I have been sharing my New Year's resolutions here on the blog since January 2015. I'm a very goal-oriented person, and setting these intentions at the beginning of each year helps me to reimagine what's possible and keep a sense of fun, no matter what else is going on in my life.
If you feel like a trip down memory lane, here are the resolutions from all of the previous years. These lists have included everything from adopt a dog, to donate my hair, to see the Backstreet Boys in Las Vegas, to get a ticket to Hamilton, to dine at more downtown restaurants, and to send snail mail to my grandmother every week.
- 2015 New Year's Resolutions
- 2016 New Year's Resolutions
- 2017 New Year's Resolutions
- 2018 New Year's Resolutions
- 2019 New Year's Resolutions
- 2020 New Year's Resolutions
- 2021 New Year's Resolutions
When I was writing my year-end recap for my 2021 resolutions two weeks ago, I wasn't sure if I had it in me to draft a list for 2022. With COVID cases surging and so many of my favorite activities off the table, it was feeling pretty hopeless.
I talked about it with several family members and friends and everyone encouraged me to think outside the box about goals I could set that are realistic for pandemic times, but would still spark joy. Maybe there won't be international travel this year; maybe it won't be safe to dine in restaurants for a while; but I can create my own sense of discovery and adventure, even if it's on a smaller scale.
With all of that in mind, this year's list is a mix of at-home ideas, local outings and road trips, and then two hopeful resolutions if travel resumes.
Drumroll, please . . . the official 2022 New Year's resolutions are revealed!
1. Get back into journaling
Over the years I've had many resolutions centered around self-improvement. I've committed to brushing up on my Hebrew through Duolingo (currently on a 650 day streak), I've leaned into daily meditation and this year I want to get back into journaling.
I kept a journal all through middle school, high school and college. It's hysterical to go back and read them now. I wrote about everything from moments of self-doubt, to bouts of rage, to a lengthy list of crushes.
I'm not really sure why I stopped doing it, but given all the anxiety and unknowns the pandemic thrusts at us, now feels like exactly the right time to get back in the habit.
For Hanukkah in December my sister gave me this beautiful notebook, so I'm going to start with that.
We'll see how quickly I fill it!
2. Create the feeling of luxury at home
I listen to several podcasts every week and one thing that kept coming up in their year-end episodes is that we need to find ways to enjoy small pleasures, since so many of the outlets we had to unlock that feeling have been taken away during the pandemic. That includes simple acts like burning the nice candle you bought, taking time to do a face mask or blocking off time to cook or bake a restaurant-quality meal.
There are a few things I started doing in 2021 that have helped. I'm going to share a few of those with you now, and I'll keep adding as the year goes on.
First, I love burning candles. It makes the house feel warm and cozy and it hides the wet dog smell after we've come in from the rain or the snow. I discovered the the brand Broad St at one of my favorite local shops, Greentail Table in Newton, MA. I love the Washed Linen and Peach Bellini scents, but my all-time favorite is the Red Yuzu scent. It smells like the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. If you know, you know.
Second, I've become very into face masks and eye masks. I've tried dozens of brands, but my favorite is the Baggage Claim Eye Mask from Wander Beauty. They have a fun gold shimmer and leave your face feeling revitalized after just 10 minutes. I like to use them after washing my face in the morning (it also helps me look less exhausted on Zoom!).
Third, and I have saved the best for last, I am using something called pillow mist. It's made by the brand OSEA and you spritz it onto your pillow at night just before you get into bed. It has lavender, chamomile, rosemary and lime. It makes you feel like you are breathing in the relaxing scent of a spa from your own bed.
It's $32 dollars a bottle, which is expensive, but I have been using it nightly for nearly four months and I've barely made a dent.
If you've found ways to make your time at home feel more restful and joyful, I'd love to hear what you're doing!
3. Make takeout fun again with donuts
As the Omicron variant began to spread in late November, it was becoming clear that restaurants were going to need to close their dining rooms again. Here in Massachusetts it's impossible to dine outside comfortably between January - April, so many of my favorite spots are back to just takeout and delivery. I feel horrible for them and I feel sad for all of us who love the experience of dining out.
So I thought long and hard about how I could make grabbing takeout feel exciting again and one word popped into the front of my mind: donuts.
In 2017, one of my resolutions was to up my breakfast game. That included everything from egg dishes to pancakes to French toast. This year, I want to focus on the quest for the most delicious donut.
Of course there are local spots that everyone knows - Blackbird Doughnuts, Union Square Donuts, Davis Square Donuts. Heck, there's even a donut place at the top of my street in Watertown, Linda's Donuts. But this year I want to find new places to get that morning sugar fix.
First on my list is going to be the Donut King in Weymouth, MA. I pass their storefront every time I drive to or from my house in Hull. They also have a pretty tantalizing Instagram, @donutkingweymouth.
If you live in the Boston area and have a go-to donut spot, please share it with me!
4. Watch 10 movies from before I was born
One of the podcasts I listen to every week is Pop Culture Happy Hour from NPR. Every year, the co-hosts set pop culture resolutions and this year, co-host Linda Holmes decided to focus on watching movies from before she was born. I thought that was such a clever idea, especially given the fatigue I've been feeling lately of finding new things to watch on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.
So, I am committing to watching 10 movies this year that came out before I was born. There are a few classics I have never seen like Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind. Then there are movies featuring women I admire that came out in the early years of their career, like Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton in 9 to 5 or Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.
I'm excited for this journey through cinema. I'll be sharing my thoughts on each one as part of my weekly streaming recaps on Fridays.
5. Spend 30 minutes of solo time outdoors each week
Right now, all of the time I spend outside is walking Scout. While we vary our routes and have the privilege of exploring places in both Watertown and Hull, he walks at a glacial pace. It hinders how far I can go.
This year, I wanted to be sure that each week I spend some time outside, in the fresh air, by myself. Whether that's a walk in my neighborhood, driving to a specific path or trail, or making sure to head down to the bay in Hull in time to see the sunset (which is sadly around 4pm at this time of year), I need more nature time at my pace, not just Scout's.
I'm still thinking about the best way to track this goal. I'll likely keep a log in my phone and take photos on the outings as another way to record these solo moments.
6. Explore four new outdoor spaces
For me, one of the biggest sacrifices during the pandemic has been travel. I used to take one or two international trips per year, and took many domestic flights to visit family and friends. Now my primary destination is Hull, which is wonderful, but doesn't scratch the wanderlust itch.
One of my dearest friends recommended that this year I focus on finding new places where I could spend time outside. Whether that is new parks or trails that allow dog or wineries where I can sip outdoors in the summer or fall.
I've set this goal at four for the year, so basically one per quarter. I think that's doable and will really encourage me to research new options right here in New England.
7. Take four local road trips
In a similar vein, I want to recreate the energy and excitement around travel, but do it hyper locally. For example, one of my best friends and I love to take day trips to Hudson, MA where we have lunch at Rail Trail, we get ice cream at New City Microcreamery and we bop in and out of all the local shops on Main Street, including our favorite clothing store, The Haberdash.
I need to do more of that kind of "travel" this year. I haven't determined all of the locations yet, but I have a short list going. I'm looking forward to sharing with you what I uncover!
8. Dine at MIDA
On resolutions lists from years past, I have often included one specific restaurant I really wanted to visit.
In 2015 it was Barcelona Wine Bar.
In 2016 it was Giulia.
In 2017 it was Eataly.
In 2019 it was Pammy's.
In 2020 it was Orfano.
For 2022, the restaurant on my radar is MIDA. When it first opened in the South End, I was eager to get there and try the rich pasta dishes I was seeing on Instagram.
Over the holiday break, I was driving through my hometown (Newton, MA) and I saw that MIDA has opened a second location in my childhood neighborhood in Newtonville. In fact, it's in a space that used to be a belly dancing restaurant!
Now that I can get to MIDA in just 10 minutes, I am hopeful this will be an easy one to achieve. I am looking forward to arancini, crispy polenta with gorgonzola, gnocchi cacio e pepe and eggplant parmesan.
Now, these next two resolutions are ones that I am hopeful can happen, but will depend on COVID and how safe it feels to be traveling.
9. Finally make it to Charleston, SC
I have never been to Charleston before, and getting there has been a resolution twice before (2018 and 2020). I sincerely hope that the third time is a charm! Southern charm, that is.
My cousin, her husband and their two adorable kiddos moved to Charleston a few years ago. I was determined to get there, and both times, the plans were foiled.
This year, both of my parents are turning 70 and my mom has decided that for her birthday in late April, she'd like all of us to gather in Charleston to explore the city and then enjoy a few days at the beach.
I am crossing everything that this can finally happen!
10. Take a girls trip to St. Lucia
I have a group of girlfriends who I travel with and we always have an incredible time together. We prioritize waterfront locations, superb dining options and rejuvenating spa treatments.
We've been to Palm Springs, the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and Curacao, and now we have our eyes on St. Lucia. None of us have been to St. Lucia before, which makes the destination extra enticing.
We have picked out a stunning resort and are praying that COVID doesn't keep us from actualizing this vision.
I don't want to say anything more, because it feels like I may jinx it, so I will leave you with this photo of the location.
And there you have it! My 10 resolutions for 2022. I wish I had a crystal ball and I could predict what's going to happen, but for now I'm trying to accept the unknown and find moments of happiness wherever I can.
Tell me, are you setting any intentions for 2022?
*Donut King image courtesy of @donutkingweymouth, 9 to 5 image courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, Charleston image courtesy of Southern Living and St. Lucia image courtesy of Viceroy Hotel Group. All other photography by Molly Galler.