important nothings

Hello, 2016

I’ve written before about how I’m not the biggest “Hooray, new year’s!” person ever. I still blame the fact that I tend to remember things more in terms of school years than calendar years. Regardless, I have a hard time getting into the whole goal–setting or resolution–making scheme. I’ve tried various tools over the years—worksheets, resolution lists, etc.—and they just don’t seem to work for me the same way they do for other people. Having one little word has been a good solution (although I didn’t blog nearly enough about my word in 2015), as have some of the exercises I’ve learned from books and blog posts about setting goals. I’m getting better at realizing what works for me and what doesn’t (and not beating myself up about it).

But I still want to do something to feel as though I’m thinking about a new year, you know? Something that helps me be mindful of time and not just blink and realize another year has passed and I haven’t grown much as a person. I’m going to keep focusing on one little word because it works for me, and I’ve thought of a few other things that might help me, too.

Three ways I’m welcoming 2016:
1. Reading The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst
2. Making a list of things I’m saying no to and things I’m saying yes to
3. Setting 3 goals for the year


That first task is self–explanatory, although I’m sure I’ll review The Best Yes as soon as I’ve finished it, so let’s move on to numbers 2 and 3, shall we?

Things I’m saying no to:

“Browsing” sales Thanks to Project 333 and feeling like I’ve really honed in on my style, I haven’t shopped nearly as much as I used to. I keep a short iPhone Notes list of clothing items I’d like to add to my wardrobe, and I’m really selective about what makes the cut. That being said, I still fall into the trap of browsing sales just to see if there’s anything I can’t live without, which is silly because I have more than enough and am only justifying the thrill of the hunt for a deal. And the money I’m spending is only one piece of the puzzle; when I think about how much time I lose scrolling through every sale item, it makes me crazy. So goodbye, browsing.

Tons of emails Not only are sale emails part of the problem above, they also clog up my inbox. Some days I’ll see some crazy number of new emails and get completely overwhelmed, but then I’ll realize that only 2 of them are actually important and need further action. Even though I delete all of the junk, its mere presence is too much. Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe.

Baby showers All of my close friends except for one have already had their first babies and thus their showers, so I won’t really be missing anything (and should that one remaining friend join that number, I will gladly break my own rule and attend her shower). I will still send a gift with a sweet note—I wasn’t raised by wolves, people!—but I don’t think I need to lose an afternoon to attending solely out of obligation . . . which brings me to my next no . . .

Acting solely out of obligation This one feels really selfish and I’m still struggling with it, but when I look back on the last few years, I see several instances of acting solely out of obligation and then regretting it. For me, this looks a lot like not being able to say no, even when it’s clearly best for me. I’m hoping to examine my heart a bit more and figure out how best to manage time.

Reading what others suggest only because they suggest it So oddly specific, right? I know, but this has been a struggle for me for as long as I can remember. I think it’s tied to that sense of obligation I have. Don’t get me wrong—some book recommendations are fantastic and have introduced me to some of my favorites—but I have a good idea of what I’m interested in reading and what I’m not, and I have a never–ending queue of books I want to read next. When someone suggests something and I look into it and know that it’s not something that interests me, I need to say no and move on to what I actually want to read. I live in this strange fear that the person will ask me if I’ve read it yet and be offended if I haven’t, so I will just suffer through no matter how much I want nothing to do with the book. And after the years I’ve spent in grad school with required reading I couldn’t get out of doing, I don’t think I need to take it on now.

Closely related: borrowing books others are strongly suggesting forcing on me The worst! I love asking to borrow books I’m interested in reading, but when people say, “You should read this. Here, borrow mine,” my heart sinks right into my stomach. Now I’m not only trying to dodge the “Have you read it yet?” conversation, I have no way out because I can’t very well return the book without having read it, can I? The answer is yes, I can, and I will with the books I have in my possession right now that fall into that category, and I’m no longer accepting books lent under those conditions. I’m fully prepared to say, “I prefer to borrow from the library, but thanks for the suggestion and your kind offer.”

The mindless scroll On any and all social media. I prefer to check in with people who inspire me, then close that app.


Things I’m saying yes to:

An actual prayer life I’m embarrassed about how hard this is for me, but it’s the truth. I have a hard time getting into deep, extemporaneous prayer. I’ve tried following ACTS (adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication), but my mind wanders so quickly and I feel like I’m getting nowhere. As tough as it is to admit, I think structured prayer (i.e., prayers someone else has written) works better for me and I need to return to it. I’m a big fan of examining life in seasons, and I know that right now I’m in a season where structured prayer will work best for me.

Putting quality time on the schedule Remember my sweet friend who did the Seamless study with me? She and I are embarking on another study together (it’s this one if you’re interested in joining us). She and I have both made a point of making time to see each other, even though we live an hour apart and are both busy with work and responsibilities. We’re also making a point of scheduling time with each other in advance so we can keep in touch rather than just texting about how it would be so great to get together (and then never following through). That kind of quality time is worth scheduling. It’s just as important as a haircut or a dentist’s appointment, right?

Being more mindful about saving My husband and I are both pretty frugal by nature, but I don’t want to rely on that. I want to keep better track of my spending and saving and feel like I’m more in tune with how I manage money. I think something as simple as writing down each expense in my planner will help me think of money as the limited resource it is (kind of like Dave Ramsey’s envelopes).

Being more mindful about reading Like I said, I have about a million books I want to read, but I don’t make enough time for them. When I do have unexpected down time—getting into bed early, waiting at the allergist’s office—I often spend it doing that mindless scroll or scouring those sale emails. I have a Kindle, which makes reading anywhere / any time so much easier, so I have no excuses.

3 Goals for 2016:
Pursue small handmade business idea (more to come, promise!)
Stick with a nighttime routine at least 5 nights / week
Attend at least 1 conference that will motivate and inspire me

What do you hope 2016 has in store for you?

2 thoughts on “Hello, 2016

  1. I hear you on the prayer! It’s definitely an area I’d like to improve in my own life!

    I do struggle with saying yes. I feel as if I can’t say no. But sometimes, it’s not selfish to say no, it’s just making sure that my husband, my family comes first… still a struggle, something I’m pondering in my own life this season.

    I love making a book list! Last year I followed Modern Mrs. Darcy’s book challenge, and I’m attempting to follow it this year as well. It’s great just listing out the books i want to read, and then trying my best to stick to it! I get overwhelmed by the amount of books I want to read sometimes 🙂

    1. That is so wise, Meg–it’s not selfish, it’s just putting the right people first. I need to repeat that to myself over and over!

      I love the idea of a book list! Goodreads helps me keep track of books I hear about and want to read, and I like having options depending on what I’m in the mood for, you know?

      Happy new year!

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