Last year, I kind of whiffed on my New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s is normally one of my favorite holidays because it reminds me to think about my goals and set some new intentions. But in January 2019, I think I was too exhausted from the election and caught up in trying to figure everything out with my new role as an elected official! I’d like to get my tradition of resolution-making going again, so here I present to you my 2020 New Year’s resolutions / goals.
Read 100 books. This makes the list every year, as I track my books in Goodreads (follow me here). In 2019, I fell well short of 100 and read 81 books (and ~27,000 pages), but that was still up quite a bit from 2018, when I only read 65 books (~22,000 pages). However, in 2020, I’d like to try to get back on track and break 100. I know it’s possible (in 2016, I read 100 books and ~32,000 pages); I think I just need to get more strict about shutting down social media and turning that time toward actual reading.
While I’m talking about culture… I had so much fun visiting the Monet exhibit with my mom a few weeks ago, and it reminded me how much I enjoy museums. But I rarely go to them! In 2020, I’m making it a point to engage with arts / culture at least once a month – whether in the form of going to a museum, concert, or play.
Complete my Daylio every night. I started using the Daylio mood tracker / diary app about two months ago, and have come to really like writing a quick summary of what I did each day. It’s faster than blogging, and it’s also been really reassuring to see that I almost always end the day in a happy mood, even if there was some stress during the day. Of course, the stats are a little less interesting when I’m always happy, but it’s still a nice way to cultivate a bit of a gratitude practice 🙂 Right now, I fill it out just once for the day (whereas I think the intent of the app is actually to log your mood at different points throughout the day), and I’m happy sticking with that schedule – but I want to get better about doing it in a timely manner rather than halfway through the next day, like I often do now.
Write thank you notes. Speaking of gratitude… I have often admired my friend Kelly’s diligence in sending me thank you notes for various things. And yet, I am terribly remiss in never sending thank yous of my own! 2020 is the year that changes. While I’d love to go all out with stationary and mailed cards like Kelly, I’m starting small – emailed thank yous will suffice; I just want to get better about actually sending them. Today I found a cute little “thanks a melon” image I downloaded to put in the emails, so hopefully it’s quick and easy for me to dash off thank you notes this year.
Two health-related resolutions: take the stairs whenever possible and leave some food on my plate at every restaurant meal. One of the client sites I visit a lot lately has their office on the fifth floor, and yet I’ve never bothered to learn where the stairs are, and just take the elevator. Silly! I’m going to fix that next week, and also generally be more aware of avoiding elevators. And on the food front, I have forever been a clean plate clubber (which often means I eat way more than I’m actually hungry for). To try to combat that, my new rule is that anytime I eat at a restaurant, I have to leave at least one bite of food on the plate. I’m thinking that if I tell myself I have to leave food and it’s just a question of how much to leave, I’ll start getting habituated to not clearing my plate. (But when I’m cooking for myself, I don’t want to waste food.)
And while I’m trying to limit waste… I’m going to make a real effort this year to clean out my house and get rid of stuff that I don’t need or use. With so much extra space, my house has made it easy for me to be a pack rat, but I’d like to simplify. I realized that one of the things holding me back is that I don’t like to throw out perfectly good things, so my resolution is to list at least one thing a week on Craigslist / Facebook Marketplace. I can’t control whether it sells or not, but I can make the decision to let go of some old stuff!
Finally, I’ll end with one thing I have been bad at for over a decade – actually taking my vacation time. Our vacation time rolls over if you don’t use it, but I’ve been maxed out (176 hours, or 22 days) for years, which is just silly. Meanwhile, 1.5 years ago, I earned a one month sabbatical that I still have yet to take… I want to make that finally happen in 2020. I haven’t decided what I want to do on sabbatical yet, but I’m targeting July as the month to do it… ideas for what to do with all that free time are welcome 🙂
There are a few other things I’m not putting into resolution form yet but I’d like to work on. Blog more regularly (but in what spare time?), spend less time on social media (but it’s so funnnnnnn!) – both of those I’m not quite ready to commit to yet, even as I’d like to see them change. I want my resolution list to be things I’m really going to try to stick to, so these aren’t making the cut yet… maybe I’ll add them in the future. Who says you have to have all your goals figured out January 1?
And to that point, as I look back on things stressing me out / making me unhappy, I’ve been realizing that I often say yes to things I don’t really want to do. I need to be more ruthless in just saying no, and not spending a lot of my time and energy doing things just because I think I “should” do them (vs actually wanting to do them). For example, how many second dates have I wasted my time (and the date’s time) on because I was just too chicken to tell the guy I wasn’t that into him? This is kind of a nebulous one, since it crosses so many areas of my life (e.g., the many extra tasks I sign on for at work that I really don’t have time for)… I need to put more thought into how I’m actually going to change this.
What are your resolutions / goals for 2020?