Okay, so 21 might seem like a lot, but after 2020 I feel like I WANT to achieve more things. Funny enough, when I was compiling this list, I found myself writing ‘keep on doing …’ a lot. So there are quite a few nice habits I started/prioritised in 2020 that I want to keep doing. Also, some of these are very specific, others less so. Let me give you my full list, but if you have any specific resolutions for the year I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
1. Keep writing and publishing a blog post every other week
This is something I’ve been trying to do since I started this blog and a rhythm I would like to stick to for the coming year. It’s not always easy and sometimes I get really jealous of people who manage to post more often but HEY! Each their own, and this is what works for me.
2. Stay fit and actually enjoy it
The first part is obvious (and probably on many people’s list) but the second part is very important. I’ve come to hate running in 2020, but thanks to my colleague I’ve taken it up again, in the form of the Start to Run programme. The social pressure is real, but so is motivating each other.
Dancing is something I really miss at the moment and my occasional dance moves in the kitchen have turned into dance workouts with the Valeo Club YouTube channel at least once a week right now. It’s something I look forward to so a big win here as well.
3. 10.000 steps every day
I’m trying this out in January, but so far so good! One day I only made it to 9.000, but I decided to cut myself some slack (see resolution 21). I liked turning it into an actual resolution though, so I try harder to actually achieve it as a goal, and not just because my Fitbit tell me so.
4. Don’t take travel abroad for granted
Never, ever again. To be honest, I don’t think I ever did , but still, it was so easy to hop on a plane/train/bus and go see a friend in the UK, France, the Netherlands or Germany. I prefer to spend my money on travelling and visiting friends, and not being able to do that has admittedly been good for my savings, but I can’t wait to set off again and give my friends the biggest hugs!
5. Keep discovering Belgium
It was a bit forced in 2020, but Belgium does have lots of nice things to offer. I love guiding friends around, so I like to think of 2020 as a bit of a research project for future guided tours. And there is plenty more to see, so I’d happily fit in a few more Belgian (day)trips in 2021.
6. Make longer trips with our car
We bought a car last year and while I don’t want to promote car trips per se, it has helped us to get out more to greener areas and visit friends and family in Belgium. I’ve had my driving licence for years but never drove much, so the past months have also been a personal development trajectory for me. Driving used to scare me, but I’m glad to report I’m getting more at ease with it. So here is to getting more out of my comfort zone in 2021 and making even longer/further trips.
7. Draw something every week
Another habit I’ve developed that I would like to maintain in the coming year. It’s quite varied: from post and christmas cards to weekly #HOMwork assignments, sketchnotes during (online) conferences or #the100dayproject. But I’ve grown to really like it and I’ve also become more confident in sharing them on social media. So let’s keep that fire burning.
8. Keep drawing and sending cards
I love love LOVE snailmail. Letters, cards, packages – every day I run over to the letterbox to check what surprises might be waiting there for me. In 2020 I actually started drawing my own cards, and did a whole batch of Christmas cards (very time consuming, but really lovely). It brought me a lot of joy to draw, write little messages, buy nice stamps and send them off to different corners of Europe, so I will definitely do more of that in the coming year!
9. Read 21 book
I read 20 in 2020, so why not 21 in 2021? I made a list of all the nice books I still have lying around at home and am really looking forward to get started in each one of them. Last year I followed the following pattern: English – Dutch – English – Dutch – French. I’ve been trying to read a lot in Dutch the last few years to get back into it, but as I now feel like I’m losing my English (and have so many English books lying around at home) I will focus a bit more on those this year.
10. Read the books I have, then buy new ones
As I have a decent To Be Read list here at home, I’ve set myself the following rule: I’m only allowed a new book for every five I’ve read from my list, which I think sounds fair. And it motivates me to read more/quicker!
11. (When we can) hug friends and family A LOT
Quite self-explanatory, but I cannot wait for this one. And another one I will never again take for granted.
12. Keep sending voice messages to friends
A new habit I created this year was going for a walk after lunch. Usually about 20-30min, I would wander around the block and listen to a podcast. But towards the end of the year I started recording voice messages more often and then send them to a friend. It works for me as it gives me something to do during my walk. People don’t have to respond with voice messages, but sometimes they do and I love it. It’s just so nice to hear someone’s voice, it makes them feel a lot closer. I don’t usually respond straight away (there isn’t that much going on to talk about haha) but then I listen to their last message again a while later and send them my update afterwards.
13. Keep the sourdough love alive
2020 was the year I started obsessing over bread, flour, starters, rises and scores. But since then the anxiety and stress over my starter and breads has eased a bit, and with it the flavour and texture of my breads have improved. I now even forget about my starter or dough from time to time, but that has even resulted in nicer looking breads or richer flavours (not always, but it has happened). But here’s to more try-outs, explorations, flavours and lots of gluten.
14. Implement gardening learnings from 2020
If you didn’t bake your own bread last year maybe you started growing your own vegetables? I did both and you well, win some, you lose some. But let us USE that knowledge and actually do something with it in 2021! As it looks like quite a few of us will be in lockdown again at different points during spring, let’s get our hands dirty again and witness the magic of a living organism growing THANKS TO US (and sunshine and water, mostly).
15. Home editing sparks joy
First came Marie Kondo, who taught us that we should only keep what sparks us joy. And also how we should fold T-shirts in a drawer. Then came Clea and Joanna and they made it all LOOK PRETTY! My colleague and I have already established that if we ever tire of communications we will set up a Belgian version of the Home Edit. Because, I mean, SO PRETTY!
16. Home improvements
We intended to swap our bedroom and office space around over Christmas. Instead we discovered a leak and a blocked pipe in the bathroom, so we have a new bedroom, office AND bathroom project going on. Therefore let’s just try to finish them at one point in 2021 (preferably without any other unpleasant surprises pretty please).
17. Try out (new) bars and restaurants more often (when they reopen)
We have tried to support local businesses more during lockdown and really enjoyed going to restaurants and bars when they were allowed to reopen over summer. We don’t do it very often and really see it as a treat, but have told ourselves that we want to try out bars and restaurants more often when it’s possible again.
18. Try to live as sustainable as possible
I know I mentioned us buying a car earlier, but we do try to compensate for it by living as sustainable as we can. There was no flying in 2020 (obviously). We eat less meat now (only about 3 times a week) and try to be more mindful about food waste, recycling and energy. A lot more to learn and to do, but important to do so.
19. Self care
I mentioned enjoying staying fit above, but it goes further than that. I’m lucky enough to still have a job and that I am able to work from home, but that also means comfy outfits, no make up and greasy hair very often. And while that’s all very snug and easy, it doesn’t make me feel particularly good about myself. So I want to remind myself this way to make an effort here too, not just for myself but also for my partner who has to see me this way (and still loves me, bless his cotton socks). Some mascara or nail polish, a nice skirt or freshly shaven legs, it can make a big difference for your self esteem.
20. Bring planning back
So I’m a Planner with capital P. And then Planner met 2020 and it wasn’t a happy ending. Shattered hopes, broken dreams, all that jazz. So I stopped planning, like, max one week ahead. Which is peanuts to me. Usually I’m like ‘no, I’m sorry, I already have a wedding that weekend in April 2022’. Now however I have no plans, nothing in the diary. But I would like to change that, because planning makes me happy. So slowly, surely: two weeks ahead, maybe three. Taking it slow.
21. Manage expectations
And to round it all up: chill. I hope I didn’t stress or freak you out with my 21 resolutions, that wasn’t my intention. For me it helps to set these kind of goals, I like to plan or organise or just tick off things from a list. But if 2020 taught us one thing: things change. Don’t take stuff for granted. Chill out. Enjoy the little things. Be grateful. [insert your own learnings] So do what you can or makes you feel good. Try, and if it doesn’ work know that you tried.
And now: repeat the above while you pretend you are telling this to a friend. And then believe it, as if your friend told you.
Wishing you all the best of luck with 2021 and if you have any resolutions of your own you would like to share I’d be more than happy to hear them!