As another Christmas season comes to an end, we have something just as exciting to look forward to…the start of 2017! Being the ever-optimist I am, I would like to make the argument that 2016 wasn’t just the great big dumpster fire we all claim it has been. For myself, it has been a year of growth and change. I have spent the whole of 2016 being extremely intentional, never settling, and always striving for improvement. My family and I finally have a home to call our own, a place we can put down roots, and really enjoy our own time together. Granted I’ve also had to say goodbye to more loved ones than ever before and my immediate family has had a couple of health scares. But, overall a lot has been accomplished, and I wouldn’t want to erase this year for anything. Instead, I would like to revisit some of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year to see how they panned out.
Pay Myself First
To start, I made the declaration that 2016 would be the year of spending smarter and improving our financial standing. I resolved primarily to pay myself first. The goal was to not only have automatic transfers to savings, but to also transfer anything leftover in the budget into savings at the end of the month. This end of the month transfer never came into play, as we always balanced to go over budget or squeak in just slightly in budget. Therefore this isn’t a resolution I will attempt to continue into the next year.
Keep a Detailed Shopping Plan
I also vowed to keep a detailed shopping plan. This method worked out wonderfully and has really allowed us to keep our grocery bill a bit lower. Overall, we’ve had an upward trend in our grocery bill which I believe is to be expected with the babies now toddlers and eating as much as I do. But trips to the grocery store are easier, especially now that I’m spending a bit of time filling up bags and jars in the bulk bin section.
Purchase Durable, Reusable Products
In keeping with the move towards less waste, I have kept my resolution to purchase durable, reusable products. Some of the new additions to our home include glass jars for homemade cleaning products, white pots for indoor plants, organic guest linens and towels, and secondhand/ethical clothing for myself and the kids. I also received some new cloth kitchen linens and reusable food wrap for Christmas. As I think back on the purchases from the past year and I do a mental inventory of our home’s contents, I feel proud of how far we’ve come in adopting sustainable practices.
Develop a Simple Beauty & Wellness Routine
I’m also happy to announce I have found a suitable and simple beauty & wellness routine for myself. As much as I love the hippest, hottest, newest thing in the wellness world, I recognized that just picking up a routine and sticking to it, will provide much better results than hoping around from thing to thing. In February, I started attending Pure Barre classes at a local studio, and I have been so happy with the results. In August, I found a skincare routine that has managed my acne better than anything before. I never believed the day would come when I would be comfortable and confident with a makeup-free face; now you’ll regularly find me posting selfies with a just clean, bare face. All year I have slowly worked in a healthier diet, eliminating unnecessary supplements, and sticking with whole foods. This December, I decided to fully commit to a vegan diet. It has not been an easy transition thanks to turkey, ham, and all the meaty, cheesy fixin’s that come with a holiday meal, but I know that the process will get easier.
Lastly, I resolved to travel more. We made 4 trips down to the panhandle, 1 up to Ohio, and 1 day trip to Chattanooga. I’m definitely wishing we would have done a bit more, but the kids are becoming more difficult to travel with. Luckily, we had a ton of visitors. I can’t think of a month that went by that we weren’t either traveling or having someone stay with us. I’ll still be pushing for more day trips in 2017, but I think we did the best we could with the circumstances of Ryan’s minimal available leave, the new house, and fussy kiddos.
All in all, I’ll be heading into 2016 knowing that I worked hard to better myself, and I will continue to do so in 2017. On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing my primary focus and resolutions for 2017, so check back then. Thanks for reading!