What Worked for Me in 2017

Ah, yes.  It’s that time of year again.  Time to reflect on what worked for me this year.


but where did that creepy hand come from?

1. Yoga.  I started in August, after a several-month hiatus from any sort of consistent exercise.  I started with bikram in a 115 degree studio and in September transitioned to vinyasa class, in an 85 degree studio.  Ah, much better.  Guys, I’m real into it.

I tend to be ride the wave with my exercise interests- after baby number four I was (briefly) very motivated to do a heinous high intensity class at the gym I belonged to.  That lasted a couple of months and then I started dreading classes and decided, consequently, that there are too many forms of enjoyable exercise out there so why force myself to go to the one I no longer like?  I have also marathon’d in the past (just once; that was sufficient), dabbled in triathlons (let’s not forget this gem of a memory).  So maybe the shine will wear off yoga in a bit.  For the time being, I am enjoying the heck out of it.  Win!  Ride the wave!


foreshadowing. keep reading.

2.  Buy Nothing group on Facebook.  Have you all heard of this?  Charlottesville has a Buy Nothing group where members can post items to give away, or post a need/want they have.  Have a sweatshirt or a kids’ toy that you no longer want?  Post it there and I guarantee someone else will be thrilled to come take it off your hands.

It is not as quick and simple as a trip to Goodwill, but the upside is that you actually give your item to a person who wants that specific item.  I have to say- every time I take stuff to Goodwill and see the warehouse that is stacked with items, I feel a little ill.  There’s so much stuff!  I don’t doubt that a ton of it is purchased and money is redistributed to the community (right??), but I also know a ton of it is tossed or sent overseas.  The Buy Nothing group keeps items one step further away from a landfill.  Win!

3.  Book Log.  Didn’t I say this before?  Sorry.  It still works for me.  I love tracking my books, mostly because I can see the titles adding up and it motivates me to read more.  I read 81 books this year, and miiiight squeak another one or two in before 2018.

A few favorites: The Four Tendencies, The Hate U Give, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Born Bright, The Body Keeps the Score, Baby Catcher, The Wonder, Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?, and Hillbilly Elegy.  I think that every book on that list was from the library.  With library fees for a few overdue books, I probably paid $15 to read 81 books.  Win!

4.  Trips.  This one is firmly in the “luxury” category.

This year I traveled to Nashville with some college friends and spent a three day weekend away.  Lots of laughing, reading, eating, talking, and some space just to be; away from my usual life at home.  My college friends and I have been on Marco Polo (a video app) ever since and it has been a great way to keep the conversations going.


Ah, the rest stop photo op. Couldn’t pass it up.

A few weeks later I got to take my second kiddo with me to Bermuda, at my dad’s invitation.  Pretty incredible and rejuvenating and all of the things.  Aaaand I just got back from a few days at a college/YWAM friend’s house in Clemson.  We met when I was 17 and spent four years together in college, then tacked on another two’ish overseas in Australia.  It was incredible to be with her; like the other college reunion, we just pick up where we left off.

I count those trips as high points in the year, fo’ sho’.

These things worked for me in 2017.  What worked for you?

(I’ve done this before.  2014, 2015, and 2016).




3 thoughts on “What Worked for Me in 2017

  1. I read your old posts on “what worked” too. Love them. I started using a bullet journal this year too and love it! Also love the books-read list. I have tried to post photos on social media to keep a record of books read and share with my book-reading friends, but am lazy about it. I can totally add this to my bullet journal! Thanks for the idea!

    It was helpful for me to think about this because it wasn’t the “best” year ever, if you know what I mean. (I mean, there were struggles.)

    But, here are some thoughts on what worked for me in 2017:
    1) I quit my job. I had been planning on returning to grad school to get my PhD “someday” but didn’t quite feel “ready” as I really feel passionately about the work I was doing. But, I took the leap to apply, was accepted, and after a gut wrenching decision process, quit my job to go back to school full time. It wasn’t until after I had not been working for a few weeks that I realized how much compassion fatigue and anxiety my work was creating for me. Making this change resulted in a dramatic quality of life improvement, almost immediately. And, I’m loving school. Amazing.

    2) The Pomodoro method. Basically a way to increase productivity. Set a timer. Work 25 minutes. 5 minute break doing something very different from whatever work you are doing. Work 25 minutes. 5 min break. Repeat, repeat. Every 4 cycles, take a longer break. Being a full time student means being your own boss with the added bonus of knowing that your work will eventually, but not right away, be evaluated. A recipe for procrastination. I started this mid-way through the semester, mostly for increasing productivity with academic writing – and amazingly, setting a goal of completing 4 pomodoro sessions per morning, right after coffee, seems to be the best way for me to make consistent writing progress.

    3) Along the lines of #2, to stay on track, every night, I write my to-do list for the next day. It helps provide focus, reminds me to start out with those 4 pomodoro sessions in the morning, and keeps me moving forward beyond that. And, I get to check the boxes when I’m done! I love that part!

    4) Asking for what I want. I learned that sometimes, even when it feels hard, I should just ask for what I want. I did this a few weeks ago: despite being embarrassed about wanting this (for totally no rational reason), I finally managed to eek out that I wanted bookshelves in the living room and just a few days later, hubby had built and I had stained and finished new bookshelves for the living room. Now, mind you, this was a bit of a compromise for us – in addition to having the bookshelves, I also wanted to NOT have a TV. He did. We compromised. (Who knew marriage involved so much compromise? And, that compromise is sometimes quite gratifying!) I don’t know why it was so hard to ask for the bookshelves, but I finally did it after a year of wanting them, and it worked. Amazing. I love my new bookshelves!

    5) Planning a physically active outdoor challenge for my birthday. I hate celebrating my birthday, which is a week before Christmas. (I have no qualms, however, with getting older. It’s more about a dislike of being center-of-attention and a traumatic event in my childhood in which no one showed up for my birthday party… anyhoo.) I totally solved this problem this year by creating a challenge for my birthday that involved walking all the trails in the state park near my house! It was awesome. 5 hours in the woods. Peaceful. Physical. Cathartic. Great weather. Sunshine. Movement. And, totally a great excuse to avoid the pressure of a party. I will definitely plan a new challenge/adventure for my birthday again next year!

    I should start my old blog up again. Ha! Sorry for the long post, but, thank you for stimulating the conversation! I’d love to read others’ as well!

    • I love reading all of these! I have never heard of the Pomodoro method. That sounds like something I should do on my work (outside the home) days. I tend to meet with clients then purpose to do some reading for work, but “check email” (and Facebook and instagram) instead. And then there goes my time between meetings. I need to try this! And I am a box-checker too. Maybe a checklist on my days with clients would be helpful… I can chip away at the reading I always means to do… Okay I love that idea.

      And I love your birthday idea! Sounds perfect for you. I love finding a solution that is just the right fit- this works in so many ways.

      Thanks for writing all of this out! This is gold:)

  2. Pingback: What Worked for Me in 2018 | Ye Old College Try

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