What a year! The end of the year is always a bit bittersweet. Each year brings triumphs and failures, laughter and tears, joy and pain. As I look back on 2016, I am overwhelmed with all the opportunities the year brought with it. Without a doubt, "The Year of Travel" or something far more clever, would be an appropriate title for our year. Adam and I saw everything from LA to NYC to Boston. The Pacific NorthWest including Seattle, Vancouver and Whistler, the US Virgin Islands and a pizza boat, London, Paris, Rome, Amalfi Coast, Florence, and Venice. Plus an endless number of trips to see family and friends across the US. We also went through career changes in the midst of the travel. I left full-time teaching to pursue other creative endeavors starting with Lana Marie Photo. Adam began executive coaching with Resources for Leading and continues to help people in Denver save money on real estate. We sold our condo and then took off for this 7 week sabbatical in Europe. A busy year, but a good one. We continued to focus on reading more, using our time wisely, and staying healthy. We spent the year dreaming about the future, discussing plans, and working on us.
As we look into 2017, we continue to have dreams and plans, but we also have our goals to help guide us through a new year. I know New Year Resolutions can be cliche, but I love the refreshing restart a new year brings. A fresh beginning to focus your attention moving forward. Here in the Hawk household, big and small goals are something we are constantly working towards, but for 2017 I do have a couple things I would like to focus on throughout the year.
POSITIVE-FOCUSED MORNING ROUTINE
Here is usually what my morning looks like. Alarm goes off. I groggily reach for my phone which doubles as my alarm clock and press snooze. I lay there for another 4 minutes until my second alarm goes off. I always have to set a second alarm. Sometimes I hit another snooze, other times I grab my phone and shut off the 2-3 alarms set to go off in the coming minutes. I then proceed to scroll through all the social media apps on my phone. TimeHop is usually my first stop because I love those memories. Then Instagram, followed by Facebook and Snapchat and usually finishing up with Apple News. Throw in email, full of unneeded subscriptions and you have my routine. When all is said and done, I have successfully wasted 20 minutes of my day staring at my phone and the virtual lives of others. Not exactly the way I want to start my day. I want my mornings to be a refreshing start to the day. Something that fills me up and lays the groundwork for a day of purpose and direction. Despite my love for social media, it often has adverse effects. Social media instantly puts thoughts of comparison and inadequacy in my head. What a way to start the day right? Jealousy and inadequacy. At various times throughout the last several years I have stopped using social media for a time and that has been beneficial, but don’t often stick with it. My habits with social media are what need to be addressed and changed. So 2017, here we go.
The overall goal is to start my day without a social media binge. No phone, no social media. Once I get a new morning routine down, I will begin to work through the social media habits for the rest of my day. So, how do I accomplish the change? First, no phone as an alarm clock. The phone is going to go in another room plugged in for the night. Old school alarm clock here I come. Second, the main reason I do the social media thing in the morning is to help ease into my day. Mornings aren't my strong suit, so easing into them is better for me. But, 20 minutes is excessive and the content isn't great. I will keep several options close to help with the change. Whatever book I am reading will be kept nearby and Savor, a daily devotion by Shauna Niequist. The devotion is short and easy to digest. I love the idea of starting with a bit of truth without exploding my brain. Then, I can greet the day a bit more confidently. Following this, I would like to keep the first hour or two of my morning reserved for coffee, reading, and/or Jesus time with a side of writing. Journaling used to be one of my favorite things and long ago I allowed it to drop off my radar. The impact of busy-ness. So there it is, a morning routine to start my day off with a bit more purpose and less mindless scrolling.
SIMPLE CLOSET CURATION
For some, this may seem silly or unnecessary, but in a society that continually bombards you with buy more, wear this, you need this, sale here, spend more, and on and on and on it is something I think is important. This past year has been a big one in helping me realize simple and less is in actuality more. With less stuff and less clothes, you actually get to be more creative and focused on things that do matter. I often get caught up in the messages thrown at us from media that persuade me to believe I need more. Even if a shirt doesn’t suit me or I have nowhere to wear it, I still NEED it. You NEED another graphic tee in your closet. NEED. No thank you, I have a million as it is. So, my big focus on 2017 is to simplify my closet into a wardrobe of high quality, ethically made items I love. Now, this doesn’t mean throw everything out just to buy ethically produced items. It means narrowing down my closet to items I love and wear first, and then moving forward focusing on brands I can be proud to wear and support.
For the last couple years I have found myself struggling with the idea of fast fashion and the consequences the industry has across the globe. My minimal knowledge of sweat shops, unfair labor practices, and unethical practices of large companies has been something weighing on mymind. I know enough to feel I should do something different, but not enough to present a clear argument. So, 2017 will be focused on learning and researching these issues as well as doing my part to make a change. Spending my money on businesses that support women’s rights, fair trade, ethical practices, and are transparent about their production. In a world where we rarely know the source of what we buy, I want 2017 to be different. So, here is a handful of ways I am going to tackle this goal.
- Shopping Fast. Over the last 5 years, my shopping habits have changed quite a bit. I no longer buy just to buy and a lot of that has to do with budgeting. I have a monthly personal budget which naturally reins in my shopping. However, even with the budget, I still fall into the trap listed above. Just wanting a shopping fix or to buy something new. So, for at least the first 3 months, yes three, I am not going to buy any new clothing, accessories, etc. Nothing. Not even Goodwill, thrifted finds. This will help me better understand my style, my current closet, and my desire moving forward in this process.
- Define Style. As a 30 something, I still find myself looking all different ways for style inspiration. There are an endless number of styles and this is where my shopping gets a bit jumbled. Instead of focusing on my style and what naturally draws me in, I end up buying a wide variety of things that often end up thrown out in the end because they don’t suit me. So, using a few resources I found online, I am going to narrow down what I truly think my style is to help me have a bit more focus moving forward.
- Closet Purge. Once I have gone on a fast and defined my style, I will go through a big closet purge. Not in the hopes of replacing donated items, but truly cleaning out and moving forward. This won’t happen until February or Marchish depending on housing, so it will give me time to tackle some of the other steps and evaluate what I am wearing, what I miss, and what I completely forget I own (and therefore probably don’t need)! Living out of a suitcase the past few months has some perks and one of them is the realization that less isn’t all that bad.
- Research, research, research. I have already started this process, but research will be a huge part of making this year successful. I need to research ethical brands and companies that provide high quality clothing without the unintended consequences and impact on the well-being of others. I know several brands already, but this list will be important going forward.
- Build a wardrobe of basics. Once I start shopping again, building a wardrobe of sold basics will be key. I started this in 2016 and have most of what I wrote in a list months back, but I will continue to focus on this in 2017. Instead of buying trendy items, finding high quality, sustainable basics will be the focus.
- Document my journey and connect with others. There are many bloggers out there focused on sustainable fashion and simple living. I would love to continue to document my journey here and connect with others for inspiration along the way. This blog and this book (her blog is also good), have been huge in helping me see the value of quality over quantity and experience over stuff. Simple lesson, but one I continue to learn and lean into. I am excited to make this process a focus for 2017.
There you have it. My two goals for 2017: Establish a Positive-Focused Morning Routine and Curate a Simple Closet. My desire for both is that the goal isn’t the end, but on my way to accomplishing my goals I hope to be challenged and live differently. By simplifying my surroundings and incorporating a positive morning routine, I hope to use my time and space to focus on what truly matters. Big dreams and goals for 2017. What are yours?