
I love handmade things, especially the old-world sewing arts. I’m a pretty decent cross stitcher, but don’t pick up the hoop nearly often enough. (Truth be told, I’m so tragic that I bought Christmas stockings for myself and Mr Anderson the first year we were in England – three years ago! – and haven’t even come close to finishing the first one.)
Luckily, Mom knows how to do all of the above and I’ve convinced
the poor sucker the amazingly generous soul to teach me! AND to push myself into for sure starting these projects, I’ve already made some purchases. With the amount of money I’ve spent on supplies, I will feel obligated to get them done!
- Finish entire Winnie the Pooh crochet set
- Finish Winnie the Pooh baby quilt (preferably in time for Little Anderson’s first birthday!)
- Finish cross stitch Christmas stockings
2. Be More Positive
Being a new mom is exhausting. The world sucks. Some people drive me nuts. And on and on and on.
It’s really easy to be negative. It’s actually crazy how easy it is to sit around and whine and complain and focus on the negative parts of your life. I get it – everyone has problems. And there is a time to be sad or angry. Emotions are healthy! But I don’t like being unhappy if I don’t need to be.
I want to live my life in the moment and not let life slip by. I want to be an uplifting presence in my son’s life. I want to smile more and appreciate everything I have on a regular basis, if not all the time. I want to not let external factors drag me down and overall live a more fulfilling life.
I resolve to take time each day to:
- Journal, using self-reflection, spiritual devotional guides, and other prompts
- Learn about mindfulness and find ways to put it into practise
- Practise self-care in a variety of ways
- Embrace hygge lifestyle
3. Do More
Not surprisingly, motherhood is all-consuming. While I’m not actually on a maternity leave (joy of being a supply teacher – don’t work if you don’t wanna work), I’m also not really able to go back to work either. Buddy doesn’t always take a bottle and he’s not great at sleeping during the day unless he’s held. Since Mom is my babysitter and she has her own work to get done, I can’t be leaving home without him just yet.
My life shouldn’t stop, though, just because I’m a mother. There’s a difference between making him a priority and losing myself entirely.
I need to make sure not to get into a rut. While I want to be serious about blogging (see resolution #5) and focus on motherhood, I also need to make sure I’m getting out of the house and experiencing life.
At least once a month I want to:
- Try a new recipe
- Bake a sweet treat (new or old favourite)
- Have a date night with Mr Anderson
- Start a new project
4. Get Healthy
Like many people (especially women, not to be too gender-biased), I have suffered from negative body image throughout the years. Pregnancy hasn’t made that any better. While I really tried to embrace my round belly, it’s a lot harder to do now that the baby is on the outside.
I keep telling myself that breastfeeding should keep me from gaining too much weight but so far the scale does not agree with me. I’m just not active enough for nursing alone to be enough.
I also need to stay healthy for the sake of my son. If I don’t take care of myself, how could I possibly take care of him? Therefore this resolution is far less about ‘losing weight’ and far more about making healthy choices.
- Join Weight Watchers to track healthy eating and exercise choices
- Get down to below my pre-pregnancy weight
- Get my teeth and eyes checked
- Finally get new glasses
5. Be A Better Blogger
I had completely neglected this blog while I was in England. While it’s true that the teaching situation over there is very different from what I was used to here in Canada and I was very busy being worked half to death, I should have worked harder to carve out some time for Gagen Girls.
Then I came home and started putting some work into this place again, only to get pregnant and be permanently exhausted. I may now have a little one still keeping me exhausted, but it’s still time to buckle down and just do it.
I really love this blog and want to see it do well. I want to share all of my travel experiences, my fertility and pregnancy tips and those fun crafts and recipes we love. I have so many ideas and half-finished drafts that I keep pushing off, but no more!
It’s time to get serious and get publishing.
- Publish a minimum of two blog posts a week
- Share all posts on social media and build following
- Send out a monthly newsletter
- Make some form of income (even just $1!) off the blog
Oh golly. Resolutions bug me. I’ve written about them several times before and many times, I have stated that I just don’t really care for resolutions. But, maybe I’ve judged them too harshly. It isn’t really that I think there is a problem with resolutions per se. It’s just that I’ve seen too many people wrap up all of their hopes and dreams into some magical New Year’s resolutions idea and by February 1st, they are feeling defeated. I think it’s important to check in with your goals more than once a year and to regroup as needed.
Upon more reflection though, January isn’t a bad time to check in. There’s that big exhale after the holidays. Christmas often makes me nostalgic and reflective so to follow that up with some goal setting or revising makes sense. Plus, there’s that whole winter hibernation thing. My life tends to be a bit quieter at this time of year (if you’re a blogger, you know what I mean. It’s Q1, the calm that follows the craziness of Q4) so I have more time and more energy to dedicate to something new.
And finally, there have been quite a few changes in my world lately. Of course, the biggest one has been the addition of my little Moonpie to the family. He is a big priority and accommodating time for him into my life (and time to look after him so his mama can take some teaching jobs) requires some reconfiguration of my schedule if nothing else. I also moved down to the basement apartment (Sam and her family live on the main floor). Right about the time that happened, my mom came to visit and baby boy was born. Result? I spent very little time down there other than to sleep. Moving back into more of my own solitary existence means some adjustments too. Okay so obviously since Sam and I work together and since we’ll all want to spend time together, it’s not like I’m heading to the basement never to be seen again but still, it does mean a little more separation of our lives.
1. More time for crafting
I started out as a craft blogger. I am now lucky if I get to make a quickie 15 minute craft 5 times a year. That’s not okay. It’s not good for me. My creative skills start feeling rusty. My brain starts feeling stagnant. Working with my hands feeds my soul. Whew, that is sappy. (I blame the many, MANY Hallmark Christmas movies we’ve been watching). But, it’s true.
- Make Moonpie’s curtains. We have the fabric. We have the design. It’s just a matter of sitting down for an afternoon and getting them done. He’ll be moving into his own bedroom soon enough and the curtains need to be completed before that. Target completion date: February 1.
- Sam has already mentioned some of the things like the Winnie the Pooh quilt that we are going to work on together so I won’t repeat them all here but obviously, they are on my goals list too.
- Complete wedding/anniversary gifts for Sam and Graham. I have some things from their wedding that I said I would convert for them – chair covers into cushions, their cake topper arch into a photo frame, paper quilling a frame around their wedding invitation etc. None of them have been completed yet. While they were living in the UK, it seemed pointless but it’s time to buckle down and get them done! Target completion date: May 24 (their anniversary).
- I signed up for a craft subscription box. I found out about it from my friend Alicia from Making Time for Mommy. You can read more about it here. It’s specifically for adults and you get all the materials you need to complete a craft project (or two). I’m committing to completing this craft project by the end of every month.
- My grandmother had a tradition of giving each of us in the family a new pair of knitted slippers every Christmas. I’d like to revive this in her honour (only with crocheted slippers because I can’t knit to save my life).
2. Take better care of my health.
I began taking on a LOT of work this year. “Oh Sam, I have a new client” was becoming a regular refrain. And yet, did I really have time for another client? Well since I was already existing on 4 hours sleep and working a good 18-19 hours of the 20 remaining each day (often, 7 days a week), I’m going to say no. I really dislike the way the word balance gets tossed around but I don’t know how else to describe what I need.
- See my family doctor and get him to book some specialist appointments for ongoing medical issues. They’re all flaring up and I keep procrastinating on it, saying I don’t have time. I have to make time before my body gives me no other choice. Target completion date: January 10.
- Establish a firm bedtime. Okay, a semi-firm bedtime. Kind of like Jello. It’s not a liquid but it still wibble wobbles. Fine, fine, I’ll set a firm bedtime. I would love to say 10 pm but I know that’s not realistic. I’m going to say that midnight is the ABSOLUTE latest for lights out but no more work as of 9 pm. That’s a good compromise right?
- Go on Weight Watchers. I don’t really care about losing weight. I mean, if it will help take some of the pressure off my knee and my spine, great. But really, I just want to eat healthier and this will help. It will especially help that Sam and Mr. Anderson are doing it too.
- Book an appointment with a dentist. Medications I took several years ago wreaked havoc on my teeth and I think some are hanging on by a thread. I finally found some extended medical insurance I can afford (HURRAY!) so that will take off some of the pressure. Target completion date (to book an appointment): January 15 (I have to wait for the insurance to kick in).
- I need new glasses. First step is an eye exam. Target completion date (to book an appointment): January 15.
- More movement. It’s hard to do when my spine is in rough shape. And there’s a lot I’m not allowed to do because of it. But I was approved for the chair fitness class I had been attending. With everything that happened in the fall, it fell by the wayside. I have signed up for the next session starting January 10.
- Drink more water. For me, that would be drinking some water in the first place. I’m just not a big water fan and I’ll never be one of those “drink 8-10 glasses of water a day” kind of people. But I should be having some. I am shooting for a glass first thing in the morning, one at lunch, one at dinner, and one in the evening.
3. Make an effort to be kinder.
I think of myself as a generally nice person. A lack of time and energy combined though make me, well, a bit self-centered in some ways. I flat out forget to take that extra step of reaching out in kindness. It’s not just about being nice in response to others. I want to do more to initiate it.
- Read and comment on 5 blog posts 3 days a week. Did you know that commenting on and sharing others’ blog posts is one of the best ways you can support the bloggers you like?
- Share 10 posts from other bloggers at least 3 days a week – not just retweeting but adding my own comments to them!
- Find some ways to contribute to my community. Regular volunteer work is out of the question right now but putting together some care packages for the shelters is something I can do from home in my own time. I am sure there are others too.
- Send one person each day a positive message. It takes mere seconds to do this but I know it can be really uplifting for the recipient.
4. Embrace spirituality more.
We’ve been going to church more this year. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it until then. I’m happier and much more relaxed walking out of Mass. But I want more beyond that. For a while, I had a habit of spending time with God in prayer each morning and reading more of the Bible and Bible studies/devotionals but as work expanded, this shrunk down to virtually nothing. I’d like that to change. A day started with God is always a better, calmer, more joyful day for me.
- Reestablish morning time with God EVERY single day even if it’s only for 5 minutes at first. This time will come before anything else happens for the day.
- Add in time with God every night before bed as well.
- Look for a Bible study group to join – online or in person.
- Continue going to Mass on a regular basis.
5. Enhance blog/business.
I do a lot of client work. A lot. But often that means I push aside my own blogging for the sake of devoting my time to my clients. While I love being able to help them to be successful, I know I should be dedicating more time to furthering my own interests. After all, if all my clients dropped me tomorrow, it’s my own blogging that I would have to rely on.
- Rearrange my work schedule to incorporate time for my own blogging both at Creative Cynchronicity and here at Gagen Girls. I’m going to have to experiment with this to see how well it will all fit in but I’m hoping to achieve a balance of doing client work weekday mornings and doing my own work weekday afternoons. (Yes I’m actually going to try to take some time off each day and on weekends).
- Publish at least 3 blog posts a week on Creative Cynchronicity and at least 2 posts a week here.
- Set up an accounting system to track all income and expenses. Include systems for invoicing clients in a timely manner. (I’m bad about remembering to ask to get paid. Yeah, crazy I know).
- Pitch to 5 companies every week whom I’d like to work with. Again, this is about expanding and diversifying my own sources of income separate from my client work. At one point this year I thought I might be losing my largest client and it was a bit unnerving to anticipate that possible loss of income.
- Share my content on social media every single day. Yes I do that for my clients but I often neglect to take care of that for myself.
- Send out a monthly newsletter from Creative Cynchronicity. (Sam’s resolutions take care of the one from Gagen Girls).
PS. I’ve chosen a Word of the Year. For 2018, it’s Abundance. My life is full, happy, and blessed. However, I still feel like I’ve been leaving some opportunities for a more abundant life on the table. These goals are going to help me change that.
Thanks for reading! Let us know if you made any Resolutions this year in the comments below.