I have a good feeling about this year. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that!
I’m hesitant to set resolutions in the new year because resolutions and I have never really had that great of a relationship. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that while they may work for some people, they just do not work for me. This year, I’m setting goals and intentions.
I prefer to use the term “goals and intentions” because they both play a vital role in bettering yourself. Goals are tangible; you set them and work to achieve them. Once they’re complete, you have a finished product or checklist. Intentions are a little more forgiving, but harder work. The things we intend to do over the long run often involve breaking a habit, and we all know how difficult breaking a habit is. Nevertheless, I have my goals, I have my intentions, and I’m ready for 2018.
Let me preface my Goals & Intentions by saying that 2017 brought very high highs and very low lows. It’s not the first year in my life that’s been rough by any means, but it was the first year where I was on my own. My year essentially started off with the demise and inevitable wrecking of what was (looking back on it) a pretty dumb relationship. It hurt like hell when it ended. That was back in May, and from there finding my happiness again became all about trial and error. By the time my 24th birthday rolled around in October, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do–and more importantly, what I needed to do–in order to be happy. Going into 2018, my goals and intentions build more on the things that made me happy in the latter end of 2017.
1. Run a half marathon! One of my best friends and I are running a half marathon in April. When I was home over the holidays, I successfully ran 2 miles and then wondered how I’d run 13.1 without dying… So this one is going to be interesting. Running a half is something I’ve always wanted to do and I promised myself I’d do it by the time I turn 25. Plus, I really want to get back in running shape anyway, so why not just dive right in?
2. Save $1500 (on your own). Confession: I stink at saving. I’m still getting the whole money thing down when it comes to being responsible and budgeting. I’ve really improved in the last 6 months though! To make a long story short, my mom doesn’t trust me to save my own money (and quite frankly I don’t trust myself to either), so every month I give her a set amount to put in a savings account she holds for me. This year, I want to continue doing that, but I also want to start saving in my own personal savings account. I could probably do more than $1500, but I’m playing it safe on this one!
3. Complete at least 10 Headspace packs. If you haven’t heard of Headspace and you’re looking to quiet your mind, I highly, highly recommend it. Meditating has become such an important part of my morning and evening routine, and I notice such a difference in how I handle myself throughout my day-to-day. Headspace has packs that help with all sorts of things–anxiety, stress, sleep, happiness… And the list goes on! I’m working on finishing up the second “basics” pack before moving onto the third, and then I hope to be able to really get into the specialized packs throughout the remainder of the year.
4. Learn how to play guitar. So, I don’t own a guitar, and I don’t know the first thing about playing one. However, I plan on scrounging up what money I can to get a good starter guitar and then somehow manage to teach myself a thing or two. This year I’m trying to limit the amount of television I watch as well as separate a bit from my phone, and learning to play guitar seems like the perfect new hobby to help me do just that.
5. Hike a 14er. This August will mark 2 years in Colorado for me without having hiked a 14er, and that just seems really sad to me (probably because it is sad). Contrary to popular belief, I do not hate hiking and I actually very much so enjoy being outside. If I’m telling the truth, my lack of hiking out here since moving has been due to the fact that a) I’ve been out of shape, and b) hiking/nature intimidate me. I get nervous to go with friends because I don’t want to slow them down, and I don’t want to go on my own because that’s just really dumb if you don’t know what you’re doing–which I don’t. See my dilemma? But, I figure if I can run a half marathon I can start hiking with friends this summer without being worried about being slow as molasses.
1. Work out to feel good. One of the best parts about the latter end of 2017 was learning how to better take care of my mental health. In taking care of my mind, taking care of my physical health became infinitely easier. They always say that exercise is a completely mental thing, and they’re right. Since establishing my morning routine (meditating, reading, writing, etc.), I’ve discovered that it’s a lot easier to get myself into the gym at the end of the day. I’ve also just accepted that I’ll never be a morning work out person and therefore stopped beating myself up for it. The other big change I’ve made when it comes to exercise is making sure my end goal is to feel better than I did when I got to the gym. It’s not about losing weight or looking a certain way, it’s about how I feel. I’d like to keep with that going into 2018.
2. Read more. This year I read a lot more than I have in recent years, but I still have such a long list of books I want to read. I get very caught up in historical fiction because I love it, but I’d like to branch out a bit more. My book club definitely helps to push me out of my shell and into genres I wasn’t previously interested in–so I’m really looking forward to more reading in 2018!
3. Get comfortable with silence. One of the first things I realized when I moved into my apartment was how uncomfortable I am being alone. I’m going to drop the Libra bomb and say that I do like my solitude from time to time to kind of recharge the batteries, but beyond a few hours, I hate being alone. When I’m in my apartment, my phone never leaves my side because I feel this constant need to be in contact with my friends, my mom, so on… Then just the other night I was doing the dishes and I realized I didn’t have the TV on, or Spotify playing on my phone, or any background noise whatsoever. There were no other sounds around me but the echoes of my thoughts, and I became so uncomfortable that I immediately reached for my phone to turn on Spotify. Minds are funny and they tend to trip you up, so I tend to try and shut mine off with distraction, but this year I want to stop being afraid of the noise in my mind and start embracing it. (Meditating!)
4. Get outside more. A huge part of living in Colorado is the outdoors. I grew up in Vermont, and while a huge part of living there is the outdoors as well, it’s a little different here. The Rockies are no joke, and the weather is nice enough year-round that there’s really no excuse not to get outside. Vermont has brutal winters; Colorado has the best seasonal weather ever. This intention goes hand in hand with my goal to run a half marathon and hike a 14er this summer. God only knows I have plenty of friends to help me with this one!
5. Live in the present moment. The funny thing about New Years resolutions (or goals & intentions, as I like to call it) is that so much of what they are is deeply rooted in your past. One of the things meditating has taught me is that every moment in your life is fleeting. Our brains are hard-wired to pick apart our pasts so we can influence our futures, but in doing all the legwork to make sure our futures are secure, we often forget to just stop and be present. That being said, my final intention is to…
6. Let go of the past. This is honestly one I just thought of, so bear with me here. New Years is my least favorite holiday. Six years ago I spent New Years Eve in a hospital watching my grandmother die, and when she did pass just after midnight on January 1, 2012, it just about did me in. I was pretty messed up for the better part of 2 years following her death. This year, I was finally able to let go of the pain I’d been hanging onto year after year. Maybe I was scared of letting go of it because that feeling of loss was all I had left of her, but I’ve learned over time that you can’t ever really lose the people you love. This was the year I felt comfortable enough in that to acknowledge the anniversary of her passing and say a quick “Hello, I miss you” before enjoying ringing in a new year with my friends. Letting go of the past doesn’t mean you stop acknowledging the major events that have shaped who you are; it just means that you don’t let them own you anymore. Instead, you live for who you are and who you love in the present moment; and there, in the now, is where you find your happiness. When the ball dropped on 2018, I was happy. And that was the best start to a year I’ve had since 2012.
Let’s go 2018!