A Life in Paris

2018 New Year’s Resolutions (& update on my 2017 resolutions)

December 31, 2017

Let’s recap: I had six resolutions for 2017!

live a healthy lifestyle, reduce intake of toxins from plastics, save for retirement, build an online business, improve my French, and focus my mind with mindfulness

I didn’t really win at any of these.

*Here’s the link to the article I wrote about my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Here’s what I actually prioritized in 2017 above all these idealic resolutions:

spending time with my mom when she visited us in Paris; visiting nearly all of my husband’s family around France; traveling to Milan, Normandy, Provence, and Barcelona; and spending 5 weeks in the US attempting to see as many loved ones as possible (but only actually seeing a third of those I would have liked to see).

We did an awful lot of traveling!


Here’s the progress (or lack there of) I made on my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Healthy lifestyle: this is nearly impossible for me to accomplish while traveling, given the train schedules and visiting time. This was a bust.
  2. Reduce toxins from plastics: This is the 2017 New Year’s resolution I probably spent the most time on. I did loads of research and came up with more questions than answers because it turns out that our cosmetic and body care products are loaded with toxins, even products that say “natural” on the label. Plus some of the good products come wrapped in plastic. I have not yet found the appropriate substitutes that are free of toxins (AND work well, and come in non-plastic packaging). And to make matters worse, the non-toxic products sometimes cost twice the price! Plus I’m addicted to my contact lenses. There’s an endless list of things I have not succeeded with towards this goal. To be fair, I did make several advances. One permanent switch I made was in using baking soda as deodorant, even when I travel. Another is using bamboo toothbrushes. I buy some form of eco-friendly clothes detergent which unfortunately comes in a plastic bottle. I nearly always use handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. And I buy my granola in bulk using cloth bags once a month. I now have a whole set of large and medium size cloth produce bags, in addition to my collection of cotton reusable shopping bags. For picnics and eating out, I acquired two sets of ultra lightweight sporks and knives, reusable bamboo chopsticks, stainless steel cups, and several stainless steel food containers. I carry an attractive stainless steel water mug with me to work, and I have a large outdoorsy one for big travel trips. And to top it all off, I created a map of all the shops in Paris where I can buy non toxic products. That’s some kind of progress, I guess. But I still buy my meat and cheese and salmon wrapped in plastic. The unpackaged alternatives are simply too expensive. Plus, the ugly cheap carrots that would otherwise get thrown in the trash are… you guessed it: in a plastic bag. And I can’t ever seem to remember to ask the waiter to not bring me a straw. Then there’s the buying of clothes (I keep buying new instead of used), and the fact that the hair-conditioner-bar-soaps just don’t work as well as the name brand products in plastic bottles. This is a crazy complicated project that will take me years to sort out.
  3. Save for retirement: bahahahaha Did you see that photo of the California coastline at the top of this post? All of my money went to travel this year, and in particular travel to the US.
  4. Build an online business: I built the website, and my good friend Kelsey made me my logos, and I got business advice from Greg, and I conducted a customer survey, and I started building a product… but I find the whole thing completely unmotivating. What am I REALLY passionate about? What gets  me super motivated and is something I’m willing to put in a lot of time and energy on? Ending poverty on a global scale by changing laws on corporate governance and economic policy. Which has nothing to do with my online English language learning business…. This resolution has become a side project. And to try to connect my values to the online bit, I’ve started translating and editing English documents related to my values (political science, economics, climate action, CleanTech, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals).
  5. Improve my French: I did improve my French a little bit. But I still make grammar mistakes that I feel I should not be making anymore. Some French people simply refuse to understand me if I make grammar mistakes, which I find unforgiving and frustrating.  Since my job is in English, this is a difficult goal to aspire to, but I’ll keep at it for sure!
  6. Mindfulness: nope. I just did not actually make this a priority. I downloaded two apps with great recordings, and then chose to use them to fall asleep to, rather than to train my brain to focus. Maybe I did a real mindfulness exercise on average once every two weeks.


In reality my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions looked more like this:

  1. Travel to amazing places with my husband.
  2. Visit as many dear ones as possible.
  3. Research ways to reduce toxins in my life and take baby steps forward. Also, feel guilty for every part of this goal that is unresolved.
  4. Start basic elements of online business, and tell everyone about it; but do not finish the first product. (haha, oops.)


So, it’s December 31st. What’s the plan for 2018?

I need 2018 New Year’s Resolutions that I will REALLY truly prioritize!

First of all, 6 resolutions was too many. It led me to feel frazzled and overwhelmed. I clearly need to simplify everything.

Second, several of my resolutions didn’t line up with my values (saving-money vs traveling-to-see-dear-ones & buying-organic-non-toxic-food-and-home-supplies; or building an online income around business English vs fighting for economic justice). So this year I need to be clear about my core self and how I want to give to the world.


These are my only two New Year’s Resolutions for 2018:

  1. De-stress and become lady-zen. This is a purposefully very vague goal, with mind and body health as the ultimate hoped-for outcome. To accomplish this, I’ll likely use a variety of different methods: sleep, exercise, mindfulness, very healthy eating, taking yoga classes, and laughter. This resolution may also include purposefully adjusting my attitudes toward the people in my life , and my reactions toward current events.
  2. Center my career around my values. This definitely includes writing more on topics that match my values, attending related conferences, and partnering with academics and businesses that need English editing and translating. Ideally this means getting back into well-paid non profit work that takes advantage of my leadership and project management skills. This may include returning to grad school.

I will of course continue to strive for better French skills, to save money, to reduce toxins, and all the rest, but without all the pressure to get it done in a year. Focusing on only two goals will also give me the brain space to truly F.O.C.U.S and prioritize my life.

Beyond that, I really should spend some time analyzing my saving-money vs visiting-loved-ones conundrum. This is a logic puzzle I haven’t found the solution for, but one I’d  truly like to have clarity on!

Do you have any tips for achieving my 2018 New Year’s Resolutions?

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  • Reply Ellen January 6, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    What an update!
    Good to have two potentially attainable goals for 2018!
    Best wishes!
    I resolve to be more of a Global Citizen and see the connectedness of all beings and all on Planet Earth!
    One tall order.

    • Reply Tammy January 8, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Thanks! I like your resolution. It’s a wonderful way to think about the world and the people here. We are all truly connected to each other with every purchase we make, and every vote we cast – at the very least. Good luck with your resolution!

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