3 things I’m not doing in 2016.

3 things I’m not doing in 2016.

I love the opportunity for fresh starts the New Year brings. Some say there’s nothing magical about January 1—at least not in terms of making resolutions—but I disagree. An opportunity for a clean slate is its own kind of magic.

Each year I like to reflect on what’s working for me, and what’s not working. In the same way, I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve learned in the past year that I’ll carry into 2016, and the things I definitely won’t.

On that note: 3 things I’m NOT doing in 2016:

1. Wasting time to save money.

I’ve always been a “saver,” not a spender. I’m a frugal girl at heart, but sometimes that impulse works against me.

audiobooks and flowers

Case in point: I’ve been speeding through a certain British murder mystery series. When I finished book 2 I wanted to start book 3 immediately. I didn’t particularly want to buy it, but my library didn’t have it in paperback. They did have the audio version available on compact disc, so I decided to try and “make it work.”

My kids listen to books on cd all the time, but I never do. I listen to audio books when I’m on the go, and I prefer to listen at 1.25 or 1.5 speed. I did some googling and discovered I could upload the discs to iTunes, then work some magic on the files so I could listen on my phone at any speed I wanted.

I was so excited to discover this was an option … and then it took me 35 minutes to upload the first disc, adjust the settings, and get to listening.

There was a time in my life when it might have been worth it to spend 35 minutes (per disc!) to save myself the price of the $7.99 kindle edition, or $9ish Audible credit. But that time is not now. And this year I’m not wasting my time doing things the hard way when I could spend a little money and make my life much easier.

2. Blowing off the things I know are good for me.

I’ve been reading Traci Mann’s fascinating book Secrets from the Eating Lab. I never would have picked up this book if I hadn’t heard Mann speak at a local conference in the fall, but I’m so glad I did: her research—and takeaways—are fascinating and practical. After years of research, she’s learned the tips and tricks that make it possible for anyone to easily eat in a sensible way most of the time.

She doesn’t believe in willpower: it’s highly fallible, easy to deplete, and isn’t potent enough to handle the onslaught of temptations we’re faced with on a daily basis. Instead, she advocates strategies that make good choices easy, which might not make you thin, but will definitely make you healthier.

Newsletter subscribers know that one of the things that didn’t work for me in 2016 was my backslide into lax eating habits. I know what I need to eat and not eat to feel good, and I’ve been falling down in that area. I’m putting several of Mann’s strategies to work so that I eat healthier—and consequently, feel better—in 2016.

My favorite no-brainer strategy is “veggies first.” In her lab, Mann has found that if people eat their vegetables first—especially if the vegetable is served with no other options—they eat more vegetables. There is no downside to eating more veggies. At best, they’ll replace less healthy choices in your diet; at minimum, they provide all sorts of vitamins.

I’ve used this with my kids throughout the years: I think Dr. Sears recommended that hungry kids will eat baby carrots if that’s their only choice before dinner. But I’ve never deliberately used it for myself (till now). Mann recommends starting the meal with salad or crudités (even eating them before preparing dinner). It’s easy and effective.

Mann has other strategies to eat well (and, tangentially, exercise often). I’m taking notes and making plans, because I’m not blowing off healthy eating and exercise this year.

living room art

3. Putting off my own decision paralysis.

Almost two years ago, I had a major freak-out about the state of my first (and most recent) home. As we prepared to leave it, I realized that I’d let my perfectionist fears keep me from experimenting with decorating and design in the way I wanted to. I was waiting for the next house, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

When we moved to our new-to-us place a year and a half ago, I resolved to NOT do that again. We were going to make this house ours. We would paint, and fix, and decorate, and embellish in a way that we loved, that felt true to our style and our family.

I did great for a while … and then I realized I’d lapsed into my old decision paralysis. Right before Christmas, I realized that several major walls were still blank. This wasn’t a design choice. I was terrified to choose the wrong thing for them, so I didn’t choose anything. That’s fine for a month but not for two years.

And so—with some encouragement and hand-holding from my favorite interior designer (who happens to be married to my brother, lucky for me)—I ordered Real Art off the internet. (That was scary!) When I pulled it out of the box I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s in that picture above, over our sofa. Maybe it’s not your style, and that’s fine, but I adore it.

I also made yet another book page wreath to hang on the blank wall above our bed, because something is better than nothing. Baby steps.

Next: I’m painting our kitchen door purple. Maybe I’ll hate it, but I can’t wait to try it.

What are you NOT doing in 2016?

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  1. Kim says:

    I am not letting others pull me into their ‘circus’ this year. Being a first born, I tend to want to help everyone, but learning that I can’t, nor is it my responsibility, is so freeing!
    I am not keeping things to use ‘some day’ anymore. if they aren’t loved now, they are gone. I have to trust that if the day comes that I want that one thing, I will be able to afford to get it.

  2. Florence says:

    My word for the year is savor. I’m not rushing through things whether it is books, or cooking, or my quilting. I’m going to savor the journey.

    I love that idea of eating veggies first! Definitely will do that!

  3. I also have decorating paralysis that I should probably overcome this year. But this year my main goal is to ‘strengthen’ all parts of my life. This can mean not putting things off and doing everything I know that ought to be done. Now!

  4. Rebecca says:

    The veggie thing is funny-I always eat mine first, but only so I can savor and enjoy the “real” food later (I apparently have not grown up yet;). This year I’m not listening to the voices that say “what if it doesn’t work out?” I’m prepping to do art shows, and the outlay is big (for me) and the results not guaranteed. But this is my ticket to being able to wear those pretty Renaissance dresses at the Ren Fairs?

  5. I had to laugh because I actually import CDs into iTunes all the time in order to listen to them on my phone. You’re right, it does take awhile, but I’m usually not sitting at my computer waiting around for them to import, so it works for me. It can be a bit of a hassle though if I want to get to listening right away.

    • Anne says:

      If it works for you that is AWESOME. (Also, it’s entirely possible that my laptop with the CD-rom drive is just a wee bit too old to make this process painless. 🙂 )

  6. Doret Pool says:

    I’m working on letting baggy pants, more energy, and looking forward to my trainer saying “look how far you have come since last month” define my physical accomplishments rather than the numbers on a scale, tape measure, or fitbit. I’m also working on getting out of the house and not sitting around all the time. The getting out is to go to the museums in our area (several), zoo, see new movies, and see the sights my state has to offer.

  7. Alicia G says:

    Oh my gosh. I totally hear you on the decision paralysis.

    My thing this year is to not get bogged down by The Overwhelm. My To Do list doesn’t say things like “get windows installed” now which is a giant project. Now it is the next steps only. So yesterday was “ask [contact] for suggestions of contractors” and the day before was “find 3 eco-friendly brands”. I get so so so overwhelmed but big things that this helps projects feel do-able!

    And I am trying to have the attitude that I am chipping away at everything to get done. It will never be fully done. I just have to try a little bit every day. And make time for fun. 🙂

      • Dana says:

        I agree with the gardening. The squirrels keep winning and that takes the joy out of trying to grow your own. I
        have a fabulous Farmer’s Market close by, so come April when the re-open I will be there instead of buying seeds and pots of tomatoes and such.

    • Anne says:

      Oh goodness, I relate to this. The Overwhelm is real! (My to do list currently says “lighting.” Talk about paralysis!)

      A little bit every day sounds like a plan to me. 🙂

  8. Love the line about how will power fails us. I’m leaning more towards accountability right now since that works much better for me. Making small rules and limitations is such a good place to start. Eating veggies first is something that is not hard and not a punishment, but is a big step in helping to reach the main goal. I like that. I’m a huge believer in baby steps!

  9. Kendra says:

    I love the painting too! I too had decision paralysis in our first house and then shortly before we moved we had to paint. It was SO cheery and made all the difference. I have been better in our new house but there are a few projects I keep forgetting to get to. One of them is painting the inside of our front door yellow. You’re post is a good reminder.
    A question: What veggies do you typically eat? I’m great with ordering veggies when out to eat but not so good at making it convenient at home.

    • Anne says:

      For veggies: it’s seasonal. Recently we’ve been doing a lot of chopped salads, braised cabbage (nom nom paleo’s recipe), kale/broccoli slaw mix from Costco, roasted winter vegetables, and we always, always heavily rely on frozen broccoli and brussels sprouts on days when we’re feeling lazy or the crisper drawer is empty.

  10. Anna says:

    What I’m stopping this year:
    1) Needing to finish “to-do” lists before things that are relaxing, but I don’t see as productive. This has been a slow process over the last few years. There was a super stressful point last spring/summer that made me take it more seriously. I have realized that I’m more productive overall when I have appropriate breaks and time to relax my brain. It’s hard to break the tyranny of the urgency, though!
    2) Overapologizing- But I did find myself doing this yesterday. My brain was telling me not to, but I did it anyway. At least I’m recognizing it, which could be a step in the right direction.
    3) Stressing over future details. This one is a little harder to explain. I’ve always liked to plan a few steps ahead to be prepared. But sometimes that translates into worrying about the things that *could* go wrong. I’m trying to prepare for what I can, and being prepared to take what comes without worrying over what I can’t control.

  11. Angela says:

    That picture is charming!!!! Love the color palette so much. This year, I’m not grocery shopping. I’m using a combo of online delivery services and paying a neighbor in Starbucks to get the job done.

  12. Debra Saturday says:

    A great post that really speaks to me.

    I am not wasting my time on people who do not appreciate me for me.
    I am not wasting my time on books that don’t speak to me.
    I am not stressing over what was and what could be.

    I am enjoying my day more.
    I am living the way I want to with kindness and peace.
    I am cutting back on my hobbies to only ones that speak to me now not then.
    I am de-cluttering.
    I am. 🙂

  13. Patrice Fletcher says:

    I am not going to waste time talking about what I don’t like about something. Especially my job! I am looking to change careers. Career changing after age 40 and nearly 20 years in the career can be a bit scary. I found myself often talking myself out of doing things. So, I am not going to talk myself out of doing things.

  14. Susan E says:

    I love the painting too. So bright and cheerful and energetic. Buying art or a rug or a piece of furniture really scares me as it seems like a big investment and then what if I see something I like better a little further down the road? For myself, I have to see what I have as enough and perfect for the time being, not always looking at what is “missing”. That’s a big thing for me in 2016.

    Happy 2016 with all the things you’re not going to do.

  15. I love this post. I have gotten better about the spending thing. Because time is money. If I find something that I love, I buy it, I don’t shop around. Not that I am buying impulsively all the time, I’m just not wasting time looking for a better deal.
    Also, I’m not cleaning my house this year.=) I’m pretty sold on hiring a cleaning service once a month, and so I actually will clean between times, and continue with having my kids pitch in.

  16. liz n. says:

    I wanted to paint our entryway purple (specifically, “Bella Donna” by C2), but the face my husband made when I showed him the paint chip was the kind of fear and disgust you see when a Walking Dead character unexpectedly comes face to face with a hungry zombie. We went with beige, truly a bold choice. 😉

    What didn’t work for me in 2015 was going to the gym. Except for barre class, I prefer working out and exercising by myself. The gym was too distracting: too many people, too much noise, an odor that I wouldn’t want to describe even if I could. I’ve already switched back to my peaceful, productive routine.

    But what really didn’t work for us last year was not moving. Husband transferred to a different store in the company, which meant a longer drive. For the last four months, he’s been leaving for work before I get up in the morning and getting home about an hour and a half before bedtime. He’s exhausted, we hardly see each other, and we only have meals together a couple of times a week. We are moving soon, so that he can spend less time in the car and we will have back our time together!

    • Anne says:

      I’m cracking up at his reaction to the purple paint! I’ve told Will I want purple but I haven’t shown him the sample. That may be a good thing. 🙂

  17. Cassie says:

    I also try to eat my veggies first. I also try to take up at least half my plate with veggies. I am not going to take on the struggle of my hub’s job search.

  18. I love this post–especially your description of uploading CDs to iTunes. I tried that with library CDs for a while too until I realized it was too time-consuming and frustrating (sometimes the first few tracks of random discs wouldn’t record) to be worth the work. These days, I’m a happy audible “reader” and actually look forward to making dinner each evening.

  19. Ana says:

    I love that painting! I didn’t even think about ordering art on the internet. My library does not have the Eating Lab book, but I’m considering buying it, because it seems so useful! Can you do a post of the tips you are trying? I’m always looking for ways to rely on anything but willpower because mine turns off around 8:30 pm.
    The time/money thing is always tricky for me. Sometimes its worth a little work to save some $$ ( I like the challenge & the thrill of success and “sticking it to the man”), but you never know in advance that the “little work” can turn into “half day project” and once you’ve started, well, it just makes sense to continue…

    • Anne says:

      “You never know in advance that the “little work” can turn into “half day project” and once you’ve started, well, it just makes sense to continue…”

      This has happened to me too many times!

  20. Dana says:

    I will not allow the negativity of others douse my enthusiasm for the things I love. I will not let cynicism bring me down.

    Love the painting! The colors have some much energy!

  21. Janene says:

    I recently hired someone to help me catch up with the house after much angst about spending the money. Paying someone else to help ease up on myself was so worth it. I need to do more of this in 2016.The frugal girl in me sometimes needs to be silenced.

  22. Michelle says:

    I’m not staying up too late this year. I tell myself I’m being productive but I am much more happily productive the next morning if I get enough sleep! I’m also not going to stress anymore about one-sided friendships and focus on the people in my life who truly care.

  23. re: eating veggies first: another reason the French are my food muses. I’ve read over and over that in France, a veggie starter is the first course.

    And YES to not wasting time “saving” money!

  24. Ashley says:

    I can completely relate to #1. Of course I can’t think of a specific example at the moment but ever since having my daughter there are more and more things that my husband and I are willing to buy. Our time is worth more to us now.

  25. MelissaJoy says:

    We painted our first kitchen purple and loved it! Ironically, we only enjoyed it for a few months before selling to move far away for my husband’s job. It set the tone for living in the present as we’ve moved a lot over the last decade. Each place we call home for any length of time gets our “purple kitchen” treatment. Said differently, it is another way of decoratively expressing our soul connection with that home. Rugs, art, icons have all been part of our expression. Please keep us posted on your door and art collecting. I love how you noticed your slipping back into an old pattern and resolved to make a change. I’m an activator by nature so I can only see positive outcomes here 🙂
    This year I have resolved to stop giving advice unless it is really being sought out. I will be listening more which can only be good for everyone! We have moved (finally, maybe) back to our county of origin which has been wonderful for many reasons but challenging to infuse our “worldly” selves back into local culture. Can you feel the rub?
    Ps. Love your podcast!

  26. Heather says:

    Yes, my word is plenty this year, I don’t need to worry about saving a dollar when efficiency is more important, I’m not rich but I have plenty. This affects other parts of my life like time!

  27. Kelly says:

    I love this! We call it Analysis Paralysis in our house, but the result is the same — constantly putting off a decision because we don’t want to make the wrong choice, regret our choice if something else comes along, or allow all other decisions to hinge on this *one* decision.

    Last year with my diagnosis, we let a lot of that go. Live in the moment, Live Lightly, enjoy our lives.

    BTW: LOVE your art! It’s gorgeous!

  28. Donna says:

    I’m tossing the clutter this year and curbing unnecessary spending…mostly because I have way more than I will ever need and am tired of living in clutter. I have been paring down for about 6 months and I love my house more every time I throw something else out! And I’m avoiding the drama. I have always fell into other people’s drama…and truthfully my own as well…but it is high time to stop. Unless there is blood or someone is dying it really isn’t that bad! ? Thanks for letting me share!

  29. Judy says:

    I am not going to continue to waste time. I’m going to make lists and keep working at them until I start accomplishing things. When I do waste time, I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

  30. Ashley says:

    This is a silly one, but I am NOT doing arts and crafts. I see ideas on Pinterest and think, “Oh, that looks easy enough; I could totally do that!” The most recent example was creating my own work of abstract art. Then in the planning phases, I start realizing how little I know about the very basics … and chances are it’s not going to turn out well enough to satisfy this perfectionist. 🙂 Could I take the time to learn and get better? Of course, but I have other creative outlets that make me much happier and are a better use of my time. I will gladly pay for others’ artistic talents and am officially off the DIY train. I even deleted the Pinterest board that taunted me: Projects I’m Going to Do … Someday.

  31. Jenn Warren says:

    Amen to #1 Anne! I strongly encourage you to try having your house cleaning once a month. Changed my life and good for my marriage. So curious where you looked for art online. I have a specific size I need and want an original.

  32. Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I’m so glad you were able to choose art for your home that you enjoy!
    And I’m fascinated with your purple kitchen door idea!

  33. Greg says:

    On the “not doing in 2016” is not being afraid to try something even if it may not turn out OK. This applies to trying new recipes, new places, new ways of thinking about things. Nothing dangerous though.
    Also, thanks for posting about “Secrets from the Eating Lab”. I have ordered it from the library, and am looking forward to it. It will be something new instead of the traditional diet.

  34. Beth Anne says:

    Oh Anne! I love that piece of art! Well done! And can you please come make this military spouse actually turn her houses into homes? When you said 2 years shamefully I thought back to 3.5 years – the longest we lived anywhere, and all the blank walls that still existed in that house.

    • Anne says:

      No shame! And if it makes you feel any better all I have on my own bedroom wall is one single mirror. And a book page wreath, but that only went up a few days ago. 🙂

  35. Sarah S says:

    I absolutely LOVE the painting, so bright & energizing! Is “Real Art” a shopable internet store? If so, would you provide a link. Or did you just mean “real art”??

  36. Jules says:

    Go for the purple door – this week I painted our franchise windows pink, bright pink. I have been wanting to do it for three years but was worried, it was too much work (it WAS a lot!), was too unconventional, it might look awful …. The lull between Christmas and New Year was the perfect time. The end result? It was a lot of work but I had time, lots of masking tape and a table outdoors to lie them on. It was certisnly unconventional but who cars, it’s our house. And it might look awful – actually it does!! Well, from the outside. Inside the colour looks great. So today we are off to buy some lavender coloured paintto repaint the outside. It’s only a coat of paint and a few hours. Now I know what pink doors look like on my house and I call that good. Moral of the story – try it and see how it looks, this applies to anything that isn’t life threatening or structurally damaging!!!

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