30 Before 30 Progress

How my 30 before 30 list is going.

It’s a new year and I made some progress on my 30 before 30 list! Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far, what I’m working on currently, and what I still need to do:

  1. Run a 10k: DONE!
  2. Run a half marathon: Starting training SOON!
  3. Run a marathon (I know it’s unlikely I’ll run all 3 of these in the span of a year, but I’d at least like to start my marathon training before I turn 30 next year)
  4. *private*
  5. Read 30 books: In progress–I’ve read 5 books so far and I’m in the middle of my 6th. Only 24 more to go!
  6. Take a solo trip
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Learn another language: This was in progress, but I slacked off quite a bit at the end of last year. Need to get back to it.
  9. Begin yoga teacher training: Hoping to start this soon!
  10. Visit my cousin Jen
  11. Take a spontaneous road trip
  12. Visit a national park
  13. Go camping
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Have a “yes” day
  16. Have a “treat yo’self” day
  17. Take a cooking or knife skills class
  18. *private*
  19. Create a Sunday ritual/tradition
  20. Get an essay or article published: DONE! (Hoping to get some more bylines in 2019, though!)
  21. Travel to a new city: DONE! We flew to Tampa in December to see Anberlin, drink lots of coffee and beer, and smoke cigars–it was an incredible weekend!
  22. Run in Bellefountaine Cemetery: Not yet, but hoping to do a 5k there in March.
  23. Start writing my memoir: Started and stopped. Need to pick it back up.
  24. Write poetry again: YES! I finished 2018 strong by doing a “poetry prompt advent calendar.”
  25. Learn a new instrument
  26. Attend a yoga retreat
  27. Learn to make Mom’s chicken and dumplings: Happening soon.
  28. Do a handstand
  29. Start a garden
  30. Reduce single-use plastics in my home: Still (and probably always will be) a work in progress.

Lots more to do and see, but I’m kind of amazed by what I’ve managed to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

2019: The Year of Total Domination

My word of the year, goals for 2019, and more.

D O M I N A T E

That’s my word, my goal, for 2019. My word/theme for 2018 was flourish, and I think I did, both personally and professionally. I did fall short in a few areas, though.

So this year, the plan is to just dominate everything. My career, my goal of running a half marathon, my plans to start yoga teacher training.

I’m coming into 2019 at full speed (I’m finally feeling better, after all). I’m going to do my best to crush it and be the best version of myself.

That means reading more, but allowing myself to set aside books that aren’t keeping my interest.

That means writing more–blog posts, poetry, journaling, and maybe even working on my memoir.

That means taking care of my body by moving it every day. I’m hoping to start and maintain a new run streak, but I also want to do a lot more yoga this year.

Taking care of my body also means eating foods that make me feel good. Sometimes that might be a treat like pizza or ice cream, but mostly, it will be foods I know my body thrives on, like protein and vegetables and gluten-free grains.

(I’m not doing the January Whole30 this year, but I do plan to use what I’ve learned in the past to make my Food Freedom really work for me this year.)

I want to go on more adventures, take more risks. I turn 30 in July and I want to enjoy every second of the last 7 months of my 20s and the first 5 months of my 30s (and beyond, of course).

Of course, I’ve got my 30 Before 30 List to help keep me on track (which I’ll post an update on soon). I also decided to make the switch back to a Passion Planner for 2019.

I used a Passion Planner the year we got married and it was perfect for helping me keep track of all the wedding to-do’s, workouts, meal plans, and more.

If it can help keep me sane during wedding planning, I think it’s the perfect companion to keep me on track to achieve all my goals for this year.

I’m setting my sights high this year. Despite how awful 2018 was at times (especially the last 2 months I spent sick), I’m feeling so energized and ready to take on 2019.

As my dear friend, Angi, said, “Fucking dominate in your career so hard they offer you the world to hire you and you generally win at life.” Let’s do this, 2019.

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?

 

My 30 Before 30 List

On July 11, I celebrated my 29th birthday with my husband in Chicago. A few days prior, I completed my “30 before 30” bucket list. In other words, 30 things I want to do before I turn 30. Some of these items are small and manageable. Others are stretch goals. Some may be downright impossible. But I wanted a good mix of all three on my list. Below is my list, with a few items kept private for personal reasons:
  1. Run a 10k: Training in progress!
  2. Run a half marathon
  3. Run a marathon (I know it’s unlikely I’ll run all 3 of these in the span of a year, but I’d at least like to start my marathon training before I turn 30 next year)
  4. *private*
  5. Read 30 books: In progress!
  6. Take a solo trip
  7. Go for a hike
  8. Learn another language: In progress!
  9. Begin yoga teacher training
  10. Visit my cousin Jen
  11. Take a spontaneous road trip
  12. Visit a national park
  13. Go camping
  14. Ride a bike
  15. Have a “yes” day
  16. Have a “treat yo’self” day
  17. Take a cooking or knife skills class
  18. *private*
  19. Create a Sunday ritual/tradition
  20. Get an essay or article published (DONE! But I hope I can get more than one published)
  21. Travel to a new city
  22. Run in Bellefountaine Cemetery
  23. Start writing my memoir
  24. Write poetry again
  25. Learn a new instrument
  26. Attend a yoga retreat
  27. Learn to make Mom’s chicken and dumplings
  28. Do a handstand
  29. Start a garden
  30. Reduce single-use plastics in my home
I am happy with my list and I think most of the items on here are doable. Some are stretch goals for sure, but hopefully I can make them happen. You only turn 30 once!
Have you ever created a “30 before 30” or similar list? How did you do? Let me know!

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?

How I’m Managing Stress These Days

The one thing I did to better manage my stress.

Stress management has never been a strength of mine. I get overwhelmed and frustrated easily. Throw in a Whole30 where I have to cook nearly every day plus the chaos of being a freelancer and that’s a recipe for disaster.

A while back (I’m not even sure how long it’s been now) I turned off all social media notifications on my phone. I don’t get the little red dot letting me know someone liked a picture I posted anymore. My phone doesn’t buzz and light up when someone comments on a post. It’s nice.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. As a freelancer, all my projects come through email. I felt like I needed to be notified of every email as they came through because of this. In reality, all that did was distract me from whatever I was working on. And sometimes, depending on who the email was from and what it said, it caused a great deal of stress and frustration.

I ended up spending more time trying to calm myself down and refocus on the task at hand than I actually spent writing the article I was working on. Which meant I had to work later to ensure I got all my assignments for the day turned in on time. It was a frustrating cycle, and it was affecting my sleep and making me insufferably cranky.

I’m not sure why it took me so long or what exactly flipped the switch in my mind, but the light bulb went on late last week. I realized I don’t need those notifications. I don’t have to read and respond to every email as soon as it comes in. I don’t need those distractions.

So I turned them all off. Now I check my email after I finish one assignment and before I move on to the next to make sure I’m not missing anything important, particularly if I’m waiting for a response to a question about an assignment.

In fact, I turned off nearly every type of notification I could possibly get on my phone. No social media, no email, no random apps. The only notifications I get are text messages (still working on how to keep those from being a distraction), phone calls, and score updates for the Blues and Cardinals (which are primarily night games and therefore not a work distraction anyway).

I even forgot to check my email over the weekend until pretty late last Saturday. Fortunately, I hadn’t missed anything important and it was so incredibly nice to essentially forget my email existed.

Now that I’ve done this, I realize I need to set an email schedule for myself. Mostly so I can set client expectations and avoid missing any urgent emails because they didn’t know I wouldn’t be checking it after a certain time of day.

Of course, email is just one source of stress in my life. There’s a lot of other areas that still need work. But turning off those notifications has made a huge difference in less than a week’s time.

How do you manage your email? Do you check it immediately or do you have a set schedule for yourself?

Happier, Healthier, & More Successful In 2018

My plan for a happier, healthier, & more successful 2018.

The past couple years I’ve made a list of goals I wanted to achieve in the new year. Although I made progress on those goals, I rarely achieved them. This year, I want to try something different.

You may have heard a lot of people choose a word for the year, rather than making a list of resolutions. I’ve wanted to do that the last 2 years, but couldn’t decide on just one word, so I went with the long and overwhelming list instead.

For 2018, I have a word. It started out as adventure. But a few weeks after I had settled on that word, I couldn’t remember exactly why I picked that word. As December wore on, I realized what I really want in 2018 is health, happiness, and success.

Of course, that’s 3 words, so I needed to narrow it down, or come up with a word that embodies all of them. Essentially, I want to be my best self in 2018. I want to flourish. (Which means to grow, prosper, thrive, succeed.)

So that’s my word for 2018: FLOURISH

Ironically, I’m still making a list of how I plan to succeed, er, flourish, in the new year. But the list is much more fluid and flexible than goals would be. And there’s a lot more focus on self-love and self-care, because I know I need to take care of myself to be my best self.

I won’t make a long list like I have in the past, but here’s a few things I want to incorporate into my daily routine so I can flourish in 2018:

  • Eat nutritious foods. I really got careless with what I was putting in my body by the end of 2017, and I have paid for it with unhappy skin and upset stomach. I’m starting 2018 by doing the January Whole30 (which you can find more information about in a separate post here). After that round of Whole30, I hope to carry Whole30/paleo eating throughout most of the year.
  • Continue my run streak. I forgot how happy running makes me. And maintaining my run streak makes me feel accomplished and strong. Essentially, it makes me healthy and happy. I also want to run a 10k and a half marathon in 2018!
  • Keep journaling. In 2017, I started a new morning routine. After I let the dogs out and feed them breakfast, I sit on the couch and journal for about a half hour. I start off by writing down one thing I need to let go of (a grudge, anger, resentment, etc.), one thing I’m grateful for, and then 3 things I need to focus on that day. Then I simply journal about whatever’s on my mind. Some days I vent about something that pissed me off. Other days I come up with plans to achieve a goal. Some days I have more to write than others. I really enjoy starting my day this way, so I want to keep it up.
  • Start reading everyday. A former boss once asked me why I don’t read books that would be good for professional development. The honest answer is I should, but I also know that you can get a lot of benefits from reading fiction, too. While I do need to make professional development more of a priority this year, what I really want is to start reading for the sheer pleasure of it again. I’m trying to start reading at least a chapter in whatever book I’m currently reading each night before bed.
  • Meditate everyday. I’ve meditated on and off for a year or two now, but I’ve really struggled to make it a consistent habit. So for 2018, I want to start small. Just a few minutes a day, morning or night (or maybe in the middle of the day to take a break from work) to clear my mind.

There’s a few other things I’ll probably add to this eventually. But I think those are the essentials I need to flourish this year. I just want to focus on doing things that will make me happy, healthy, and successful.

Really, that simply means I need to do more to take care of myself this year. In 2018, I’m going to flourish. What will you do this year? Are you picking a word or theme for the year? Or did you make a list of goals or resolutions?