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My New Year’s Resolutions (and Why I Still Make Them)

Happy woman with red plaid shirt with 2018 glasses over her eyes
Happy woman with red plaid shirt with 2018 glasses over her eyes

New year’s resolutions have taken a lot of flack in the past few years. And I can see why. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we aren’t enough, and resolutions can feel like just another brick on the pile of ways we’re told we need to be more/better/smaller/bigger/quieter/louder—just different from how we are.

I think the backlash against resolutions has been positive in a lot of ways. It makes me so happy that folks are now more mindful of how goal-setting fits in the bigger picture of self-love and self-respect. That being said, girrrrrrrllll, I love me some new year’s resolutions!

For me, gone are the days where I set outlandish goals without much substance (“be a size 8 by my birthday!”) and instead, resolutions for me have become a way of gently guiding my upcoming year. It’s not about drastically changing who I am, what I look like, or what I do—it’s about giving myself some clear concepts to focus my energy on. I think there is real value in having a general set of guiding principles, and I see new year’s resolutions just as that—a set of flexible guidelines to help me rock the next 365 days of my life.

Most important for me and my mental health, there is no “failure” when it comes to my resolutions. As long as I am following the general map, enjoying the journey, growing, and evolving—I’m a success. Period. There is no all-or-nothing when it comes to my new year’s resolutions.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Ready to hear what I’m focusing on in 2018?

Get back to nature with gardening.

After 10 straight seasons of vegetable gardens of varying sizes, we didn’t put in a garden this past summer. We, honestly, needed the break from the weeds and the bugs and the compost shoveling. I try not to let myself regret my life decisions (because even the poor decisions led me to where I am now), but I wish we had put in a garden last year—although, I’m not sure I would have realized how much gardening meant to me without the break.

Woman sitting on couch looking through seed and gardening catalogs

A lot of my physical, emotional, and spiritual health comes from tending a robust garden. I know a lot of folks don’t get it, but gardening is about so much more than just growing your own food (which, admittedly, is awesome in it’s own right).

And, let me tell you, with my illness, I needed my garden last year in a way I don’t think I ever needed it before. I needed that outlet, and it wasn’t there. My connection to nature and my roots is almost entirely fueled by my activities in the vegetable garden. I have yet to find another activity that comes even close. We have big plans for our 2018 garden, and I can’t wait to share them with you guys.

Donate my time and money generously.

Being a good philanthropist ends up on my resolutions list every year, not because I don’t do it already (I do), but because I always think I can do more to help other folks. Thanks in part to the current socio-political landscape, my desire to help other folks really skyrocketed this past year. I’m a proud bleeding heart, and at my core, I want to be a force for good. And this year, I want to do even more. Whether that be doing work through charities or donating my skills to political causes I support.

I have big ideas for a Wholefully community philanthropy project coming up in the Spring. And I definitely want to be involved with my friends at AmpleHarvest.org again now that we’re planning a garden. I also want to figure out some way to get involved in the Lyme advocacy community—I was helped so much this past year by volunteers from both of my local Lyme advocacy groups (Indiana Lyme Connect and the Kentucky Lyme Disease Association). I’d love to pay it forward and help spread the word about this epidemic.

Embrace my healing journey in whatever form it takes.

There was a while there, back in the late summer, that I was so sick that I stopped thinking about the future. I couldn’t even talk with my husband about what we were doing next week, because my thought was always, “but what if I don’t make it to next week?” My healing journey has gotten me to a place where I don’t feel like death is on my doorstep, and I’m honestly excited to see how my healing continues to unfold over the next year.

Hand holding glass bottle full of elderberry syrup

In hindsight, I used to be pretty close-minded with how I approached medical care. I knew eating vegetables was a good thing. I drank echinacea tea when I had a cold. I tried to only take Excedrin when I *really* needed it. But beyond that, I was a pretty by-the-book with my health care.

I truly believed that mainstream medicine held all the answers for “big” health problems. I’d seen mainstream medicine cure my Mom of breast cancer. I’d seen mainstream medicine replace my Dad’s knee and make him almost pain free. I’d seen mainstream medicine make sure the tiny preemie born to my brother and sister-in-law back in 2001 had the chance to grow up into my creative, funny, compassionate 16 year old niece. I’d seen mainstream medicine prevent me from becoming eclamptic during labor. I’d seen mainstream medicine do miraculous, amazing things. I’d witnessed it with my own eyes (and my own body).

So it seemed only logical for me to assume that mainstream medicine would always have all the answers. Until they didn’t. Until I had very intelligent, very compassionate, very educated allopathic doctors look at me and say, “We know something is wrong, but we don’t know what, and we don’t know how to fix it.”

Woman holds a dropper over a glass as amber colored liquid drops out

At the time, it was terrifying. But now, I’m really grateful they didn’t have the answers, because that experience has opened up my mind to a whole new world of healing. It was do or die (I believe literally). Necessity breeds innovation, and all that. And I innovated the crapola out of my philosophy on healthcare. I’ve taken herbs and done treatments and gone to practitioners I never would have even imagined before. I am so excited to keep exploring healing in 2018. Mainstream medicine, herbalism, mental health, homeopathy, diet, exercise, massage, yoga, antibiotics, meditation—whatever healing looks like in 2018, I’m here for it. My rule for this year: if it can’t make me worse, it’s worth trying to make me better.

Delegate more.

When your hobby becomes your career, the transition is somehow both slow and terrifyingly sudden. Slow, because your hobby grows incrementally over the months or years—so slowly sometimes, you don’t notice it’s growing at all. And then sudden, because almost always some single event happens that makes you realize, “HOLY CRAP, this is actually a thing now. I should probably run it like a business.”

I had the original hobby-to-career epiphany about three years ago, but it was reiterated this past summer. I couldn’t work for months. And, guess what? If I can’t work, my business can’t either. Thankfully, a well-established website can “coast” for a few months thanks to your awesome shares and pins and some behind-the-scenes work from the ahhhh-mazing Wholefully office assistant/community manager Julie.

Woman sitting at desk with shelves above full of books

But I didn’t like checking out. And checking out definitely isn’t a sustainable business model. I didn’t like the idea that Wholefully lives and dies with my ability to get out of bed in the morning (that’s a lot of pressure, yo!). So 2018 is the year of delegation for me!

I’m bringing on more people. I’m divvying out more tasks. I’m building a Wholefully team in a way I haven’t before. Not only does this make for a much more stable and sustainable future for Wholefully, but it also frees me up to implement some of the bigger ideas I’ve always wanted to pursue, but could never fit in. You know what made it possible for the 2018 Wellness Calendar to be published again this year? Delegation. That’s what. Working the way I did six months ago, I never could have fit in creating and launching that calendar. But because I had my friend Isabel shoot the video for my egg cups and my friend Becky retest the recipe for Chewy Lemon Snowdrops, I was able to bring something new onto my plate (pun intended).

Happy woman standing against brick wall smiling

There you have it, my 2018 in a nutshell (hopefully). I’d love to hear if you’re pro or anti resolutions, and if you’re pro, I want to know what you have in store for 2018! Happy new year, beautiful friends. <3

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23 comments

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  • Amanda Costella SAYS

    I always love your updates and it’s so exciting to hear about your goals for 2018. I can’t wait to hear all about your garden plans. We put a garden in two years ago and are slowly making it bigger and bigger. I have a ton of goals for 2018 but the biggest one is around connection. I want to connect with more people in my life and also with myself. I’m trying to start each day with a short meditation session and include lunchtime walks as a way to get some me time during the day!

    • Cassie SAYS

      Slowly making a garden bigger and bigger is THE WAY to go. You are definitely doing it right!

      I had a therapy session this week (after I wrote this post), where my therapist and I talked a lot about connection, too. And how I need to connect more with local-to-me people. I have SO many amazing, wonderful friends spread out over this universe, but not so many close by. And sometimes you just need a IRL hug, you know. :)

      • Steph SAYS

        Cassy, I relate to you so much! Love your blog and I always return to it every year especially around Xmas. :)

        Social connection is one of my resolutions for 2018 too! My girlfriends and I have resolved to do girls night every Wednesday around some sort of relaxing, tactile thing – puzzling, yoga, armotherapy, etc. I also am going to put a lot more effort into a local political organizing groups and volunteering for a nonprofits. I’m loving it so far and finding that my forcing it into my schedule it naturally kicks out the “junk food” connection stuff in my life like facebook.

        I also want to really hone in on more intentional nourishing food. A big one is my husband and I are going to cook more. Where I live it’s a part-time job because there are so few healthy restaurants. So far that is going pretty well, too, I really just need a couple quick and easy mainstays and to get into a good habit with grocery shopping so we don’t run out. Working full time it’s a big chore!

        And my final resolution is to be more intentional about what we buy and the trash we produce this year! Using reusables when possible and just simply buying with greater intention and enjoying more!!

        in general my goal is to make space for what’s most nourishing and important ..

  • Mindy SAYS

    I love your goals! They’re very YOU (in a good way!). My theme word for the year is intention – be more intentional with my health, wealth, time, and space.

    • Cassie SAYS

      I love that word! It is something I think we can all do a little more of—it definitely takes practice!

  • Jess SAYS

    I’m totally pro-resolutions. If you don’t take the time to reflect on the things you’ve done and the things you want how do you get anywhere? Love these goals. and am so excited to see what you have coming up in 2018!

  • Sara SAYS

    I am all about entering the new year with some awesome goals and your’s sound great and a lot like mine! I can’t wait to see all about your garden this year! I’ve never done one and would love to get started very small haha I’d love to see some great tips on how to get started! :)

  • Jess SAYS

    My super open ended resolutions:

    Be kind to myself.
    Be kind to others.
    Be kind to the planet.

  • Ingunn SAYS

    I love resolutions! What could be wrong with a little more hope and resolve in this world? And I like your resolutions too. I know I keep saying this, but the way you’ve taken charge of your health destiny is very inspiring.

  • Ann SAYS

    About 8 years ago I stopped making traditional new year resolutions and instead started adding one activity to my new year. I still make goals etc but that’s a continuous thing not a new year thing. This year I’m dancing to one song every day. This morning began with dancing to the Go-Go’s We Got the Beat. I need it. I felt I was starting to lose the “fun” part of me. My favorite addition was a few years I would send or leave flowers for someone once or twice a month anonymously. I’ve never told anyone to this day. It works for me and I’ve been able to keep it going for the entire year. No failures. ??

    • Cassie SAYS

      I LOVE everything about this. Part of my healing journey is to have a dance party with my kid every single day. No matter how crappy I feel, we must dance.

  • I am focusing on the word GROW.

    I want to grow spiritually, health wise, business wise, and yes, my growth includes a garden and learning to can! I love the new year and the hope it brings. Thank you for sharing your resolutions with us.

  • I love resolutions, partly because it gives me permission to think about the year just got and what I want more and less of in this one. Overall my goals don’t change that much, the things that were important in 2017 will be important in 2018, but there are some tweaks. A couple of super specific things that will help me live my best life. Like reading the books in my massive TBR pile, making a will, and a renewed focus on how I spend my money. None of it is rocket science but I had this thought, if I stop treating them like resolutions or goals and started thinking about them as gifts, I’m giving my future self? Will that help? I guess I’m going to find out!

    I’m also really looking forward to seeing your garden this year, your gardening posts are one of the reasons I signed up for an allotment (sort of a community garden) and I get what you mean, growing my food really connected me to the seasons in a much more meaningful way even though I live in the city!

    • Cassie SAYS

      I LOVE the idea of reframing resolutions as gifts! That’s something I’ve been working on with my therapist–reframing tasks/challenges in a positive light, and it really does work.

  • Delegating and rest were huge lessons for me in 2017. They have made SUCH a difference for me! I’m hoping it helps lessen some of your stress and help move your healing journey along!

  • Yes…its always nice to start the year with some intentions or resolutions. i dont think i do enough philanthropy work and im adding that to my goal…

    • Cassie SAYS

      I think we can always do more, but anything done to help other is a beautiful, special, compassionate act that should be celebrated. :)

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