Monthly Archives: December 2015

Year In Review

Honestly, today I’m cranky. I felt dreamy beforehand when I planned to post all that’s happened this year and now at the very end of the year, I feel there’s been a misstep. It’s the dressing room mirror’s fault.

Regardless, I started brainstorming my list. It made me smile. I guess I did kind of love this one.

  • had the opportunity to work with the sweetest ESL kiddos, during this time the idea of adoption was placed on my heart and will now shape a few things I am doing with the business in the near future
  • left that amazing job after being moved to tears in June, on my balcony, over a book. Had a stirring inside me I could not ignore and knew it was now or never and though I didn’t even realize, I’d been pursuing what was ‘easier’ this entire time. So I said YES.
  • felt more peace than before because of the decision to be myself unapologetically, found my voice
  • attracted more of my people because of the above bullet
  • paid off (almost all) debt. School loans, car loans, anything and everything else is diminished. We don’t own a home so I guess no mortgage can be celebrated – for now.
  • helped Lewis Howes launch his book, was apart of SOGA
  • came clear on my vision for Live Audaciously
  • became a personal trainer
  • helped my ladies shed a combined over 200 pounds of fat – online!
  • did a pull up, almost to two in a row currently!
  • live workouts with Tony Horton & Shawn T
  • read tons of books
  • practiced gratitude more often
  • adopted another puppy (Reg dude) Who am I??
  • met my nephew Gabe, had the chance to talk to my sister immediately after she gave birth (so many tears, so happy for her)
  • put on the guest list for an intimate house show by a musician I’ve followed for the past ten years, such an incredible experience.
  • I’m not telling you how the above bullet came to fruition but I really want to; it’s hilarious (so I’ll still make it a point, because it made my entire year)
  • visited the Oregon coast and the mountains and rode a train to Washington
  • met so many incredible people
  • attended two Dave Bazan house shows
  • FaceTime with family over the holidays (was bummed about not being there but had to look at the positive, still had a chance to drop in!)
  • witnessed my friend talk about her dream of designing a planner and see each step lead to now; launched and published!
  • witnessed my husband become more and more of who he is meant to be – you can tell, there is a peace and a confidence that arrive when you step into your true self
  • was always provided for and supported. So blessed, so thankful

I acknowledge what may have been a fantastic year for me may not have been for you. If so, I hope you find strength and peace tonight and know it does get better. Life is full of seasons and the above is only my highlight reel. There were frustrating, angry and off moments too. I also hope you find a moment to tease out the miracles this year held for you. May your next trip round the sun be blissful. xoxo

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2016 Health Overhaul

So, I’ve never been skinny, well, aside from the short period in 7th grade pre-puberty. I was pretty lean (and completely flat) but even then, I don’t remember being very “skinny.”

After life took it’s natural course and I began more of my growing, I was a normal weight for my size. A little thicker even. But like I said, never in my life have I been skinny.

So in those last two years of high school, when I quit cross country and wasn’t at all aware of what I am aware of now regarding nutrition and intake, I started gaining fat. I involved myself in other sports to try to manage my weight, but there’s no way around it, I was thick.

Post high school, my activity plummeted and I kept accumulating fat. I started to think I wasn’t meant to be in shape, that I was only a mediocre athlete so this is what I deserved (really??)

In 2007, I competed in a work weight loss challenge, lost 30 pounds running and eating lean meats and veggies. My understanding of how to take care of myself was growing, all the while, managing my body weight was an all the time struggle. I’m thankful I’ve always had to work for it otherwise I wouldn’t have grown the discipline and attention I have towards my health.

Around this time in my life my ‘go to’ workouts were Jillian Michaels DVDs and running. I bought her book Master Your Metabolism and learned all about how our hormones play an enormous part in how we digest our food, how our body functions, and how the food like products in the American Diet were to blame for hijacking our hormones and destroying our metabolism. I gave a good effort to eat mostly organic.

However, only with my health journey in relation to Beachbody coaching has it registered that true health goes far deeper than ‘mostly organic’ and running every now and then.

With said journey, I’ve cut out dairy most of the time (no milk. first – yuck, secondly – hormones!) I don’t break out like I used to since I’ve made this shift. My workouts are short and high intensity (work smarter).  One hundred ounces of water is a daily goal. Shakeology is a must to help my body absorb the right nutrients from my food and shed the rest. Nigel and I eat mostly lean meats and veggies. With my routine of training five to six times a week, eating well most of the time, drinking mass amounts of water, sleeping eight hours, being outside often, I am still missing something. I maintain my weight and I am honestly never sick and haven’t been for the past three years or more (not including allergies).

And in light of all of this, I know I can take it one step further. I know I’m not eating the way I should because relatively healthy is not an accomplishment. I want to devote 2016 to jumping into learning about my complete health. I want to transform completely form the inside out. So with this conviction, we will begin in January by dissecting everything we know or think we know about food. We will look at elimination diets and transition into a different kind of diet than we practice currently.

Please know this effort is about education. Knowing how my own body responds to certain foods and the optimal way of caring for it will only help me be a better coach, trainer, wife, and someday mom. I know I can level up when it comes to health and push to feel exactly how I want to + finally carve that consistently lean body I know is mine.

Also know, I’m not claiming to be a nutrition expert, only sharing our journey. If you want to stay posted these are the following themes we’ll be tacking next year: 

  • Jan: food
  • Feb: supplements
  • March: skincare
  • April: hygiene
  • May: cleaning supplies
  • June: clothing
  • July: environment
  • August: plastic
  • Sept: electronics
  • Oct: shopping locally, small business
  • Nov: gratitude
  • Dec: reflection
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Management & Maintenance

So you’ve set goals – now what are you going to do about them?

My first tip would be that you place your goals somewhere visible to you daily. The more you see them, the more your mind starts to conspire to make them happen. Writing them down and never looking at them again won’t do anything for you.

And don’t stop there, you need to decide on your management plan. Break those big goals into smaller goals and then focus on what habits you need to adopt to become the person who would reach these big goals.

“It’s time to WAKE UP and realize that the habits you indulge in could be compounding your life into repeated disaster.” The Compound Effect

Will I ever read one health related book each month next year if I don’t make a habit to read daily and be consistent? Nope. Well, yes, if I cram a book in the last few days of each month but that’s not the point at all.

So, habits. 90% of what we do is habit. 

Some habits I am working on developing:

  1. wake up already. Sleeping is in my bones. I swear it was passed on to me (through me dad). I talked to my mom and she says I didn’t even have any trouble as a newborn. I had that sleeping thing down! So, I want to wake up at 6:30 am every single day. I used to have to when I was leaving home for work. It’s harder when you make your own rules.
  2. be consistent. I saw the most success this past summer when I was doing all the little things every day. It’s key or so I’ve heard 🙂 Ready to own it this year.
  3. be thankful. Express gratitude all the damn time. This has been somewhat of a habit but I’m going to be even better at this!
  4. perfect a morning and evening routine.
  5. know when to say yes and when to say no. Say yes to all the scary, new, exciting things. Say no if you’re deciding based on guilt, if you are prioritizing your time, if this event or project will distract you from your main goals. Is this last one a habit? Eh, it will be! 

Which habits are guiding you today? Which will shape your new year?

A few habit tracking resources:

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Looking Ahead, Setting Intentions

Well, Christmas has definitely taken priority this week! I meant to blog through my ‘10 tips to prep for another year,” (most recent post) and have missed: clean house, give away & sell, organize, organize your closet, plan needs and budget. How about I circle back to those topics here this next week and into 2016?

If I pick back up after budgeting, we’ll be discussing setting new goals, which is a favorite topic and something that pushed me to do more this year (because I continued to check back on my progress). I’m a list maker and goal setter by heart but maybe you aren’t. Hopefully, in sharing some of my own ambitions, you’ll be inspired to start thinking up yours.

I had fun reflecting and setting new goals a few weeks ago as I asked those in my fit group to create their own vision boards and share them. I didn’t have a compilation of magazines to use and wasn’t thrilled about printing a ton of Pinterest photos so I did my own spin on a vision board. All that was necessary was a handful of sharpie markers, chart paper (from teaching) music and about 30 minutes. I’ll post a photo, but wanted to list (some) of my 2016 intentions below:

  1. daily gratitude + creative journaling + planer use
  2. WRITE. Blog through 2016 health overhaul
  3. launch Live Audaciously in January + partner with non profit by June
  4. READ. One book a month {health} related
  5. weekly date nights + weekly random acts of kindness
  6. two adventurous vacations planned by May
  7. public speaking + self publish plans set in motion by May
  8. be diligent in learning about adoption and homeschool
  9. help Nigel pursue his dreams (launch career by June)
  10. PRAISE GOD FOR EVERY MOMENT. Okay, I will forget some moments but I can never forget that all my striving is in vain if I forget what it’s truly about – 

I love when Lewis Howes said, “when you doubt yourself, you doubt your Creator.” When we take the focus off ourselves and realize we have something to offer from our own unique person, possibilities abound. You have a purpose. You have a story to tell. You have goals to set (and conquer) and a passion that is singly your own. Entertain these thoughts tonight. 

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10 Tips to Prep for Another Year

For fun, I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to prep for the new year. Maybe you will check off one per day, maybe you’ll tackle three or four following the days after Christmas. Either way, I’ll be working through the list myself and plan to share! 

10. Clean your house – if you’ve been in one of my fit groups, you know this is on the list. As humans we want to compile and compile when all we really need to do is CLEAN and manage (and be thankful for) what we already have.

9. Give away all that you can, put some things up for sale – think about all those who need what you have stuffed in the back of the cabinet or in the corner over there. If you haven’t used it in a year and don’t foresee using it soon, give. it. away. On the other hand, our economy functions when our belongings have worth, so go ahead and list that CD on ebay, craigslist, or Facebook.

8. Organize – after purging, organize what is left. This order will set your mind right to concur all that is ahead of you.

7. Organize your closet – because you see it every day. Take an hour or two to purge, give away, sell what is lost in your closet. Organize it in a functional way. Light a candle. Take a deep breath. You’ll be thankful you did this.

6. Plan your needs and budget for 2016 – Nigel and I have been budgeting since the beginning of our marriage. Our budget helped us know when to say yes and when to say no. We’ve paid off all debt (cars, school loans, random CC) because we determined our budget and stuck with it throughout these first five years. Now is the perfect time to figure out how much money you need, how much you want, and what you will do to earn it.

5. Set new goals! – setting goals is my favorite 😀 Don’t be the person who never set a goal because you’re afraid you won’t reach it. Set it anyway. Most goals I have set, I haven’t reached, however, when I reflect on these goals I’m always learning and setting new limits going forward. Push yourself. You’re worth it!

4. Management plan – setting goals is actually the easy part. You’ll want to set up a plan to break goals down into smaller goals and then into daily habits. See point #3, and figure out a way to track your habits.

3. Daily habits – have you read The Compound Effect? In it, Darren Hardy talks about habit tracking, because 90% of what we do is habit. So have you thought about your habits lately? Are they setting you up for success or destruction? Base your habits on the person you would have to be to reach the goals you set. Habits are the bridge from goal setting to actual achievement.

2. Reflect on 2015 – the year isn’t over and I know you experienced so much. Don’t leave it in haste. Take time to reflect on all the good and some of the sour. Be thankful for all your moments because they led you here, ready to welcome in another year.

  1. CELEBRATE! – what good is hard work without celebration? With up, comes down, with sunshine, rain, and after prepping for the new year and reflecting on the old, take time to CELEBRATE this life you are living! And if you aren’t going out with friends, I hope you are able to have a five minute dance party in your living room!
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Simplicity is a Blessing

This morning I had the strongest craving for Honey Nut Cheerios. I haven’t had cereal in five years (thank God) but today I wanted a bowl. Nigel left for work and I walked to Publix. (It’s a funny thing, when I decide I want something, I’ve already convinced myself it’s done). As I was walking I noticed the breeze – cool enough for a jacket and also refreshing.   Seven a.m is perfect for walking. Nothing is crowded or busy. My attention was set on the coolness and serenity of being alone in the moment.

Last year, I would have been stressed at the idea of owning only one vehicle. This year, in the attitude of reduction and knowing most, if not all, individuals who retire early talk about the insane amount of money a car will cost over time. Most early retirees ride bikes or walk and have forfeited their vehicles completely.  Over the summer we concluded one vehicle was plenty. I’d be working from home 90 percent of the time and any challenge one car presented was only an opportunity to be creative.

So this morning, I was thankful to be without a car. Walking was cathartic and created space for me to reflect and be joyful in the moment. 

In this space, I meditated on what this next year will hold. I’ll be blogging through my own health challenge, which was born on the observation that my strength lies in movement. You do not have to convince me to power through a workout, or to stretch, or to enthusiastically occupy the dance floor..!  However, I’d rate myself as decent in overall health. I know how to feed my body (mostly) and I put this into practice (mostly). But why is mostly enough when “our body is a brilliant piece of machinery that outperforms even the most advanced computer,” ?

What I haven’t mastered is true health from the inside out. I want to set out to do what feels nearly impossible. I want 2016 to be the year of complete health. This will include transitioning into a completely organic household beginning with food (inside) and ending the year examining our environment (outside). Obviously, you’ll find so much in between so please follow my journey. I’ll be blogging from a different space as well as soon as my business website is launched.

For now though, consider all that was bread of convenience: our homes, grocery stores, fast food chains, the microwave, cars, airplanes, cell phones. Everything we quickly enjoy, but how we pile it all on ourselves until we’re suffocating, until we are stuffed fat with lethargy, until we have forgotten the true peace and beauty of simplicity. The blessing of having and needing little. The weight metaphorically and literally you’ll lose when you clear out the ‘stuff’ and the ‘junk’ and the desire to hoard the unnecessary (most of it).

I had been disappointed in our ‘humble Christmas’ this year until I was alone with the thought. The simplicity in the lights and the stockings and a few pieces of trim (branches snagged from outside) decked our home perfectly, sweetly, simply. This moment and season are whole. God, we are blessed.

 

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Compartmentalized Faith

Or, faith that suits you.

It seems a theme practiced especially in America is compartmentalized faith, or the idea that one truth only permeates in certain conditions. For example, when someone believes God will take care of them in any situation, and then any random situation occurs, and they forget their belief and retreat into fear. Or when we are asked to take in refugees and we decide that caring for those in need is conditional.

Or when we’re afraid to quit our job when we know it’s the right thing to do. Or when we can only give a little of ourselves because if we give more, we might be at a loss. Or when that scared voice inside is all that we  hear. When it starts counting scars instead of blessings and hurts instead of beauty.

We complicate the simplest of truths. Here’s one: you have faith or you have fear. You cannot have both. Well, maybe you can have both but only one will be driving. So which is it? Is the faith that you were created in such a way, that whatever happens if you wrap hold the faith you know you have somewhere – it will be ok. Or is it fear who tells you to look out for you no matter what because if you don’t, no one will? When in reality, the more you wrap yourself up and take care of you, the more you take away the opportunity for someone to love into your life.

Please open up this season. Give and share more of yourself because you were made to bless someone. You have unique talents that will heal the broken if you let faith drive you.

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These Words Changed Me

I truly meant to have this one up last night, however, I was floating and my eyes were heavy after Benadryl. (You’d think I’m on staff as much as I talk about taking these meds, but really my allergies rule most of my life. Relief is soon, I hope).

So, there were two books I can without a doubt refer to anyone and everyone. These two books changed me when I read them in July; and when I say changed me, I’m not throwing out a catch phrase. I mean, seriously, honestly, tears streaming down my face, time-to-move and rearrange my life type of change me.

The first is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Everyone around me kept referring this book and I’d been rolling my eyes. I thought, “yeah, I know – consistent effort over time makes a difference.” If I haven’t mentioned already, I’m such a prideful person. It’s sad, really, and one personality trait I am working on. So after I beat down my ego, I started on TCE, and wow. Darren talks about our habits and setting goals and becoming a better human being because if you’re not actively becoming better, you’re actually becoming worse. I’m serious, he says that. Not in those exact words, but you’ll get the point. I used TCE to set a purpose for my bootcamps and actually scripted every post for each camp within a few days after devouring TCE.

Without revealing all of the content I use in my camps (you have to be there), I’ll share a few of my favorite quotes:

“If you’re not making the progress that you would like to make and are capable of making, it is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.” I’m pretty much a goal nazi. That’s my only comment for now.

“95 percent of everything we feel, think, do, and achieve is a result of a learned habit!” Your habits define you. So, who are you?

“Never seek advice of someone with whom you wouldn’t want to trade places.” Ooo, this one. Raise your hand if you’ve been listening to everyone else’s opinion your entire life, and when you take stock of who you are learning from, you realize you would never want to be that person or live their situations. I’m raising both hands. Most often, those I’ve let weigh in heavily on my own life decisions  were on the outside of what I actually wanted to do – who I actually wanted to be. Their advice was an echo of their own thoughts and feelings, whether those feelings were fear, hesitation, cynicism, none of them were mine and none of them mirrored the type of person I wanted to be and would become…!

The second text was Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but that doesn’t matter because I’m telling you my own personal opinion and reflection on Strayed’s book.

I’ve found I naturally gravitate to works by artists who are not afraid to be embarrassingly raw. Those who put the fear of soiling their reputation aside and instead rip it to pieces themselves. These artists aren’t hiding a damn thing. They’ve destroyed the filter that stops them from voicing something that Grandma wouldn’t read. They pour all of their life experiences in their art and then unleash it to the public.

I felt for her as she described the trauma that surrounded her numb attitude toward life. Many times, I cried and cheered for her with each step toward her own self discovery. Gah, reflecting on it makes me want to reread it right this minute. I’ll be right back…

Serendipitously, at the start of the year, I’d set my intentions on vacation in Oregon. Many parts of Strayed’s book take place in and around Oregon, so as I finished Wild the week before we arrived in Portland, I felt a strange closeness to her and all of her experience. (This happened again when I began to read Into the Wild and he finds himself in the same area Strayed discusses. All of our stories will always overlap).

While I loved every single bit of text in Wild, it was the few quotes on page 175, Part Four that changed me:

“When I had no roof I made audacity my roof.” Robert Pinsky The idea (for me) of living audaciously was born the day I read this page. I renamed my coaching team “Audaciously Alive,” and will be soon be launching a business self-titled Live Audaciously. Thank you, Cheryl, for this quote and planting the idea in my mind of living bigger and more on purpose as an adult.

“Never never never give up.” Winston Churchill Forever and always, keep going. You were given this life to live it and bring all of your gifts into it.

So there it is. A brief reflection of the words that changed me this summer. These words forced me to ask telling questions. These words pushed me to run away from everything easy and obvious, and start living like the person I truly am inside.

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30 for 30

As an adult, it’s so easy to push everything onto time. Everything. I didn’t have time. There wasn’t any time. I ran out of time. I wasn’t watching the time. I would do ____ if only I had time. This is perplexing as we all actually have the same amount of time. No one invented more time, however, again, it’s a matter of how we manage what we are given. 

Thirty books in one year shouldn’t actually be difficult. I decided on jotting this goal with the rest when I realized I hadn’t been actively reading (hadn’t been actively growing my brain in one of the best ways possible) since I had graduated college. I was only skimming articles. I had only been reading what was required, and my goodness, I’m 30 years old, why in the world can I not read when I want to read?! Well. Simply because I didn’t make time for it. Didn’t schedule it in. This was the goal to remedy all of that. 

Comprehensively, this seems noble. Like, heck yes, 30 books in one whole year. The reality is I read about seven books through August and now I’m cramming the rest in the last month of the year. I have 10 to finish.

Below I reflect on what I’ve read, what I have yet to read, and how I feel about this ambition currently. The book theme of the year morphed into a personal development + exploration and adventure. Interestingly, I feel this could be the definition of my life in 2015.

  1. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Wilson – this one was slow but had a lot of interesting information. I liked to see how she mapped out her year and the revelations she came across. Probably the best book to kick off a new year. If you haven’t read it, you may want to give it a go, but don’t pressure yourself to finish because as I mentioned – s l o w.
  2. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy – currently the best book I’ve ever read. Seriously. It took a minute to gain momentum in reading, but soon I couldn’t wait to finish the book so I could re-read it again. I haven’t yet because of my crazy book goal, but will be returning to it soon! If you want to live a better life – read this book.
  3. Today Matters by John Maxwell – oh how I love Maxwell! I started reading his work upon recommendation and now I’ll happily soak any wisdom he offers (through books, email, anything). Today matters, not yesterday or tomorrow.
  4. Be a People Person by John Maxwell – pretty decent book. Quick read.
  5. Wild by Cheryl Strayed – another life changer for me. Her honestly made every word rich and more valuable than it could have been if she focused on writing politely. I laughed, I cried, I related in so many ways. Nigel and I rented the movie afterward and came to the pretty frequent conclusion that is – the book was better.
  6. The Winning Attitude by John Maxwell – Attitude is everything and he explains it all perfectly. Read this one!
  7. Tribes by Seth Godin – this was a quick read. It’s a small book and I highlighted several concepts of his. Not earth shattering but worth picking up sometime.
  8. The Best of American Travel Writing 2013 Edited by Elizabeth Gilbert – I’m one chapter in and finding it difficult to keep reading for pleasure. This would be a better read under less pressure.
  9. Guide to Becoming Rich by Robert T. Kiyosaki – my dad used to read these books years ago and I always thought, “geez, Dad, money doesn’t matter why are you pursuing it so fiercely?” I could not have been more wrong. All of his books are on my ‘must read’ list because he has loads of financial wisdom.
  10. Cashflow Quadrant by Robert T. Kiyosaki – opened my eyes to why it is important to own your own business. How money is a mindset like everything else. You have to learn the correct way to think about it and then you will know how to manage it most effectively.
  11. The 8 New Rules of Money by Robert T. Kiyosaki – another eye opener! As a society, we expect our lives to be handed to us. We expect the government to take care of us, and we expect to live happily ever after. When so much is working against us, we need to learn to take ownership and to work smarter.
  12. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – This book was hard to push myself through even though it was interesting.
  13. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer – I’ll admit, I’m not completely finished with this one. It’s taken back seat to other books I can breeze through more quickly.
  14. The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey – Not finished with this one either. It is thick. But what I love about it is that it discusses the importance of finding your voice and the importance of not buying into the scarcity mindset.
  15. How to Win Friends and Influence People – in progress
  16. The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes – Fantastic read, especially if you want to organize your life and develop a clear and succinct vision. You know – I even have one for you!
  17. Becoming Odyssa by Jen Pharr – I enjoyed this book even though I felt her writing was too polite (also see – too Christian). The story was fun to follow.
  18. Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell – Another I plan to re-read. Solid info that can be quickly and easily implemented.
  19. Put Your Dreams to the Test by John Maxwell – I’m a dreamer by heart. Good info but didn’t feel Earth-shaking.
  20. The Process of Living Your Dreams by John Maxwell – see above
  21. Do Over by Jon Acuff – this guy is hilarious. He also lives in Nashville. So when I saw on Twitter he was speaking at a local college, I decided I’d be there. Crazy thing – he gave everyone there a free book. I had already planned to read this so he made my life so much easier with that kind gesture! This book is a fun read. Lots of humor. Check it out.
  22. Start by Jon Acuff
  23. You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero – many of the coaches on my team have read this one and absolutely love it.
  24. Secret Laws of Attraction (unsure of author, could be a problem)
  25. I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones
  26. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
  27. Success Principles (author?)
  28. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
  29. The Go Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann – I wanted to end the year with a few books centered around something I found so invaluable which is generosity. I want to lead with love and generosity ranks close to number one on my list.
  30. Love Does by Bob Goff – This seemed like another perfect end of the year book. You’ll have to let me know if you’ve read it!

Those I’ve listed in italics are those I’m speed-reading through December 31st. I do not recommend it and don’t plan to hold myself to this type of standard in the future. Because of this, I’ll spend the month of January skimming through the notes I’ve made throughout these books. What good is digesting so many books if I’m extracting nothing from them? 

Lastly in 2016, my focus will be 100% on health from the inside out – this means I want to fill my brain with all those good health reads. I’ve heard suggestions like Grain Brain and Skin Cleanse. Any good books surrounding health you think I should put on next year’s list? 

 

 

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2015

I remember with good intention, wanting to reflect on my year in years previous to this one. I never seemed to have make the time though, and last year, I probably made fun of the idea. But guess what – as I’ve mentioned before – this year was the best so reflecting on what it’s been brings me joy

Growing up, I’ve had these convictions. I’ve had this passion. And for some reason, even with these things, I fell into a pattern dictated by everyone except myself. Little by little, I began to chip away the exterior, the pleasing face I wore because that’s what I was supposed to do. As a “Christian.” As a “good person.” As someone who needed a job to support myself. Pleasing. Following rules on the outside even though my inner monologue strongly rejected those rules. I am serious when I say, I thought growing up meant letting go (of who you wanted to be, of your ideals, of your expectations).

If I could pinpoint a date or year I began to shed the outside and step more into me, I’d say 2012. In 2012 I’d been married two years. We started into some real marital problems. While that topic is for another time, my point is that it was enough cause to step back and ask – what am I really doing here? In marriage, in life, at work, at home – all of it. I began to re-evaluate why, and more importantly why not? I began peeling back the layers of every decision and uncovering a similar core theme: I did or didn’t do often because I felt guilty. I did not want to disappoint someone. And the absolute worst – I was doing what I thought I was SUPPOSED to be doing. 

It’s a lie to say I only realized the flame in 2012. I’ve always had the flame, however in twenty twelve, I slowly began to add kindling. Piece by piece, with every decision toward me, I gave light to the fire inside.

And now, almost four years later, I feel the closest to myself I’ve ever been. My inner thoughts are lived out in action, my heart is at peace. 

Ladies and gentleman: My year, my goals, my thoughts in December. 

 1. Debt free by June 1st, 2015. This was fun. We knocked out all debt except 1k, then we added a few “k” to that in the form of my own education/professional development, so I’m going to say – win. I’ve learned so much about money and will continue to do so! It’s such an important subject. Don’t shy away from it because of a money misunderstanding. Learn how to manage it well (I believe this applies to all of the gifts we are given – manage them well).

2. Goal weight of 130# by May 12th, 2015. Another “learning goal.” I’m not at 130. I weigh more than 130. I’m made of a lot of muscle and I’m not unhappy with my weight now, but my goal going forward will be less numerical and more abstract, like, do you feel like a badass? Yes? Ok, then – win!

3. 10k in savings by December 31st, 2015. This one is comical. We legitimately had a plan to save this amount with ease and then I went and QUIT my job! That makes a difference. I’m in the growing stages of doing what I absolutely love, so can I call this a win too? I believe with absolute conviction that I traded instant gratification for delayed success. No, we didn’t save 10k by the end of the year, but I started early in building in growing in ways that will save me so much more for the rest of my life. So thankful.

4. Read 30 new books by December 31st, 2015. I will be writing more about this tomorrow. Currently I’m about ten books shy of my goal. This by far has been the most important. Because of one of these books, I felt convicted enough to take the leap and start my life now, instead of “buying time,” for another year. Check out the blog tomorrow for my book list and thoughts for each.

5. Take a summer trip to Portland, OR. Yeass. And it was beautiful. We rode the train on the coast up into Washington, stayed in a few Air BnBs, went to the coldest, windiest beach, took so many pictures, got lost in the mountains. Oh Oregon, I miss you.

6. Start writing that book. So this is one of the hardest. I love to write and I often make excuses to keep busy instead of writing – so how does that make any sense? An author I respect said something this year. He said the hardest thing to write is that first line, that first chapter, that first book. You just need to start. I’ve put so much pressure on myself regarding this goal specifically. I still didn’t know what to write about, where to begin. And as I take a deep breath, I’ll say, I didn’t begin in January. I didn’t begin in May. Not even in November. Instead I’m starting…now? Via this blog and the health overhaul I have planned for next year. The most important step in all decisions will always be starting, so like, this is me starting. Hoo-rah.

7. Start a personal website for BB and other passions. I did this right away. “Jumped the gun” and bought a domain name. Then used the site for a few weeks and forgot about it. How about we try this one again?

8. Sponsor 10 new coaches MINIMUM by December, 2015. Yeass! And my team is the freaking bomb. We have so much planned for 2016, be ready you guys. And if you’ve given thought to joining us – reach out now!

9. Shakeo + Workout + PD daily – Goal: 25/30 days of the month. This is funny. I set this huge, ambitious goal of almost daily and did absolutely nothing to track my progress. Guys, tracking is key! I’ll try better next year and I’ll go into it with the tools I need. (funmeetsfunction.com)

10. Be me, unapologetically. (Not as measurable, but it’s important to me this year!) I’m all smiles. And I lied before. This is the goal that was the foundation for all the rest. I was me and my heart and soul are at peace. Thank you, Lord, for another year.

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