Posts tagged January
A Slow Living Guide to Setting Goals

At the start of a new year, resolutions are flying around all over the place, decorations are shed, and it's back to reality. For most, that means a much busier lifestyle, with more complications and demands on our time, so it seems quite apt today to be focusing on living a slower, simpler existence, and how setting goals with this in mind can help to ease the transition.

The crux of slow living lies in knowing what you want and what’s important to you. How do we know what we’re slowing down for if we haven’t decided what’s important?

So let’s get started.

First, list the 3 most important things that you want to prioritise in your life. These should be things that you might not feel you have time for, or that have fallen by the wayside as your life has slowly got more and more chaotic. Why 3? It’s both achievable and allows us to push the boundaries of what we really want. Try to limit it to 3, and if you’ve got more ideas you can follow the same process later once you’ve worked through the steps to prioritise them in your life.

You’ve now got a basic grounding, but in order to set goals we need to transform these priorities into something more specific. For example, instead of just writing “family,” change it to “visit my parents at least once a week.” We’re using the idea of SMART targets here – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.

Obviously you’re not going to be able to fit anything new in during the times you currently have to spend at work, in appointments etc. So you’ll need to figure out when your best day / time of the day is in order to squeeze in your goals. Somethings that can mean getting up a little earlier, or cutting out that extra hour spent browsing social media, but prioritising your important things means living a happier and more fulfilling life.

Here's the important bit...

Once you’ve scheduled them in, try including them one at a time. The problem with resolutions is that we're expected to include all of them immediately, and no one has the time or mind-space for that.  You might succeed for the first week, or even the second, but then something will slip and the first thing you’ll lose and forget about is what you’ve most recently implemented. Try one goal at a time (and ideally focus on this one goal for a whole month) and you’ll be developing a ritual rather than just a standing entry in your diary or planner.

There's been a lot written on this blog about slow living, so if you're feeling inspired, here's a few more ideas to get you started on your slow living journey:

Eat Seasonably in January

If I'm honest, I'm still hung up on the cranberry and wild rice recipe I discovered in December's eat seasonably post; it has provided much needed relief after wading through mountains of roast potatoes (not that I'm complaining!) and takes so little effort that I'll be continuing to whip this up for a quick dinner alongside oven-baked salmon after work.

If you're on the look-out for other healthy foods to kick off the year, why not try kale? Oven baked with sea salt to make crunch crisps or steamed as a side, its earthy taste accompanies a whole range of seasonal dishes. If kale's not your thing then fear not, for January is the month when oranges take centre stage. Stock up on seville oranges and try your hand at marmalade (easier than you think!) or make the most of the short season for blood oranges. The deep red flesh of these fruits is delicious squeezed as juice or added to a sponge cake in the same way you would use lemons.

Root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots are still in supply and can be added to hearty stews if the weather turns bleak once again, or if you'd prefer something a bit different why not experiment with Moroccon cooking? One of my Christmas presents was a tagine pot and I am very much looking forward to experimenting with recipes to suit. I've already got my eye on this chicken and almond pastilla as well as a traditional lamb tagine.

January's produce from our own plot is minimal (and this year non-existent), but with a few choice vegetables and a cupboard full of spices we're looking forward to experimenting a little more with what we have.


January is all about... fresh starts, cold mornings, making marmalade, emerging life and feeling grateful for the new year.

Something to eat: Whether you make your own marmalade or not, adding it to a sticky, greedy pudding is the perfect thing for a cold Sunday afternoon after a long wintry walk. Try this recipe.

Something to visit: A farmers' market. Kick start those healthy eating resolutions and buy fresh and local.

Something to make: Plans for the garden or veg patch. Or if you've neither of these, plans for the year in general. January is a great time to get organised for the year ahead; I'll be buying my seeds from here and planning out what produce to grow.

Something to celebrate: Burns Night.  The annual celebration of the Scottish poet takes place on Sunday 25th January; it's a time to join together after the revelry of Christmas and toast good health with a good measure of Scottish whisky. Bagpipes and other traditional tunes accompany a Scottish feast which of course includes haggis. Find out more here.

Something a bit different: Start a photo diary. Last year my resolution was to take more photographs and I certainly achieved that. Why not go one step further and take a photograph every day?