2017

Thanksgiving 2017

by Jamie Sanford on November 23, 2017

Here we go again, with the time flying by more quickly than any of us would like. The holidays have officially arrived.

It seems like the right time to revisit my gratitude practice and how it is going. I will admit to not often enough focusing on it, but I still benefit from the foundation of gratitude that I built for myself. I am, in general, extremely grateful for all of the things I have received from the universe as well as the things I have that I’ve worked hard to have or achieve.

For anyone who needs help, let’s start with really low-level, basic gratitude stuff. Starting to look at your life a little bit differently will lead you on a different path.

  • You are alive and breathing and reading a blog post. You can breathe, and see. How many people have you already outlived?
  • You have a computer or other device with which to read this blog post. Your privilege is starting to show. Do you see where this is going?

Let’s level up a bit. Here are some of my own gratitude list items.

  • According to survey data, 40% of Americans would be in financial crisis if they suddenly were presented with a bill of $400 or more. I am not in that 40%. Will and I have worked hard to do all of the important adult financial stuff that you are “supposed” to do, and the reason that we can do that is because we make enough money to do so. So many people are not in this scenario.
  • I have a home that is filled with the things I love and the human I love the most in the world.
  • My health, for the most part, is quite good, despite all of my efforts to ruin it. (Hello, upcoming goals.)
  • I have made it to adult life with some of the most amazing friendships intact, with people I’ve known for 20 or more years. What they add to my life is immeasurable.
  • I laugh every day. Multiple times.

I could go in and make this list longer, but that isn’t what this is about. For me, it is being present in the gratitude and having that contribute greatly to my happiness.

I do believe that for many people, happiness is a choice. (Click the link for much more on this topic.) If you focus on things you are unhappy about, you’ll be unhappy about everything. If you focus on the good stuff, you’ll realize just how much good stuff there is, and hopefully you can pair that with recognizing your own luck/privilege/good fortune/whatever you want to call it.

Take an extra moment today to create your own mental gratitude list. Good luck!

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17 Goals for 2017

by Jamie Sanford on January 1, 2017

Thanks to Sarah Conley of Style It for inspiring this post last year with her own goals for 2016. She is wonderful and you should check out her blog right now.

I don’t think I have ever been someone who is ready to jump into anything on January 1. I get that it is a new year and the chance to be different, but mostly, I find myself in recovery mode from the events of December for at least the first 2 weeks of January. It is certainly not the time to make sweeping changes that require lots of concentrated effort.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links.

1. Save more money. Who doesn’t want to do this? Seriously though, we would like to buy a house at some point, so more saving is going to be better for unexpected expenses.

2. Buy fewer duplicate beauty products. I have gone a bit overboard with product experimentation and it is time to dial that back. I have a ton of beauty stuff and I need to use more of it and then reassess. Of course I will refill products like foundation and my trusty Mario Badescu Facial Spray, but I have a ton of stuff to use up before I buy anything else.

Related: I really need to go through all of the makeup and see what needs to be tossed.

3. Eat more home-cooked food. I freely admit that this puts more pressure on my husband than me, since he does 99% of the cooking in our household. The New York Times told me that cooking at home will help avoid a ton of calories that go into prepared foods that we don’t even notice while consuming said foods.

4. More reading, less HGTV. Or TV in general. There isn’t much to this – I have lots of things around to read and don’t actually do projects or things featured on HGTV, so I should stop wasting time with this.

Related: Maybe I need to create a schedule of when I can watch TV and when I have to do something else. That sounds scary and rigid, but I need something to get away from the default of watching crap TV.

5. Consistent blogging. I did a much better job with posting regular in December 2016 than in past Decembers, but I would like to be more consistently consistent.

6. More photography. I do like taking photos with my DSLR, the Sony Alpha a550, but since I got a Sony NEX-6, I’ve been using it as my main camera. It’s smaller and easier to carry around in my bag, and takes wonderful images. I would also like to learn more about photography in general. We have lots of books in our home about the subject, so I should probably read them – see #4.

7. More activity. I don’t want to say “work out more,” so I’m going with more activity. My workout schedule has been nonexistent recently so I need to get back on it. I touched into Bad Witch Workout and it was amazing and painful, so I think revisiting their offerings will be in the cards.

8. Work with a career coach. I have recently updated my about page again which always makes me think about the bigger picture. I think some help to define better goals and get what I want out of my working life will be well worth it. Recommendations are welcome!

9. Add more variety in my accessories. I was sorting through my closet recently and re-discovered some handbags I had completely forgotten about. This, in combination with the collection of rings and necklaces I have that don’t get worn enough. I know I’m not the only person who is overwhelmed by a few hooks covered in necklaces in the morning and reaches for my favorites, which are always the easiest to access. I need to make an effort to wear all of the things I have – because I like them all!

10. Develop a solid plan to review my closet contents. I have done versions of this in the past year or two, putting a divider on a bar to separate things I have worn from things I have not, but there has to be a better way, a more consistent way. I also need to be more aggressive about getting rid of things that I don’t wear and don’t have space for in my home.

11. See a doctor. I haven’t had a regular checkup in over 10 years. (I have kept up well with specialists, just not a primary care physician.) Mostly out of fear of judgment and also finding out something unfortunate! Other than having regular colds now and then, I am lucky to be a healthy person. I am hoping that I can get Will to go with me, since he doesn’t have a doctor and also needs a checkup. Team work makes the dream work?

12. De-clutter wherever possible. I recently read a series of articles on cleaning out a kitchen, and learning about how surprised the author was about just how many spoons, bowls, etc that they had lurking in the cabinets makes me really really worried about our kitchen and how much is hiding in there. I have a large collection of Cher Blanc that I began purchasing after I received a sample from Noritake. (It is a stunning pattern, by the way.) In addition to figuring out what to get rid of in our own home, I’m hoping that we can sort through the contents of our storage unit as well, to see if anything there can be donated or tossed.

Related: I have been threatening to write a post on storage unit organization for a while, and I will add it to my blog schedule for Q1.

13. Make a bigger effort to learn a new language. A long while back, Will and I were going through Spanish lessons on DuoLingo every day. We then fell off the wagon. With or without him, I need to get back on it and learn something beyond “el gato come pan.”

14. Make progress in my ancestry research. Anyone who has undertaken anything about their ancestry will understand that it is way too easy to fall down the rabbit hole and wind up learning about your 8th great-grandmother, when you should have been focused on something else. Getting sidetracked is so easy in these pursuits. I need to develop a better plan to go through people in my direct line, one by one, and then finding a point where I am satisfied with what I have and then have time to dive into things a bit deeper. In addition, I need to get the box of family items back out of the storage unit and start scanning more images and trying to identify who is in them.

Related: I need to figure out a way to collect more stories and content from my family member that are still around. My good friend David came up with a great plan for this and I need to implement it for my own purposes.

15. Explore my immediate surroundings. We have a lot of travel lined up for different events in 2017, and so I would like to try and take better advantage of weekends and see more things in New York and New Jersey that we haven’t checked out before. There is so much to do and see.

16. More fun with real mail. I love getting real mail, which is another reason to love December. I have been receiving Happy Mail packages for a while, and I’ve been using my cards well, but not well enough. More mail in 2017!

17. More gratitude! Being present in gratitude is something I have continued to work on – I have trained myself to redirect my thinking when I start to go down the path of wishing I had this or that, instead trying to remind myself of how lucky I am to have so many great things in my world.

Let me know your 2017 goals in the comments or on Twitter.

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