2017 – A Year of Less, But Better

“I don’t believe in a lot of baggage. It’s such a nuisance. Life’s too short to fuss with it. And it isn’t really necessary”
― Hugh Lofting, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle

2016, you have flown by…and you know where the door is to keep flying straight on through. Bye! You have been an absolutely ludicrous year. But in spite of the crazy (and occasional heartache), there have been some high points too and I am grateful for them. Though the double whammy of Carrie Fischer and Debbie Reynolds was, frankly, a bit of a low blow to end on, don’t you think? Anyway, I’m willing to set that aside in the interest of the new year as there is a lot of work to do.

There’s a lot I want to accomplish in 2017. I’ve got work goals, life goals, weird and wacky goals, but on trying to figure out how I wanted to frame my thoughts I kept coming back to the idea of “less.” 2016 was a full on year with a lot of change, a lot of big emotions, big decisions, and big achievements. I’m not looking to undo or scale back on any progress, but in looking forward I realized that I want to consume less, narrow my priorities, and focus my attention to fewer things at a time.

Don’t expect extreme deprivation, I’m not looking to make a contest in asceticism out of this thought exercise, but I am going to try and be more considered in my consumption of stuff and my commitments.

2013-10-18 18.32.40

I did the first of three shopping bans last year as part of my 101 in 1001 2.0 challenge at the end of last year. It came to a close just in time for Black Friday…and I ended up getting a grand total of two jumpers and a couple of beauty purchases. I didn’t really want, much less need, anything else. I’ve never been an emotional shopper, but I really feel as if the ban was a bit of a reset button for me and clothing in particular–which was already under pretty good control.  The truth is, it’s taken a few years of thoughtful effort, but I’m pretty happy with where my wardrobe is. There are no major gaps and no major needs, both for a personal or professional life. Ditto my makeup stash which has also taken a while to put together and edit, but with which I am really happy. I use and wear everything I own regularly and don’t feel anything is wasted. I will indulge the odd purchase of something that is simply wanted, but don’t expect any major spending this year in the looks department. Less stuff, better quality will continue to be my watch cry.

On that note, I want to be more mindful of my day-to-day spending and consumption. Making my morning coffee at home rather than catching it (and paying for it) on the run, prepped lunches, sticking to grocery lists, not tossing that unplanned item in my basket when at Boots, exploring different travel options in the city, walk more, etc.. I’ve got a few posts lined up on this topic this month, so stay tuned.

Food wise, we now have the thing we’ve wanted for seven years: a proper kitchen. And I am going to be better about stocking and using it. Obviously this will require a bit of spend to get the things we need (we currently own a single small pot, for instance), but I think that committing to cooking more and eating out less will be a good thing. We aren’t overindulgent at the moment, but do give in to laziness and cheap, less healthy food more than we should. I want to be less lazy and more intentional about eating this year.

In the related field of health, the decision to consult and freelance was a good one in that it (surprisingly) reduced the amount of professional stress in my life. A freelancer always has to hustle and I’m certainly making less than I was, but going back on the freelance grind has allowed me to regain a sense of control and purpose that had slipped from my grasp a bit. I want to take this more balanced work mindset with me moving forward, whatever I do. Less unhelpful stress, more intelligent career growth.

Less fretting. I’ve developed some low level anxiety in the past couple of years that I want to get on top of. Things like changing up my work have helped tremendously, but whether through wellness or other means, I intend on letting go of a lot of baggage that I seem to cart around needlessly.

Less time online. I actually want to branch out on the site this year, try a few new things, blog more frequently, and a few other experiments, so never fear about me vanishing from round these parts. But in terms of time wasting, it’s alarming how much time I lose just mucking about on the internet while not actually doing or accomplishing anything. I’m not sure how to roll this goal out, but I’ll try and put some more intelligent thoughts together.

Overall, I think if I can come up with a theme for 2017, it would be, “Less, but better.” I’m curious to see what form this takes.

How about you, kittens? How are you approaching a fresh year? Do you have any resolutions, or other ways to frame it? Talk to me!


14 thoughts on “2017 – A Year of Less, But Better”

  1. I think purposelessness is an important part of creating space for purposefulness. This suggests to me that if you want to spend less time mucking about on the internet, you’ll have to find a more easily controlled way to muck about.

  2. This all sounds good.

    Once you have (?) a few nice cookbooks (even from the library), you’ll be more likely to cook and eat well at home. It’s hard to gin up the interest with no inspiration; we had a great time over Christmas making a bunch of new-to-us recipes.

    My resolution for 2017? No more BS, from anyone. At the end of 2016 I sent three letters to people whose behavior had long been making me really unhappy. It was quite frightening — one of them is my father — and I may have finally lost that relationship as a result. But the baggage and anxiety attached to each of them was exhausting. If I can’t be honest with someone whose actions are really hurtful to me, I don’t want that person in my life; if they refuse to respond, this is their loss.

    Also hoping to be back on your side of the pond this spring!

  3. I love your phrase of “Less Fretting”. I have definitely discovered more peace as I have simplified. I’m creating habits that reduce the number of decisions I need to make and learning to accept moments of worry for what they are, just moments. Glad to have found your blog!

    1. Glad to have you. Amazing how much mental space we devote to worrying…and how much we have to devote elsewhere when we stop!

  4. Yup! I completely understand where you’re coming from with this post — I waste too much of my time on the internet (though blogging and reading blogs definitely doesn’t count as wasting time! 🙂 ) and I also spend too much time fretting about things that I really don’t need to worry about. But even though our rational brains know we shouldn’t, anxiety is *so* hard to let go of, isn’t it?

    How exciting that you have your own proper kitchen now! 🙂 Cooking is really fun and definitely saves money. I usually prep lunches for work, and my intention this weekend is to make a big pot of soup that I can then freeze in individual portions, ready for workweek lunches. Quick, easy and cheap to make! By the way, I highly recommend Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘River Cottage Veg Everyday’ — it’s my go-to cookbook when I’m stuck for ideas and want a quick, healthy meal.

    Looking forward to your posts in this series!

    1. Thanks for the rec! When I’m really on the ball I’m great at meal prep and it makes a massive difference both to my wallet and my free time. But it takes time, planning, and intention and is often one of the first balls dropped when life gets complicated or busy. I’m hoping to be a bit better about it moving forward.

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