Resolutions for 2014


sorry for the late post, i came down with a nasty flu but i am finally back on my feet and ready to kick 2014's figurative arse.

now i know that not everyone is a fan of new years resolutions, and with good reason. new years resolutions trend towards all parts good intentions, zero part sustainability/commitment. that new gym membership you just signed up for? sure, you're hitting the gym five times a week NOW like a boss, but get back to me in two months when you're chillin on the sofa watching re-runs of "my cat from hell" and stuffing your face with papa johns. the problem? unrealistic expectations. too often we make these large sweeping goals: "in 2014, i am going to become a master chef, putting the likes of Wolfgang Puck to shame, all the while working out 7 days a week, getting 9 hours of sleep, being the most productive mother fucker at work, putting dinner on the table by 6, owning that title of perfect girlfriend, daughter and friend, and still find time to become a professional painter and dancer." yeah. not gonna happen. the key here is fitting in small life changes that are reasonable and feasable for your particular lifestyle as well as where you currently are in life. it's better to start with smaller goals as yearly resolutions, while still keeping the big picture in mind, and simply build upon each of your goals year after year. you aint foolin anyone with this year's aspirations of becoming the next hot shot classical piano player, but if your goal is to become an intermediate piano player, by this time, next year, you will have met that goal and can then work towards the middle intermediate level, and eventually advanced. you might not be selling out tickets at carnigie hall, but your piano keys will not be collecting dust and you will definitely be able to feel proud about yourself and wow some friends at parties with your classical rendition of queen instead of talking about how you could have become something really great if you had only trieeeed. you pickin up what i'm puttin down?

another pitfall is having too long of a list of concrete goals. two to five goals seem reasonable depending on thier size. this year, however, i have taken an even different approach, and that is to set a handful of lifestyle resolutions. what exactly differentiates lifestyle ones from concrete ones? well my dear friends, these are not resolutions like "learn how to surf" "learn how to sew" "start a youtube channel". these goals are more about changing attitudes and mindsets. i have had the same sort of concrete resolutions for a while like: read more, blog more, cook & bake more, take more photos, make music again etc. but my reasonsing for why i haven't yet been able to accomplish them to the best of my ability is because of certain lifestyle habits i have that are holding me back. change these things, and the rest should follow. so without further adeiu, my resolutions for 2014 (mostly lifestyle two concrete):

SAY NO. Sounds rather negative, right? well, not exactly. our biggest obstacle in meeting our goals is often too little time brought about by overextending ourselves. what exactly do i mean by that? how often do people hit you up for help or favors and how often are you actually able to say a big fat resounding "no"? if you are like me, you often take on everything and leave very little time for yourself. being helpful is a positive and likeable trait in a person, but it should not come at the cost of your own goals and productivity. and anyway how helpful to others can you truly be when you are run down and tired from always overextending yourself all the time?

TRAVEL MORE. okay, so this one is a concrete goal. i am lucky enough to do a substantial amount of travel. i tend to make 1-2 trips to the us yearly, and although i always have a wonderful time, this is more obligation than travel for liesure, as i go to see family and friends and catch up with everyone, which limits me to virginia, new jersey, and new york. in the past few years, i was fortunate enough to travel to a bunch of cities in california, paris, vienna, fuerte ventura and munich, but i want to make it a point to see more and vary my form of travel. now i am a sucker for well-designed spaces and comfort, so i tend to like to stay in nice hotels and really just zen-out on my holidays, as well as take in the culture and important sites and i am hoping to fit many more of these kinds of holidays into my life, but i want to also do some backpacking across south asia ... wait for it ... alone. yup that's right. i really want to just fill a backpack paired down to the essentials and travel for a few weeks by myself before 35. call it a life-discovery trip, if you will. in addition to this longer term goal, i just want to make the most of my time here in europe and try to be more flexible with travel on the weekends.

SAVE MONEY. another concrete goal. the pratical reasons for this one are pretty self explanitory but it's also important to me from an ethical and sustainable standpoint to be less wrapped up in an ego-driven and constumeristic mindset and more aware of how my spending habits impact the environment and in turn, others. i'm always going to love shopping, and we are entitled to a certain amount of luxury, especially if that money is our hard-earned cash, but there is plenty we can do without if we just try.

PRIORITIZE. along with overextending oneself and having too many things planned all the time comes prioritizing. you know that phrase, jack of all trades but expert at none? story of my life. aspirations are always good but too many means that nothing really ever gets accomplished. prioritizing means really forcing oneself to discover what really is important - and sacrifice is a big part of this. some things just HAVE to fall by the wayside in order to make enough time and room to become good at what we really want. prioritizing isn't only about ranking things from important to least important, it's also about cutting things out completely. i also have this really bad habit of never knowing when to stop one task and start a new one, so along with prioritization is finding the right time for each task and not running over.

ME TIME. i don't really have any particular concrete ideas for how to spend me time. it's just important to me to make sure to make it a priority to set aside time for myself each week - and not the evening-in-alone-watching-tv-but-checking-instagram-every-5-minute kind. serious zen-out lit candles, bathtime, relaxatoion music, introspective calm time. along these lines, it is also important this year for me to take care of myself. that means watching that i eat things that are good for me, do things that are good for me, like exercise, and taking care of myself - for example i am making it my mission to have the best damned skin ever this year. me time is also about learning to enjoy my own company and to learn what it means to be alone but not lonely. (my self-discovery trip ties in nicely here.)

BE CONSISTENT. this particular goal is a really big one for me. i tend to get extremely motivated about x,y, and z for a period of time and burn out. i am really hoping to just become more consistent at everything in order to keep my level of productivity constant and be able to achieve all that there is to acheive this year. i really feel like for me personally, this is my ticket to success.

SLOW DOWN. i tend to be a multi-tasking freak. i blame the internet for this. and television, and my iphone, and, and ... since my day job as well as online work requires me to be constantly connected, i feel like i always have to be doing some sort of work, be it preparing a blog post, learning more programming, updating instagram, catching up on other blogs, etc. because of this, i have sort of lost the art of just being calm and enjoying life. i mean i start getting antsy 5 minutes into reading an article on the internet no matter how interesting it is for godsake. the goal here is to really slow down and savor simple moments in life as well as the big ones and just learn to be more present in the now instead of doling out parts of myself in every direction. it's about being less fractured and more whole.

RESPONSIBILITY. for me this is another part of being consistent as well as saying no. i want to be 100% responsible for what i put myself out there for and not feel guilty or responsible for what i shouldn't be worrying about. with responsibilty comes reliability and i want to be the kind of person people can depend on.

so this is my grand list of resolutions for 2014, and i will be trying to remind myself of these goals at every turn to make 2014 the most productive year yet. what kind of goals have you set out for yourself? please share in the comments below. would love to hear about them.

lg, Rae
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