Before toasting the New Year, complete with the requisite greens, black eyed peas and other good fortune food that accompany many a Southerner’s table every January 1st, a look back if you please, at the resolutions done right this year.

If anything (other than sheer willpower) can turn my hopes and dreams for 2019 into reality, it’s being able to remind myself that I held onto more than a few of them this year, and am crossing the 2018 finish line as committed as I felt at the start.

In this highlight reel, I’m toasting (with a cup of soothing Earl Grey instead of the fizzy stuff) wins like:

Keeping the weight off:

This year I *finally* sold and/or donated the double digit sized clothing I was keeping in my closet just in case. (Insert every excuse ever invented for emotional eating here). There were seasons of regular workouts, including this past spring when I conquered my first ever triathlon! There were also plenty of weeks when work and life events collided and I blew off my daily exercise alarm.

Throughout though, I mostly gravitated to the good for me stuff, in portion-controlled servings. (For the record, I’d always rather have lobster mac and cheese instead of spinach salmon salad. But the after-effect is no longer worth it.) As bonus, my pants still fit, and there’s a smidge of muscle tone I can easily rebuild.

Finding my blogging niche:

This was a hard one, trying to find my footing in a sea of “influencers” that left me feeling, more often than not, Insta exhausted/annoyed. Passive/aggressive “follow loops” with rules that feel akin to a pyramid scheme, bot accounts that jam up my feed with images I’d really rather not ever see, and queries from people purporting to send me free stuff I don’t want or need in exchange for being one of their “brand ambassadors”. No thanks. I never got into this for a pair of free sunglasses.

So I post as the spirit moves me, and when I feel I have something of value to share. That means letting go of the pressure to post daily, because the milieu of any one person’s everyday existence is just not that interesting. 

Prioritizing time with the people I care the most about:

This year held more date nights, weekend adventures, and trips back to my beloved Birmingham than any of our years out in Texas. And that made it one for the books. The people I love the most may live here, there and yonder, but in 2018, I did not let time or distance keep me from them.

Keeping these relationships strong and healthy means everything to me, and I will long hold onto the vignettes of the year, sharing Dad’s passion for master gardening, soaking up motherly wisdom from our family matriarch, and laughing til my sides hurt at the high school track with the bestest brother ever. There were moments to love on new babies, times alongside childhood friends in great and unexpected sorrow, and uneventful visits just to enjoy the simple luxury of being together.

I also held tight to several resolutions that involved not-so-easy decisions and the stubborn determination to kick a few habits that were indeed hard to break.

Being selective about my freelance clients: 

I can spot a would-be high maintenance client a mile away, and can now happily turn them down with nary a second thought. No freelance fee is worth that kind of hassle, and the antics of these bad actors sap at the positive energy I work too hard to preserve.

I also took the terrifying step this year of increasing my rates, after years of leaving money on the table because negotiating made me nervous. There is no feeling quite as empowering as hitting “Send” on an invoice that is (finally) your fair market value, and having the client not only not bat an eye, but pay you promptly and reward you with more work.

Walking away from social media content that makes me feel less than:

I find fewer activities more draining than spending my precious free time consuming content that is needlessly competitive, narcissistic, or negative. I’ve simply got no appetite for brag-plaining, first world problem lamenting, and look at how much better my life is than yours posting.

If it’s positive and enriching, bring it – all day long. Otherwise and without apology, I’m opting out.

Putting an end to fringe friendships:

This year I stopped pretending that I am okay with being the fringe friend. That entailed a conscious decision to stop initiating get-togethers with people who never seem to reciprocate. It also meant moving on from friendships I’ve outgrown, remaining thankful for what they were, while being adult enough to understand that circumstances evolve and people move on. With thanks for all that 2018 was, and excitement for all that 2019 will be, Happy New Year!