1. The world is going to get worse before it gets better. That's just a fact. We can (and must) work on it, but 2017 is not going to be a good year just because it's not 2016. Still battling with the question of what I can do about any of it,* but at the very least, I'm making kindness a priority. Let's be good to each other in small ways while working on the big ways. If that's as far as it goes, it's a cop-out, but if it's a start... well, it's a start. And kindness is always important.
2. On a personal level, though, I'm quite convinced that 2017 is going to be better. No more crises in my circle (well, none so far, and not much likelihood). And in my own life, as I've mentioned, things are looking up. I'm pretty hopeful that I'll end this year with a lot to celebrate.
3. I don't do New Year Resolutions. I always want the same things – health, productivity, a well-organised life – but achieving them is a work in progress, not a vow I can make or break. Plus, well, resolutions framed as self-improvement are pretty unhelpful, aren't they? Starting with the assumption that you're not good enough just as you are seems like setting yourself up to fail. But I do love to set goals and priorities. Right now my goals are focused on enjoyment. I want to enjoy my life, all my mundane days, so I'm planning to bring more enjoyment into my routine. Things like reading in bed every night. (Not coincidentally, New Year ideas that have lasted from past years have always been about forming habits that serve or promote self-care. Like staying off my computer in the evenings. Boosts my productivity, helps me to go to bed on time, keeps me sane.) Something that's totally absent from my goals, for the first time in years? Sewing. I just don't enjoy it. Sure, one day I hope I will, but there's no space in my stressed out life right now for a stressful learning experience. So: no sewing on the immediate agenda. Feels good.
4. I'm starting quarterly planning, for my work goals. Now why didn't I think of that before? A month is too short, a year is too long – three months is just the right structure for working on my bigger, but still achievable, plans. Makes planning much more enjoyable.
5. I have set myself one biggish (but enjoyment-based!) challenge. And then, true to form, I reshaped it to be not that challenging at all. Along with two friends, I'm planning to cook 52 new recipes in 2017. Another friend is laughing at us and thinks we'll have dropped it entirely by March, but I say she's wrong, because (a) cookies! and (b) there is absolutely no stipulation as to complexity. I reserve the right to make cheese on toast, as long as it's an actual recipe, and one that I haven't used before.^ Also, it doesn't have to be one a week. I might do three one week and then none for a month – it just has to all tot up to 52 by 31 December. If you fancy joining us, or just following along, we're using the hashtag #52recipes (on Twitter and Instagram). I'll also try to record my efforts here. Oh, and I'm pinning recipes to try.
I started yesterday with baked sweet potato, mushroom, chorizo and egg, from my newest cookbook purchase, Simple. Almost in the cheese on toast category – I wasn't feeling lazy so much as just wanting to eat something, well, simple – but I wouldn't have thought of putting those things together. So: Recipe 1 all done. Go me. And it was great, by the way.
* Some helpful links here, for Americans.
^ I said this on Twitter as a joke. Then I found that my newest cookbook (Simple, see above) has an entire chapter on toast. Including, yes, a spicy cheese toastie.