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  • Writer's pictureTarah Cantrell

Why I'm Choosing 19 Resolutions Instead of Just One

Updated: Mar 3, 2019

I've resolved never to take bathroom selfies again... J/K!

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin is not my favorite book. At the time that I read it, I was knee-deep in my own personal teaching woes. The concept was interesting because who isn't interested in sociological study and what it means to be "happy"?

But the author's voice came across as a whiny, self-indulgent adult baby who would not have been able to recognize her own privilege if it slapped her in the face. So imagine my disappointment when my sister-in-law asked me to listen to Rubin's podcast Happier and come up with not just one resolution for 2019 but 19 (!) different resolutions. I have always started off a new year with good intentions but somehow can never make resolutions work past the first hurdle, which is usually my birthday in February where I go a bit nuts and decide the experiment has failed spectacularly.

I told my sister-in-law that I would at least look into it, and to her credit Gretchen Rubin's real-life voice is much more palatable to listen to than it was to read. Even better, she convinced me that coming up with 19 resolutions for 2019 could be a really great way to trick my mindset into actually staying the course and turning this list into actual, workable goals and habits.

There are a couple of reasons why I think this system could actually work, but I'll get to those at the end of this post. First, here is my list of 19 things I'd like to accomplish by the end of 2019, in no particular order of importance.


1. Begin Posting Consistently to this Blog

I've started blogs in the past, but I quickly stop posting them, typically because they fall to the bottom of my priorities list. I'm hoping that, by including this task here, I'll keep posting.

2. Start a YouTube Channel

Just like this website, I've bounced ideas around in the past, but maintaining Lost In The Pond has increasingly become a two person job, so starting a YouTube channel has been on the back burner for over a year now. It's time to bring this idea forward and start creating!

3. Go to the Renaissance Festival of Maryland

It has been a really long time since I've seen my friends from college. One of my college roommates, whose podcast is hilarious by the way, has been asking me to visit and go to her local Renn Fest for the last couple of years. So here it is in writing, Paula. I'll be there!

4. Grow My List of Clients for My Business To At Least 20

Wouldn't it be great if my business partner and I could make lots of small businesses grow their online following and convert them into customers? I hope to grow my clientele to 20 so that I can help even more small businesses gain success online.

5. Publish Better Branding Bureau's Website

It's time to share my business with the world. By the end of the year, Better Branding Bureau will begin attracting new clients on the web via SEO and SMO solutions that we have already used with positive results.

6. Consistently Eat At Least 5 a Day

It wouldn't be a list of resolutions if I didn't at least try to eat a bit healthier. Rather than focusing on my weight or eliminating food groups out of my diet, which I have tried and failed to do in the past, I'm merely trying to think about fruit and vegetables first. If I can make it to 6 or more a day, even better!

7. Begin Exercising At Least 4 Times a Week

Exercising tends to be hardest for me when winter begins because my skin chaps pretty severely when the temperature gets below freezing. While it's not impossible to exercise in our tiny apartment, it gets harder and harder to find the motivation to continue waking and picking up the dumbbells as the days get shorter and shorter. I'm planning to continue to be active, even indoors during the winter, regularly from now on.

8. Grow My Own Instagram Following to 1,000

I helped Lost In The Pond do it; now it's Old Fashioned AF's turn!

9. Get a Massage At Least Once a Month

I generally get a massage maybe three times a year on average. They make me feel great, well-rested, and ready to take on any challenges I may have in the coming weeks. This is an investment in me, and I couldn't be more excited about it.

10. Begin Doing My Hair and Makeup At Least 5 Times a Week

When I was working as a teacher, my routine was basically set from Monday til Friday. I got up, brushed my teeth, did my makeup and hair, ate breakfast, and left for the day. This went on during the school year for at least the last few years. Unfortunately, working from home has helped me to fall out of my morning routine, and it's been pretty bad for my skin because wearing makeup everyday meant that I had to wash my face everyday. I've been suffering from sheer laziness when it comes to my own personal appearance the last few months, and it stops now. Back to wearing my face, higher self-respect, and fewer zits again.

11. Visit the UK At Least Once This Year

Every year we say we're going to, and every year we start saving, and every year something comes along to smash that savings into the ground. Not this year! The cards are finally starting to move in our favor financially, and we're going to take advantage of this to go and visit the UK this year. We might even get to Paris, too!

12. Move To a Larger Apartment

When we lived in Indianapolis, our apartment was spacious at 900 square feet. As a result, the last two years living in just under 450 square feet have been challenging to say the least. We've done it, but it's been hard, and now that I'm working from home full time we both need our own spaces to work and live. When our lease is up, it's time to move into something more reasonable for our lifestyle.

13. Maintain a $1,000 Emergency Fund Throughout the Year

As stated earlier, we've had a lot happen in the last 10 years, and I may go into some of those details in future posts. For now, my goal is to maintain an emergency fund of at least $1,000 so that we can still travel and live while continuing to pay down our debts. The plan is to keep $1,000 at minimum in our savings account and replenish the emergency fund as soon as possible whenever emergency strikes.

14. Sell My First Vintage Item

Over the last year, I have begun accumulating beautifully maintained vintage and reproduction clothing, accessories, and other items. Some of them fit, and I wear them all the time. Others don't, but they're still beautiful and should be loved by someone who will wear them. It would be amazing to see those items go to good homes where they'll be worn and appreciated.

15. Make My First Sims 4 Mesh

Before adulthood came calling, my first love was The Sims. I have played the game since its inception in 2000, and my love for it has only grown with each new release. I'd like to begin creating meshes with historic themes now that I have the technology to do so. Hopefully they'll be available for download on this website once I start creating them.

16. Consistently Practice and Post Sims 4 Recolors At Least Once Per Week

Of course, The Sims 4 already boasts a lot of amazing content, and since I'm only just getting my feet wet when it comes to making custom content, I'd like to post some of the recolors that I've created and continue improving.

17. Empty My Email Inbox

I have a tendency to become... distracted, shall we say? by bloggers, MeetUps, and online courses. A self-professed extrovert, I love meeting people and learning things. Unfortunately, email subscriptions keep my inbox cluttered and me from meeting my goals, so I'm using to get rid of them, one by one.

18. Make at Least One Dress

It's been a hot minute since I sewed anything besides the obligatory mending that never seems to end. As anyone who enjoys sewing can relate to, I have a box of unfinished projects under my bed just itching to be taken in hand, and I intend to finish at least one of these items--specifically, a dress.

19. Empty My Mending Bag

As I said, Laurence goes through socks more quickly than anyone I've ever met, and I'm a giant procrastinator when it comes to darning. This means my mending bag is forever full. While I never let it overflow, I never get to the bottom either. I'd like to make more of an effort to venture down into its depths so that the feeling of guilt doesn't creep in when I create other things.


Now that you've read the list, do you think I'll be able to do all these things? I have faith in myself because, unlike past resolutions, I'm actually excited to do everything. Though they range from highly ambitious (one Sims 4 recolor per week) to self care (all the massages!) to obligatory (damn that mending bag), I can't wait to see how I've progressed in July! For once, I'm looking past February and thinking about how best to incorporate each of these things into my life.

The other reason this list seems workable is because not all the resolutions are challenges. I mean, who doesn't love a massage? Sewing makes me feel calm, almost meditative, so it's exciting that I'll be doing it way more often this coming year. And Renn Fest? You may as well be saying 'Disneyland' instead. The inclusion of fun items will hopefully keep me on the right path.

Needless to say, a lot of these items are labors of love, and a few will be very challenging. But only a few. The rest will be things that I was always hoping to do anyway or have been putting off far too long, and it takes the pressure off in a way that my own past resolutions never did, either because they were too ambitious or did not align with my larger goals. Thankfully, Rubin has created a path toward goal setting that reaches past vague wishes for health or fitness and empowers us to create resolutions that align with actual, real life.

What's your #19for2019?


Want to learn more about Happier? You can listen to her podcast on #19for2019 here.

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