Acknowledging Our Accomplishments

As the new year quickly approaches, everyone’s first instinct is to set new goals. January is all about self-improvement and fresh starts. It’s always exciting to feel like you can start again with a clean slate. We have high hopes and big expectations for ourselves for the annual opportunity to recreate ourselves and refocus on what’s really important to us. However, what ever happened to the goals you set last year?

This is something not as many people care to think about. I’m definitely guilty of giving up on all my new year’s resolutions by the end of the month. While the first few days are filled with promise, it quickly devolves into disappointment and self-criticism. Then we really don’t want to think about our shameful failure for the rest of the year as we await yet another chance to start again. Checking back in my bullet journal for 2021, I was so beaten down by 2020, that I didn’t even set any yearly goals. Still I think we owe it to ourselves to reflect on the things we were able to accomplish at the end of each year, even if it’s just something small. Besides, what’s the point of setting goals if we never take the time to appreciate all the work we put into achieving them?

So today I wanted to make a conscious effort to give myself credit for my progress in 2021. Even without clear intentions for what kind of improvements I wanted to make, I manages to make some really significant changes in my life this year. And I don’t want to take them for granted. I encourage you, before the end of December, to set aside a few moments and make a list of at least a couple positive changes you made or lessons you learned in 2021. Here’s mine:

  1. Stopped taking Paxil for my anxiety.
  2. Overcame my eating disorder.
  3. Found an amazing partner and fell in love.
  4. Learned how to use my new drawing tablet and software.
  5. Cleaned and organized my home.
  6. Began calling mom and grandma once a week.
  7. Started making positive affirmation coloring pages for kids.
  8. Began listening to podcasts.
  9. Bought my first car.
  10. Stopped smoking.

Even if you feel like you haven’t done anything, I’d still recommend taking the time to reflect on the past year. I had no idea I’d end up having so many things to write until I tried. Without sitting down and thinking about it, I wouldn’t have thought twice about a lot of these accomplishments. They would have remained obscured behind the various new goals I want to set for the year to come. It’s easy to feel like you haven’t made any progress when you are always focusing on the future. I think it’s also a lot more common for us to focus solely on the places were we fell short rather than the places we have succeeded. Before you even begin to worry about all of the things left undone or all the improvements you want to make in 2022, give yourself the gift of acknowledging how far you’ve come. You deserve that self-recognition. That will be the fuel and the reassurance you need to take on all that awaits us next year.

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Self Care Summer

The other day, my best friend told me that she has declared summer 2021 as self care summer. This really made me happy to hear and inspired me to make my own summer about taking better care of myself too. After finally reaching the tentative ending of an extremely tough year fraught with isolation, neuroticism, sickness, and stress in 2020, I think we are all feeling a bit frazzled and out of touch with our higher selves. In order to balance that out, it will be nice to spend this year, especially the summer months, coming back home to ourselves.

It felt like the first half of 2016 was the last time I really had my shit together. I was really getting deeper into my yoga practice. I was eating super healthy plant based meals. I had my own apartment for the first time and was working my first full-time job. I started doing HIIT workouts. I was hanging out with my friends regularly. For the first time in my life I was really feeling good about myself. Then my ex came back into my life briefly and blew that all to hell in a matter of months. Since then I’ve been struggling just to get myself grounded again.

2020 was probably one of the worse years of my life. As I’m sure it was for a lot of people. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a more unhealthy place mentally. I still haven’t fully recovered from all the bad habits I cultivated during that year. My new relationship has really lit a fire inside me for self improvement though. Yet it’s somewhat different than the self improvement I’ve been passionate about in the past. I guess I shouldn’t really even call it self “improvement.” It’s more like self love and self acceptance.

In the past, my goals were always focused around improving myself so I would be more desirable to others. I wanted to live a healthy balanced life, not for myself, but so that I could attain some ideal, unrealistic body and self image. I still have a lot of the same goals all these years later, but this time there are different intentions behind them. This time around I want to focus on how my body feels rather than how it looks. I’m ready to start doing the work to get myself back to a better place mentally.

I’ve set up so many artificial barriers for myself. When I’m allowed to eat, what I have to do every day, and in what order. I’ve created a prison within my own mind. It sounds silly to say, but when I remember that I can actually do whatever I want it feels so liberating. I’d almost forgotten that my life doesn’t have to be this way. I’m working on keeping that truth close to my heart. I want to reconnect with this beautiful body of mine and treat it with compassion and respect. I don’t need to have each and every moment of my day planned out. Sometimes it’s okay to just sit in stillness and enjoy being alive.

I want to work on being more present in my day to day life and actually get excited about being alive again. There was a time when I thought the things I’m doing now would make me happy, and maybe they did for awhile. But nothing in life remains the same for long. These habits are no longer serving me, and even though I don’t know what will happen if I let them go, I know I can handle it. And so can you. So here is your official invitation to a summer of self care. Let’s raise our frequencies together.

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Time for Change

I want to use these last couple of months before the new year arrives to really clarify and meditate on what kinds of changes I’d like to manifest in 2021 and why I want to make these changes. Once I’ve got a clear idea of the differences I want to see in myself and the intention behind them, I can begin working on a detailed plan to ensure I will follow through.

I’ll start off by making a general list, then follow up with the reasons each item has been added to the list. I have a tendency to make my lists too long and end up discouraging myself before I even begin, so I’ll try to narrow it down to the few I find most important.

Goals of 2021:

  1. Stop Smoking
  2. Spend more time with friends & family
  3. End disordered eating habits
  4. Start therapy
  5. Be kind to myself

Okay, you have no idea how tempted I was to rattle off like 20 more things I want to accomplish. I know those are all already going to be challenging for me. Focusing on anything more would be overwhelming and inevitably lead to failure and self-criticism.

Now I need to take each one of my new goals and remind myself why this is important to me. Hopefully this will help me see the value in what I’m doing even when it gets hard and I want to give up.

Goal #1: Stop Smoking

I want to stop smoking because it’s a ridiculously reckless and self-destructive habit. It is a huge waste of money. It makes me feel bad physically and mentally. It increases my anxiety. It damages my body. It shortens my lifespan. It will make me age faster. It is subjecting my loved ones to second hand smoke. It will yellow my teeth. It may result in cancer or other serious, possibly deadly health outcomes.

Goal #2: Spend more time with friends & Family

I want them to know how much they mean to me. It will lower my stress levels. It will add more joy and happiness to my life. It will encourage an overall healthier lifestyle. It will prevent me from isolating myself.

Goal #3: End disordered eating habits

I am tired of these unhealthy, insane habits consuming my entire life. I no longer want to concern myself with my weight. I want to show myself love and compassion. I want to nourish my body and make sure that it is healthy. I have wasted too much time and money on these habits already. Even reaching a lower weight than I ever imagined I would did not make me any happier. I was more miserable than ever.

Goal #4: Start Therapy

I want to stop running from my problems and finally face them. I want to get the help I need, the help everyone deserves, even me. I want to learn how to become the best version of myself for myself and for my loved ones. I want to eventually stop taking Paxil.

Goal #5: Be kind to myself

This goal is truly the main overarching theme I want to bring with me into the new year. It is one of the reasons I want to pursue all of the other goals I’ve listed. I am so tired of being my own worst enemy when I could be my closest friend and ally. I want to be happy. I want to live a life full of joy and love and laughter. A life that everyone deserves to live. I want to use my energy, my existence, to make the world a better place and that begins with myself.

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I feel better and more inspired already! This post has been mainly just something I wanted to write for myself, but I hope that it can serve as a suggestion of how to plan some goals for yourself. It has definitely been very helpful to write out the reasons behind each one. Let me know if you decide to make your own list. What are the things you’d like to achieve in 2021? What is the inspiration behind them?

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