Bring it on.

So yesterday I went through and itemized some of the good things that happened in 2016. Each month had at least one positive thing to be said. That’s not to say there weren’t bad things, or at the very least challenges leading up to the good, but I see no need to dwell on those. They happened, I made it through, and somehow, I am better for those events. But enough about 2016. In just a few hours we will be ringing in the new year right here. All I can say is welcome,  2017. Hopefully the universe continues to be good to me. No matter what comes my way, I intend on making it benefit not just me, but everyone and everything. Every moment holds a lesson, and if we can all make ourselves better from these lessons, we can really make a difference.

Now I don’t do “resolutions” so to speak, but I will make a list of goals and things I want to work on for the year. I like to have some kind of outline of the things that I want to do and work toward. In light of these things, I want to share them with you all. Sharing my goals ensures that other people know what I am working toward and hopefully will help keep me on track. It’s very easy to shirk your responsibilities when the only person you have to answer to is yourself.

My first goal is to enhance my spiritual life. I am starting the year by attending a Buddhist temple for the first time. I have read much about Buddhism and started practicing on my own. After years of straying from religion, I think I am ready to come back on a different path. This year I want to be a part of Buddhist fellowship and learn to grow with the help of a strong community. I want to read more books, practice yoga, and make sure that I make time for meditation practice.

I want to make more time to work on art this year. Not only is it a great release, but it ends in something beautiful, and something that you can show that you worked on. I intend to continue glassblowing (hopefully I get into the next class I signed up for, I’ll find out soon!), I would love to spend more time painting, and also start making jewelry. While I love doing these things for fun, I would love to be able to sell some of my pieces for extra money. Getting better with practice will help me get to that level.

I really want to work on learning a new language this year. Maybe more than one, who knows. I’m very interested in ASL, Russian, and Arabic. I intend to at the very least start diving into the basics. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll be able to take an actual class.

I want to be kind to my body. That doesn’t mean that I want to do some fad diet or overdo it at the gym, I just want to make sure I go to the gym on a regular basis. Or at the very least take a walk or go swimming. I want to eat better food and spend more time reading ingredients and learning to choose better ways to fuel my body. I want to increase my water intake and make more time for sleep and relaxation. Those things really need to be prioritized in today’s busy world. If you aren’t well rested and well fueled, it is a lot harder to have the energy you need to get things done. So many of us, me included, skip out on rest and taking time for good food in order to get more done, but we tend to forget that we are only making things harder on ourselves in the long run.

I want to travel more. Even if it is just a little day trip a few hours away, I want to see what else is out there. There are so many things to do and places to see, I feel like it is our duty as human beings to experience as much as we can in this world. When there are so many exciting things that are close to home and can be done fairly cheaply, there is no reason why I couldn’t at the very least make it to some of those places.

This is the year I plan on moving out of the area I was raised in. I need to experience that kind of change and get away from some negative influences in my life. It’s time to explore.

It is very important to me that I spend more time outside. This kind of goes along with taking care of my body, because spending time outside definitely involves some walking, and the fresh air certainly can’t hurt.

Along with my spiritual practice, I also want to practice mindfulness as much as possible. I’ve been getting better at it, or at the very least getting better at realizing when I am not doing it and bringing myself back. Living in the moment is important, and it helps you learn those little lessons that life has to teach you.

I’ve done a lot of volunteer work this past year, but I intend on doing even more this year. It is very important to me to share my talents with others to improve lives. I don’t have a lot of money to give, so giving my time is important to me.

I plan to pay off at least one of my major debts. Some people go over the top and say they are going to pay off everything, but I know that is not realistic. I would be happy just to wipe out one of them this year.

Again with the recurring theme, I want to bike and walk more. Not just for my body, but also for the environment. If I don’t really have to drive everywhere, I really shouldn’t just do it out of convenience. Plus it saves money to use alternate modes of transportation, so that is always a plus as well.

I want to focus on ways to improve my relationships. Mainly with my boyfriend, but with others as well. I want to be able to communicate better and be in sync with each other’s goals. Again, this doesn’t just apply to my romantic relationship, but with friends, family, and co-workers as well. I want to be a better human being, and it takes work!

I definitely want to limit my time on social media. I decided to start with two hours per day. There is no logical reason why any one person needs to spend more than 2 hours per day scrolling. I know I do it now, and when I think about it I realize how much I could be accomplishing without it. I don’t want to put it away completely, because social media does have a few redeeming features, but ultimately I want to put real human interaction first again.

I want to take a class on something new. Maybe it will be one of those language courses. Maybe it will be a jewelry class or a different glass technique. Maybe it will be an academic course. Who knows?! I just want to be able to learn and grow.

I want to do more DIY projects. I made my own shampoo and body wash today. That’s a start. I want to be able to repurpose products and save time by doing things myself. Sometimes it can even save money, depending on the project. It gives me a sense of pride knowing I can do something by myself.

I want to be kinder to the environment, not just with my mode of travel, but with the products I buy too. I want to focus on buying more sustainable products, local products, and things that benefit the environment instead of harming it. I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know if global warming is a natural occurrence or if we have something to do with it, but regardless it never hurts to take care of the resources we need to live.

My last goal is to try to shop local whenever possible. It is harder and harder to find local shops because they struggle to compete with the big box stores that take over everything. I want to try to make a conscious effort to shop local when possible and support those in my community. If we all help each other grow, it will make everyone’s life a little better. I don’t need a government or a legal system to force me to help others, I should do it on my own. We all need a little help sometimes, and what better way to pay back than to help someone else in need?

So that’s it, that’s what I want to do with this upcoming year. I want to focus on being better, whatever that may mean. I challenge you to do the same. Let’s make this world a better place in 2017!

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