Hi Peepers! It's been awhile (a good six months I believe) and it feels good to be using these magical writing digits of mine to connect on a more personal level. I hope the last half of 2019 has treated you well and that you survived and thrived
Hi Peepers! It’s been awhile (a good six months I believe) and it feels good to be using these magical writing digits of mine to connect on a more personal level. I hope the last half of 2019 has treated you well and that you survived and thrived this holiday season. It was a different kind of Merry Christmas around here - some memories were made, some laughter was shared, many tears were shed. But there was a certain peace that has been missing this past year, a measure of calm, a softening of the sharp edges that has given me pause to reflect on the past 365 days of 2019.
And that reflection has been so worthwhile. A little shaming at times as is the nature of the beast. A lot to smile about and be grateful for. Because I have seen tremendous growth in myself in the past year. I have had some epic successes and oh Lord, the failures have left their mark. But I can tell you that I have learned from my failures and I have risen. In my book, that’s a win.
As I sit here on this Tuesday morning, with 2020 less than 24 hours away, my inspiration comes to me. As I look around my home, the piles of clothes and towels that litter the floor, the dishes that fill the sink at a rapid rate, the fluffs and tufts of dog hair that have collected in the corners and under the table, I’m struck by something. This house is once again a HOME with all of them here. It’s not perfect but it’s been built on a foundation of giving them a place to come and just BE. Not a perfect home by any means and we’ve weathered some storms - but that foundation is still there, still strong, still ready for whatever comes along. It needs a good cleaning for sure, a little bit of sprucing up. A fresh coat of paint.
And so do I.
Each New Year gives us the opportunity to spruce ourselves up, add some vitality, some warmth, change our outlook. Think about it - a fresh coat of paint in any room in any home can completely change everything about that space. And we are no different! This next year is full of 365 days where you get the CHOICE to make it anything and everything you want it to be! What do you want it to be? What do you want to do different? What do you want to accomplish? What color do you want to paint 2020?
I’m no expert, I never finished college and I certainly am no genie in a bottle. But I do believe in goal setting, visualizing and have had some great success in making positive life changes. And I do believe that much of our reality is created by our own perceptions. So go get your crayons and clear off a space on your table and let’s wipe the slate clean and color up something beautiful for this next New Year!
Setting Up Your Easel
I am a firm believer that you can’t just talk the talk - you need to strap on those boots and get to walking. Set all the goals you want for yourself but with no plan on how to get there, no way to hold yourself accountable - it rarely leads you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’ll share what works for me and this isn’t a complete list but hopefully enough to light a fire and get you going.
1. Write it down.
When you write something down, you give it life. You reinforce it in your own mind, your own psyche and if you’re old like me, it helps you to not forget what exactly your goal is. You have all these gorgeous crayons - choose one and write your goals down.
2. Pick a number.
I’m going to choose 20 goals because - well, it’s 2020. And I’m an even number kind of girl. But regardless of whether or not you're a number oriented peep, pick a number of goals and use that as a way to get the juices flowing.
3. Keep your spectrum broad.
What I mean by this is have a broad range of goals. Some of these may be more easily attainable than others, some that are far reaching, some right in the middle. If everything is so far out of reach it makes it easy to quit on yourself. And I know you - you are SO worth not quitting on!
4. Think life goals.
Make goals that impact different parts of life. Goals that are for your health, personal goals, professional goals, day to day living better goals. If you really sit and reflect on every aspect of your life, I promise you that you will find areas that are in needs of some touch-ups, if not a whole new shade of color.
5. Get an accountability partner.
Find a friend, a loved one, anyone that you trust. That person that will look you in the eye and hold your feet to the fire. I have my Rob and I am also going to share with each of you. But having someone to help keep you on track, someone that can help turn your eyes away from the carton of Breyers and drag your carcass to the gym or not buy the shoes, those are the moments that are game changers.
6. Forgive past mistakes.
You cannot move forward if you are hung up on past mistakes. The 20 pounds you gained instead of lost. The relationships that are no longer, the confidence that used to course through your veins that now is nowhere to be found. Think Elsa and Let. It. Go. It’s nothing other than an anchor holding you down and a New Year equals a New You. Color that stuff bye-bye so that you can free yourself to focus on the present.
7. No one likes a Negative Nelly.
A positive approach is a must. We all know that one person that when you ask them how they are they have nothing positive to say. Yuck. Don’t be that person. Even if your day isn’t great, fake it and say, “I’m great! How are you?” Because positivity like negativity is contagious. And you will be more apt to get more done with an upbeat attitude and a positive approach. And more apt to have people that want to help you get there.
8. Go easy on YOU.
Not every day is going to be a 10. In fact, some days are going to be a 2. That’s okay. People often think that failure is just that - failure. I like to think of failure as those opportunities when we learn the most about ourselves. Accept failure for what it is - the opportunity to learn and grow.
9. Punch fear in the face.
We are often held back by our fears, our worry that we are going to look stupid, do it wrong, not be good enough. I say stare fear in the face and whisper, “I’m coming for you.” There is no better feeling in the world than conquering something that we previously thought we could not.
10. Keep track and reevaluate when necessary.
You won't know where you are at with achieving your goals if you don’t have some sort of system for tracking your progress. It can be as simple as doing a monthly check in on those scribbles or a quarterly review. For some of your goals, it might be a daily log in or a weekly recap. And what you may find through tracking your progress is that some of your goals need to be redefined and that is totally okay. It’s not a perfect process - it’s about perfecting YOUR process.
Coloring My Canvas
Like I said, it’s a no-brainer for me to pick 20 goals. Some of these are going to be more easily attainable than others and others - well, I’ll be giving it all I can.
I am going to try to do a dry January. No alcohol whatsoever. No big deal - maybe for some. But at 48, I feel I have earned the right to have a drink when I want and at the end of a long day, it’s one of the things I enjoy most. But I am going to give it a shot, Rob’s doing it with me and I have $300 I have to pay out to my boys if I fail. So I may be a little irritable (I apologize in advance) but I’m going to do my best to see it through. #nowayamicashingout
Kind In, Kind Out.
I am going to work on being a kinder person. Kinder thoughts, kinder actions, coming from a place of good. I like to think that I’m a pretty kind person in general but there are times when the nasty in me is driving the bus. And at the end of the day, that’s not whom I want to be. And I haven’t walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. I’m committed to being more mindful of my thoughts and my mouth. #choosekind
More Face Time.
With three children that live in three different states nine months out of the year, I feel like I am often tethered to my phone. And even with that being said, I spend way too much time staring at a screen when I could be more engaged with my life. I am going to work to commit to being off my phone after 7:00 pm. You need me and it’s important, they have these cool little digits on the phone that allow you to call so I can hear your voice. Otherwise, I got you in the am. #screenless
Wiggles And Walks.
My puppies love to walk. Like LOVE IT. And I have been very remiss in recent months about not giving them that outlet and have had a million reasons why I have not strapped on my shoes and picked up the leashes. So I’ll keep it reasonable and work for 5 out of 7 days, I am getting them outside and me along with them. #iwouldwalk500miles
I have lost complete and total confidence in my deadlift. Back in May of 2019, I deadlifted 285 lbs and it was such a shining moment for me personally. And in recent months, my confidence in that olympic lift that I was so proud of is in the toilet. So I’m going to get that confidence back and work to join the 300 club. #allthegains
I am a worrier. I worry about everything. My goosies when they drive, my Rob when he gets called out, my puppies, money, my mom. You name it - I worry about it. And I hide that worry, that worry of loss from everyone and it takes a toll on my heart - physically and emotionally. And I need to change that part of me. #dontworrybehappy
Learn A New Skill.
As we get older, I think it’s especially important to learn something new as often as we can. It requires listening and attention to detail generally and those are both tools that are rarely used in my personal toolbox. So I don’t know what exactly that skill will be but I want to learn to do something new this year. Stay tuned! #willfulandskillful
Crack Open A Book.
I have always had a love for reading. And I rarely make time to read. I don’t even have a good excuse and it’s a travesty that I don’t gift myself the opportunity to spend some time each day reading - 10 minutes before bed, an hour here or there. And for such a simple thing that gives me so much joy - I gotta give it a go this next year. #turnthepage
Grow A Vegetable Garden.
This has been a goal of mine that I have yet to accomplish and maybe, just maybe, this will be the year! It’s going to take some help to build it and find a location that is just right but it’s truly something that I enjoy. There is something about connecting with the dirt that is very soothing for me. 2019 - herb pots. 2020 - bring on the veggies! #farmgirlatheart
Refinish A Piece Of Furniture.
My first job growing up was staining wood for my dad. Now mind you, he was a perfectionist and if any of you have seen me and chalk in the gym, imagine me covered with stain instead. And I have not refinished a piece of furniture for over 20 years. Given that everything in our home has been ‘well-loved’ it’s time for me to find something that I can make ours. Perhaps a round kitchen table? #somethingoldintosomethingnew
Expand My Dinner Menu.
It is so easy to get in a rut with cooking. I make the same things all the time because it’s easy and I get lazy. Food is more a source of fuel for me than a source of enjoyment. Part of the responsibility falls on my Rob because I also get tired of being the one to make all the decisions about what we are eating. I got him on board with choosing two new meals a week for me to make. Two new recipes that we can try. I’m hoping that it comes to fruition and I can expand my kitchen repertoire as well as my palette. #recipedesperationtoedibleinspiration
Hit The Road.
I have not run for quite some time. And it was a past time that I enjoyed tremendously. There is not much like strapping on some headphones and hitting the road for a few miles. It always gives me an appreciation not only for my surroundings but also for what an incredible machine the human body is. Long distances may not be in my future but I’d like to spend more time pounding the pavement in 2020. #milestogobeforeisleep
Whereas we don’t have a lot of debt, there is some there. It’s a little overwhelming right now with Christmas having just exited stage right and those lovely bills starting to roll in. I am down with getting all those bills paid off and with one more year of tuition payments, there is light at the end of the tunnel. And Lord knows having a dry January certainly is going to help to make a big dent next month. #moneyinthebank
Replace The Front Porch.
Our front porch is in sad shape. We desperately need to rip it down and do a redo. And I’d like to do it ourselves as much as possible or have Rob and the boys make a weekend project out of it - Mother’s Day perhaps? We haven’t done a lot around the house in past years because tuition trumped all else but again - light tunnel. It’s long overdue and time. #teardownandbuildup
Kitchen Cabinet Cleaning.
I would guess this has not been done since…ever. And there is a myriad of two decades of dust and crumbs and minutia in my kitchen cabinets and they are sorely in need of a deep cleaning. I will not be doing this during dry January because it is a job that requires patience, loud music and alcoholic beverages. But it needs to get done and sooner rather than later. #cleanoutthecrumbs
Even though we are essentially empty nesters, Rob and I don’t go on dates as often as we should. Life gets in the way, I’m tired, errands to run, some bad guy needs to get caught, blah blah blah. I could come up with every excuse under the sun but the bottom line is we don’t make it a priority. And that connection of going out and just being adults is so important and something we both enjoy. So even if it’s just running errands together and stopping for an appetizer, I need to make a more concerted effort to make that happen. #doyouwannabuildasnowman
Leave Yesterday Yesterday.
I am going to make a concerted effort to live my life with yesterday where it belongs - in the past. I so often carry forward the weight of the previous days with me into the current day and that is not living. Obviously, there are some things that we inevitably have to carry forward but for the most part, if you really think about it, we can leave a lot of that behind us. And that leads me to my next goal. #yesterdayishistory
Be More Present.
I am not as present as I should be. Not even close. And that is a must happen for 2020. I need to be more aware of now, live more in the moment, embrace life like a toddler that is eating their first cupcake. We have countless moments in our day to day life where magic happens and we miss those opportunities by not being as present as we could be. A child trying to tell us about their day that we only half listen to. A spouse that comes to give us a hug and we turn away to answer a text. The elation of a friend that just benched 135 pounds that we bypass because we are burdened by our own life minutia. The list goes on and on. No more. Not for this girl. I’m down with living here and now. #todayisagift
Take A Drive On A Backroad.
I told a story awhile back about how my Rob loves driving the backroads - something I never knew about him. And we have endless days where we are sitting around not doing much when we could legit throw the puppies in the back and go for a drive to somewhere new. I’m not saying drive across state but go explore somewhere local that we haven’t been. Take a drive to just go say hi to one of the kids. Turn up the tunes and just laugh and make a memory. I know my Rob is game - just a matter of making it a priority. Once a month, 12 days in the next year. #justanoldhandmedownford
Live, Love, Inspire.
Someone once told me that she wakes up every day committed to being the very best version of herself that she can. To live hard, love hard and give life her very best effort. And that is truly the good stuff. I want to earn the heartbeat. I want to lay my head on the pillow at night knowing that if I took my last breath, my Rob and my children would wake knowing they were loved more than anything in the world. And if I can maybe inspire one person along the way to be more, to dare to be great, to think Yes, I can. Well that would be pretty awesome. #livetothefullest
Paint Your Present
Last year, on Christmas Eve my brother presented my dad with 10 letters. My brother and his family and each member of my family of Schu’s wrote him a letter as a Christmas gift. My mom had to urge him to read the letters on Christmas Day because she was worried that he would pass away before he got the chance. So they sat side-by-side last Christmas and my dad would read one letter and then pass it to my mom to read. The tears from them both she told me never stopped.
When they finished reading, there was a sense of peace that had overcome my dad. And he looked at my mom and said, “Never in my life have I felt so loved.” He went downhill almost immediately and he passed in the early morning hours of December 28.
I tell this story not because I want to make anyone sad. I tell you because at the end of our days, it is not the money in the bank, the cars in the driveway, the Lululemon in the closet. It is the memories we make, the time we share, the love and ties to those that are closest to our heart that matter.
This next year presents an opportunity, 365 days where you can make great things happen. Do a little reflecting and then set some goals for yourself, some milestones that you want to reach and make your days and your weeks and your months have value and substance. Joy. Laughter. Memories. Love and be loved.
A fresh coat of paint, peepers. Bring out the inner artist and paint yourself something beautiful!