A Happier 2017 – Month One

About a month ago I outlined my goals for the year. I don’t call them “resolutions” because I don’t like the idea of “resolving” to do something. Rather, they’re my goals for the year – achievements, milestones, and actions to take pride in. To keep myself accountable, here’s my first monthly recap of how I’m doing this year so far.

Practice mandolin at least once per week with book. I’m doing pretty well on this one, actually. My callouses have come back with a vengeance. Those tiny, tightly-wound strings really do a number on your fingers. I will say I was a bit lax this past week due to a wrist injury, but I’ve been pretty consistent.

Pay off my student loan. Done, as soon as we returned from our holiday family trips. What a relief! That said…Invisalign is back (see bottom of post). 

Write 2 blog posts per week. I’m doing it! Once this post is complete, I’ll have 8 posts for January, and for most four-week months, that’ll be a solid average! Downside: January was a five-week month. I have a little work to do, but the habit is definitely sticking. 

Read “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson as well as at least one John Muir book. It’s sitting on my living room table and I’m about 15% of the way in. In my defense, I read three OTHER books this month, plus I have a fourth on my nightstand. I’m doing really well reading more in general. 

Leave my corporate job. Not yet. Patience, grasshopper.

Hike the Long Trail. See directly above.

I also mentioned I’d likely have some additional goals as the weeks went by. I sure do. Here they are, in no particular order:

Pay off Round #2 of Invisalign. Oh boy. Now that my top teeth are looking great, my bottom teeth are looking (and feeling) comparably worse. Luckily, Round #2 is only about a third of the cost of Round #1. This won’t take too long, but I was hoping to bank all that extra money for at least a couple months. 

Cut out the noise and enjoy the stillness. I logged out of Facebook maybe six weeks ago and I honestly haven’t missed it. I keep a page for my teaching, writing, and music, but nothing personal anymore. There are occasions I’ll think, “Huh, I haven’t heard from so-and-so for a while, I wonder what she’s up to,” but the thought will leave my mind just as easily as it enters – unlike before, when I could type any name into the search box and find out unnecessary details about anybody who crossed my mind. Outside of social media, I signed up for a daily news digest and deleted the News app from my phone. No more mindless scrolling. That’s been super helpful as it prevents me from falling down the headline rabbit hole. I will admit to listening to more NPR and less classical music during my commutes over the last two weeks as the country’s leadership has drastically changed and I want to stay informed but I am trying not to let it control me. 

Read 12 books (one per month). Killing this one. I better keep it up. My 12-year-old self would be disappointed in such a low goal. 

Do a guided meditation once per week. I could improve. I think I’ve done four, but I doubled up during a particular emotional week. 

Write one handwritten letter per month. Tomorrow is the last day of the month. Who wants a card? I forgot about this one. Whoops. My grandma turned 80 last week so she’ll probably be the lucky recipient. 

Have “Happy Hour” once per week. I mentioned Happy Hour last month and I’ve been wanting to incorporate it into my regular routine a bit more. However, I’ve been pretty bad about it. I HAVE been making a point of working out, reading, and playing music, but I haven’t actually set the timer to do “whatever” on any of these days. I need to get to it. 

Sleep more, drink less. Max 2 drinks per day, preferably wine if during weekdays. Meh…I had some whisky when we went to the jeweler to design a setting for a Colombian emerald I have. And by some I mean I’m glad I wasn’t driving. Otherwise, I’ve been pretty good, although I’m meeting a friend for wine and pizza Wednesday and I may have more than two glasses there as well. Still, now that Travis and I have both cut back on the booze, we’re sleeping better, waking up more easily, and feeling more alert. The problem is we really enjoy the taste of a rich, dark beer or a full-bodied red wine – we just don’t like the effects. Le sigh. 

And there we have it. My list of goals grew, but remember, I accomplished my 30 Before 30 list in a year, and those were some pretty big goals. These are more like habits – much easier to achieve.

How are you doing with your resolutions? Do you prefer goals or resolutions?

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