Thinking About: Resets And Small Steps

Jardin des Tuileries Paris

The Allure Of A Fresh Start…

New Year’s Resolutions continue to be a popular cultural pastime. Perhaps a bit bleary and bloated after the holidays it’s natural to think, “I’ve got to make some SERIOUS lifestyle changes!” We’re bombarded with ads and articles all with the requisite Before And Afters. “It’s a new year, time for a fresh start…”

While there’s a certain appeal and glamour in the idea that we can completely start over on January 1, I think a lot of major reset efforts are doomed to fail because the rest of our life tends to go on just as before, with the same schedules, obligations and demands. We don’t live, eat or make decisions in a vacuum.

When it comes to health and lifestyle changes, I’ve found that the most effective are small, incremental adjustments that can be organically incorporated into my daily routine, and then become part of that routine. Building healthy and nurturing habits rather than making drastic changes based on aversion or deprivation is what’s worked for me long-term.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead…

I think few of us would disagree that 2016 was a tumultuous year for any number of reasons. It was a bit of a reset year for me personally, as I left my full-time administrative job after almost 40 years of working in an office, all day every Monday through Friday. (I DO NOT miss that aspect of it!!)

My re-invention is turning out to be a more gradual process than I’d anticipated. I enjoy working from home, but the newness of having my time be (mostly) my own and an unusual amount of travel have kept my schedule a bit haphazard. I’ve often felt as though I’m just keeping up rather than moving forward. While I don’t want to lock myself into another set of daily obligations, I do believe that getting into more regular routines will be a positive step for my well-being.

Lifestyle Changes: Baby Steps

So the first adjustment I’m making is to set a blog posting schedule. Trying to post almost every day doesn’t allow me enough time to respond to your comments as much as I’d like, keep up with other blogs and Instagram, answer my email in a timely manner, or tackle some other projects I’ve had on the back burner for months. So I’ll be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays initially. As I’m inspired and time allows, I may post on other days too, but am only committing to and planning for the MWF schedule.

Next, I’ve set a goal of taking myself out for an “art date” at least once a month. I love visiting art exhibitions and almost always include them in our travel planning. We have so many really good museums and galleries nearby, and I no longer have the excuse of no time. Again, planning is key to making this happen, so I’m declaring the third Wednesday of each month my personal Art Appreciation Day.

Finally and on a more serious note, the untimely death of Carrie Fisher was a stark reminder that although we tend to focus on breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, the number one cause of death among women is still heart disease. So in addition to the other steps I’ve taken to maintain and improve my health, I’m adding a bit more cardio to my routine. (I already walk at least 30 minutes per day, but don’t think it counts as “cardio” as my dogs are more interested in stopping to sniff than pushing the pace.) First step is to get my heart rate in the “target” training range 3x per week. I’m starting with 10 minutes on our stationary bike and will work up to 20 per session. (Again, small adjustments that are easy to incorporate.) I’m also hopeful that improving my cardiovascular fitness will increase my energy levels and improve my sleep.

Because I’m more successful with small, manageable steps rather than drastic overhauls, I’m not going to overload myself with too many changes at once. I think these are a good start.

Do you find you do better with incremental lifestyle changes, or does a more “complete reset” approach work more effectively for you?

Happy New Year!! Wishing you Peace, Heath and Prosperity in 2017.

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85 Comments

  1. January 2, 2017 / 3:22 am

    Leaving the routine and schedule of full time work does take adjustment and time. I love the idea of an art date! We are moving across the country to Camarillo, CA in the spring and I can’t wait to visit new galleries and museums as well as old favorites. I think I’ll expand the idea to include theatre and music as well. Once a week would be perfect.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      Hi Juhli, Camarillo is a lovely area, enjoy!

  2. Carol
    January 2, 2017 / 4:25 am

    Love the idea of an art date! That’s one idea I’m adopting.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:08 pm

      Hi Carol, hope you enjoy!

  3. Meg
    January 2, 2017 / 4:32 am

    2016 was certainly tumultuous for me as well, from my husband’s cancer diagnosis and surgery and slow recovery, to my dad’s cancer diagnosis from which there will be no recovery, My goal is just to take care of myself so I can take care of them. I have had an ingrown toenail ( TMI, sorry? ) for 3 months and it has gotten urgent. I can’t comfortable grocery shop , walk the dogs, cook, or dash thru the airport on my frequent trips to help my dad. So no more ‘i don’t have time for me” , because if I go down, so do a whole lot of people very important to me.
    I will maintain my 2x a week work out , continue my daily long walkies with the 2 goof ball dogs, and fix my hair and makeup daily so I don’t catch sight of some sad , broken girl when I pass a mirror.

    And try to add some meditation to keep my head on straight

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:23 pm

      Meg, I’m so sorry your family members have been dealing with serious health issues. Caregiving is HARD, and it’s even harder to make time for ourselves when others need us so much, but as you’ve said, it’s crucial. I hope you’re able to get your toe healed, and that you are able to take care of yourself going forward.

  4. January 2, 2017 / 4:44 am

    I had a big year also. At mid 60, single, three grown kids, I downsized to a very small living space to a beautiful rural area, very alone/ at first scary but it has allowed me to simplify my life, being selective about how I really do spend my time, and bumping up the physical walking every day. Also becoming Vegan. Very hard to do, but am committed as all research and evidence points to that style of living as the best. Whole foods, plant based diet. I may eventually move again closer to where my kids are, but not yet. I feel more alive now and in control. Theres still so much to learn!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      susie, sounds as though you’ve taken some positive steps for yourself. Congratulations!

  5. January 2, 2017 / 4:44 am

    know what you mean about small steps. I recently decided to add more veg to my meals and to start making green smoothies again- so far so good…and today decided to do 3 small walks this week- and to choose again next week

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      Zannie, sounds good. And making adjustments as we go can be a good strategy too.

  6. Carol in los Ngeles
    January 2, 2017 / 5:03 am

    All excellent suggestions and ideas, inspires me to make changes myself. Wishing you good health and serenity this year. Blog on!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Thank you Carol! Happy New Year to you.

  7. January 2, 2017 / 5:22 am

    Carrie Fisher was a serious wake up call for me! I’m with you on the small changes…anything else is dropped quickly. I’ve often wondered how some other bloggers are able to post daily and be seemingly everywhere on the net! They must have assistants or don’t sleep. It burns me out so a schedule is very wise.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:18 pm

      Jennifer, I think some of the “bigger” bloggers do have assistants. I’ve decided to try and hire a photographer for a few hours a month, but other than that I’m planning to carry on as a “one woman band.” 🙂

      • Jane2
        January 7, 2017 / 9:17 am

        I’d rather read your more infrequent posts than see you all the time everywhere. But a photographer could be just the ticket to free you up – and you’d have so many more options for sharing your style.

    • Duchesse
      January 5, 2017 / 5:51 am

      Carrie Fisher, by her own vivid and honest reports, had habits which included longstanding substance abuse and eating disorders, both known to be significant factors for heart disease. We should indeed do regular cardio (the good effects on the heart begin immediately), but exercise will not undo decades of other behaviour, I’m sad she died, and if it encourages other women to change habits, good. The deck was stacked against her, though, and I am so sorry.

      • Susan B
        January 5, 2017 / 6:34 pm

        Duchesse, yes I’m sure that the substance abuse and excessive dieting took their toll. I think there’s also a genetic crapshoot at work. I’ve known people without the substance abuse or other issues who have survived (or not) heart attacks in their 50’s and 60’s. I just figure it doesn’t hurt to do what we can do and hope for the best.

  8. Linda
    January 2, 2017 / 5:35 am

    Dear Susan, this is a perfect post at the beginning of the new year. I am a true believer when it comes to small steps. And giving ourselves the time to process what is going on in our lives. Look forward to your thoughtful and well written M-W-F posts.

    Happy New Year.
    Linda

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:15 pm

      Hi Linda, thanks! Yes, time to process is so important.

  9. Brenda
    January 2, 2017 / 5:38 am

    Susan, you are so right…the smaller changes, instituted slowly and deliberately, work so much better than the “give up everything” approach. I started with a brief gym membership a few years back, physical activity has become a definite part of my daily routine. Along the way I’ve adjusted eating habits to healthier options. Really heavy desserts that I used to crave no longer call to me. (But I still have to have a couple of lighter cookies or chocolate daily:). Ive lost enough weight and firmed a few muscles, I’ve had to buy a smaller size in clothes! And clothes: I now buy much less, but really nice things. Life is good in the second half. …or the last quarter, for me!

    • sueinspain
      January 2, 2017 / 9:56 am

      Brenda. You mentioned second half: I’m in my second half too – at the age of 69! Of course I might not actually reach 138 years, but there’s no harm in being positive is there? 😉

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:15 pm

      Hi Brenda, congratulations on your healthy changes!

  10. Connie
    January 2, 2017 / 5:40 am

    I love your idea of an art date! Thanks for the inspiration. I’m going to add that one to my monthly calendar too. Happy 2017!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:24 pm

      Connie, enjoy! Happy 2017 to you too!

  11. Kathi Brown
    January 2, 2017 / 5:41 am

    Incremental changes generally work best for me, so I’m (re)incorporating a few habits this year on an ease-in basis. But I also like to have two or three big goals on the radar to keep me focused. Last year and this year are both dedicated to decluttering my “space” to a point that I no longer spend half my waking hours cleaning, storing, maintaining a ridiculous amount of unneeded stuff. For inspiration I read decluttering/minimalism blogs, but the best kick-in-the-pants comes from rereading Susan Susanka’s “The Not So Big Life.” … Happy New Year! Your blog is one I always look forward to reading. My wardrobe is much more interesting, thanks to you!

    • Kathi Brown
      January 2, 2017 / 5:52 am

      Oops, I meant Sarah Susanka!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:14 pm

      Hi Kathi, yes I agree a balance of smaller and longer-term goals is important. I’m hoping that with getting my schedule in hand, I’ll have some time to work on those bigger projects.

  12. Lisa
    January 2, 2017 / 5:43 am

    Your post has solidified my thoughts. I have chosen to concentrated on one change per month. Concentrating on one major change seems so much more manageable. And, I love your idea of scheduling. I am making plans now.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 11:46 am

      Lisa, sounds good! Wishing you much success with your positive changes.

  13. Jaye
    January 2, 2017 / 5:46 am

    Happy New Year and thanks for a past year of inspiration and motivation. I find that small steps work best for me as well. Since it takes 3-4 weeks to develop a new habit I pick one or two things I know I can focus on – e.g. add 10 minutes to the “sniffy” dog walk, eat breakfast before I leave the house – until it becomes part of my routine then I start one or two more. When I first retired I was all over the place with my time and never seemed to accomplish much of anything. Now I too schedule things like practicing my guitar playing, going to the gym, even knitting. My calendar isn’t loaded up so there is still room for spontaneity but having dedicated time for personal pursuits, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes daily or weekly, has led to an appreciation of the little things in life that bring me joy, reduction in stress, and actual completed projects.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 11:45 am

      Hi Jaye, thanks! Yes, I think just a bit of a routine is good for our mental and emotional health too.

  14. Linda B
    January 2, 2017 / 5:56 am

    What a great post! Your choices are clearly smart for you and inspiration for the rest of us. For instance, I love the idea of the art date once a month–I always think vaguely about doing something like that but almost never do it. Monthly is realistic. I’ll have to try setting a day, though my work life and family demands may challenge me to keep it.

    Ten years ago today, realizing I’d be turning 50 in the ensuing year and not wanting to literally carry extra baggage with me, I walked into my local Weight Watchers. Through their “simply filling” plan, I made adjustments to my already healthy lifestyle and lost 30 pounds. This included increasing my activity level–exercise grew from 3-4 days a week to 5-7. I have never regretted these changes!

    Wishing everyone success with making healthier choices in 2017!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 11:44 am

      Thanks, Linda! I’ve had good results with Weight Watchers too. It’s not drastic, and is flexible enough that I can tailor to how I like to eat.

  15. susanburpee
    January 2, 2017 / 6:19 am

    I always feel the urge to reset…something…after the New Year. Usually it’s getting back on track with fitness after a week of eating too much and, this year, a couple of 11 hour days in the car when we made the long drive home for Christmas. Not to mention all that sitting and “visiting” with family and friends.

    About walking. I can highly recommend brisk walking as part of a fitness routine. It’s actually part of the rehab routine for heart surgery patients…Hubby had to start a week after his surgery with 5 minutes twice a day. He thought he would abandon it after he was back on his feet in favour of the more strenuous activities he’d always done. Nope. Now four years after surgery, if he can’t ski or ride a bike he walks. And a couple of times a week we walk together. We even save our “discussions” for our walks. Talk about travel, issues, things I’m writing about on my blog. It’s a full hour of time where we can talk with no interruptions.

    Good luck with your new routine, Sue. And Happy new Year.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 11:42 am

      Hi Susan, I think it’s natural after the bustle of the holidays to want to get back into routines and healthy habits. I love walking, and will also try to find more time for some brisk walking.

      • January 2, 2017 / 5:10 pm

        Is there any possibility of you riding a REAL bicycle where you live, or does the LA sprawl make that too perilous?

        • Susan B
          January 2, 2017 / 5:23 pm

          LA drivers and lack of bike lanes make it a bit perilous, yes. Plus, I like being able to have a routine that I can do rain or shine, without having to get dressed to go out.

  16. January 2, 2017 / 6:35 am

    There’s been so much “resetting” in my life over the past year and a half that I’m very wary of anything BUT the incremental, small moves you speak of. Besides trying to decide which grocery store will be our regular one, I’m trying to decide which course to take or group to join or volunteer opportunity to apply for so that I can begin to build a social network for myself over here — I want to be careful that I choose something that will be engaging enough but that will leave time for the friends I hope to make. And we’re still adjusting to the delights of having two daughters and their families so close by and to building a schedule around that reality that leaves time for (prioritises?) our/my own priorities and self-care.
    And yes! That Art Wednesday — we’ve long had subscriptions to the Vancouver Art Gallery, but last year I only managed to get there two or three times. They have a Walker Evans exhibition on right now, and that’s top of this week’s agenda.
    I look forward to seeing the changes in your blog this year (there have been a few over the 9 or so years I’ve been following you). And I’m sure those small steps you’re plotting right now will bring you much satisfaction over the year. Happy 2017!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Hi Frances, yes, you’ve really undertaken some MAJOR life changes! I’d encourage you not to put too much pressure on yourself, but rather allow yourself to ease into what feels right. Happy New Year, and I’ll be emailing you soon…

  17. Sarah Harvey
    January 2, 2017 / 7:59 am

    Hi Susan: I like your goals. I’ve been retired 4 years now. I still don’t really have a set schedule but I do incorporate exercise into each day’s schedule. I like that you’re giving yourself an ‘art’ day every month and I think modifying the frequency of your posts will allow you that desired breathing room for rumination and improved communication. It’s a real pleasure for me to get your posts in my inbox and to see you on FB every day. Take good care of yourself. Here’s to a wonderful new year! Sally

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 11:01 am

      Hi Sally, I think everyone finds a rhythm that works for them. Exercise is so important, glad you’ve found a way to include it regularly.

  18. Mary Perez
    January 2, 2017 / 8:59 am

    Susan, Am retired as well.. yours is the first “fashion” blog I read each day, after my gardening blogs. I love clothes, but plants are my first love. Thinking about why I like your blog so much more than others that have mostly pictures of celebrities in ever changing outfits. Believe it’s because you’re a thoughtful person living a balanced life. I’ve found that adding a volunteer hour once a week of tutoring first graders in reading is rewarding on many levels, and they like it too. Best wishes for 2017!!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 10:59 am

      Hi Mary, thanks for reading! I’ve been thinking about some volunteer opportunities too. Yours sounds very rewarding!

      • Jill Ann
        January 3, 2017 / 6:57 pm

        Susan, if you’re looking at volunteer opportunities, please consider your local Dress for Success. So rewarding, plus it’s just fun to dress real live people up (like playing Barbies with humans!)

        • Susan B
          January 4, 2017 / 8:06 pm

          Hi Jill Ann, once I get my schedule a bit more settled, that’s one of the things I’m going to look into!

  19. Ann
    January 2, 2017 / 9:13 am

    Susan, hear, hear! re all your gentle 2017 resolutions. I also retired at the end of 2015 from a lifetime of high-stress, work-work-work life, which I loved, but it was time to “graduate” and move on. For a few years prior to that, I prepared for retirement by losing 100 pounds (it took two years) and by building a much healthier lifestyle that includes structured, regular exercise. These changes were precipitated by our family doctor observing that although I was very successful in other areas of my life I was just terrible at self-care and obviously needed help figuring out why I was so bad at it and how to improve. 😉 For some of us, we really do need to hit rock-bottom before we can take ourselves in hand. Encouraged by my doc, I found a good therapist, focused on myself, and have changed my life in wonderful ways.

    The best news is that during my first year of retirement I maintained my 100-pound weight loss, which in all my yo-yo dieting life I’d never done before. Today I eat so much better, exercise 5-6 days a week (walking, yoga, aquarobics), and sleep better. In fact, I think you’ll be surprised at how regular, frequent exercise will help you on the sleeping front.

    IMHO, retirement is a GREAT time to take ourselves in hand. For most of us, retirement brings less stress and more free time. Yes, it may also come with old-age diseases (our own, spouses’, and parents’) that we have to navigate, which our family is contending with in spades. But our elder years also come with a slight bit of wisdom that helps us know that what we choose to do and enjoy today is pretty much all that matters in the big scheme of things.

    Good grief, I sound like a reformed smoker! 😉 Here’s to another trip around the sun for us all.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 10:56 am

      Ann, congratulations on making and sticking with your healthy changes! I agree that the challenges of possible caretaking make it more important than ever to be sure we’re taking care of ourselves too.

  20. Teddi
    January 2, 2017 / 9:40 am

    I retired from working an 8:00 to 5:00 after over 40 years, but I did it because I was running my own business at the same time and I was exhausted. It is going on three years now and I still haven’t figured out how to stick to a schedule. Too many things come up. My calendar gets full of commitments and conferences. I enjoy reading your blog and getting travel fashion advice. We attend several conferences in the US every year and usually one in Europe. Last year we spent ten days attending conferences and visiting customers in Busan, Korea and Qingdao, China. I have enjoyed your and Josephine’s different fashion perspectives. A basic wardrobe can be tweaked for most occasions with information such as you have provided. Thank you both for a bright spot in my day.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 10:55 am

      Hi Teddi, yes I think frequent travel does make it harder to set and stick with routines. Thanks!

  21. Garden Goddess
    January 2, 2017 / 9:59 am

    Great idea, Susan, about the “Day of Art”. A monthly excursion to visit an art museum is a good fit for my list, along with a weekly day of doing art myself. The “Masters of the American West” exhibition is opening at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park in February, which I find always enjoyable https://theautry.org/exhibitions/masters-american-west. The Getty Museums also have some fabulous exhibits: http://www.getty.edu/museum/exhibitions/. I wish I lived closer so I could go more often! Oh, and don’t forget that most every museum has a “Free Day” every month. If you dig around on their websites you can usually find them.

    If you want to try making some art yourself! You can sometimes find art immersion classes at the museums, but some art stores offer classes as well (often for beginners). Junior colleges have a lot of art classes, but even better are the Emeritus classes offered by some schools that are not only cheaper, but aren’t graded, so no stress or tests.

    For me, I’m planning to tweek my diet so ideally half of what I eat is vegetables and fruit. To that end, I’ll now be having a big salad for lunch every day. (Though, if it’s too cold outside, that may end up being a brothy vegetable soup!). As a bonus, since I’ve already got a weekly plan for breakfasts, I’ll only have to really plan one meal a day. I’ve designated each day of the week for a different cuisine, so that should make it even easier–though I’ll really have to watch portions as I won’t have lunch to dispose of any leftovers…

    Another goal on my list is expressing gratitude, so Susan, thank you for all the time you spend on your blog and for sharing it with us!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 10:53 am

      Hi Garden Goddess, yes getting back to the Getty is at the top of my list. 🙂

  22. Joanna
    January 2, 2017 / 11:01 am

    I tend to do everything all out. Just my personality. I like your thoughtful approach to change. It’s paramount at this stage of our lives (60s) that we take our health in our hands and part of that is exercising every day and eating right. I think in our busy work schedules that we slack in both due to time constraints. I’ll look forward to your MWF posts, Susan.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:12 pm

      Thanks Joanna! I agree, one of the things we realize with age is that we can’t take our health for granted.

  23. January 2, 2017 / 11:57 am

    Did you see the NYT article about how to become a “superager”? It’s about pushing your limits. I think that aversion and deprivation are in part a state of mind. Treats are good, but they should be rare, not a matter of course. We as a society have turned them into daily (or even more) routines, rather than exceptional events that are savored.
    As for exercise, I just adore my FitBit, which really makes it clear in black and white whether I’ve been active or sedentary. It also shows that I don’t sleep well, and I have been making changes to improve that. Without it, I’d be going by feeling rather than fact.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      Hi francetaste, sounds like an interesting article. I’m not interested in turning my life into an endurance event 😉 but agree that some types of treats should be savored sparingly.

      • January 2, 2017 / 10:39 pm

        No, but I see plenty of people in their 70s and 80s who are “old” and others who are still active and healthy. I’d rather be part of the latter.

        • Anonymous
          January 3, 2017 / 4:11 am

          Agree. If you’ve been able to hang on to reasonable health for your age, think to a large extent age is an attitude of mind. I’ll be 70 soon but people have no idea as I always style my outfits, even just to go to the local shopping centre, wear good lipsticks with colour (eg the Chanel inks) and nail polish, jewellery etc and still have natural coloured hair which has only a few streaks of grey. Husband and I spend a lot of time at art galleries/museums, read and travel a lot, see friends, follow current affairs, attend film festivals, work in our garden and I also work part time as a volunteer for a charity. The other day we received a phone call from a different charity asking us to participate in something a bit beyond our powers so I told the guy that there was no one in our house under 70 (anticipating my next birthday slightly). Don’t think he believed me as he said “that’s hard to believe, you sound as if you’re about 40”. I told him he’d made my day!

          Carpe diem is a good motto as we age. So important to make the most of every day. Even people who appear fit and have a healthy lifestyle can suddenly be hit by bad news. I think so much about one of my oldest friends – who looked fabulous and fit – she was recently diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She and her husband went off on holidays after her surgeries to have a break before the next awful set of treatments begin. I admire her so much – she has taken it so well and so bravely – and is making the most of whatever time she has left.

  24. January 2, 2017 / 12:12 pm

    In December, my daughter had bariatric surgery. She is making tremendous changes in her life and I realize the need to support her by example. I walk regularly but the bicycle (target zone) and the weights (bone density) are essential as I close in on 65. I also belong to the Art Gallery and I should set aside a day a month to go downtown to visit. I am travelling for about 3 months this year so it is difficult to build routines. I like the idea of a fitbit because my sleep is disturbed. I hope that your new schedule works for you.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:18 pm

      Hi Joanne, thanks! Yes, it’s also good to be thinking about bone density…I do some hand weights but wonder if I should be doing more.

  25. Denise
    January 2, 2017 / 12:13 pm

    I feel particularly motivated twice a year – at the start of fall and in January – and I like to take advantage of that enthusiasm if I can. My efforts, too, have been more successful when I plan for small steps and don’t wildly “over expect.” One article I read a while back suggesting tackling new habits one at a time and giving them a month or two to become established before starting something else. I improved my sleep hygiene this way in 2016 and it has stuck, mostly!

    Thank you for sharing your recent challenges in moving away from your office job – I’ll be retiring in the next few years and am looking for ways to make the most of that transition, gracefully.

    Denise

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:20 pm

      Denise, thanks and that’s interesting about how long it takes for habits to become established.

  26. January 2, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    Happy New Year Susan! Great post!! Although I don’t make resolutions because I always manage to break them, my small change is to TRY to curb my gutter mouth. Notice–I will TRY!!!!!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:21 pm

      Catherine, Hah! I could probably make some improvements in that area as well… 😉

  27. Mary Fisher
    January 2, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    Hello Susan and All: Thank you for all the lovely and inspiring posts. Incremental is definitely the only way to make challenging changes to a more healthful lifestyle. Here are my resolutions for 2017
    1. Wear more of my jewelry. I have a lot, most of it not very valuable except of course to me. I can draw inspiration for an outfit, and it helps to get me out the door and on my way to work.
    2. Find a way to simplify the Thanksgiving to New Year’s corridor of obligations. This is a work in progress. For some reason, this year I missed on this one pretty completely.
    3. Make more dinners ahead of time for the 2 of us. Working on getting some non-toxic containers that can be microwaved and having the healthy dinner ready when I come home because unlike many of you, I am still several years away from retirement. Have today off, though.
    Cheers to all, Mary

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Hi Mary, I think those are great resolutions!!

  28. Tammi TerAvest
    January 2, 2017 / 2:17 pm

    I could not agree more. As s woman of a certain age (58) I’ve learned I do much better with small steps rather than major overhauls! Looking forward to a happier and more peaceful 2017. I loved this post.

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Thanks, Tammi!

  29. Chris
    January 2, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    I just marked my 5th year of retirement so I’m midway into my 60s and still navigating what this chapter looks like. As a good friend of mine noted, staying healthy with exercise is our new ‘job.’ She is much better at it than I’ve been but your practical incremental steps are great motivation. Thanks for your blog, Susan. I still want to be stylish and am thrilled when I get an unexpected compliment. Your post on eyewear helped me choose a new attractive frame, for example. And Eileen Fisher investment dressing is my favorite go-to option. Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Hi Chris, thanks so much! That’s interesting what your friend said about staying healthy being our new job. Something to think about…

  30. January 2, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    I’m with you on getting my heart rate into a higher range more often (partly due to my Fitbit saying that this is what I need to do to up my cardio health…worldoffitness has a useful online questionnaire which assesses your fitness/health, physiological age and how you can improve).

    I’ve found that unrealistic ‘all or nothing’ goals don’t work for me (if I fail to meet my goal one day, I tend to feel negative and then do the ‘start again’ Monday approach) so like you, I prefer the incremental approach. So I now have a minimum exercise goal for the week as well as an optimum one for the next few weeks (on leave ’til end of January so it’s a good time to exercise more). I also have a very specific goal relating to my sport, which should motivate me to train as often as humanly possible once the term starts (I do fencing, so three times a week is the maximum that it’s possible to attend).

    In the meantime, it’s summer in Australia and spending a couple of hours a day gardening on top of plunging back into my weights and cardio routine has definitely left me sore!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:25 pm

      cathiwalker, fencing, wow! I’ve always thought that looked like fun as well as a great workout. Gardening can be quite a workout too!

  31. Shreddie
    January 2, 2017 / 2:58 pm

    From a purely selfish point of view, I am sorry you won’t be blogging every day, but I guess I’ll get used to it. Have fun on those days off getting inspiration for your MWF posts. 🙂

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 4:26 pm

      Hi Shreddie, thanks! I may eventually add back more posts during the week once I get a handle on my schedule and feel more on top of things.

  32. Karin
    January 2, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    Those are great resolutions! I think 3 is about the maximum number anyone can hope to stick with. I was cleaning out my office today and found my list of resolutions from last year. It had about 20 things on it; I had to laugh.

    This year I made 3:

    1) Be kind to everyone, including myself. I think many of us, especially women, are too hard on ourselves.
    2) Find little ways to bring more joy into daily life–whether using beautiful things, taking a moment to savor the sun, pet the dog, etc. I tend to be very task-oriented (as a small-business owner, I have to be) but I too often carry that “check-off-the-list” mentality into my personal life as well.
    3) View all things with love. Approaching any difficult situation from a mind-set of love instead of fear or defensiveness works wonders.

    Happy New Year and thanks for all the enjoyment your posts bring!

    • Susan B
      January 2, 2017 / 5:24 pm

      These are wonderful resolutions, Karin!

  33. Jacqueline
    January 2, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    This is the last year of my 6th decade. I retired 8 years ago. At first I was all over the place with yoga, and cycling, and walking, but for various reasons dropped the cycling, and then the yoga (instructor moved to the East coast) and then started making excuses about the walking. Because I want to be able to “move” come rain or come shine, I got a treadmill and have had success with that, switching up terrain, and speeds. It’s been the one consistent form of exercise that I enjoy since my cycling years. Over the last eight years I’ve had times of low motivation so I made myself a promise, that I could watch a series on Netflix (on my iPad) only if I were moving. No cheating. Want to watch Grace & Frankie? Gotta be on the treadmill. Peaky Blinders? Gotta be moving. I bought a few nice active wear bottoms and tops so I feel comfortable while sweating and off to the treadmill I go! Works for me! Good luck with your transitions!

    • citizen spot
      January 3, 2017 / 7:44 pm

      Great idea on move to watch! Think of the motion at powering the media source. Can’t watch if you don’t walk (or pedal in my case).

      • citizen spot
        January 3, 2017 / 7:46 pm

        at should be as. Doh!

    • Michelle
      January 4, 2017 / 2:09 am

      This really is brilliant. Wanna watch? Only while moving.

    • Susan B
      January 4, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      That’s such a great strategy to incorporate exercise, Jacqueline!

  34. Alison M.
    January 3, 2017 / 11:58 am

    I love the comment about the “Thanksgiving to New Year’s corridor”! We have more control than we realize when it comes to navigating this challenging period that sets the tone for the upcoming year. One thing I just did today was throw away some of the unopened sweet/salty/fatty food gifts that were still hanging around the house. My husband and I don’t need this junk in our diets, we don’t eat this kind of stuff on a regular basis (chocolate covered potato chips, to name one example) and I don’t want to pass it on to co-workers/friends because nobody really needs the extra fat and calories. Next year, I’m going to be more strict about what comes in to the house—and with these generous but fattening gifts, I will treasure the card but send the food to the trash. I think that counts as a small step.

    • Susan B
      January 4, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      Alison, I agree, and we always try to clear out the junk right away.

  35. Debra K
    January 3, 2017 / 5:54 pm

    These are all such inspiring comments. I just turned 65 and still work full-time, but Carrie Fisher’s death also hit hard. I like my job but worry that I’ll spend too many healthy years working instead of enjoying the things I keep putting off. I agree with your idea of small, steady steps toward change. One thing my husband and I instituted to keep from frittering away our weekends was to pick one new thing to do on a Sat or Sun — whether it was a new restaurant, a free concert, a bike ride on a different route, or a just-opened exhibit. Adding new memories and experiences is a great way to stimulate the brain and to keep the time from just drifting away without you even realizing where it went or what you did to enjoy it.
    Keep up the great blogs Susan. We are planning a week-long trip to Edinburgh and London in June and your travel wardrobe/packing ideas are so helpful. Anyone else with suggestions for those cities would be most welcome!

    • Susan B
      January 4, 2017 / 8:10 pm

      Hi Debra, that’s a great idea about scheduling a new experience regularly. London…there’s SO much, and I feel as though we’ve barely scratched the surface! In Edinburgh, I’d suggest signing up for a walking tour (there are many based on your interests), and be sure to visit the Royal Botanic Garden, it’s fabulous!

  36. Elaine Miles
    January 6, 2017 / 6:37 am

    I certainly do better with baby steps and not to be too hard on myself. Thanks for the inspiration love all your posts and will look forward to read future ones.

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