The last three months of 2017 I spent contemplating and, as a result, I wasn’t able to write much. I was contemplating the purpose of my blog and realised that a lot in me has changed since I started it. But then I think that this a fantastic side effect. Blogging has enabled me to shape my thoughts, to reconsider my views and to realise that one needs changes to improve.
I will now try to summarise the past year to close it in some way. I just feel the need to start a new cycle.
The best moments of 2017
We did a bit of travelling, starting with a January visit to Copenhagen. Copenhagen is one of our most favourite destinations and we visit the city at least once a year.
In April we travelled to Gdansk, Poland where I met an old friend after many many years. The city was as charming as I remembered, but the best part of the trip was that my friend and I easily reconnected and chatted as we did 10 years before. How I missed her!
In the summer we travelled to Italy via Poland and made a three-day stop in Cracow. It was amazing! The atmosphere, the people, the weather, the food and the Old City. We just loved it all. If you ever there, I recommend buffet breakfast at Kolanko Nº 6 (www.kolanko.net) . We haven’t eaten better breakfast since!
We spent most of the summer holidays in a small town in Liguria. This was the first time we visited this part of Italy and surely not the last one. A definite highlight was the visit to the olive oil museum (www.museodellolivo.com) and factory (www.oliocarli.us) in Imperia and learning about running a family-owned company. We also visited their factory shop where I splurged on olive oils, vegetable sauces and olive-oil based cosmetics. Highly recommended!
I experienced a lot of great moments with my daughter who turned 4 in November. Since I decided to cut down on my working hours after maternity leave, I have one extra day a week I can spend just with her. Best decision ever!
In December we decided to escape the Scandinavian darkness and headed of to Tenerife. I returned refreshed, relaxed and tanned; just what I needed this time of the year.
About 1.5 years ago I joined a local LeanIn Circle through which I met a bunch of inspiring women. When I turned to my circle in a moment of professional and personal dilemma, I experienced strong feminine support. It not only helped me to resolve the issue, but also left me feeling heard, understood and cared about. Thank you, ladies.
I cooked a lot and tried out many new dishes. Before, I never thought that cooking would give me so much enjoyment! I cook nearly every day, mostly vegetarian or vegan dishes. Meat is a rarity in our kitchen.
Not so great moments of 2017
In general, I was too tense and stressed too much. I occupied with so many things in the house and at work that I did not allow myself time to relax and rest properly on everyday basis.
I made a few trials to start exercising regularly, however, because of lack of motivation I never continued.
Because of lack of inspiration I gave up blogging for the final quarter of 2017. I felt I wanted to write but at the same time I thought that either the topics I had in mind were too obvious or I had to many ideas to write about. As a result I could not focus on writing.
Which moments I want more of
I want to be more relaxed and be able to focus on the activities that bring me joy. Reading in the sunshine is one of the most relaxing activities I know of!
I would like to be able to organise more time for my hobbies, including knitting, sewing and writing. I am glad that I picked up knitting and crocheting after a longer break and managed to complete two larger projects.
Spending time with my daughter is one of the most valuable experiences. She has become a partner in conversation and is more and more curious about the world. I feel happy and privileged that I can be her teacher.
I will happily spend more time travelling and exploring new places. And I badly want to overcome my flight anxiety.
I have already failed at keeping the resolutions I made for the year 2017, and January hasn’t even ended yet.
In one of my previous posts (here) I wrote that I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I also wrote that I believe that any time of the year is great for making changes. However, this year I decided to do something different. I changed jobs at the end of December and I thought that I should start the year in a more powerful way. You know, ‘the new and improved me’.
These are the two resolutions I made:
I will not buy a single piece of clothing for myself in the month of January.
I will stop eating meat completely.
Why I failed
And I failed beautifully at both… And I think I know why:
The new job is a part-time one which means a lower salary so I needed to rethink how I spend my money. I thought that I should just cut on buying clothes. Yes, it is a very smart decision to limit your expenses when you work less and earn less. It is also a good idea to rediscover your wardrobe and use already owned clothing in more creative ways. But I already am a conscious shopper and I am good at decluttering. I regularly go through my clothes and get rid of the ones I don’t use, usually by selling them via eBay. On the other hand, I really like clothes and am interested in fashion so making such a resolutions seemed like a real sacrifice. However, I wanted to prove to myself that I can do it. And so I failed. About two weeks ago I bought a leather jacket on sale. In my excuse I can say that on the very same day I sold an old leather jacket I didn’t use any longer. Well, I did feel a bit guilty about this but then the thought that I used my old ‘one in, one out’ rule made me feel better.
In my family we already eat very little meat. Most of the meals I prepare I meat-free. I thought it would be a great move to stop consuming meat completely. I knew that I could live without meat because I had had two longer vegetarian/pescatarian phases in my life. So what I thought I did. And I failed, and now we have meat in the fridge and the freezer. Why? My daughter was reluctant to eat my meat-free dishes every day. She wasn’t ready to switch and simply missed the meat. After preparing two or three vegetarian alternatives nearly every day for two weeks I gave up. I realised that for her the change was too sudden. I should have taken it more slowly and first make her like vegetables more before she was ready to stop eating meat completely.
I should not be too strict with myself. If something truly gives me joy, why should I resign from it? Why should I restrict myself to not buying anything and feel guilty if I do so? So I am still going to follow my well-established shopping rules. Maybe I will be more reflective and think not twice but three times before I purchase anything. And I promise myself not to feel guilty!
My plan to change our eating habits needed some revision. From now on I am going to try out new vegetarian recipes and introduce more vegetables to my daughters menu. I hope that by doing so the amount of meet she consumes at home will be gradually reduced to… nothing.
General thoughts on introducing changes to your life
Have a genuine reason for a change. Wanting to prove something to yourself might not be a reason strong enough to keep you motivated.
Don’t be too strict to yourself. Be more forgiving whenever you stumble and give yourself second chances.
Don’t feel guilty about your mistakes or stumbles. Guilt is a negative feeling and doesn’t lead to anything productive. Instead, see your mistakes as learning opportunities.
Be realistic with your resolutions and with what you can achieve within a specific time frame. Go for smaller steps to give yourself a feeling of success or accomplishment, i.e. instead of deciding not to but clothes for the whole year start with one week. Perceive a change as an evolution, not a revolution.
Before deciding on introducing any changes think about how the ones around you might be affected and always take them into consideration. How will your resolutions affect your closest family and friends? How will the changes you want to implement affect your relationships with others? What can the others do to support you?
What is your best tip to keep yourself motivated when going through a change?