2018 Reflections

Reflections on a long year, the goals I did (and didn’t achieve), & more.

I had great intentions of writing more as 2018 came to a close. I also intended to run a lot more than I have.

Unfortunately, I’ve been sick on and off for almost two full months now and that has made it hard to do anything but survive. (I did finally give in and go to Urgent Care, though, and I’m finally starting to feel better.)

I ran two to three times total in the last two months, and I’ve done yoga a handful times. That’s it. All of my energy has gone into work and trying to stay afloat at home.

While I’m dreaming and hoping for a much healthier 2019, I thought I’d take a look back at my 2018 goals and reflect on how I did.

My one word for 2018 was Flourish, and I think I did in more ways than one. I grew both personally and professionally. I took some risks that paid off. I think that was the perfect word for me this year.

I’ve decided on my word/theme for 2019, which I’ll do a separate post on (I really am going to write more!).

As far as my 2018 goals, I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped for so many reasons. I wanted to continue my run streak, which I did until my chiropractor had me stop. I did, however, train for and run my first 10k.

I was hoping to start up my run streak again shortly after my 10k in preparation for my half marathon training I plan to start in January, but because I’ve been sick, that hasn’t happened.

I ran the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and ran two straight days after and then was too sick again to run. It’s been a frustrating fall season, to say the least.

Some of my other goals included reading and journaling every day. I did okay with this goal. They didn’t always happen every day, but they happened most days for several months this year.

Then I got sick and stopped, but I ended up finishing three books in the last two months, so I’ll call that a win.

I also wanted to meditate every day and that just did. not. happen. It’s been hard to make the time to meditate, especially since it’s not something I enjoy. I did it on and off for a while, but again, once I got sick, I stopped altogether.

I thought these goals would be fairly easy to accomplish when I made them, but life (and illness) got in the way. This year has had a lot of ups and downs, high highs and really low lows. But here were some of the highlights:

  • I ran 200+ days in a row. I wanted my run streak to last much longer than that, but I’m still proud of what I accomplished.
  • I traveled so much more this year, which made me really happy. We went to Indiana a couple times, to Kansas City a couple times, to Chicago for my birthday, and we just went to Tampa (which means I can cross “Travel to a new city” off my 30 Before 30 list!
  • I started working as a digital content writer for Purina and as scary as it was to take a short-term contract position, it’s one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made. I’m learning so much and growing so much as a writer and SEO and it’s one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for.
  • I started writing poetry again, which was another item on my 30 Before 30 list! I’m doing a poetry advent calendar that gives you a different poetry prompt for each day in December. It was difficult to catch up because I was too sick to even think about writing when I initially signed up, but now I’m all caught up and it’s a great feeling to be writing again. It’s far from my best work, but it’s a start!
  • I got a treadmill! I’ve only used it a couple times since I got it because I’ve been too sick to run, but I’m so happy to have it and can’t wait until I’m well enough to use it almost every day. I am itching to feel well enough to start my run streak again, and having the treadmill will make it so much easier–I can squeeze in a mile or two, regardless of whether it’s dark outside (and I don’t have to drive to the gym!).

I’m sure there were many, many more highlights from 2018 I’m forgetting (it’s been a long year, guys), but these ones really stand out.

If I’m not too sick, I plan to do a full update on my 30 Before 30 list, announce my word/theme for 2019, and set some new goals (like running a half marathon!). How was your year? Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself or did you experience some setbacks like me?

 

200 Days of Running!

Last Friday was a milestone: My run streak made it to day 200. As of today, I’m on day 206.

To be honest, there were times in the weeks leading up to that day I wasn’t sure I’d make it. I was having random pains. I was tired. I felt sluggish. But I pushed through to the other side, and here I am on day 206 feeling great again (and in need of new shoes!).

I’ve done things in last 200+ days I never thought I could. I’ve run at least a mile each day (though lately it’s at least 1.5 – 3 miles). I ran while I was on vacation. I ran 2 5ks and PR’d the second. My speed has improved. I’m training for a 10k (and eventually a half marathon!). I’ve been harassed.

I ran in single-digit temperatures. I ran in the snow on Christmas Eve. I ran on the treadmill at the gym when I could. not. take. the cold anymore. I’ve lost weight and I’ve got some definite muscle definition in my legs (eating Whole30 for the first 45 days of the year definitely helped in this department).

More important than the physical gains, however, is the mental strength I’ve gained. I’ve learned I can push through and keep going, even when things are hard, even when it hurts. I can do hard things and I can do them with confidence.

That strength and confidence has spilled over into other areas of my life. I’ve finally made both my mental and physical health a priority.  I’m asking for what I want. I have a more positive outlook, despite facing some serious obstacles and hardships. I know I’ll survive because I already know I can do hard things and I can keep going, even when it hurts.

I only wish I had started this run streak sooner. I feel like I have grown so much in the past 200 days. I’m physically and mentally stronger. I’m taking more risks and trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone. Running has done so much for me already. I can’t wait to see what the next 100 days bring.

Happy running!

Mindset Shift

I’ve been working on shifting my mindset a lot lately. I spend a lot of time worrying about horrible what-ifs and areas where things are lacking (ie I don’t have enough; I don’t make enough; etc.). To maintain a more positive mindset, I’ve been repeating a few mantras to myself lately:

  • Believe good things will happen and they will. 
  • I am enough. I have enough. 
  • Keep going. 

It’s an awful thing to believe you’re not good enough, and I’ve spent so much time believing that about myself. I’m choosing to focus on the good that could happen and I’m choosing to believe that I am enough.

Last week, thanks to this Instagram post, I added a new one to the rotation:

  • What do I have to lose? What’s the worst that could happen? 

It’s been a great reminder to take risks, particularly when I have nothing to lose and the worst that could happen is someone says “no”.

I’ve been looking for full-time jobs lately (and regular freelance work in the meantime). After applying for a full-time job with a company I was excited about working for, they unexpectedly asked if I’d be willing to start in a contract (ie freelance) position first. I immediately said yes because I’m excited about the company and position.

I didn’t negotiate rates at all. I just accepted the range they gave me. The last time I did that, things didn’t turn out well, and I’ve always regretted not negotiating for higher pay. So when they sent over the contract for this freelance position, there were a few concerning items, in addition to the low pay I had initially agreed to.

I felt a little strange negotiating rates after already verbally agreeing to what they offered. But I thought to myself, I have nothing to lose here. The worst that can happen is they say they can’t go any higher and won’t make changes to the contract, at which point I walk away. Sure, I’d be missing out on the possibility of it turning into a full-time position, but I wouldn’t be any worse off. I still have some steady freelance work and I’m still looking for other full-time jobs. 

So I went for it and asked for a higher hourly rate that better reflected my experience and what my target salary would be for a full-time position, in addition to the other changes I wanted to see in the contract. I didn’t hear back for over a week, so I assumed the “worst” had happened. I let it go and refocused my energy into looking for other jobs. Yesterday I finally got a response from them and they agreed to the higher rate and the other changes I had proposed.

Now I’m just waiting to see the final draft of the contract so I can sign it and get to work. I feel so great for “leaning in” and asking for what I wanted and needed. This time last year (heck even just a few months ago), I might not have had the guts to do that. I’ve been working really hard to have a more positive attitude about life in general and I’ve been taking more risks, both personally and professionally. Hopefully this is the start of all that hard work paying off!

Have you taken any risks lately? Did they pay off? How do you maintain a positive attitude—or is that something you struggle with like me?