Tag Archives: resolutions

I’m back with a new vlogging channel! + 2015 Goals: September

WHOA long time no see! What a crazy summer it’s been. Since I’ve last posted on this blog I’ve bought a house, moved out of the apartment and into said house, gotten engaged to the one I bought said house with… started a new Youtube channel… didn’t have internet for several weeks… did I get everything?

But now I’m back and ready to write again! If you’re curious as to what all I’ve been up to, you can check out my new vlogging channel here. I’ve been really loving this new pastime, and being able to film, edit and upload everything from my phone has made the process SO easy and fun. Like this blog, I don’t expect for my audience to be much more than family and friends, but even just making these videos for myself is making me happy so I hope to continue for a long while yet.

So now, on to the purpose of this blog! Took a bit of a break from the monthly goals for due to the big move and whatnot, but I’m really excited to start this all up again. I really don’t have too much to report on the last goals I made (July) since they were only little goals and I didn’t have much time to really focus on them. So let’s start fresh and jump right into September!! If you’d rather see this discussion in video form, here it is first:


And now here are the goals, this time just broken up into a simple list form.

1. Exercise
– Swimming up until the pool closes next week
– Research/experiment with yoga
– Wear FitBit every day

2. Meditate
– Month of meditation
– Find an acupuncturist
– Yoga also plays into this

3. New habits
Wake up – make bed
Get home – put shoes away, clean lunch containers
Have a meal – do dishes
Store meal – label them (put masking tape/writing utensil by fridge)
Change clothes – put them away (have hampers/baskets everywhere)

Let’s do this!!!!

Monthly Goals 2015: July

HOLY CRAP what a month!! Soo much has happened!

For one, we are so very close to closing on a house… Don’t want to jinx it or reveal too much in case issues come up and our plans change, but it looks like it’s happening… I never expected to find something so quickly, what a ride. It’s been very exciting/nerve-wracking and I’m sure it will continue to eat up my time next month. But we’ll get there in a minute~

We also celebrated our good friends’ wedding this month 🙂 Which means I can finally mention what I’d been working so hard on for the past few months but couldn’t reveal as a goal — a secret video project for the newlyweds. I reached out to their friends and family for short video clips and put them all in a music video that we showed at the wedding. It took a lot of time and work, but I love how it turned out and I think it was a great surprise for them. Mission accomplished! It was a lovely wedding and I’m so happy for them, it was such an honor being the maid of honor.

Aside from these big life milestones, here’s a quick recap on how I did on my goals!

June Goals Recap

  • Japanese – Participate in Tadoku (read a bit everyday) and do daily flashcard reps. I was hoping to write a whole post on this but just didn’t have time… I really enjoyed Tadoku this month! I didn’t really do as well as I have in the past (think I ended up in the 30’s or 40’s), and I only got through 4 manga volumes, once per week. However, I did accomplish what I set out to do. I read every day, even if it was just a little bit, and I actually remembered to LOG my pages this time! And I kinda fell in love with reading again, I’d like to start building a little manga collection for myself based on books from my childhood/teenage years 🙂 As for the flashcards, I did slip a little and missed a few days… But thankfully I don’t have any new flash cards at this point, just reviewing what I already have, so I was able to quickly catch up and am now back on track!
  • Fitness – The Blogilates flexibility challenge calendar. Okay, I’ll say it right now… I didn’t finish the calendar. Bummer. I don’t have a great excuse for this one – no matter how busy I get, taking the time for those stretches was not an issue at all. I did well at the beginning, and then I just started forgetting to do them… And you know what I noticed? This time, I hadn’t printed out the calendar and hung it on my wall. I’m not sure just how big of a difference it would have made if I did do that, but you can bet I’m going to print the next one! I still plan on finishing out the stretches, but I just didn’t have the daily stretches I’d been planning on. Ah well, can’t let it get me down!
  • Big Projects – I’ve already talked about the house and wedding, and it’s looking like my health issues are starting to improve too with all the doctor visits! The apartment could be a little neater, but all things considered I’m fairly happy with how we’ve maintained that. Point is, I’ve survived this crazy month!!

Moving on to next month… I’d mentioned last time that I may take a break from goals. I’ve clearly had less time to dedicate to them (as well as less time to spend on the blog, I haven’t made any other posts this month…). And now that I’m potentially moving into a new house in a few weeks… things may only get crazier.

But I’m realizing I don’t want to take a break from goals just yet! Even just having little goals is enough for now. I’ll be taking a similar tactic to last month 🙂

July Goals

  • Fitness – As well as finishing out the stretches that I didn’t complete last month, I’m recommitting to the next Blogilates flexibility challenge: the Journey to the Splits. I’ve always liked the idea of being able to do the splits, and even if I don’t know if I’ll be able to get all the way there, the thought that I could get really close in just 30 days is exciting! This time, I will PRINT OUT the calendar and physically check off the days!
  • Japanese – Flashcards. That’s all I’ll really hold myself to for now are keeping up with those flashcard reps. I think I’ll continue reading the manga series I started, and I’ve started watching a bit more Japanese TV which helps with listening practice, but I won’t set myself a requirement for those yet, just flashcards.
  • Big Project – Here it is again, my excuse for not creating a third goal. It’s a little different this time though…Yes, my biggest thing is to (hopefully) get this new house and move into it successfully. I’m still looking after my health and making sure that continues to improve, and want to make sure I manage my stress levels as well. But I’d also like to take a bit of time this month and experiment/reflect on what I’d like to do for future projects. There’s still a lot that I’d like to do with this blog when I settle down, but other projects are interesting me too… I kinda miss vlogging, for instance! So I’d like to take some time this month to think about future projects. We shall see where that takes me!

This is such an exciting and memorable summer! And it’s only just the beginning… 🙂

Monthly Goals 2015: June

Another month gone by! Let’s see how I did on my goals…

May Goals Recap

  • Fitness/gamification – Complete a chapter of The Walk every week and transition to fitness ball at work. I had success on the former, not quite so much on the latter. I’ve been doing fairly well on walking – I LOVE my Fitbit, I only wish there were more apps that I could sync it to! I’m getting more and more hooked on The Walk app’s storyline, so I plan to keep moving along with that one even if I don’t make a regular goal out of it. So mission accomplished! As for the exercise ball, I set up a game for this goal that I really liked, but it didn’t quiiite work out the way I wanted it to. Part of the reason I can attribute to my own laziness – I’d sit at my office chair for a while and not want to switch to the exercise ball if I was too tired or not feeling well. But at one point I also found out that spending too much time sitting on the exercise ball could potentially tire out/hurt your back, and seeing as I’ve been having some back pains recently, I don’t want to overdo it. I still have the exercise ball at work and use it occasionally, but I don’t think I’m ready to stop using my chair altogether quite yet 🙂
  • Japanese – Daily flash card reps and daily Japanese videos. Did pretty well on this! Not quite as good as April was – I missed a couple of days here and there that I needed to make up – but still got through it and am still scheduled to get through all of my flash cards by June 7th. All in all, pretty happy with this small goal.
  • Housework – 4 mini goals: clean different room every week, finish filing system, water plants daily, pick up clothes every 2 days. Okay, for that first one I’ll admit – I never really picked a room every week to clean. BUT, the reason why is because we had so much going on during the weekends hosting guests and whatnot that we would basically clean the ENTIRE apartment every week, or as much as we could. It means that things are turning out relatively neat though so it’s all good! 2nd goal I accomplished, the filing system is complete yay! Now I just need to come up with a good “inbox/outbox” type thing and actually keep up with all the paperwork 🙂 As for watering the plants, we’ve had so much rain down here in Texas this May that I haven’t had to do much – I just hope they survive after all these storms. Finally, there’s picking up clothes… This was interesting as I didn’t always do a good job of picking stuff up every two days on schedule, but I still did a much better job picking up clothes in general this month. Hooray for gaining better habits! Here’s hoping I can keep this up.
  • Big Projects – Not much to say about these as everything is still in the works, but it’s all going pretty well. Bachelorette went very well, the wedding is is coming up this month, and house hunting is well under way.
I thought May was a big month… June’s only going to get crazier! I’ll admit, I’ve been starting to feel burned out and I still have some health issues on my plate, so there’s a chance I won’t be doing these monthly goals for a little bit starting next month. But no point in trying to predict these things, let’s take this one month at a time! Still have a couple of different things I’d like to get done for June.

June Goals

  • Japanese – The big thing for this month is Tadoku! I’ve been looking forward to this as I’ve bought some new manga that I haven’t touched yet, waiting for the reading contest to start. And it’s here woohoo! My only goal is to read SOMETHING every day, even if it’s just 2 pages of a manga. Also, I really want to try and remember to not just read the stuff, but actually LOG the pages in… that’s always the part I struggle with. Also, I’ll keep doing my daily flashcard reps, I’m seeing the end goal on that one and want to make sure I maintain the knowledge too.
  • Fitness – Cassey from Blogilates has a new calendar this month that I’m really excited about! It’s a flexibility challenge, with different stretches every day. I’ll keep walking and do some aerobic/strength training whenever I can, it’s just difficult to make that a concrete and structured goal at the moment due to the health issues and big projects going on.
  • Big Projects – Speaking of big projects… my main thing for June is to stay afloat. Still have my friend’s wedding coming up in a couple of weeks, doctor appointments, house hunting, keeping the apartment tidy and so much more. I’d rather not give myself toooo many structured to-dos right now in addition to what I already have, so that’s why I’ve kept it light with the Japanese and Fitness goals and am just giving myself ample opportunity to work on everything else. I just need to do the best that I can and remember to take care of myself!
I remember mentioning the sun last month, and then we ended up getting all those storms. So I’m getting excited once again to start seeing some sunshine! It really helps me stay happy and motivated for my goals.

Monthly Goals 2015: May

It’s been a fairly busy month and May will only be MORE busy and crazy!! (Case in point, I’m a couple of days late posting this…) Having said that, I’m pretty happy with how my April goals went.

April Goals Recap

  1. Fitness – Blogilates Thigh Slimming challenge and Sleek Arms challenge. Meeting Cassey from Blogilates a couple of weeks ago was a huge motivator! I did alright on this – like last month, there were a couple of days here and there where I missed the exercise and had to double up the next day. It happened once while traveling and a few times towards the end of the month when I wasn’t feeling well. At least I’m not really forgetting to do them anymore, it’s just not always easy to find the time or energy is all. All in all, I’m fairly happy with how it went!
  2. Cleaning – Tidying dishes every day, different room every week, and conceptualizing a filing system. There were successes and failures here… Dishes were cleaned up MOST days. Again, it’s less and less of an issue of forgetting and more of an issue of being too busy and tired to clean everything to perfection every night. Did pretty well on focusing on one room at a time – I do like that system quite a bit and will continue to utilize it I think. Finally, I’ve made a huge dent in the new filing system but alas, I ran out of time! At this point, all of the papers in our apartment has been gathered, looked through, sorted, purged… But I still haven’t actually put things in folders and stowed away in a centralized location that I can maintain. So it’s been a hit or miss but did OK overall.
  3. Gardening – Like I’d hoped, we have now set up a little herb garden on our balcony! We ended up getting this hanging burlap bag that has multiple pockets and packets of different types of seeds. Most of the work went into the set up – putting soil in all the pockets and planting the seeds. Then all we needed to do was check on them every day and water them as needed. Ross helped me out a lot on this one and I’m excited with the results – we have tiny sprouts in all of the pockets. Nothing will be ready to eat for a while yet, but so far this is fun!
  4. 2015-05-03 08.17.17Japanese – Watching daily Japanese videos and completing daily flash card reps. As far as the videos go I did fine. I think I may have missed one day (and watched quite a bit extra the next day to try and make up for it). But the part I’m especially happy about is the flashcards. I did not miss a SINGLE day! I’m sooo proud of myself – it’s very exhilarating! This is the one activity that I can pretty much do whenever I like as long as I’m near my phone or computer so it’s been very doable. In case you’re curious, I’m currently going through this deck on Anki called “JLPT4” vocal with 15 new words a day. I realized the new words show up in alphabetical order, so I printed out a hiragana chart and have been crossing off the character whenever I get to all the words for that character, which has been extra motivation (see below!) In all honesty, since this is only Level 4 I’m actually familiar with the majority of the vocab, even if I’m rusty on the kanji, but I think it’s still good practice nonetheless. At my current rate I’ll finish all 1121 flash cards around June 7th, and then I’ll eventually get to Levels 3, 2 and 1!

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That was then… this is now. Let me introduce you to my goals for May! I actually debated actually making goals this month just because this month will probably be particularly busy (see goal #4)… I’ve also been feeling a little burnt out lately, between my everyday to-do’s and my goals to-do’s I feel like I have so much to get done every day. So I’m trying to keep them fairly light and see how that goes!

May Goals

  1. Fitness/Gamification – I was really hoping to do the next Blogilates fitness challenge since I’m finally caught up… but there is no new one this month! I was so sad when I saw that. Though I understand there’s only so many body parts to focus on, and it’s probably better to cycle through them. Anyway, I’ve decided to take a break from the calendars just for now. Instead, I have a couple of other little fitness goals I’d like to tack on this month! One involves the app Walkr (I’ll blog about how it works next week), I’d like to complete at least one Chapter on the app every week. And then, I just brought a fitness ball to my office and I’d like to try transitioning to that instead of my office chair. I’ve heard it can help strengthen your core and back, so I thought I’d give it a try! I’d like to slowly ease into it, giving myself this month to get used to it. I already have a fun gamification idea to help me stay motivated in that regard, so I’m sure I’ll be blogging about that as well. Also – this isn’t really a goal, but I now have a Fitbit!! I’m really excited to play around with it and see how it can help me.
  2. Japanese – I feel so great about how this went last month that I’d like to do the exact same thing once more! Daily flash card reps (which will start getting tougher the longer I go as I have more and more reps every day), and some kind of Japanese video every day. June will involve a bigger Japanese focus so I’ll keep it to just these two for now.
  3. Housework – I’m starting to feel like this one’s a bit of a cop-out… I’m never going to completely stop cleaning after all. But I’d like to stay on track and keep building some habits here. For one, I’ll keep focusing on a different room every week. Second, I’d like to take another stab at figuring out the filing system that I started last month. Third, I need to continue watering the plants every day since they seem to be doing well. Finally, the one new focus this months is clothing… I tend to leave things lying around. Things like leaving shoes by the front door instead of stowing them in the shoe rack, leaving socks on the bathroom floor or jackets on the couch, and neatly folding up all of the laundry only to neglect to actually put things away in drawers. In the past I’ve tried forcing myself to clean up every day and have struggled, so I’ll try committing to every other day and see how that goes. Better than nothing!
  4. BIG PROJECTS – I feel like I need to write this down, even if I’m not planning on sharing too much and it’s hard to form definite goals out of this. But May could potentially be a big month for me. For one, one of my best friends is getting married next month and I have the privilege of being her maid of honor. Things have been going pretty smoothly thus far and she is by no means a bridezilla so it’s been really great. But there’s still some stuff I’d like to really focus on this month concerning the wedding and bachelorette. The other big project is for my own future… nothing’s set in stone, but we plan to start some house hunting and who knows where that will take us. Definitely exciting stuff, but also potentially exhausting. So it’s a big goal of mine to dedicate myself to these projects and make sure I don’t get too overwhelmed with them. I’d like to have as much fun with it as I can!
So there we have it~ I’m looking forward to the sunshine that we’ve started getting, it really helps with my mood and motivation 🙂

Monthly Goals 2015: April

March was a huge month for me! Transitioning from one job to another is a pretty big deal, but I’d say it’s going super well. Now let’s see, how did I do on my goals?

March Goals Recap

  1. Fitness – 30-day ab workout challenge plus the 30-day butt lift challenge from Blogilates, at the same time. This one went splendidly!! I had a couple of days sprinkled throughout where I needed to skip a workout and then double up the next day, but they were fairly rare and not very disruptive. I’d originally planned to do these every morning when I get up, before I go to work… That rarely happened. I think I’ll need a little more time getting used to the new job/schedule before I start adding exercises to my morning routine. But it didn’t matter in the end, because I got them done regardless and that’s what matters~! I feel stronger and am excited to start the next challenge!
  2. Japanese – Do something Japanese-related every day and participate in Tadoku. I did… ok I guess? I may have missed a day or two, but when that happened, I tried to make up for it and do some extra reading/listening the next day. I wish I’d done better with Tadoku – not so much with the reading, but with the tracking! I was partly through a couple of different manga by the end that I completely forgot to submit before the end of the contest! Ah well, I’ll try not to be too hard on myself. After all, the whole point was doing just a little something every day, and I did fairly well on that point. I’ve also splurged and ordered some new Japanese manga – it’s still in the mail but I’m really excited and will have some new stuff to read for a future Tadoku!
  3. Blog – Four posts in the month. Not very complicated, and I did it! Yay 🙂 It’s been fun, I enjoy having this space as my little playground. But even if I’m writing these as a personal outlet, I super appreciate all those who read about my adventures and ideas! It’s been good getting into a better blogging habit this month, and even if I don’t make it an official “goal” next month, I still plan on keeping up with it as much as I can.

So overall, I’ve had a great month. With all the stuff on my plate – new job, birthdays, bridesmaid duties, etc – I’m pretty happy that I got a lot done and was also able to work on these goals. I’ve got a lot of things planned for April too, with busy weekends ahead! But I won’t let that stop me!! Let’s head right into next month’s goals.

April Goals

  1. Fitness – The Blogilates challenges went really well for me last time, I’m happy to repeat it with the new challenges! I’m still a little behind as I did the January and February challenge calendars last month, so now I have both March and April to do and I’ll be caught up. First is the Thigh Slimming challenge, and the other one is the Sleek Arms challenge. Bring it on!
  2. Cleaning – I’ve made this a goal before and want to bring it back! I’ve been a little too busy lately, leaving some of the cleaning by the wayside… Time to pick it back up! I think I’ll try a similar take to last time – focus on one room every week and clean thoroughly, and make sure dishes are all cleaned up daily. But I’d also like to add something new… I have a filing system for all of my important documents, but I’d like to take some time to re-organize what I already have and combine it with Ross’ documents so that we have it all in one organized space. Not sure how and when it will all come together, but it’s definitely something I want to at least *start* tackling this month!
  3. Gardening – This is new and exciting! 🙂 With the seasons changing and warmer weather arriving, I really want to take a stab at gardening again. Our balcony is very tiny, so we won’t be able to do much, but I’d like to grow some herbs and maybe even some tomatoes! First steps is buying the materials, which I’d like to do by this weekend, and then it’ll just be some daily tending/watering. There’s something so awesome about growing your own food, and one day when I have a house with a yard, I definitely want to try growing more things. This’ll be some nice practice!
  4. Japanese – I know I already have three goals during a busy month… but I don’t want to drop Japanese off altogether! So I’ll keep it nice and easy and do just two little things. One is keeping up with my Anki flashcards daily. Just a little bit of vocab practice, should only take about 5-10 minutes a day if I do it right. The other is to watch a Japanese Youtube video every day. Of course, an episode of a drama or anime would definitely count, but even if I don’t do that, at least a 5-10 minute video every day would still count. Should be feasible methinks!

April is my birthday month too so it’s time to OWN it!! Let’s do this!

Gamification: Pokemon at work

I’m back with another idea to gamify your life! (If you’ve never heard of gamification before, click here) Today, we’re gonna catch ‘em all 🙂

So one thing that I used to do in my previous position was translation work. I did some manual translating (from English to French if anyone’s curious), but I mostly spent a lot of time reviewing batches and batches of translations, reading over them for mistakes and tweaking them for my needs. While I don’t dislike doing this at all (I quite enjoy it, actually!)… it was a lot. And it wasn’t always particularly exciting. So I thought, just for fun, that I’d try making it a little more exciting.

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Yeaaaaah Pokemon! I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a big kid at heart, and I’ve loved Pokemon ever since I was little. This isn’t the first time that I’ve tried incorporating these lovable monsters into my gamification ideas, but I feel like this method really stuck and makes me a little happier and more motivated at work.

Essentially, each Pokemon is a translation batch that I need to get done. Of course, you can apply this concept to almost anything, but I’ve found it helps that every Pokemon is the same type of task (ie translation batch). I print out a bunch of them and cut them out individually, leaving a bit of room at the bottom, under the picture.

I started out with a trusty Charmander!

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I kept a bunch of printed out Pokemon tucked away in a drawer, ready to be captured. When I get a new batch I need to work on, I draw out one of the Pokemon at random. The game is on! I then draw a “life bar” below the picture, which correlates with the steps I need to take to accomplish the task and “catch” the Pokemon.

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So for my translations batches, I usually had between 15-30 pages to proof per batch. I used the page count to draw up the number of hit points for that Pokemon. Then the little guy just hangs out at my desk while I work, and every time I finish a page, I just use a red sharpie to fill in one of the hit points, “depleting” its health, until I complete the job.

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I would sometimes have multiple jobs going on at the same time, but no matter, just add more Pokemon! The sky’s the limit (or in this case, the desk space…)

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Finishing a translation batch is just that much more exciting when it also means I get a new addition to my Pokemon team! At the end I then just put the captured Pokemon back in the drawer with its other friends.

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Depending on your situation, it’s easy to have these displayed in front of you as you work, or tucked away out of sight. Not going to lie – I got a couple of bemused looks from people who came by my desk and noticed the Pokemon, but it wasn’t really an issue 🙂

Simple, silly and fun! The small amount of planning/set up is well worth the motivation I get out of this game.

 

Monthly Goals 2015: March

Sooo I realize I didn’t have any goals for February (or any other posts for that matter!)… I’ll recount what’s been going on in a little bit! First, to catch up and recap my last goals.

January Goals Recap

  1. Fitness – 30-day ab workout challenge. I got about a third of the way through this one before failing! Unfortunately I got really sick for a good week of January, throwing off a lot of my plans. But that’s no reason to make excuses or give up, and I was still able to learn from my experience! I plan to try this goal again with newfound learnings.
  2. Cleaning – Making sure a specific room was tidy every week and ensuring all dishes are accounted for daily. Focusing on one room at a time was a nice practice methinks, I got a lot done this way! There’s still plenty to work on, but I’ll celebrate any improvement, and I think I’ll revisit the one-room-a-week thing from time to time. Dishes were not always 100% taken care of every day, but again, better than usual I’d say.
  3. Career – THIS is where I’ve had the most success. More on that in a second.
  4. Self Improvement – Relax and be nicer to myself. Definitely doing better on this one! I’m not perfect, and I’m sure I will always have my low times, but I’d say I’m LEAGUES better than I was a few months ago. Yay!

Okay, so the reason I’ve been so busy is two-fold.

For one, I’ve been having some health issues. Nothing too serious, I’m fine, just quite time-consuming and long-lasting (it’s actually been going on since September). But we’re finally making some headway there, so hooray for that!

The other reason… I got a new job!! I’d rather not go into too many details here, but I’ve been dedicating a big chunk of my free time on job searching for a little over a month and it all paid off 🙂 It’s SUCH a weight off my shoulders, I finally feel like I can think about other things haha. I’ll be transitioning to the new company in mid-March – wish me luck!

So with that, I’m ready to make some new goals for March!! In light of the new job, I plan on keeping things relatively light this month so I can focus on work more, but I’m still really excited to get a fresh start on some goals.

March Goals

  1. Fitness – Attempt #2 at the 30-Day Ab Workout challenge from Blogilates! I’m also tacking on the February one that I missed – the Butt Lift challenge~ Hopefully I don’t get sick this time 🙂 Last time I tried this, I wanted to do it with my boyfriend – a nice sentiment, but this meant we always did the exercises in the evening once we got back from work, and I was very prone to either forgetting or just not having the energy at that point. So this time I’ll try something different – do the exercises right when I get up in the morning. I get up earlier than Ross so this means I’ll be on my own, but maybe we’ll have better luck this time if we work on it separately. We shall see!
  2. Japanese – I can FEEL my Japanese slipping away and don’t want to let that happen! I’ll be participating in Tadoku this month, which starts on the 15th. I don’t plan on particularly doing well (especially since my new job begins on the 16th), but my goal is to do something Japanese-related every day. For the first 2 weeks of March I’ll be focusing on my Anki flash cards and watching/listening to content, and then during Tadoku it will all be about reading. よおおっっしゃああ!!
  3. Blog – I’d like to give this blog a bit of overdue lovin’! Nothing too difficult (hopefully) – I plan on making a new post every week this month. Simple and sweet!

I’m feeling SO inspired and pumped this month! Here’s hoping I can carry it all the way through 😀

Happy 2015! The return of monthly goals (January)

Now I’m not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions. A year is just such a big chunk of time, and with that perspective it’s hard to stick to any new endeavor consistently for that long.

I am, however, a big fan of monthly resolutions (or 6-week goals, 2-week goals… you get the idea). Personally, I feel like these are much MUCH more achievable, measurable and flexible. Now I don’t necessarily start new goals every single month – in fact it’s been a while – but I do love to come back to them as I see results and truly enjoy these little month-long challenges for myself. I even used to make monthly videos on my personal vlog channel a while back.

So try these out for yourself! Doesn’t a “January” goal sound much less daunting than a “2015” goal? This doesn’t mean you stop working towards something come February – it just means you have a checkpoint where you can evaluate what you’ve accomplished and then either enter the next phase of the same goal, or start a brand new one. Keeps things fresh and fun!

So here are my January goals! I usually stick to 3, but I sorta have 4 this month:

  1. Fitness – I’m doing the 30-Day ab workout challenge from Cassie Ho over at Blogilates. If you’ve never heard of Blogilates, check it out! I love Cassie’s enthusiasm and have really been able to enjoy pilates through her workout calendars and exercise videos. This month is all about working out the core! And I’ll be accompanied by my boyfriend Ross – it’s always fun to have a workout buddy 🙂
  2. Cleaning – This one is two-fold and will also involve both Ross and I. We’re trying a new thing where we pick one room in the apartment to do a deep cleaning on every week (so this week is our bathrooms, next week is the living room, then our bedrooms, then the kitchen etc). The other part of this is a simple daily action: we don’t go to bed until all dishes are accounted for – either in the dishwasher, on the drying mat, or put away, but no dirty dishes sitting in the sink. I have some cheap gold star stickers and am sticking one up on our calendar every day when we complete this – just a little extra motivation.
  3. Career – This one’s a little personal and I’d rather not share too much, but there are definitely some things I’d like to work towards with my job. This will just be once-a-week actions, but truth be told this is the goal I’m the least looking forward to. Need to just power through it!
  4. Self improvement – May not be the right title, and it’s not exactly a measurable goal with any specific actions. But I am making a concerted effort to treat myself a little better. Lately I’ve been letting the stresses of daily life get to me, and my natural reaction is to be hard on myself. I’ve committed to start being nicer to myself, to spend more time relaxing and giving thanks, and to start having more fun (and more healthy, wholesome fun at that!)

I’d love to hear what your goals are! My plan is to be back in February recapping how it went and planning the new goals 🙂

And as a little extra content… here is a glance at my Christmas holidays this year!

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My uncle came to visit for a couple of days from Belgium! We were delighted to have him

Exploring the Christmas lights around the neighborhoods has always been a tradition for us

Exploring the Christmas lights around the neighborhoods has always been a tradition for us

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We traditionally have the fancy dinner on Christmas Eve. Prepping the decorations...

We always have the fancy dinner on Christmas Eve. Prepping the decorations…

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And prepping the food! This isn't a Belgian tradition, just a family tradition: croquettes!

And prepping the food! This isn’t a Belgian tradition, just a family tradition: croquettes!

And what would a fancy dinner be without some wine?

And what would a fancy dinner be without some wine?

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First course: Smoked salmon served on a bed of greens with lemon juice and buttered bread

First course: Smoked salmon served on a bed of greens with lemon juice and buttered bread

Main course: Cheese croquettes with a simple balsamic vinaigrette salad

Main course: Cheese croquettes with a simple balsamic vinaigrette salad

And for dessert: The Yule log! With Nutella no less~

And for dessert: The homemade Yule log (or as we call it, bûche de Noël)! With Nutella no less~

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Then on Christmas day... time for exchanging presents!

Then on Christmas day… time for exchanging presents!

Our tree in all its splendor!

Our tree in all its splendor!

My mom's birthday is on the 26th - poor thing never gets much of a celebration! But we were determined to make it special for her this year and probably had an even better time than Christmas. For starters, I made this pesto gnocchi for dinner! Pretty tasty if I do say so myself...

My mom’s birthday is on the 26th – poor thing never gets much of a celebration! But we were determined to make it special for her this year and ended up probably having an even better time than Christmas. For starters, I made this pesto gnocchi for dinner! Pretty tasty if I do say so myself…

My mom was the one who made the cake but ohhh it was delicious. Moist apple deliciousness!

My mom was the one who made the cake but ohhh it was amazing. Moist apple deliciousness!

We surprised her with singing and gifts. Such a lovely night!

We surprised her with singing and gifts. Such a lovely night!

It was an awesome time and I’m looking forward to 2015!!