As a person who enjoys setting goals and dreaming, I like to make a regular practice of reflecting on my progress so that I can make intentional choices about the direction I am heading moving forward.
I am happy to say that January 2020 was a great start to a new year for me. Here’s why:
For a few years now, I have found the week between Christmas and New Year’s to be a time of dreaming, goal setting, and inspiration. This year was no different. I spent the week reading personal development, journalling, creating my vision board, setting goals, and dreaming BIG. The difference between this year and last (or any year before that) is that this year, thanks to the mindset work I have been doing, I have not allowed my limiting beliefs to shut down my dreams. In the past, I’d enjoy my time dreaming and goal-setting and within no time, my own self-doubt and limiting beliefs would convince me that my dreams were unattainable, unrealistic, or impossible. I’d start to play small, settle in my regular routine, and forget about the idea that I (like everyone) am made for more.
But over the past few years, I have been training my brain to think differently and it’s made THE biggest impact in my life. I am now aware of those limiting beliefs and can stop them before they take over. It’s been a long process – and one that I believe we never stop practicing – but the positive effects it has had on my life are undeniable.
That leads me to my next big thing in January which is that I feel like I finally have some clarity. As I mentioned, I love to dream. I often think about what other possibilities and opportunities are out there for me. In my head, I come up with a million little puzzle pieces but they never seemed to fit together. I needed clarity. What is it that I am really made for? Where is my path leading me? What BIG DREAMS do I have ? In which direction am I headed? I struggled to answer these questions and then…
I Accepted God
Enter my brand new relationship with God. For the record, I prefer to call him God but this is new to me and still somewhat scary (although I am trying really hard to believe). I sometimes think of God as Source Energy or the Universe or whatever power larger than us that is out there. Because there is a power and he/she/it works in mysterious and wonderful ways and when you start really truly believing ….. well, it’s utterly amazing!
Anyway, I found myself struggling personally at the end of 2019 and had a moment where I felt so desperate and lost that I didn’t know what to do except pray (I have never really been a person to pray so this was a breakthrough moment). I called out to God and prayed, and prayed, and prayed so hard. I poured my heart, my fears, my worries, my concerns out to him and basically begged him to hear me and help me.
And guess what?
He did. The very next day. To say I was shocked and amazed is a major understatement. It was a massive awakening for me.
And then, I had an even bigger realization – He had been there all along! I had simply never reached out to him before. He was always there, waiting and watching and all I had to do was speak to him through my heart for him to show himself to me. (Mind blown!)
As you can probably tell, this experience was profound for me, but as I said it’s still a little scary and uncertain. I have never been a religious person but as I begin to form a brand new relationship with God it’s pretty fascinating. And it takes me back to my original point – clarity.
When we start to listen to what God places on our heart, we start to gain massive amounts of clarity. But we can’t just listen. We have to believe. We have to believe in the path he has put us on and in the direction he is leading us. We have to believe the voice that speaks to us when we get really silent and listen to what’s on our heart. So that’s what I did, and for the first time in a long time, I felt so clear and so excited about the path I am on and the direction I am heading.
Stepping out of my Comfort Zone
Once I started to be clear on my dreams and really, truly believe in them, I knew I had to take some action. This is another step that I have never taken before. Last summer, I had an opportunity that would have been amazing, but I let my self-doubts talk me out of it and never pursued it. But this time, as soon as I started to believe, I began to be presented with opportunities that I knew I couldn’t say no to. I said yes and believed I would figure it out. Of course, my old limiting beliefs and fear started popping up, but I paid attention to it and turned my thoughts around. Am I scared? Absolutely. Terrified would be a more appropriate word to describe how Iam feeling. But am I going to do it anyway? 100% yes.
I also wanted to take the time here to say that stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be big, terryifing things. It can be small and simple. For example, I often think of something nice to say to strangers (“I love your shirt”, “your baby is so cute”, “I love your hair – where do you get it done?) but usually stop myself from saying it over the fear that they might think I am weird/strange/crazy. Now that I am aware of how silly this is, I have opened myself up and just say what’s on my mind! Just think of the positive impact giving a compliment to a stranger can have!
Personal Development Books
Almost any personal development book will tell you that nothing great comes from your comfort zone. They will tell you that you should believe in your BIGGEST dreams and that you should take any action – no matter how small – to move towards them. They will tell you that you are capable, amazing, and made for more. They will teach you how to train your brain to be aware of your negative self-talk and how to turn it into something positive. Personal development books are pretty much amazing, and empowering, and full of such incredible information that I believe everybody should be reading them on a regular basis.
If you don’t like to read, you could also listen to any one of thousands of amazing podcasts, videos, or webinars. I believe in personal development so strongly that I am working on a whole blog post on what it is, why you need to be engaging with it, and where you can find it. Stay tuned!
Made for More Facebook Group
Another big win for me last month was that I created a health and wellness Facebook group for women who have similar goals. The intention behind it was that I wanted a space where like-minded women could come together to support, motivate, and inspire each other to get healthier and to believe in themselves and their goals. At first, I had some self-doubt (would anyone be interested? Who am I to give “advice”? This has already been done) – but I decided to give it a shot anyway. Within just a few days I had nearly 100 women signed up to the group! We’re now a month in and not only do I absolutely love creating inspirational content for the group, but many women are still actively engaging with it on a daily basis! I’ve even had individual women reach out and thank me for creating the group and tell me how it has encouraged them and motivated them. Now I call that a win!
Another big success for me in January was my commitment to my morning routine. A couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop and felt like I found the missing pieces to my morning routine puzzle. Because of my morning routine, I now have time every single day to do what I refer to as my heart work – the reading, journalling, writing, and creating that sets my heart on fire and fills my cup so that it’s overflowing. It’s amazing and if you don’t have a morning routine that lights up your soul and is the reason you spring out of bed in the morning, I highly suggest you start working on one. Now.
In January I also celebrated six months of consistent exercise! I am finally at a point where I feel comfortable saying that exericse is a regular part of my routine and I am so proud of that! I have exercised off and on for years but last July I made a commitment to a 100-day workout program – Beachbody’s Morning Meltdown 100 – that changed everything. I built so much momentum with that program (not to mention endurance, strength + flexibility) that I knew I had to keep going. So I did. Since then I have completed an 8-week program and am going into my third week of the 8-week program for a second time.
The biggest thing that keeps me coming back to my work outs over and over again is the positive impact it has had on my mental health. Exercise is my stress relief. It is my proof that I can do hard things. It makes me feel strong and fierce physically and mentally. It’s true what they say about the power of endorphins after exericse – there really is nothing quite like it.
My biggest nutrition win in January was signing back up for Weight Watchers and beginning to track my food again. Tracking helps me to be more mindful of my food choices and to more frequently make better choices. It helps guide me towards healthier food options and away from mindless eating. I still really feel like healthy eating is the missing link in my health and wellness journey. Eating right has always been my biggest struggle. Even with all the exercise I have been doing, my physical results have been slow because of the way I eat. I know that, and I continue to work on it. Some days are better than others but I am not giving up and know that it’s the area I need to work on the most.
As you can see, I am celebrating a lot of wins for the month of January. For that, I am extremely grateful because I know that it was not that way for everybody. Many people struggle through this season when the days are long, dark, and dreary. I saw family members, friends, and colleagues face their own challenges this month. And it’s not to say that I didn’t face any of my own. But overall, it was a positive month and for now I am choosing to focus on the good.
Life is full of ups and downs and I fully believe that when we are moving upward we need to celebrate and soak it all in. We need to do the work to strengthen our mind, body, and soul so that when life takes a downturn (as it inevitably will) we can move through it with grace and strength.
I’m ready February – bring it on!