How To Be Better Than Before

Last year was amazing. 2016 was the year to beat. And it probably won’t be beat for a long while.

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I’ve written about New Year’s with a different mindset every year. I remember years when I was so sick of the way my year had gone and so hopeful that the new year would be the one full of change. I remember years knowing that it was the end of something wonderful and the next step was yet to be determined. I remember years that were great and I couldn’t imagine how it could be beat. This is one of those years. 

But right now, I’m in a mindset of knowing I had a fantastic year, yet respecting the fact that not every moment was perfect. I accept that and I’m okay with that, because I know that there is and always will be room to improve. I will always be looking for ways to be better, and ways that I can become the best version of myself.

I meant to write some reflections the past few days. I meant to look back on 2016 and really think about what happened, what I experienced, what was important and what I might still need to work on.

I didn’t. I guess that’s part of not being perfect.

So I’m writing a bit now. And maybe some later. And maybe I’ll keep writing, because, yet again, writing more is part of my goals this year.

So this is my first step. This is day 1. Write.

I wrote down some goals just now. Ten, to be exact. I know the experts say that if you want to truly stick with your New Year’s Resolutions and accomplish your goals that they should be specific and detailed, and they should contain small, achievable steps. Trust me, I’m in marketing and I know all about SMART goals. I’ll tell you about it sometime.

But today I didn’t write specific, measurable or time-based goals. I wrote down very broad, sort-of actionable ways that I want to live. I wrote down some themes for areas that I want to improve. And I know, ten is a lot. But maybe, since I’m thinking about these as themes, I’ll find ways to make some small steps in the right direction this year.

1. Minimize. 

This year I want to get rid of unnecessary stuff that is figuratively weighing me down. I want to clear the clutter from my house and my life so that I can make space for things that are really important to me. No, I do not want a capsule wardrobe. Yes, we will be a 2-car household. No, I will not be able to fit everything I own into one suitcase. But I do want to reduce, reuse and recycle. I want to find more balance between the things I own and the things that make me truly happy.

2. Save money by spending less.

Last year, I paid off my student loan debt. Currently, the only debt that my husband and I carry is our mortgage. I want to continue this positive trend by practicing frugality to save money for the things that are most important to us. Jim and I have talked about our goals and priorities, so I want to keep moving in a direction that will get us there. That starts with spending less on things we don’t truly need to save for the things we really really want. Like trips to Greece. 🙂

3. Be healthy.

I already consider myself a fairly healthy person. I was able to run a 10 mile race a couple months ago! But part of that success is setting goals and being consistent with my workout habits. So I want to go to the gym more, do more yoga, and be mindful about my health. This week isn’t going so well for me, since I’m still binging on Christmas cookies and chocolate, but I swear I’ll get back into it next week!

4. Get outside. 

I’ve definitely been getting into this mindset more, now that we have a dog. There is not a single day ever in her life that she will not have to go outside. So I just have to go out with her. I’ve been walking about 2 miles every morning since the day we got her and I already know I feel better every morning with this routine. So this goal is to step outside my comfort zone a bit more. I want to hike and bike and explore new parks. I want to travel and have new experiences. I want to get back in touch with nature and learn how to just be.

5. Be creative. 

This year I want to focus more on creativity. Being creative takes some practice, so I want to practice writing and taking photos and making things and blogging. I want to give myself the time that I need to do my own things and think my own thoughts. (In other words, I need to get off Facebook.)

6. Be present.

To go along with number 5, I want to practice being present and in the moment. There are so many times when I’m missing something because I’m thinking about work or I’m thinking ahead to something else that’s on the horizon. I need to stop planning and worrying and working and just experience the present. Just be.

7. Nurture relationships.

This is a big one that I feel like I keep coming back to year after year. I really want to focus on the relationships that I have with my husband, family, friends, and co-workers. I want to reconnect with people who I’ve lost touch with, maybe prematurely, and I want to put forth a valiant effort into keeping my relationships strong. This is another tie to being present.

8. Spend my time wisely. 

I have found myself recently watching a ton of Netflix. It’s just too easy to sit back and lose yourself in episode after episode, with no commercials and endless options. But it doesn’t make me happy or fulfilled when I’ve finally finished all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls. So this year I want to spend less time on mindless TV and more time on things that I actually enjoy and find fulfilling.

9. Try new things. 

I’m always willing to try something new (unless it’s spicy food), but this year I want to put a little more effort into stepping outside my comfort zone. I want to say yes to new experiences and really put myself out there.

10. Focus on what makes me happy

And it all boils down to this. None of the goals above mean anything if I’m not doing what makes me happy. I don’t think I’m suffering through any miserable situations right now, so this isn’t so much a goal as it is a reminder to remember what my priorities are and be grateful every day that I have such an amazing life.

 

 

So that’s it. Those are my goals. I know that’s a lot to keep in mind all year long. But they all kind of intertwine and mesh together and build on each other. And the gist is quite simple. Be better than before. Love the people who surround you. Do what makes you happy. Even just a small step is moving in the right direction.

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One thought on “How To Be Better Than Before

  1. Pingback: On challenges and making lifestyle changes that stick | Measure with Coffee Spoons

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