Hi, hello. Me again.
There are a lot of things I could write about at the moment. A LOT.
I, like just about everyone in the world at the moment, have an constant swirl of thoughts and opinions circling in my mind that is fed by an endless barrage of other peoples’ thoughts and opinions. But I’m still figuring out how to share my thoughts in a manner that is constructive and conversation-starting (please note this does not mean that I am not doing or thinking or saying anything – I am, even if I don’t mention all my actions, thoughts, or words online. But if you are dying to know where I stand, check out my old blogs, read this gold from Sarah Bessey, or, you know, talk to me in person! Crazy, I know!).
So until I decide what exactly I want to say, I figured I would share with you my list of New Years Resolutions. (And yes, I realize it’s January 26, but whatever. They are still happening, so they still apply.)
First things first: resolutions. Kind of a lame moniker if you ask me. Mainly because everyone knows that by January 26, 99% of people have already given theirs up.
Me, I’m a goal person.
In every possible way.
It’s because I’m a type-A, stubborn, get stuff done kind of girl. So if I set a goal, you better believe I’m going to do anything in my power to make it happen.
(For evidence, please see this little thing called a trip around the world).
Sometimes, I set these goals in January. When I was a student, I often set them at the beginning of the school year. I’ve set goals at arbitrary times just because I felt like it. There is no magic in the new year season, except for the fact that other people are setting goals right along with you.
Because of my type-A-ness, it helps me if my goals are measurable. How else will you know if you achieved them?
This is not always possible, of course. But when it is, I set a number that I can work toward and celebrate when I achieve.
So with that, here are my 10 goals for 2017:
- Attempt to stay self-employed.
For the past year, I’ve been working freelance and LOVING it. The freedom I have in being my own boss has been amazing, and has allowed me to work from the far corners of the world. My number one goal is to not have to find a “regular” job in 2017 – so if you know of NGOs who need marketing help, let me know!
- Read 50 books.
This is a goal I have had every year since 2011. And while I have regularly fallen a bit short, I usually make it over 40 because I’m aiming for that 50 goal. This year, I’m well ahead of schedule (I’m in the middle of books 5 and 6 right now and January isn’t even over!), so I’m hoping to hit 50 this year. I would encourage you to set a reading goal, too – not simply because books are the best things that exist (they are), but because reading makes you more informed, curious, educated, and able to understand a wider view of opinions. Things we could all use more of these days. And it doesn’t need to be 50 books. Start with 6. Or 12. Or 20. Pick a number that works for you! And if you need book ideas, check out my reading list or just ask!
- Work out 4-5 days a week.
Let me first say that I went to a yoga class yesterday where the teacher started by saying, “If at any point you feel like you can’t breathe, just go into child’s pose.” Yes. Really. I’m definitely sore today. BUT sore is good. And for someone who spent a year walking 15 miles a day who now is back to her WAY more sedentary life in front of a computer, that gym is necessary. Plus, my gym membership is expensive so I might as well get my money’s worth!
- Spend a month sugar-free.
In 2015, Ian made me spend 40 days not eating sugar. It was horrible. And amazing. And by the end of it, I felt awesome. Then I left the country for a year and ate all the incredible foods I could find. Now I’m back home and ready to reset again. One of the things I learned most last time is that sugar is in EVERYTHING. That education is worth taking this challenge in and of itself. Kyle and I will be going sugar free in February and we would LOVE for you to join us. Trust me, solidarity is key. And you’ll feel GREAT at the end!
- Write something everyday.
I know you blog-readers probably can’t tell since I haven’t posted in weeks, but I’ve actually been doing this really well! Every day, I write something. Whether it’s a journal entry, a story for work, a pitch to a new client, ideas for my book (eek!), or a blog. It helps me get my creative juices flowing and provides an outlet for my aforementioned swirling thoughts. Plus, like anything, the only way to become a better writer is to just keep writing.
- Try not to buy, and only buy from ethical brands.
Ok, this one is hard. And it’s not just a goal for the year, but a goal for life. I spent 11 months carrying everything I needed on my back. I don’t need to buy more crap. I have also spent my career working on issues of economic empowerment (particularly for women) around the world. So it finally hit me as crazy and completely ironic that I would build up small businesses and entrepreneurs so that people could earn a safe and fair wage, and then turn around and immediately spend my money on things that were produced in sweat shops. I’m the first to note that there are a LOT of complicated larger policy issues around global production and job conditions, but as for me, this is one small thing that I as an individual can do. And ultimately, the goal is to simply buy less in general. Because, trust me, I have WAY WAY too much stuff. If you want to learn more about this, I would LOVE to talk to you about it! Also, check out the Minimalism documentary on Neflix!
- Travel at least once a month.
Are you surprised? Yes, I’m home. But the wanderlust remains and the unease of falling into a rut has already materialized. One of the best parts of working for myself is that I can work anywhere – and I intend to take advantage of that. In January, I went to Maine and New Hampshire, and I’m headed to Wisconsin. I’ve got a trip on the books to Michigan in February, and am hoping (fingers crossed) to be in Latin America in March. Long story short, no, I am not tired of traveling. Not even close. And in light of the world we live in, I believe in travel now more than ever before.
- Show up and listen.
This one is hard to measure, but maybe the most significant item on this list. As I wrote recently, I believe fully and completely in showing up. In being present for your people and going to the hard places. Perhaps just as critically, I believe that the next step after showing up is to listen. And I’m admittedly not great at this. I’m good at going – at being there. But then I want to act. I want to do. And sometimes (especially now), the most important thing we can do is ask questions and actually listen to the answers. And then let that listening inform and direct our next steps.
- Live in a posture of gratitude.
Another major life lesson from life on the road was that gratitude sparks joy. So if we are looking for more joy, we might to well to start practicing more gratitude (don’t you love that? Practice gratitude? As in, try and try and try…then keep trying?). And while gratitude sounds great in principle, I’ve been looking for more ways to make is practical. I’ve gotten in the (semi-creepy) habit of sending thank you emails to authors and some people I follow on social media who are complete strangers to me, just to say thank you for the work that they do. And on the less stalker side of things, I am trying to write more handwritten thank you notes (for nothing in particular) to the people close to me. This is also a convenient excuse to have to go to Paper Source and completely disregard goal 6.
- Launch my company!
Yes yes. The big news. I am formalizing my freelancing into a business and I am thrilled and clueless and excited and terrified. More news (and a launch!) coming soon, but for now, know that this is my big, scary, makes me want to hide under the covers goal. It’s my 2017 adventure, the same way the trip was my 2016 adventure. AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE MORE WITH YOU!!
So friends, that’s what I’ve got. The goals that are shaping my year.
What are yours? I would LOVE to hear what you are focusing on in 2017!