2011: resolutions and life list goals

by Grace Bonney

I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution type of gal. They always seem like a reminder of things I didn’t get done in any given year. But I really want 2011 to be different. I feel like 2010 went by way too quickly so this year I want to take a moment to really set some goals and do my best to achieve them. From personal to professional, they’re all here and I’m hoping that if I share them publicly it might even help me stick to them a little more ;)

Resolutions are different for everyone and I always find it so inspirational to hear what other people are trying to achieve. So if you’re up for sharing, I’d really love to hear what all of you are aiming for in 2011. Maybe we can all help each other stick to at least a few of our goals! xo, grace

1. Get my health in order. When it comes to physical activity I am literally one of the world’s laziest people. I feel like my body has the capacity to use either 100% brain power or 100% physical power. And 9 times out of 10 I choose to use the brain power. So sadly my health has pretty much fallen by the wayside over the last year of constant-couch working. So this year I’m committing to get moving in one way or another. I’m going to try a bunch of different workout programs and see what sticks. Hopefully something will. I think my couch cushions could use a break.

2. Learn to play a new musical instrument. This has been something I’ve been dying to do for a year now. Like most children I suffered through piano lessons as a child (man I hated them) and then finally settled on guitar, which I learned to play in earnest when I was around 13. I stopped playing a few years ago and have really missed both the discipline and fun that come from learning and practicing on a schedule. So this year I’m going to look into learning one of two things: banjo or mandolin. I’ve always wanted to play both so hopefully I can dive into one this year. If I’m bold I’ll share a little online recital at the end of the year ;)

UPDATE: I just booked my first mandolin lesson for next week!

3. Put friends and family first more often. I think a lot of people can identify with the downside of being self-employed: work is almost always first. Especially if you don’t have children, it’s so easy to fall down the slippery slope of “Why not work a few more hours?” So this year I’m going to make myself focus more time on checking in with family and spending more time with friends. I think it’s a win win — work gets more focused energy and my non-work life does, too.

4. Make time for special gifts. Little “just because” gifts have always sort of been my thing. I loved coming up with little things to make for AC when we were first dating and I miss having time to come up with things like that for him and everyone else who is special in my life. So this year I want to devote more of my time to reminding the people in my life how much they mean to me, whether it’s through a hand-written letter, lunch date, little gift or just a big hug.

5. Document real life more often. I’ve flat out forgotten to take pictures of most things that have happened in my personal life over the past few years. Other than our wedding photos I haven’t taken real photos of me, AC, our families or our friends in ages. I kept a few dozen on my phone, which I lost in a cab before Christmas, so now I’m without those visual reminders. So this year I want to be better about taking pictures and actually saving them somewhere they won’t be lost. It’s hard to top a great memory, but it’s nice to have something to actually look back on, too.

CLICK HERE for my last 6 New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 after the jump

6. Make my home a priority. I’m gonna keep it real: I am a classic case of “The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” My house has turned into a college dorm lately: last night’s dishes in the living room, empty drink bottles and piles of books and work that seem to never end. So it’s time for me to get my act together and address the clutter and lack of organization at home. My first solution was to move and run away from everything but this time we’re going to commit to coming up with a plan for dealing with clutter, trash and work “pile ups” in advance. Here’s hoping . . .

7. Visit old friends. I was never someone who had a lot of friends growing up. I was quiet, borderline anti-social and pretty overly concerned with what other people would think about me. Thankfully a small handful of people stuck it out with me until I got over most of that and they’re now more like family to me than friends. I am always making plans to visit them but rarely get the chance to actually follow through. But no more. I’m so thankful to have friends that go back that far in my life and this year I’m going to be a better friend to them — no excuses. They deserve to be a bigger priority in my life and I’m going to do my best to make that happen.

8. Be scared — and brave — more often. I haven’t been truly scared of anything in my life since our honeymoon. No, nothing related to the marriage part, but I was terrified of all the seriously scary things we did in Montana, like rappelling down a huge cliff and freezing white water rafting. I dove into them with both feet and was really proud that I gave it my all. I need to do more of that this year. Much more. It’s a great reminder than life happens outside of this laptop, too.

9. Rediscover my mission. When I started D*S my goals were very small and very simple. Over the years I’d set short term goals for the site and was very fortunate to achieve them. But now the site has grown and changed beyond what I could have ever imagined. Over the next few months, I plan on really taking a step back and evaluating how we can best serve our readers’ needs, the community’s needs and our own creative interests. I’m really excited about this goal and discovering new passions and projects to pursue with D*S this year.

10. Remember the happy. Bloggers, you know how this feels: You have a great day, hear from nice people and then get slapped with one doozy of a mean comment. I’ve gotten pretty good at letting them roll of my back, but sometimes I can slip into that place where I forget to really absorb the happy comments, too. I’m going to work harder this year to really soak in the kind things people say as much as I soak in the negative things. Both are valuable feedback and I shouldn’t let the ones that can hurt a bit drown out the ones that don’t.

*Bonus goal: Be more social! I still have to fight my inner-loner on a regular basis. I’m a pretty naturally happy and talkative person, but I’m not very social. I don’t mind talking once I’m already in a situation, but convincing me to leave my apartment and meet new people can be tough. But I’m going to do my best to get out there more and meet people beyond their Twitter handles.

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  • i’m not a resolution gal either, but it is a good time to
    reflect and think of where you want to focus your energies in the
    year ahead. your list is inspiring, grace.. i hope you see many
    checkmarks beside it soon. and if not, i’m sure you’ll still enjoy
    the ride. happy new year!

  • Try the workouts on Exercisetv.com! There are tons you can
    stream for free and the variety makes working out fun. It’s totally
    revamped my exercise regime. Good luck! I, too, want to learn an
    instrument. I’m thinking of taking up piano again, or getting
    serious about my ukulele.

  • These are all great resolutions- many of which I have been
    thinking about myself and all of which I can identify with! Who
    would have thought that the wonderful world of blogging could bring
    us to this place where we are all in such a rush to create in time
    for the next day’s post. One of my biggest goals this year is to
    slow down. Maybe it will kill my blog… or perhaps the content
    will rise up to the level I know I am capable of if I were not in
    such a rush! Happy New Year to you!

  • I really enjoyed reading your list – I have to say that the
    one that resonates most with me is being scared (and brave) more
    often – it’s so easy to fall into the trap of routine!

  • Thank you for sharing your resolutions and life list goals,
    this has inspired me to do something similar. You’ve also given me
    the hope & belief that my hard work (in my blog) will pay
    off, possibly more than I can imagine. Thank you & keep
    doing what you do, you’re an inspiration to us all! Happy new

  • What a great list! Concerning being more social, one nice
    thing to try is to meet in person someone you have gotten to “know”
    online, not for dating purposes, but as a friend or business

  • I love your resolutions – they are real. AND don’t ever
    worry about what people think – good or bad – only what your heart

  • I too was very anti-social as a kid and still need to fight
    that tendency in me to be alone far too much, so I’m with you on
    that one :) Good luck with the organizing as well, as the one messy
    member of my family I feel your pain.

  • These are great goals, Grace–I relate to the “Laptop Cave”
    & getting out & mingling. Being a year-old blogger
    has made me see that if I’m not careful, I could fall deeper into
    that cave! & it’s not exactly healthy, right? :) Here’s to
    being social bloggerflies!

  • This is cute, I really like these! It sounds like you’ve
    made challenging but doable goals for yourself, which is key. I’m
    still thinking through mine…I’m a weird combination of
    detail-oriented perfectionist and ADD artist (although I’m growing
    to own/love these competing traits because they make me me!) and
    sometimes resolutions I make can get overblown and out of my grasp.
    This year I’m toying with the idea of setting monthly goals instead
    of yearly ones, maybe even breaking them down into smaller weekly
    goals. We’ll see how it goes; hopefully it will help me achieve
    tangible results! I also want to make a list of all the good things
    that happened in 2010 :)

  • I like to keep my New Years “goals” short, sweet, and
    doable (one year my only goal was to sweep my apartment on New
    Years Day and was done!). This year I’d like to save my change in a
    large mason jar to cash in on 12/31/11. That money will buy
    something fun I hope. My other goal is to make a fable quilt- a
    quilt with plants and animals on it. This will be a big one
    considering I’ve never made a quilt! Best of luck and happy
    positive thoughts going your way for the New Year! Thanks

  • This post was so sweet and honest! I wish you the best with
    your 2011 goals! I am going to work in my dream career, in any way
    I can, even if it’s just to blog about it :) Happy 2011!

  • I love these! A lot of them are my own from last year or
    ones that I’d like to incorporate somehow this year. I’m not much
    of a resolutions girl either, but I do like setting goals and
    intentions, and January really is a great time to do it!

  • My number one goal this year is to treat every day like
    it’s January 1st. If I decide I want to commit to a little bit of
    yoga every day (another goal!) whether it be meditation, a few sun
    salutations, breathing exercises, practicing at home, or making it
    to the studio, I want to come into it with the vigor of a new year
    and a fresh start, regardless of when it is or how many times I’ve
    lost my resolve in the past. Also: eat more vegetables in

  • Beautifully written! I personally think that you can pop
    all those nasty comments in a box, and this time next year throw a
    fire cracker at it, let it explode and we can all have a party to
    celebrate. For by then you will be happy and healthy, fitter, more
    social, positive, full of sweet love gifts, full of memories of all
    your brave moments, super talented on a musical instrument (or at
    least super proud that you tried!), comfy at home (with no dishes
    to do), an album full memories and snap shots of the year that was
    2011, and most of all, so totally loved by your family, friends and
    all of us loyal supporters scattered throughout the globe. Have a
    wonderful year Grace!

  • This was great! I love all your resolutions. I love Design
    sponge too. Thank you for this great site and for sharing your
    innermost wishes and hopes for the new year whatever your name is!
    Im hoping to submit my daughters house to D.S. soon. Its a cutie!
    Thanks ofr listening and have a great new year!

  • Great list, Grace! I really relate to “remember the happy”, and the way you described learning a new musical instrument is the same reason I want to learn a new language- Italian and German are the main contenders.
    Happy 2011!

  • This list has so many lovely ideas on it. I’m going to try to invite more people over this year. It’s a great way to meet with friends (and keep your house clean)!

  • These are great goals and I can relate to quite a few of them.

    I was especially tickled at #6 because I am guilty of that myself. This past weekend I decided to tackle my horribly cluttered studio and went on an unprecedented pitching and organization frenzy. I was pretty happy with the results and now my mind feels clearer with a cleaner space.

    My other resolution includes actually hanging up my artwork. It’s ironic that I’m an artist and so many of my walls are bare. Instead, most of my paintings are propped up against the wall to show off my “good intentions” but this is the year I will follow through and dress those naked walls!

    I also want to make my art business plow ahead by making some decisive business decisions like setting up a sole proprietorship and getting my stuff out in the public eye (instead of internet land) by doing my own solo show and participating in the Brooklyn Flea.

    Happy New Year!

  • This was a wonderful list! I see a reoccurring theme of spending more time with living and breathing people and less time staring a screen. I can relate. I wasn’t planning on making a new years resolution or a list of goals, but I think you may have just changed my mind : )


  • I’m with you on the not be a resolutions person, but I too wrote some out this year! My #1 is to pay off my students loans, not so thrilling but certainly necessary to move on to other more exciting goals like traveling more and buying a home!

    Here’s to a productive year!

  • I’m not usually one for resolutions, but I absolutely LOVE all of these! Thank you for sharing and your blog IS wonderful amazing and always such a joy to read! :) xo

  • Your resolutions are the most thought-out and detailed that
    I’ve probably ever seen. I’m thinking you’ve got a really fair shot
    at completely many, if not all, of them; good luck! My main goal,
    right now, is to develop my new blog to it’s full potential. I’d
    also like to finish editing my book and send it out to publishers.
    The third that I’ve written down so far is to find a school for
    myself. Learning how to meditate is edging it’s way on that list as
    well as reading as much as possible. I’m such a bookworm and feel
    something missing when I don’t read more. Okay, I feel as though
    I’ve already said too much, ha! Good luck to everyone’s resolution.
    Here’s to 2011 being a fantastic year!

  • I love your honest and fresh take on resolutions, you
    inspire me to make my own (I am at home freelance so much of yours
    rang true!) Good luck in 2011, Grace! Julia Denos

  • You have a great list! I too find inspiration in reading
    others’ goals. I kept my new year goals super short/simple this
    year so I will be able to stick to them: 1. Yoga 2x a week 2.Write
    on my calendar each day (I made the one you featured here – with
    the vintage postcards and LOVE it) 3. NO snacks (for me) after the
    kids are in bed!! :)

  • Grace, your list for this year perfectly sums up everything I should do as well. Everything you describe me (from past experiences to present day issues).

    Perhaps I could “borrow” your resolution list and use it as my own?

    • it’s so fun to read all your resolutions, guys! thanks for sharing yours- i’ve already read a few that remind me of things i missed in mine. here’s to all of us making a good dent in our list :)


  • We have similar goals for 2011!My health and phsyical fitness are definitely up there. I have resolved to eat more fruits and veggies, to workout (even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes) every day for at least 28 days straight, and to hopefully do another triathlon (I did one a couple of years ago when I was in shape).

    I also have a goal of FINALLY learning guitar. I’ve owned one for years and never properly learned it. Fortunately, I live in Austin and there are lots of studios that offer lessons.

    To save more money! We are hoping to be home owners in a couple of years, so we’re starting a fresh savings account for that and we have vowed to become more responsible with our finances.

    Finally, to make more memories with my husband. As much as I love cuddling up on the couch for movies, I want us to actually get up and try new things. Like checking out a new museum exibit or cramming ourselves in the kitchen to (attempt to) create a fabulous dinner.

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve read that if you make your goals known to others that you are more likely to stick with them :-)

  • I *heart* your list…as a self-employed maven, I can absolutely relate!!!! Best wishes to achieving your goals in 2011, and I will continue to stalk d*s. xoxo

  • Thank you for being so open, Grace. It’s encouraging to see a glimpse into the more human side of someone whose life work is to continually offer inspiration to others… I think a few of us might be tempted to believe that you are perfect!

    I just posted my resolutions last night, but your 4, 5, and 10 especially remind me of my own growing edges too.

  • Grace – this was a truly lovely read…it’s inspiring for
    its thoughtfulness while also touching my heart with it’s honesty
    (dishes in sink & no physical movement =me). Thanks for
    this :)

  • This is a great list. It almost reflects on everything I
    want to do this year. Thanks for the bit of inspiration!

  • I love this post, grace! But esp. this part “I’m going to
    work harder this year to really soak in the kind things people say
    as much as I soak in the negative things.” This rings true in
    life…My resolution for 2011 is to be a healthier version of
    myself, mind and body.

  • I hear you Grace. Well said and all amazing goals to have.
    I’m particularly with you on taking more photos – I don’t think
    I’ve taken a candid shot in 6 months, only vacation photos.
    Although it’s not a resolution, last November I started standing
    working for at least a few hours every day – I can’t tell you the
    difference it’s made to my hip flexors.

  • Thank you for sharing your list. Many of the items are very
    inspiration and motivational to me as well. As a law student, I
    really do not have enough quality time with the ones I love. This
    year I’m committing to sit down dinners with my boyfriend each
    week. I miss the quality time together and have to be more
    proactive about carving it out of our crazy hectic

  • There’s just something about that pesky word “resolution”, it kind of has that gloom & doom music that comes along with it. For the past couple of years I have dropped the word resolution, and simply called them goals. There’s something less threatening in that word. :-)

    I create personal and business goals and then my husband and I create goals of things we would like to accomplish together. It gives us some one-on-one time to just dream together. This year we have decided to learn French. I’m so excited about it!

    Thanks for sharing your goals, it’s always nice to see a personal glimpse of our favorite blogging queen! :-)

  • I love your list and I hope that your life finds the balance that you are looking for (note that the list is mainly about you and not d*s, though they are of course integral)! My niece has been referring to revolutions instead of resolutions… which seems all to accurate sometimes. Embrace change. :)

  • Hey Grace: As part of your new socializing resolution…how
    about mentoring a newbie to the blogosphere!! I am game if you are.
    I am looking to launch an organizing site in the first quarter of
    this year. Let me know Vicki

  • Hi Grace,
    I really enjoy your blog, and just wanted to say I love your resolutions! My intentions for the new year are to have more compassion for myself, trust my intuition more, and spend more time doing the things that feed my soul (cooking + yoga). Here’s to dreams coming true in 2011 :)

  • (glad you’re going to take in all of the pats on the back. what you’ve created is amazing, but your personality and how you handle yourself are what really make you stand out, i think!)

    i love your goal of documenting life more often. being a food blogger, i’ve gotten into the bad habit of shooting food when i entertain and not the people which is horrible!

    my key resolution is to stay in the moment, as airy as that sounds. this is a scary and exciting time for me and i don’t want to plow through it. i want to experience it while i can!

  • AMEN! Thank you for this. I’m so much of an inner-loner too
    and your resolutions and honesty has inspired me to get out of my
    box, let every person know how much they mean to me and be
    fearless. I love everything on this site. Thank you for being such
    a great inspiration :)

  • Grace –

    Reading this post I felt wonderfully encouraged. I am daily so impressed with the D*S and it’s easy to imagine that anyone who can produce such great work must have a perfectly clean home and plenty of time to make little gifts for her husband.

    I struggle with keeping up with my life simply juggling my job and my little Etsy shop. Thank you for putting 2011 into perspective and reminding me that even the most talented of artists also have real world challenges.

    May you see your goals reached this year and onward!

    Now to go wash the dishes…

  • I think I am going to steal “remember the happy” goal. It is so easy to forget, yet so powerful! Happy new year!

  • While reading your post I was actually worried that you were reading my mind! If I had posted my resolutions list this year it would be exactly the same (well almost..I am trying my hand at piano, but my guitar playing hubby is going for the mandolin). I love your blog and will continue to be a loyal reader indefinitely:)

  • Great list – I normally just go here for design stuff but I
    LOVE the personal touch. These give me ideas for my own resolutions
    (which are still WIP, as I’m a bit of a procrastinator…): be
    scared more often, and remember the happy (relevant in any
    profession!). Happy new year and I wish you the best of luck and
    strength in sticking to these laudable resolutions!

  • Could have been written by me : )
    (except for maybe the banjo – I’d want to learn to play the guitar)> Hopefully you’ll manage to keep a few of these good resolutions and I’ll try to do the same :p

  • Congragulations on this blog, it has helped me be more creative, especially some of your DIY projects!
    Some of your goals could actually fit into my list, I like that they are both realistic and insired!
    Have a great year!

  • I have a suggestion for Resolution # 5-you can document your life using Becky Higgins 365 Project-beckyhiggins.com. You can order it from Amazon and it includes everything you need to document your life. It is simple and stress-free. Also check out aliedwards.com. Ali’s 1/1/11 post is how she will document 2011. Others suggests to take a picture of you/family every month and have everyone in your familly participate. I hope this helps to get one Resolution checked off your list!
    P.S. I love your site-keep up the good work!

  • inspiring, thoughtful resolutions…I have yet to make mine, gah! Thank you for giving me a little nudge with your list:) Good luck on each & every one!

  • Great goals! I wish you the best in 2011. I posted about my goals yesterday, and they’re similar to yours: My health, my home, and my creative life.

  • Uh, Grace, are we the same person?!

    Every single thing on this list perfectly encapsulates all of my unarticulated goals for 2011 – thanks for writing it all down! :)

  • This is such a great list, and one I can really identify with. I work from home as well, and I swear you can see the indent on my couch where I plant myself everyday.

    I have to take better care of myself, and there is some comfort in knowing I’m not the only one wasting away on furniture. Sad, no?

  • I’m all too guilty of #1 as well, and lately it seems our home has fallen into the ‘dorm’ feel. So glad to know I’m not the only one. 2011 is our year!

  • Don’t be social, you are perfect just the way you are. It’s not a ”aww cute” comment, I really mean it.

    Love from istanbul.

  • It sounds like we’re all on the same page, because as I read these I thought “me too!” for almost every one. My vote is for mandolin; banjos are just so darn heavy. ;) Cheers to a fun, organized and friend-filled New year!

  • GIRL! I to move as little as possible! I’m on the computer working all the time and drink a million Diet Cokes a day, lately I’ve replaced DC with water, and started working out for a measly 1/2 hour and my energy level is UNBELIEVABLE! Don’t overwhelm yourself with a crazy workout routine.. just try to do a little something more!

  • Grace – I am going to add a few of yours to my list, esp those involving cherishing old friends and showing it more often in varied ways! Also – will you be sharing some of daily life photos? I do not think I am alone when I admit I would like to see them! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Love your bonus goal:) You said it perfectly and I’m the exact same way. One of my other goals this year involves more networking and moving towards self-employment, so I definitely need to work towards putting myself into those social situations even when my inner-loner is telling me I’d be much happier having a cup of tea, working on a new piece, while watching a movie…..!

  • I agree with Ashley, don’t get intimidated by a workout routine. Go for a walk. It’s easy, it’s not a shock to your system, and you can do it throughout the day. I go in the morning with my dog to begin my day, and again about 3 in the afternoon to rejuvenate for the rest of the day.

  • Two things: 1) Learn mandolin. Few things are as elegant and lovely as a woman playing mandolin. Autoharp is wonderfully graceful, too. 2) I keep a folder where I store the positive comments and emails that really helped me on a bad day. I call it the “positivity folder.” Never fails to make me feel renewed.

  • Excellent list, Grace! I recently read the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin and it’s inspired me to make resolutions and stick to them this year by tackling one resolution per month. Such an excellent way to break things down to make sure they are not overwhelming!

  • I’m so baffled at how broken people can find a way to be nasty no matter what the subject at hand . You say, “Pretty stuff! Yay!” and they’re like, “You’re fat.”

  • Just lovely. From one hang-back-and-watch-kid to another, I can attest to the fact that I’ve had to learn how to make/maintain friendships later in life than most. It’s an on-going process, but one that brings a lot of joy : ). Best of luck to you.

  • i have so many of the same goals…i feel like alot of people are focusing on health, happiness, friendship, adventure…i just want to be better at all of those…and just live a fuller life…i feel like i’ve had me nose in blogs following others success and while that is great inspiration a year went by with out a ton of progress on my own. it’s time to look up from the screen now and then and make my life what i always dream about. thanks so much for sharing…it’s nice to see someone who has accomplished so much and realize we all want to the same basic things no matter what rung on the ladder we are starting from! excited for the book and any new blog things this year!!! your blog motivates me to keep on planning my business and working on my craft!!! thanks grace! (and the whole team)

  • I enjoyed reading your list, but was surprised to find that as a blogger you’re somewhat anti-social. I’ve been working on my own blog for a year, and I thought my biggest issue with it’s lack of success is my shyness. So, it was motivating to read your list and realize that maybe that’s not the problem at all. So, for 2011, my resolution is to keep at it some more while still working on my anti-social tendencies. Happy New Year!

  • I’m in total agreement about resolutions. It’s better to make some life goals. Mine for 2011 is to simplify things. Less plans, less purchases, saying no, more relaxing.

  • I totally relate to your bonus resolution. Thank you for sharing it, because now I know that someone I look up to has some of the same issues I have. And that means we can both overcome it, right? I’ll add it to my resolutions, too.

  • I like your 5th goal about documenting life. I have been working on a project called 365. Where I take photos every day for a year and at the end of the day I choose one that reminds me of a specific moment from that day. After the year is up I am going to turn it into a book. It’s a lot of fun, and it gets me to take WAY more photos than I ever have before. Not too sure what I am going to do after the year is up though…

  • These are great resolutions. I think you and I must have something in common, because if I were to make resolutions, they would sound pretty much like these ones. But best of luck to you and I can’t wait to see your banjo/mandolin performance at the end of the year! :D

  • This is a wonderful list and very inspiring! My list includes: reading more to the baby, more photography and getting back to sketching, situps every night, more cuddles with the husband, opening an etsy shop, no complaining, and paying off debt.

  • I bought my husband a banjo for Christmas–the stinker is already so good at it. He also plays the mandolin. They’re very similar to the guitar. You’ll pick it up in no time. They both sound so great. Try some of the music from the Avett Brothers. They have some great banjo rifs. Good luck!

  • you should try yoga! I started doing yoga last year and am now trying out bikram yoga, which I absolutely love. It’s a combination of a phyical and mental workout, so to speak, and really just makes me feel so happy and at peace, I really recommend it!

  • Sheesh, Grace, are you in my head?! I’m with you – I don’t normally make resolutions. Not that I don’t want to improve, but I shrug off the notion that someone else decided I must begin those improvements on January 1. I also work from home, so I know what you mean about that whole thing ;) Seriously – I could’ve written most of these (and should have, I dare say). But guess what – I got drum sticks, a practice pad, and lessons for Christmas and I’m super excited to learn! I wish you the very best in your goals. Have a beautiful 2011!

  • I love your resolutions and it’s nice to know I’m not alone (which it sometimes feels like) being hidden behind a computer most of the time. I have very similar goals that I posted this morning and I’m determined to stick to them.

    Best of luck in the new year Grace and congratulations on all your D*S success! xoxo

  • Brilliant goals, Grace! I’m so happy you chose to share them with us – especially because I can relate to a lot of what your saying. As a fellow blogger, I tend to put friends on the back burner, forget to document my life outside the interwebs AND tend to take mean comments too seriously. All in the past, my dear!

    Here’s to 2011 kicking an insane amount of ass…

  • My best friend gives me a “10 wishes” list every year for my birthday. It’s a second chance at achieving your New Year’s goals.

  • Thanks for sharing this! There are few things you listed that are exactly things I’ve been thinking of myself, and this definitely inspires to write it down and commit to it.
    I heard a news bit last year regarding resolutions, and if you can make yourself do at least one thing on your list, it will motivate you to accomplish your other goals.
    Its always good to write out a couple of simple goals too that can be easily accomplished to get one going.
    Happy New Year!

  • A side note to Jess Go’s comment – my friend saved tons of change in a jar last year, and ended up having over $300! Whoo!
    That’s an easy and rewarding resolution for sure.
    In Canada we have $2 coins (two-nies) so it makes it pretty easy to throw that into a jar.

    • Hi guys!

      I just got home from Vegas and read through all these comments and wanted to say thank you again for all your kind words and sharing your own resolutions. Over the years I’ve pulled my personal life out of the blog a bit (it can be tough to deal with the effects of putting everything out there) but sharing this and hearing all of your responses really meant a lot to me. Thanks for listening and for sharing all your thoughts/hopes/goals, too :)


  • Hi Grace – thanks for sharing your list. I’m lucky/unlucky enough to have a birthday early in January, so I always give myself some extra time to come up with some new life goals. This year, I’m thinking “new year, new word” – and having fun mulling over some possibilities.

    Right now, “write” and “finish” are both big contenders.

    And just an aside – I think those who hide out in blogland to make mean/negative comments should try asking themselves “Would I be comfortable saying this to Grace in person?” and “Is this comment really meant to help or is it just really about me being clever/smug/and so on?”

    If you can’t say anything nice and all that….actually is a pretty good motto to live by….as the Dalai Lama says “Ah, if only we could learn to be kinder to each other”. ….

    Happy 2011 and thank you for all the thought, creativity and efforts you put into this blog!

  • One of my goals is to learn banjo or mandolin as well! I
    think I’ve decided on banjo (to start, both is ideal!). I’m saving
    to buy a nice one by my birthday on March 2nd. I played a slew of
    musical instruments growing up, from oboe to saxophone, organ,
    trumpet, and guitar. I really miss making music. I’m also hoping to
    rent an oboe and join a local community band or orchestra. There is
    something immensely powerful in being part of an orchestra, the
    sound of the strings, and each sections unique contribution. I
    really miss it! Another huge goal for me is to figure out what on
    earth I want to do, I love my job at a local animal hospital, but I
    want to go back to school and I have no clue what for. Graphic
    Design or Sustainability. Getting into shape, weight loss, and more
    time outside (getting my bike fixed ASAP!) fills up another
    category along with spending more quality time with my husband and
    close friends. Which brings me onto my biggest goal. Be happy with
    what I have, stop dreaming of the future and love today. Best of
    luck on your endeavors!

  • Grace, I so enjoyed reading your goals for 2011. This year I have decided to address my quest for better health and a better environment by participating in Meatless Mondays. My husband refuses to go vegetarian full-time (and I’m not sure I could do it either) but we are looking forward to it one day a week.

    I am also taking the plunge and fulfilling a life goal of mine, by moving to London from San Diego with my husband in July. We are going for six months and are so excited for our big adventure. It is important to embrace things that scare you but that also remind you how fun life can be!

    Wishing you all the best in the new year.

  • To be honest, my goal for 2011 is to not have so many goals! I would love to put less pressure on myself and just enjoy the moment. Lowering my sky-high expectations for myself sounds like a great idea for this new year! I know that sounds crazy, but looking back to 2010 I am super proud of all that I accomplished, but I’m a little sad that I missed out on doing nothing. So, my goal is to just…chill. Oh yeah, and lose 20 pounds… ;-)

  • hi grace. thanks for sharing! really connected to your health, bravery, and making more time for friends + family goals. my big goal for this year is to focus on how to be effective/productive with my time at work in the studio.

    *nerdy historical side note* whenever i need to pump myself up to do something scary i think of teddy roosevelt. he gave his infamous “bull moose” speech moments after getting shot in the chest. crazy.

  • I am SO with you on this list. #1 – I have already started dieting and also need to get more excercise. #5 – I’m a new blogger and need to get into the habit of taking pictures of everywhere I go and everything I do. #6 – get organised. Should be easy considering I don’t have a lot anyway and finally #7 – I’m also new to Australia so instead of visiting old friends, I have changed that to making lots of new ones! Good luck with your list!!

  • Hello there! :)

    As a guitar- person myself I can say that the mandolin is really awesome to play, started last year- turns out to be alot of fun! :)

    My life has been.. way too much the last two years, it still is- so this Year, right after my University Exams & stuff- It will just have to get a bit calmer for me. More time for music, friends & things I like.

    I hope your plans will work out just fine & best wishes from germany.


  • When reading the post i thought…hmm…that sounds like something i should do! :) Thank you very much for motivating me to do those things i want to do…but i dont know how to :) I have a guideline now!

  • Such a great list and a lovely, personal post — Grace, thanks for this. Really inspires me to write down the things I’ve been thinking I need to change for the new year.

    My first step was taken last night, when I threw out half a container of my favorite holiday treat, Edy’s peppermint ice cream! I realized I am the only one in the house who eats it, and that I’d be much better off if it was in the trash. Sometimes instead of avoiding temptation, you just have to get rid of it!

  • These are so much more interesting than the typical resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, etc. Thanks for the inspiration!
    I never learned a musical instrument when I was younger, so that is one of my goals for this year–I have no idea if I can do it in midlife, but I’m really curious to try!
    Also, to hear more live music and go to the theater, etc.–making a little more effort than my usual hanging out with friends.
    I’m a big believer in making positive goals/resolutions vs. negative ones–you’re more likely to do them, and it’s more fun!

  • superb list!
    health yes (find way to kick the habit + perhaps pick up a new one – snowshoeing ? is that considered exercice?)
    music yes (kick the habit — better singing voice? except for the janis repertoire)
    time for special gifts – yes yes yes get back to that mindset of new love & forget me nots.
    home priority – war zone slash home office.
    be scared and brave ;)
    Haalleluuujah! (sung in a jeff buckley voice of course)

  • So many similar resolutions: – I am learning how to play
    guitar. – Be more consistant with my goals, and not stop things
    half way due to anxiety or boredom. Whatever I am starting I am
    finishing! – Learn more and build skills. – Get in better shape and
    eat better. – Be even more special to my loved ones (husband,
    parents, in laws and friends). They are the people that fill my
    life with love and deserve the very best of me. and last but not
    least meet Grace in her book tour when she comes to Canada

  • LOVE this. I also have goals similar to your numbers 1, 4,
    5, 6, 7, and 10. And last year I worked on number 3 by keeping in
    mind that “people come first” – like when I would be comfy at home
    but invited to go out with friends. I’d leave my comfort zone and
    go out because people matter more than things :)

  • What a great list. I could identify with many of them,
    particularly the ones about caring for and catching up with friends
    and family. Must put that on mine. Have been following this site
    for ages but never commented. You do a great job. Looking forward
    to the new year.

  • Grace, you are so similar to me! I think your list is
    inspiring me to challenge myself to be more up-front and social.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I can’t wait to read this
    year as you re-imagine what it means to have this blog.

  • Quite a lofty resolution list but if you can cross one off, you’ll be appreciative! I also recommend finding something you can volunteer to do – even if its only one day. It might help you cross a few other things off the list…

    • thanks jamie!

      i actually volunteer for a few things every year but it never hurts to do more. my goal is to get out to the best friends animal sanctuary this year and volunteer in person for a week :)


  • What a beautiful list of resolutions. My resolution is to be a better friend, which emcompasses a few of your resolutions I think, being more social, putting friends and family first, visiting old friends, all part of my need to cultivate and hold on to really good friendships. Thanks for sharing your list with us. It’s inspiring.

  • great list, grace. i have so much admiration and respect for you–i love reading your comments, especially ones where you passionately defend a post. you seem like an exceptionally kind person.

    last year was the first year i actually kept a resolution. i resolved not to buy a book until i had read all the books i have. unfortunately, i’ve since found that i have more than one year’s worth of books to get through! pitfalls of having been a lazy english major.

    this year, inspired by emily henderson’s post about 2010, i decided to stop worrying about failing or looking ridiculous or bandwagon-y and finally start a blog. so, i did (start a blog, that is; i’m still worried about failing). my other, more practical resolution is to bring my lunch to work at least 4 out of 5 days a week.

    • thanks misa!

      congrats on your new blog- i think everyone’s got something unique to stay so i agree with the bandwagon notion- it’s not a bandwagon if you have something fun and different to say. and i’m sure you will. best of luck!

      grace :)

  • Thank you for your post. This is what i love about d&s – it is so humane, honest and positive! Keep up the inspiring work!

  • Unfortunately, I’m not at all musical, but I live with someone who is…based on my observations of his experience with both the banjo and mandolin: I’d say go with the mandolin…it’s easier/more comfortable to hold (even more telling: he sold the banjo, and has several mandolins).

  • Thank you for sharing your resolutions! I have many in common with you, especially the family part. I need to spend more time with my mom this year. I’m so much closer to her now than I have been since I moved out after high school and I need to take advantage if it!

  • I loved your list, and I appreciate your honesty. I share many of the same goals. All we can do is try the best we can each day, and if we come up a little short one day, we get a fresh start the next day. One of my goals is to keep a journal (which I have never been able to do), but all I am going to write are a few things-big or tiny that I feel grateful for that day. It will help keep things in perspective and give me a visual reminder of all the good things I have in my life.

  • such a great list!!!

    i really love “document life more often”. i kept blaming my crappy camera for the reason that i didn’t take family/friend photos. so i finally bought a new one (which was so hard to do when i could have spent that $250 on so many other things!!!)

  • Grace! I dont know where you find the time to do all that you do!…and to make new yrs resolutions – to do more? thats inspirational in itself. Once i’ve finished work, cooked the diner, washed up and walked the dog its time to go back to bed! I’m clearly busy doing nothing much – I’m going to try to do more this year….Thanks for sharing x

  • Oh the documenting life is bad for me too like a few have said. I just got engaged over xmas and there are no photos from any of my vacation days. :(

    My parents are the same way they still have a few pictures from last xmas on their camera and the only time they seem to remember to take pictures is when everyone is in their sweat pants. So those are the only memories captured year after year, we all look like slobs looking back on holiday family photos. ha

  • Your bonus goal really hit home for me – I am what I call a
    “social hermit”: I love people & my friends & am
    naturally friendly & talkative, but I also need a lot of
    alone & inward time, time which is fulfilling as well since
    it is when I find myself at my most creative. Balancing the inner
    & outer can easily get out of whack for me; I am more apt
    to stay in & make something or watch a movie or read a book
    when given the choice between that & going out, although
    when I do go out I have a blast & really appreciate
    & am inspired being around my people. And lady, how do you
    find time to do all you do?? You are an inspiration!

  • Hi Grace, I love your post :) It inspired me to stick to my New Year’s Resolutions as well :D I haven’t made any for several years but this year I decided to list down a few things I can begin with (They’re in my blog – at least the first 10 :D) It’s good to know that there are others like you who are still inspired to make resolutions and follow through with them, so we can all encourage and remind one another :)

    Wishing you the best this year – I’m sure you will be able to fulfill your resolutions just as you fulfilled your goals before :)

    PS. I want to learn playing the mandolin too, but perhaps for next year :D

  • Beautiful and very thoughtful list. I can see how you would become glued to the computer between your blog then reading all of the comments. So many wonderful comments how could one nasty one even count? Positivity folder from NewlyDomesticated was an excellent idea. Amazing to see how much we all have in common. Best wishes to you Grace, and all of us in meeting our Life List Goals in 2011.

  • This is a great list. Best of luck achieving your goals. I am a huge fan of your site and find it a wonderful source of inspiration. I can’t fathom that anyone would have reason to send you a mean comment. Wishing you a happy and creative 2011.

  • I started a project called 12beginnings as a way around new years resolutions. the idea is simple- try one new thing each month for a year and see what happens.

    Check it out and good luck on your mando lessons!

  • I totally love your blog..it is absolutely the best PLACE I’ve ever visited online…inspirational and down right creative as all heck…I wish you the best in attaining all your GOALS for yourself..I’m a loner too…..and would love to be able to create a blog like this about photography….
    PEACE and HAPPY 2011!

  • I loved your comment about being an inner loner – though I always enjoy myself when I hang out with other and actually consider myself to be out-going, that’s me all over. I can get really involved in my projects and let everything else go by the wayside… so making time for family and friends is one of my resolutions, too.

  • Just wanted to let you know how happy I am Design Sponge
    exists so thank you!!! Also wanted to let you know that I’ve quoted
    you in my own blog post on resolutions for 2011 – I hope you’ll
    take it as a compliment(?).

  • Grace,
    When I read about your bonus goal, I couldn’t believe how your description of yourself described me to a T! I too struggle to convince myself to leave the house when a new social opportunity presents itself (especially if it includes people I don’t know). Sometimes I worry that I am limiting my ability to grow career-wise because of this tendency. The funny thing is, every time I push myself outside this comfort zone, I’m always happy I did. Even so, I still have to convince myself each time. Thank you so much for sharing your struggle with us. It gave me so much hope that I too can be successful even though I may not always be extroverted.

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