January 4, 2017

A Few More Small Resolutions for 2017

Before the end of 2016, I wrote a 2017 New Year’s goals post – but also noted that I didn’t have all my resolutions figured out yet. But the more I thought about it (and talked about it with some great and inspiring friends), I ended up coming up with a short list that I’m really excited about. Some are daily habits and some are long-term goals, but all are things that I feel pretty passionate about and I also think are reasonable lasting changes for me to make.

Small goals can be pretty powerful!

One of the toughest things about writing New Year’s resolutions is the desire to go big. “I will work out every day!” …when you’ve only worked out once a month till that point. I decided that I wanted to incorporate two daily habits that wouldn’t take much time at all, and wouldn’t necessarily have a big payoff – but would put me into a healthy frame of mind every day and be a tiny little bit of success. (Kind of like how Navy SEALs make their bed every morning.)

I always admired how Ali starts her day with a round of situps, so I decided that I wanted to have my own morning routine to get myself going for the day. It’s short and sweet: 10 pushups, 20 lunges, 30 plank shoulder taps. I started out thinking I’d do a 30 second plank but doing shoulder taps is easier to count, plus it raises my heart rate a bit! It probably only takes about two minutes for me to do the whole 10/20/30, so it doesn’t really slow me down in the morning, and I make sure to do it as soon as I get out of bed. (Or sometimes after I hit the bathroom… but never anything else in between, not even brushing my teeth or putting my contacts in.) I don’t hold out any hope that my 10/20/30 routine is going to make me super fit, but it’s a nice way to fire up all the muscles in my body and also get my heart rate up a bit, so I’m energized to start the day. Plus, it sets the tone for the day that I am going to make healthy choices, which can inspire later, bigger, choices.

Also as part of my everyday routine? I had a lot of fun with my walking experiment last March, where I tried to hit 15,000 steps every day. But it was exhausting to sometimes traipse around for an hour before bedtime after a particularly sedentary day, and I felt like my sleep suffered during that challenge. So I’m scaling back: every night before bed, no matter how active my day was, I’m adding five minutes of walking. So far this has mostly been walking in place next to my bed, but it could be walking around my house (or outside) if I’m feeling up to it. I have been pleasantly surprised to see that I can get my heart rate a bit elevated just by marching in place, but it doesn’t prevent me from getting to sleep easily, even when I do it right before bed. And while five minutes isn’t very long, it nets me about 900 steps – which means about 328,000 extra steps by the end of the year. Little actions add up!

I have a few goals for 2017 that aren’t daily actions, but overall tallies I’d like to hit. I want to read 100 books a year, as is my goal just about every year. (But I finally reached that goal in 2016!!! I’m proud of that accomplishment.) I’d also like to ski ten days this year – which probably sounds laughable to the many Coloradans who count their ski days in the twenties and thirties and forties, but ten would be nearly double what I did last year. I was out skiing at Winter Park this past Friday and had a great day – it reminded me of how much fun skiing can be, rather than me just remembering how I hate the cold 🙂

All smiles after I skied my first ever tree run! It wasn’t fast or pretty, but I didn’t hit anything. I’m ready for more practice… (PS: The snow was good; this pic was just at an odd spot on the mountain with the ski boundaries behind me.)

I’d like to make it a priority to volunteer at least twice a month this year. My friend Jill introduced me to the fun of prepping/serving meals at the Denver Rescue Mission, and over the holidays I also got some friends together to pack boxes at the Food Bank of the Rockies, which was a blast. Every time I volunteer, I think to myself that I should really do it more often… but then I don’t make the time. Hopefully having a formal goal will help remind me of my priorities!

Quick pic after serving breakfast at the Denver Rescue Mission with my mom over the holidays. The 5am shift is a tough wakeup, but it feels great to make a difference first thing in the day!

And finally, a goal that I’m not entirely sure about but I’m playing around with. (Who says you can’t experiment with goals?) I love to cook, and I’ve been told that I’m pretty good at it, but my recipes never make their way onto the blog like they used to years ago. A big part of that is because of my terrible food photography! So I’d like this to be the year that I improve that a bit, and I want to start sharing that part of my life a bit more. Very nebulously, I’d like to cook more than I do right now (this goal is helped tremendously by the fact that I’m not really traveling for work at the moment), and I’m going to share what I cook on social media. For now, I’m sharing on my Instagram Story, since that seems like a low-risk sharing option given that things disappear within 24 hours. (Thank you to Amanda for teaching me how Instagram stories work.) And as a bonus to this goal, I’m finding that I really like viewing Instagram Stories to see sneak peeks into my friends’ days. I’ve even struck up some good conversations as a result of the little snaps! So while sharing what I eat may seem like a total millennial move, I’m thinking it will help me connect with people in real ways too.

And you? What little (or big!) goals do you have for 2017?


4 thoughts on “A Few More Small Resolutions for 2017”

  1. My small resolutions are reading from 7-8 p.m. during the work week (usually I fall asleep when I read before bed and my commute is very short so not a lot of reading time there) and stretching every day. I have been good with the reading so far, but keep forgetting about the stretching.

    As for your resolutions, they say you should get up and walk 250 steps every hour throughout your day. For me, that is about one lap around my office floor. Why not try that to get more walking in throughout your day? It also helps with back and neck pain from sitting hunched over a computer all day. I also try to go for a 45 minute walk every day during lunch. This helps battle any winter blues too.

    For a reading challenge, Book Riot does a Read Harder challenge to get people to read outside their comfort zone. See https://bookriot.com/2016/12/15/book-riots-2017-read-harder-challenge/ and https://www.nypl.org/blog/2016/12/22/doing-2017-read-harder-challenge-try-these-books.

    As for food photography, the key is good lighting and a decent camera. First, don’t use the camera on your phone unless it is a new phone with a really good camera. I use a point and shoot camera I got for $100. Then put a table near a window if you don’t have one already. You don’t want to do it when there is harsh sunlight streaming in. An overcast day actually works best. Place a dish cloth or table cloth on the table, place your food on top of that, and then climb up on a step stool or chair to shoot down from above. After you take the photo, then you can then edit using a photo editor if necessary. If you don’t really have nice dish clothes or table clothes, a white poster board also works well and will make your food look all “kinfolky”. Looking at other people’s food photography on Instagram will give you ideas and who knows, maybe it will turn into a new hobby.

    1. Wow, thank you so much for the detailed tips! I really appreciate it.

      With regard to your point about the walking: my job is somewhat unpredictable, in that different projects/clients have completely different day-to-day routines, so I didn’t want to commit to something that I might not be able to complete. But it sounds like you’ve figured out a great way to make that work for you!

      The Book Riot challenge sounds great! I may have to follow some of the NYPL suggestions on there.

      And THANK you for the food photography tips! I usually don’t take pics overhead OR near a window, so following those tips alone should help make a difference 🙂 I tend to be really lazy about “staging” my picture, since I’m usually eager to just dive in and eat it while it’s hot, haha.

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