The last two weeks I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about 2016. In my other life, I’m a high school teacher, and I’m fortunate to have two weeks off for winter break. It’s my favorite time to really ponder what went well in the previous year and what I would like to do in the coming year. It’s when I do a lot of writing, a little meditating, a lot of yoga, and a good amount of dreaming.
I make my vision board. I pick a theme for the coming year. It’s a lot of self-care. It’s a lot of focus and thought on what I can do to be even more authentic, even more me.
My theme for 2016 came to me very naturally this year. I didn’t have to work too hard at it. I just knew it was right.
Yes, yes, YES. I want to create the most beautiful year. I want to create art. Lots and lots of art. And I don’t want to lose track of that. At the end of the year I want to look back and see a big body of work. I want to see how my techniques have grown. I want to develop a habit of painting or sketching or collaging every day, even if simply for a small bit of time. Why every day? Because it’s truly like meditation for me. It’s the one time during the day that I think of nothing else. My thoughts flow in and flow out, but I don’t much notice them, as my mind is 100%, fully focused. I lose track of time. I feel joy. For real. I paint, and I feel joy. And I think that’s about the most beautiful thing there is. And so I’m committing to further cultivating this most beautiful habit. I’m making a small commitment of 15 minutes a day. Most days, I’m sure I’ll do more, as most days, I’ll want to. But on the days I don’t have time, even 15 minutes coloring in bed counts. I have plans to create a 100 paintings project (I’ll be sharing plans in the next month). And I have plans to start recording my process as I create (so I can share!). But the main point is to simply create. And if I do that, I will be totally and completely happy.
Create is also about creating vitality. I want to feel strong, active, and full of energy. I have two big goals in this area (and a couple small ones). First, I plan to complete yoga teacher training. I’ve been researching and plans are in the works. I’ll keep you up to date with my plans on this! Second, I plan to return to being an at-home vegetarian. I call it “at-home” because my goal is to change my eating habits at home by the end of the year. Maybe one day I’ll convert to being fully vegetarian, but for now, I’m not holding myself responsible for eating vegetarian when I’m at sit down restaurants or other people’s houses. At home, I want my eating habits to focus on plant based, whole foods. I did this for about two years a while back, and I really enjoyed it. And lately I’ve felt a strong pull to return to those eating habits. I just feel better when I eat that way, and feeling vital and healthy is such a strong value of mine. A small goal I have in this area is to honor my rest days. Last year I pushed and pushed. I did yoga seven days a week. I got stronger and more flexible, but I also injured myself several times. Around October, I realized it might be a good idea to back off. So I did. And I haven’t had an injury since. I can’t guarantee incorporating rest days is the reason, but they feel good. So I’m continuing this plan. My rest days are Saturday and Sunday, and I fully intend to honor them. No yoga. No workouts. Sure, I may go for a hike or a walk. I enjoy being active. But even if I sit around all day, I’m not feeling bad about it. I’m counting it as recuperation for my body. I work hard. I should rest hard too. 😉
There are a few other things on my list to focus on, but those are the main ones. I hope to look back at the end of 2016 and feel accomplished. I hope to feel I’ve continued to develop healthy habits that keep my mind strong and my body strong. I hope to create a beautiful year.
And in case you’re curious about my vision board, here it is. I LOVE having a visual representation of my goals and plans for the year. I hang it above my art desk and see it every day. It reminds me of what I was hoping for at the beginning of the year and allows me to consider how well those hopes and plans align with my currents wants and needs. I’ve found it very helpful, and I encourage you to make one of your own if you’re at all curious about the process.