As each year comes to an end, we reflect on the past year and make resolutions for the new year ahead. It’s a chance to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, if you will. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of negativity as it relates to the summation of this past year – and rightfully so. A lot of shitty things happened this year. But a lot of really, really great things happened as well and those are the ones I’m choosing to relish in. Thank you 2016 for being the most influential year of my life. Here are some of the top reasons why:
- I found my identity – Everyone experiences that “aha” moment at one point or another. It happens when everything suddenly falls into place and just makes….sense. Thankfully, I had a lot of those “aha” moments this year. I figured out what is important to me and eliminated all the things that were causing me physical and emotional baggage.
- I said goodbye to several close friends, but also made new ones – I might have mentioned this before but Seattle is an extremely transient city. People are continually coming and going which makes it difficult to cultivate meaningful relationships with people. It feels like as soon as you get close to someone, they’re leaving for a better opportunity in a different state. It’s been really tough having to start over and over again, but in a way I’m thankful. If my friends hadn’t left, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to meet all the amazing people that have entered my life this year.
- I met my wonderful boyfriend – Trevor and I met through the meetup group we both attend and it’s been an exciting and adventure-filled 9 (almost) months together. Trevor has a heart the size of the galaxy and is able to find joy and positivity in everything he does. He takes interest in many different fields and has introduced me to heaps of activities that I would have been too scared to try on my own. He is the most supportive person I know and has been there for nearly every emotion breakdown I’ve had since we’ve been together. I still haven’t figured out how we are going to top all of our travels (near and far) in 2017 but knowing Trevor, he’ll come up with something big.
- I transitioned to an all plant-based diet – I became a vegetarian at the beginning of 2016 and then transitioned over to an all vegan diet mid year. Not only do I cook healthier, eat better and have more energy, I’m doing my part in creating a more sustainable environment and saving hundreds of animals from the cruelty of America’s factory farming industry. Going vegan has been one of the best decisions I made all year and has taught me to become a more compassionate person in everything I do.
- I quit my job to backpack around SE Asia for 3 months. Alone. – I was reluctant at first to do something so drastically different; I didn’t know what people would think of me. In retrospect, I was crazy to think that I needed anyone’s validation. My trip to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Cambodia was single-handedly, the best investment into myself, ever. They say traveling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer and I couldn’t find that to be more true. I may have no money left, no job and no real home of my own but I have a broadened global perspective and countless memories to last me a lifetime. *More on lessons I learned during my travels throughout SE Asia to come soon*
- I explored more of my own country and crossed off 3 new states – Contrary to what many believe people, you don’t need to take an airplane or travel to the other side of the world to learn something about yourself or the world. Trevor and I had our own weekend adventures that brought us to new places like Idaho, Montana and Nevada. There are so many beautiful landmarks to see that are just a drive away from home. I’ve already started a list of what I want to see and do locally in 2017.Adventure is out there people…and it’s much closer than you think.
I personally love making new year’s resolutions because it makes me think about where I’m currently at and where I want to go. Plus it gets me pumped for the year ahead. I also love telling people about what I want to accomplish in the new year since I believe that accountability is a major reason why we succeed or fail. I’m sharing my 2017 New Year Resolutions with you so you can help hold me accountable. Feel free to share yours with me too so we can check-in on one another!
- Read 1 book per month – Reading has never been my “thing.” I used to read more but ever since college, reading has felt like more of a burden than a pleasurable activity. I’ve been inspired by people I know who have read over 50 books in 2016 and if they can read 1 book a week, I can aim for 1 book a month. I currently have a long list in my queue, but if there’s any books you think are must-reads, send them my way! How am I going to reach this goal? See the bullet below.
- Reduce the amount of time I spend on social media – I was actively working on this earlier this year and was successful for a few months. But once I left to go abroad, I found myself spending more time on social media since it was my primary outlet to communicate with my friends and family back home. How am I going to do this? I plan on deleting my social media apps so I’m not tempted to open Facebook and Instagram each time a little red notification pops up. Additionally, I’m planning on filling my gap time (commuting, lunch breaks etc) with reading instead of browsing the web. It won’t be easy to kick this bad habit but I’m determined to decrease my dependency on the internet and rely more on real and genuine human connection.
- Digitize and sort all of my recipes into folders – I love cooking and baking but the problem is that my recipes are scattered everywhere and I can never find them when I need them. This year, I’m going to sort all of my favorite recipes into Google folders so they are easily accessible when I need them. Not a hard goal to achieve at all, but I needed to write it down to remind myself to actually do it.
- Drink more water – Specifically one glass as soon as I wake up and one glass before I go to sleep. Like reading, water has never really been my “thing.” I find that I only drink water when I feel like a fish out of water…not a healthy habit. My plan: Leave a glass of water in front of the coffee maker (which is the first place I go each morning).
- Incorporate a nightly stretching routine before bed – I used to be a lot more flexible during my gymnastics and dancing days and now I have almost no flexibility at all. I’m ashamed to admit that 7/10 times I can’t even touch my toes. In the last year, I’ve noticed my body feels a lot more tense due to the all of the physical demands I put on it. I’m pledging to spend 5-10 minutes every night before bed doing various stretches to not only help increase flexibility but to do my poor muscles a favor!
So there you have it. 2016 and 2017 summed up into 1300 words. I have absolutely no idea what this year has in store and that’s totally okay. Sometimes, life has a way of surprising ya.
Cheers to a happy, healthy, and most importantly, an adventure-filled 2017!