Am I still allowed to talk about New Year’s resolutions on the 8th of January?  I hope so, because here it comes!  I know resolutions tend to be overhyped and can elicit quite a bit of eye-rolling and groaning, but I think there is something really fresh and motivating about a new year.  And any time we look to better ourselves is a good thing, right? 

Last year my goal was to manage my communication better – to never go to bed with email left over in my inbox.  I failed at this miserably, probably because I never had any sort of plan in place.  I just thought because I said it, it would change.  It didn’t.  And if you emailed me this year, you already know that.

This year feels different.  I think because Cullen has a late fall birthday, the turning of a new year also feels a bit like moving on from our first year of parenting (although technically, it’s been 14 months). 

Last year was all.about.Cullen.  I know that didn’t go unnoticed here.  And I think that’s pretty standard and maybe even expected for a baby’s first year.  Maybe not, who knows.  But we had a lot of learning and growing to do as parents, and while doing that, we slipped a bit individually. 

I know I’ve already written a million posts about how I need more time for myself, want to make changes, yada yada blah.  But this isn’t one of those.  For all of you who have been behind me with pom poms shouting “just DO it” – I’m happy to tell you that I’ve already started.  So these resolutions are mostly things that are already in place, already in motion.  But here are the things I’m going to continue to work on as we set off into 2013…

Make fitness a priority. 

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I’ve made no secret of the fact that exercise took a major back seat this year.  I worked myself up so much about it that it became paralyzing and I ended up not doing very much.  That has changed dramatically in the last month.

Now that I’m done breastfeeding, my energy has come back in a big way.  My metabolism has also slowed down considerably, giving me a boost of extra motivation.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a variety of different things – Barre3 classes, at home DVD’s, NYC Ballet workout videos, and of course – running.  I’m planning to write a whole post about this SOON – probably at the end of the week.  But it feels amazing to be moving again, and to finally have (working) plans in place.  I feel a lot more like me again!

Curb my sugar addiction. 

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I’ve never been one for diets or detoxes – just not my thing.  But my sugar consumption is out of control, and needs to be directly addressed.  I have a lot of friends who are new moms, and I know that excessive sugar consumption seems to go hand in hand with the first few months of motherhood.  I think it has something to do with breastfeeding and the need for quick energy bursts.  Whatever it is, it’s very real.

While breastfeeding, I ate an unbelievable amount of sugar.  We have both the blessing and curse of being surrounded by many amazing vegan bakeries here in Seattle, and we take advantage of them often.  They know our regular orders, and every time we go they comment on how much Cullen has grown.  It’s very nice of them.  It’s also embarrassing.

But the thing is, I’m not a new mom anymore.  I’m out of excuses.  I’m not even breastfeeding.  I just got so used to eating that way that now I’m having trouble breaking the habit.  And I’ll be totally honest – in the height of breastfeeding I could get away with eating as much sugar as I wanted with little effect.  Now?  Not quite the case.  Oh Christmas cookies, how you tempted me.

Obviously I don’t plan to be sugar-free forever.  What fun is that?  But I’m challenging myself to a month without sugar.  Natural sugars like dried fruit are fine (in moderation), but no baked goods, no Theo chocolate bars every night after dinner, and no decadent desserts for a few more weeks.  I need to get it out of my system. 

Master our kombucha brewing.

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but never in much detail.  We’ve been making our own kombucha this year.  And by we, I mean Casey.  Even though we’ve been doing it for many months, we still keep alternating between good and bad batches.  It’s not consistent, and we still haven’t perfected the system.  I hope by the end of the year, we have some consistent, delicious kombucha a-brewing in our cabinet!

Look good to feel good. 

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Again, this one isn’t really new, but just something I’d like to make a point to continue this year.  After Cullen was first born, I spent many of the first few weeks (errr, months) in sweatpants or pajamas, makeup streaked across my face leftover from several days ago, and generally just a hot mess.  It only took a month or two for me to realize that I felt much much better if I actually dressed and looked like a human being.

These days I make a point to put on pants with actual zippers and dry my hair more often than not.  Stretchy pants and quick top-knot buns are fine here and there, but I try not to make it a habit anymore.  The whole stay at home mom thing can really strip away at your identity, but looking like myself makes me feel a lot more like…well, myself!

Create a dedicated work space

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This is still a work in progress.  Our house has a dedicated office up on the third floor, but it’s so far away from everything else that we rarely use it.  One of my biggest pet peeves about our old condo was that our laptops lived on the kitchen counter, and yet somehow I find myself typing these very words from the barstool. 

Between Daily Garnish, Babble, and general life stuff, I find myself jotting down lists and sticky notes all day long.  My thoughts are scattered around various notebooks and pieces of paper, and I’d like to find a more cohesive space to do my writing and planning.  This might even mean just making our current office more usable.  But it’s on my list!  I’m picturing a giant wipe off board somewhere…

Read at least one book each month

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Continuing on the theme of more and individual development, I’d like to spend more time developing my personal interests.  I’d also like to spend less time zoned out in front of the TV or laptop at night.  So this is something I started doing a few weeks ago. 

While I do enjoy reading, I can’t say I’ve ever been someone who just tears through books.  And I’m embarrassed to admit how long it’s been since I read something that was not about breastfeeding or how to treat fevers.  So I set a goal to read at least one new book each month.  Sounds realistic, right? 

I figured I’d start with something fun, and picked The Hunger Games.  Everyone else in the world seems to have already read it, so why not jump on board?  I had already seen the movie, and I ended up reading the whole book in about three days last week.  January – CHECK!  Now I’m onto book #2, as well as Simplicity Parenting, recommended to me by my friend Pamela.  I’ll write about it when I’m finished!

I’ve really been enjoying my reading nights so far. Much more than I ever really enjoy just thumbing through the channels.  I usually stretch out on the sofa with a big mug of tea, while Casey practices guitar and our fire crackles (okay not really, it’s a gas fireplace).  It’s a wonderful way to relax at night. 

Improve my photography.

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This is a big goal for this year.  I consider myself to have one of the world’s cutest photography subjects (unbiased, of course), and I hate that I feel like I’m not capturing him in photos quite as well as I could.  I’m going to spend some of my evening time doing Lightroom tutorials, and forcing myself to learn better photography and editing techniques. 

I have found that photography is something I really, really enjoy, and so it’s also something I’d really like to continue to grow in and improve. 

Aaaaaaaaaaand I think that’s it!  Nothing mind-blowing or unattainable.  Just some goals and things to work on this year.  I’ll probably write more in-depth posts on all of these things soon enough.  Except for the part about dressing better.  I think the internet would implode if I ever attempted a fashion post.

I’m just eight days in but so far so good.  The year still feels fresh, and motivation is high.  Hope it continues to stay that way!

Also — These “resolutions” are more focused on me, but you can read about some of my more parenting-specific goals for the new year over on Babble!