Happy 2017: A Year In Review and New Resolutions

Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Chicago

Lou Malnati’s Pizza, Chicago

Three years ago now, my two best friends and I decided to have New Year’s Eve dinner at Desano in Nashville, TN. After too many carbs and plenty of champagne, we jotted down our 2015 resolutions on our phones and on napkins.

From that first champagne and pizza dinner, a Nashville NYE tradition was born.

This year, I’m happy to say that we were a bit more prepared… aside from bringing our champagne, we had a camera on hand to take pictures of the festivities and New Year’s Eve cards from Rifle Paper to officially record our resolutions. What can I say? We are moving on up (but we still never turn down pizza.)

Reflecting on My 2016 Resolutions

At this time last year, I made too many resolutions. Going forward, I want to resolve to focus on a maximum of 5 things per year. For me personally, I define resolutions as annual high-level goals that can be (and should be) broken down into smaller action items throughout the year.

So how did I do on last year’s resolutions?

1. Visit one new city and one new country – SUCCESS. This past year I visited Washington, DC and Ireland for the first time.

2. Leave my job – SUCCESS. I left my job in May 2016, although this ended up looking a little different than I pictured…

3. Move out of Nashville – FAIL. Writing ‘fail’ seems a bit harsh, but as mentioned in number 2 above, I had a general plan to leave my job and leave Nashville during the year 2016. However, I ended up finding a new job right here, and decided to stay in town.

4. Get healthier – PROGRESS. I’m always hesitant to make numerical weight loss goals or goals to stay on a strictly-defined diet, as those don’t tend to end well, in my experience. Over this past year in particular, my goal to get healthier included learning to better manage stress, eating healthier and moving more. I feel that I made progress on this goal in 2016, but there is more work to be done.

5. Meet new people – SUCCESS. In 2016, I took my first solo trip abroad and met an amazing group of people from all over the world. I also participated in networking and young professional events in Nashville with groups of people I didn’t know at all. And oh yeah, I met an entire office full of new people at the new job! Overall, 2016 was a good year for meeting new people.

6. Learn more about the world – PROGRESS. As you may have realized if you are a regular reader of this blog, I’m a bit of a foreign policy, economics and politics nerd. This year, I wanted to learn more about these fields and I believe I made progress on this goal through reading, my newfound obsession with Audible and listening to as many podcasts as possible.

7. Learn a language – FAIL. I’ve wanted to learn French forever, but didn’t make any progress on this particular goal in 2016. Stay tuned for future attempts…

8. Save Money – PROGRESS. While I did take 3 months off from paying city rent by living out in the country this year (which helped the savings account immensely), I definitely could have done better on this goal. We’ll call it progress.

2016 Sarah Going Blog Review

You may have noticed there was something missing from my huge pile of 2016 Resolutions… I didn’t mention this blog! Officially, Sarah Going launched March 30, 2016 with the publication of my first post (on, appropriately, not growing out of my wanderlust). Since that date, I’ve written a total of 13 posts and had 1,552 all-time site views.

Most importantly, this blog has made me happy since the day I decided to start it… and as long as that remains true, I’ll keep writing.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has stopped by this blog over the past year. Sometimes, I had big gaps between posts. Sometimes, I had trouble focusing on set topics in posts. Sometimes, I redesigned the blog 3 times in one month. But no matter what I was struggling with or learning at any given time during 2016, readers were stopping by to check out my thoughts and travels and sharing posts with their friends. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT!

My 2017 Resolutions

Now, for the fun stuff! In 2017, I want to focus on:

1. Visit one new city and one new country. I have been attempting to visit new places annually for years, and until I’ve seen them all, I like keeping this goal at the top of the list!

2. Love myself. I’m interpreting my “get healthier” goal from last year a bit wider in 2017. Overall, I still want to get physically healthier by focusing on getting stronger, moving more (since I sit at a desk all day at work) and being intentional about what I’m eating and drinking. But I also want to work on my tendency to be very critical of myself.

3. Be intentional about how I use my time. This is a big one for 2017… I really need (and want) to be taking advantage of these years when it is just me, living on my own, to learn as much as I can about the topics that interest me, work on personal projects and focus on the relationships in my life that matter. To that end, I really want to pay attention to how I’m using time this year, and make sure I’m being as productive as possible with that time.

4. Build a blog and web presence that makes me proud. I definitely need a blog goal this year since I didn’t have one last year! I specifically want to focus on producing quality content more consistently and building my social media following on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

5. Read 50 books. Please note I’m actually committing to a numerical resolution, which I never do (normally, I’d say something vague like “read more books”). The reason I’m getting serious about this reading resolution is that there have been too many times since graduating college when I chose Netflix after work by default. Overall, I want to be a lot more conscious of what I’m spending my time on in 2017 (see number 3 above). Therefore, I’m formalizing my goal to become a serious reader again.

Fun Stuff Happening in 2017

I’ve got some fun stuff happening in support of the 2017 Resolutions already (and it’s only January 3rd!) Last week I started kickboxing, which I’ll hold official judgement on until after I quit hurting (everything on my body is SO SORE). At this point, I’m working on making exercise a habit, which means I’ve resolved to go to kickboxing three times a week. Simple and hopefully attainable (if I can walk myself into the gym, that is…) I’m currently close to finishing my first official book of 2017: the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I’m formalizing the annual Moleskine notebook full of journal entries, ideas and lists that I’ve kept religiously since 2014 by turning it into an official Bullet Journal this year. I’ve had a blast getting it set up, and once I get an intro post written specifically about the Bullet Journal I’ll make sure to link to it here.

Last but certainly not least, our annual NYE pizza and champagne dinner wouldn’t have been complete without some travel planning! We are currently choosing between three potential Europe trips in 2017 (which each include at least one new country for me): Greece and Croatia, Spain and Portugal or Austria and Hungary. Feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on these trip ideas in the comments.

Here’s to an excellent 2017… and thanks again for reading!