Life & Lessons

Cheers to the new, and to the year.

This is not your typical New Years post.

For starters, it’s not January 1st.

In fact, it’s fourteen days after the new year has begun. The buzz of newness has probably already started to wear off for most of us, and the hangover already seems to be kicking in.

But for me, the party is just beginning.

This year, I decided not to make or take any resolutions seriously in the first few days of our new slate. I’m learning something: keeping score before you’ve started the game is dangerous. We are creatures of habit, yet we can’t seem to stay on track when it comes to the things we want the most for our lives. I thought to myself: maybe I should walk on the playing field before I run the play.

I chose to start January 1st, 2018 as any another day. New year, same shit. The only difference is that this go-round I let the thought of resolutions and goals and wants and plans whisper a melody in my mind without hanging on to any one lyric, and without turning off the music either. I didn’t cling to or claim the first “I want to go the gym three times a week” or “I want to make more videos.” I typically write everything that crosses my mind down, but I wouldn’t even let myself near a piece of paper in these first few weeks. I wanted to let the possibilities ruminate in the room of my mind; I wanted to see which desires would emerge as the truest of the true.

And I think we have a winner.

Err, winners.

This may be odd, especially to people like myself who try to find balance and find symmetry in everything, but the resolutions that reoccured, protruded, and rose high above the others don’t match and don’t quite make sense in regards to the traditional “New Year Resolution” narrative. These resolutions were what my heart was singing very clearly through all of the mess. So I listened.

Here are my three resolutions:

  1. Read one book a month. Feed your mind.
  2. Celebrate the small victories.
  3. One thing at a time.

Like I said, they’re a bit strange. They go from detailed to abstract, and they might not make sense upon reading them. But there’s something quaint about that, at least to me. They are special little snowflakes; they are mine. I will explain.

I used to love books when I was little. I was a very bossy child (still am) and I would insist that I would read my books to my parents rather than the other way around. My mom loves to tell me this story about my 3rd birthday: how when I unwrapped toys and Barbie dolls I was overjoyed, but when I opened a book it was all over. I couldn’t stop flipping through the thing. I didn’t want to open any more gifts. And after the whole thing was said and done, the first present I picked up again was the book. Nothing else was as fascinating. The same was true on my college graduation day, when I did the same thing at 21 and my mom reminded me of this story. “Nothing has changed,” she said. During college you get your fair share of books, but the “fun” reading was reserved for summers only. When I graduated, I read a book here and there. But this year, I want to make it a realistic priority. My soul misses the words.

I have an issue with always living in the future. I’m always planning and plotting my next project, my next hang-out, my next job, my next problem: the list goes on. But this year is about the victories — and very specifically, the small ones. I think there’s something so beautiful about celebrating the small stuff. And I’m going to need it to get through this year, because it’s going to be a tough one. I just moved across the country away from the love of my life and my family to chase my dreams (that I’m not even sure of anymore). I’m not to keen of my job. But I have to keep it in perspective to keep myself afloat. Every day is one step closer to being reunited with a loved one. Every day is one more page I’ve written for my web series, or my film. Every day is one more day I have the opportunity to meet someone special or make a connection. Every day is one day closer to something. I’ve found a loophole around always anticipating what’s next: tricking myself into living in the present to make for a better tomorrow.

Finally, I need to start taking things one by one. I’m guilty of taking on too much. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I try to start five projects at once, see four friends in a week, and do a million things in a day. Not. possible. In fact, I always end up neglecting all of it because I’m so overwhelmed. One of my very good friends used to tell me all the time, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I know that’s disgusting and weird and you’re like “Who are you, you freak,” but it’s just some metaphor that he’d heard (OK?!). And it makes sense. But for a person like me who thinks BIG, I don’t have one elephant. I never have one elephant. I have five. Lined up down the block. And for me, I just need to take each thing in my life one at a time. Dive in, make it whole and give it my all, then move on to the next. No matter how hard it is, or how long it takes. It’s better to get one thing done than to get nothing done at all.

Now that I’ve given you full insight into the thought process behind my resolutions, here are my two-cents on making yours for this beautiful, promising year:

Make it specific. 

If you are going to choose something concrete, such as the gym or a specialty diet or volunteering or listening to more podcasts — make it specific. Avoid the words “more” or “a lot.” Choose. Declare. One time a week. Three times a week. Every other week. Once a month. Commit and repeat.

Make it general.

You know I love a good contradiction. If you’re going to choose something abstract, make it general. I guess that’s sort of a given, but that’s the point. Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to make your resolution(s) a mantra or a motto. That’s fun AF. You can attribute it or place it onto anything and everything into your life.

Write it in pencil.

If you’re a writer like me, try this with me: write your goals in pencil. You can write it big or small; on a whiteboard covering an entire wall or in a notebook tucked away under your nightstand. This sounds silly, but I swear pen can sometimes mess with your brain. It’s so scary!!! It’s so permanent!!! Well flip the script. Write it in something erasable. This way, you know you can change or adjust it whenever you want and it’s not as daunting. Which brings me to my next point.

Be kind to your progress.

We live in a world that fears commitment. I think this is mostly because we aren’t committing to the things we actually love. But the catch is, even when we do it’s still never easy. That’s why it’s a commitment. But trial and error is a real, true thing. Be kind to your progress. You have to try something to know it’s not really what you want to do or what your heart desires. That’s okay. It knocks down one possibility and moves you closer to the one that will actually move your soul and change your life. Don’t be afraid to change, adjust, or make a new resolution. Heck, try out one thing a month. But once you find the thing that you really do want to hold on to, don’t quit. Even when it gets hard.

Happiest of days to you. Wishing you all the love in the world this new year. Go get ’em, tigress. xx

YOURSTRULYMIA

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School Year Resolutions

Well hello there!

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a huge fan of two things:

inspiration, and organization.

So when I stumbled across this blog, you know I was double excited.

For her blog  A Glitter Affair, Chantel wrote a post about her New Semester Resolutions. She shares some awesome tips about getting excited and organized for the new school year, or the new semester.

I thought this was an absolutely fantastic idea. So I wrote a list myself! Here are my School Year Resolutions.

DIVIDER

Academic Resolutions:

+ Homework before play, always. Some people are most motivated to do their work right after class. Some need time to unwind. I’ve bounced between the two, as my study habits have changed from semester-to-semester depending on what kind of classes I am in. And as of last semester? I am the latter of the two. When I get home from school and work, looking at my 50 page reading is the last thing I want to do. I find myself diving into my work anyways, only half focused, reading things over and over because it’s not what I really want to be doing. I think I’m helping myself by making myself getting it done, but I’m really only wasting precious time. Prevent this by giving yourself a 30-minute-free-for-all. When you get out of class, give yourself a 30 minute break to snack, watch TV, relax on the quad, whatever. When those 30 minutes are up, do your work. Like Chantel, I am going to put my phone in a completely different room, and study. When you finish, you’ll be glad you have the rest of the day to relax.

+ Break it up. Rather than reading a whole chapter the day before it’s due, read a little bit each day, and stick to it. It’s less dreadful.

+ Stop jumping around. Focus on one task, complete it, then move on to the next. It saves you so much unneeded stress.

+ If you need help, just fricking ask. That’s what teachers and tutors are there for.

+ It’s going to be hard, but read the chapter before you go to class. Chantel had the bright suggestion to highlight all of the concepts you don’t understand, and write down any specific questions you may have. Then you have a basic knowledge of the material, and you might even be a little bit more engaged in what’s going on.

+ Everyone loves new things, okay? Figure out what school supply gets you excited, and get a new one. Just call me highlighter happy.

+ RE-find your study place. One semester, it was outside at a table under a tree. Another semester, it was at a desk in the corner of the library. A different semester, it was in my room. It may take a few times of shopping around to see which spot suits you best. When you find it, stick with it. But here’s the key. When you start getting bored of it, don’t force yourself to stay there. That’s a fatal mistake. You’ll lose concentration, and you will waste your time. Find a new spot again. You’ll look forward to studying, and you’ll actually stay focused.

+ Make study guides as you go. At the end of every chapter. For every test. Don’t wait until finals week to create study guides. It’ll make hell week a little more bearable. 10 chapters x 5 classes + 1 week to do it? You solve that equation.

 

Health Resolutions:

+ Do not stay up until 3AM every night. Just don’t.

+ Really, don’t stay up until 3AM every night.

+ Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself. Nourish it. Take care of it. It’s the only one you have.

+ I want to really take care of my hair this year. I want to let it grow out, so I’m going to work on keeping it healthy.

+ Drink more water. I don’t want my insides to look like SpongeBob inside of Sandy’s dome anymore. Drink some when you get up, and drink some before you go to bed. Carry a water bottle around with you all day. You’ll be more inclined to drink it. Pinky up.

+ You like to dance. So dance. Take one zumba/world beat/cardio dance party class every week. Just one. It’s fun. You let off some steam. And you never not feel great afterwards. It’s a win/win, really.

 

Work Resolutions:

I have an on-campus job as the student videographer and photographer at my university’s career and academic planning center. This will be my second year working there, and I absolutely love it.

+ Be a great team member.

+ Be a great leader.

+ Leave your school stress at home, and your work stress at work. Whatever you do, do not cross the two. I’m going to have to really buckle down on this one.

+ Continue to be organized at work. I print out a monthly calendar from Google, and put it on the front of my work binder to see all the important dates and fairs coming up. In my school planner, I choose one color for my work events/dates, and write them down there as well.

+ There’s a new Dunkin’ Donuts on the first floor, but try not to eat everything.

 

Social Resolutions:

+ It’s my junior year, but I want to continue to be open to meeting people. Not even for the sake of friendship, but because people are interesting in general. Engage with the stranger on the bus. Talk to the person sitting next to you in class. Everyone has a story to tell. Take time to hear it. Take time to learn. You might find friends in the most unlikely places.

And I’m in two already, but…

+ Join one more club. Just one. I might want to shoot my foot off, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I have found the more you are involved with your school, the more you love it.

 

DIVIDER

 

Now, I know many people are turned away just by the idea of resolutions. They are convinced they never last, or that they are just for show. But I am convinced that anything and everything is possible. If you want it bad enough, and if you truly have a desire to better yourself, it can most definitely happen- no questions asked. If you stumble a few times, hey, that’s life. Just keep on trying. It’s been done before, and it can be done again. You are not the exception. You can do it too, just like everyone else. No matter how small, or how big the goal is.

 

This is a clean slate for you. Take advantage of it.

 

I hope these tips and ideas from myself as well as Chantel have been helpful to you. I know I’m going to print out my list and smack it on my cork board above my desk! Leave a comment below, or create a list of your own resolutions. Writing down your goals make them more real, more visible, and more attainable. I can’t wait to hear them!

 

I wish you the best of luck going into the next semester.

 

Cheers to the new year!

 

To check out my new blog, click here.

YOURSTRULYMIA

 

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