February 10, 2015

I’ve never been good at finishing things I start. I accepted three completely different graduate programs before finally getting a degree in health communication. I started another blog for about 1 month, then took a year-long break before finally getting into this one. I’ve started a few different “series” on this blog, only to last a post or two. From time to time I take up a random hobby but I never get really into them.

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And then I wrote about a bunch of lofty goals I have for 2015 here. Well, January flew by and by the end of the month I completely forgot what I had resolved to do in 2015.  I got inspired by my friend Holly, who decided to recap each month on her blog this year and post about her progress towards meeting her goals. I thought I would try doing a reflection post at the end of each month. I can’t seem to keep up with a themed weekly post, but I think a once-a-month post is something I can manage.

The main thing I wrote about back when I posted about all of my goals was that in 2015, I want to be more intentional about how I spend my time. I only have a set amount of time left here in Hawaii, and I want to make the absolute most of it. And just in general, I want to focus on things I love rather than wasting my time. I want to be present with Nick when we are together instead of looking on my phone. I don’t want to try to do a million things all at once, because then I really don’t get anything done and just am running around like a crazy person. Hopefully by reflecting on this at the end of each month, I can work towards this.

Nick and I started 2015 by getting our label maker out and reorganizing our closets. It took a lot of time, but now we have more space and things are easier to find and put away. I feel like this will end up saving me time because I can find things easier and actually reach things that I use on a daily basis. And last week, instead of cooking and doing homework, Nick and I had a spontaneous date night at our favorite restaurant. Time well spent.

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In January, I didn’t write every day, although that’s probably my most important personal goal. I need to be better about writing while I am traveling, or whenever I get thrown off my routine. I didn’t do much writing when I was in New York, but I did spend time jotting down thoughts, and just playing around with ideas, which helped me a lot when I finally did sit down to write. Now that I am back home, I am back into a routine of writing every day, even for just a few minutes. I love my routine of making myself a cup of coffee and sitting down to write as the sun comes up.

Unplugging is by far the hardest challenge I’ve set for myself. I didn’t bring my laptop to New York and I had no interest in the Internet when I was sick. Also, there really is nothing like two 10-hour plane rides to completely force you to detox from social media. So I did pretty good with unplugging this month, but it was kind of accidental. I need to figure out ways to do this without being forced.

          How do you unplug? 

I made some progress on my Amazon list and read some other books not on my list. I read some good books and some books that I didn’t think were that good. I’m working on writing up some reviews — book reviews always take me so long to write — but here’s what I read in January:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (my review is here).

Bossypants by Tina Fey

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Travel often & visit my family are two goals that intersected in January. I got to spend some time in New York and see my family. Double score!

I really want to get better about meal planing & being more adventurous in the kitchen. Traveling kind of threw my meal planning out the window, although I was pretty proud of myself for being able to cook a bunch of food for Nick before I left for New York. I know that meal planning ends up saving me time but sometimes it is just really overwhelming to me. The most adventurous thing I made this month was a 5-ingredient beer bread from my absolute favorite food blogger, Half Baked Harvest. It came out delicious, moist, and it lasted for days. Recipe here! You will love it!

         Do you have any recipes or tips for meal planning? 

In February, Nick has a long weekend so I hope we can have some adventures. And my brother is here right now! We are having the absolute best time exploring the island. More pictures to come but for now I am going to go and spend some time with him!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? How do you stay on track? This is my first year making goals for myself for a new year so any tips would be appreciated!

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10 responses to “January reflections — on reading, writing, and finishing what I start.”

  1. Melanie says:

    Yes, long flights are the perfect way to unplug also being sick makes it pretty easy lol
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

  2. Christy says:

    This year, my New Year’s resolution was to do more things that I want to do…rather than setting goals and feeling like these were things I HAVE to do.

    • carolann says:

      Yeah, doing things you want to do is a good thing! Nick always tells me to just do whatever you want. I tried to set mostly general goals, like traveling more and trying to cook more different foods. Just things to kind of inspire me throughout the year!

  3. Amanda says:

    I read Bossypants a few years ago and thought it was really funny! 🙂

    • carolann says:

      Tina Fey is the best! I liked her book a lot. It got me through a very long plane ride and for that I will be forever grateful!

  4. Emma says:

    I’m quite curious as to what you thought to The Road, and The Alechmist?

    • carolann says:

      Funny that you should ask me about those two, Emma, because those are two books I read recently that I just did not like. I really wanted to like them. I was so intrigued by the concept behind The Road, but I didn’t like his writing style at all, and I thought the whole plot was pretty boring. The Achemist is supposed to be inspirational and I know a few people who say it’s their favorite book ever, but for me, it was too cliche. I will probably end up writing a small post about The Road because it’s on Amazon’s list, and I am trying to write about all of the books I read for that list. What about you? Have you read these books? What did you think?

  5. Holly S. says:

    I think changes in general, whether big or small, are hard to make permanent. I’m struggling with a few of my goals already this year but the important part is to just remember and keep going!

    I would love to do an unplugged weekend but it really is tough. If I choose to be more present though it’s easier for me. I don’t need to answer that text or check Instagram every 10 minutes–it will still be there when I check after my coffee date! I have gotten way better at just enjoying he moment rather than whipping out my phone for a picture tho!

    I think you’re on your way to having an amazing year this year and I can’t wait to read more updates!!

    • carolann says:

      Holly! I think you are totally right. There is no need to disconnect completely. I think if you can just focus on being present while eating dinner or out for coffee or whatever, that is totally great. I did an unplugged weekend and it was nice but I don’t think it’s something I need to do all the time or changed my life. I ended up just checking every single social media app I have and catching up on everything anyway!

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