Easing into the New Year

January 2, 2013

in Happiness

Clamshell Walkway

{From my long weekend at the FarmCoast in September}

Happy New Year! I had every intention of posting last week, but instead decided to disconnect from my laptop as much as possible (minus some online shopping!), snuggle with the puggles, get my fill of House Hunters and bad holiday movies, and plow through a few books I’ve been attempting to read forever. Aaron and I also started watching Homeland. I had my doubts, but the hype is not unwarranted – it’s highly addictive.

So this is the time of year when I’m supposed to make some resolutions. Honestly, I’m not a big New Year’s goals kind of person. I’m very much goal-oriented, but I tend to like to make resolutions throughout the year and focus on one or two things as opposed to a whole list. It keeps me from getting overwhelmed during a time of year when there’s so much pressure to finally get things ‘right’ with spending habits, working out, dieting…I think it’s actually the perfect time to take a break from TV and all that noise, and focus on what we actually want out of the next week/month/year. For me, it’s definitely not an eight hour diet, as I caught on the Today show this morning.

I go through phases with my interests and goals and tend to be consumed with one life area at a time. A couple of years ago it was moving to California to experience something completely different and push myself way out of my comfort zone. The following year it was moving back to Boston and quitting my 9-5. I spent the majority of my early and mid-twenties consumed by my job – working towards promotions and then desperately wanting a change. I’m now self-employed, albeit in the same field, but my schedule is mostly my own. It’s not my ideal situation, but I’m extremely grateful to be able to work from home, have the mental space to focus on other priorities, and still bring in a good paycheck.

And those other priorities? Overall, my focus has been shifting away from my career (at least, how I’ve defined it in the past) and more towards my passions – writing, cooking, veganism, health, nutrition, food policy, and I’m sure several others that will crop up in the coming months. It’s a constant evolution, and the learning process totally appeals to my academic side. I need to feel like I’m learning in order to be happy, and things like blogging, for example, allow me to be in that state of growth that I felt like I was lacking from my work.

Rather than share a set list of goals for the next year, I’m going to share a quote that I posted shortly after I started this blog:

“It isn’t necessary to know exactly how your ideal life will look; you only have to know what feels better and what feels worse…Begin making choices based on what makes you feel freer and happier, rather than on how you think an ideal life should look. It’s the process of feeling our way toward happiness, not the realization of the Platonic ideal, that creates our best lives.” ~Martha Beck

So, here’s to making choices in 2013 that challenge us, yet give us a greater sense of balance and fulfillment, and that ultimately make us happy! I have a good feeling about the year ahead…

xo
Amanda

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Cadry January 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

Thank you for sharing your insights on the New Year at a time when there are constant reminders around us that we’re supposed to be working towards large, expansive goals. That quote from Martha Beck rings true for me too. It reminds me of a plant. It can’t get up and hop towards the window, but instead it bends ever so gently towards the light. That’s my goal for the New Year too!

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Amanda January 2, 2013 at 11:09 am

Thanks, Cadry! I love your plant analogy! :)

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dixya @ food, pleasure, and health January 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I am with you on not having any resolution instead series of mini goals so I can slowly accomplish. I have been having mixed feelings about my job situation a lot lately. Its the whole issue of pay check vs. truly enjoying the job and sometimes you just have to take the pay check and wait until the right moment clicks in so you can pursue your passion. I am so glad you are able to be bold and follow your passion. Hope 2013 will be bigger and better for you :)

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Amanda January 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Thank you so much for the well-wishes! I completely understand where you’re coming from on the job front. Having a paycheck is definitely a non-negotiable (for most people, at least), and a lot of it is just waiting for the opportunity to switch to something that suits you better. I’ve personally gone from working a full-time office job, to working full-time remotely, to now working part-time as a freelancer in that same field. Baby steps. We’ll get there eventually. :)

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Kait @ yogabeautylife January 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Love this post…love the quote…love everything. :)

I followed in Danielle Laporte’s footsteps and set intentions for how I want to FEEL in the upcoming year…open, loving, etc. I added notes to the intentions about where I could expand these feelings (e.g. loving towards myself and the beau) without setting specific dates, numbers, etc. The beau and I both burned our intentions (not resolutions!) when we got in on New Year’s Day. Its so freeing and comforting to just release the intentions and know that you’ve committed them in writing and to the Universe.

And this quick comment just turned long… also I’m attempting to write you an email but the internet is being silly so *fingers crossed*

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Mai-Lis @ A Sunshiny Day January 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Beautifully written! People always say college are the best years of your life, they were no doubt a lot of fun but I feel like every year after gets better as you learn yourself, your real passions and what makes you happy.

(P.S. Tom & I started Homeland a few months ago and probably went through the whole series in a week or two – SO good!)

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Amanda January 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I totally agree! College was fun, but I like where my life is at now a lot more. And I do not miss sharing a dorm room. ;)
We’re watching Homeland on Netflix, so we’re forced to wait a couple of days between discs. Otherwise, we would definitely go through the series in a matter of days!

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jess January 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm

loved this post amanda – i hope you continue to move towards your ultimate bliss through the little steps in your day to day, with lots of time of course for puggle snuggles ;) happy new year & all the best for the coming year!

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Amanda January 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Awww, thanks Jess. :) I loved reading your 2012 review – what an amazing year for you!! Woodrow is absolutely adorable (and I love that name, by the way). Wishing you the best in the coming year too!

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Colette @ JFF! January 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Happy 2013, sweetie! It’s gonna be a good one!

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Amanda January 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thanks, Colette! Happy 2013 to you as well! :)

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Herbivore Triathlete January 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Love this post, so true. I agree with you on all points. Love that quote, I am a quote addict!

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J January 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Am a big fan of easing into the New Year and of making shifts here and there as the days and months pass by (rather than a full swoop on Jan 1). Have had a lot of time to think on our almost-ending two weeks removed from “real life” and have been considering what small choices I can make to effect a big change in my life for the better, because I think I truly need it. I want to be freer and happier but more than that, I want to enjoy he process of getting there.

Can’t wait to read about how your passions evolve and what you’re learning as you explore. Happy New Year, dear!

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Ceil Tulloch January 9, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Hi Amanda:

I hope that 2013 is treating you well. Things have been quite hectic in my neck of the woods for quite awhile, hence my just getting the chance to visit your blog. I absolutely LOVE your sentiments on New Year’s Resolutions and priorities. In two weeks time I will have my winter break. I plan to use the time to do some serious self-introspection. Before I know it, the summer will be here and my contract over.
Keep up the great work and keep shining!

Best wishes always,
Ceil

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Amanda January 9, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hi Ceil! 2013 is off to a good start, minus this flu thing I’ve been fighting this week. It seems like everyone around me is under the weather right now.
I’m sure your winter break can’t come soon enough! Enjoy your time off – summer will be here before we know it. I’m SO looking forward to warmer temps and more sunshine. :)

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Ceil Tulloch January 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Hi Amanda! I’m sorry to hear that you’re under the weather. I recently recovered from the flu. It hit many of my colleagues hard and there were a lot of folks who had to take sick days to recuperate the start of 2013. Unlike you, I am not looking forward to the return of the warm temps. I’m quite enjoying the 60 degree weather and the need to wear a jacket. (LOL) Keep well and drink lots of warm lemon water and honey. :)

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