Hello friends! Happy New Year! Did you have a good holiday? I spent a week and a half hanging out with my family, eating too much, lounging by the fire and all around making merry. Not a bad vacation I would say! I have a couple pretty photos of my activities to share with you in the coming days, but until then I wanted to take care of an important early 2014 activity . . . Writing New Year's resolutions (or revolutions, ha!).Groan, right?Well, not necessarily. Normally I don't make resolutions at the start of the year because I find them hard to keep and usually overly critical of ourselves (think about it: the average resolution basically says we are too fat, too tired, too boring, etc. when we are all just trying to do our best!). Instead I am putting together a goal list which, semantically speaking, seems like a more positive approach all around. So here is my list of goals for 2014—things I want to keep I mind to help me be my best, kindest, most productive and happy self. . . 
one | WORK SMARTERWe all do it. In any given day I have so many things on my to do list that I find myself endlessly multi-tasking or getting distracted by minor issues (I spent several hours the other day trying to track down a New York City phone book from 1965 for my dissertation, to no avail. It was a true 'rabbit hole' project that sucked up my afternoon and made me want to reassess how I was spending my days). This year I want to endeavor to work smarter, focusing closely on a given task and getting it done efficiently and effectively (using this method has helped me a lot; as has making accomplishment lists with this app). This especially goes for working on my dissertation—which needs nearly all my energy this year—but also accounts for maintaining a work-life balance. If I work smarter on my school-related tasks, I will be able to better focus on spending quality time with friends and family.
two | PLAY HARDERWhich brings me to number two. Being an only child, I often find myself falling into the abyss of self-sufficiency. I can go weeks without seeing my dear friends or spending an evening on the town. This year I want to prioritize my friends and family more, setting aside time regularly to see and catch up with all my favorite people. Just say no to be a hermit!
three | STIR IT UPThere was a time a couple years ago when my husband had a slightly less crazy job and we were actually managing to have 'family' dinners together frequently on weeknights. During that time I made it a priority to make a big home-cooked meal several times a week. These days, having dinner mostly on my own, I find myself shirking a proper evening meal for snacks or random frozen foods. I love cooking (and would like to think cooking loves me!) and want to try to make at least one or two 'nice' dinners a week. That shouldn't be too hard, right?
four | GET LOSTI live in one of the most vibrant, exciting and busy cities in the world but I don't take advantage of it! I find myself stuck in the library or my apartment studying (see #2) and more often than not learn about the cool new exhibition/show/restaurant/pop up shop long after it's over/closed/uncool. If I am going to live in NYC I should take advantage of it, no? So this year I want to hit the town more. Go exploring. Get lost and discover a new neighborhood/cafe/park/store. Otherwise I will regret not doing this in the future when I live in a boring suburban town, right? :)
five | BE KINDIn keeping my accomplishment list (see #1), I have started adding a daily addendum: a random act of kindness. I would like to think of myself as a nice, thoughtful person but it can't hurt to try to do more. This year I want to reach out to friends with random little surprises (see #2) like care packages when they are sick, funny emails when they are feeling down or just a random call to say hello. This goes for strangers too; New York so often has the reputation for being unfriendly or downright rude so each day I try to hold the door open for someone, pick up something they dropped or offer them my place in line to help counter that (erroneous!) rap. Be nice—it's contagious.
six | GO BOLDWe all have moments of doubt: can I really do this? Am I qualified? Is it going to be an epic fail? Whether it's a new blog feature, reaching out to a colleague you admire for advice/mentorship or simply starting a new project you've been thinking about, I say go for it! This year I am going to interview a ton of really famous artists for my dissertation (Lynda Benglis, Yoko Ono, Ed Ruscha and more) and I am going to be brave and bold and leave them thinking that I am bright and will represent their work thoughtfully and thoroughly. I am also going to re-learn calligraphy, make a quilt (like this one) and master trapeze sailing on our new boat. What crazy new things will you take on this year?
seven | JUST DO YOULast but definitely not least: I want to just be me. We all spend so much time thinking, if I could only be a little bit skinnier or look a bit more like that model/actress/athlete or be a bit richer then life would be better. What we don't think about is all the awesome things we already have going for us (brains, health, family and friends, etc.). This year I am going to focus on my blessings and try not to compare myself to the other people out there—bloggers who seem to make every post perfectly pin-able, friends who travel to exotic locales every other week, classmates who have five jobs and write a million articles at the same time. This year I channeling my inner two year old and focusing on myself. :)
What are your goals for 2014? I would love to hear them in the comments! Let's support each other and make this year one to remember.  

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