Welcome to 2018, ladies and gents!
We’ve gotta take stock of 2017 first. How did you do? Was it shit? Was it amazing? Are you like me and it flew by so fast that you’re whiplashed, covered in mystery bruises, and left to deal with the harsh reality time will go faster and faster until you have to confront your impending mortality?
What a time to be alive! So where to from here?
I’m not a huge fan of resolutions, but I do like intentions. I’m generally working year-round to improve in various ways, and I’d like to believe most people are doing the same. I’ve taken gigantic strides towards being more productive, balanced (whatever that means), less of an asshole, and understanding what exactly I’m here to do in this life.
My intentions include things I’m embracing in the new year (or keeping from previous years), and baggage I’m leaving in 2017.
Five Things I’m Letting Go Of
1. Fear about my finances.
I’ve been a diehard Dave Ramsey fan for years, and his book Total Money Makeover helped me survive during my dark, poor years as a journalist. But 2016 and 2017 were a reality check about how quickly a couple of unbudgeted vacations and trips to lululemon can derail years of hard-fought progress on my student loan and credit card Debt Snowball.
Cue the old feelings of shame, self-hatred, and worthlessness. Baggage I thought was well in my past.
Thankfully I’ve found a budgeting system I really click with, and I can still apply Dave Ramsey’s baby steps on a macro level. I highly suggest You Need a Budget (YNAB) for your financial tracking and budgeting needs. Setup takes one evening with a glass of wine and your bank statement, and you can track and adjust as you go from there. The phone app makes it beyond easy to keep yourself honest as you go.
2. Saying “sorry” too much.
If it’s an accident or not my fault, I will not say I’m sorry. In general, we women are so bad at this. We mistakenly think we’re being polite, when really it turns into an apology for pretty much just existing. iNo mas!
3. Saying “yes” when I’m not excited about it.
Mark Manson calls this the “Law of Fuck Yes or No”, and I cannot agree enough. He reserves this for relationships, but why stop there? I think it can (and should) be applied to any aspect of your life, including new projects, job offers, requests for your time, etc. (Obviously omitting tasks that are unsavory but necessary. Sorry, you still have to answer your work email.)
In fact, I’m applying that very concept to this blog, because this year I’ll be expanding my writing focus. I love fitness, clearly, and strength work is my calling card. I was finding it very hard to write about just that, because I’m so much more than sets and reps and PRs. To me there’s nothing more boring and lacking in perspective than someone who can only talk about the gym. And there’s something bleak about feeling that strength has to exist in a fitness–only vacuum, and I think that adds to the stereotype that real, everyday women can’t be strong. So fuck that. Not here.
While strength will be the cornerstone of this blog, you can expect a lot more posts about beauty, woman shit, well-being, and general stuff I like. I think real strength has to be able to go into the wild, so to speak.
I can’t even tell you where I saw this (probably Pinterest), but when I figure it out, I’ll let you know:
You’re half art, half animal.
How beautiful is that? So… Welcome to Art + Animal.
4. Feeling Like a Poseur
While writing comes pretty naturally to me, publishing does not. We all have that voice that gives us a little ego check. Mine sounds something like:
- Who am I to tell someone else how to lift?
- Blogging isn’t a priority, because I’m not a real writer.
- I can’t do a weightlifting competition… that’s for actual strong people!
- People will hate the GIFs/my tone/troll me or laugh behind my back.
The truth that we find out as we get older is that no one knows what the hell they’re doing. The only way to advance in this life is to dive in and figure it out later. If you listen to that voice in your head, it will keep you playing small.
Sorry, inner negativity. 2018 is your year to STFU. I’ve got stuff to do!
5. Prioritizing Perfection
I tend to take projects– blog posts, gym events, etc.,– and plan them within an inch of their lives.
Some of my projects never get off the ground because I haven’t perfected them. I have dozens of blog posts sitting by the wayside because they don’t feel just right.
So in 2018, I’m aiming for publishing at least every couple of weeks, come hell or high water.
Publish > perfection.
Three Things I’m Embracing
1. A consistent morning routine
I’ve always loved having a solid morning routine, and I think it’s powerful. My best days start with a quick gratitude journal, guided meditation, two morning pages over coffee, walk my dog while listening to NPR Morning News Edition, and finally knock out a metcon while I’m still fasted.
But that was happening very infrequently. Almost never, if I’m being honest.
I’d take a look at my work email and then two hours of my day would go down the drain. If I wasn’t being protective, commuting, meetings, client appointments, and phone calls would take my agenda by storm. My priorities– the things that will ultimately help me be a better HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge), athlete, coach, and all-around happier person– were all falling by the wayside in the mad dash to simply make it through another day.
My personal, physical, and professional growth depends on making this stuff fit into my waking hours. I will be going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, and blocking this time off on my calendar so that it Will Happen. Email, text messages, and social media will just have to wait.
Suggested reads if you want to start tweaking your morning routine:
2. A Weekly Game Plan
I tend to get into my never-ending tasks in such a way that when I finally come up for air, I realize I haven’t really made progress towards the life that I want. (See #1.) So it’s time for me to embrace the concept of a weekly Brain Dump and Sunday Game Plan session.
The brain dump is just writing down all the tasks you need to complete. Doesn’t have to be pretty. A piece of paper and a pen will get it done.
The Sunday game plan is where I’ll schedule all my meetings, training time, free time, etc.
3. Moving Well
I’m 31, and while I’m still drastically improving in my athleticism, the game has changed for me.
I tend to be OCD about White Board Syndrome (WBS). You know the one. It’s on the board, so I have to do it that way, even though my X hurts, I’m probably gonna feel my Y tomorrow, and I only slept Z hours last night. While I have lots of experience coaching my athletes out of WBS, sometimes my competitive side gets to me and I fall into the trap. I pay the price every time.
I used to need a lot of grit to get by as an athlete. I wasn’t particularly great at anything, but I was really good at ignoring pain. But here’s the thing about grinding… friction can only go unchecked so long before it breaks the machine.
But I don’t need that grit as much anymore because I’ve got experience. I know how to be efficient. I know how to move correctly. I know what my body can take on any given day. I’m finally starting to get my kicks out of slow, earned gains, and creating virtuous movement. And yeah, moving to feel good, instead of crush myself on a daily basis.
If you’re like most, you might have come out of the holiday season feeling a little… hungover. If not literally, then maybe metaphorically. Let’s tackle that so you can get to gettin’.
Those egg nog lattes and Christmas cookies were not force fed to you. (And if they were, what amazing prison were you in? We need to talk.) To make real progress, you’ve gotta come to terms with the repercussions of your decisions.
But also: Forgiveness
So the egg nog lattes happened. A few too many late night Christmas parties happened. Skipping the gym happened.
Let it go.
That’s it. It’s done. You need to take a deep breath, call it water under the bridge, and resolve to make small, meaningful changes to start moving in the direction you want to go.
Do It For Yourself
Let me ask you a question: Do you like yourself? No, really.
I think a lot of people make resolutions because they have a hard time liking themselves as they are. I’ve been there. My resolutions were all designed to fill in the holes on what I thought was an incomplete me. I never kept any of them, of course, because I’m spiteful, even towards myself.
If you try to cover up self-loathing with the ol’ exercise-meditation-nutrition-journaling-self-care-look, Instagram, I’m so healthy and happy that sunshine is actually beaming out of my yoga pants cycle, then you are going to have a tough time keeping up the facade. At best, you’ll just be a healthy-bodied, horrible person, maybe with a lot of likes and followers.
So if you don’t like yourself, you should take steps to become friends with yourself first. How the eff am I supposed to be my own friend, you might ask. Glad you did.
What would your ideal friend do for you?
Not talk shit about you.
Not be negative and toxic all the time.
Give you good advice about what you deserve.
Give you compliments, especially when you most need compassion.
Is there a reason you can’t do these things for yourself? Talk a little nicer to yourself. Give yourself good company when you’re having a sober Friday on the couch watching a corny movie. Tell yourself your ass looks great in those jeans. Feed yourself a nutritious, delicious meal. Remind yourself to drink water. Give yourself a pat on the back when you attend the gym four times a week.
Now you’re ready to grow from a place of wholeness you already possess, instead of a wild goose chase after a “complete” you. Go grab 2018 by the horns!