Hi 2020, Sorry I’m Late. I was Lacking Motivation

I’m going to be 110% honest, I have had zero motivation for the last week. As a self-proclaimed lover of fresh starts I have gone into this New Year on a more subdued note than usual. Instead of beating myself up about it, I spent a little time reflecting on 2019 and I came to the conclusion that 2019 was a happy little storm of chaos and I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

My 2019 intention of self care in action at Disneyland
Me, driving into the new year.

Somehow 2019 managed to have the highest of highs (Disneyland, moving, promotions, growing this community, Herman settling in, sweet moments with dear friends) and some low lows (family members being sick, the loss of Brenton’s grandma, anxiety, generalized confusion on how to adult, the whole political climate, the fact that we are LITERALLY killing our planet). This year had the making of a perfect season of a teen drama but unlike Gossip Girl I couldn’t turn it off when the plot started to sink.

My 2019 intention of being kind to myself in action at Disneyland.
Living my best life at Mickey’s house

Yet, somehow, by the grace of our own strengths, we all made it. 

When I started 2019, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I set myself the following intentions: 

  • Be patient with myself and others (done)  
  • Shush my chronic imposter syndrome (she could be quieter but we’re improving) 
  • Continue self care through movement, good food, meditation, and general health (done)
  • Continue writing and sharing (done) 
  • Learn conversational spanish (my Duolingo Owl thinks I am a lost cause)

While I may have failed at learning Spanish I’m proud of how well I did on the rest of my 2019 intentions. Not only did I reach my goals but I had fiction and non-fiction published, I bought this blog domain so I could monetize it, I doubled my social media following for the blog (check it out here if you aren’t following along already), and I built my confidence to an unrecognizable state. 

I’m so proud of me! Which means this year I can update my intentions to encompass even more of the woman I want to be (and already am inside). Are we ready? My 2020 intentions are: 

  • To live an authentic life by honoring my whole self and prioritizing my wellbeing 
  • Keep building my blog, social media, podcasts, and writing projects 
  • Stay grounded in the chaos of the world 
  • *Keep at my Duolingo to get my Spanish up and running again 

So how am I going to do it? First, I always set intentions instead of resolutions because they leave room for human error, off days, and they help this former perfectionist sleep better. Then, I usually break down my intentions month by month and pick a few things to focus on. As we ease our way into January I’m focusing on the top half of the list and being selfish with my time by putting all my energy into my side projects. Brenton and I have already launched a Veronica Mars rewatch podcast called Life on Mars and we are working on another one about conspiracy theories called But Really Though. I’ll continue being active on here, on my instagram, and twitter. As always, I’ll be in the gym 5 days a week and working my way through YWA January Yoga Journey. 

I’m excited for my 2020 adventure and after 2019 I’m hanging on tight. I’m sure it will only get crazier from here. 

Happy New Year! 

Goal Setting for Success

Goal setting is one of my favorite things to do. I love sitting down and writing out all the things I want to accomplish and sit in the glory of my imaginary future successes. What I enjoy less is actually putting in the work. Like most humans (I presume), I am inherently lazy and struggle to find motivation, especially during the dark days of winter. Luckily, 2019 me has a leg up on the competition because I have 5 strategies I use to get myself moving towards my goals.

  1. Only set goals that are realistic and only set a couple at a time.  I think most goals should be made up of bite-sized goals that you can check off as you go (more on this in strategy two). That being said, not every goal needs to be a time consuming project to manage. One of my favorite goals that I have continued with from 2016  is to try to meditate more so that I can eventually solidify a daily practice. I don’t expect myself to meditate everyday because life happens, but I prioritize making time to meditate each evening.
  2. Make a plan to get started. Once I decide on my goals I write down a list of things I think I need to do to accomplish them. For example, I want to learn conversational spanish this year. To meet this goal I need to research Spanish schools in my city, sign up for a courses, participate in the courses and study. I then set myself due dates. I must select a Spanish course by the end of this week, sign up by the end of January and begin taking courses in February. From there I can decide if I need to continue taking courses, sign up for a different style of course or attend retreats to practice conversation. I don’t know what the process will look like in the end but I know where I am going and how I am going to get started.
  3. Tell everyone. Once a plan is in motion I have to actually do the work, which is the shitty part. My number one tip to hold myself accountable is to tell everyone. By everyone, I literally mean everyone. My boss, therapist, boyfriend, mother, best friend, and dog are all well aware that I am trying to do more things that scare me this year. This is easy for me, since I am a giant blabbermouth, and it makes me think twice before I skip my meditation or back out of trying something new because it scares me. This also allows others to help you come up with creative ways to meet your goals and it might help set you up with my next tip, an accountabilibuddy.
  4. Accountabilibuddy, not only is it fun to say, but it is also ideal to have one. An accountabilibuddy is someone who knows what you are trying to accomplish, wants you to succeed and will motivate you to continue your journey to your goals (bonus points if they are also trying to reach the same goals). As social creatures it can be important to have someone who knows how hard you have been working when the new goal setting motivation is gone and the new routine hasn’t settled in yet.
  5. Just fucking show up and expect nothing else from yourself. As a recovering perfectionist I have a hard time showing up for something, especially if it is something physical like a workout or class, if I don’t feel like I can perform at 100%. To compromise with this ridiculous trait of mine I have decided that I will no longer hold myself to a high standard when I do not feel up to something as long as I just show up for myself. I know that it is so hard to motivate yourself when you don’t feel up to it but unless your body is telling you no (ie: you are sick or in pain) it’s always better to just try. So what if you fail, at least you tried. A majority of the time that I do this I leave the lesson, session, yoga class or whatever it may be feeling better than I did walking in.

I hope this helps get you started or solidify your plans to reach your goals. 2019 is already off to a weird start, thanks government shutdown, but that doesn’t mean that you have to cave in to the awful energy. Let me know if you have any goals this year and what your plan is to reach them. I cannot wait to watch us all grow together this year.

Starting Fresh & Following Through

I love first days. Whether its a first day of school, first day at a new job, or first time in workout classes, being a newbie is fun. Starting fresh feels good. A new start the ultimate moment for positivity and optimism. No one expects you to master anything on your first day- especially if you are trying something new. The honeymoon period in a new job, relationship or while forming a habit is amazing…unfortunately it can fade rather quickly.

This year, I have set myself a couple goals some tangible and some, like being braver, that are larger in concept than application. To avoid setting myself up for failure I am changing up my goal setting. I paid attention to what worked and didn’t work for myself last year and I want to continue with that. For example, I learned that I am horrible at taking on vague goals without a plan. I cannot simply state I want to get fitter and commit to it, I have to take baby steps. Last year I started by working out one day more a week at a time, then eating better and then trying new workouts. If I had gone cold turkey on my Dominos lifestyle I would have quit by February.

Another observation I made was that rigid goal setting does not work for me. I am fickle; I cannot commit to a Whole30 lifestyle or a work out every day gym routine. Rigid goals make me feel like every slip up is the end of the process. It’s easy to quit when I feel discouraged. To combat this I now set intentions. An example from last year is instead of telling myself that I am going to meditate everyday or else, I tell myself that I intend to meditate everyday. It feels less harsh to me and makes accomplishing my goal of meditating easier. I’m applying it to this year by setting the intention to opt outdoors for at least 30 minutes one day each weekend. It can be a hike, a run or a walk through an outdoor shopping center as long as I make it outside and move.

A third observation, that ties into setting intentions, is adjusting my approach to my goal when things don’t work for me. For example, in an ideal world I would wake up at 6:00 am every weekday and do my morning yoga and set my intentions for the day. Unfortunately, I am not a morning person. I’m horrible at sleeping which makes motivating myself to get up damn near impossible. Instead, of beating myself up for not getting up every morning, or not working out at all, I just adjusted my schedule so I can do my workouts in the evening. A morning cardio session isn’t going to happen most mornings and I’m okay with that. I’ve let it go.  

While the above are all important I believe the essential tactic to not quitting when things stop being shiny and new is finding the why. Instead of focusing on the result I am focusing on the reason. It’s easy to get discouraged when results don’t appear immediately but if I have a good why I stand a better chance of completing my goal. It doesn’t always make it easier but it helps remotivate me when I dwell on why I’m doing something instead of the task itself. That being said, if I don’t have a good reason why, I let it go.

Handstands

With the start of this new year I have started a new job, started a new workout schedule and moved to a new city. I’m relishing in this sweet honeymoon period but I’m also trying to prepare myself for the future. Commitment is hard.

Let me know what goals you’ve set for yourself and how you keep yourself accountable!

2017 Recap, 2018 Ready!

2017 was chaos. The hangover from the clusterfuck of the 2016 presidential election loomed over the first half of my year. I refused to let the commander in cheeto ruin my year completely, but boy did he try. I’ve decided to spin something positive out of it and have put upon myself a goal to practice gratitude and find the positives of 2017 in order to determine my 2018 goals.

I created healthy, well rounded habits in 2017. For my physical self I began exercising regularly, cooking more and not eating things that make me sick all the time (looking at you, gluten). I tried new fitness classes. I did barre, pilates, public yoga classes and I began lifting weights. I also let myself take rest days when I wanted and I occasionally went for the full gluten pizza (sorry tummy). I attempted balance and I made it my mission to get strong physically and mentally.

Emotionally, I dealt with the death of two grandparents, the emotional turmoil of being unsatisfied in my career and my post grad comedown. I let myself feel emotions instead of bottling them up. I refused to settle in my unsatisfactory work place and I got a new job in a new city that I started 1/2/2018. I simultaneously managed leaving my position to take this new opportunity, moving my life 300 miles north and spending Christmas with B’s family (before this year I have never spent Christmas away from my family). I managed my stress by practicing my yoga and mediation more than I have in previous years.

I took baby steps and set manageable goals. Most importantly I made it; and if you’re reading this you made it too.

I’ve come out of 2017 emotionally spent but still optimistic for the future. I took emotional strength inspiration from my fellow feminists. I ruminate on the power I felt watching coverage from the Women’s March. I have faith in the common decency of the US even if those in power are only working from a place of self interest. #MeToo brought to light that victims of assault are unfortunately common and will not hide in the shadows anymore. The anger and activism has brought a voice to women. I have learned so much about myself, my views on feminism and intersectional feminism. I’ve learned about the importance of amplifying the voices of those who are not heard. I put a lot of energy in improving myself in 2017 and I want to stay on the same path.

My goals for 2018 are a little abstract again. I want to do more of what makes me happy which includes exercising frequently, attempting a daily meditation, reading books and writing. I want to use my reading and writing to expand my vocabulary; my post grad verbiage is weak. I’m going to continue posting on this blog but I’m going to take it slower and not force myself to put something up when I don’t have honest inspiration. The world doesn’t need more pointless noise. I also want to manage my money better and start saving for future travels. I handled this decently while prepping for my big move but I know there is room for improvement. I want to continue facing my fears (like flying, driving on freeways and doing things that I’m not a natural at) and take every difficult task as an opportunity to grow instead of a road bump.

First things first; I’m going to build on my yoga. I’m doubling down on my 30 days of yoga challenge and I am participating in both Alo and Yoga with Adriene’s January challenges. I’m also setting myself the January goal of settling into my new city which includes finding a new doctor, optometrist and dentist. I’m going to test run a few gyms and snuggle into my new normal in my new city.

StockSnap_TVEUBLIOSK.jpgI’m starting 2018 filled with hope and excitement. I created change for myself in 2017 and I’m happier for it. Here’s to a significantly better, especially on the political front, 2018.

Happy New Year!

Finishing at My Own Pace

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated everyone on my goal of cultivating love and creativity this year. 2017 definitely threw some wrenches in my plan but I managed to meet so many of my goals this year.

I did not adhere to my monthly goals perfectly through 2017 but I learned what worked and what didn’t for me. I was able to sit back and watch how I react to a crazy workload, how I act when I am stressed to the gills and how I react to being underwhelmed.

I’ve learned that a once a week posting schedule may sound simple but it is still a lot of writing. With all that happened this year I had to learn to go easier on myself. I let myself fail, take a couple weeks or even a month off and the best part is that I was okay. Not conquering everything the way I intended to did not kill me (crazy, right?)

1197079A lot of growing feels like failing. It is learning what works for you and what does not.

My mantra for this year has been “just because it does not work for you does not make it wrong”. By removing the emotion from what works for me and what doesn’t I was able to look at things in a more loving way.

I realized that the most important part of cultivating love was having it to give.

I’m spending the last month of 2017 healing from a surgery and getting ready for a big change. I figured out that my current position was no longer serving me and it is time for a change of scenery. Letting go of what does not serve me and moving on to something better is the biggest act of self-love. Because of this B and I are relocating to the bay!

With all of this change rapidly approaching my only goal for December is to continue getting comfortable with my self-love and the channel my creativity into something fun, decorating my new living space. After the rapid changes of 2017 I’m ready to slow down.

See you in 2018 with my new goals.

July/August Recap & September Confidence

In June, I kept near my goals but fell off my routine a couple times (my morning workouts got moved to afternoon, I did not listen to others or my body well and battled my brain for control of my life). I was in desperate need of an emotional and physical reset. After working my ass off to get back to my regular schedule this August I’ve decided that I should accompany this reset with some confidence.

I’m going to get back into daily meditation. In June, I got lazy about my regular practice and my mental health suffered. I was easily triggered, not a good look for someone who works in HR. Through the latter half August I’ve gotten back into yoga and meditation and it’s really helped me keep my cool.

I’ve decided it’s time to make my workouts harder. I’ve decided to bump up one of my 3 mile runs to 4-6 depending on the week.I plan to wake up on time so I can stretch before I run to prevent injuries from flaring up. I also have started going to a public yoga class instead of only doing yoga at home. I even bought B and I 5 class passes for a nearby studio (it is easier for me to stick with something if I have a partner). So far we are loving it there! B was even told that he had a “beautiful practice”. He’s been on cloud 9 since. I am also going to continue incorporating new equipment and heavier weights into my workout. I’ve really started to fall in love with lifting. I think weight training has brought back some of the confidence I had when I was a dancer. I love being in awe of my own body’s capabilities.

I’m going to have confidence in my writing abilities. It doesn’t matter how creative I am if I am too afraid to write anything to share. I’m going to take control of my craft. I’ve been lazy with my writing lately but I am going to use my confidence in myself to really channel my emotions and create.

I’m going to take my confidence into the workplace. Asking for the resources I need. Contributing ideas with confidence. I am going to start taking complete control of my career. I’m going to be cautious about riding the line between confident and cocky.  

Being confident in myself is definitely going to lead me to my goal of love for the year and hopefully it will help me channel more creativity.

My end of summertime burnout is still here but I’m not going to let it stop me from trying to find love and creativity this year. I want to find confidence in my self love. I’ve been struggling with presenting myself with pride, confidence is definitely an act of self love.

Hitting Refresh

Lately, I’ve been experiencing professional and social burnout. I love my job and I adore my friends and family but I’m in desperate need of a looooong break. Why do adults not get summer vacation?

napping
I’ve suffered from burnout since 1993

2017 has been EXHAUSTING and I, as a perfectionist with anxiety, needed to hit pause. I spent July re-calibrating and trying to refresh. I fell off my morning workout schedule (don’t worry I still worked out in the evenings, I just gave up on 6am for a bit), I ate out a bit more (don’t worry I haven’t gone back to my old Domino’s antics yet) and I stopped writing for my blog (did you miss me?). I dropped all of my non-work responsibilities and tried to eliminate my stressors. Unfortunately, it did not work. Quitting on my “me time” schedule just made things feel worse. So, I’m back.

When you do not have the PTO or a flexible schedule I guess the only option with burnout is to power through it. I experienced burnout of a similar time towards the end of my college career and I know that my little break from the activity I was burnt out on helped tremendously. By the time I graduated I was exhausted from the papers, readings and studying. I had quit reading for fun. I had gone from being a bibliophile to a bibliophobe. But after I graduated, stopped panicking and found a job I rediscovered my love of books.

Sometimes we need a break from the things we love, and when we can’t take that break we have to remember why we love what we do. I’ve started writing down what I’m thankful for each evening again and it has helped shift my mindset a bit. I’m getting back into meditation and I’m focusing on trying to figure out what excites me outside of my daily activities. I’ve been obsessively watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix and I’ve decided to try baking (pita breads are first on the list). Adding a new hobby hopefully will help light the spark I need to get me out of this burnout.

sleeping puppy
Photo evidence of me “meditating” on how difficult life was circa 2011

All this being said my August goal is to meditate on everything I have accomplished this year, evaluate the goals I have set, and determine what I need to do to find my center. My goal of cultivating love and creativity this year has come so far and I refuse to let it fizzle out with this current bout of burnout.

Let me know what are some of your techniques for battling burnout in the comments below!

Hunting Down Creativity

My creativity is bipolar. It is either manic, coming at me in full force, attempting to attack. Or it is hiding so well I’m convinced I never had it to begin.

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I’m a task oriented individual. I like lists, goals, following a process thoroughly. Creativity does not like to play by my rules. Creativity waltz in, stays for just one dance and then disappears faster than Cinderella at midnight.

I’ve discovered that I cannot magic creativity when there is time for it in my schedule so I have dedicated myself to two tactics on finding and harnessing it.

 

  1. Whenever creativity strikes I write it down, jump on it and try to make moves. If I am too busy or at work I jot down the thought in my notes and pray to god that I will have some inkling of its magic left when I have time to look it over.
  2. My less successful tactic, but incredibly more fun, I try to lure it in. When I want to be creative but can’t muster up an idea I force myself to try. I pull out the list mentioned above, or a creative writing prompt from Google or I try movement. I will start by attempting intuitive yoga and see what emotions I can bring out. Once I identify an emotion I write it down to use. Turning movement into words is becoming my new favorite game.

Am I good at these? Of course not! I’m just getting started but I’m working on it.

How are you doing with your goals this month?

Why I Blog & Reaching my Goals

I decided to start this blog with Kate last year and after months of prep and page designing we made it live. Originally, I blogged to make Kate laugh but now I blog to keep myself going with my goals (and hopefully still make Kate laugh).

A huge motivator for my consistency with this blog is keeping me honest about my progress of my goals this year. Truth be told, if I wasn’t sharing all of this information on the internet there is no way I would have ever started my morning routine that I do with B. I would still be BFF’s with Dominos and my flirtations with Taco Bell would be beyond mild.

I also happen to find this process of writing, editing and posting really fun, but without my monthly goals as motivation I don’t think I would have been as consistent as I have been. Lately I’ve been thinking more about why I decided to take this route and what I have learned on my goal setting journey. I wanted to share some of my goal setting tips, successes and failures with you.

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My to-do lists never look this organized
First thing I want to address is why I took this to the internet. Sure, in January I could have written down my goals like everyone else and told myself I was going to work on my love and creativity but I’ve been down that road before and it’s never ended well. I needed adult supervision, but I was the adult..so my inner Rory came out and I made a list of ways to be accountable. Sharing everything online seemed like the easiest and blogging about it seemed like the ideal way to keep my Facebook friends from hating me. By spending the time each month to write about what I have done and plan to do I’m force to keep myself accountable.

Another key factor is “the rules are there ain’t no rules” (Grease for all those who live under a damn rock). I set guidelines instead. It is so easy to derail if you are counting every mistake as a failure instead of an opportunity to reroute. I always try to remind my perfectionist brain that it is “progress not perfection”.  This is another action that is easier said than done but I think a healthy relationship with meditation is key for this. The guided meditations that I do always remind me to come back to this moment, bring myself back in from where my thoughts trickled off to. Mistakes happen, life happens, sometimes you fall completely off your morning routine for a week or two…it doesn’t mean you can’t get back into it and it doesn’t mean you have failed your goals.

 I also decided to break the process down month by month. I prefer concise instructions in my life so I needed to give them to myself. This has been essential to my success. Instead of throwing the broad goal of creativity at myself with no guidance I break down the process to love and creativity. It is very easy to say I am going to treat everyone around me with loving kindness but without breaking it down how am I going to practice it? My monthly goals allow me to focus all of my attention on forming a healthy habit (which takes 21 days) and to then try to integrate it into the rest of my life.

 The ability to refocus my goals every month has been a HUGE help to getting where I am. At the end of every month I think over everything I’ve accomplished and rework my goals for the next month so that I am continuing down the path I want to be on. When I feel like I’m not making fast enough progress I stop and review everything I’ve done.

For example, I wanted to grow in creativity in movement and be confident about it in May and by the end of the month (and with a lot of help from Kate) I have conquered the headstand…my biggest yoga fear! Now that I know I can do this move without breaking my neck for June I can take the confidence from mastering this pose to the next move I want to add to my yoga tool kit or into my work/personal life off the mat.

This blog has given me an outlet to celebrate my victories each month. In January I did yoga everyday, in March I started running in the mornings, in April I spent more time with myself, making my current habits permanent and evaluating what I wanted out of this process and now in May I have begun truly working on my creativity. I’m beyond excited to see where my life will take me with this .

What’s my professional (Read: Amateur) advice on goal setting? Make your goals achievable and if they seem to hard, just change them don’t quit on them.

Do not try to start in the middle, this will not work and you will burn out or get discouraged.

Make your goals fun (coloring and yoga are fun af). Always reward yourself for getting shit done and getting closer to your goal (that’s my excuse for spending too much money on workout clothes and shoes).

If you need someone to celebrate your victories with you, big or small, I’m here.

March Madness and April’s Recap

March was for action and boy did I take it in that goal on in my personal life. Mid month I decided it was time to start waking up early and working out and feeding my body the good stuff. Starting that habit has created a paradigm shift in my daily routine. Work is no longer the first thing of my day or the last thing that I think about at night.

America has cultivated this unhealthy obsession with getting ahead and my actions helped me realize that. (Yes, I know it is seemingly ironic that by doing more things I have stopped trying to get ahead but being mindful and meditative while doing yoga and running has been so good for me). While I want to succeed in my career I’ve realized that my health has to come before my job. I’m oh so very lucky to work at a company that allows me to take midday walks on beautiful days and encourages the use of PTO but the culture of American corporations in general weighs heavily on all of us. My morning routine and evening workouts allow me to put myself on the schedule instead of just my job. Due to this focus on myself, I have been better at focusing at work. Yin and Yang. That work life balance is oh so very important.

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The view from one of the many beautiful places I’ve gotten to visit. Rattlesnake Ridge in Seattle.

My external actions were a little trickier. I tried to make as many calls to my representatives as I could but I did not reach my goal for the number of calls that I wanted to have made. I still highly recommend Jen Hoffman’s guide and I will still continue to build on this baby foundation of political activism.

April was my month of reflection and repetition. I had not taken enough political action by the end of March to feel like I had accomplished my goal. In April I continued to take action. I donated clothes to a local women’s shelter. I donated money to the ACLU and Emily’s List. I revisited my goal of self-love by getting back into daily yoga and doing little things that made me happy like enjoying coffee with B in the morning. I practiced self-love by reading the book Cunt and really sitting in my powerful feminine energy.  I made plans with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and visited them in their cities. I allowed myself to appreciate the moments I spent with them and to be present. I revisited my goal of listening by taking the time to think about the needs of those I interact with daily and trying to view the world from their perspective as well as my own. I have added this extra lense to as many conversations as I can.

I’m so glad I spent this month slowing down. Making times for friends, myself and relationships I feel like I have now built the steady loving habits I need to start plugging into my creativity. Bring it on May – I’m ready for you.