Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

My One-Word Theme for 2018

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

Just like last year, Octave & I spent Christmas morning at home and hit the road right after lunch to go spend the night in an old guard station in Washington State.

To access the cabin you usually need to park your car on the side of the road and put on your snowshoes. Once you get there, you have to build a fire as the house is usually cold (unless the previous guests kept it warm for you). There's no cell service, no electricity (but there are gas lamps) and no running water.

Without the distraction of our phones and computers, time slows down and we gradually adapt to the rhythm of nature (our bedtime quickly synchronizes with sunset).

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

This year, I packed this workbook in my backpack. I wanted to read its intro before the beginning of next year. So I sat by the fire, snuggled in my sleeping bag and entered the world of the moon and its cycles. It was a really magical time and I couldn't have wished for a better place to start this journey.

This little escape confirmed the feeling I'd had for the past couple weeks about what my one-word theme for the coming year should be.

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

But first, I wanted to share a little about how my one-word theme shaped the past year.

As you may know, my 2017 word was ROUTINE.

The past year has been a tough one - for many of us - and my theme has helped me keep afloat. Here are some habits that have given me a feeling of normalcy every time I came back from a trip or felt like I had fallen off the wagon.

  • Wake up at the same time every day - Besides the fact that it's basically a great idea, this allowed me to have one hour where I could be in touch with my clients in Europe before they end their workday.

  • Walk at least 5'000 steps a day. I know it's half of what's recommended, but it's a start. It gets me out of the house, plus, I know a route around my neighborhood that's the exact right distance and allows me to listen to at least one podcast episode.

  • Set up work dates with fellow freelancers - I am SO productive when someone is working next to me! And it's a great way to catch up and/or brainstorm.

  • Sign up at the gym and take classes 3 times a week - I joined a gym in September, after a hectic summer that was concluded by a major weight gain. It's the first time I love a gym, have fun in class, and even manage to go there and just spent 20 minutes on the elliptical! It gets me out of the house and I feel energized if I take a class in the morning or just calm after I take a class in the evening!

As the end of the year was approaching, I started to wonder whether one should just let go of their theme and make room for the next one, but a spontaneous decision confirmed me that ROUTINE is now becoming a part of my life.

I'll elaborate later but just wanted to put this here. You do not HAVE TO let go of an annual theme and replace it by the following year's. But you can if you want.

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

Now, let's talk about the future.

My one-word theme for 2018 will be LEARN.

While studying ways to improve my routine, I noticed that I came across a certain number of stumbling blocks.

  • Over the past couple years, I've started to rely more and more on Octave for certain things like photography, graphic design, and other fields. While he loves to help and clearly is more efficient than I am, I've sort of abandoned certain tasks or even stopped improving them. And that's something I'd like to change.

  • I also hear myself say a lot that "I cannot remember numbers", or "I'm bad with numbers". I cannot remember the population of Portland or what my measurements are in the imperial system. I don't know whether it's laziness, a social construct or just the way my brain has developed but I want to see whether I can change this pattern.

  • Along the same lines, I was to improve my memory. I am convinced that my phone is slowly gnawing at my memory and I want to make a conscious effort to memorize data and remember names.

  • I've also mentioned many times that I really want to improve my public speaking and storytelling abilities.

And then, I want to learn new skills. Here's a non-exhaustive list of fields of interest to me:

  • Food preserving

  • Fauna and flora

  • The moon and its cycles

  • Feminism

  • Avalanche training

  • Poetry

  • Small business ownership

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

My intention during this new year will be to learn as much as possible, from the people I know, from the people I admire, from big and small organizations, from makers, teachers, mentors.

I'm planning on investing time and money, proposing to barter, hosting gatherings, organizing retreats.

So this is my intention for 2018. I hope you'll follow along and get something out of it along the way.

My One-Word Theme for 2018 by Conscious by Chloé

Now, I'd love to know, if you had to choose one word, or a short phrase, to sum up what you want to focus on in the new year, what would it be?

My One-Word Theme for the New Year

Washington forest snow day for Conscious by Chloé

Octave & I just came back from a 2-day getaway in a cabin in Washington. These 2 days with no electricity, no cell reception and no running water gave me some time to reflect on the past year.

So far, our home in Portland is the one where Octave & I have lived the longest together - after a couple months in Switzerland and a short year in Southern California. I don't know how much longer we will stay in this particular house (I always complain about how dark it is and the fact that I wish for an extra room so we don't have to share the same office anymore) but I am willing to make our home better no matter what comes next.

Washington forest snow day for Conscious by Chloé

As the saying goes: Outer order, Inner calm.

I feel like I'll only be capable to deal with the other aspects of my life once my house is in order. So I'm about to tackle a big seasonal clean-up, decluttering and rearranging.

Washington forest snow day for Conscious by Chloé

This might have been inspired by a book that Octave gave me as a present: The Hands-On Home: A seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping (I may have given him a hint on Instagram and in this gift guide). It inspired me so much that I even stuffed into my heavy backpack on the snowshoeing trip up the cabin.

I've almost already read it cover to cover and it gave me tons of ideas, just like I knew it would.

As a matter of fact, I am already scheduling articles for the blog and I will share my favorite home care recipes and tell you all about my cleaning and decluttering routines in the coming weeks.

On a similar note, I will share a guide about conscious cohabitation (not all our significant others and roommates are as organized as we are, am I right?) that I was asked to present by a local minimalist group.

Washington forest snow day for Conscious by Chloé

If I had to choose a word for the upcoming year, I think it would be ROUTINE.

Over the past year, I came to the realization that I find comfort in knowing what comes next and be prepared for it.

Professionally, my experience consulting on-site at a client's for a couple weeks and working as a shop girl for a couple months made me realize the power of habits, regular rhythms and, last but not least, regular paychecks. I am not sure that I want to go back to a 9 to 5 job, but I surely need to figure out how to find balance in my work life.

At home, I think I made it pretty clear above, I want a clean slate and room for experimentation. From homemade cleaning products to gardening, cooking and preserving, I want to live at the rhythm of the seasons.

I could list more daily and weekly activities that bring me joy in life, like the Skype discussions with my parents or our indoor climbing sessions with Octave, but I assume you've understood my point.

I want to create a routine that gives me stability while allowing me to remain spontaneous.

Washington forest snow day for Conscious by Chloé

So this is my intention for 2017. I hope you'll follow along and get something out of it along the way.

Now, I'd love to know, if you had to choose one word, or a short phrase, to sum up what you want to focus on for the new year, what would it be? Please share it with me in the comments section below and tell me a little about the reason you chose it. I can't wait to read all you New Year Intentions!

New Year intentions

New Year Intentions Map and Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project by Conscious by Chloé

Happy 2016 Everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

I sure did. After flying back to France for 2 weeks, Octave and I made a stop in Iceland on the way back.

We landed in Portland last Thursday night and, for the first time ever, jet lag got me real bad.

No matter what time I'm going to bed 8.30, 10.30pm, I'll wake up around 5-5.30am. The first mornings I stayed in bed trying to force myself to sleep, but yesterday morning - after Octave had asked me the day before what the hell had I been doing during these 2 hours in bed before finally getting up at 7.30am - I decided to get up and be productive.

And boy did it work!

A long due newsletter, and some serious saved articles, reading list and bookmark organizing...

... which leads me to the main subject of this first post of 2016:

New Year Resolutions!

As you now know, I love making lists. But what you may not know, is that I sometimes get analysis paralysis. I have so many ways of organizing things or ideas to chose from that I just don't know where to start.

So I started by starting.

I came up with a list of things I want to achieve this year, and then organized them by timeline (daily: meditate, weekly: write an update email to a friend who lives far away, monthly: read a book, always: get even closer to producing zero waste, one time: sign up and participate in a race).

But then I realized that the result was just another list of to-dos.

Here I should remind you the mantra of this blog and basically my mantra in life: Simpler, greener, happier.

So I replaced the goals by intentions or aspirations.

I narrowed them down to what I want more & less of in my life, and I made this:

2016 intentions planner for download by Conscious by Chloé

Click on the image to download the intentions map, don't forget to select "scale to fit" and then "fill entire paper" to optimize the printing process.

Here are a few examples from my intentions map:

More: yoga, travelling, water, greens, meditation, early mornings, book reading, running, volunteering

Less: waste, procrastinating, nagging, criticism, chemicals, chocolate, dry skin

Instead of going on a diet which I will never follow, I decided to add greens and water to mine, and cut down chocolate (chocolate covered almonds especially).

"Less chemicals" will mainly help me achieve the following goals: continue making my own natural body and cleaning products, stop chemically highlighting my hair.

"Less dry skin" might need an explanation. When I decided to remove chemicals from my life (cleaning and body products), I've been very strict and for a long time, I just stopped using body lotion. Then I tried a homemade recipe but was not satisfied by the texture and then stopped using it again. Now winter has come and after weeks of travelling and showering in places with different qualities of water, I feel like a crocodile. So I'm gonna start the easy way and get natural body lotion in bulk at the coop and will eventually find a homemade recipe that suits me. Sometimes simpler is the best way to be greener and happier!

This month, I'm also re-reading the books which inspired me to live the lifestyle I lead today, starting by Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. Each chapter is dedicated to a month, so January is the perfect time to start reading it.

Rubin's goal for January is to boost her energy and her tools are the following:

  • Go to sleep earlier
  • Exercise better
  • Toss, restore, organize
  • Tackle a nagging task
  • Act more energetic

Chloé reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin by Conscious by Chloé

I'm not gonna summarize the whole chapter here, but rather see how her tools would help me achieve my aspirations :

Go to sleep earlier

I'm off to a good start with this jet-lag, I'm just gonna try to get more hours of sleep while trying to continue waking up earlier (note for self, re-program the heating system so it switches on at the same time).
= more early mornings

Exercise better

I had a medical issue that prevented me from exercising, or, better said, that actually put me in excruciating pain after exercising. I solved the problem with a doctor during the holidays and am really excited to be active again (I was over the moon when hiking up a volcano in freezing temperatures in Iceland last week, Octave can testify). I put the 30 minute booty boot camp link in my favorites, I scheduled running sessions in Runkeeper. Let's do this!
= more running, more yoga

Toss, restore, organize

This has been an ongoing project for the last few years, with international and overseas moves. I also took part in a decluttering project before leaving in December. It helps me find peace (outer order, inner calm) and identify ways to be more effective at home in my quest for zero waste. Plus, decluttering and organizing is something I love to do, who wants to hire me for a KonMari session?
= less waste

Tackle a nagging task

There's this thing that Octave and I keep postponing, personal shared accounting. I've set things up pretty well since we moved to Portland, but we still have some things to figure out from the years we lived together in Switzerland and California. We're setting a date in our shared calendar, there's no avoiding it!
= less procrastinating

Act more energetic

I borrowed many of Ruben's mantras, one being "Act the way you want to feel". I already put it into action during our layover in JFK last week, when we had to queue for one hour at customs because there were only a few immigration officers available. I was tired and grumpy and generally feeling French and revolutionary. But I remembered that mantra and acted a little more optimistic... for the best!
= less criticism, less nagging

I do not know yet whether I'll develop such a detailed plan for the following months. I think that January is generally a good month to set the tone for the rest of the year, implement new good habits and (try to) stick to them all along.

My intentions map will most probably be my plan for the rest of 2016.

On your own intentions map, don't hesitate to write certain intentions bigger than others, or even in all caps, different colors. Draw intentions instead of naming them. Make it yours!

What about you? What are you new year resolutions? Do you even make any? I'd love to hear your mantras, rules and other aspirations for the year to come. Please share them below in the comments section, don't be shy! Also, it would be so much fun to see each other's maps! We could share ours on Instagram with the hashtag #myintentionsmap ! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.