I’m one of those people that actually make New Year’s resolutions and sticks to them all year long. I know most articles and studies decry resolutions and our ability to adhere to them, but I am acutely aware that I only have 30–40 odd years left to live, and I plan to take full advantage of them.
Like compounding interest, those small resolutions add up to a big impact. Five years ago my husband and I vowed to find the perfect place to live. We tested several cities before ultimately deciding to move to Salt Lake City, which we absolutely love. The following year, we wanted to keep our eyes open for the perfect home (we got one-our dream house!). Then we had the “let’s figure out my perfect career” year, which I did, and I absolutely love my job as editor-in-chief of Utah Business magazine.
Last year, my husband and I resolved to put 60 percent of our income (my husband’s whole paycheck) toward our home, and I resolved to write 75,000 words of my novel and volunteer as a CASA. I accomplished all three of those things, and because I did, this year I’ll be right where I wanted to be by the time I turned 35: living in my dream city, at my dream house, working at my dream job, on my way to financial freedom, with my first book completed.
And that puts me one step closer to where I want to be when I’m 45: investigating stories from the far reaches of the world (for National Geographic and Town & Country perhaps), writing novels from different exotic locations every winter, with three books under my belt as well as a movie script or two in the works (for Hello Sunshine/HBO, let’s say), and maybe even a beautiful pool in my backyard (you know, if my books/movies do really well).
I believe wholeheartedly that the dream is available to me if I just take steps toward it. I also believe that if I make no progress toward my dream life, then my likelihood of ever achieving it dwindles. Another year goes by without any steps forward, and that ultimate dream just shifts farther and farther out until eventually, it shifts off the back edge of my life entirely and goes unaccomplished by that fated due date.
So, with the amazing understanding that I have the dream life I planned for thus far, and with the goal of achieving something even more amazing than that in the future, here’s what I plan to accomplish this year.
My major goals
This year feels like my “wrap up” year. The year where things that have been in the works for years are finally completed and I can move on to a new decade and a new phase of life.
My last decade was all about France and Catholicism, French literature and spiritual development. It was about big sweaters and red lipstick, tiny cups of espresso and shallow coups of absinthe. It was about devotion and doctrine. Ballgowns and champagne.
It was about self-discovery. Finding my husband, my home, my religion, my mental wellbeing, my food intolerances. It was about writing and feeling and delving into darker places, exploring the depths of my psyche and the innermost sanctum of my soul.
And all of that feels like it is devolving into this new phase, this new decade, which I can already feel is all about freedom, palm leaves, the gentle chanting of Buddhist monks, skin warmed by a waning sun, wooden canoes floating down tropical rivers, and hair that’s loosened from life’s worries.
It’s about freelance writing and adventure traveling. It’s about drinking coconut milk fresh from the shell and enjoying everything this life has to offer. It’s about abundance and happiness and bliss and peace.
But this year. This year is the transition between those two worlds. And I have to wrap up that old decade before I can move on to the next one-setting myself up creatively, financially, and professionally so that I can enjoy freedom in all those areas in the years to come. That’s why my New Year’s resolutions this year are as follows:
I will finish my book: I will be finished with my book by the end of winter, and plan to have it completely done and finalized (with edits by me and my editor) by end of the summer, so I can start pitching it to agents in the fall.
I will pay off my house: So long as my husband and I stick to our savings goals, our house will be paid off by the end of the year, and we will be completely debt-free.
I will write (at least) one dream byline: I took a break from furthering my freelance career as I wrote my book, but now I’m ready to start back toward my goal of writing for a few favorite publications (National Geographic, Town & Country, Outside Magazine, Goop, to name a few). This year I’ll send one quality pitch each week to several magazines with the hope of having at least one of my 52-ish “dream bylines” published by the end of the year.
My minor goals
In addition to my major goals, I always like to set some minor goals, which are basically just little things I want to do for fun. They further my creativity and happiness but not necessarily my dreams and therefore do not carry the “must-do” weight of my resolutions.
This year, I want to learn how to write a screenplay and adapt my novel for an episodic arc. I want to start thinking about my next book, which is drifting toward me at an ever hastening pace. I want to start building my platform in preparation for finding the perfect publisher (subscribe to my email newsletter if you wish to follow my writings).
I want to stop reading classic French novels (I’m pretty much done with them anyway), and start reading anything that delights my fancy. I want to design beautiful still life centerpieces for my dining table every week, and sketch them using charcoal pencils. I want to sew new curtains for my home and new upholstery for our camper van. I want to get more plants for my house and find the perfect tiger print rug for my bathroom.
I want to cook more adventurously and to try more delicacies (caviars and truffles to start). I want to invite friends over for dinner when I cook, drink more cacao in the evenings, and elevate my morning tea ritual. I want to road trip along beaches and spend time on sailboats. I want to spend all summer drifting in our canoe.
I want to strengthen my body. To commit to a strength-training routine and stretch my muscles on a regular basis. I want to get seven hours of sleep on most nights and feel peaceful in my mind on most days. I want to finally perfect my skincare regimen (after three years of experimentation I’m finally getting close).
I want to invest in my husband, my family, and the fourteen members of Whiskey Wednesday, the women who have become my best friends, biggest cheerleaders, and closest confidants. I want to spend the year adventuring and dreaming and celebrating together.
In short, I want to live the dream. Let’s do this.
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