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I know not everyone finds making resolutions or goals for the new year helpful and it’s true that this time of year can create a lot of pressure. To be restrict and slam yourself into the new year. That’s why I’m focusing my goals around changes of self-improvement, not self punishment (something I’m definitely prone to do). So here are just a few of the things I want to work on this year, both big and small.

  1. Do all the yoga and don’t feel guilty about it. I do Yoga With Adriene most days of the week, if not everyday. I’ve heard and intellectually agree with that idea that the best workout is one you want to do everyday. For me, that’s yoga. I also love taking my ballet class once a week. But I’ll go through pretty frequent periods of thinking I need to do more barre/pilates/cardio workouts at home, you know, “harder workouts.” When this happens, I switch out some of my yoga days and slam myself into strength training days and I just end up causing more pain to my body and end up having to switch back to yoga for a week to undo what I’d just done. I need to remind myself that yoga is difficult and it’s good for me. I’ve even had physical and massage therapists tell me that my pain was a result of doing too much strength training and not enough yoga. And doing all this yoga has made me strong. And I’ve actually looked my best when I’ve done a lot of yoga consistently. And it does help with my pain and anxiety. I need to remember all of this. So to start, I’m committing to doing Yoga with Adriene’s Dedicate 30 Day Yoga Journey. I’m going todo yoga every day for 30 days and try not to feel guilty and think that I should be doing some other workout instead and hopefully this will prove to me that doing yoga can keep me in shape and won’t undo all the progress I’ve made through strength training.

  2. Learn how to cook and bake some of my childhood favorite traditional Vietnamese dishes. This is something I’ve been saying that I want to do for years, but haven’t been serious about it until recently. But I’ve been bitten by the cooking bug. I asked for a roasting tin and a dutch oven this year for Christmas and I’m ready to use and love them. I’ve been asking my mom for her recipes, but like many moms, she’s not working off of recipes. So I’ve found a really great blog by Vicky Pham with a ton of traditional Vietnamese recipes and have already tried making one of my childhood favorites. I served it to my brother, cousin and boyfriend and we were all pleasantly surprised at how good it was. So I’ll be trying a lot more of Vicky Pham’s recipes and spending days with my mom, watching her cook and writing down everything she does.

  3. Do more creative writing. I used to write a lot of personal essays and creative nonfiction. Often times, just because I felt like I had a good story to tell and not because I knew I could get it published somewhere. But since I became a copywriter about three years ago, I’ve found that I enjoy my work so much and find creative fulfillment in it, I haven’t had that same desire to write creatively outside of work. Which I know is an absolutely privileged and wonderful position to be in—to enjoy your work, but I’ve been really missing working on my own creative writing and want to work on a couple creative nonfiction stories this year. I’m already in the middle of one! I just have to find the determination to push forward because there’s no deadline, promise of being published and the willingness to relive some difficult moments.

  4. Pay more than the monthly minimum on my student loans. This is of course, indicative of a larger personal finance goal. I need to prioritize my spending and reallocate money I’m spending on random little things here and there like buying coffee out, buying pre-packaged and prepared foods rather than cooking myself and of course shopping. If I can change at lease some of those habits or at least adjust them, I can definitely start putting more than I have been into savings and paying off debt.

  5. Enjoy myself. My relationship to my body and food is something I continue to work on every year. And that’s all I’ll say on that. For now.