The Lighter Life in 2019

I’m back, after an extended and unplanned absence; I was called away (and out of the country) by a family emergency, that while not resolved, is significantly stabilized to the point where I can refocus on other elements of my life – including this blog. The last few months have taught me many lessons, among them that no matter how intentional our life is, there will be events, things and people that will fall outside the margins and you will be required to respond without the luxury of forethought and planning.

I am ready for 2019 and what lies ahead, my resolutions are set – a manageable 10, down from 28 last year – and I’ve taken stock of what I accomplished in our last spin around the sun. You’ll see more of these resolutions, and the foundational habits into which they are woven as the year unfolds. My number 1 resolution for 2019 is to #BuyAlmostNothing, and I intend to post a monthly update on my successes and struggles.

My Buy Almost Nothing Year has a few rules;

  1. There are three things I can buy, restricted only by my annual budget (which I’ve also set for 2019); they are – Food, Gas and Experiences.
  2. I can replace necessities that break, wear or run out; as an example, I can purchase a new tube of toothpaste, or replace a pair of pants that rip beyond reasonable repair.
  3. I can swap and trade my existing possessions for new-to-me items; for example, I hope to trade or lend/borrow out some of the 26 books I read in 2018. I will also be making an effort to make a better use of my local library.

My number 2 resolution this year, is to maintain and strengthen some of the keystone habits I’ve built my Lighter Life on, these include;

  • Weekly Meal and Wardrobe Prep
  • Weekly Review of my spending against my budget
  • Reading 1 Chapter Per Day of any Book

I’ve resolved to update this Blog #TheLighterLife once a week, that will include the monthly update on my year of Buying *almost* nothing; and will also include posts diving deeper into some of this year’s other resolutions, progress on my keystone habits, and the occasional personal reflection.

Resolutions 4-10 are as follows;

Resolution 4: Use my “found” 40 hours a month. I’ll be starting a new job on January 7th and am looking forward to reducing my commute from 2 hours a day, to 10 minutes a day; on balance I’ll be saving just under 40 hours a month which I intend to put to intentional and productive use.

Resolution 5: Use all my Vacation Days. My new job comes with significantly more vacation than my previous position, for the sake of my mental health I want to take full advantage of the extra time off. I hope to use some of that time to take at least one Road Trip, and at least one Plane or Train Trip. Ideally, at least one trip will be to another Province or Territory, and at least one trip will cross an International Boarder (and yes, my planned Spring pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s in Buffalo, NY will conveniently tick two of those boxes). Road Trip anyone?

Resolution 6: Write a Personal Brand Plan. I stole this straight out of an Erin Bury presentation, and while its been on the resolution list for a couple of years, I feel like paring down to 10 resolutions this year makes this a more likely to actually happen. This blog, and much of my online and written presence follow a few themes – the lighter life, intentionality, minimalism, habits, and of course my professional interest in Not-For-Profit Management – I hope take those natural leanings and become more focused and intentional in 2019.

Resolution 7: Write a Book. I have three ideas in the hopper (read: my head) and its high time I started to put them onto paper. More on this, I’m sure, on this blog throughout the year to come.

Resolution 8: Small Acts of Kindness and Recognition. This is an enhancement of last year’s Small Acts of Kindness Resolution, I want to live with the intention of being kind each day – while I cannot fill from an empty cup – I can give kindness where the alternative is a lack of empathy, and acknowledgement. I also want to enhance this a bit (inspired by a recent conversation) to include acts of planned recognition; sending a note of thanks for big and small kindnesses shown, letting people know when they have made a difference, or simply letting someone know that they are seen, they are valued, they are appreciated.

Resolution 9: Spend time with Friends and Family. This is another repeat of a 2018 Resolution that I enjoyed so much that I’m bringing it back. As an introvert my default setting is time alone, but I also get so much from connecting (mostly in small groups or one-on-one) with the incredible people in my life. Be it a quick coffee (which are never so quick), a lunch, a dinner, or a grand adventure, I look forward to continuing to spend time with those who matter, and those I look forward to getting to know better.

Resolution 10: Create, Make, Paint and Craft. Put simply, I am going to make a conscious effort to feed my creative passions, to work with my hands, and to hopefully turn out something significant; either a collection, an exhibit or something yet to be imagined.

To support my resolutions, I will continue to create lists, calendar block, and indulge my love of post-it notes! I look forward to the journey ahead and invite followers of #thelighterlife here and on socials to come along with me.

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