Almost immediately after the clock hit midnight and cheers were made, kisses had and Auld Lang Syne was sung, I was planning out my goals for the year. While I’m not a huge fan of resolutions (most people give up on theirs by February), I have some serious goals in mind that don’t have anything to do with losing weight.
This year, I wanted my goals to reflect something bigger, something larger than seeking satisfaction when looking at the scale. I wanted to make changes in my life that bring me joy. To simplify the complicated and get back to a place of peace and gratitude. In looking back at 2016, I made a lot of changes, both personal and professional. I tried following the paleo diet (and was somewhat successful), I got my asthma under control, and I ran another Chicago Marathon… without training. I started being more selfish with my time and tried not to feel guilty when I said no to things that felt overwhelming. It was the beginning of settling into a different chapter in adulthood, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.
Here’s my goals guide for 2017:
- Be Prepared – Every morning, I find myself running around the apartment looking for the shoe, stepping on an earring and walking out with half-dried hair into the freezing weather. I would forget breakfast, end up buying lunch and feel guilty about taking Tchaikovsky for shorter and shorter walks outside. My goal is to wake up earlier for walks, prep my bag, outfit and plan the night before, and enjoy coffee and breakfast at home.
- Make Sunday Your Day – If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I took on a HUGE role this year. I started teaching my first college course in Health Communication. That was a big step as I’m still working my 9-5 and keeping up with this website. I ordered home delivery for The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune to help me be more informed and keep me on a schedule. Sunday is for reading the newspaper and planning lectures. It’s for meal prepping and taking Tchai to the park. I started this routine in December and I have been so much more relaxed and on top of it.
- Lead by Teaching – I think about going for a PhD one day, but don’t feel the timing is right. To ease the itch of wanting to jump into academia, I decided to take on a teaching job. I’ll be teaching two semesters this year (so far) and sharing my love and passion for health communication with the next wave of young healthcare professionals. I fell in love with teaching already and am so grateful for my students and their willingness to share their experiences and education with me. I’m seeing a shift in their understanding already, and I couldn’t be more pleased!!
- Sleep Well – I was never a good sleeper. Even as a kid, I remember waking up early in the mornings and laying in bed, praying, to try to get my body and my mind to fall back asleep. I still struggle with this, and with a seemingly neverending to-do list, adulthood has only made this worse. I’ve set up my nightstand with lavender oil and a humidifier. I’ve implemented a no phone rule for myself so I don’t immediately check the time if I wake up in the middle of the night. And I’m trying to keep on a routine so my body knows when it’s time for bed. I’m back on a bedtime and it’s been so rewarding so far!
- Love More – With my crazy schedule, it’s easy to say I’ll make plans and then let things fall by the wayside. And easy to forget birthdays or special occasions because my mind is going a mile-a-minute. This year, I want to spread as much love as possible and make sure that everyone in my life feels like a priority whether they’re near or far.
- Say Yes and No – I’ve learned I can only say yes more when I learn to say no to other things. And saying no is fine and good and healthy and wonderful. And in these crazy times where it feels like we always have to have the answer and always need to be striving for the next thing, saying no can be such a relief. Because saying no to something else can also mean saying yes to yourself. And that’s a great feeling.
- Less Guilt – Catholic guilt is a real thing. And I feel it just about everyday. I’m sorry I didn’t call. I’m sorry I wasn’t there. I’m sorry I was late. I’m sorry I couldn’t stay. I’m sorry I had to leave. I’m working on taking the (appropriate) I’m sorry’s out of my vocabulary. The more I feel guilty about and beat myself up about something, the less joy I’m opening myself to feel. And then the people I’m saying I’m sorry to start apologizing as well. IT’S A NEVER ENDING CYCLE. So from now on, I’m going to replace my “I’m sorry” with “thank yous.” Because I feel a lot better when I say thank you for including me. Or thank you for waiting for me. Or thank you for understanding.
- More Yoga – I have always said I hate yoga because I feel like I need to be boxing or running or jumping to feel like I’m getting a good workout. The more that I sit at a desk, the more I feel like I’m hunching forwards and leaning in(to the computer screen). I need to add a few more deep breaths to my days and get used to saying om.
- Hold the Phone – When you take public transit, do you actually see people at all? I can get from my apartment to the office without making eye contact or speaking to anyone. And that’s entirely because I’ll stare at my phone and have my headphones in, deep within a podcast. I forgot my headphones recently and my phone was going to die, so I sat on the train and took a look around. I ended up running into a friend. And then thought about how ridiculous it is to spend everyday reading statuses and updates while real life is happening all around me.
- Feel Joy – If there’s one goal in life, it’s to feel more joy. And welcome everyday with the possibility of joy. To revel in it and to feel it fully. To participate actively and seek moments that bring joy.
If you need me this year, I’ll be out living my best life.