A New Way of Doing Resolutions in 2016

Partly due to my failure to complete any of my resolutions last year and partly due to all that I’ve learned and postulated about habits vs. goals in the past few years, I’m doing my new year’s resolutions a little bit differently in 2016. After much informal research (aka, me learning by trial and error), I have discovered that I need to set both specific goals I’d like to meet as well as outline habits I’d like to implement, instead of doing one to the exclusion of the other. Additionally, after trying for years to be more mindful about what I fill my life with, I have discovered how vital it is that I schedule in opportunities for adventure, novelty, and pleasure.

Therefore, I have outlined three different categories for my “resolutions” this year:

  • HABITS I’d like to implement
  • CHALLENGES I’d like to push myself to achieve
  • PLEASURES I’d like to let myself enjoy

It might seem odd that I am scheduling “pleasures” as part of my resolutions, but I’ve found that for me, if I don’t schedule in fun or vacations or new experiences, they rarely seem to happen. Besides, growth and satisfaction and joy do not only come from pushing ourselves to do more or be more—they also come from giving ourselves permission to fully embrace the wonderful and the beautiful and the adventurous.

My plan is to do more progress posts than usual on how I’m doing in order to keep myself more accountable; I probably will do traditional progress posts on just the “habits” category and a post for each challenge and/or pleasure item as it’s met so as not to make it too overwhelming.

So here we go, my 2016 resolutions:


*Blog at least 12 times per month. 

I cannot tell you how much I regret not blogging as much as usual these 18 months; since this blog has become my own personal record of growth and life and family and friends (rather than the traditional pen-and-paper diaries I used to keep), it is of the utmost importance to me that I better keep up with this space.

*Eat dinner at the table 6x/week, with the t.v. off

Somehow early in our marriage, we got in the terrible habit of eating our meals on the couch, usually with a show or a movie playing. Now that we have Raven, I strongly desire to instill good eating habits in her, so I figure we’d better fix this now before she gets any older. Besides, I’ve always hated our eating-and-watching-t.v. habit, so I am more than ready to boot this bad habit to the curb forever.

*Attend the temple once a month.

Matt and I had been doing so well at attending the temple close to our home, but once we had Raven, that habit disappeared by the wayside. Even if we don’t end up going together every month (which would be the ideal), I still am determined to at least have each of us go (even if separately) once a month. (For more info on what LDS temples are all about, click here.)

*Read the Ensign cover to cover every month.

This is another spiritual goal, and one that I think will be a great strength for me. If you want to check out this magazine produced by my church, click here.

*Read 40 pages on most days (10 pages from four different books)

I started doing this in November, and it’s totally rejuvenated my reading life. I’ve wanted to do a 50-book challenge for a long time now, and this might be the year I actually do it if I can keep this up.

*Index on Sundays.

Last year, I set a specific goal to index 10,000 names, which I didn’t end up reaching. To better participate in this family history service, I’m going to set aside Sundays during Raven’s afternoon naptime to work on this.


*Buy my own domain name and redesign the blog. 

Even though I no longer aim to make money from blogging, I think the time is long overdue for me to give this space a facelift. (If any of you bloggers have bought your own domain names and transferred your blog hosting away from Blogger, I would really appreciate some input on which web hosting companies are worth the money (or if you use a blog host at all) and which are the best places to buy domain names.)

*Finish the first draft of my novel.

Oh man, just typing out this challenge terrifies me. But, as someone once said, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” so here I go. I’m only about 25 pages into my novel, but I have a direction to take it in, and Matt and I are devising a plan to help us both complete this goal this year. Wish us luck!

*Run a half-marathon.

A part of me wanted to set the bar on this particular challenge high by saying that I want to run a half in under two hours (which is on my bucket list). I was only about 9 minutes off that goal during the half I ran in 2014, but with all the health problems I’m working through and with all that my body went through last year, I figured a half-marathon (with no time goal) would likely be a challenge enough.

*Print my blog out.

There are several companies now that let you turn your blog into a book, and my plan is to finally take the time (and money) to do that this year.

*Do the Minimalist Challenge.

Basically, the idea behind this is that on day one of the challenge (which lasts one month), you get rid of one thing. By day 31, you’re getting rid of 31 things. All in all, it adds up to you getting rid of several hundred items, and since it’s been quite awhile since I did my 50 Weeks to Organized project, I figured I’m due for another decluttering party.

*Try out a new volunteering experience.

After watching how much Matt enjoyed his volunteer experience at the local animal shelter (which he did for several months), I’ve wanted to go out of my own usual service zone and do something new for a local cause or group. I’m sure I won’t be able to do this one until the school year is out, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for opportunities.

*Reach my goal weight.

I know that many people set some kind of weight goal for their new year’s resolution, but this is actually a first for me. My goal weight is 135 pounds, and I’m currently only 9 pounds away, so this is very doable. In fact, once I’m off the Prednisone, I’m hoping I can reach this challenge within a couple months.

*Take a class.

Sometimes, I really miss being in school. And even though I always think that I don’t need to pay for a class because I can just check out a book on most any subject and/or watch online tutorials, the fact is, my progress is drastically sped up when I attend a class. I don’t know if I want to do another photography class or try out something else (like cooking or painting), but I plan to do this one during the summer.

*Complete my “100 Hours in the Kitchen” Project.

I read this post the other day that talks all about the original 10,000-hour theory (that it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to become a master at any one thing) vs. the new 100-hour theory (that it only takes 100 hours of focused practice to become significantly more advanced than a beginner). I’ve been trying to come up with different ways to bring the joy back to eating and cooking for me (since my health problems and now the elimination diet have taken much of the pleasure out), and I think I finally hit on something—I’ve been wanting to extend my cooking repertoire forever (especially when it comes to trying out different cuisines), so here’s what I’m going to do–I’ll focus on a different category each quarter (such as “soups” or “French cuisine”) and challenge myself to try 12 new recipes over the course of those three months in that one particular category.

Although I know I’ve spent much more than 100 hours already on improving my cooking skills, a focused year that adds another challenging 100 hours should help me to take my skills to the next level. I’ll probably do a full blog post on this soon, so I won’t say too much more here, but I really want to reignite my passion for all things food once again.


*Take a trip with Matt’s family to Oregon.

This one’s already in the works, but I want to make sure we make it happen, which will mean saving up money and making sure we can afford to take work off.

*Travel to the hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October.

Ever since getting into photography, I’ve longed to attend a hot air balloon festival (not to mention that it’s been on my bucket list for years to ride in a hot air balloon). I’m really hoping we’ll have the financial resources this year to take this trip, as I think it would be incredible.

*Host a quarterly dinner celebration. 

I love entertaining and I love cooking, and since we don’t know for how much longer some of our close friends will still be living in our area, I want to take full advantage of every opportunity we can to spend time with them.

*Purchase a large canvas print of at least one of my photos.

Even though I’m far from where I want to be as a photographer, I’m still proud of my work. I’ve dreamed for awhile now of displaying some of my photography in our home, and since I also wish to be better at decorating our space, I figure this will  hit two birds with one stone.

*Go on a day adventure at least once a month.

These day adventures don’t have to be big, but they do need to be something that’s out of our usual routine (read = something we’ve never tried before). It’s taken me awhile to realize it, but I’ve learned that I’m the kind of person that needs a certain degree of novelty in my days in order to maintain my sanity and my overall satisfaction with life.

Man, typing that out makes it seem like a LOT. But I’m really excited about this new 3-pronged approach to the new year, and I’m excited to let you know how I’m doing in about a month!

What resolutions did you set this year?

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