“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer

New Year, new hope. ?

Even though there’s a lot of Hallmark-card styled commercial hype that comes along with a New Year (it is just a day, really), no one can deny feeling that little spark inside of what seems like a new chapter.

Whether 2017 was rough or exciting for you, the start of a New Year inevitably gets into our heads. The seasons’ pivotal highs and lows rewind back in our minds. There’s implicit pressure the first day or week of January as this now-or-never “timebomb” to change (I mean, look at those people-packed gyms). For some, it may be just the kickstart they needed; others, it may seem silly or depressing if you’re not quite there yet. But whether in a week/weeks or in the early months ahead, why not try to make this a year of growth? ?

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big believer that every (or any) day, we have a chance, if we wish, to completely change our lives– one conscious decision and step at a time. This aspired goal can be a tiny tweak (“I want to be more organized” or “I want to have an extra hour to myself in the morning”) or big dreams (“I want to travel more” or “I want to change my career/health/relationship/you name it”). But if you want to change something, you have to start somewhere. . .and it will take time and persistence.

So ask yourself (or better yet, write down answers to) core questions about your daily life. What would your ideal day look like? What kinds of activities, people, or things have you been doing or found fulfilling this year? What do you want to try out? Ease back on (or eliminate altogether)?

And remember: “the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.” (quote courtesy of 2012 Justin Bieber/Big Sean song. . .what a throwback ?).  As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true. Aside from balancing self-care and everyday obligations, serious change takes hard work and TLC—and often two steps back, one step forward on some days— but it’s probably going to be the most rewarding and alive you feel. Everyone is capable of setting and achieving goals.

So let’s plant some seeds of intention of what you want 2018 to look like. The list of what to cut/weed out (let go) is just as important as the list of what to cultivate (grow & sustain) in your life.

Check out a broad view of some of my goals below. Some of these may be scaled back, but just throwing ’em out there!

List of What I’m Hoping to LET GO Of:

  • Countless or Long Errand Runs + Spending Money on Countless Knickknacks  (I’m talking to you, Target & TJMaxx, haha).
    • Small Steps: make list once a week, shop one day, and stick to a budget (another monthly goal)
  • Poor Organization Habits (from losing physical items stuffed in random drawers/closets to overwhelmingly loaded Gmail inbox)
    • Small Steps: major cleanup/throwaway (in session!)  File/box/label. Utilize password book. Unsubscribe from tons of emails/clean up subfiles and desktop space.
  • Less Mindless Social Media Scrolling or Turning on TV/Shows in Background
    • Small Steps: limit to 1-3x view daily & for a set amount of minutes. Get rid of Netflix (done!) and only plan ahead to watch what shows I want or purchase cheaply online for a movie I really I want to see. Keep up with podcasts & music (my main loves anyhow).
  • Too Much Nostalgia or Rumination Over Past Bonds
    • Small StepsUse social media more mindfully (see above). Stay busy. Meditate. Make fun plans or trips ahead of time to look forward to.

Things I’m Hoping to LET GROW & Sustain:

  • Write More
    • Small Steps: This is a loaded one(!), but I want to commit to The Bright Steps blog more & with a consistent schedule. I also want to add more social media (Instagram, maybe Facebook) & short weekly WanderLIST newsletter (or tab on blog).
      • Write more guest blog posts for other sites (explore self-growth topics as well as experiment with other topics & writing style)
      • Someday write a book (this one may or may not happen this year honestly, but I have some ideas hashed out for future).
  • Read More (& More Mindfully)
    • Small StepsRead 10 min. minimum every morning & 20-30+ (even if two chunks) every night. Commit to reading only 2 different books (one fiction & one non-fiction or inspirational) at a time. Set goal to get book read within 2-3 weeks or the month. Jot notes or highlight if inspired. Try to utilize in some way maybe for blog? (another pull tab, etc.) 
  • Get Outside More
    • Small Steps:  Find areas ahead of time/Sundays to check out for running, hikes/walks, etc. Eventually get a cheap bike to explore more. Do outdoor catchups or activities with friends or family.
  • Stay Consistent to Activities that Center Me: Yoga, Meditation, & Running
    • Small Steps: Keep apparel & shoes right at door as a reminder. Schedule ahead of time. Keep committing to daily meditation. 
  • Get Back into the Social/Dating Scene
    • Small Steps (coming from a total introvert who loves being alone, I’ve been in [sometimes heavenly] hibernation mode all fall/winter, but I realize I pulled away or am not “putting myself” out there enough. Still want to balance with my own time, but will:  plan ahead with close friends. Reach out with set plans to those I’ve left hanging or vice versa. Try some dating apps again. Join a book club or writing group. Find new places to check out. 

So that’s all the gibberish going through my mind so far for the New Year (applause if you’ve read this far!). With all goals, you always want to dream “big”, write down broad ideas, and then keep breaking them down as much as possible—down to deadlines and timetables all set in your planner.  I’ll be slicing back (or going through the nitty-gritty) this week with these goals.

And like anything, goals can adapt and change as you move ahead or circumstances inevitably shift in your life. I know I’ll be flexible come later this month, as I’ll be getting my R&R on with my entire family in Hawaii come January 20th. However, I’ll be covering at least 3-4 of my “GROWTH” goals (I mean, read more? Check! Get outside? Psh — done and done). ?.  Aloha, 2018!

What kind of goals are you hoping to get at in 2018? And what are your anti-goals (what are you letting go of)? Cheers to the process, and feel free to share inspiration below!


Hannah Fredenberg

I'm Hannah - happy to meet you! I live in the (frequently chilly) Midwest city of Milwaukee, yet keep a sunny disposition year-round. I’m a corporate copywriter by day, creative blog writer by night (or morning). I light up my life with writing, reading, running, yoga & soaking in the Great Outdoors as often as possible. I'm here to help YOU dig deep and uncover your real roots (who you authentically are) so you can start to align your inner & outer worlds -- one step at a time.

2 Comments

Shauna · January 5, 2018 at 8:15 pm

I love this Hannah! Let go (I think you must’ve been reading my mind!) and Let grow, pinpointing what we want to grow and watering those seeds is what I’m all about this year:) Much love!

    Hannah Fredenberg · January 8, 2018 at 5:20 am

    YES! And agreed- had meant to say something after class about that!! We are on the same page 🙂

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