My Goals for 2017

For many years, I didn’t make New Years’ resolutions, because, who keeps those things?? Most people – and I’m looking in the mirror here – have completely forgotten their resolutions by the time spring rolls around. But a couple of years ago, I came across a quote that was something like, “Without a plan for where you’re going, you guarantee that you won’t get anywhere.” It made me realize that while I might not achieve everything I set out to in a given year, if I don’t at least set some goals and track my progress, I probably won’t accomplish much, if anything.

Some people set an actual resolution, some people choose a word or a phrase to serve as a theme for the year, and others set some number of goals to strive toward. I’m going with the latter.

My Goals for 2017

Read at least 24 books that I truly want to read. I have a habit of sometimes choosing books I feel like I should read, or I should want to read, rather than ones that I really and truly want to read. Not this year. In 2017, I’m choosing only books that I’m excited to read! To add some fun and jumpstart book ideas, I’m participating in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 Reading Challenge. I chose the “put the oomph back in your reading life” option. (Read more about my reading style here, and track my progress toward this goal here.)

Try at least three new (to me) activities, preferably active ones. As someone who almost always chooses the familiar over the new, this one is a little anxiety-inducing. However, I recognize that it’s important both mentally and physically to challenge myself and develop new skills. I’ve been wanting to try snowshoeing for a couple of years now, so here’s my motivation. Also, group exercise classes terrify me, but there are lots of great options at my local YMCA. (And they would certainly help with my next goal…)

Run at least three 5K races. I pretty much took an exercise vacation in 2016 – with the exception of a late summer and early fall walking streak – and it shows. How? (1) At my annual physical in November, my doctor said I’m “not overweight”, but my weight has been increasing since 2012, a trend she called “concerning”, and (2) After I haul our trash and recycling cans up our driveway for the weekly pick-up, I find myself panting like I just ran a 10-yard dash. There are numberous 5K races in my area throughout the warmer months, and they’ll be a good source of motivation for me.

Find a way to dread meal planning/cooking less. If you’ve read any of my meal plan posts, (recent ones can be found here, here, and here), you know that I’m a fan of neither meal planning, nor cooking. However, I recognize both as necessary evils, and thus I carry on with them. Since assembling my weekly meal plan literally fills me with dread every Sunday, I need to find a way to make it more tolerable. This could mean following prescribed meal plans, or prepping more meals in advance and freezing them, or hitting the lottery and hiring a personal chef. I plan to try different strategies throughout the year, to hopefully take this task from a two to a seven on the dread-scale, by the end of the year.

Do you set resolutions or goals for the new year? What are you planning to achieve in 2017?

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My Winter Break Goals


I have a very part-time job. I work a few months at a time, throughout the academic year, as a college career counselor. Since my only job is to meet individually with students, when the demand for student appointments goes down – think final exam weeks – I go on break. I’m off over summers and the college’s winter and spring breaks. While this is not a particularly lucrative work schedule, it comes with tremendous flexibility. I’m able to get my daughter on and off the school bus every day, and I can adjust my work days as needed to accommodate school holidays, half days, and sick days. (Read more about my job here.) For this stage of my life, it’s the perfect position.

In the lead-up to final exams, the demand for student appointments decreases, so my winter break inevitably begins before the students’. Mine started late last week, and I return to work on January 10th. What am I going to do with these two months? Well, there’s the holiday season and all of the school events, celebrations, and preparations that come with this time of year. But that still leaves plenty of unstructured time on my hands. As a person who craves structure, I find it helpful critical to give myself some goals for the next two months. So in addition to the standard holiday preparations, here’s what I plan to accomplish:

  1. Empty, clean, and organize the cabinet under the kitchen sink. This hasn’t been emptied since we moved into our house seven and a half years ago, and it’s jammed full of cleaning supplies, bags, and who-knows-what-else. Frankly, I’m afraid to see what’s back there.
  2. Clean the ovens. Please don’t judge me, but I haven’t thoroughly cleaned the ovens since we moved into the house. (Are you sensing a pattern here?) While we have two, one gets most of the use – and it shows.
  3. Finish my fall reading list. I have two books left – The Power of Habit, and The Mindful Child.
  4. Complete six, small-space organizing projects. There are countless cabinets that have not ben emptied and organized since – you guessed it – we moved into our house, or shortly thereafter. Occasionally I’ll reach into the back of one of them, and I’m surprised – sometimes pleasantly, sometimes not – by what I find.
  5. Try five new baking recipes. Although the holiday baking season is a time for traditions, I regularly come across hundreds of recipes that I would like to try. Now is the time to do it.

When was the last time you scrubbed your oven? Are there any cleaning/organizing projects that terrify you?

Upstream Field Guide

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