I know people have mixed views about New Year’s resolutions, but I, for one, love making them. I love the idea of starting fresh and over again, and setting intentions for the year ahead. New Year’s always feels to me like a blank slate. You can wipe clean the hardships and heartbreaks and mistakes of the previous year and start fresh with new goals and intentions for who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. (You can see my resolutions from last year here and the year before here.)
Still, I almost skipped making any New Year’s resolutions this year. Our lives have been so crazy, and I’ve been so focused on enjoying every last minute of my maternity leave before I go back to work (and getting as much done as I can). But I’m a firm believer in writing down your goals, and after spending last year focused mostly on having a healthy pregnancy and enjoying every minute of our new family of four, I want to set some intentions for this year, both personal and professional.
I know people had mixed reviews, but 2019 was actually really good to our family. We had a really rough 2018, and I was so overjoyed to start 2019 off pregnant after struggling for what seemed so long, that I really was elated the whole year, despite its ups and downs. In fact, it’s funny but I don’t remember the lows (or really most of the highs) — just that I was so happy to be pregnant, that we bought our first home, that we renovated and moved, that we welcomed a baby girl, and that we became a family of four.
But now I’m ready to set some intentions for the year to come. So in no particular order, here are my New Year’s resolutions or, really, my goals for 2020.
1. Post to the blog three times a week
I know I haven’t been the best about this lately, but I want to get back on track. Do you like when I post Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays or are there other days you’d prefer I post?
2. Grow the blog
I really want to focus more on growing this blog and community. I have some metrics that I want to hit this year, and they’re aggressive, but I’m ready to challenge myself and really invest in this side hobby that has become so meaningful to me over the last few years. I need your help though: What would you like to see more of – personal posts? Parenting? Interiors? Style? Let me know.
3. Finish designing our house
We’re still in the early stages, but I would like to have the majority of our home decorated and furnished by next year. My larger goal is to sell it in two years and while I don’t know that I’ll ever be a forever home person, I’d like to tackle our next renovation project on a bigger scale. I also hope to grow our family (I know, I know, I just had a baby, I’m insane) and since renovating and moving while pregnant and with a newborn was so much fun, I figure we should do it again. But don’t worry people, this is a more long term goal. I just want to feel settled by next year.
4. Schedule regular date nights and time alone with the hubs
Over the past few years since welcoming James, date night and spending time one on one has really been moved to the back burner. We both work full-time and have really demanding jobs, so when I’m not working, I like to be with the kids and when they’re sleeping, I usually am too or working on this blog. But I have come to realize the importance of spending time one on one and squeezing in date nights, even when we’re exhausted. It reminds us we’re in this together and melts aways some of the daily resentment that I think is inevitable when you’re trying to raise babies and toddlers on zero sleep. Plus, I want to show our children the foundation of a strong marriage and family. I want to set something we can keep and with work and travel, weekly date nights are just not going to happen rn. Wo my goal is for us to go on a kid-free date once a month and to take at least one kid-free trip this year, even if it’s just one night away.
5. Have a more active social life
Another thing that really went down the wayside when we had kids? Our social life. The past couple years we really haven’t had one to speak of, and when we moved, I was really excited to change that. I think it’s important for us to make friends and build a community for James and Charlotte, but also for us. We always feel better after we hang out with other parents and commiserate. I also want a mom tribe that I can turn to with questions and struggles — it’s where I get some of the best advice (although I also consider this community my mom tribe and the advice and support I’ve gotten from you all has been invaluable). We are in the process of joining a club in our new nabe, which I think will really help. It creates built-in socialization and activities. I also signed up as class mom for James’ preschool to get more involved and get to know the other families. I am usually the person who doesn’t show up at every event because honestly, I’m an introvert at heart, but I’ve been forcing myself and our family to do everything, say yes to every invitation, and I’m glad we are. It’s been good for the whole family, and unexpected benefit? I’m finding it’s good for our marriage too. It kind of reminds you why you fell for your spouse in a different way and helps you to have more fun together.
6. Work on my patience and model the type of behavior I want in my kids
I have to admit, James has really tested my patience these last several months, especially since turning three. I find myself yelling more than I want (which is never because I really never want to yell and it kills me when I do). A lot of it is the stress of renovations, new baby, no sleep, etc. But he’s also a strong willed, super high energy three year old who is fighting for his independence, testing boundaries, and has a serious temper. I know it gets worse when I’m not being patient or I yell, so I’m really trying to work on myself, on remaining calm, walking away when I feel myself being overwhelmed, setting boundaries so I don’t get super annoyed and overwhelmed, and trying my best to model the behavior I want to see in him. It’s not easy, and I find myself failing at it more than I’d like, but I’m going to commit this year to really being more calm and patient with my kids, with my husband and myself. This includes not fighting, even passive aggressively with Andrew. I know James is paying attention and even when I feel slighted or annoyed or resentful, or if I don’t agree with a parenting decision he makes (or vice versa), we need to model respectful, loving behavior toward each other and show that we’re a united front.
7. Push myself professionally
This year, I really want to stretch myself at work, taking on bigger visions and goals, becoming a stronger leader, and accomplishing more that I can look back at with pride. I also want to trust more in my team and allow myself to have more of a work-life balance, and I think those go hand in hand. I can be a control freak, and having kids and trying to balance a career and family has shown me that you need to relinquish control, trust in those you’ve hired, and focus on what you need to do and are best at doing.
8. Get in shape
I know this is so basic, but now that I am no longer pregnant or undergoing fertility treatments, I really want to get into good shape. My goal is to move every day and do a real workout 5 days a week.
9. Follow a clean diet
Again so cliche, but I’m really working hard this year to adopt healthier eating habits that I hope to model for my kids. Rather than trying to eat clean and then being “bad” on weekends etc., I want to choose healthy nourishing foods all of the time. When you do that, you don’t have to worry about how much you eat, which is good for me because I legit eat 24/7 when breastfeeding. I also am really concerned with the chemicals and junk I’m putting in my body and serving my family and want to really avoid processed, non-organic foods and stick to simple, nutritious ingredients. I truly think there’s a big connection between fertility and health and mental health and diet, and I want to work hard this year to clean up my diet.
10. Learn to cook
In order to achieve #9, I really need to cook more. I was way too reliant on takeout when we lived in the city, and while it’s easy and often tasty, it’s not always the most nutritious. You can’t control the ingredients, and honestly, I really want to start cooking more, especially now that I have a new kitchen to do it in. I honestly can’t even roast a chicken and I have been known to mess up boiling pasta, so I have a lot to learn. But I think it’s a good goal to have 7-10 meals in my repertoire by the end of the year that I can easily throw together when I get home from work (or that can cook in the slow cooker we’ve never used while I’m at work).
11. Rid our house of toxins
Along the same lines as clean eating, I’ve become really obsessed about the chemicals we’re ingesting. I have worked really hard to clean out our house as well as our fridge and pantry of toxins and tossed a lot when we moved to get a clean start. From switching to non toxic laundry and cleaning supplies to cleaning up my cosmetics and makeup, I am really taking seriously what I expose myself and my family to.
12. Reduce plastic consumption
On that same note, I am increasingly wary of what plastic can do both to our bodies and to the environment. I want to work to reduce my plastic consumption and overall the waste we produce as a family. We have filtered water with our fridge to eliminate bottled water and I’ve invested in Swell bottles for the fam. I am skipping the ziplocks for reusable sandwich bags and non-plastic bento boxes for James’ lunches. Whenever possible, I’m avoiding buying plastic, and next, I’m going to try to see what I can do to avoid those plastic bags that you get at stores. We have way too many and they are so terrible for the environment.
13. Shop smarter and buy less
I have written in the past about my new shopping philosophy and how I’m cleaning out my closet (yes, I am doing it again for the new year). But I really want to be smarter this year by investing in quality clothing I’ll wear over and over. It’s tempting to buy the Zara and H&M and ASOS versions of trends — and I still plan to shop at those places. You can get some great finds there, but I’m going to be more intentional with my purchases regardless of where I find them. I have some pieces from all those places I have worn for years. But sometimes their price tags also make it tempting to pick up some items that I will only wear for a season or don’t really love but just want something new — a cheap thrill if you will. This year, I want to focus more on quality pieces I absolutely love that I’ll wear forever. I also want to buy the things I keep saying I need but that are boring so I never get or that I try to get a cheaper version of and then end up not liking. For example, I have a few pairs of black ankle boots, but i don’t really love any of them. Some the cut is wrong or the heel is too high or too low, or the toe too round or too pointy, or they don’t hit my ankle at the most flattering part .., you get the idea and yes, I have quite a few pairs. I should have originally just splurged on the expensive pair I really loved but I was like look at these other ones I found for less, they’re almost the same. But they’re not and so I don’t wear them or I do and hate them, and still find myself needing a pair of black booties. So this year, when I find myself needing something over and over again, I’m going to invest in it. I also find that if you invest in a really good pair of shoes or handbag or coat or pair of jeans you’ve been lusting after that you love, you end up wearing it all the time and you don’t need to buy as many other things, so in some ways, it kind of saves you money? My husband might not agree, but husbands don’t understand fashion math.
14. Focus on my family when I’m with them and be present
It’s hard not to get distracted by emails, to-dos, Instagram, you name it. But I’m going to try really hard to focus on my kids and husband (and Dakota) when I’m home and really be present. I’ve heard a lot of other people make similar goals, so I’m hoping we can help each other. It’s hard because honestly, playing with a toy with James isn’t all that fun at least not compared to perusing Shopbop’s new arrivals or Instastalking. But honestly, when I do focus on him and a toddler game, I have so much fun watching him laugh and learn and engage and I am filled with such gratitude and happiness. I know it’s really important for my kids, but I feel it too.
15. Enjoy more adventures and experiences with my family
Sometimes at the end of a long week, the last thing I want to do is plan some crazy adventure with the kids. James is at a hard age too, where every transition (getting dressed, getting in the car, getting out of the car, etc.) can become a battle. Add in a young baby who needs to feed, be changed, or nap every couple hours and it’s a lot. But before I had Charlotte, I decided I wanted to be a super active family who did lots of fun activities and explored together, and I’ve really focused on doing just that even though it’s meant a lot of breastfeeding in the car or on the go (which I don’t love) and never really having Charlotte on a set schedule (she often naps on the go or on me). But it’s been worth it. Whether it’s taking James to ice skate for the first time or going to check out the Dinosaur Safari at the zoo or go for a hike upstate. It’s fun for our family to get out of the house, burn energy (which James needs) and make memories. I want to do a lot more of that in 2020, so I’ll be making more seasonal bucket lists and making sure we plan lots of fun to make these fleeting years as memorable and special as possible.