Skip to main content

let’s do this, 2013!


Happy New Year guys! For the last several years, I've been anti-New Year's resolutions. I felt like I was telling myself to do the same things year after year, and that they should be things I work on all the time—not just at the beginning of the year. But lately I've come back around, and I think the best way to improve yourself is to tell someone else about your resolutions. It kind of keeps you in check, you know? So this year I've decided that in addition to reminding myself of some things I need to do better, also give myself a little credit for the things that went well last year to keep on doing… 



As much as I don't want to do it, and as much as I know it's not good for me, I need to be better at not comparing myself to others. Someone is always going to be smarter, more talented, a better multi-tasker, and more successful. I need to remember what my talents and strengths are, and let them stand out.


I am terrible with change. I like my comfy spot on the couch. I like the way I have a million tabs open on my browser even though it slows down my computer. And I like wearing flats in the winter even though my feet are cold. But sometimes (oftentimes), change is good, and brings with it a new perspective or a better way of doing things—even though it feels really uncomfortable at first. I have a feeling I'll always be working on this one, but c'mon, change…I'm ready for ya!


Last year, I focused so much on being a great mom that I didn't focus as much on being a great wife. I need to always remember how our little family started in the first place—with the love, respect, and admiration Bob and I had for each other long before Ruby arrived. With every new phase in life, we change and grow, but remembering how we got there keeps us flourishing through it all.



I wasn't always such a family girl, but my priorities definitely changed last year…for the better. Ruby put my life into better perspective. Even though I love my job, I no longer put it first. And you know what? It made me more productive, happier, and more content in all areas of my life.


While I still have a hard time not being busy, I've learned to appreciate the simple things a little more. I don't need to have a crazy schedule of activities lined up, I don't have to travel to a million different destinations—I don't have to do it all. The best memories often come from the everyday.


One thing my mom taught me from a very early age was to dream big. Sometimes you feel silly for wanting something that seems impossible. But you know what? It's better to try and get it than to sit there thinking it's impossible, right? I've got lots of fun projects, new businesses, and ideas I want to make happen this year. So, let's do this!

So, tell me friends…what's one thing you're working on improving this year and one thing you can pat yourself on the back for? I'd love to hear yours, too! 

{All photos by Bonnie Tsang, except baby goat photo by Bob Cho.}


  1. I am so with you on all of these. I feel the same about new year resolutions and why do we need Jan 1st to make more promises every year?? But your post has motivated me to make a few resolutions of my own. Thank you so much and wish you are able to meet all your 2013 goals 🙂 Cheers!!

  2. The one thing i did great last year was improve on my meditation practice. I feel awesome about it. The one thing I was to accomplish this year is my photography skills. I want to make it better and fall in love with my photographs!!

  3. These are great and I too have always felt anti resolutions at new year but this year I’m gonna do it! As some things need to change and what better time to make the changes! I really love the idea of looking at what to keep doing as well though as its easy to forget that there are things you are doing well when you focus so much on what you can do better! Thanks for the great post!

  4. I love these resolutions! Especially the dream big. I find myself getting. Aught up in the comparison thing as well and sometimes let it discourage me! I have a favorite quote, “your future is as bright as your faith!” I have to remind myself of that too often. You are so terrific! Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family!!

  5. fantastic list and that last one for things to improve in 2013 struck a chord too…there’s something about being a mom that makes it easy to put all your energy into, and on draining days, you don’t even really mind. But sometimes it comes at the expense of energy for others, and often times those closest to us. Just because we’re both committed to our littles, doesn’t mean that it replaces commitment to each other.
    I’m still nailing down my list but decided that this year will have a “light” theme – lightness of spirit, lightness of load…i think by being less burdened by heavier things, I’ll make some room for the things that matter more.

  6. Happy new year Joy! I love your New Years resolutions…I might need to add them onto my little list. ; ) one of my resolutions for this year is to GIVE more.

  7. Beautiful post darling. We all have to remember to not compare ourselves to others. I will often look at friends who have, in my opinion accomplished more then myself at a younger age and I hate it. But then I have to sit myself down and say you have a wonderful life. I also try to jump into change because I once read a quote that said “Change before you have to!” That has always stuck with me. Happy New Year doll!

  8. Happy New Year! I’m so excited to see what you have in store for us in 2013! I started my year off right by reading Blog Inc. Thanks so much for all you’re words of wisdom! I have high hopes for the year ahead.

  9. For me, 2013 is all about giving my five personal promises a voice. Like you, I abhor resolutions. Growth comes when our challenges and goals are achievable. For the new year, some of my promises are silly; others, serious. Blogging about them held me accountable, too. (And creating a Haiku Deck for easy reference was fun!)

  10. I love your last bit about dreaming big! It reminds me of something Donald Trump said, “If you’re going to think, you might as well think BIG.” As I look back on 2012 I’m proud of my first year earning an income as a freelance photographer and writer. For 2013 I’m focused on pushing myself even harder to grow in my craft and create great work. I’ve also got to commit to taking control of the financial aspect of my biz. It’s going to be an epic year!

  11. Hi joy– I love the vivid photos, especially the baby goat pic!
    Resolution wise, I’m working to nourish myself first this year. One thing I’d like to keep rocking is authentic connections with friends and family.

  12. Very good sentiments! I wasn’t always a resolution girl, but you’re right, it’s good to put it out there and keep track. Your resolutions are perfect for most, I imagine, so we’re in this together! Happy New Year!
    Emily |

  13. Hi, I kind of just wanted to say thank you for your honesty. i also continuously compare myself to other creatives. they have their skills, i have mine and as long as i keep my own goals in mind, make sure they are realistic, and work hard to get there i am doing my best and growing in my own way.
    i am also not very welcoming of change, i’d rather stay in my comfy zone. i started doing A LOT of freelance work in 2012 and it was scary and complicated and put me in those “uncomfy positions” more then a few times. it’s always worth it tho and it makes you grow so much.
    another thing i would add is that making mistakes is ok. in my first year i have made so many mistakes but it was actually good i made them, i learned so much from them. luckily everything was repairable. it’s important to always keep in mind what you gained and learned from your experiences, whether they are good or bad.

  14. love these! can you tell me where Ruby’s dress is from in the “family comes first” photo? your family is beautiful! and so is your blog!

  15. I love this idea of both starting new and continuing on good habits.
    I’ve made a goal this year to give more time back to the community and looking back I’d like to continue cooking regular meals at home.
    Thanks Joy!

  16. Thanks Ashley!
    Its by a brand called Pink Chicken. I got it last year so I dont know if they still have it but I have heard Old Navy has a similar one too!

  17. Love love love this post! Thank you for pointing these new goals out. It’s exactly what I need to hear and follow as well.
    PS. Darling goat photo 🙂

  18. Thanks for sharing Joy! So many of these ring true for me as well, especially trying not to compare myself to others, it can be so hard sometimes! Wishing you’re adorable little family an amazing 2013 🙂

  19. Great list! I really enjoyed reading this. It blows my mind that someone as awesome and successful as you still deals with comparison sometimes. That is definitely a big encouragement to me! Comparison is one of my struggles and sometimes leaves me totally paralyzed. Also really encouraged by your comments about how having Ruby has encouraged good change! I’m expecting my first in March. Thank you so much for sharing this post!

  20. I love this Joy. I can relate so much to many of your goals for 2013. Especially the focusing on being a better wife. Having a baby throws a whole new dynamic on the relationship, doesn’t it!? I want to not just be a great mom….I want to be a better wife too! Cheers to 2013! xo.

  21. Thanks Kelli!
    Yeah, its something you never think you have to work on until you do, right? Every season of life calls for something, hunh? 😉

  22. I love this! I really need to work on that first one, it can really get in the way of dreaming big. Wishing you a wonderful 2013, it sure looks like you’re headed in the right direction!

  23. Rather than a “resolution”, I decided to focus on a theme this year: connection. I’m super excited to dig into things deeper, which requires prioritizing what I put on my plate and making sure there’s room to fully connect with it all. It will be challenging because I tend to be like you with staying busy (everything just sounds so dang exciting!). But I’m also looking forward to not always feeling two steps behind. Happy new year and cheers!!

  24. Joy, it absolutely blows me away that you think anyone is smarter/more talented/more successful than you! I always tell people you are who I want to be when I grow up (although in real life im probably about the same age as you)! I think you’re doing pretty darn awesome. I love that last photo of you with the butterfly mobile! Thanks for sharing this ambitious and thoughtful list.

  25. Working on comparison is something I really need to do as well. I can’t imagine that you have any issues comparing yourself to others, but sometimes for me it can be really discouraging. I’m hoping this year that I can stop comparing and just keep working towards my realistic goals.

  26. These are great! I love them all. I will be ‘stealing’ these to use for my own New Years resolutions that I have been procrastinating on making! Thanks for sharing, Joy. Here’s to a great 2013.

  27. I *love* the goal of “Dreaming Big!” If there is one thing I have learned over the past 7 months, it’s that dreaming big reaps a big reward… and it can change your outlook in an instant to remember that sometimes seemingly impossible things are indeed possible.

  28. Thanks for sharing your resolutions Joy, they are very inspiring! I became a mom last year and I have the same thoughts and determination to become a better wife/sister/daughter this year. It’s so hard specially because everyone seems to forget you are still a women and keep calling you “mom” all the time. Also I’m reading your book, which I love and keeps inspiring me to start my own blog (for mums living in London), all the best for this year xx

  29. Hi Julia,
    The pants are from Madewell, but they seem to be sold out on the site now ;(
    They were called sweater leggings in case they pop up again!

  30. Inspiring as always, doll! I posted some on my blog yesterday, but for the last couple of years I haven’t really been calling them resolutions. They’re kind of more about how I’m trying to live. The first one, for instance, is “Squash Mediocrity.” 🙂 Here are the rest if you’re interested:

  31. Oh Joy, I agree with all of your resolutions. I normally don’t make any specific ones, I just try to focus on being stronger, healthier, etc. However I’ve been working on being more specific about my goals so I can take steps to achieve a better and authentic me. For the last 6 months I have a “word” of the month, one month it was strong, another, was focus, and another was balance, I resolute to keep with my focuses and continue to actively do things to make sure I am those things and continue to adopt a healthier lifestyle. I love your blog and wish you and all the readers all the best in 2013! – Love, Elle from

  32. I think the not comparing yourself one is excellent. My parents always told me growing up that there will always be someome smarter than me and there will always be someone richer than me. And now I’m realizing that I don’t have to be better than other people. I am who I am and it’s valid whether or not I stand taller or shorter next to someone.

  33. I always think of you as some sort of gorgeous, creative being, so it seems strange that that you would have so many ‘goals’ that I relate to. I think this is a wonderful list of things to do this year. 🙂

  34. Thank you so much for being so genuine about putting family first and finding pleasures in the simple things. It’s such a refreshing example of not needing to “have it all” I love the balance in that.
    Happy New Year (:

  35. What beautiful resolutions. I think it’s wonderful that your mom taught you to dream big — I’ve had problems with that in the past, but being part of this blogging community has definitely helped me to set the bar higher (and higher!) for myself. Blogs like yours remind me that finding beauty and happiness in life isn’t just fun, but it’s also important. Thank you for continuing to create!

  36. 2012 was the year we had our first baby too. Your resolutions is how I’m feeling too. Thank you so much for putting what is in my head into words.

  37. Your resolutions really resonated with me. I had a baby 2 weeks after you had Ruby and totally relate to the way your life has evolved as you’ve figured out how to juggle business and family. Thanks for continuing to share your experiences.

  38. Great post Joy, really inspirational read!
    Something that I’ve been trying to get better at the past two years is “doing less, is more” – in that I need to stop doing so much and getting involved in too much stuff even though I’m interested in it, one only has so much time per day unfortunately! So it’s all about doing less, but doing it well.
    I did good with that in 2011; 2012 was decent but 2013? Fingers crossed! x

  39. Oh geez, I love this so much! I too am a big ol’ scaredy cat when it comes to change, but I may have nailed it this year: I got a new job and moved all the way across the country. By myself. To where I knew no one. Yikes! Though it was (and is!) still scary, I am most certainly happier because of it. For this year, I want to continue to take time for myself, rest, and be healthy.

  40. Thank you for sharing Joy! It’s very touching and inspiring. I experienced the same things and felt the same way as you. Thank you again for reminding me how to be better as a person, a mother, and a wife. Have a great 2013!

  41. so glad I saw this – I can really relate! Especially to focusing on being such a good mom that yu forget to be a good wife – I told my husband once “I know its awful, but I don’t have anything left for you at the end of the day.” It got better and I got better at balancing both, but it is nice to see I’m not the only one who struggles with it 🙂


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Along