It's 2016

Oh 2015, what a year it has been!

Graduated college with another straight-A semester, traveled a lot, got a job, left a job, got a new puppy, and learned a whole bunch about a lot of things!  Mostly more good than bad.

Exactly one year ago, I posted one of my first blog posts titled, "It's 2015."
It was kind of a list of my New Years resolutions, but more just a few things I wanted to accomplish by December.  Here's a brief recap:

1) Read 25 books.
2) Leave the country.
3) Make fewer impulse purchases.

I can safely say I accomplished two out of the three, woohoo!  I think the ones that I actually followed through with can give you insight to the type of person I am...  I need specific, clear goals or else I forget about them and leave them completely unaccomplished.  Vague resolutions are hard to follow through with because they're not defined well enough.  It's easy to lose momentum when you don't really know how to gauge your success.  I'm talking to you, "make fewer impulse purchases."  What is fewer?  How many did I usually make?  And how was I supposed to define what an impulse purchase was?  That was stupid.  I still agree with the idea behind it, but the wording was a little too general for me.  And definitely too hopeful.  So I think you can probably guess which resolution I didn't do too well with.  Seeing as I planned a random vacation to San Francisco for Halloween AND I bought a DSLR camera on Black Friday, I can't say that the amount of "impulse purchases" made by moi lessened in any way, shape, or form.  Fail.  On the other hand, I absolutely LOVED the things I randomly spent big money on, for example, the two things I just listed!  Great decisions.  Always a bright side.  Obviously I should still do something about this spending issue...

Onto the goals I actually did accomplish:

Not only did I read 25 books, I read 26!  Really, I'm amazed by myself about this one.  I've always liked reading, but I really didn't think I could do it.  And I was totally right in that I wouldn't read during school.  Even though I could have, I didn't want to.  So once I graduated, I really kicked this goal into high gear.  Check out what I read on my Goodreads page, I update it frequently!  People always ask, how do you find time to read?  Like I have more hours in a day than they do.  My advice would be to pick one thing that you do that's unproductive and eliminate it.  Use that time to do whatever it is that you "don't have time to do."  Mine was watching Friends every night before I went to bed, from anytime between 10pm and 12am.  So do you really want to accomplish something?  
What's your favorite show to binge on Netflix?  Well not anymore.
If you really want to do it, you'll find the time. As one of my fave authors (Elizabeth Gilbert) says, "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."

My next goal was to leave the country.  I really only put that on there because I knew I was already doing it.  The trip had been paid for, booked, and planned.  Still, I was afraid that there would be some unforeseen circumstance that would prevent me from leaving!  Who knows.  It was on my list because I had never done it before and I neeeeded to do it.  Well, mission accomplished!  And I had the time of my life, if my Italy blog post was any indication.  (Still trying to put together a Greece and a Turkey blog.  It'll happen.)

...and then I should note that there was this unofficial resolution in my head where I decided that I should put lotion on my arms and legs after every single shower I took, which I hadn't been doing.  Sounds stupid, but the air is really dry in the winter!  So it was legit.  I followed through with this one as well!  It came to the point where I can't skip putting on lotion without feeling uncomfortable!  What a feat, hey?  Start small, I guess...

New year, new resolutions.  I now know in advance that my little hopes and wishes definitely have to resemble goals rather than general resolutions!  

I guess I'll just call these my 2016 Things To Do:

1)  Read 40 books this year.  I started out by topping my book goal from last year.  I don't think I'm at the point where I can successfully read one book per week.  I decided on a number between my most recent goal of 25 and the number of weeks in a year, 52.  This means that hypothetically I'd have to read 20 books by June and then 20 after that.  Since I read the majority of my books in 2015 after I got back from Europe in June, I think this is totally doable.

2) Track my spending through the app Level.  Since I obviously wasn't too great at limiting impulse buys, maybe I can at least keep better track of them if I have them laid right out in front of me.  I saw this app on the Today Show yesterday and it seemed like a good idea for someone who...went on a vacation to the West Coast this fall and still has absolutely no idea how much they spent?  That's me if you were wondering.  I also know for a fact that I spend too much on Starbucks and eating out with my friends.  It was especially bad when I was living at school.  This app allows me to create categories of my spending.  It keeps track of these things for me!  I'm hoping that I'll see it at the end of the month and get a better idea of whether or not I have a real problem.

3)  Open my Etsy store by March.  I keep saying I'm going to do it.  People keep telling me to do it.  I'm already selling things without a store and I know that I could have a really successful ~side hustle~ if I would just figure out my pricing and DO IT ALREADY.  This is one of those situations where I have to set an exact time frame.  Either that or I'll procrastinate so hard that I don't open the shop until November and then claim to have met my goal.  Not so fast, future self!  It would be really awesome if I got enough of an inventory that I could sell it at some type of craft fair.  Ha, maybe that will make next year's list.

4) Visit a state I've never been to.  After my BIG TRIP, I definitely got bitten by the travel bug.  Luckily I have a variety of friends who are willing to go just about anywhere at the drop of a hat!  One of these friends was the impetus behind the planning of my California trip, and I'm so glad I got to do something like that!  Turns out that I am an expert-edging-on-OCD vacation planner.  I have this need to see and do everything big and small.  It worked out in our favor.  Since that went so well, I'm determined to do it again to a different state I have yet to visit!

5)  Write one blog post per week.  I have the ideas, I just need the drive to do it.  It's like I'm afraid that if I blog about too many of my ideas within a short span of time, I'll run out of them for when I want to post later.  I've realized that it doesn't work like that.  There will always be new, different, and good ideas and they are likely to keep flowing continuously.  There really is no reason to delay.  The author of The Happiness Project (one of my 2015 books), Gretchen Rubin, writes about this exact same problem.  That's kind of how I solved mine.  She says, "Pouring out ideas is better for creativity than doling them out by the teaspoon."  Tru dat.

So I've officially blew my resolution list from last year right out of the park!  That's kind of the point, right?  I don't know, I'm still not very well-versed in the New Years resolution business.  I do my own thing, and I guess it's working for me.

Along with these OFFICIAL GOALS of 2016, I'd like to take more classes on things I want to learn about (photography, videography, calligraphy, figure drawing, I don't care!), try new restaurants (if you've heard of City Tins, I have Bar & Lounge AND Restaurant, yikes), and find more awesome places to take awesome photos (and do it often!)  And probably go to the gym way more, doesn't everyone say that?

Big dreams, man.  But doable, nonetheless!

Other than that, expect lots more posts this year!  I have a ton of ideas and it's my opinion that the world needs to see them ;)

Also, a new signature for 2016!

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