2019: The Year of No

It’s been a weird week.

NYE fell on a Monday which gave everyone another day to indulge, get incredibly, embarrassingly hammered (raises hand) sleep it off Tuesday, then wake up Wednesday ready to take on the world and implement our new *2019 is the year I’m finally getting my shit together* plans.

After a New Year’s Eve of far too much prosecco, unfortunately followed by far too much Gray Goose, Tuesday morning I felt like 3 small children were screaming profanities at me while simultaneously slamming my head with wiffle ball bats. All the while, we’re aboard a shotty sailboat in hurricane waters and everything is swirly and my stomach has never felt so uneasy and oh God I’m never drinking again.

(Side note, I had already decided a few days prior to do Dry January, and Tuesday morning only solidified that decision.)

I felt terrible all day, but hey, so did most of my friends and most of America (probably) so I wasn’t alone in my misery. I had my to-dos and schedule for Wednesday all set, and was ready to wake up, flex my productivity muscles, and have January 2nd set the tone for my epic *2019 is the year I’m finally getting my shit together* plan.

I went to bed at approximately 7:30pm Tuesday and kissed my hangover goodnight.

The alarm went off at 6:15 the next morning.

“Uuuuuhhhh” I managed to moan. Of course I’d be resistant to it after almost two weeks of debauchery.

But as I tried to will myself to get up, I realized it was more that my inner 14 year old wanting a few more minutes of sleep. Achy head, sore throat, weak, achy body, simultaneously shivering and sweating.


Being sick is always a drag, but come on – to start the new year? The YEAR I’M FINALLY GETTING MY SHIT TOGETHER? AND I’M SICK?

I’ll spare you the remaining theatrics, of which there are many, and just say it was a pretty miserable few days of not only being sick, but more so frustrated that my motivation, my planning, my *2019 is the year I’m finally getting my shit together* plan were all squashed.

But the thing is, the plan wasn’t actually squashed – it just seemed that way.

I had to come to terms with being sick and out of commission for a few days, and relented to styrofoam cups of Ramen noodles and Gilmore Girls for the 12th time through.

And here I am, Sunday, January 6th, having survived the plague, mostly back to normal (whatever ‘normal’ really means) and finally sharing the piece I intended to share January 1, but was too hungover, and January 2, 3, 4, 5, but was, well, ‘plagued.’ (Hey-o, she’s back!)

I’ve written a New Year’s Day post for the past few years and in each one, I talk about my main focus being learning to roll with the punches life throws, working through the unexpected plot twists, not getting so upset and dramatic when I have a plan and Life derails it. Based on this week, I guess Life is still like, “lol you think you’ve mastered it? Watch this” and it’s a lesson that’s still a work in progress. But that’s okay.

I was so hung up on starting 2019, my newest blank slate on a strong foot, ready to crush the year.

And January 1 is a blank slate, sure, but you know what? So is January 2. And so are January 3, 4, 5, and January 6, and May 12, and September 28.

Maybe January 6 finds you on your 6th day of absolutely DOMINATING your *2019 is the year I’m finally getting my shit together* plan. And if so, that’s freaking AMAZING.

But maybe the 6th day of 2019 finds you off to a different start than you had in mind. No worries. Today is a new day. And hey, if you want to spend the day under the blankets eating pizza and watching documentaries on Netflix all day, no judgment here, and tomorrow morning will be waiting to greet you with another blank slate. Go get ‘em, tiger.

NOW back to the regularly scheduled programming, my *2019 is the year I’m finally getting my shit together* post.

I’m a productivity content junkie. When it comes to blogs/books/YouTube videos on daily routines, weekly planning, setting goals, organization, I’m a freaking sponge. I can’t get enough.

I also have a tendency to absorb this content, get excited to implement whatever new system or goals, follow it for a week, then revert to whatever non-productive state I naturally tend to be in.

I’ve learned that for myself to follow through, I have to break things into the smallest possible chunks, make them specific, and get them scheduled in some sort of time block on my calendar so that I HAVE to do them. I really began to realize this over the last few months of 2018 and have worked out a system that seems to actually kind of work for me. It feels pretty damn good.

Having this as a foundation, 2019’s focus is honing my system. But I’m also doing something different this year.

Instead of setting goals and aspirations of what I hope to achieve, I’m focusing on the negative aspects of my aspirations, and taking action based on negative thinking. 2019 is going to be my Year of No.

This might seem counterintuitive, but I’ve learned that in order to actually get myself to take action or make change, it’s much more effective to focus on the discomfort I feel about something I want to change rather than just saying, “I’m going to change it, here’s my goal!”

For example: I want to be the hell out of debt. I’ll share more on this at a later date (maybe) but this is by far my biggest pain point. My anxiety about the debt I carry pours over into literally every aspect of my life and is deeply, emotionally intertwined with my sense of being.

Let me be clear: I am NOT soliciting advice on my finances. Please don’t offer any. (Love you, mean it.)

There’s a lot to unpack with this one specifically, and again, maybe I will, but for now suffice to say I’ve tried everything, and what finally seems to be moving me forward in a positive direction has been working with a financial coach and creating an incredibly detailed monthly spending plan. But even this isn’t enough, for now at least.

My biggest problem? Shopping. I promise you, I can justify just about any clothing purchase, no matter how much (or how little) is in my checking account. I have enough a large enough wardrobe to clothe myself and most of my friends for the foreseeable future. But I still find ways to justify new purchases. I can’t give myself any wiggle room, because I’ll take advantage of it.

So this year, in my Year of No, the first No:

No shopping.

That’s right, I’m going cold turkey baby. I will likely share more about this one because again, it is deeply emotional for me, no matter ridiculous that may seem. But NO SHOPPING. I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters, unfollowed brands on Instagram, and there will be no online browsing or stalking fashion bloggers.

The only exceptions for clothing are loungewear, activewear, and underwear. (IN MODERATION, and only as necessary.)

Ooof. Ask me how this is going in a couple of months. (Jk, you won’t have to because I’m sure I’ll write more than you’ll ever want to read about it.)

So what else is included in my Year of No?

No skipping morning pages.

They go by many different names, but morning pages are stream of consciousness writing sessions in which you do a massive brain vomit onto paper and get the hell out of your own head. I always feel amazing and elated after doing them, yet am prone to breeze right past the reminder on my calendar each morning. No longer.

No skipping yoga.

Yoga makes me feel centered and whole. Not to mention the physical benefits, like not cringing from lower back pain. I go very in and out of patterns of sticking with it consistently, then just not doing it for like a week at a time, and feeling terrible as a result. I’ve missed 5 days already because…the plague, but no more.

No refined sugar.
Okay, less refined sugar. This is Sweet Tooth Tori* we’re talking about. Just being more conscience of what I’m eating in general; baking sweets at home instead of buying another package Red Velvet Oreos, only indulging occasionally. If you DO put a package of Oeros in front of me and leave for 10 minutes, you’ll find upon your return an entire row is missing. So yeah, gotta work on that.

*No one has ever called me this.

No half-assing stuff.

This one is mostly related to work. Everyone finds things about their job annoying, everyone has to complete eye-roll worthy tasks that don’t seem to matter in the grand scheme of things. And honestly, maybe they don’t. But even when I KNOW a task doesn’t matter, I still feel gross after I’ve done something “just to get it done.” If I’m working on a project or task, I want to be fully engaged with only that thing, do it to the best of my ability, THEN roll my eyes and reach for an Oreo after I’ve finished it. Oh but wait…no Oreos 🙁

No watching tv while working.

Sort of related to the last one, having Netflix on in the background while I’m working on a “mindless” task seems comforting and helpful, but it actually makes the task take longer and ultimately makes it more miserable. Even if I HAVE seen that episode of The Office enough times to have every word memorized, it’s still distracting me from what I’m doing.

No putting stuff off or waiting until the last minute.

No saving it for later. This covers everything from a task for a work project to putting my dirty dishes in the dishwasher as soon as I’m done eating. Tori just make the time do to it, and do it. Save yourself some damn anxiety. And if you can do it in less than 2 minutes, do it right now.

No rambling or trailing off.

This is kind of a weird one. And I’ve definitely gotten better about this as I’ve moved further into being a Professional Career Person, but I still let myself trail off way too much. Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in a meeting really strong and be all like, “whoa, who this Professional Career Person speaking about stakeholders and amateurization?” Then when I don’t know how to end a sentence I’ll start with the “ums” and get quieter and quieter and just….trail off. VOMIT. Be intentional when speaking.

That’s my list. Those are my Nos. (Had to, because rhyming.)

But don’t worry – there’ll be plenty of curiosity amongst all of the…negativity. It is me, after all.

To close with the same line for the third year in a row:

May 2019 be your best, most curious year yet.