A Fresh Start

Well, folks, we made it to 2017! And here’s to a month or two or constantly having to rewrite the date after becoming so accustomed to using a “6.”

As with any new year that arrives, the customary practice is to write a list of resolutions for yourself that have a very low chance of actually succeeding. They’re vague, not really tailored to yourself, or reasonable enough to work toward. That’s when they become absolutely pointless, just random thoughts that never actual reach fruition.

Admittedly, I have gone through this cycle myself far too often. I love making goals for myself. I love change, I love learning new things and growing. Except the process of actually getting there is difficult because I don’t tend to think quantitatively. I often think too broadly and abstractly, I forget all of the evidence out there that stresses the importance of making specific goals within my ideas. I guess you could say a resolution for myself is making decent resolutions.

It’s too easy to make those bigger goals and have unrealistic expectations for yourself. If everybody accomplished all of their goals, we would all be super fit and wouldn’t have any smokers left.That’s just not how it works. If we want to better ourselves, we have to set goals that we can truly achieve. By this, I mean we give ourselves clearly defined steps and “mini goals” and have bigger resolutions that we truly care about and want to change. I feel selfish saying this, but chances are, if you don’t have the energy and desire to do something, it won’t happen. Enduring motivation is key.

Because I know I’m not alone when it comes to starting some habits and giving up within the first few days or weeks. I talked about this earlier the past year when I tried to hold myself accountable for practicing German every day, exercising several times a week, and whatever else I wanted to do to “improve” myself. But I also have to realize that I can only “improve” myself so much. Some things I will just never want to do. I can’t beat myself up for never getting into a regular exercise schedule or classical music if I can never form the habit or desire.

Another thing to consider that you can’t exactly predict where the future might lead you. I certainly wasn’t planning on the milestones and experiences I stumbled upon in 2016. No number of resolutions could have caused those to happen; they just did. Despite our desires to want to control every detail in our lives, we are oftentimes just along for the ride. We have a certain path in life that is already set in place, a specific purpose that our individual existences fulfill. We have to be able to let go sometimes and readjust our own plans, knowing that everything will work itself out.

So enough of the talking and on to the good stuff: what goals and accomplishments do I actually want to reach and achieve in 2017? I’ll warn you that my goals are still fairly broad because I want to allow myself room to adjust as need be. I’m someone that will follow something exactly, to the point that if I don’t “do it right,” I beat myself up over it, the exact opposite of how I’d like to be spending my time this year.

First off, I’d like to continue to be consistent on my blog. I love how consistent I’ve been, only on rare occasions coming in with less than 5 posts a week. Beyond consistency, I want to expand my blog with added features, whether that is including more hyperlinks and pictures, maybe finding other blogs I can contribute some writing to. I’ve already thought about transporting my setup here to a larger platform, one with potential revenue involved. We’ll see.

I’d also like to learn how to spend my free moments more wisely. Not necessarily time management; I’m already good at getting important tasks done well in advance. Rather than when I get free moment, I’d rather choose an activity that isn’t getting lost on YouTube or a social media feed. I would even pick binge-watching a good show over those options. More importantly, if I can sneak in some learning into that time, too, such as TED Talks, podcasts, and writing, I want to do that instead. Something that is truly stimulating and worth my precious time.

Broad again, I want to read more. This is also getting into the free time situation. Over this winter break, I have come to realize how much I missed just having a pleasure read at all times when my eyes aren’t constantly strained from a screen. For me, these reads have to be in hard copies; I just can’t do e-readers, nor online PDFs if the book is free domain. I’ll have gotten through 3 novels over a month, so even if I ended the year with 25-30 books read, I’d be satisfied.

On the note of reading, I want to read and learn more about religion and spirituality. It’s something I’ve always kind of wanted to do, occasionally going in streaks of doing online Bible studies, but I want to again find consistency and make it part of my routine. Since I’ve been questioning a lot of what I believe recently, I want to make this goal one that is more directed by my own questions versus going through the motions of what I think I’m supposed to do.

Besides these few vague ambitions, I just want to build upon the progress I’ve already made when it comes to learning about myself and appreciating myself. This also includes making positive contributions on others and the world. Maybe this won’t be much of a change; maybe it’ll turn into a makeshift “Happiness Project.” Either way, I’m excited for what the future has to offer. Best wishes to you all as well!

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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