january, week one

So it’s officially been one full week of 2016. How did I spend my first seven days? Spending time with my college roommate who visited for New Years Day, seeing Star Wars yet again (no shame here), going wedding dress shopping with one of my best friends, and doing a fun project at work for my favorite actor’s birthday. All in all, not a bad way to start the year, even if there were some early morning wake-ups and mental setbacks (thanks, anxiety.)

It’s also been one full week of starting fresh (or trying to), attempting to follow through on resolutions, and get myself on track for a better and healthier life in all aspects, so I thought I’d take a brief look at the efforts I’ve made so far.

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passion planner mantra of the day/week/month/year: What Would Laura Barton Do? Also, yay for arrow stickers!

  • Organization: I’m still trying to figure out how to properly use and decorate my Passion Planner in a way that’s beneficial to me, but I already feel like by making it by Bible, I’m seeing a difference. I look at it every morning, I look at it during the day, and I’ve made a commitment to plan out my week ahead every Sunday, blocking off times for writing, social events, etc, so I can have a clear idea of the week ahead (I know I’m not going to be able to plan EVERYTHING, a lot of plans happen last minute, which I have to get used to.) It’s a little frustrating when I get ahead of myself (for example, I planned to post a piece of fic this weekend, had it all written out in my planner and ended up finishing and posting it early) but that’s something I’ll work on: the reminder that not everything is set in stone. The important thing is that I’m blocking out the time needed to accomplish things. (But seriously, guys. This Passion Planner thing has been a godsend. I’m so grateful for Shelly’s recommendation.)
  • Reading: I already finished one book! Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for having a short (and hilarious) biography. I’m currently in the middle of my second book, The Night Circus, which is a little more dense. Am I reading every day? Not quite. But I’m definitely making an effort to spend less time online once it gets late, and trying to use that time to read as long as I’m not tired.
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a good friend recommended I start 2016 with simple pleasures: a good book and tea/coffee. So I did.

  • Internet: I’ve been in bed mostly by 10:30 or so every night, which is a huge change for me — even if I’m not reading, it means I’m also not staying up to blindly scroll through Tumblr, or staying up and pushing myself to write when my brain is too exhausted. So while I haven’t mastered the strict “Internet time” rules that I wanted to start to implement, I feel this is at least a step in the right direction.
  • Writing: So far, I’ve been managing to write every day, even on days where I go to bed early or get up late or am out late. I’m still working out an actual routine for that, too, but I’ve been mostly writing after work — and if I can get up early enough, in the mornings for a little bit. I moved my list of WIPs from my computer to my Passion Planner, and each week I plan to map out exactly what parts of my ongoing fic I want to work on, to keep myself on schedule.
  • Misc: I started wearing my FitBit regularly again! (I’ve had the thing forever but fell out of habit after I left grad school.) And when I say “regularly,” I mean that I don’t take it off except to shower, and I’ve been using the silent alarms to wake up and trying to hit all my steps. I’m now religiously using the app and trying to figure out how to challenge people, so go me for being healthy! I even bought a nifty little designer band for it, which, yes, I am that person that is more inclined to use/wear practical things if I can make it cute.
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do your worst, Fitbit

Obviously, I can’t say that in seven days I’ve turned my life around. I know some of the routines and some of the monthly goals I’ve set for myself will take time and effort to fully implement. But I’m really proud about how deeply I’m already committing to a lot of resolutions that I’ve made. It’s not just about trying to be a “better person.” It’s about shaping up so I can make myself the happiest I can be, dissatisfied parts that I can’t change be damned.

books! books! books!

One of my goals of 2016 (I have no idea how it’s almost 2016) is to read more. A lot more. This feeds into my “lifestyle improvement” resolution that I need to write about at some point, but even moreso than just balancing my time better between the Internet and reading, I want to just READ, and get in the habit of reading again. I miss the days where I binged A Song of Ice and Fire over six months, where I would come home and do a few things online and then be in bed by 10:30 or 11 and allow myself at least an hour or so to read. No Tumblr (which wasn’t as prominent in my life then, anyway), no TV, no scrolling through Twitter or email on my iPhone. Just me and my book.

Granted, I can’t blame everything on the Internet when it comes to being distracted from reading. There have been other factors over the years. I used to have a commute that was an hour on the subway each day (not to mention time in the middle of the day where I could take an actual lunch for an hour and sit and read) and then when I started working again, after I came back from school, I was living close enough to walk to work — ergo, no commute time. (Now that we’ve moved offices and I can no longer walk to work I have that time again, although the commute is currently not that long to begin with.) I tried to read in grad school, especially on the plane rides when I’d travel home, but I usually ended up on my computer doing schoolwork, reading comics, or writing fic, the latter of which is essentially how I stayed sane.

In order to put this somewhere (and because my planner isn’t here yet), I’m compiling a list of books I hope to read and make priorities this year. It’s literally all over the map right now in terms of genre, some of it is recs from online or friends. Obviously, it’s not comprehensive — I’m sure I’ll end up reading stuff that’s not on here — but hopefully it’ll give me a good base.

  • Princess Academy: Shannon Hale
  • An Ember in the Ashes: Sabaa Tahir
  • Fire Logic: Laurie Marks
  • Outlander: Diana Gabaldon (I promised beloved Katie I’d at least try)
  • The Warrior’s Path: Catherine M. Wilson
  • One Kick: Chelsea Cain
  • The Expanse: James S.A. Corey (SyFy gave us a collection of the books at their holiday party and, well, I can’t turn down free books)