Happy 2017! I had a nice little break, how about you?
How do you feel about new year’s resolutions? Do you make them?
In general, I don’t make new year’s resolutions. They’ve always seemed so cliché, plus the types of drastic changes that many people strive for seem doomed to fail. So I usually ignore the whole deal. But this year is different. Maybe I should be thankful that this election has shocked me out of my complacency, but it has really got me seriously thinking about how I want to live my life. There are a lot of things I can’t change in the world, but I saw a great Angela Davis quote on a protest sign the other day, and it really resonated:
I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.
I know she meant it in a more political sense, but I think it works for personal changes, too.
Unlike resolutions, these goals don’t have fail states. They’re things I want to want to work on, and the new year is a good time to put my intentions into action. Most of these won’t noticeably affect this blog, but a few will.
Spend money like it matters
My vote may only be worth a fraction of what someone in Wyoming’s is, but if there’s one thing this country understands, it’s money. When I spend money, I want as much of it as possible to go to people and causes I agree with. This might seem obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Buying a t-shirt from Target is fast and cheap, but finding a fairly-made, sweatshop-free t-shirt made by people I want to support isn’t easy, or inexpensive. Even if each tiny choice doesn’t seem like it actually matters on its own, they add up, and make me feel slightly better about the other things that I can’t control. So I want to shop more thoughtfully and responsibly in 2017.
This includes my food choices. I’ve been a vegetarian for a very long time, since I was in my teens. I’ve never felt seriously compelled to go vegan until this year, when I followed @goatsofanarchy on Instagram. It is mainly photos of very adorable special-needs goats, but many of them are rescued from mistreatment and abuse in the dairy industry, and I guess I reached my tipping point. Although I know that dairy production is bad for the environment, I didn’t think it hurt animals. Since I don’t want to contribute to negative environmental consequences, or the suffering of animals, I’m going to eat vegan at home.
Giving up eggs won’t be hard, because I really only use them for baking, and the same goes for milk, except for the half-and-half I put in my coffee. But I eat cheese and Greek yogurt a lot, so I’ll be experimenting with vegan replacements and recipes. From now on I’ll only share vegan recipes here.
If you have any advice on vegan recipes, cookbooks, or product recommendations, I’d love to hear it!
Waste less time
To have more time to get stuff done and do things that matter, I need to waste less time. So I want to do a better job organizing my life, and limit time on sites that aren’t productive (Pinterest and Twitter especially!). People swear by the Pomodoro Technique and browser plugins that block sites of your choosing, so I am going to give those strategies a try.
This also entails doing some New Year’s purging and organizing. My shameful secret is that I am terrible at organizing and cleaning up after myself when I finish projects. I don’t leave dirty dishes in the kitchen sink longer than a few hours, but my basement and garage, where I do a lot of my work, are both terribly messy and disorganized. Many of my craft supplies and tools are stashed willy-nilly, and I just don’t have good organization systems. So while I won’t pledge to create a Pinterest-worthy craft room in 2017, I need to get organized so that I’ll waste less time looking for that tool I know I have somewhere.
If you have any advice on reducing time-wasting, or getting organized, I’d love to hear it!
Fear rarely leads to anything good. For me, it leads to procrastination and avoidance. I delay trying that new tool or technique because I’m afraid of messing up, and then maybe I don’t get around to it at all. Obviously that’s not good for my productivity. Fear also prevents me from doing other things that I’d like to do that involve getting outside of my comfort zone. Trying new things, going new places, and meeting new people are often rewarding and positive experiences, plus they’re good for and make your life better in multiple ways, so there are a lot of reasons to overcome fear.
Like a lot of us, I don’t share much of my day-to-day life because it’s not photogenic enough. But I want to be more authentic online, and share who I am as a person. I also want this to include sharing more articles, essays, and small DIY projects that aren’t quite tutorials or recipes.
What are you going to work on for 2017?
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