I know in this era of self-grace and simplification (both good things) resolutions are becoming less popular, but I’m still a sucker for the practice of January goal-setting – it brings a sort of purpose and hopefulness to what is otherwise a pretty dreary month. Here’s my 2022 look-ahead (and for the record, I think I’ve gone pretty easy on myself).

Drink tea before coffee.  I’m relishing my morning cup(s) of coffee more than ever as Isaac’s wee-hours wake-ups leave me extra sleepy at the start of the day, but my body doesn’t feel great when my a.m. hydration begins with coffee.  Cue healthy habit: a cup of green tea before a cup of coffee.  Get those antioxidants.  Ease into the caffeine kick.  And then savor that java!

Do three minutes of plank every day.  I’ve settled on walking as my preferred form of exercise, but my post-partum core could use a little extra focus.  I can’t (won’t!) commit to a big chunk of time to strength-train every day, but I can carve out just a few minutes to focus on my most-neglected muscles.  Three minutes doesn’t sound like much, but I did the math and if I keep it up, I’ll finish the year having done over 18 hours of planking!  That’s something.

Establish a simple weekly meal rotation to minimize planning / shopping / cooking effort.  As the end of my maternity leave and a return to the work-life balancing act looms on the horizon, I’m looking for ways to trim the fat from my weekly to-do’s so that I can spend more time enjoying the kids on evenings and weekends.  Meal planning and prep has always been one of my least-favorite time-takers, so I’m working on a handful of weekly menus that we can just put on repeat over and over.  I’ve got the framework nailed down (egg night, chicken night, etc) and am populating each category with 3-4 easy recipes.  So far, so good, though my favorite night of the week is still Friday – takeout night!

Limit time on Instagram to 20 min/day.  I’m still spending hours each day nursing and rocking Isaac, which gives me ample opportunities to get swept into the Instagram vortex.  There were times toward the end of last year when I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, somehow landing in Reese Witherspoon’s feed at 2am, or watching endless reels of monkeys feeding their little chimp babies – I could feel my mind atrophying.  So I purged my “follow” list at the beginning of the year and set a timer on the app – my phone locks me out of Instagram after 20 minutes of use each day.  I’m doing more reading, more journaling in my notes app, more crosswords. I’m already much happier for it.

Read at least two books with Shane and at least two books with Juliette.  I always set some sort of reading goal and decided this year to take a pass at combining reading with a new avenue for family connection.  We don’t necessarily have to read the books out loud to each other, but we’ll read them in parallel so that we can dish in the evenings on the characters.  Juliette’s calling it our “Mama-Jules Book Club” – we’re digging into Matilda this week.  Shane and I have both loaded A Gentleman in Moscow onto our Kindles and are looking forward to carving out some time to read/drink wine/discuss together.

Figure out what church and/or spiritual community looks like for us in 2022.  It’s hard to believe that we haven’t set foot in our church in nearly two years now. We consistently streamed the online services at the start of the pandemic, eager to stay connected as our physical interactions with just about everyone fell by the wayside, but at some point we stopped marking Sunday mornings for church.  We’d flip on the service if convenient, but if we wanted to get out for a walk or if Isaac needed a nap or if we were in the thick of our pancake breakfast, we just…let it slide.  Our church building is open again, but with Omicron and the baby and the extended commute due to the bridge closure, we haven’t been back.  And we’ve kind of fallen in love with our slow and easy Sunday mornings.  But I do miss singing in the company of others; I miss dropping off Juliette at Sunday school and then admiring whatever craft she’d cooked up under the guidance of her exceedingly kind teachers.  I miss the sacred rituals and the casual connections.  We’ve got some figuring out to do.

Now, ready, set, PLANK!