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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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. 🙂

  13. 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”😊?

  14. 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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