- I intend to make my home more beautiful. We bought our home in the country three years ago with the intention to renovate, but we never made it a priority financially and logistically. But now I can no longer bear the ugly yellow walls, the disgusting carpet, and the dark interior. I’m a visual person, and I’ve learned that colors and light greatly affect my mood. So we are in the process of refinancing our mortgage (down from a 30y to a 15yr with a significant decrease in interest) with a cashout to pay for the renovation. This renovation gets us a better loan (with an increased monthly payment that forces us to save more), adds value to our home, and will make our space more enjoyable to live in.
2. I’m switching my workouts to the morning. I have always prefered exercising in the evening, but I would constantly find myself skipping workouts because I was too tired. So I bit the bullet and changed my schedule so I work out first thing in the morning. This way I don’t miss a workout, I get it out of the way, and I can work out when my husband does which definitely makes it more fun, his muscles are hot! Also, getting a workout in early means I can spend the rest of the day feeling pretty proud of myself. I used to think I could never survive a workout on an empty stomach, but I seem to be doing fine. What I do is drink coffee throughout the workout and it gives me the boost I need.
3. I’m working on my sleep hygiene. At the end of last year, I got the latest Fitbit watch and I was shocked to learn that the most likely reason that I have chronic fatigue is because my sleep is terrible. I assumed I was sleeping 8 hours because I was in bed that long, but in reality I’ve been getting an average of 6 hours of sleep a night. I’ve discovered that it takes me at least an hour to actually fall asleep once I go to bed, and I wake up throughout the night for a total of more than an hour every night. So to get 8 hours of sleep, I actually need to be in bed for 10 hours. This year I am trying to improve my ability to fall asleep quickly through better sleep hygiene, such as waking up at the same time everyday, turning off screens well before bed, having a wind-down routine, and keeping the room dark and cool.
4. I’m spending less money on stuff and more on experiences. It’s no secret, I love to spend money on clothes. And I do get a lot of value out of my wardrobe, but I really need to cool it on the shopping, I have so much already! So when we have disposable income, I want to spend more of it on experiences that can create memories that I can share with my husband and that can inspire me. So instead of buying shoes, I’m going to buy tickets to the ballet or the symphony. We recently bought a canoe, which is still an object, but has already given us so many beautiful moments. On my wishlist is more travel to new locations with my husband.
5. I am trying to be more social and make new friends. I haven’t made a new friend in a while, and I don’t think I’m alone in this. As we get older, we have a tendency to stop developing new relationships and instead stick with the friends we made in high school and college. But when you think about it, we are such different people in our 30s and 40s than we were in our 20s. Hopefully, we get to evolve with the friends we have, but sometimes we grow apart and need to meet new people that complement who we are now. I’m a bit of a hermit, so I actually have to make an effort to socialize, but I think I better because my poor husband shouldn’t have to bear the burden of being my only bestie. He’s not a really good listener anyway.
6. I find a way to be inspired every week. As a creative, it’s essential to take breaks from creating so that you can refuel by seeking inspiration from other artists, nature, meditation, or whatever gets you excited to create. Like I said before, I’ve become a bit hermetic, so I need to put more effort into seeking inspiration out in the world. I want to stay curious so I can stay motivated. So I’ve set a side one night per week to go see something inspiring, such as the ballet, art, an independent film, theatre, or live music. What inspires me is not the same thing that inspires my husband, so I usually do these activities alone during the week while he’s playing soccer. However, we both enjoy reading fiction, listening to music, and singing, so on most weekends we do couch karaoke (singing along to karaoke tracks on youtube), listen to records, and I’ll read a book or short story out loud (with voices and all) while we lounge in front of the fire. Does that sound dorky? I don’t care, I love it.
7. I am focusing significantly more time on marketing and outreach for my business. I have been extremely disappointed with the rate of growth in my blog and social media audience. I work so hard to make quality content and it feels like a waste when it’s not reaching people. But that is my fault. I’ve been focusing almost entirely on the content and not on the marketing. In a perfect world, I would sit around making art all day and have someone else take care of the business side of things, but I’m not there yet. So I’m spending a set amount of time every week to teach myself how to do SEO, improve my social media strategy and my branding so I can actually reach the people I’m trying to help with my content.
8. I plan to invest more in real estate. Lately, I’ve become more strategic about turning my husband’s hard-earned money into more money, and I’m really interested in doing this with real estate. I bought our house in the country primarily to force us to save money and reduce our tax burden, but it has proven to be an even better investment than I expected. In three years the value of our house has almost doubled, and it’s an asset we get a ton of enjoyment out of, unlike stocks. A few months ago I bought land near Joshua tree (5 acres for only $3500), and I hope building a home there will also turn out to be a good investment that we can enjoy on the weekends. I am also looking into commercial property where I can open a boutique. You don’t have to be super-rich to get into real estate, but every one who is super-rich has a substantial amount of real-estate in their portfolio.
9. I am trying to spend less mental energy on negative thinking. My tendency is to be a very angst-ridden type of artist. I frequently struggle with self-doubt and feel discouraged about my work. This is such a drain and counter-productive. I am trying to discipline my mind so I can rid myself of those thoughts or at least get better at ignoring them. I will try to do this through a daily meditation practice and also using logic, visualization, or a mantra when the negative thoughts arise.
10. I am going to eliminate more foods from my diet. I’ve made a lot of progress with my health by changing my diet. I want to experiment with it further and see if eliminating other foods will improve my well-being and energy even more. I am going to try quitting sugar and grains this year, which would basically make me paleo since I already cut gluten and dairy. If I don’t get positive results from these changes, then I will add the foods back in.