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2021 Resolutions: Being gentle with myself

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

So before venturing onto Hearth & Heathenry, I wrote sporadically on my art website's blog, as well as my art Tumblr. One of my favorite posts to do were Resolutions for the New Year, and I did this for about five years in a row! Not too shabby.

Ashley Catherine Fontones
A view of a river that runs through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow N.Y. I took this photo while on my honeymoon in November 2020. My husband and I spent most of our time outdoors due to the pandemic, but we loved every bit of it.

The process helped me lay out my biggest goals and map out how I was supposed to get there. The next year, I'd grab the previous year's resolutions and see how I did. Then I'd respond with a new set of resolutions. Although most people don't keep resolutions, this process has actually helped me navigate a lot of big milestones, such as my masters' degree and my career. It also gives me insight into my mindset changed over the year, and how I grew as a person.

I haven't really updated those sites in a while, and figure since I was starting over here at H&H, I'd kick off a new year with new resolutions.

I've taken the resolutions I wrote in 2018 and reworked them, as well as added a few new ones. Read the original post here.

Do you write resolutions every year?

1. LIFE BALANCE - keeping this resolution around for another year.

In 2016, life balance was a major issue for me. It was the same in 2018. I'm happy to say that in 2020 I was able to get closer to feeling more grounded and less like I was spiraling out of control. Taking an active role in my mental health (such as attending therapy regularly, journaling, meditating and other fun things) helped me clear my head and make space for what I actually wanted to accomplish in my life. Everything became easier.

2020 has become the year of anguish and introspection for most people, and that's why life balance is still on my list of resolutions. I can always be more grounded, calmer and more balanced.

2. BE GENTLE - put less pressure on myself in 2021

In 2017 I resolved to "make more art" and lamented a prolonged artists' block. While I did end up creating a few things here and there, that artists' block persisted for a few more years. I realized that I was being creative in different ways and decided to put less pressure on myself near the end of 2020. I'll be posting how I got out of my creative rut to this blog eventually.

Right now, I'm resolving to be gentler with myself and remove some pressure in 2021.

3. Focus on HEALTH (2016 & 2020)

This seems to be a resolution of mine year after year. As someone who deals with chronic conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, acute asthma, and fibromyaligia, I make a commitment to my health every day I make it out of bed in the morning.

A lot happened over the past four years: I had a chemical pregnancy and loss and went through some experimental PCOS treatments that went horribly. I gained 60 pounds; I lost 40 pounds. I trained in Brazillian Jiu jitsu briefly and learned how to properly lift weights. From 2019 through early 2020, I took yoga classes at least three days a week. 2019 and early 2020 saw me in the best shape of my life, but perhaps I wasn't eating enough. I had transitioned into a vegetarian diet during the week with complete freedom on the weekends. I was calorie counting, but eating more calories than ever. It was working, but I was tired. Then Coronavirus shut down the world.

I've gained about 15 pounds since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but I'm still at a healthy weight and can still fit into most of my clothes. I am getting more sleep than I ever have in my life, and I feel pretty good about the way I look. I'm still on my diet, but I let myself splurge a bit more here and there. The only things missing are my workouts- I'm not doing anything consistently and that's why I think I've gained the Quarantine 15.

In 2021, I hope to continue feeling healthy and embracing my body. Since I have PCOS, things like weight, blood sugar and blood pressure still matter so the diet has to stay.

I'm sticking with this fabulous seven day PCOS cleanse diet when I need it. It's strict, but it's helped me with thyroid levels, high blood pressure, and other important levels I get checked a few times a year. Check it out at

4. Enjoy the feeling of home (2016 & 2020)

I first wrote a resolution like this six years ago when my now-husband and I moved in together. We've since lived in a few apartments, and have owned a home for the last year. Ironically, a resolution I made to my husband in January 1 in 2020 was to stay home more, and now here we are.

I think I grew up to be a hostess— its just how I was raised. My grandparents always threw elaborate family barbecues, featuring my grandmother cooking trays of food for dozens of people. My mother did the same, albeit with less people and more personalization. When my husband and I moved in together, I tried to take on that mantle. Any party we threw wasn't complete without a full spread of food on the table for our guests and a stocked liquor cabinet. My wallet hated me.

For 2020, we threw our best New Year's Party yet- with plenty of friends, food and my husband's band playing live. The next morning, we were sick to our stomachs, exhausted, and broke. I told him our party phase was over, and he agreed. We vowed to put that extra money and energy into our home, and to enjoy being together. Who would have known what would happen that spring?

Pandemic or not, I'm so grateful we made that resolution together. Our house is clean (most days), full of laughter and love, and decorated the way we want. I even planted a garden full of wildflowers and lavender. Thank goodness, or else I'd loose my mind working from home here every day!

In 2021, I resolve to continue that committment, and to invest in the house a bit. Repair things quicker, and do more work on the outside.

6. Clean up Website & "Zine it up" (2016.) New resolution: Commit to projects.

I resolved in 2016 to rebuild my art website at and to do some self publishing. I did do both, but not in the way I had imagined.

This year, this resolution will be to commit to what I start; specifically this blog here at H&H. I think its something I could really be proud of!

8. Travel

In 2016 I vowed to "travel somewhere, for the love of God." Just before Halloween in 2019, my husband and I took a roadtrip, starting in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. and ending in New Hamphire where we met up with a few friends.

During the Sleepy Hollow leg of the trip, we stayed in a one-room cabin, explored Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. When we got to New England, we stayed in New Hampshire but had most of our fun in Salem with our group. It was life changing, and really, the first solo trip my husband and I ever took together without family.

We went back to the Tarrytown area for a mini honeymoon weekend in 2020 in the fall of the pandemic. We stayed in a historic inn built in the 1700s, explored the grounds at Lyndhurst Mansion, walked about three miles in Sleepy Hollow cemetery and ate some of the best food we've ever had in downtown Tarrytown. Nearly all of our trip (save for sleeping) was spent outdoors, as to be as COVID-safe as possible, and cost under $1,000. We are thinking the Sleepy Hollow area might become a regular trip for us.

We are resolved to continue going places in 2021, and are hoping that the world becomes a healthier and safer place soon.

9. Build up social media (2016.) New resolution: Stop caring about it so much.

I actually ended up doing the opposite over the past few years. Since a good portion of my day job involves social media, I grew just about sick of it by March of 2020, and deactivated my Instagram account. I stepped back from Facebook and only kept it because it was required for work.

I've found that I tend to deactivate or at least step away from my accounts when I start to feel too much pressure or negativity. But something different happened during this recent break.

It did me a world of good, and not just because it allowed me to avoid the toxicity of the past year.

I realized that I wasn't so concerned with networking or growth anymore, but I missed looking at the work of artists from around the world that so inspired me in the past.

The break from Insta allowed me to take stock of what I wanted to share with the world, as well as reconnect me with my creativity. I started from square one on Instagram in December, but resolved to dedicate my posting solely to my art. You can follow me at @yikes_its_squeeb if you want.

I want to continue existing online for fun. If I enjoy what I'm posting or doing, then that is all that matters.

10. That's it!

Usually I write 10 or more resolutions each year. This year, I'm being rebellious with only NINE.

Happy New Year! And good riddance to 2020.

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