Looking Back On 2018 & Towards 2019

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Tomorrow is my first official day back at a regular schedule and work after a two week vacation and I’m feeling refreshed and re-energized. Something that has been a long time coming. Every year, I like to start off or end with a post that reflects on the year past and looks toward goals and dreams for the new year. Have a seat and grab a cup of coffee because I have a bit to say this year. A lot has happened personally, professionally and emotionally. While I’m on board with everyone who complained about 2018 being a terrible year, I’m also grateful for it because it gave me the kick in the ass that I needed.

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New Beginnings & Reflections - Welcome 2018!

New year, new beginnings! The turn of the year is always a little bittersweet for me. Change is not something that I like and a new year screams change. It always makes me a little sad to say goodbye to the current year and move on to the next but at the same time, I also get excited for a fresh start. Needless to say, it’s complicated. I didn’t choose a word of the year for 2017 because I couldn’t commit to one. I didn’t know what I wanted for the new year, I didn’t have good feelings about the coming year and I was all sorts of confused.

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I turned 26 in 2017 and all these thoughts came rushing through my brain. I felt that because I was now closer to 30, I should have so many things figured out. Where I should set down roots. What my 10-year financial plan looked like. At least one long-term relationship down on the books. I felt like I should have answers to so many questions and I didn’t. So for the better part of 2017, I was in a panic which caused me to withdraw from life. While this inner turmoil was happening, I also had a lot of stressful family issues going on and I seemed to somewhere along the way take on the role of rock for everyone. It caused me to take on this false sense of responsibility for so many things and it tore my life apart. I started slacking in my career, making mistakes that I never make. I took a long blog hiatus, turning away my passion and number one outlet for embracing my creativity and interests. I didn’t see friends hardly at all. I pushed family away. I was a very dark version of myself. It wasn’t until I visited family in Texas back in early November that I even realized any of this. Talking to a few older cousins who had a more objective perspective was integral to a much needed change in my own perspective.

Why is this important? I don’t normally share information so personal but a new year gives us all a blank slate. It gives us a chance to work on ourselves and reach for new goals. I lost track of my goals in 2017 and my personal conundrums were the reason why. I let things that I had no control over dominate my life. I let them damage relationships and negatively affect my health. I know that I am not the only one who had a rough 2017. It seemed to be a hard year for a lot of people which is why I wanted to share a little background to the reason I chose CHANGE and COMMITMENT as my not one, but two words for 2018.

I chose CHANGE because I need to stop being so resistant to life! I need to stop resisting every small decision and anomaly that comes up. For example, it took me almost two weeks to decide to move in with my best friend part time. I lost hours of sleep over the decision and there was no reason for it. I have delayed launching new things with the site because I was too afraid all of you would resist it. And it’s not personal, it’s 100% me! I am terrified of anything new. So 2018 will be half about CHANGE for me. I haven’t quite figured out how to incorporate change into my life on a weekly basis to become more accepting of it, but I will figure it out.

I also chose COMMITMENT because my fear of commitment has hindered me in every single aspect of my life. I cried for a week after adopting Scooby, my new pup, because the thought of having to commit myself to the care of a living, breathing animal was terrifying. My fear of commitment coupled with my fear to change just about paralyzed me. Relationships with my family and friends may as well be non-existent. It’s not conscious but I also haven’t made a conscious effort to change it. So this year, each week I will be choosing one person whether it’s a friend or family member and I’m going to reach out to them. I’ll give them a call, shoot them a text message and see how they’re doing. If they’re local, I’ll see if they want to meet up for coffee or lunch. Relationships are vital to a healthy existence and you get what you give. So 2018 is all about committing to giving more. COMMITMENT is about more than relationships though. It’s also about committing to goals. Each month, I’ll be setting one or two larger goals for myself and following through by committing to three smaller weekly goals in order to accomplish the larger goals. These might be personal goals, work goals or side hustle goals. Whatever the goal, I am committing to it and embracing the change that comes with it.

My two largest fears are CHANGE and COMMITMENT. Those fears have held me back in so many ways it makes me regretful thinking of the time I’ve wasted. I want to stop the regret this year and learn to embrace the curveballs in life. I’m going to stop giving myself a false sense of responsibility to the things that are out of my control and instead commit to my own goals, my own success, and my own relationships. If that means I have to ride out a few changes, so be it. It’s the year of the dog and I am a dog lover. That has to give me an edge to conquer 2018. Right?

Tell me about your word or words for 2018. What made you choose them and how did 2017 affect your decision?

Setting Realistic Health & Fitness Goals

Let's be honest. Most people who set a fitness goal for their new year resolution end up giving up around this time. It's hard to dispute when there are studies upon studies about this simple, sad fact. Does this mean people are lazy? No. Does this mean people don't want to get fit? Highly doubtful. Does this mean that maybe we're approaching this the wrong way? Very possible. I am the queen of setting health and fitness goals but never following through. Something always seems to happen. So this year, I thought I'd hold myself accountable and get all tech savvy with it by downloading apps. Well, it still didn't work. So I decided to try something different. Here's how...

Stop setting big goals. That dream goal of losing 50 pounds takes a lot of work and a bunch of little steps. When we start to think of all that work and all those steps, it starts to seem impossible. Instead, write a list of all the things that you need to do to hit that goal. Drink more water. Eat less bread. Eat breakfast every day. Workout at least three times per week. Once you've created your list, start with number one and work your way down the list every couple of weeks. By adding little changes to your life gradually, you're more likely to succeed at mastering the entire plan over time. Even better, since you're making lifestyle changes the chances of gaining the weight right back like after a fad diet are much smaller.

So far, I've discussed weight loss since that's the biggest one you hear about but this can work for any larger goals. Take travel for example. Making a new year resolution of taking a month-long sabbatical to Italy is not going to make itself happen. Instead, write a list of all the things you need to accomplish in order to reach that goal and get started with number one. What makes this work even better is that crossing off all the tasks will become so fulfilling you won't be able to help yourself from moving forward. So make sure to keep your original list. 

I have two new year resolutions that I'm committed to making happen. For my health goal, I've organized my list into each month to accomplish small goals every 30-days. So far, it's been working. Here is a view of the first four months:

JANUARY:
Drink a glass of water immediately after waking up each morning. (How: keep a bottle of water next to my bed) - SUCCESS!
Eat a good, nutritious breakfast every morning. - SUCCESS!

FEBRUARY:
Go to Biking every Tuesday night at the gym.
Cardio intervals every Thursday morning. 

MARCH:
Eat 2 servings of fruit every day.
Strength training intervals every Wednesday morning.

APRIL:
Eat four servings of vegetables every day. 
Pilates class every Monday night at the gym.