For many people, January is the time to set intentions or goals for the year. As an avid journaler and business owner, my thoughts have been lingering on goals for the year as well. I’m looking to be positive and set my goals to leave room for restrictions that will still be in place from 2020 with COVID. If you’re also wanting to set some goals but want to make sure they’re doable with our current environment, here are some “usual” goals and ideas for how to alter them for this year.
- Travel more → Explore my own area
Find a new park, lake, hike, restaurant or cute town nearby and make an adventure out of it. If you’re feeling ambitious, set a goal to do so once a month all year. Many of us set out to explore the world and miss the magic of places nearby. Here’s the perfect time to find some hidden gems close to home.
- Save money → Spend mindfully
With a lot of people being affected financially during the pandemic, it’s a great time to get in the habit of planning your spending for the next month before it begins. Write down all of your regular expenses (housing, utilities, groceries, gas, etc) and calculate how much you have left after the necessities are taken care of. Decide how much you are going to put aside for savings, if possible. And lastly, write down all the extra things you plan to spend money on, like a birthday gift for a family member, new clothes for your toddler, a few extra household items you want to stock up on, or a family date night to get ice cream. When you have a plan, it gives so much peace of mind and allows you to spend without guilt or worry as you know it’s in the budget.
- Eat healthier → Prepare my own food
It seems like many people use New Year's resolutions to focus on their eating from cooking with more vegetables to drinking more water to cutting back on sugar. I think one way to eat healthier in a less regimented way (because this last year had enough stress already!) is just to focus on making more of your own food at home. You can look up recipes online, buy the Joanna Gaines cookbook, or experiment on your own. By cooking your own meals, it’ll force you to think about which groceries you need to buy and what you’ll be making, which gives you opportunities to throw in an extra veggie or two, grab a premade salad, or stock up on frozen fruit for smoothies. Plus it’ll remind you to leave time for meals in your schedule so you can throw in some oatmeal while getting ready in the morning instead of grabbing fast food on your way to work. Being more mindful of your food and cooking process will help you eat healthier in a low-stress way without pressure to eat healthy ALL the time. I mean, is there really anyone out there who wants to cut chocolate out this year? Definitely not me.
- Spend more time with family and friends → Fully enjoy time with family and friends
For many this past year, time with family and friends has not been as frequent as we may have hoped. And that may not be in our control for a while longer, so instead of making a goal for more time, maybe consider making a goal for quality time. Whenever you can be together, put the phones down, try a new activity together, and find new ways to bond. Even if you can’t be physically together, there are ways to feel closer: get the same paint-by-number as a family member and talk on the phone while you each paint. Send each other real letters in the mail. If you try a new recipe that you love, send it on to someone else you know will love it. You might have to get creative, but you can still feel connection this year.
- Be more active→ Move my body daily
Many of us have spent a lot more time at home than usual, and with that it’s been easy to sit for long periods of time working or watching Netflix. While that’s part of life right now, I know I feel SO MUCH BETTER if I plan in some ways to move my body every day. Even if you don’t have the energy to go for a run or follow a workout video, there are lots of ways to move that don’t take a lot of effort. Here are a few ideas: 1. Stretch your body for 2-3 minutes right when you roll out of bed. Touch your toes, roll your shoulders, and stretch the stiffness out. 2. Chase your kids around the house - this one gets the whole family involved and laughing (hopefully no crying). 3. Set a timer to stand up and walk around every hour. 4. Take a family walk around the block after dinner to get some fresh air. 5. Sneak in a few exercises while microwaving your food or brushing your teeth - calf raises, jumping jacks, squats or arm curls with a dumbbell. Anything you do - even if it’s miniscule - will help lower stress, show your body your appreciation for it, and add more energy.
- Organize the whole house → Organize one thing
Anyone else watch shows like The Home Edit or Marie Kondo and find yourself wanting to completely overhaul your home organization? Just me? While that’s not a bad goal, and if you have the time, money and energy to do that, GO RIGHT AHEAD, some of us may have smaller abilities and capacities right now. So just choose one thing that bothers you the most and make a little change every week or two. If your pantry is overflowing and half of the food is expired, start there. If your kid’s dresser won’t close and the clothes inside are three sizes too small, tackle that. And then after you finish that one thing, you can be done for now. Or if you find more energy, tackle one more project. Work with smaller-sized goals this year to see what you’re really up for.
- Read more → Read (#) books
Instead of setting a big, ongoing goal like read two books a month all year, this is the year to pick a set number of books that is reasonable and doable for your life stage, and then actually do it. So if you have a few littles at home and are also working, maybe your number for the year will be three books. If you have older kids and have a little more free time, maybe set your number a little higher. Whatever your number, make it completely possible so you set yourself up for success. We all could use some wins after 2020. And then, once you reach your number, you can just keep on going if you have more year left.
For bonus points: in addition to setting a number, write down the specific book titles you want to read and in what order you’re going to tackle them. And then figure out how to fit this into your life. Maybe you read 10 minutes a night before bed, or maybe you take the kids one weekend so your spouse can have some free time and then they take them the next weekend so you can get your reading in. Get creative and fit in those books. I mean, what other hobby is so good for the mind and benefits you in so many ways? I could happily read in all my spare time, so I’m for sure trying to find ways to fit in some quality books this year.
Hope these ideas help you as you decide what your upcoming year will look like. If you need a fabulous place to record your goals for this year, we know of some great handmade leather journals ;). Happy New Year!