What Worked for Me in 2018

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Morning routine. I finally broke the habit of starting the day with the Internet and my devices. I instituted a new morning routine: at least thirty minutes of reading before I can pick up my phone or laptop. I read many more books this year, and I felt more productive and peaceful each day. I also discovered that if I sit upstairs in my office, my cats will join me. So now I begin each day blanketed in cats with a cup of coffee and a good book. (If you want to improve your morning routine, check out Craig’s list of 127 Morning Rituals.)

Monthly challenges. I started 2018 off with Adriene’s thirty days of yoga challenge, as I have for the last couple of years. Although I wasn’t planning to expand the 30 days of yoga into 60 or 90, that’s exactly what happened. I didn’t miss a day until May, and then I missed only a handful of days until October. I finished three thirty-day writing challenges (Slice of Life in March, a Poetry Challenge in April, and a Haiku Challenge in December). And I completed Jenny Rosenstrach’s 30 Days, 30 Dinners challenge (from her cookbook, Dinner: A Playbook), which took closer to 60 days because I like leftovers and try to cook every other day. About 10 of the new dinner recipes joined the regular rotation, which has gotten us out of our dinner rut.

Lemon water. Revelation: instead of slicing an organic lemon in my water every so often as a treat, I can have lemons in my water every day! Why did it take me so long to indulge my love for lemons? There were a few painful weeks in the late summer and early fall when no lemons were available and I had to switch to limes, but daily flavored water worked for me all year long.

Notebooks. I’ve always been partial to Daler-Rowney’s Cachet sketchbooks and have been using them exclusively for my writer’s notebooks for many years. One notebook always seemed like enough, but I found myself increasingly disorganized in my writer’s notebook and increasingly losing the lists and action items I’d write down there. So this year, I branched out and now I have several dedicated notebooks. One for notes and blog post ideas (I have lots of ideas even if I don’t write many posts). One for administrative duties at work. One for meal planning and recipes. One for hiking field notes. Any new project–writing haiku for a month, Cybils judging–gets a notebook. I can stay organized and not lose track of what I’m thinking and what I need to be doing so much better this way.

Cats. Ok, so it’s true that cats always work for me. There has literally never been a year of my life that I can remember when cats weren’t awesome. But this year, I’m especially grateful for Oliver. The feral kittens are the joy of my life, but they are such very serious cats. No sense of humor whatsoever. They are cautious, careful, hypersensitive cats. Oliver, by contrast, is all exuberance and purring and antics. He likes everyone and everything, purrs loudly whenever he’s happy, which is most of the time, and spends at least fifteen minutes every day zooming around the house giving himself the most gigantic puffy tail I’ve ever seen (even more comical given that in its depuffed state, Oliver’s tail is thin as a pencil.) I really did not want to add one more cat (shocking, I know!), but now I’m so glad we did.

What worked for you in 2018?






5 responses to “What Worked for Me in 2018”

  1. Scott Day Avatar

    1. Exercise: (Hours vary), but I went to gym five days a week every month this year and trained with a trainer for several months. Now have basic nutrition/exercise plan with enough variety to prevent boredom. 2. Logging what I actually read this year: (This includes short stories and picture books). Too often I buy books that I never read. Now I have a very clear picture of what I really enjoy. No surprise that Fantasy, with few exceptions, ranks very high. 3.Photography/Hiking. The two go hand-in-hand. Both allow my mind to focus and relax.The world offers so much wonder. 4. Cats. Obvious. Popper and Annie are my family. Can’t imagine a world without them. 5. Less long travel. I discovered that most of the places I really enjoy are no more than 2 hours from my house. Travel in Navy satisfied most of my desire to see other parts of the world.There’s just too much beauty nearby.

  2. margaretsmn Avatar

    I envy your stick-to-itness. I am definitely up for a change in my morning routine. And I love writing challenges, but I’ve been terrible about my yoga practice ever since school started in August. I am hoping to be inspired by my one little word to make some positive changes.

  3. carriegelson Avatar

    Loved reading this! What worked for me? Dance! Being brave and going for it. Ballet. Tap. Contemporary. House. I average 10 classes a week and am so happy. Work Life Balance. Finally I have some. So I get a little of lots of things I love. Reading. Gardens. Walks. Lots of dance. And work too but not work first. Letting myself do less and say no. Magic. Still working on this. But it’s going to be a thing I get good at.

  4. Akilah Avatar

    You killed at your monthly challenges this year. Excellent.

    I’m glad you found a notebook system that works for you. I still have mine all together in a mash (though I do have a separate journal). I may have to think about this some more.

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