Seriously, Happy New Year to everyone from the Humble Homestead!

I love New Years Day, and there is a special reason why: I believe it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Last year my husband and I drove all the way to Whistler, Canada on the first day of 2016. We were craving snow and adventures. For us, 2016 was about breaking out of the confines of our comfort zone. We wanted to drive a little further in foreign country, cross great oceans, and learn to rely on each other thousands of miles away from everything we knew, and we did just that.

In February, we traveled to Iceland for a week. More snow! It was the perfect locale to start with, in our humble opinion, and it turned out to be the most phenomenal vacation we have ever experienced. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who will listen: the food is amazing, the transportation is easy to navigate, the people are welcoming and helpful, and the scenery is breathtaking. We walked the entire city of Reykjavik, flew in a helicopter, traveled to faraway geysers and fjords, drank whey, and ate things we will probably never eat ever ever again (like fermented shark). We loved and adored all of it so much. We want to try to visit Iceland again during Spring, Summer, and Fall so we can see everything it has to offer.

In October, we went on our very first cruise and we watched as Jeff's mother married a wonderful man and Jeff welcomed even more siblings into his life. We've officially lost count on how many siblings we share between the two of us. As a family, we visited Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti, enjoying the sun (but not the humidity) and the time we rarely get to spend all together. The love, re-connection, and adventure was unparalleled.

We set our intention on travel in 2016, and we accomplished it. We were planful to the max, and in looking back on our resolution to travel, we feel successful, awed, and humbled by just how much more world there is to see and the people we have yet to meet. Travel is such a grounding experience, and it teaches us to be grateful for what we have at home, how we contribute and affect the world around us, and just simply living on a planet so complex.

Now on to 2017! When I think of New Year's Resolutions, I like to think of our resolution as a couple as more of a theme than a concrete goal. For me, a theme creates more opportunity for creativity, options, and flexibility. Goals are great too, and we still have those, but a theme sets the stage for the rest of our year, and it's something that colors and guides our other goals and behaviors.

This year, our defining goal is physical fitness. 

Last year, I was able to lose 30 pounds, and I am back to weighing what I did in college. This was a huge milestone for me, and I did it through a lot of walking. I was walking anywhere between 15-25k steps a day, which was roughly 10 miles a day. I joined a step challenge at work (and won!) and I joined a StepBet challenge and earned a little extra money. However, my personal goal is still much lower, and I am looking to build muscle, learn to rock climb, and become more flexible.

Jeff also lost 30 pounds, and he did a great job keeping up with all of my walking. At least, until he broke his toe, which put him out of commission for the rest of the summer. Now he is refocusing on building muscle mass and stamina, so the weight number is less important to him than the visual and physical results.

Part of the reason we are carrying this goal into our new year is that we want to do the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage at some point in the future. Several people in my life have completed the Way of St. James, and I am just astounded by the beauty, serenity, endurance, and determination it takes to complete the Pilgrimage. When I first told Jeff about it, he was wholeheartedly against the idea, but he was also only a year into his injury recovery. Now that we brave long hikes and trails together-with our longest being 17 miles-we feel deeply in sync around this future goal.

By becoming more physically fit, we ensure that we can really dedicate ourselves to this journey in the future, gain an enhanced degree of wellness, prolong longevity, and continue to benefit Jeff's physical rehabilitation. In effect, we are being more mindful about our bodies and for our bodies. In addition to being mindful about our overall health, physical exercise can also be a great container for mindfulness practice. It's a great opportunity to be present, check in with the self, and acknowledge what our bodies are trying to tell us.
I saw this quote on Instagram recently (author unknown), and it so embodies for me the intention I want to set with the remainder of my year, and really, my life. For me, this is how I am going to be planful (by making exercise a priority) and being resolute (my reframing the reasons why I am exercising). Exercise and physical fitness is a celebration of ability. There are different levels of ability across people, but everyone is capable of some degree of physical exercise, even if it requires assistance. As cognizant beings, we are often reminded of (and reminding ourselves) about what we lack rather than what we possess. This quote is my new mantra, because I want us to rejoice in how able-bodied we currently are and to maximize our bodies' potential while we still can. Our bodies are simply amazing, and it's important to celebrate what they do for us every day. I think this new philosophy comes in large part from reading Cameron Diaz's The Body Book and The Longevity Book. You can also check out her website if you want to learn more.

Whatever your agenda for 2017 looks like, I encourage you to really be sincere, thoughtful, and dedicated in its planning and execution. Often times resolutions fail because our goals are too big, too unrealistic, or are not truly aligned with what we really want or need. So be planful about your New Year's Resolutions and be resolute in their completion. It's the most mindful way to start a new year.

Happy New Year, and may it be full of love, health, fortune, and joy.