Habits I’m taking into 2021 —

I will be honest, I am ending 2020 in such a place of joy. This year was a heck of a ride, just as I am sure it has been for everyone else. I am concluding this year so different than this time last year, let alone even the beginning of this year. God has been, and still is, continuously refining me and teaching more everyday.

I always like to take time to reflect at the end of each year and reflect/plan for the coming year. This year is no different, and I am stoked to see what 2021 brings (not to mention, I am starting the new year with a new job *finally*).

Skin care

The past few months I have learned a lot about skin care, specifically from Cassandra Bankson (on Youtube). She is a medical esthetician, and is constantly discussing popular skin care trends and breaking down the efficiency and/or lack thereof of brands, products, formulas, etc. Through Cassandra, I have learned the need to “turn and learn” the ingredients in my skin care, recognizing that “prevention is easier than treatment”, and I have begun developing a skin care routine for my own self. In truth, I have never really been against the idea wrinkles and don’t mind the idea of my skin showing my emotions, but I am discovering that I don’t want wrinkles as a consequence of not taking care of my skin.

For 2021: I want to continue developing my skin care routine and discovering products and steps that I like, as well as continuing to use the products and steps I love (such as moisturizing my neck and chest, using an oil cleanser for removing makeup, increasing routine sunscreen usage, and using Bio Oil — this little product has been crazy with reducing my acne scarring and speeding up the lifetime of any/all pimples).

Hair care

In September, I decided to give The Curly Girl Method a try, and I am really interested in seeing where this will take my hair. That being said, yes, I knowww I don’t have pin curls or the like; however, based on what I can see in my hair and what I know of my genetics, I probably have beachy waves (Type 2 a/b curls). I’ve stopped using a brush or a comb in my hair (save for when my mother-in-law cuts my hair), I’ve made sure that my shampoo and conditioner don’t have silicones and sulfates in them (shout-out to Function of Beauty for their customizable options), and I’m taking steps to protect my hair/curls after the shower. I used a diffuser on my hair for the first time on Christmas Eve, and I loved the results. With my first paycheck from this new job, I plan on purchasing a new hair dryer with a diffuser option.

For 2021: I want to continue the habits I’ve already started with my hair, and I want to continue to investigate and develop steps that help take my hair to its natural curliness. I also plan on continuing to use minimal heat on my hair (apart from using the diffuser) .

Learning about zero waste/minimalism/sustainability

The last few months of 2020, I have fallen into the zero waste, sustainability, and minimalism community on Youtube. (This will be a post in and of itself, and is coming, as I think this is a powerful manifestation of the words of intention God had given me for 2020.) Learning all about these topics and aiming to implement some of these things into my life and home and habits has been a wonderful project for me, and is touching a happy place in my heart.

For 2021: Though there are specific habits coming later in the list, I want to continue to learn from the above linked people, and work to implement those lifestyle habits, as well as challenge my way of thinking about the products I buy, investigating the companies I give money to, and how much waste I create.

Glass jars

This is one of the easiest, and most beginner steps, that is encouraged for anyone looking to reduce their waste. (Though, arguments could be made that recycling glass is more sustainable, and searching for glass jars at thrift stores is a better option.) However, I have a goal for the future of phasing out our plastic storage containers and using glass ones instead. I’d also really like to shop bulk for grains, rice, etc., but the only local bulk shop is more than I’d like to pay at the moment; however, having reusable containers is a great start for this. I started saving any and all glass jars we get at the grocery store (like salsa, pasta sauce, spice jars, etc.) and I have been using them as storage instead of Ziploc bags for leftover onions, containers for leftovers, storage for rice and pasta (especially those that come in plastic packaging), etc. I even rearranged our kitchen to put these jars at more convenient places, in order to discourage using the plastic ones. (Though, the working-on-convincing-my-husband-part is still a work in progress.)

For 2021: I want to continue this habit, and I’d also like to look towards limiting our plastic packaging usage. I’m kind of really liking the aesthetic of unlabeled glass jars in my cabinets.

Cruelty free/vegan makeup and products

Somewhere in the middle of the year, I decided it was important for to re-evaluate the makeup, beauty, skin care, etc., products I was using to make sure they were not tested on animals. I’m not entirely sure where this need came from, but I’m so glad it presented itself. I have been using Cruelty-Free Kitten as a solid resource for researching which companies test on animals and which ones don’t. (And geez, as I’m writing this, my cat has curled up near my lap, purring, so this conversation is really being put into perspective.) Also, by my standards, I do not count products that are sold in China as cruelty-free, based on the country’s policies, even if the companies are currently working with China to change the policies.

For 2021: Though I have a challenge for myself to not buy any more makeup products until I have a need, I want to continue evaluating any and all products I purchase in order to ensure that I am giving money to companies who do not test on animals. As much as possible, this also includes a focus on using vegan products, where applicable. (Don’t ask me yet about my thoughts on going full-vegan, as I am not even sure how to start answering that yet.) Thanks again to Cassandra Bankson, I want to continue to “turn and learn” the labels on my products to ensure I know the details of each product I buy. (This does also include food products, Fair Trade/Direct Trade policies, Certified B Corporation, etc. labels for any and all related products.)

Upcycling food waste

In an attempt to minimize my waste and be mindful of my food scraps, I’ve started saving onion skins, carrot peels, etc., to make veggie broth. This has been really fun for me, as I’ve noticed each broth is a little different, based on the amount of which veggie we used most during that time frame. (Bonus points for the fact that I am using recycled glass jars as freezer storage for my veggie scrapes.) Pinging back again to skin care, I have started making my own face masks from food ingredients (alllll are approved and encouraged for skin care, such as oatmeal, honey, and turmeric). I’m not much of a milk drinker, but I have started making my own oat milk (which is also great in smoothies), and I use the strained oat pulp as the oats for my face masks (also as a base for vegan brownies, when we don’t have eggs).

For 2021: I want to continue to be mindful of our food scrapes, and to continue to learn creative ways of using food scrapes, or bits of food that get tossed. I want to continue, as well, seeing what veggies I can grow on my kitchen window sill. So far, I’ve been successful with re-growing a green onion and celery.

Composting

My husband is big on fishing and has talked about getting/starting a compost box that also functions as a worm bin. I’m so game for this, as it serves two purposes: 1. My husband gets his worms, and 2. I get a compost bin. Twenty-twenty is ending with this not yet being completed, but I have been saving compost bins in our freezer, as a way to target our food waste.

For 2021: I want to continue to save our food scraps (apart from meat) in prep for this compost bin, as well as just in general. I have found that composting food scraps has made me very aware of the food that we waste or don’t eat before it goes bad.

Candles

This is something I started even prior to getting married, but as I love a good candle and now have my own home to make smell nice, I want to make sure that I’m finding more sustainable ways of burning candles. Somewhere along the lines, I realized that there is still a good bit of wax left over when the wick is burned, and the jar is still a solid container. I don’t throw my candles out when the wick is burnt completely; instead, I clean out the remaining wax, melt it down with similar scents, and create a new candle, pouring the wax into a cleaned out, up-cycled candle jar. I’ve started using the cleaned out candle jars for succulent planters, as well as bathroom storage (instead of buying storage, also trying to save money here).

For 2021: I want to continue this habit, as well as fine-tuning the best ways to create wicks. I will be *shortly* developing my list of my “no-buy” items for this new year (which is a new thing for me this year), and I want to include candles on that list, as I have several recycled/up-cycled candles I should burn first. I also want to continue to find creative ways to use the candle jars after they have been used and cleaned.

Accepting apologies

This is something I’ve been challenging myself to do here at the end of year. I saw this idea on Instagram, re-shared it, and it has made quite the impression on me. I’ve noticed this year that I have a tendency to down-play my experiences from the actions of others, in order to minimize my *perceived* inconvenience on others, or to not make them feel bad about how they hurt me. Twenty-twenty has been a healing/growing year for me (read: growing pains and the surgery of growth), and through it, I have been nurturing how I take care of my own self (mostly my mind, boundaries, emotions, and soul).

For 2021: This is a habit that is important to me, and I know this is more than just a surface level habit (deeper than taking care of my hair and my skin, and learning about zero waste habits) that will help me become better at taking care of myself. And, this is definitely something I want to teach my future children.

Owning my mistakes before they are called out

Along the same lines as the previous habit, I’ve started owning my mistakes and apologizing for them before being asked to, and/or when I recognize them. No, I’m not trying to virtue signal here, and I apologize if it is coming across as such. But I have found this to be an exercise in my integrity, my intentionality in friendships, and my growing in the Holy Spirit’s nudging.

For 2021: Much like the previous habit, this is something I want to continue, as I know it will lead to growth. But I will be honest, as much as I want to continue this habit, I also know this one will be one of the bigger challenges to uphold.

Quiet time

This is something I began to develop here at the end of the year. I’ve been trying to read the entire Bible, Genesis to Revelation, in a year, and in aiming to complete, I’ve been doing a lot of my reading in the evening before bed, or after my husband goes to bed. This has been a really nice time for me (as we still have Christmas up) and I get to be still and quiet, while diving deep into the Word of God. With this new job, my evening hours are a little more opened, which sets up perfectly to continue this habit, even past reading the last bits I have left of the Bible.

For 2021: One of my goals for the new year is to read all of the books on my TBR (“to be read”) list, and with this habit, not only does it set the perfect stage for setting a solid bedtime routine/discipline, but it also is the perfect time to tackle this goal.

Social media

Around the time HB and I were in Kona, HA, I cleared my social media off my phone, for a number of reasons. When I finally logged back into my socials, I quickly realized how much I used them as a time waster and how much they quickly diluted my sense both my own self worth and my enjoyment in my own life. Because I could recognize this impact, I logged off of my social medias and have trained myself to log in and log out every time I want to access those profiles.

For 2021: I want to continue this, as well as continuing to learn my personal boundaries with social media (though I do have a goal of sharing more of my learning process of zero waste, sustainable practices, and minimalism). For the past few years, as well, I take a week detox between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and I have found this to be a great way to start myself for the year.


This has been quite a list, but I’m actually thrilled at these habits, and I’m stoked to see how they develop in 2021. What are some habits you want to take into the New Year, and what are some you want to leave behind?

Ciao for now,

Julia Xx

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