resolutions

Resolutionizing: 2019

2019! Hi, holy cow, I can’t believe we’re here. How did 2018 go so fast? Am I officially aged into that category of people who routinely states “This year is just flying by!?”…

It’s that time of year - I, being basic, am naturally a longtime maker of resolutions and traditionally really enjoy the exercise of sitting down, evaluating where I’ve succeeded in the year past, and where I have room to improve. For some reason, I feel really good about 2019 after a lot of angst, illness and stress in the latter half of 2018…nowhere to go from here but up, is how I’m choosing to see it.

Last year’s resolutions ended up being a bit of a mixed bag, success-wise. I truly knocked “explore more of the Bay Area” out of the park, due in large part to old friends visiting and new, local friends knowing just where to go - a combination that really enriched my life last year. “Try harder at dating” was a sort of rollercoaster - there was definitely dating, and I definitely tried harder, with widely varied results, largely TBD at this point frankly. “Do more yoga” led me to commit to practicing three times weekly at work, a habit I now cherish, find so rewarding, and will absolutely continue in the new year. And finally, “Write more” was just a truly epic fail - hence its inclusion in this year’s list for the third year running, ugh.

My big intention was to “be open,” and I think that set me up last year to stand up for myself a little more, to say what I think a bit more readily, and to, in general, accept and embrace experiences and people as they are. That said, I am still a people-pleasing doormat who internalizes to a fault, a fact that has proved detrimental to my mental and emotional well-being at various points over the year, and will be a focal point going forward.

With that little look down memory lane, here we go: the chosen Lizzie format of a few small resolutions and one big intention/theme…

1. Cut back on social media.

You guys, I spend SO much time on my phone. Some of it is essential/unavoidable - responding to emails on the fly, texting, or calling family and friends. Some of it is value-added - I read a lot on my phone, although that should drop off with the purchase of a Kindle, and I manage to-do lists, my calendar, and fitness tracking through apps. The vast majority of my phone time, however, is social media - particularly Twitter and Instagram - and it’s just in no way justifiable to be spending as much time on apps as I do.

I’m going to focus on keeping my phone put away during the workday to stop the brain drain of playing on social media while I’m working, and I need to try harder to keep it out of sight/out of mind while I’m home in the evenings. Hopefully this will lead to a perceptible uptick in spending more time reading, writing, cooking, working out and actually engaging with and focusing on my friends - even without sharing it to the Gram, oh the horror!

2. Spend more thoughtfully.

Dave and I have had a lot of conversations lately about our skewed spending priorities - we’ll look at price per oz at the grocery store, lament the cost of goods like eggs, gas, etc, and yet have no problem dropping money at our favorite breweries, on eating out, or entertainment. Add to that the fact that I have a fairly expensive wine habit and love to shop, and you’ve got an arena where I could benefit from a more intentional, focused approach.

I’m planning to skip wine club shipments for at least the first half of the year (or maybe to divert them to my family?!), and to cut back as much as possible on the breweries/eating out aspect of my social life - it’s gotten really out-of-hand and excessive lately. As for shopping, I think focusing on whether I’m buying things because I need/love them, or because I’m bored, will be beneficial. All in all, I’m definitely financially secure, but want to focus on making 2019 a year that’s a bit more rational and a bit less hedonistic in the financial arena.

3. Write more.

I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS HAS TO BE A RESOLUTION FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. Ugh, mortifying. Looking back at 2018, I wrote a lot at work and very little outside of it, for myriad reasons - I maintained a very busy social life, I spent a lot of time on other activities (reading, Netflix, apps BOO), and I suffered a lot from writer’s block/a general lack of desire to write last year.

This year, I think I just need to actually take last year’s resolution to heart: “I plan to stick to a more stringent writing schedule this year, and to be better about chronicling things - even if it's a "quantity over quality" exercise from time to time.” I calendared out my blog for the next month or two, and hopefully that will be helpful in holding me accountable. Further, I need to schedule writing time into my day just like I schedule in cooking, commute, work, gym, et cetera - treating it as something I have to do, not something I just choose to do, should make it more of a habit and part of my daily routine.

4. Do a better job of staying in touch with friends.

I found myself really burned out in 2018 by extending effort to maintain friendships with people who really didn’t put in as much effort on their end, and unfortunately that leaked over into a general battening down of the communication hatches, a battening that negatively affected my very dearest, truest friends. Couple that with the fact that I am terrible about talking on the phone and generally don’t enjoy texting, and it makes it difficult to stay in touch, especially with my friends as scattered across the country as they are.

This year, I resolve to completely stop wasting my energy on those who don’t return it or add value to my life, and to be more considerate of those who do - with regular check-ins via text, phone or even, ooh, snail mail. I also love sending little things “just because” - so much more special than waiting for big occasions. Hopefully this focus on quality over quantity will do wonderful things toward continually strengthening my relationships with the sterling people in my life!

And the big theme for 2019:

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Treat myself better.

Really, this statement could be interpreted in any of a variety of ways, and I think that’s why it’s the perfect theme for this year. I was really down on myself toward the end of 2018 - insecure in my body, unsure about my personal happiness, and doubting a lot of things. Then I ended 2018 with a dramatic hospitalization, and realized that I was really just in general not taking good care of myself - physically, emotionally, mentally, you name it.

At the very basest level, I need to take better care of myself physically. My recent health scare is really putting into perspective that I’m getting older - 30 is right around the corner, and I’ve let myself justify bad habits for far too long. I’m already off to a solid start in 2019 of cutting down majorly on alcohol, working on eating better (and ordering in/eating out less), and making sure to hit the gym daily. I’m being proactive about seeing the specialists I need to see, and about the regular appointments too - eye doctors, dermatologists, dentists, even laser hair removal ooh OOH! I was scared enough by my recent issues to really commit to this, and while I’m disappointed in myself that it took that extreme a situation to prompt an overhaul, I truly think this will galvanize me to actually see a lifestyle change through.

More deeply and intuitively, however, I need to be kinder to myself. I finished 2018 really feeling depleted and downtrodden for numerous reasons. Fundamentally, I expend a lot of energy on other people - building them up, being there for them, ensuring I’m a good friend/sister/daughter/lover/employee, what have you - and I tend to leave myself very little at the end of all of that. I often feel like I don’t get that level of commitment back from others in return, and it frustrates me, especially when I realize I’ve spent so much energy on others that I can’t be there for myself. Further, the amount of negative self-talk and general self-loathing/negativity I’ve allowed to leech into my life is immensely damaging - I would legitimately never treat someone I cared about the way I treat myself. I am truly my harshest critic and own worst enemy, and that engenders spirals of shame, self-doubt and insecurity on a regular basis.

With that in mind, I’m going to do something that I’ve historically maligned this year, and put myself first for once. I’m going to speak up when others let me down, hold people accountable, and, most importantly, stop making excuses for others’ bad behavior. Even more so, I’m going to hold myself accountable to, as my mother so aptly puts it, “practice self compassion.” I’m only human - I’m flawed and I’m failing, but I try damn hard every day to be a good person, and I need to remember that when I get down on myself for not finishing a to-do list, for trusting people who don’t deserve it, for being unattractive or nerdy or awkward. Remembering that I am worthy and valuable and loved, and treating myself with love and care and compassion on a daily basis, is going to be the key to so many good things this year - I can already feel it.

Check out past resolutions here: 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014, and stay tuned for progress reports over the course of the year. Happy 2019, campers! Let’s make it great.



Resolutionizing: 2016

In keeping with last year, I’m going to set some super-measurable, achievable mini-goals and one bigger, overall theme for the year. Last year’s, to remember to give and receive love, was a smashing success and really contributed to making 2015 my best adult year yet. Here’s how I’m hoping to make 2016 top even that:

--Actually meal-plan every Sunday. I try so hard to be good about this but I am the laziest of lazy bums in the kitchen and tend to put things off, telling myself “Oh, I’ll do it on Monday.” Um, nope, never happens. I need to get up, grocery-shop (ideally before church) and actually take the couple hours to get things prepped and ready to go.

--Check in with people more often. I tend to drop off the face of the planet every so often when I’m feeling anti-social, which happens more often than I admit. In 2016, I hope to send more chatty emails, call friends (or call friends back), and maybe even brush up on my snail mail game. It’s such an easy and important way to affirm and strengthen friendships.

--Break up with “designer” coffee. No more, I tell you! I went over my spending for 2015 a few days ago and almost cried when I saw that I had spent the equivalent of a (full-price) Kate Spade purse or a round-trip domestic flight on Caribou, Starbucks and Dunn Brothers last year. I can get by just fine with my Keurig (and maybe the 99 cent coffee at the work cafeteria) in 2016.

--Step back from the cell phone. I know this seems to go directly opposite the resolution to stay in better touch with people, but I am noticing (and not liking) that I have a serious iPhone addiction. I don't know if it's a security blanket or a genuine desire to feel connected, but I need to make an effort to keep it put away when I'm with others and to maybe not constantly Snapchat and Instagram. It's easier to make memories that last when I'm not worried about making ones that will add giggles to my Snap story or be perfectly 'grammable. 

And this year’s big goal…

Say yes.

2015 was such a fun year. It was busy and hectic and exhausting and at times a little bit overwhelming, but even in the thick of it, I loved every minute of it. It was the first year I really embraced everything, and in doing so, I found myself saying yes to so much and loving the outcome. Spontaneous trip to Columbus? Yes, sure, why not. Sneaking away on a Sunday to drink poolside and be ridiculous with friends instead of cleaning? Definitely. Throwing surprise parties, waking up at the crack of dawn to go see hot-air balloons, buying orchestra season tickets, cabin weekends…some of my favorite 2015 memories come from being open to experiences and jumping in without hesitation.

I’m at a place in life where I’m generally happy with everything. I have great people around me, I like my job and am good at it, and my family continues to be the best. There’s something inherently positive about the trajectory I’ve put myself on, and about the act of saying yes, that I want to keep in 2016 for myself. So here’s to embracing all that 2016 has to offer with open arms. I can’t wait to run (jog-shuffle) into the year, Keurig coffee in hand, and see what it holds for me. Best year ever? Yes.  

Resolutionizing: February/March Update

Guys! Once upon a time I made resolutions and I'm actually keeping...some of them! To amaze  you all with my resolutionizing prowess and excellent willpower, I'm going to recap and check in on the last TWO months' worth of resolutions and their current status. Ready? Set? GO!

1. Cook at least one new recipe a week.

Status: LOL RIGHT. Let's laugh together and go order take-out or find another excuse to have happy hour for dinner, shall we?

2. Manage my closet/shopping habits in conjunction with each other more effectively. 

Status: So much shopping. Um, not thrilled about that. BUT I got rid of a ton of old stuff (goodbye, sweaters I've had since freshman year of college! Goodbye, polos I wore to work in high school!), so there's that. And I had a LOT of gift cards from my birthday, guys. 

3. Have at least one "event date" a month with Jon. 

Status: Well the last week of February was one big old fantabulous date of magic in Puerto Rico ...which I still can't help but smile when I remember! And I'm going to let that carry me through on this one, because we've had a bit of a March dry spell with nasty weather, lots of work and studying, and other obligations getting in the way. We did have an utterly lovely evening last Sunday though...took advantage of 60-degree weather and had dinner outside at my new favorite taco restaurant in Uptown. It was delightful :)

4. Focus on continuing friendships. 

Status: I'm looooving this one. I've had so much fun getting together with friends, hosting and attending birthday parties, and being spontaneous AND structured at the same time. I really adore and am so thankful for the community of people I have around me here in Minny. Lucky girl, right here. 

5. Call my grandma regularly. 

Status: Folks, I call my grandma. And I love it. It's one of my better resolutions, I think. And one Sunday afternoon, when my family was gone and Jon was gone, I called her and we decided to hang out. Sooo I just drove my butt up to her house and we drank wine and gossiped for three hours. How cool is it that I am friends with my grandma? I love it. Let me reiterate: Love this resolution. Grandparents are awesome. 

6. Grow some succulents. 

Status: Um. See cooking resolution. Domesticity hasn't been my thing lately...

7. Write more!

Status: SUCCESS! So much writing! I've felt really inspired again and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm re-finding my voice. This is a good, good step...one I wholly attribute to making this little corner of the internet my own. 

8. Stop leaving my clothes in a pile on the floor. 

Status: There is currently no pile of clothes on the floor. Let's just call THAT a success and wait til tomorrow to re-evaluate the long-range success of this goal, yes? Yes. Okay, moving on. 

9. Make smart, healthy choices. 

Status: Ack. February and March have been on-and-off unkind on this one. Rather, I've been a lazy bum. A week of drinking rummy drinks and not doing a whole lot in Puerto Rico didn't help. Neither did the week of birthday celebrations I kicked February off with. To top it all off, barre started to really aggravate my right ankle, and I sprained it dancing around like a dumbass in my parents' kitchen. Yesterday was my first long, hard gym trip in way too long, and it felt great but I need to work on this one HARD. 

10. Focus on maintaining a positive outlook. 

Status: Another work in progress here, and that's all we're going to say about that one. :) 

Resolutionizing Check-in: January 2014

Since we've entered my favorite winter month, it's time for the first monthly check-in on those resolutions I wrote a while back. Because accountability is the only way anything gets done around here, after all! 

1. Cook at least one new recipe a week.

Status: Fail! Oh, FAIL! I cooked like…one new thing period in January! Such a disappointment. Looks like I have a long way to go on this one. 

2. Manage my closet/shopping habits in conjunction with each other more effectively. 

Status: Moderately proud of my progress on this one…I did shop (damn you, online clearance sections!), but everything I bought was for work. Further, I cleaned out a ton of old (seriously, high-school old) skirts, shirts, and sweaters. I'll give myself a B for January on this one. Goal for February: no online shopping whatsoever. Here goes nothing!

3. Have at least one "event date" a month with Jon. 

Status: I'm so in love with this resolution and so proud of how I'm doing with it! Jon and I had a great January of dates. We got in the habit of doing something fun on Fridays after work, which has included a few ski trips to Afton, along with taking advantage of the free WinterSkate in Rice Park after swanky cocktails at the St. Paul Hotel. We also saw "Frozen" (DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED, I'M OBSESSED!) and have started watching "The Bachelor" with wine and snark galore. I do love this guy…pretty lucky. Here's to more dates in all the rest of the months. 

4. Focus on continuing friendships. 

Status: Also really proud of this one! I've had such a social butterfly month, which I'm excited to share soon, and I'm loving taking advantage of more free time to reconnect with friends. Definitely planning on keeping up the great momentum here. 

5. Call my grandma regularly. 

Status: Another epic fail here. I'm disappointed I haven't done this…as I said in my original post, a phone call is SO easy. We've been seeing Grandma Lo regularly for Sunday Funday (deets to come, it's a blast!), but that doesn't give me a free pass on making just a teeny bit more effort. 

6. Grow some succulents. 

Status: Fail. It's cold, it's dark, and my green thumb is gonna be in hibernation until like…Daylight Savings Time starts. Expect some blooming/growing/greening things then. 

7. Write more!

Status: Moderate success? I've been writing lots of little things, like my five-year journal and plenty of verbose emails to BFF Conk. I've sadly neglected the blog this month, though, and that's gotta turn around. Thankfully, I have plenty planned for February! I also did write three pieces of snail mail this month, which was fun and is definitely going to be a continual goal. 

8. Stop leaving my clothes in a pile on the floor. 

Status: Progress has been made! There is now a clothes pile approximately 75% of the time instead of 100% of the time! And I may be wishfully thinking, but it's shrunk. Here's to total elimination by April at the rate we're going…ha!

9. Make smart, healthy choices. 

Status: Actually really pleased with this one so far. Barre has been so inspiring for me. As a friend put it, there's nothing like sore muscles to remind me that I made a great effort to improve my health, which in turn inspires healthier eating and life choices across the board. I also haven't slept in my makeup ONCE yet this year, awww yeah!

10. Focus on maintaining a positive outlook. 

Status: Ugh. This is the one that I didn't think I'd fail, and toooootally did. January is hard, you guys! Not that it's an excuse, but -50 degree temperatures, hours of darkness, and the post-Christmas crash hit me hard this year. I've been brutal to some of the people I love most. Hopefully having things like my birthday, Puerto Rico and spring on the horizon will be the kick in the pants I need to stay grateful for all the wonderful things in my life. 

 

Here's to a month of progress and 11 more months of accountability!

Resolutionizing: 2014.

New year, new leaf! Right?

I always make resolutions, and I never keep them. Lump me in with the 99.99% of the rest of the world who does the same. This year, though, I was inspired by a few discussions with my friend Hannah, and some serious navel-gazing on my own, to think about writing some down and hopefully really going after them with some serious stick-to-itiveness. 

So, here goes nothing?

2014 New Years Resolutions

1. Cook at least one new recipe a week. 

My Pinterest has an insane number of recipes on it. Very few of which I've attempted. I've never been much of a cook, largely due to having grown up with two parents who are phenoms in the kitchen (and therefore, with little impetus to learn to cook for myself). Throw in 4 years of college with a meal plan, and now a two-year relationship with a guy who's a pretty damn good cook himself, and I've just never gotten around to it. This year I'd love to change that. One new recipe a week would put me at around 50 (give or take) new efforts…there's got to be some wins hidden in there somewhere. 

2. Manage my closet/shopping habits in conjunction with each other more effectively. 

"Shopaholic" might as well be my middle name. I have a serious affinity for J.Crew, Anthropologie, Kate Spade, etc…and a serious wardrobe to match said affinity. This resolution is going to be two-fold: first, I am going to try to refrain from shopping as much as possible--unless it's urgently needed, I just plain won't buy. Second, for every article of clothing I bring in, I'm going to get rid of one article of that clothing. I.E. every time I decide I just neeeeeed another adorable J.Crew top…one of my current tops must go. Seems fair…we'll see how this goes!

3. Have at least one "event date" a month with Jon. 

This is my shamelessly cheesy "I love my boyfriend a lot" resolution. We'll have been together for two years this month, and accordingly, have gotten into a really comfortable rhythm relationship-wise. We have our favorite restaurants, our dates we like to have, heck, even our established preferred bedtimes (we're not night owls). While that is so great for my general happiness, I'd love to get us off the baseline every so often. Planning monthly "big nights out" will do that--whether it's a concert, play, sporting event, or totally new experience, it's important for me to remember to prioritize my relationship--including keeping it fresh. 

4. Focus on continuing friendships. 

I'm lazy about friends. It's not something I'm proud of--but like I said above, I get comfortable in a routine and it's really easy for me to use that to justify not being as social or giving of my time as I'd like to be. And I'm lucky enough to have some really great friends in the Twin Cities area! To promote those friendships for 2014, I'm going to try something a little different--I'm going to make sure I plan to see my friends early in the year, and every time I see a group of friends, I'm going to make sure I get another outing planned (as in, scheduled and in the books) before we're done. It'll force me to overcome some of the friendship inertia I've let myself develop, and friends always make me happier!

5. Call my grandma regularly. 

She's newly widowed, 90, and sweet and sad and alone. And she loooves her family. My grandpa passed away on Thanksgiving this year after a nearly-decade-long decline, and watching my sweet grandma Lo try to pick herself up and deal with everything is really humbling. I live half an hour from her, but even easier is picking up the phone--just to say hi, for five minutes. It's such a small thing, that could make such a good difference. 

6. Grow some succulents. 

I have no green thumb, but I love flowers and plants. Once it warms up, I fully intend to have potted flowers on our patio, but in the meantime, rather than spending major moolah on fresh flowers once a week, I'm going to get a couple succulents. Apparently they're totally foolproof…so it might be a nice way for me to get something in our apartment (other than the two of us) that's living!

7. Write more!

I've loved having this little blog so very much for the past couple months. It's a great outlet, it's a lasting record of what I'm thinking/feeling/caring about at this weird junction of my life, and best of all, it's 100% for me. I used to be such a great writer, and I used to write a lot. For this year, my goal is to write something every day. Whether it's an email to my sister, a summary of my day in my Jane-A-Day 365 Journal (so cute, more on that another time), or a little something here, I'm going to really focus on writing more. And notes!! Writing handwritten notes to people is a resolution I genuinely care about. Let's go with three notes a month, to somebody (anybody, really). 

8. Stop leaving my clothes in a pile on the floor. 

I am a notorious slob, and thanks to years of effort on the part of my mother and boyfriend, I'm starting to (try to) reform my bad habits. One of my worst is the tendency to leave my aforementioned extensive, expensive wardrobe piled on the floor. It drives Jon crazy, and it's even starting to bug me. Such a simple little thing--but all clothes will either go back on the hanger or into the laundry basket as soon as I'm done. 

9. Make smart, healthy choices. 

This one is SO simple: do something active for at least 30 minutes a day. Drink two glasses of green tea and 6-8 glasses of water a day. Wash my face every night before bed. Daily Listerine. Daily lotion. Basic. Shouldn't be that hard. Fingers crossed this is the year it stops seeming hard and becomes second nature!

10. Focus on maintaining a positive outlook. 

One of the saddest things to me in our culture is how easy it is to be so negative, when we have so much and our lives are, by and large, SO good. I've fallen into the trap of thinking really negatively about a lot of things! I'm going to focus on finding the bright spots and positives in my life every day, whether it's a really good commute, an achievement at work, cute kids/animals, something on the Internet that makes me smile…who knows? At any rate…this isn't quantifiable or really even something I can check off a list. Just a good thing to keep in mind, going forward. 

 

Here's to 2013--it was great. Here's to 2014--it's going to be even better.