Portugal Portrait

Wow, 2015. You were quite the year. I apologize for being so absent the past couple of months. Between the return to the U.S. (and reality) after living the ultimate wanderlust life for 3 months, moving my belongings and life 1200 miles across the country for a more permanent stay, and the passing of 2 loved family members as well, I left little time and energy for this blog.

But, I’m back! And ready to indulge myself in the clichés of New Year’s resolutions.

Although the flipping of your calendar to a new month is certainly not something new and profound, the psychological feeling of turning to that that fresh page can be quite inspiring. 2015 meant the fulfillment of a lot of my dreams, but it also included things I’m ready to leave in 2015. The ringing in of the New Year has brought to mind many big-picture things I would like to work on. I’m not hoping for a complete 180, where I become an entirely different person; I merely want to improve upon myself. Mostly, that entails fulfilling goals I’ve had for a long time, just never really approached the right way, thus have never really been able to achieve.

I know you’re more than familiar with the wise words of Mr. Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” I’m certainly not pleading insanity, but I do feel a bit nutty for not learning from my failed attempts; with the arrival of 2016 I have finally realized that in order to truly fulfill my big goals, I need to look at them from a different perspective.

I’m going to skip the naming and specific details of my resolutions. Instead, I am going straight into sharing with you some of the tools/tips I will be using along the way, in the hopes that you too can use some of these strategies to meet those monumental goals of your own.

Portugal Countryside

#1. The Power of Now book

Per a good friend’s request, I have ordered this book and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. It is all about learning to live in the present. Obviously, I am all about setting long-term goals, and having things to look forward to – I think those things are vital to a happy, healthy life. However, I feel many of us look too much to the future and don’t focus on appreciating what we have right here, right now. I know I am very guilty of this and am really hoping this book will help me better treasure the small parts of daily life.

You can order it here: The Power of Now

#2.   Go outside

Even if it’s just for a 10 minute walk, the movement and fresh air will revive your soul.

#3. Step away from the phone

I am just as guilty as the rest of you for relying upon my cell phone. What do I do when I wake up? I look at my phone. What do I do when I’m sitting at a traffic light (even if it’s for 5 seconds)? I look at my phone. What do I do when I haven’t looked at my phone for 5 minutes? I look at my phone. It’s a nasty habit, it’s rude, and only about 1 in 1,000,000 times I look at my phone is there actually something that I need to immediately respond to.

#4. Friends, family and lovers

Don’t get too wrapped up in improving yourself that you let your relationships drop to the wayside. Rather than just texting a friend to see how s/he is doing and converse that way, set up a tea or coffee date to catch up and really engage in his/her life. Find a time in your schedule to set up a regular weekly (or more often) Skype session with your parents to let them know you’re alive and well and to make sure they are too! And don’t forget about your boyfriend/girlfriend. Date nights at home or out on the town should happen regularly. He/she will be excited to see and hear about your self-improvements and may have some of his/her own to share with you.

#5. Take time to reflect

If you’re feeling upset about something, why are you upset? Is it really as big of a deal as you are making it out to be? Would someone else not in your shoes think it okay for you to feel upset? If so, what can you do to change whatever it is that made you upset? Rather than just accepting bad things as they come, try to look at them in a different light and learn from them in some way.

On the flip side, if you’re feeling happy about something, why are you happy? What did you do to get to this point? What can you do to get to make this happiness more of a habit? Start trying to practice those actions regularly, starting with giving yourself a high-five. Be sure to credit yourself for your achievements – you’ve got to remember to always love you.

If you have any other tips to help stay on track with goals, please share – I would love to hear them.

Cheers to a new year and being the best you possible!

Above the Mountains in Phoenix

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  • Reply Faye January 7, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Happy New Year Leslie <3 Love this post and miss you a lot!

    • Reply Leslie Hughes January 7, 2016 at 2:53 am

      Thank you so much, Faye! Miss you like crazy <3

  • Reply Dee January 7, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Thanks for your tips for the New Year. I agree. All were good reminders. I already pulled out my Power of Now book to re-read it. XO

    • Reply Leslie Hughes January 7, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      Oh you’ve already read it?! I’m so excited to delve into it. xo

  • Reply Dianne Peterson January 7, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I love this blog! Thank you for posting. The Power of Now is a great book! Maybe before you settle down too much, you may consider walking the El Camino de Santiago trail through Spain. You will learn so much about the Now and also get some fresh air and exercise. A LOT OF FRESH AIR AND EXERCISE! Whatever you do over the next year, buen camino! BTW … beautiful photos of you!!!

    • Reply Leslie Hughes January 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Dianne! El Camino is definitely on my list of things to do! We were over in Santiago this summer, but just didn’t have the time to do the trail. Santiago is such a magical place – so inspiring. Can’t wait to go back and really get into El Camino. And I will be coming to you with questions, since I hear you are a well-traveled Camino shell-bearer 🙂 xo

  • Reply Hanna January 7, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Leslie! I love this post so much! I wish I got to have coffee date with you😘Happy new year!😍

    • Reply Leslie Hughes January 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Oh Hana! It would be the best thing in the world if I could have coffee with you! Miss you so much. So much love to you and your family. xoxo

  • Reply Tawney January 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    loving this. just what i needed. usually new years are a great time for me to hop into a load of goals, but this turning of the calendar left a lot to be desired. i had no urge to start fresh, seemingly in a ‘rut’. im considering my new years the time when i too, get back to the states and into a home of sorts.

    the power of now is a great read. i need more reminders of how to live my life like that every day. thanks for sharing these timely and inspiring words, and your lovely photos as always <3

    now let's set up a skype!

    • Reply Leslie Hughes January 7, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      I think often times New Years brings stress of trying to become a “new” self – but so much better instead to just improve yourself, which is often difficult when you have so many unknowns ahead of you. However, I know this “rut” of yours will be short-lived, because you are just too amazing to make it permanent 🙂

      And yes, Google vid hangout ASAP. Love love.

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