This is the first year in a long time that I’ve felt like making proper New Year’s resolutions, although I did have a few half-assed ones last year. Frankly, it’s just really nice to be starting the year off with a goal greater than just not being completely crushed under the weight of depression and anxiety. I haven’t felt this level of positivity since, well, maybe ever. It certainly helps that 2015 was a pretty alright year for me, all things considered.
That said, I think that part of the reason I did have some struggles in 2015 is because I didn’t really have a proper plan for the year. So, 2016 is going to be largely about establishing routines and building better habits. It’s also going to be a year about getting on the road to achieving some long term goals, now that I’m at a point where I’m no longer just dealing with immediate crises all the time.
Health and Fitness Goals
My go-to resolution in this category, for years has been “quit smoking.” This was always a lie, because I loved smoking and didn’t really want to quit, but in 2015 I did it anyway. It turns out smoking hinders bone healing, so I gave it up cold turkey when I broke my food, and it seems silly to start up again now—especially since I made it through the holiday season without doing it.
After breaking my foot last year, basically all of my health and fitness goals except quitting smoking were heavily compromised for the rest of the year. By Thanksgiving, I was ready to just give up, and the last week I’ve basically been subsisting on leftover cookies and Red Bull, with the occasional McDonald’s double cheeseburger(s). All that is stopping as of Monday (I’ve still got a few leftovers to deal with). Concrete goals:
- Walk at least one mile, at least five days per week, leftover broken foot pain and swelling permitting.
- Do 30-45 minutes of cardio at least five days per week.
- Start logging my meals in MyFitnessPal again. This was actually really helpful last year, so I think it’s a good habit to get back into.
- No more energy drinks. I want to get back to only drinking water and the occasional tea or coffee.
- No more fast food. Or at least much, much less than I’ve been having. It’s all terrible for me, it doesn’t even taste that good, and it makes me feel like shit afterwards most of the time.
- Cook more often and more adventurously. To this end, I’ve already subscribed to RawSpiceBar, which will get me three new spice mixes, plus recipes, every month. I am super excited about this.
This is the year that I finally break down and go to college. After three years of no regular job, and with very few prospects, I’m doing it. If I get started now, my hope is that I can finish my bachelor’s in three years and get a decent job by the time my daughter is out of high school.
- Finish the college application process by January 30.
- Figure out how I’m going to pay for college.
- Keep looking for part time and freelance work to supplement my partner’s income and help defray some college expenses.
2015 was the first year in a long time where we were consistently caught up on things. Even my breaking my foot and my daughter fracturing her elbow a few months later weren’t completely devastating events. My daughter and I both got new computers, and I was able to replace/upgrade some things in my kitchen. 2016, however, is going to be a year of paying things off and saving money.
- Have an actual written budget for our household.
- Start being more conscientious about writing grocery lists—and sticking strictly to them. Probably the number one way in which we overspend is by buying extras at the grocery store.
Blogging and Writing Goals
In 2015, I started SF Bluestocking as a new and more serious blogging project to encourage me to write when I realized that using Tumblr as my main platform was actually stifling my productivity. This blog has been steadily gaining readers month after month, and I’ve probably written more in the last six months than I had in the previous two years. In 2016, I hope to continue to grow the blog, but I’m also starting to recognize that my vision of what it could be is bigger than what I can accomplish on my own, but also highly dependent on how the next year shapes up in terms of my furthering my education. In the long term, obviously, university will make me a better writer and increase the quality of my work. Short term, though, I expect that I will at some point become temporarily less active, so I’m trying to plan accordingly.
- I need to set realistic goals for myself. This means that perhaps I can’t keep up writing about half a dozen or so shows every week AND read AND see movies AND write about other things that I’m interested in AND have a life away from my computer. So sometime in the next couple of days, I’m going to sit down and make a calendar, with deadlines and everything, to help me manage my time better.
- I need to work with other people. While I am concerned about my ability to manage things here and go to school full time, I think that finding a partner or two or three for this endeavor would be more of a help than a hindrance. I feel like SF Bluestocking is a project that will only benefit by a bigger and more diverse group of people working on it. I don’t have a plan for this yet, but my goal is to figure it out by the end of March.
- I used to write a lot of fiction, but I haven’t in many years even though I loved doing it and wasn’t terrible at it. In 2016, unrelated to the SF Bluestocking project, my goal is to write one piece of short fiction, at least 1500 words, every month.
- And have one finished piece of fiction by the end of the year that I would feel comfortable trying to get published.
Personal and Lifestyle Goals
This is where I’m getting into weird territory because I can’t remember the last time I was in a good enough spot on January 1 to even be contemplating this sort of thing. It’s a real testament to my improved mental health that I’m able to do it this year, so I don’t want to go crazy with making huge plans that I won’t actually go through with. Instead, I’ll stick to just a few modest goals that feel pretty doable.
- Learn a new language. I’ve already downloaded Duolingo on my phone, and I’m starting with German. It’s kind of cheating, since I took three years of German in high school, but that was over fifteen years ago, and I’ve apparently forgotten a lot.
- Once a month, do something nice with my daughter, just the two of us. We don’t spend enough quality time together, which is too bad, because, really, she just gets cooler the older she gets (currently twelve).
- Keep my home work space clean. There’s a lot about it that isn’t ideal, but the least I can do is minimize clutter. Hopefully, this will help with some of my productivity issues.
- Read more mindfully. Last year, I’d hoped to read two books a week, but feel short. This year, I’m scaling back my reading goal by about 25% and planning to be even choosier about what I read than I already have been. The biggest change, though, is that I’m planning to read at least one nonfiction title per month. I feel like I forget nonfiction exists sometimes if I don’t make a point of seeking it out on purpose, so this year I’ll be doing that.
Looking back at this list, I feel like it’s longer and more ambitious than I originally intended, but I’m gonna just go with it.
What’s your New Year’s resolution/plan?