|Our kitchen whiteboard keeps our|
goals and progress front and center
|10 days of detox tea and green smoothies|
help restore our energy and mental clarity
|Layered up on our |
quiet winter walk in the woods;
(see below for what I'm wearing)
I had four specific goals: finish my novel; explore nature in greater depth; maintain a clean eating lifestyle, and find downtime, I'm proud to announce that I finished the new draft of my novel on December 20 (my personal deadline was December 21), and I focused more on exploring mountains and trails (the pandemic definitely made this goal easy as all races were canceled this year). Since Mike and I ate at home all year, we easily adopted a mostly Whole30 diet, with exceptions for holidays; and I treasured my downtime by integrating more reading, games, movies, and other leisurely activities into my weekly schedule.
|We truly are happiest when we |
spend time together outdoors
(see below for what we're wearing)
|At almost 500 pages, the draft of my |
novel is finished!
Deadlines truly help me stay accountable and achieve what I set out to achieve. Even made-up, guesstimated deadlines that I choose give me an ending to look forward to. I wrote my novel throughout 2020, I kept that December 21 personal deadline in my mind's eye. I wrote to that end date every day, even when it felt eons away. I scheduled dedicated time for my writing, set up writing chats with my critique partner, took a solo vacation to immerse myself in my project, and even joined virtual write-ins with other writers to keep me motivated and on schedule.
|I never tire of mountain top views, especially|
when I'm toasty warm in my IllumiNITE
(see below for what I'm wearing)
|I'm gifting this IllumiNITE bike helmet |
to my son to help keep him safe, day and night,
while he rides his bike on his college campus
Mike and I have saved a lot of money by not going out to restaurants and other entertainment places since the pandemic shut everything down. I've truly found joy repurposing the money we've saved to support local businesses and charities. As I did last year, I will again sign up for virtual races and challenge events that donate proceeds to charities (such as the Hot Chocolate Challenge, which supports Safe Passage, an organization that helps survivors of domestic violence). It feels good to know that my entry fees help others while also helping me stay committed to my physical and mental health. Win, win! I also discovered I really find joy in giving 20% tips when I order take out. The gratitude in the voices of food service workers brings a smile to my face. And, I'm still saving so much more than staying a long while in a restaurant where I'd be ordering drinks, appetizers, you name it. This year, I'd like to take this a step further by continuing to support local businesses, such as IllumiNITE as much as I can. It isn't that difficult to find the local equivalent to major conglomerate organizations. I just purchased books for a friend who lives in North Carolina. It only took about five minutes to research local bookstores near her and another five to place my order. Local businesses need our support to keep them alive. I want to do my part to help them thrive.
|Layering keeps our core temperatures just right |
and our bodies bright on our neighborhood
coffee and tea dates (see below for what we're wearing)
Do all these goals sound wildly familiar? Sure they do! Positive change is a long-term goal taken in micro steps. I had to find balance in my life in order to take these next steps to living the clean, healthy lifestyle I'm trying to achieve. So little by little, I make tiny changes to achieve the things that are so important to me. I am responsible for my own happiness, for how I live my life. And that means including people in my life who support me and love me for who I am. I feel very blessed to have a life partner who has similar personal goals. It's so much easier to implement these positive changes together.