I’m back! Like many blog breaks before it, this latest hiatus stretched on for longer than I intended.
By September, I didn’t have much in the tank for anything beyond essentials: leading our flower shop family through the last stretch of a super challenging year (we made it!); cooking all the comfort food; reorganizing /refreshing our home; and binge-watching my go-to security blanket comedy series, or, my latest obsession, Survivor.
While I’m not big on resolutions — even in the best of times — I want to go into the new year armed with the lessons I learned in 2020. Perhaps the biggest: God says lol to your perfect plans. Here are 5 flexible, achievable goals I’m taking into 2021. They’re designed to be adaptable to whatever the year brings, and will shape a lot of the content you’ll see around here going forward!
1. Read more books.
I only finished a handful of books in 2020. Of which, The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires was my favorite. I blamed my lazy reading on a lack of concentration; all the stress of the year turned my brain to mush and made it difficult to focus. (This didn’t seem to apply to the hours I spent reading comments on Real Housewives subreddits though. *shrug emoji*)
I don’t have a quantifiable reading goal in mind for the new year, but I’d like to get through at least 2 books a month. I also want to expand out of my basic fiction comfort zone and pepper in some educational non-fiction, too.
2. Make space for creative hobbies beyond my day job.
I’m incredibly lucky to make a living creating beautiful things. And back at the start of the pandemic — when we weren’t sure how/where/if our flower shop would weather the storm — I realized how much I treasure my career as a self-employed designer. But, in my experience, even the dreamiest jobs can lead to burnout if you don’t stretch and grow your skills with outside projects.
I know I’m more inspired at work when I make time for creative hobbies. My mental health reaps the benefits, too! So whether it’s bringing back #sundaybaking to try out new recipes, publishing a fresh blog post each week, doing a seasonal capsule wardrobe remix, or dipping into my stash of untouched art supplies, I hope to stretch my creative muscles more in 2021.
3. Stick to a no-buy/low-buy through the year.
We spent a good chunk of 2020 organizing and de-cluttering our home. (Who else stress-cleaned their way through the pandemic?) In all that closet/vanity/kitchen/home-office sorting, I realized how much stuff we buy/own that we never use. And how much we vibe with a more ordered, minimalist space.
While I’m not sure I’m ready for a full ‘No-Buy New Year,’ I’m definitely on board for a strict shopping diet and fewer, better things. I plan to write a post with all the details later this month, but I’ll use the rules I gave myself in 2017 as a jumping-off point.
4. Commit to significantly reducing our food waste at home.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I want to be better about using leftovers, shopping smarter, and getting creative with the ingredients I have on hand. I cooked more than ever last year — I find it a lovely and delicious distraction from anxiety — and figured out a good weekly shopping plan. We axed our takeout habit, canceled our meal delivery service, and tried out lots of new recipes. Now I focus on stocking fridge and pantry staples that translate into lots of easy, healthy meals with minimal waste.
Bonus: Not only is our new routine more sustainable, but it helps me maintain a reasonable food budget, too. (More on that later!)
5. Get serious about saving money.
Whew! 2020 taught me that you need an emergency fund, ya’ll. It’s not fun to save for a hypothetical financial crisis — new shoes are way more exciting — but now I know firsthand that unexpected economic disasters can come out of nowhere and wallop your goals if you’re not prepared.
2019 was a great year for the flower shop; we were cruisin’ along with big plans to grow even more in 2020. We never expected to completely halt our operations for a month during state-mandated lockdowns. Or postpone dozens of wedding contracts, leaving us unavailable to take new bookings in the second half of the year. Thankfully, we had our emergency fund to get us through the toughest months, and by the end of the year, we made a strong recovery.
While we were in the thick of it, I took a big salary cut to keep our team employed and rebuild the business’ cash reserves. Going back to a lean paycheck reminiscent of my early days of self-employment reminded me that I can get by with less. In 2021, I plan to cut way back on my personal spending to supercharge our financial goals. Starting with putting aside a percentage of every paycheck until I have several months of our essential household expenses squirreled away, separate from our investment savings.
I’ve always relied on Chad to manage and build the bulk of our savings, but last year was a wake-up call for me to get serious about it, too.
TLDR; my flexible ‘resolutions’ for 2021 are to read more, spend less, use/appreciate what we have, sock away more savings for our future, and make the most of my downtime with productive hobbies. Probably work out more too; ugh. And, hopefully, spend more time writing and sharing about it all around here.
Cheers to a fresh start and brighter days ahead!
(image via @isabelaschielkestudio)