Most of you know by now how much I L-O-V-E new beginnings, so you can understand why New Years is one of my favorite holidays. The air is thick with excitement and hope that a new year will bring in something amazing, whether that be better health, more confidence, a better body, more money, a better job, true love… everyone has their wishes and their goals.
However excited and dedicated you are when you start your resolutions in the new year, many people eventually lose sight of these goals as the days drop off the calendar. I’ve come to the conclusion that people usually set their expectations and goals too high, and they also focus on the wrong thing to improve. How many resolutions have you started out saying, “This year I’m going to exercise five days a week, eat only fruits and vegetables for snacks and look like Cameron Diaz in a two piece by summer”, but a few weeks later you’re wearing sweats in front of the TV with popcorn in one hand and M&Ms in the other, drinking a Mountain Dew and loathing yourself? It’s OK. You are not alone, and the problem is not you or your lack of self control.
Start the year off by getting real with yourself. No matter how much you starve, no matter how many horrible “liquid only” diets you go on that taste so bad you gag every single time you shove it down your throat, and no matter how many crunches or squats you do, your body will NEVER look like Beyonce’s. Our bones are structured differently, we’re different heights, and sometimes no matter how hard you work you will always have chubby thighs/man-like calves/too small of breasts/flabby arms/a muffin top… you get the idea. But say that after all of the starving and surgical cutting and self loathing that comes along with eating a cookie or two too many, you do obtain your dream body. Do you think that you’ll feel amazing, beautiful, sexy and confident when summer comes around and you finally slip into that coveted (yet dreaded) swimsuit? No, you won’t.
You think that the goal is to look amazing, but the real goal is to think and know and believe that you look and are amazing.
You believe that by obtaining this magical number in weight or dress size that you will automatically, finally, be happy! But if you have trained your brain to pick apart every single “flaw” and loath your body rather than treat it with love and respect, you will always see the “fat person” in the mirror you have always told yourself you are. If you have to starve yourself or go on some crazy cabbage or grapefruit diet how do you expect to maintain the weight you have lost? You’re setting yourself up for failure when you starve your body, and you feel even worse when you transition back to normal food and gain back the weight (plus a little more usually). Instead of starting the cycle of self loathing, why not start the cycle of self love? For every time you look in the mirror and say something like “ugh, I hate my fat thighs,” counteract that statement with “but I love how toned my shoulders look” or “I love how my lips have a natural rose color.” The more you love yourself and your body the more you’ll want others to view you in that same light, and you’ll be proud to show it all off. People completely underestimate the power of self love and positive thinking, but that’s where it all begins. That’s the key to start unlocking all of your potential happiness. Instead of the “I want to look like Megan Fox by vacation” resolution, why not change it to “I want the confidence to pull of this new dress that makes my body look rockin’ by vacation.”
I personally was never too big on New Years resolutions, but this year I was excited to ring in 2012. 2011 had been such an amazing year from living in South Korea, to becoming relatively financially stable, to falling in love, to gaining new found independence and experiences. After a rough few years, 2011 was the year of bliss. A year of growth. A year of beauty. And I want even more of it in 2012. This is the year I start to improve myself and dive into things that really interest me.
To Do List of 2012:
WRITE MORE. I find that a lot of people set high, unrealistic goals for themselves when making resolutions, and when they do not live up to their “perfect” selves they end up quitting all together. Set a goal like “I will write at least twice a month.” I know that it sounds small, but it’s realistic and it’s better than not writing at all. If after a few months you feel that you have set the bar too low, increase that number to four times a month. Just write.
START A ROSETTA STONE. This is something that is important to me. My life revolves around my passion for travel and I have no excuse for being fluent in only one language. It’s horribly limiting and frustrating at times. When it comes to deciding on what language to learn part of me says, “you’ll be living in South Korea for a few years so you should learn to speak Korean.” The other part of me says, “but Italian would be SO BEAUTIFUL!” I come up with a compromise and decide that it would be best to learn French because it’s a common foreign language throughout the world. So within this year I will purchase a Rosetta Stone and be on my way to learning a new language.
READ AT LEAST 10 BOOKS IN THE YEAR. I love to read. I love books so much. I hope to write books someday that people love to read. I love being inspired by the new and interesting stories; however, after a long day of work the easiest thing to do is pop in a movie or show or surf Facebook and zone out. While all of that is well and good now and then, I need to get into reading more again. Book #1 of the year that I’m reading is “No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power”.
“Feminist icon Gloria Feldt pulls no punches in her new book, which encourages women to step into positions of power and leadership—now. In No Excuses, she argues that the most confounding problem facing women today isn’t that doors aren’t open, but that not enough women are walking through them. From the boardroom to the bedroom, public office to personal relationships, she asserts that nobody is keeping women from parity—except themselves.
Through interviews, historical perspective, and anecdotes, No Excuses examines why barriers to equality still exist in American society. Feldt employs a no-nonsense, tough-love point of view to expose the internal and external roadblocks holding women back, but she doesn’t place blame; rather, she provides inspiration, hope, and courage—as well as concrete “power tools”—the 9 ways, with one highlighted in each chapter—to aid women in securing equality and justice for themselves.
No Excuses is a timely and invaluable book that intends to help women equalize gender power in politics, work, and love.”
For Christmas my moms got Renee and I a subscription to Glamour, Marie Claire and National Geographic Traveler magazines which they’ll forward to us when we’re in South Korea. Magazine subscriptions = amazing gift.
DONATE TO A CHARITY/ORGANIZATION: This is the first time in my life that I feel financially comfortable. I can pay my bills with ease, and I make payments towards my debt, and I can save some money. Now is the time to start giving back to a charity or organization that I feel passionate about. Figuring out your passion and really narrowing it down to one organization is not as easy as it may seem. There are so many causes out there — cancer, AIDS, homelessness, helping a disaster area rebuild, children in poverty, the environment… the list is endless. I care about all of these important issues, but I often have to remind myself that I can not save the entire world. I can only do what I can do and give with goodness and love in my heart. I’m pretty sure I know which organization I will be giving to each month, but I want to do as much research as I can and keep my options open until I start earning a paycheck.
I was blessed to have worked at Wiz Island in Dongtan, South Korea from October 2010 – 2011. The entire year was an intense learning experience in many ways in my life, especially when it came to my job as a teacher. More on all of that later.
I’m currently in Michigan with Renee and we’re starting the interview process for some jobs in South Korea. We are keeping our options open, being persistent and having faith that the right job will find us. I feel so happy that I’ve got to spend so much time at home, but the time has come to kick my butt back into gear and start getting back to my version of normalcy.
I wish you all a happy, blessed and inspiring new year. Take this year to find your passions and pursue them. Work on becoming a happier person. It’s never too late for a new beginning.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” –Howard Thurman
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” –T.S. Eliot