How intentional are you about how you spend your time? Although I’m not one for blanket resolutions that intend to overhaul my current life, I do like to be thoughtful about what I want to accomplish in the coming months and years. With the passing of the holidays and a fresh calendar, January felt like a great time to reflect on what I want for 2019.
A few years back, I started writing a List of 100 Dreams. From big to small, it captures 100 things I’d like to accomplish in my lifetime. If you haven’t tried it, you should. I found it pretty easy to come up with about 50 goals, but getting to 100 requires some deeper thinking and focus on the small things (which are often the goals you can actually execute on more easily).
Over the years, I’ve updated the list to take off things that no longer resonate with me and add new items that become priorities. I also sit with M every year and he updates his list too. Then we compare our lists and notice the shared priorities as well as add a few things to our own lists mentioned by the other person.
For 2019, I wanted to be more intentional about using my time in ways that felt meaningful. Scanning Instagram in all my spare moments often leaves me feeling frantic more than full. I want to get away from that.
First, I put my List of 100 Dreams (previously stored in Evernote) onto small index cards on a bulletin board near my desk so I can see them more easily. Then, I separated out the ones I wanted to accomplish (or at least make progress toward) during 2019.
They vary in breadth and ease. Some are personal, others work or blog related. Here are 19 goals I set for 2019, and because we are 12 days into the year, I have a few updates on some of them.
1. No Shopping From Amazon (Gasp!)
We have Amazon Prime, and our boys watch plenty of shows on Prime. Although the boys don’t watch endless television shows, I really like Prime shows because they don’t have any commercials (which inevitably result in the boys begging me for the crap being advertised on those commercials). Watching Prime instead of mesmerizing commercials or YouTube videos is well worth our annual membership fee.
We also have an Audible subscription, and the boys and I use it daily. I recently learned about Libro.fm which allows you to purchase audio books through your local bookstore. I have to learn more about it and will definitely report back with my findings.
That being said, Amazon seems to be taking over our world (or maybe that’s just me), and they don’t have the best reputation as an employer. Amazon as a behemoth organization drives prices down dramatically and might just be leading us in a race to the bottom.
For 2019, I’m setting a goal to not buy any physical products from Amazon. I plan to create a recurring series on the blog of Amazon Alternatives, so you can start to explore alternatives to the retail (and more) behemoth as well.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but thanks to Alden of Ecocult for inspiring me to actually put this to paper and set it as a goal for the year when she shared 23 Powerful New Years Resolutions for Sustainable, Ethical, and Conscious Fashion Consumers.
2. Own a Little Free Library
Little Free Libraries are so fun! They are free-standing boxes that house a few dozen books and live by the motto of “Take a Book Leave a Book”. We don’t live in a high foot traffic area, so I don’t know how much activity it will get. But I think it’s a great way to create a gathering point for our neighbors and an awesome way to land a few fun book recommendations.
3. Visit 25 Little Free Libraries
In addition to having our own, I’d love to visit a bunch of Little Free Libraries in my area and while I’m traveling. I can’t wait to see the collections of books in each library and maybe even leave a few of our books in the boxes.
4. Make 10 DIY Bulk and Produce Bags
I have a few bulk and produce bags that I use pretty regularly, but I never seem to have enough when I’m at the grocery store. I plan to make them as simply as possibly using some old t-shirts I have as well as a bit of lightweight fabric I bought from the thrift shop a few weeks ago. Maybe I’ll even do a little DIY tutorial on the blog?
5. Use It Up
This goal is a bit general, but I want to carry this principle through the year. I started being more intentional about this a few months ago, but it’s not something I’ve always been great about. For example, I want to be sure that we use all of our school snacks before I buy more from the grocery store. I have been trying to use up the beauty products I have before buying shiny new alternatives. I even have some online courses about photography that I need to complete before I buy anything new. We have so much “stuff” already that I want to be sure we use what we have before we just keeping buying all the things.
Creative & Personal Goals
6. Read 24 Books
Two years ago, I met my goal to read 24 books. Last year, I only read 11 books, but I really want get back to my goal of 24. I expect this to be the best benefit from not spending so much time scrolling through Instagram mindlessly.
So far, I’ve read three and half books and have been carrying a book with me in my purse. No excuses if I’ve always got a book with me!
7. Complete The Guided365 Photography Course
If you follow me on Instagram (and I’d love if you did!), you know that I have been sharing photos prompted by lessons in a Guided 365 project (365 for one photo each day of the year). I’ve had a “fancy” DSLR camera for years, and I’ve slowly learned how to use it well.
This year, however, I want to make a big leap in the quality of my photos. I hope that following through on these daily lessons will help me master my camera and learn how to take the amazing photos I see floating around on so many other Instagram accounts.
8. Make 2 Photobooks For Our Family
I take A LOT of photos. Many live on Instagram and ultimately land in the Chatbooks that arrive on auto pilot in my mailbox. Most, however, never make it off my the thumb drive where I so diligently store them. Making detailed photo books for every month or trip or event is not in the cards for me, but I’d like to make at least two this year that summarize the highlights of our family life.
9. Knit A Sweater
Last winter, I bought a beginner sweater making kit from We Are Knitters. I never got around to learning how to knit, but I think it’s a great activity to relax for a bit before bed a couple of times per week. Finishing up this lingering project fits in my “use it up” goal. I was a bit unsure about how much I would follow through on this, because it felt so overwhelming to start.
Then little J asked if I would teach him how to knit. Heck yeah! That afternoon, we watched three We Are Knitters videos to learn the beginner basics, and I feel so much more confident that I can actually do this. My mom saw the post and wants to get on board too. She already knows how to knit but will probably hold me accountable. 🙂 I’ll take it!
10. Learn Adobe Lightroom
I edit most of my photos in Photoshop, but I hear Lightroom is much more manageable. I’ve dabbled with the software a handful of times, and it just doesn’t resonate with me. I plan to take some tutorials for a good start, and then hopefully can figure out what I need after that.
11. Beat My Sisters In Our Fitness Challenge
I have four sisters. Last summer, we started a monthly competition whereby we compete to see who can work out the most. We share our wins and workout counts in a DM group on Instagram. So far, I’ve won a whopping zero times despite being a relatively consistent runner up. The winner each month gets a $5 payout from the other sisters, so we have a small incentive to win. I’m determined to win at least once!
Travel & Entertainment Goals
We have already laid out most of our travel plans for the year, so these goals feel a bit like cheating. However, we are diligent about planning our travel in advance to ensure that it happens. There’s still plenty to execute like buying flights and actually doing it, so in my book, these totally count!
12. Visit Banff & Lake Louise
In August, my family (sisters, significant others and parents) plan to spend five days in Banff, Alberta to celebrate a big birthday for my mom. We have yet to plan exactly what we will do (if you have ideas, do share!). I anticipate some hiking, fishing, relaxing and taking plenty of photos. I’m really looking forward to this trip!
13. Visit California and Minnesota With My Boys
We live near M’s family, but we don’t see my family that often. We meet up a couple of times each year, and I recognize we are lucky to be able to do this considering we live on opposite sides of the country. However, I try to make it a priority to get out to California (where three of my sisters live) and Minnesota (where my parents live) at least once a year with my boys.
14. Visit Bryce & Zion National Parks
I still need to buy flights, but we have our hotel for a trip with M’s family to visit Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah. I’ve never been to that part of the country, and I’m pumped to check it out. I’m a little nervous about the hiking only because I have no experience and don’t even know what to wear, but I’m sure we will figure it all out before then. It’s definitely going to be a summer spent outdoors!
15. Attend the Mummer’s Parade
When I saw the forecast for January 1 this year, I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the sunny, 60 degree day to check out the Mummer’s Parade. This parade is a Philadelphia tradition that is hard to explain, but it’s essentially an amateur parade put on by various social clubs in the city and the participants all wear crazy costumes.
There’s a long history as the parade started nearly 120 years ago. Every year on New Year’s Day, these social clubs strut down the main street in Center City Philadelphia. Although we didn’t drink, it’s a pretty wild day with plenty of drinking along the sidewalks and by the parade participants.
I don’t know that we need to attend every year, but I loved having the opportunity (in nice weather!) to get to know a staple of the local culture.
16. Read To My Boys At Least 6 Nights A Week
Reading with my boys each night is a regular part of our routine, so I don’t think this will be a hard goal to execute (except when we travel). But it’s so important to me that I include it on my list of goals each year. Last year, we kicked off the year with the 31 Day Read Aloud Challenge, which transformed my older son’s reading.
17. Make A Meal Plan Each Week
I’ve been pretty diligent about this for a while, and it’s really helpful each night as dinner time approaches. We don’t follow the plan specifically, but having a plan and ensuring we have all ingredients to execute on the plan ensures that we always have a reliable dinner option that I don’t have to think up in the most stressful part of our day.
18. Weekly Date Night
A while back, M and I scheduled a babysitter to come watch the boys every Tuesday night so we could go out together. Over time, we’ve switched the night depending on our schedule and the babysitter’s calendar. We’ve skipped weeks here and there. But we always default to a weekly date night and only take it off the calendar if we just can’t find time that week.
It’s been so great for us! It’s not always a fancy date. Sometimes we go for a run or attend a yoga class. We’ve used the night to go Christmas shopping, test drive new cars, or just grab a bite to eat. I want to continue doing this in 2019!
19. Learn To Play Cribbage with My Boys
It’s more accurate to say re-learn, I suppose, because I played this game as a kid with my dad. But I have little recollection of the rules. We bought T a cribbage board for Christmas, and he’s getting old enough to play more adult-level board and card games with us. I want to sit down, relearn the rules, and add this to our arsenal of games we can play together.
Is 19 Goals Too Many?
19 goals for one year might seem like a lot, considering most people don’t stick to their New Year’s Resolutions for more than a few weeks. Having intentions, however, helps keep me on track and gives me something toward which to be accountable. Further, many of these things are not “new” items I’m trying to squeeze into my life. They’re just alternate ways to spend time doing things I otherwise already do.
We take vacations each year, and this year we planned nearly all of them in advance. I play games with my boys already, and I want to spend some of that time re-learning cribbage. The same goes for several of my goals.
In the end, if I don’t accomplish them all fully but I get darn close, I still think that’s a big win! What do you have on tap for this year? Have you been intentional about what you want 2019 to look like for you and your family?