It’s a new year.

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A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Once again the first day of the new year snuck up on me. After 46 of these, you’d think I’d see it coming, but no: one night I’m thinking about how I love the crisp fall air and the next I’m ringing in the new year at midnight (who am I kidding…it’s a rare year that I don’t fall asleep on the couch before the near year arrives). I wake up on January 1st with great dreams, a list of books to read a mile long, hobbies I want to start, new projects that I want to get to…and of course great goals around nutrition and exercise.

If you’re like me, most of this doesn’t get done, despite wanting to with every fibre of one’s being. Given I’ve probably gone through this annual routine over 40 times in my life, I decided that it was time to figure out how to change the pattern.

I read Atomic Habits by James Clear, in which he talks about motivation vs. intention. Clear explains that those who were motivated were much less successful in achieving their goals than those who had a plan. He suggests an “if-then” format for your plan.

I’ve also been fortunate to meet a new professional coach who encouraged me to set personal, professional, and family goals for the year.

So here it is, January 1, 2021. It’s time to set my goals, to write them down, and to set an intention for each one.

I’ll start today with my personal goals. Professional and Family goals will come this week.

Letter board that reads "take care of yourself" on a bed of green leaves and flowers.


To continue to make improvements in the way I nourish my body.

In 2020, I completed 6 months of a full elimination diet and spent 3 months reintroducing foods back in. I learned a lot. It started with a food sensitivity panel, followed by a major elimination of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and more (even brewer’s yeast, pepper, and pistachios). I can tolerate almost all of these foods in small quantities except for gluten and any significant quantity of dairy. I also continued eating only humanely-raised meat and reducing the amount of meat I eat overall. I’ve also tried to eat only sustainably harvested seafood and know I still have a lot to learn about this industry.

  • If I am choosing what to eat, I will avoid all gluten.
  • If I am eating meat, I will choose humanely-raised meat or choose a vegetarian option.
  • If I am eating seafood, I will ensure it is sustainably harvested or choose a vegetarian option.

To manage my depression and anxiety with exercise, meditation, and sleep.

I have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, and, most recently, anxiety. With simple, low-dose medication, light therapy, and good mental health practices, I can be – and generally am – mentally healthy. I’ve had good success managing my mental health with meditation, exercise, and good sleep practices.

  • If it’s a weekday, I will meditate for at least 10 minutes before work.
  • If I haven’t done any exercise by 5 pm, I’ll do at least 15 minutes before I “relax” for the evening with social media, TV, Netflix, or other sedentary activities (writing, knitting, embroidery, reading, etc.).
  • If it’s a work night, I will go to bed to get 8 hours of sleep.

To engage my creative energy.

Every winter I get antsy and need to find an outlet for my creative juices. Often that means rekindling an old hobby or trying something new. I’ve got a few things on my radar: knitting, embroidery, reading, writing, painting, drawing, woodworking, etc.

This year, I’d like to:

  • Complete the weekly TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) challenge to re-learn all of the beautiful embroidery stitches my mum taught me years ago.
  • Complete a couple of knitting projects that I currently have underway.
  • Read 26 books.
  • Write something every week … ideally more often.

Here are my intentions:

  • If it’s Tuesday, I will check for the weekly TAST challenge and schedule time to complete it that week.
  • If I haven’t done any knitting today and still my two goal projects to complete, I will knit at least five rows before bed.
  • If it’s Monday, I’ll schedule time to write for the week. (Most of my writing will probably appear on this blog…looking forward to having you follow along.)
  • If I haven’t read a book before I got to bed, I will include 15 minutes of reading in my pre-sleep routine. (Hey…Are you on Goodreads? Can I read 26 books this year? Follow along to find out. I’ll keep my reading list and reading “wish” list up-to-date over there.)

And yes, on top of all of this, I will get my vaccine as soon as I possibly can because, science.

Until my next post. Be well. Stay safe.