Reflecting on Settling, in a Good Way

Whoa, it’s been eight months since I last posted?! I swear, time seems to go by more quickly the older I get. Is that a normal thing? I don’t know, but I’m going to chalk it up to being busy instead of getting old. From traveling both domestically and internationally (Arizona, California, New York, Korea, Dubai…) to helping friends and family (and myself) usher in some new and exciting changes for 2017, I’ve felt like the chaos of 2016 required down time that was truly down time. Like, literally lots of laying down. On the couch watching movies, in savasana at yoga class, in bed for naps. Yes, NAPS! I took a few naps! As a classic A-type overachiever, it’s not always easy to give myself permission to just BE, but that’s what I’ve been challenging myself to do these past couple of months. I feel like I’ve finally reached a great work-life balance, yet I still need to fight against filling in that “life” section with even more over-achiever-y type things. I’ve had the tendency to fill my quiet free time with activity ever since I was a little kid (sorry, parents!), but as I got older the constant need to be active in one way or another became less energizing and more draining. Plus, life is an ever-changing flow of needs, wants, desires, aspirations. So what used to be fulfilling and motivating one day isn’t necessarily the same thing that will make you happy the next. And it’s different for every person, which is why the temptation to compare and compete isn’t always productive. (Thanks social media for making it even harder to resist comparison.)

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Goal: More Slow Mornings

I really started thinking about this again during a yoga class I had last week. The instructor started off by having us set an intention for the practice, framing it as possibly an intention that we may have set for 2017 as a whole. Which made me start thinking: what WAS my intention for 2017? And to get a little contradictory to the whole “ever-changing flow” bit, for 2017, I’d really just like to feel settled. Just for once, for a little while, I’d like to feel like I’m in a routine, that I know what I’m doing, where there are challenges but they’re somewhat predictable challenges. The 30 minute sitcom type challenges vs. the ongoing horribly stressful Breaking Bad type challenges. Over the past 5 years I’ve been pushing and pushing and stretching and trying new things and reaching and thinking so much about setting myself up for the future that I’ve never really felt like I’ve gotten to sit back and enjoy everything I’ve achieved so far. And part of that is because, like I said, ever since I was a little kid I’ve always liked being busy. I’ve more than a few times asked myself why I continually find myself diving head first into uncomfortable challenges. But this year I want to feel what it feels like to be settled. Comfortable. In a routine. Maybe this desire for chaos and challenge is what really makes me happy, but that’s something I’d like to find out through, frankly, maybe being kind of bored for a while. Right now I’m pretty sure I still have enough challenges and projects in my daily life to feel engaged and mentally stimulated, but not so many where I feel overwhelmed and like I need to work 16 hours per day. I like that. It feels nice. And just for once, I’d like to settle into something that feels nice. I want to know what it’s like to be truly present in how things are now, instead of always looking towards what they could be in the future.

So for now, for this year, I’m going to be settling. In a good way. Settling into my current workstreams. Getting comfortable in my regular workout schedule. Finding peace in the routine of cooking dinner every night. Knowing that chaos and busyness do not make me a better, more successful person (note that I even started this post by saying how busy I’ve been; an interesting read on that here from the Wash Post). Maybe I’ll get bored and feel unfulfilled, who knows. But for now I’m going to listen to that intuition that is telling me to settle. To sit still. To just be.

Scientifically Proven Ways to Reach Your Goals

If you’re anything like me, there have been times in your life where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to muster up enough willpower to reach your goal. If I had a dollar for every health kick I went on I could probably buy myself a pretty nice watch by now! After the passage of a few weeks your motivation wanes and all of a sudden it seems near impossible to see yourself triumphant at the end. How is it possible to be so gung-ho one day, and then fall down the doughnut hole the next?

As it turns out, you’re normal! Stanford psychology expert Kelly McGonigal explains that basic human nature dictates that “there’s a part of you who is looking to the long-term and thinking about certain goals, and then another part of you that has a completely different agenda and wants to maximize current pleasure and minimize current stress, pain and discomfort.” While both of these parts are necessary to human survival, they can be detrimental to reaching goals that require short term sacrifice for long term gain.

So how can we avoid this most basic of human instincts to run towards instant gratification? Luckily there are a few science-based tips to help you reach your goals.

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Spring Cleaning for the Mind, Body, & Spirit: Part Two

As I mentioned yesterday, this Wednesday I will be embarking on a 45-day mind, body, and spirit (MBS) journey as a part of Lent. While I do this every year leading up to Easter, there are many good reasons to take your own journey even if you are not religious, including reviving your resolutions, combating Seasonal Affect Disorder, and getting to your “happy weight (read more about those reasons here).

Mind Goal Idea: Start a Daily Gratitude Journal
Mind Goal Idea: Start a Daily Gratitude Journal

If you’re back here because you’d like to join me, hooray! I’m excited to have a buddy. If this all sounds a little too hippy-dippy for you, that’s okay too! You can still read on for some goal setting tips that are helpful in any situation.

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Spring Cleaning for the Mind, Body, & Spirit: Part One

Every year I use Lent as a chance to do a sort of spring cleaning for my mind, body, and spirit. Of course for me, the spirit part comes first, but even if you are not particularly religious, this time of year can be a great opportunity to start living your ideal life. My dad is all about this and has instilled in me the idea that everyone can live their ideal life, no matter their circumstances, as long as they know where they want to go and keep trucking down the path to get there.

MindBodyGreen agrees: “Knowing that you don’t have to wait to start living the lifestyle you want is not only refreshing, but liberating! You get to create your life, right now.”

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2015: The Year of the Mitchells

This past year was definitely better than the past few (check out my 2014 recap here), but I’m not satisfied yet! Josh and I still have so many things to do, see, accomplish. Starting 2015 off with two relatively new jobs, a wedding on the horizon, and some lofty travel ambitions, I know there’s so much to look forward to! Which is why I dub this year: The Year of the Mitchells! Because, you know, I’ll soon be a Mitchell and we’re going to kick some serious booty. I just know it.

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My “fitspiration” from last year. Still on that grind!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love making resolutions! It’s not about “waiting until the new year,” it’s about using the new year as a marker to revisit the things you want, you thought you wanted, and you never knew you wanted. Never wait to take action if you have a goal, but do give yourself solid reflective deadlines to reevaluate those things you’re aiming towards.

Here are some of my personal (non-professional) resolutions/inspirations for the coming year.

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2014: Happier & Healthier

Well, as I’m sure you can tell by my posting (or lack thereof), 2013 was one of the most challenging years I have ever had. In fact, I think it’s pretty safe to say that is was THE most challenging. But instead of rehashing the past, I’m choosing to move forward and focus on the future. Sayonara, 2013! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

And on to 2014.

Admittedly, I’m one for making resolutions. The nerd in me totally loves goal setting, list making, and planning. But this year it’s different. The new year is the spark I needed to relight the fire within, the passion for life that 2013 stomped out just a bit. This year I’m determined to be even happier, healthier, and more prosperous than ever before. I’m ready to take all of those tough lessons learned in 2013 and use them to power my way through 2014.

Here are some of my personal (non-professional) resolutions/inspirations for the coming year.

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