(I chose this photo as representative of my year because, well, because I just love the damn picture. Ha! And also it reminds me of one of mine and Charlotte’s first adventures. We drove to Cathedral Gorge and stumbled upon a wildlife preserve I didn’t know existed. Charlotte had an amazing day sniffing everything in site and wandering through the cathedral’s caves. I had an amazing adventure. We took tons of photos and took our time. On the way home, we stopped in a sweet little town just to wander. And we stopped on the side of the road simply to take this picture. This year, I learned to slow down a bit. I learned to have patience with myself to get that perfect shot or breathe in that fresh air or simply just to stare. And I really appreciate that.)

OMG!! I’m finally to the planning phase! I spent a bunch of time today writing through prompts and thinking about the details I want for 2017. What am I craving? And how the heck am I going to make it all happen?

Let me tell you, I’ve got a tall order ahead of me. 2017 will be no easy feat. BUT…I can’t freaking wait. (I say that with total enthusiasm between breaths of excitement and also total exhaustion and slight overwhelm just thinking about it all.)

So today I did a lot of writing. About finances. About art. About personal wants and needs. And then I looked at five big categories to figure out what I want from each of them. Here they are:

  1. Financial: So this is probably my biggest area of focus in the coming year. I hate to focus so highly on finances, but they’re going to be important. I have big changes ahead. And, let’s be honest, paying my mortgage and such…kinda important. In 2017 I want to build a fairly substantial savings. I want to feel secure. I want to feel abundant. I want to stop stressing about money. The reality is that I live just fine on my teacher’s pay. But the reality is also that I wouldn’t survive too long if that pay went away. Teachers don’t get paid a lot. This shows in my savings. It sucks. It needs to change. I need abundance. I don’t mean I need to become an overnight millionaire or anything. I just need to be more comfortable. Less penny pinching. On a different note, I want to take a yoga teacher training, and I want to save the money for that before I book a spot. I need to upgrade my computer (because this one is sort of dying, especially in the face of editing my gargantuan photo files). I need to pay off those damn student loans. (Seriously…it’s been over 10 years, and I owe…a couple hundred dollars less than when I started paying them!!! WTF, people??!!) I want to build an art business, one that fulfills me creatively and brings me some of that financial abundance. So, yes, I plan to step it up with my finances in 2017.
  2. Personal: I need to spend time in nature every week. I do this now. It makes me feel whole. I want to explore new places outdoors and take more adventures, always. This year I would like to build a meditation practice that is more regular than it is now. I would like to add just 5 minutes to every yoga practice. Simple. Small. And oh so worth it. I would love to build more rituals into my art practice. I just think it’s fun! I plan to organize my art room (yet again; this seems to happen every six months!) and with that reorganization, create a small altar space, something a little mystical for tarot cards and sage and candles and feathers and favorite stones. I want to spend time taking care of myself. Honestly, I’m pretty good about this now. And I think it feels so good when I look out for my well-being, so I’d like to do it even more. More scented candles. More bubble baths. More walks while listening to podcasts. More playing in my art journal for no reason in particular. I want to pick up my writing practice again — just something small, maybe 20 minutes a day. I want to sign up for the Oasis to do weekly check-ins and journaling. I love this kind of stuff. It feeds my soul.
  3. Learning: Oh, I pretty much love everything about learning new things. I crave words and textbooks and fiction books and memoirs. I used to read voraciously, and now, not so much. I would like to increase my reading in 2017, perhaps a nightly ritual of reading before bed. It settles my mind and takes me to other worlds, and I sort of love that. I started studying anatomy with a focus on my yoga practice in 2016, and I would like to continue that. I want to learn more art techniques and further develop my style. I have some art classes from 2016 that aren’t quite done, and I would like to finish those. And I want to play around with my own projects and ideas, a minimum of one new art piece a week. I started a marketing program in 2016 to learn about marketing an online business, and I would like to finish that this year. So many awesome things to learn! It’s hard to decide exactly where to begin. But I figure I’ll just start and scoot along all year. The time will pass regardless, so I might as well spend it doing things that inspire me.
  4. Wellness: This year I’m letting go of the need to become some sort of uber healthy vegetarian. I’m just going to eat what I want and try to make decent choices on occasion. My real focus, and where I excel, is my yoga practice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect. I miss days in favor of sleep sometimes. It’s all good. Sometimes sleep is the priority. But I would like to continue my five day a week practice, and I want to work toward longer practices. Right now, I practice about 30 minutes a day. I’m crunched for time because I practice before work. But if I adjust a few things, I can start to increase that time and maybe get it closer to an hour. We’ll see. No promises, as I do love my morning schedule. It’s like a ritual. But I also love when I’m on break from work and get in those longer practices. They feel so gooood. I also want to continue my daily walks with Charlotte. We walk for about an hour. She sniffs everything in sight, and I listen to podcasts. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day at work.
  5. Relationships: I tend to kind of drop the ball in this area. I’m not the best friend in the world because…I’m sort of a hermit. I love being home, making art, watching TV, reading, studying, cuddling Charlotte, being all kinds of solitary. But I would like to make some small improvements here. There are a handful of people in my life I want to celebrate this year, send birthday cards and holiday cards and hand written notes. Just little things that say, “Hey, thanks for seeing my hermit ways and still wanting to be friends!” 😉 I want to make quality time with Jake a priority – weekend adventures, nightly walks, dinners together, a vacation. I also want to maintain that quality time with myself. Like I mentioned above, the self-care rituals are a lifesaver.

And there you have it. These are the things on my mind as I move forward in creating those 2017 goals. Everything feels good. I’m happy with where this is heading. And I really think 2017 is going to be a game changer.