Whew! I just finished a bit of a marathon over here. No running involved! ūüėČ

As you know, my theme for the year is CREATE. Within my theme, I chose five areas to focus on. Here’s what they are: create art, create joy, create vitality, create abundance, and create community.

I spend time every week checking in and thinking about these things. Is there an area I’ve been ignoring that requires attention? What’s going well? What’s not going so well? It’s all about being deliberate. It’s about paying attention and honoring my values.¬†

So today I realized I need to focus on creating abundance. Last year I focused on self-care, and some of that self-care was to let myself relax about my budgeting. I’ve always been a bit uptight about money, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve very carefully budgeted down to my very last penny. That was often a great thing — those habits allowed me to buy a house and take amazing trips on a rather tiny teacher’s salary. But in the midst of all that self-care, I realized I needed to relax a bit. I needed to buy a new car, and I wanted to take some art classes and buy supplies. I wanted an upgraded camera system. I wanted to spoil myself a little. It was awesome. And it was WORTH IT.

BUT. Now that 2015’s over, and I’ve been relaxed about the cash-flow for a while, I also realize my squeaky-clean budgeting allowed me to do fucking awesome things. And I’ve got some serious cash-needy goals this year (yoga teacher training in the south of Spain, for one!). Plus, I want to build my emergency fund and simply get my spending back to a place I feel empowered by.

What does this mean? It means I just spent the afternoon and evening evaluating my budget and getting real. I took a hard look at what I’m spending money on (and I plan to continue this careful tracking for a while), and I asked myself some tough questions. Mind you, it really isn’t all about spending less (some was, but truthfully, very little). It was mostly about being realistic. I can sometimes have lofty goals about how little I should spend in a certain category. But when I look at my spending and I’m honest about what matters to me, sometimes that means increasing the budget in that category. Sometimes it’s okay to say that I should spend more (or that maybe I already am).¬†I don’t want budgeting and managing my finances to feel like a punishment. It’s not about that at all. It’s about empowerment. It’s about making decisions regarding¬†what’s important to me and what’s not. What do I want to see my money spent on, and what would I rather not spend money on?

I just finished putting together my money plans for the year, and it feels good. There will be some tweaking as I continue to follow my spending habits over the next few weeks. But I feel like I have a good handle on it. I feel like I know what I need (and want) to do, and I feel relieved to not be thinking about it anymore!

So if there’s anything¬†in your life you’ve been wanting to do but putting off because it’s no fun, maybe now is the perfect time to get it done. Chances are, you’ll feel pretty damn good when that thing is out of the way. I know I do!