16 Things I am (Re-)Dedicating Myself to in 2016

2015 was a whopping big year for me, but it felt more like a transformation into adulthood than anything else. It was the end of childhood, school, and the beginning of "the rest of my life."

And so, with grades and summer vacations and internships melted away like a lingering snowdrift come April, I am finding new ways to move forward in meaningful ways in my adulthood, and set my own priorities and goals that do not revolve around my schedule as a student.

Here are sixteen things I am planning on dedicating, or re-dedicating, myself to in 2016.

1 - Knowing myself and forging my own path. In general, I pretty much know who I am, and that's lead me to be very confident and self-assured in most situations. I know what kinds of happiness matter most to me, and I have my priorities and needs mostly figured out. But that's also predicated fairly heavily on the routine set in me over the course of sixteen years of school, and being a kid. As I enter "real life" I am finding myself in more and more novel situations and my priorities have shifted to match the new concerns I have in my life (like bills), so I have to once again rededicate myself to continuously learning, negotiating, and experimenting with myself.

2 - Building healthy routines. There are a lot of things that honestly should probably be more routine by now, like taking my vitamins, dry brushing, flossing twice a day, etc. that really aren't routine for me yet. I think a lot about the amount of brain power I waste each day on this stuff, and how many opportunities I miss to make a healthy choice, and it really sucks! I want to suck less! Maybe I'll even get into that Miracle Morning routine that Mia is constantly raving about.

3 - Keeping up with doctor's appointments. Okay, you might be thinking, 'Harper, you complain about being at the doctor's office again with something or other like eight times a year, what the hell do you mean you aren't keeping up with doctor's appointments?' Well, let me tell you. When I get sick, I go to the doctor, because usually my big concerns are feeling terrible and not wanting to miss work. But, when I'm not feeling terrible, and I'd actually have to miss work to see a doctor, I typically forgo the hassle. I had my first dentist appointment in three years just before Thanksgiving. I used to rely on my mother to set up my yearly check-ups, and when she stopped, I just didn't make these things a priority. I have to take responsibility for these things.

4 - Organizing my life. This year, I've begun keeping a bullet journal-- a type of super flexible planner/journaling system that Mia told me about (if you don't already follow her you should-- we constantly share recommendations for great stuff). I'm trying to be more on top of my things than ever, and that even means planning and organizing for things in a far-off future now that I'm unbounded by academic years. I'll be posting about my bullet journaling here, as well as on instagram and youtube, so be sure to follow and subscribe.

5 - Getting fit. I decided that I am going to run the Disney Princess 10k in 2018. The problem is that I'm at level 0 when it comes to fitness. That's a problem I am hoping to overcome in the two years between then and now. I am absolutely sedentary and I have never really been in shape-- I've always been unathletic even when I was regularly active. While I don't think I'll ever become an athlete, I do want to put priority on becoming healthier, and more active. I don't want this stretch of future that lays ahead of me to be a steady slide into my coffin. I've recruited some friends to join me in my goal of running this 10k. I'm honestly terrified with the sheer scale of what I'm setting out to do, but I am glad that I have a plan, support, and even if I end up only running the 5k, I'll still have accomplished a lot!

6 - Witchcraft. This is a word that carries a ton of strings for most people. Depending on your upbringing and what you're exposed to growing up you might think magic is evil or just generally in opposition to whatever god(s) you believe in. Honestly magic is just an umbrella term for the set of thought + action + belief that people use to find harmony and peace with the world and help bring things into it. Prayer and rituals affiliated with any religion (or even the superstitions an athlete might carry) can qualify as magic or witchcraft. I find the practice of witchcraft and magic really inspiring and comforting. Whether one believes fully in magic, or thinks its a pleasant and helpful placebo, or something in between, I think it's worth exploring. I'm very excited to establish rituals, affirmations, etc. that will help me (whether magically or not) to feel more secure, empowered, and at peace with the world.

7 - Planning meals. There's honestly no other way to follow up witchcraft than with something incredibly mundane. The fact of the matter is, I spend way too much money on food. I either buy food that ends up going bad before I get to it, or I don't buy enough food and end up ordering food or eating out. I have never really been a meal planner, and I think this is because I have some romanticized view of food where it's like this great experience that I get to have 3 times a day and I should make it awesome and kind of spontaneous as if I have the skill and resources to "whip something up." The cold hard truth is that I share a refrigerator with three other people, I am not a fantastically skilled or creative cook, and I get really impatient and wimpy when it comes to my own hunger. I'm trying to improve my ability to buy appropriate groceries and manage my expectations surrounding dinner by planning my meals.

8 - Spanish. I feel like every year, I make a loose statement that I'm going to start studying Spanish again. When I was a kid, I was pretty good, and was even in a program where we did have the school day in English, and half in Spanish, until I got moved into a separate program for kids who tested into an accelerated course of study. This year, I think I'm really going to do it, and the reason why is because I'm finally not studying a bunch of other things on a much more urgent (read: graded) basis. I can finally say that I have the free time, and I probably have fewer obligations in my life now than I will in the future. I want to take advantage of this. I want to finally feel like I can conjugate my damn verbs with confidence!

9 - Ukulele. I have a ukulele, but I don't practice with it regularly. I want to become better at it, and be able to serenade people when they are feeling blue. I've got little baby hands, so ukulele is the perfect instrument for me!

10 - Building a great wardrobe. I have a real job, and that means that I should really start investing in my adult wardrobe. I'm slowly trying to amass all the pieces I need in adulthood. I can't do it all at once, but I definitely think that I can continue on my fashion journey to build the quirky-cute, colorful wardrobe of my dreams. My aesthetic is like, Mindy Lahiri meets Ginger Breadhouse.

11 - Using natural body care products. I want to get more into using body products that feel wholesome, whether that means buying them from businesses like Lush or making them myself at home. Your skin pretty much "eats" whatever you put on it over time, so I would like to try to move towards using more products that haven't been over processed or filled with chemicals that I couldn't safely consume.

12 - Creating awesome content on the regular. I know I've been pretty MIA on the blog from time to time, what with all the transitioning-to-real-life I did. I want to make sure I put out at least one great blog post a week for you all, and one video a week out on Youtube!

13 - Creative writing. I haven't really done much creative writing in years! It kind of hurts to know that I've let those creative muscles atrophy. I used to win writing contests, but now I definitely feel my skills are very rusty. I want to work on writing some creative things, whether it's a novel or just doing some writing exercises.

14 - Reading. I want to read more. Don't get me wrong, I read a lot, but most of my reading is on the internet through think pieces etc. I want to read more actual books. I have a list going and I'm hoping to crack some long neglected spines I already own.

15 - Save money. I am really trying to nail this whole responsible adult thing, and that means getting better about saving my money for emergencies and for other things down the road. As a freshly-minted real-life-adult I have a lot more expenses than ever before, and I am trying to be as responsible as possible (despite my occasional toy collecting and penchant for fancy orange sodas).

16 - VoluntEARing. In my first month-and-a-half as an official Disney Employee, I've done 14 hours of voluntEARing for the community, working mostly to serve underprivileged and/or sick children. I love being able to work with kids through the magic of Disney, and I love the level of flexibility the VoluntEARS program affords me. Giving back to the community is very important to me, and I think it's also good for my mental health. I can fall into depression if I am not careful about how I take care of myself, and serving others gives me a sense of purpose and connectedness to others that also helps me to remember that I am important, and worth taking care of.

What are you dedicating or re-dedicating yourself to in 2016?


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