This year I’m using Kate Matsudeira’s Spark Planner to set goals and good habits to carry throughout the New Year. I spent a lot of time working out a yearly theme, as prompted by the planner, and eventually came up with “Calm & creative, intentional living.” Because I work from home, it’s easy to let the days blur together so I want to stay a little more alert about the ways I’m spending my time. This includes being more intentional with the way I manage my blog and freelance projects and making sure I’m balancing enough time for different tasks. For example, spreading out boring blog maintenance work out over several weeks, rather than spending four hours a day on it for weeks, and draining out any creative impulses in the process.
Apart from using the Spark Planner, which has a whole bunch of prompts built in, I’ll also be keeping more up to date with Sunday Stories posts. I’ve looked back on a few of them and have been so surprised by how many things I forgot about during the year!
1. Spend one day each month in nature
I spend so much time connected to a screen that I want to prioritise spending time in nature this year. It doesn’t have to be an overnight stay, but it does need to mean spending a decent amount of time away from the commotion of the city. It doesn’t have to take up a whole weekend or cost a lot of money. It could mean swimming in the ocean, driving up to a lookout in the mountains or walking through a rainforest. It doesn’t even need to be a different place every month. Just good, old fashioned, time spent outdoors.
2. Visit one new country
In 2015, I visited the USA. In 2016, I want to visit Japan or Fiji. I’m currently a little obsessed with the Asian island nation, and David would love to chill out in Fiji. I don’t think I’ll be able to do both, which is why I’ve got a more reasonable goal (See: Unreasonable 2015 goals) to visit one new country. Whatever it is, it will be a new experience!
3. Visit one new state in Australia
When making travel plans, it’s too easy to neglect your own country. Australia is enormous and the major cities are spread out across the country, so travelling Australia requires a bit more of a financial commitment and planning than just hopping in the car and seeing where the road takes you.
This year I want to visit South Australia or Western Australia!
4. Visit two new regions of Victoria
Unlike Queensland, you can see pretty much any part of Victoria on a weekend, without needing to hop on a plane. Victoria is a tiny state with diverse regions, so it’s a great place fun day trips and weekenders. This one is half in the bag since I’ve got a Great Ocean Road trip planned in January. I’d like to go to Daylesford or the Yarra Valley, and I’m in talks with friends and with David about plans to get there.
5. One dedicated photography session per week
I love taking photos, but when I’m not travelling it’s easy for my photography sessions to get too few and far between. I don’t take my camera around for the hell of it, since lugging around a DSLR is a pain. I want to take my camera out once a week, with the intention of taking photos. It might be photography a busy shopping street on the walk back from lunch with friends or it might an afternoon photographing a new neighbourhood.
By the end of the year, I hope to see a big improvement in my photography too! I’ll keep accountable with this goal by sharing my favourite photos in a round-up post at the end of each month.
6. Draw a collection of 40-50 illustrations
In 2015, I rekindled my love of drawing and starting finishing my ink illustrations with watercolours. I spent a lot of time warming up, getting my “eye in” and figuring out what kind of drawings makes me happy and discovering a little more of my own style of drawings.
I love drawing city scenes, so this year I’m going to try and finish 40-50 illustrations. That’s almost one per week, but I think if I focus on one at a time I’m much more likely to get through them. I have some ideas that require a bank of illustrations, so this year my job is to build up a collection!
7. Write 50,000 words about Australia
This year I want to write more about my country. This writing project will be either a series of short essays or a more cohesive novel, parts of which may pop up on the blog now and then in a shorter form. My dream is to write a book about Australia, which goes beyond the tired clichés pushed by foreign writers. I also think there needs to be more female travel writers getting published. Some of my favourite travel writers are men, and while I respect their work immensely, I often find myself wondering how the story would be told if it wasn’t written by a grumpy old white man.
8. Disconnect for 90 minutes per day
I’m guilty of reading emails in bed first thing in the morning and checking my emails and notifications obsessively during the day. I read a lot of books on my iPad, and I write and edit photos on my computer. I spend way too much time staring at a screen, one way or another.
Ninety minutes isn’t all that long, but I love the way time slows down when I leave my iPhone, iPad and laptop behind.