time to embrace the new year.

I think I’ve been in denial about the fact that it’s 2012. The last bit of December came and went in a blur. I went home, I saw my family, I baked, I opened presents, I came back. A few days later, I kissed Alex at midnight at his favorite bar as the clock struck midnight. But until now, I haven’t fully embraced 2012.

It doesn’t really help that I was sick all of last week with a cold and was just trying to get through the work week. Now it’s the 10th and I’m sitting in my corner at work, realizing that it is in fact a brand new year with brand new things in store.

I always hesitate on calling the little list of goals I have written out “resolutions” because as we all know, resolutions are often forgotten about by the end of January. So for now, I’ll call this my year-long list of things to do:

1. Be better with money
It’s often hard being a freelancer/part-time employee but I know that I’m much better off right now than most. I just have to be a bit more financially responsible and make sure I can pay all my bills and still have enough to buy groceries. I have two credit cards that aren’t maxed out yet, but I know I need to be better about using those as well (and start working to pay them off). It helps writing out a budget for the month and making sure I log into my online banking account on a regular basis (as opposed to avoiding it) so I know where I’m at. Learnvest is a super helpful website that emails me daily about how to cut expenses; I’m currently on registered in their Cut Your Costs bootcamp and I love looking over their tips on my way to work.

2. Freelance more
I haven’t had a ton of luck finding and keeping regular freelance writing gigs in the last couple of years. A few publications I used to love to work for don’t even exist anymore and I just recently lost yet another gig (through no fault of my own, thankfully). But I’ve decided instead of just waiting for something to pop up, I need to work on pitching stories. I haven’t always been great at it, but it’s a really valuable skill I need to work on. The one big pitch I hope to make is to Bust. I absolutely adore Bust; it’s the only magazine I subscribe to these days and one that I’d love to write for.

3. Exercising and eating well
This one is always one everyone’s list, isn’t it? I was only able to get back to the gym as of last night due to my cold. I didn’t push myself too hard but it felt really good just to work out again. My gym has offers classes that I’ve never tried before, so I think I’ll go to a couple different ones to see what works best for me. Eating well is a big one too; Alex and I have been doing really well thanks to his healthy, home-cooked meals and limiting alcohol to weekends only. Overall, I think I just need to work on feeling good and being happy with how I look.

4. Reading and learning
I love books and I definitely don’t have enough of them. My sister got me Mindy Kaling’s new book for Christmas (so good!) and I finished it in a day. I’ll be scouring the interwebs to see what everyone else is reading and get back into the groove of buying used books off Amazon. As for learning, I feel like I can always learn something new. Here in Chicago, there are classes offered through Dabble and I’m hoping to find something I’d like to try out soon. On my own time, I’ve signed up at Codecademy because I’ve always been interested in learning basic Javascript (yep, I’m THAT big of a nerd).

5. Keep creating
This one is pretty important to me. Staying creative in any capacity keeps me sane, you know? Knitting and photography are two things I dabbled in throughout 2011, something I’d like to continue into 2012. Working with film photography on a budget can be hard, but I miss it like crazy and can’t wait to take pictures of the winter wonderland that Chicago will no doubt become by next month. Same goes for knitting (pretty yarn doesn’t come cheap!) but I’m already working on a new, simple project (a new scarf for Alex because the one he has right now is old and worn and I sorta hate it).

And those are my main five things to do this year! To manage all my other little to-dos: Wunderlist. Ohmygosh, this app is helpful. I love that I can log into on my computer and also use it on my iPhone. Throw in my new paper planner (simple and cheap from Target) and I’m ready to tackle rest of January. Alright, here we go. :)

{image source: weheartit}

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