Last week I wrote an epic year-in-review post for 2015. Today I thought I’d outline my plans for 2016, plus a short recap of how those plans have gone in January and February.
This blog is helping me to recognize the seasonal patterns that I go through as the year progress. For instance, I always start the year off with great enthusiasm for finishing projects. I enjoy winter until about the end of February, when I suddenly start craving spring. This also usually coincides with the Canal closing, which it did this weekend. Spring cannot come soon enough for me now. Once it gets warm enough I start running again and probably sign up for a race or two, but once the races are over I let the running habit drop. In the summer I go on as many “adventures” as possible, visiting local tourist attractions. I also spend the summer craving time at a cottage and planning trips abroad; basically I just want to get away. In September I always get that “new year” feeling and adopt a bunch of new goals. October is my favourite month but always busy with my birthday, Thanksgiving and Halloween. The last two months of the year are about dealing with the encroaching darkness, and planning for and enjoying the holidays.
My plan for 2016 is to try and work with these seasonal patterns instead of fighting them. For instance, even though I know I feel better and sleep better when I’m running regularly, I’m not going to push the running habit until it is warm enough (for me) to run outside. I’m also going to sign up for races spread through the summer and fall, to keep me motivated to continue the running habit until next winter.
As I mentioned last week, my original theme for 2016 was Simplify. The first two months of this year were tough: I’m having a hard time dealing with losing Knightley, and it was affecting my sleep in a big way. After some reflection, I’ve decided that the best theme for my 2016 is Self-Care. I want to focus on taking care of my physical, emotional and mental health so that I can deal with whatever life throws at me. Simplifying is still a part of this since it will lower my stress levels and help improve my mental health.
My goals for 2016 are:
- Eat healthier
- Reduce volunteer commitments
- Reduce the number of projects I have in progress
Rather than set a specific goal for healthier eating, I spent the last two months trying to build habits that will enable me to eat healthier over the long term. In January I drank a green smoothie every day to boost my fruit and vegetable intake. I also started writing a meal plan every Sunday night for the entire week. It has made my grocery shopping much more efficient, since I waste less food, and I’m actually getting to try new recipes. In line with the simplifying ideal, I’m only trying new recipes that have a small number of ingredients and take less than 30 minutes to prepare. I’ve found a few recipes that I absolutely love and I’m hoping to expand my “library” over the year until I have enough recipes to rotate between without getting bored. I don’t have any plans to change what I’m doing for the rest of the year, just to keep up these habits and prevent any slacking off.
I’m still following the KonMari method and have made my way through the Paper category and into the Komono (miscellany). At the moment I am midway through the Kitchen, specifically the food part. This has fed into the Eating Healthier goal as I try to use up food I already have and get a little more efficient with my food-buying and -eating habits. I’ll post more about the Paper category at some point, and plan to post regular updates as I make my way through each category. My hope is to get the decluttering done by mid-year but if that is not possible then I will just keep chipping away at it until it is done. I find the process somewhat painful but finally parting with so many things that were weighing me down is incredibly freeing.
As I said above I’m waiting for the weather to warm up to start running again. In the meantime I really want to start up a regular yoga habit, especially since I am spending much more time sitting at a computer and really need the extra stretching. All my efforts so far have failed, however. I have been taking at 15 minute walk at lunch every day just to get some sunshine and a minimal amount of activity in my day. I also found a nice walking route near my apartment that is about 5K, and I find it a nice way to end the weekend on a Sunday afternoon. I’d like to continue that habit as well.
Reduce Volunteer Commitments
Two years ago I signed up for volunteer positions at my local knitting and quilting guilds. Both are up for “renewal” in June, and I’m ending the one with the quilting guild. I’ve built valuable skills and relationships, and had a fantastic time, with both commitments. It has been clear for some time, though, that I just can’t fit both into my life. I’m going to step down from the position at the quilting guild when the term is up in June. It is the more “extroverted” position and requires more work and mental energy. It is also a joint position with another member who also wants to step down, so that made it an easier decision. I’ve also been setting boundaries on the other position to keep it within decent time limits, and that has been working well. As tempted as I am to volunteer for other organizations, I’m going to hold off until my time with the knitting guild is up.
Reduce my WIPs
I love to start new projects, but I don’t like to finish them. Unfortunately I then get stressed at how many projects I have to work on. I’ve been focusing on finishing one project at a time until the list is a little less ridiculous. Like decluttering, I find this to be a somewhat tiring process, but I really like the results. So far my progress is slow, and I haven’t hit on a good habit to make it easier.
Travel brings me great joy and is one of the defining passions of my life. I need to at least be in the early planning stages for a trip or something doesn’t quite feel right in my life. At the moment that plan is to road trip out East for a couple of weeks in the late summer or early fall. I also have a handful of ideas for weekend trips, so I need to settle on one or two and start planning (and budgeting) for real.
Most of these aren’t really concrete goals that I can reach and check off as “done”. Instead, they are habits I want to build or things I want to spend more or less of my time on than I currently am. Right now that is the kind of “goal-setting” that I’m drawn to. I have a feeling that will be more effective in the long term than setting year-long, metric-based goals. I’m trying to avoid the stress and feeling of failure that can often come with not meeting those targets. That said, I’m still a numbers nerd and I do have a few metrics that I am tracking just to give myself a sense of how I’m progressing.
Well, that was another epic-ly long post! Apparently when I post less often I have more to say. Now that I’ve gotten through the end-of-year/goals post, we can return to our regular crafting and decluttering posts ASAP. Last year I found posting about my neglected mending and crafting really helped me to finish a lot of projects, so maybe I can take advantage of that again and actually make some progress on goal #5. One can only hope.