2017 Resolutions

2017 New Years Resolutions_feistyharriet_Jan 2017

I really love New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve made them my whole adult life and probably have, on average, a 60% completion rate in any given year. Frankly, I am quite thrilled with this (totally extra super scientific) statistic. However, over the last few weeks as I’ve been trying to come up with resolutions for 2017 I went back through the last several years and realized, with a bit of horror, that my resolutions are almost exactly the same, year after year.

Let me explain.

Once upon a time (cough, 2011) I read 13 books for the year. This may seem like a pretty solid number for some of you, and that is TOTALLY FINE! But for me, it was jaw dropping, because I liked to describe myself as a bookworm, I would drive hundreds of miles for a used book sale for crying out loud, how could I–a self-professed bookaholic–only manage to read 13 books that year? Well, part of it was I was finishing my last semester of college, and I wasn’t counting college texts as “reading” (Das Kapital, I’m looking at you, you big lug!). But I realized that I was not prioritizing reading in practice nearly as much as I was in my head. So, for 2012 I made a resolution to read 50 books, a huge jump. Goodreads tells me I read 59 that year, a number that has continued to increase year after year. At this point, I no longer need to make a resolution to read a suitable-to-me-number of books per year, because bookaholic-level reading is now enough of a habit that I would do it regardless.

But my other annual resolution things? The ones involving healthy eating and regular exercise and more financially savvy spending/saving habits? Yeah…those aren’t habits yet. I will go a few months doing really well, and then make a flying leap off the bandwagon and go wander around in a corn field for a while. Or something. Metaphors aren’t always my thing, okay?

Finalizing my resolutions, I realized that some are so similar year after year because I have yet to commit them to Life Habits That I Don’t Need To Check Off A List, they are still aspirations that need constant reminding and tending and some kind of reward system. And…I think that’s okay? Yes, I think it is. I know I will be happier and healthier if I replace some of those cookies with green beans, and some of the Netflix sessions with a walk around the neighborhood. But my natural state is more sloth-and-cookies, not green beans-and-cardio, so back onto the Resolution list it goes.

Like previous years, I tend to have a few categories with a couple of co-dependent goals in each one, the goals work together to help me accomplish something great within that category. So, here it goes.

2017 Resolutions
  • Create a weekly schedule every Sunday, stick to it (this has worked SO WELL for meal planning and grocery shopping, time to apply that kind of planning to the rest of my life.
  • Write daily, including posts three times per week on feistyharriet.com.
  • Dedicate time to create something/work on a creative project at least twice per month.
  • Select a Master’s program and submit the damn application.
  • Figure out a “Date Your Spouse” project with Mr. Blue Eyes, deliberately creating time and space for our relationship to strengthen and deepen.
  • Back to my “fighting weight” (I have never been in a physical fight), which requires another 25 pounds of weight loss. After losing 25 pounds earlier this year and then keeping it off, I am ready to start Phase II of this project!
    • Sweat or be active four days per week, at least 30 minutes.
    • Three 4-week stretches of no sugars whatsoever (including most carbohydrates). I am in the first week of stretch #1, I’ll choose two other months to do this kind of “reset” thru the year.
    • Continue regular meal planning, cooking dinners at home, and healthy eating.
  • Landscaping in the front yard (we did the backyard this year and I LOVE IT SO MUCH!)
  • Finish painting the kids’ bedrooms
  • Host six dinner parties (something I’ve always WANTED to do on the regular, but am always too worried it won’t be perfect so I don’t even send an invite. Want to conquer this bizarre fear this year.
  • Three “no spend” months (January, August, and another one, TBD)
  • Make an automatic monthly transfer into my savings account that is untouchable, it’s not being saved for a project or trip, it’s just being set aside for later.
  • [Redacted resolution about work/money stuffs…not ready to blog about it yet]
  • Use my passport! Twice!?
  • Visit two new National Parks
  • Go camping, at least overnight, four times this year. We’ve got all the gear, I want to use it!

And there it is! It’s kind of a lot, but also most are things I am at least attempting to make a consistent part of my life already, my hope is that 2017 will be the year I finally level up in adulting: taking care of my body, taking care of my relationships, taking care of my finances, and taking care of my needs for a creative outlet, and adventure.

What are your resolutions this year?


2016’s Resolutions: Recap

I know a lot of people poo-poo on New Year’s Resolutions, however I really enjoy having a guiding list of priorities for the year, even if I don’t end up hitting all those priorities. Last January I came up with seven things that I knew would stretch me, but also that would be manageable if I kept at it. As 2016 winds down, it’s time to recap how I did:

2016 Resolutions: End Results
  • Sweat four times per week: running, yoga, exercise class, whatever
    • I was hit and miss with this one; from March thru October I did this consistently and I ended up losing 30 pounds. I…have not been very good at it since. Need to get back on the wagon.
  • Consistent meal planning and healthy eating
    • Yes! I’ve been keeping a grocery list and meal plan list on the side of the fridge, and I have been really good at making a healthy plan and then sticking to it for the week. Win!
  • Consistent writing: blog, notebook, and/or personal journal
    • Yes!! Not only have I blogged consistently here for the last year (my goal was to publish here three times per week, or 156 times for the year. I am currently sitting at a cool 146, which makes me really happy.
    • Additionally, I have been writing a few sentences about my day in a diary-planner type book, and I’ve loved flipping back through it to see what book I was reading, what I was looking forward to, or what was frustrating me. I will do this again.
  • Set and stick to household budget, bulk up savings and retirement plan
    • Yes!! I paid off all my personal debt this year, and my savings and retirement accounts both are beefier than they have ever been! I will continue to focus on this for 2017 to ensure I’m solidifying these better financial habits.
  • Family camping trip with the kiddos
    • Not exactly. I went camping by myself. Blue Eyes and I went camping. The four of us went to Montana for a week and spent the bulk of it outside in the mountains doing camping-type things, but we stayed in a cabin, not a tent or trailer. So…kind of? I’m counting it.
  • Visit two new National Parks
    • Yes! I actually visited three new-to-me parks! Joshua Tree, Sequoia, and King’s Canyon
  • Learn Spanish
    • Uh, no. I spent a little bit of time with Rosetta Stone, but this was not nearly the kind of priority that I had planned on it being. Oops.

Ok, so of the seven I rocked four of them, one (camping) I’m counting as a “yes”, one (working out) was a solid B+, and one (Spanish) was a big fat fail. Overall, I am not mad about this. I mean, 2016 was a dumpster fire in many ways, I am happy with how I did on this list.

How about you? How did you do on your resolutions?


2016 Resolutions

For the last several years I have been pretty good about thinking about, selecting, and writing down resolutions at the beginning of the year complete with action plan. I have been less successful with actually keeping those resolutions, but overall I think I do okay at it.

Last year I had a single resolution: live deliberately, with passion and grace. I was not graceful for 365 days of the year, but I did much better than previous years; I felt I was more deliberate, more passionate, and moderately more graceful dealing with the hurdles and joys that were thrown my way. I am going to mark my 2015 resolution with a big, fat COMPLETE!

This year seems like a much bigger Fresh Start. Blue Eyes and I are finally living together, I’m  in a new state, new (to us) home, new work environment, new schedules and commitments and priorities. I have been working on a list of resolutions that will both stretch my physically and emotionally, but will also help solidify some positive patterns and habits.

2016 Resolutions

  • Sweat four times per week: running, yoga, exercise class, whatever
    • For the first time in a decade I think I may join a gym, I think the interaction with other humans will be good for me after hours and hours of working at home by myself every day.
  • Consistent meal planning and healthy eating
    • Mr. Blue Eyes and I are in this one together, we both have some nasty sugary/chips-and-salsa/mac-and-cheesy based habits we’d like to break.
  • Consistent writing: blog, notebook, and/or personal journal (minimum 5 times per week)
    • I received a few empty notebooks as an early Christmas present and have been doing this for a few weeks already. I forgot how much I like writing down my thoughts and frustrations and dreams. And I mean writing, with an actual pen, in a leather-bound notebook
  • Set and stick to household budget, bulk up savings and retirement plan
    • Living under one roof will drastically change our finances, we have a Budget Meeting already planned to figure this out. Sexy, no?
  • Family camping trip with the kiddos
    • Bonus for a backpacking trip with gorgeous scenery involved
  • Visit two new National Parks
    • Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
    • Saguaro National Park, Arizona
  • Learn Spanish
    • Ok, I know I can’t become fluent in one year, but I want to work on improving my skills regularly, and hopefully by this time next year I will be more conversant. (Blue Eyes gave me the Rosetta Stone-Spanish box-set for Christmas and a coworker has promised to practice with me, this is a calculated move!)

Looking over this list, it seems like most of my resolutions fall under the key word consistency. Consistent exercising, consistent healthy eating, consistent writing, consistent budgeting, and consistent practicing Spanish. It’s just as well, I suppose, the last few years have been so full of ups and downs and loop-de-loops and reverses and roller coaster explosions, a little structure and consistency* will probably do be good right now. With some adventures thrown in for good measure, of course.

*Dear Universe: Please don’t throw me a massive curve ball in February, just because you can, mmmkay?

Do you write resolutions? Do you keep resolutions? Are you a one-resolution-per-year kind of person? Or do you make a list of 19 things?

Harriet sig

Everything changed, and it will change again

I work in higher education and it always seems that Back to School season is an appropriate time to re-evaluate and reassess my first-of-the-year goals. In January I decided to live deliberately, with passion and grace this year. I feel like this is a two-steps-forward, one-step-back process, and it probably should be that way, right? I certainly am not one of those (fictional) individuals who is born with and maintains perfect grace in the face of Life. But, I feel like I am slowly coming to a place of acceptance of the things I cannot change or dictate, while living the hell out of the pieces of my life I do have control over. Sometimes with grace, sometimes with lots of swear words and chocolate. Overall, I think that my ratios are in a pretty good place.


In the first six months, everything changed.

So far this year I have made the unanticipated and enormous decision to leave my job (my wonderful, wonderful job), leave my apartment, postpone a Master’s degree, and move 700 miles away to join my sweetheart. This decision has colored every aspect of my life, sometimes with giddiness, sometimes with fear, and often times with a melancholy sadness. I am simultaneously trying to get the most out of my remaining time here in Salt Lake, to maximize time with my dear friends, to memorize the smells and sounds of my beloved mountains, to go on adventures and cross things off my Utah to-do/to-visit/to-explore list. And then there are days when I refuse to answer the message notifications on my phone, when I refuse to even leave my house, and yes–a few times–when I just do not get out of bed because the idea of so much change is overwhelmingly nauseating and it seems the best plan of action is to ignore everything and everyone until I can breathe again.

Change is a bitch, yo. And so far 2015 has been full of it.

In the next six months, everything will change again.

I will finish up my work responsibilities mid-December and be completely moved to Arizona before we (Blue Eyes and his kiddos) make the long trek to Montana for Christmas. Because the least stressful time to move is right before a giant holiday spent 1,000 from the home now being threatened by towers of unpacked boxes. Obviously. I’ll need to figure out a new job situation and readjust to living with my sweetheart after years of being apart. I’ll need to figure out how, exactly, my role as step-mom will fit into the lives of two busy kiddos (ages 10 and almost 13) (!!!!). I’ll need to figure out the layout of my new grocery store, and understand the complexities of a much larger freeway system. I’ll need to navigate new relationships and finding friends and a new tribe of My People. I’ll need to….

This is the part where my brain gets pretty overloaded with anxiety and I start to shut down. I am overwhelmed and scared and the “What if’s” start to pile up around me. I can already predict that my biggest priority for next year will be to remember to breathe. To take each day on its own terms, and to find something positive in each day.

How are you doing on your 2015 resolutions? Have you made any major unplanned overhauls in your life? Do you have any tips for getting through some major life upheaval while maintaining your sanity?

Harriet sig

To resolve, or not to resolve…

The internet is abuzz today with lists of resolutions on the same 8 topics: fitness, money, health, work, travel, spirituality, creative outlets, and relationships. Last year I made some very specific goals within each of those topics and I didn’t complete any of them. I mean, not a single one! I made what I thought were manageable goals and wrote out a detailed action plan…and with the exception of a few weeks here or there I was too overwhelmed with all of it to follow through. And I discovered that the problem with well-intended goals like “exercise 3 times per week” is that if/when you miss a few weeks (or months) in a row it can seem impossible to catch up. And honestly, after 2 months of failing I pretty much gave up completely.

So. Here we are. January 2015: a brand new year without any mistakes in it. Yet.

To resolve, or not to resolve; that is the question. And to be honest I’ve spent several hours in the last two weeks writing down lists, crossing things off, re-writing, rearranging, re-crossing…and my final list looks an awful lot like my 2014 list, which, um, was a pretty solid fail. So, while I will strive to improve in the quintessential areas of fitness/money/health/work/travel/spirituality/creativity/relationships, those goals are not what I want to write about today.

In 2015 I want to live deliberately with passion and grace. I want to live each day, enjoy each day, but I also want to plan and prepare for future happiness and emotional and physical well-being. I want to maximize both the short and long-run experiences of 2015 in all aspects of my life. Next December I want to look back and see a year of experiences—both positive and sucktacular, joyful and heart wrenching—and I want to feel satisfied that I handled each situation with intentional behavior and deliberate choices, I want to feel that I was passionate and engaged in the outcomes. And it would be a huge bonus if I felt that, more often than not, I exercised some level of grace in those situations.

Will this be more difficult than a list I can check off or a chart where I can award myself stars? Maybe. Will the end result be better? I really hope so. I’ve never had a mission statement for a year before, I’ve always been pretty much a New Year Resolutions kind of girl, so this will be an experiment and I hope it helps me throughout the year to reassess and reevaluate how I view individual situations and how I respond with my overall behavior.

Live deliberately, with passion and grace.

Harriet sig