Growth

2018 Resolutions Report Card

It is 2019. Even though I have been looking forward to the new year for weeks now, it still feels odd that we are here. Maybe it's because it seems like just yesterday I was writing my 2017 version of this post, or maybe because I have so many long term goals coming due in 2020! Either way we are here and I am going to share with you how I felt I did sticking with my theme for last year and my resolutions.

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2018 was the year of courage for me. I went on (and on) about it in my post without revealing what exactly I have been summoning courage for. Well if you've been following along with me on Instagram you probably know I started a business last year. And it was bumpy to say the least. Venturing into something brand new and public facing can shake ones confidence to the core and it took a whole lot of courage for me to stand up to my insecurities each day and plow forward.

Read My 2018 Goals

creative expression

A+ I am very proud to say 2018 was a year of creation for me. I started Two Days Off and began thinking creatively to design the clothing line and solve entrepreneurial problems. I invested my time and money into this part of my life and it feels great.

habits and routines

B I stuck to many of my intended habits this year, like hydration, meditating, and maintaining a skincare regimen (woohoo on this one!). All in all I made progress but there are a few habits (like taking time to rest and unplug each week) that could use more work.

sustainability

B+ I am probably most proud of this one because I have made lot of small but thoughtful changes in my consumption and the products I use. On the household front I have realized it isn’t as challenging as I thought it would be to reduce my waste and begin eliminating plastic. Similarly with my toiletries I started to take a pause before replacing a product to make sure it was something I did need and if there were lower-waste options available (something in glass I could buy, a dual-purpose product, or if I could buy it in bulk). I also started to reduce my dependence on Amazon because I loathe the excessive amount of packaging they use to ship products. Some of my favorite low-waste solutions I started using includes Who Gives A Crap recycled toilet paper that helps build toilets in underdeveloped places, and napkins from fabric scraps. I also started carrying reusable utensils and straws on outings and trips (although I really should just keep them in my purse all the time). Although I do think I have made great strides, I could have done better with food. Last year I began relying on Trader Joe’s pre-packaged meals much more in the past (not cooking as much was a trade-off for working full time and starting a business), and that is something I want to tackle this year hence the B+.

8 Habits I am Committing to In 2018

8 Habits I am Committing to In 2018

Habits have the power to completely transform your life. I have found that little tweaks here and there in my habits makes it easier for me to reach my goals. For instance, last year I wanted to get more sleep and realized I wasn't getting to bed before 11pm (even though I would start winding down for the day at least 2 hours earlier). After having dinner, tidying up, and prepping lunch for the next day, I still had to wash myself up before I could hop into bed. So I decided I would take my shower in the evenings as soon as I got home, before dinner, and then I had less to squeeze in after. That tiny act completely transformed my evenings, and the time where I would then take showers was no longer filled with idling time online "winding down" from the workday.

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2018 Life Resolutions

2018 Life Resolutions

I love goal setting, and I am all for new years resolutions. I think they are a great way to keep moving forward and growing. I also think any day is a great day to set one, and the ringing in of the new year is the perfect inspiration to refresh any goals that may be on the back burner. So I will stop blabbering on and get down to what you're here for, my 2018 resolutions!

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2017 Resolutions Report Card

For the past few of years I have shared both my annual travel resolutions and report cards on how I did on them. So I will give you on guess as to what today's post is about... You guessed it! I want to share how I did on my 2017 Resolutions.

Taking a moment at the  Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Taking a moment at the Real Alcázar de Sevilla

Before the grades, Read my 2017 Resolutions

Self Care

A This year I really worked on taking care of myself. I turned 30 in September and almost as if a switch was flipped I faced health issues. Self-care for me was about devoting time to my wellness. Putting my mental and physical health first. Treasuring me. This care manifested in creating relaxation habits, challenging myself to 100 days of mindfulness and meditation, saying no more often and not overstretching myself, and working in more rest when I travel (like an entire day spent on the beach instead of exploring all day).

Weekend Trips

A+ I think this resolution to make the best use of my time and explore more is where I really shined this year. In the past, I usually have one big 2-week long vacation a year and maybe a weekend trip or 2 out of state to see family. This year I spend a week in LA, a weekend in Woodstock, day trips upstate and out to Long Island, a long weekend in North Carolina, a trip to DC, many summer days at the Rockaways, and most recently a trip to Las Vegas for the holidays. Not only was I able to find the funds to make these small trips happen (hello there tiny wardrobe budget), but I also found the stamina! And one of the big reasons my partner and moved to California a month ago was to be able to take more road trips (year round) and see more of this gorgeous country. So stay tuned in 2018, this resolution is sticking around!

Human Component

A+ This resolution was all about connecting with people and using travel as a way to have conversations and expand my worldview and relationships. I had so many incredible trips that were centered around being with people I love. From a weekend in upstate New York with a group of great friends, to visiting Grandmother in North Carolina, and even traveling to Europe to meet up with my partner's side of the family that lives in different corners of the world. I even got to meet another Instagram friend while visiting LA in March, and she even helped inspire my move out west (thank you, Kristin!).

All in all, I did pretty great this year. Later this week I will share my 2018 goals but in the meantime check out some of my past goals (and my nearly not as stellar report card from last year).

 

100 Days of Mindfulness

I currently have a pretty severe strain in my right forearm. I've had it for nearly a week and it will still be there for at least a few more days. I swear I have a reason for telling you this...

The thing is that I know exactly what it is from because I have had this pain before. It's a result of my appalling desk posture. I often will work in an uncomfortable position, mindlessly, for hours only to realize it the next day when I go to grab something and I feel a sharp pain. I, like most people, have a lot of these mindless habits. I bite my nails, I forget to eat lunch, I leave the house to work and arrive at my desk not noticing the 15 minutes that had passed. I just get lost in my thoughts. Often.

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Getting lost in your thoughts aren't a big deal but, as I have discussed in the past, I feel like these little mindless moments add up to a lot of life lost, or enable habits I'd prefer not to have; flashback to all those times I have eaten a whole box of cookies in one sitting and not notice until my knuckles hit the cardboard. Oops.

This is why I challenged myself to the 100 Day Project, but my version of it. This project was initially created for makers to make for 100 days in a row. It is an exercise in appreciating the process and understanding one's creativity. I want to use it to build my mindfulness muscle. I plan to do this through meditating, developing mindfulness "triggers," and studying up on mindful philosophy. I have begin documenting my first days on Instagram (if you aren't following me there please do, that's where all the magic has been happening lately!) and am about to say buh-bye to week 1!

I am very excited to see how this goes, I have no hypotheses at this point. I am just taking a shot in the dark and feeling my way through hoping to be a more present and appreciative version of myself by the end of it all.

A Simple, Difficult Task: Being Present

A little over a year ago it was early morning and I was walking the damp, dark streets of lower Manhattan to my office. Imagine cold winter winds, and the noise of construction added to the rushed feeling of every workday. It isn't surprising that I came to dread that walk each day. I would turn on autopilot for each of the 15 minutes each way and managed to just barely tolerate it. Given that I have a limited number of these half hour periods each day (about 32 intact, I did the math), I began to realize spending even one of them feeling miserable or checked out is a waste of my life. 130 hours a year of just "getting by," NOPE. I decided I didn't want to just give away that time anymore so I started what I though would be a simple challenge.

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My challenge: to be present (or "mindful") during that walk. Despite the fact that I couldn't control the weather or the noise or the all of the city grime, I wanted to pay attention and find at least one thing amongst the chaos I could witness and appreciate. Some of these things I began to document on Instagram, or I would share with friends directly. Some of them I would keep for myself. Sometimes it would be an object, other times an interaction between people. At times I would just savor a feeling I had. This little practice on my walk evolved to observing myself, how I felt, how I walk, how I breathe and very quickly my walk became something enjoyable (even in the cold weather!).

The reason this was difficult is because it required me to quiet my thoughts and acknowledge my environment. I was so used to letting my mind run, usually trying to anticipate what the day would hold, that I didn't notice my surroudings or even myself. This was my perfect intro to mindfulness and meditation. It was a short, consistent activity to get my feet wet in this world.

At the time I had no idea of how vast these practices were. My only goal was to stop taking these 30 minutes a day for granted and try to experience something new before I reached the office and spent 8 hours working away. Now, a year later, I have been done more research and expanded my practice I am experiencing new benefits benefits.

So far I have noticed that mindfulness has helped me limit the anxious rumination and overthinking in my head. It is also improving how I interact with other people, allowing me to be more engaged and a much more compassionate listener. Along those same lines my memory is improving (because I am actually making memories and not getting lost in my head!). And I also feel more appreciation. This one is hard to explain, but I think that when your are present and truly taking in what you are doing, where you are, who you are with, etc. you recognize the miracle and beauty of life. It's kind of amazing. These are just a few things I've noted from my blossoming mindfulness practice so far.

For more on the psychology of why being present is so hard check out this article. That's all for now!

Please let me know if you have any mindful practices, I'd love to hear about them!