A Beautiful Plate - 2016 Resolutions!

Let’s talk resolutions! Truthfully, I’ve never been a big resolution girl. I always have goals and hopes, but resolutions have always felt a bit more icky. An external pressure to do something in a certain amount of time – and an easy way to feel bad about yourself if 2017 rolls around and you haven’t quite done that thing just yet.

For whatever reason, this year feels different to me. Some of that is definitely in part due to the recent design and new name. In many ways, it feels like I’ve moved into a new apartment with room to grow and it feels really good. But the whole resolution thing? I’m just sort of into them this year.

One big mental shift is that I’ve decided to start viewing resolutions as more of a shift in priorities and personal growth, rather than a deadline of sorts. Obviously, if I can accomplish some or all of them in 2016, that would be great. But many of these goals extend far beyond 2016 and are things that I would like to incorporate more of into my day-to-day life. Some are simply bucket list items that I’d like to try out.

I’ve definitely learned over the years that when I write things down, I tend to be that much more likely to accomplish and hold myself accountable for them – so that’s what I’m going to do today. Some of these resolutions are related to work, blogging, and this space – but many are simply things that I’ve been wanting or hoping to do in the year(s) ahead.

chicago skyline

Explore Chicago + Do More Things By Myself

Since moving to Chicago in June, I feel like we’ve explored Chicago a lot! I’m actually pretty proud of how quickly we’ve become familiar with the city’s layout. Whether it’s the skyline or the street system or whatever, Chicago is a very friendly city to walk in and I genuinely feel like I can leave our apartment and navigate myself to wherever I want to go on a daily basis…without getting lost.

But there is still so, so much to see! Yes, it’s freezing right now and daylight fades fast. But I’m definitely guilty of getting stuck in the apartment for days at a time (aside from trips to the grocery store) and not taking advantage of everything within arm’s reach. So, one of my resolutions is to walk more, visit museums and different neighborhoods, and do more things on my own – even if it’s as simple walking a few blocks to a coffee shop to do some work for the day.

On that note, I also want to write about these things more. As much as I love sharing recipes, I also miss the journalistic, less-planned element of blogging and I’m hoping that I can get back into that a little more this year. Even if it’s a simple photo post or short recap of what we did the previous day.

Value My Time More

I’m self-admittedly really bad at this. Maybe it’s a millennial, guilt, or people-pleaser thing, I’m not sure. While this isn’t true for everything, I tend to value money over time more often than not. So, for example, even if I’m wasting a lot of valuable time doing one specific task every week, my inclination is to keep doing that thing – even if it’s taking up valuable time that I could be using for far more important things.

In other words, time is money. Why do I have such a hard time reminding myself of this?

Be More Kind to Myself

This sort of goes hand-in-hand with the last one. As I said the other day, I think this is something a lot of us could work on. Whether it’s in my DNA or what, I have the tendency to be hard on my myself in most aspects of my life. I touched on this last year in a post about work-life balance and how I was still sucking at it.

This has been a blessing at times, because it means I’m never really satisfied with anything and it inevitably makes me work harder. But, and excuse my language, it can also be a huge pain in the ass and truthfully, doesn’t really accomplish anything. So, my resolution is to be a bit more forgiving and kind to myself. If that means only going to the gym two times a week instead of four, or simply declaring that we’re eating cereal for dinner, that’s totally cool. There’s always tomorrow.

Take an Art Class + Start a New Hobby

This is one of my biggest resolutions for 2016 and I’m really, really excited about it! Whether I’ve completely figured it out yet is a different story. One of the things that I’ve realized in the last year or so is how much I miss having a hobby or doing some form of regular artwork. I used to do drawing and painting years and years ago and it’s something I really miss.

Photography and even cooking, to an extent, used to be these things to me (and still are a bit!), but I really want to do something that is completely and utterly unrelated to the blog.

After being inspired by Adrianna, I’m really hoping to take a pottery class this summer or next fall! Or simply, signing up for an art class at Chicago’s Art Institute. Not only would it be a great way to get inspired outside of work, but it is also an easy way to meet people and extend my social circle.

Finally Start Meal Planning

You guys, I’m the worst at this! [See third resolution.] I know. It’s sort of embarrassing since I make recipes all the time and have to organize all other types of cooking. Mostly, I’m just one of those people that has never had luck with meal planning, because I tend to crave certain things throughout the week – and inevitably, if I plan them out, I don’t end up feeling like any of those things.

But, I had the brilliant (or brilliant in my head!) idea yesterday to type out a brief grocery list under all of our favorite go-to dinners. I excluded any major pantry staples that I always have on hand, like olive oil, etc. Once I finish doing that, I’m going to divide the recipes into weekly meal plans (so five to six recipes for one week!) – and from that point, create one large master list of groceries for each week, so that we can reference them from this point forward. Once that’s finished, I’ll email the lists to both Connor and myself, so that one of us can always have access to them at the grocery store. That way we don’t forget anything or only buy 2-3 dinners worth of groceries at a time.

Many of the recipes are ones that I included on my ‘Best of 2015‘ post actually, if you’re interested!

Get Organized + Be More Intentional

I’m making strides on this! For whatever reason (perhaps it’s simply starting fresh with a new planner and notebook), I feel like I’m finally coming down with an effective organization system – for work, for the blog, for life – that will be easy to maintain and will actually make me more productive and intentional.

I’ve definitely come to realize, more so than ever, that I’m a paper and pen person. This is probably a side effect of doing everything else online, but it is what it is. If I have a large looming deadline and multiple things on my plate, I have to see it in front of me in a way that I can take it all in at once. Otherwise, I’ll procrastinate or simply, feel overwhelmed.

This year, I’m trying a less intense version of the bullet journal (for both personal and work related things – thanks to Kristen and Jessica!), as well as using my Day Designer. Since some things are just more practical online, I also discovered Trello (a free online organization tool) the other day too (thanks to Kara!). I feel like the combination of all three will be extremely helpful this year! If you’re interested in me writing more about this type of stuff – as I figure it out – please let me know and I’m happy to write some posts on it.

2016 Resolutions

Travel + Family Time

We actually did quite a bit of travel in 2015, but I’m really looking forward to doing more in 2016! Even if its simply taking a weekend trip to DC to visit my parents or New York and San Francisco to visit my sisters and brothers-in-law (and nephew, Arthur!). One of the side effects of moving to a city without family is that it makes you value spending time with family more than ever. As much as I’m always worried about impending deadlines and focusing on work, I’d really like to become better at disconnecting and make this a priority.

I’m also really hoping that I can make it to England next fall to visit my grandmother, who I haven’t seen in far too long. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do (and write about!), and I’m going to try to keep it up over the next year.

What are your resolutions and what are you most looking forward to in the next year? I’d love to know!