2016, let’s do this

I’ve never been so excited for a new year and so uncertain about what it holds at the same time. Last year taught me that even if you’re expecting a year of peace, God could throw a wrench called Africa right into the middle of it. And the year before that taught me that sometimes you do know the big things that lie ahead – but the downfall is that you can rush too hard to close your current chapter. So this year, I don’t know quite what I’m in for – and for the first time, I’m rather all right with that.

Still, I’m a person who likes to have goals (not resolutions), and so here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2016 – with the complete understanding that plans could change and render some of these impossible. That’s the fun!

#Take12Trips

“Every traveler has a home of his own and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering.” – Charles Dickens

I was completely shocked when putting together my 2015 roundup that I only left New York City FOUR times last year. While I’m a big believer in everyday adventures and taking advantage of your own city, I’d like to get out more – a lot more – this year. The #Take12Trips challenge started over on Need Another Holiday and since then I’ve seen it pop up on lots of other blogs. Twelve sounds like a lot – three times as many as last year! – but I already have three booked in the next three months, so we’re right on track! (DC, San Francisco, Phoenix: See y’all soon). I’m so excited to see more of my country!

Read 52 books

“It is always better to have read too much than not enough.” – Ann Patchett

In 2015 my goal was to read 30 books. Then, in the spring, my friend Samy invited me to be a part of her One Book A Week project. I’ve been a regular contributor, but a book a week felt really overwhelming at the time. But! I read 38 books in 2015, and that included some doozies that took several weeks, and also included some time off here and there. So I now believe 52 books is totally feasible for me, and I can’t wait to get started! I have a whole stack of books ready to go, a loaded Kindle, and a library card.

Love people better

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Love is my word of the year for 2016. I’m planning to focus on my relationships, on being a better friend, sister, daughter, etc. Mind you, I don’t think I’m bad at being these things, but this year I’m going to be more intentional than ever about supporting and encouraging the people in my life – and cutting out the gossip and other toxic habits.

30-day challenges

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” – Neil Gaiman

My friend Misha gave herself a different challenge every month last year,  and even from across the country I can see the world of difference it’s made in forming her into the person she wants to be. So this year, I’m following suit. I had great success with little challenges like this last year: 21 days without social media, 40 days without alcohol, 21 days without television streaming. I’m excited to pursue them more intentionally, taking little steps throughout the year to improve my health, spirit, career, and overall well-being. I’m kicking it off with one I already know I can do, from experience, but desperately need to do again: January will be booze-free.

It looks to be a wonderful year, and I’m so glad you’re all along for the ride. Happy New Year!

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