"I am now living what I preach about restrictions with diet being a huge problem. I’m eating the damn donut this January... Best. Resolution. Ever."
I freaking love New Year’s Resolutions.
I don’t care how cheesy they are or how cliché it is. I love the idea of fresh starts, new visions, and renewed hope.
We need that more than ever right now. After a year like 2020, when our resolutions for the year were ripped from our naively hopeful hands (like, seriously. Can you even remember the excitement we felt for the new decade to start this time last year??), we need a reset. We need something to look forward to.
The problem is, because of Covid, things are still so out of our control that we need to be careful to align our resolutions with reality. And reality is that there are still massive amounts of unknowns for the foreseeable future. But that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t have hope. It just means shifting our resolutions away from the typical achievements we want for the year and focusing a little more inward- towards the things we can control.
This year my resolutions are shifting and I actually think they will be ones that are easier to stick to and more beneficial than ever before. Instead of specific goals, I’m making a list of habits that I want to incorporate more often, things that I want to be a bigger part of my life. I’m sharing a few ideas here that I am hoping to implement more of during the next 12 months. I would love to hear your ideas below!
1. Worry about work less.
This year I used a lot of my newfound and unwelcomed down time (because no celebrations, cancelled vacations, closed pools, and limited socialization) to worry. Maybe obsess is a better word. I would “run the numbers” on my business and 5 minutes later- literally run them again. I went through every possible “What if” scenario that could have happened. I would spend hours changing the most insignificant things on my website just to feel like I was doing something...anything. It was out of control and pretty unhealthy if I’m being honest with myself.
Next year- I’m saying screw that. Notice I’m not saying I will work less or care about work less. My business is my baby and I put a lot into it. I will never not hustle- but I won’t spend any more time worrying.
2. Make healthier health goals.
I usually start the year with a round of January Whole30 (which I have recently promised myself to never do again). I spend the first two-ish months of the year “reeling it in'' and going bananas in the gym. I have always had a certain weight that I force myself to be at by spring. It’s always my first resolution on my list. That is no longer my goal and it feels so freeing!
First of all my relationship with fitness has changed and it’s so much better. We cancelled our gym memberships and built a home gym instead, so there is a different feeling towards working out for me. My resolution is more about getting stronger with slow progression of basic compound movements, then spending as much time sweating as possible.
Second- I am now living what I preach about restrictions with diet being a huge problem. I’m eating the damn donut this January... Best. Resolution. Ever.
Does that really sound like a healthier health goal? Maybe not to you- but for my perfectionist personality, it is going to be a huge win!
3. More weekend trips.
We had a trip planned to Iceland in 2020 and unfortunately had to cancel it. We have 3 years to redeem the plane tickets, but honestly it doesn’t look like that is going to happen in 2021 either. So since international travel is on hold, my goal is to take weekend trips as much as possible next year! What’s the point in being a business owner if you can’t truly enjoy being able to set your own schedule? The beautiful thing about my job is that I can work from anywhere! So I really plan to put some miles on the vehicles next year and strike out for 2-3 night trips whenever we can! Even staycations will be on my list. I plan to be more intentional with giving myself a change of scenery because I know what it does for my mental health and happiness!
4. Take up a pointless hobby.
I’ve been overworking myself for so long that I barely know what hobbies are. Or maybe it’s because I’ve just never given myself permission, who knows. If I’m doing something in my free time, it’s usually a side hustle, something fitness related (which feels like an obligation even if I enjoy it), or it’s something that benefits my family (like yard work or cleaning- the dog hair is endless at my house). This year I want to find something that I just simply enjoy doing that serves no other purpose! After reading Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection (which I highly recommend) I now see the value of play and want to incorporate more of it into my life.
This feels more difficult to me than it sounds- I can’t really take classes right now because of Covid, so things like pottery (which I love) are out. You might catch me knitting at my house by the end of the year- who knows? But I want to find something just for fun!
5. Spend more time sitting with gratitude.
This is my #1 goal. Gratitude is good for the soul. Countless studies have been conducted on the benefits of having a gratitude practice that are fascinating to me, but it’s important to be consistent and intentional with it, which I’m not always the best with.
I have started a gratitude list that I'm already working on making a daily habit. Each day I list 3 things I have gratitude for and I do my best not to repeat the same thing twice in a month. So, that means I'm coming up with roughly 90 things to have gratitude for each month! I love this idea because it forces you to get very specific and creative to come up with that many things- so you end up looking for gratitude in the small areas of life.
Aligning my heart with the gratitude I have for all the blessings God sees fit to provide me with is a major 2021 goal. It draws me closer to my Creator, it calms my anxious heart, it puts everything into perspective and makes all my relationships so much richer.
2021, if nothing else, is going to be a year filled with gratitude.
I was recently interviewed for a really cool new platform called Shoutout Atlanta. It was an awesome experience and I can't wait to share more about it soon! Their purpose is to highlight local entrepreneurs, creatives, artists, and professionals who are active in their communities and working to make a unique difference in any shape and capacity. It was a really cool honor to be a partner with their organization.
The process was unique- they gave you several topics to chose from to discuss. They aren't necessarily dealing with your career, but more general, interesting, life questions. I chose to share about work-life balance because it's so close to the work I do with women every day who are struggling to find happiness and fulfillment in their lives. Here's a bit of the article I wrote for them, and I'm interested if anyone can relate to the ups and downs of finding balance between work and life:
"My work-life balance, even as a mental health professional, hasn't always felt balanced at all. I graduated from undergrad at 20 and grad school by 23- all while working full time in an attempt to keep myself out of student loan debt. I immediately started pursuing my clinical license, additional certifications, working multiple jobs, etc. Somewhere along the way, I had fully bought into the crazy rat race of life and the idea that "I'll sleep when I'm dead" and "the grind never stops." I was totally burned out and didn't even know it.
Then I suddenly moved out of state and, for the first time since I was 16, I couldn't find a job. I was unemployed for about 7 months and I hit a rock bottom with my mental health that I had never known before. I quickly realized that too much of my Self-Worth and identity had been tied to how hard I was working, what I was achieving, and where my career was headed. I had to take a serious look at how to untangle my worth from my work.
After doing some much needed internal work (with a therapist), I began to redefine what drives my Self-Worth, what brings me happiness, and how to live more in the moment. I realized my perfectionist tendencies constantly drove me to work harder (not always necessarily smarter) because overworking myself felt like my way of proving I was "good enough." It has not been an easy journey and doesn't always feel resolved, but I have much better awareness of when my life is off balance based on my anxiety levels about work/my performance and where I am looking for validation. When I start to notice that work is becoming too intrusive, I'm better able to recenter myself and quicker to make (often tough) decisions that get me back on track with what is truly important to me.
How do I think about the balance? I think society tells us having balance is selfish or maybe lazy or, at minimum, isn't feasible. I think most companies want employees to be scared to ask for balance. I think for many folks it doesn't feel like balance is even an option. And I think every single person reading this should reject that idea. My personal growth has empowered me to turn down several 9-5 jobs that I didn't feel would allow me to have the work-life balance I need. It wasn't part of their work culture and I wasn't signing up for that again. Balance has helped me to be more confident in saying "no" when I need to, without guilt or FOMO on opportunity. It has helped me advocate for myself, my family, and my mental health. In fact, it's even pushed me in new ways to make different (more balanced) goals for myself that have paid off fantastically for my career!
Yes, it can be scary, intimidating, and seem impossible, but I think this is one thing that you can't afford not to figure out. And if I can offer one piece of advice- don't try to do it alone. There are people that can help you navigate this- and you deserve it!"