I love Christmas. It is far and above my favorite holiday of all and I spend weeks in preparation. We have a lot of family traditions, the house has to be beautifully decorated and then there’s the shopping, the baking and the socializing. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but with holiday prep starting mid-November, due to Thanksgiving, it’s easy to slip into an alternate universe, resulting in a reality check January 2. Decorations need to be taken down and packed up. Presents get put away. Bills have to get paid. Life can seem a little boring after all the weeks of excitement. Enter Project 2018.
January used to be a depressing month for me growing up. It’s probably that way for most kids. As an adult, it didn’t change much until I had kids in January. (Three out of my four kids were due on Christmas day. Two of them came early, one excessively so, and another one came too late, also excessively so. Ow.) Now, having birthdays to celebrate helps me ease back into normalcy….whatever that is.
This year, it’s on. Project 2018 is my way of starting the things that I’ve wanted to do but kept making excuses for. It’s making the changes I know I can but will take more hustle. It’s a way of getting over some obstacles that are preventing me from living the way I want.
Project 2018 is something we can all do, but it’s going to be different for all of us.
My version of Project 2018 is:
- Losing 20 pounds.
- Getting more fit.
- Living more naturally.
- Being more positive.
- Growing my business.
Some of those will be easier than others. Dropping 20 pounds will take some time, but I can get fit along the way. Even when the weight is gone, staying fit will be an ongoing thing. Getting back to a more natural way of life is just a matter of refocusing our purchases and won’t be too difficult. Being more positive can be tough some days, but if other things go as planned, or I at least make steps towards doing them, it will get easier. 2017 brought me a lot of new clients, bigger and better projects and a lot of amazing opportunities, so with an extra push, 2018 will be even better.
So how will I approach Project 2018?
Losing 20 pounds: my daughter is studying nutrition and health, so she’s provided us with meal plans and directions on following clean eating with the macro plan. This is something I can live with, as I want a lifestyle change, not a temporary ‘diet’ that doesn’t allow me to still live. I like food, I like adult beverages and I attend a lot of events with food, so I want to enjoy that. With the macro plan, I still can. Adding in the exercise and activity that goes along with getting more fit will just accelerate the weight loss.
Getting more fit: I’ve been feeling sluggish the last couple of months and my long habit of running has fallen by the wayside. My 5k time is undoubtedly nowhere near 30 minutes and I get winded after a sprint down the road chasing trashcans blowing in the Santa Anas. (Ask me how I know this. Or don’t..but I will tell you, flip-flops only marginally slow you down.)
Living more naturally: for years, I cleaned with essential oil-based cleaning products and I cleaned with recyclable cloths rather than filling a landfill with paper towels. Those are easy changes to make, in addition to continued use of essential oils, homeopathic medicine (like aloe juice for high cholesterol) and getting rid of more items with words I can’t pronounce. No more generic, inexpensive fabric softeners either. The list is long, but the benefits are vast.
Being more positive: for starters, I have been working on dumping the negativity the last couple of months. It’s not always easy but more on that in another blog post. Let’s just say I have a long ways to go but it requires forgiveness towards others and my being willing to move on. I can only change myself and my expectations and sometimes those can get out of hand. Project 2018 is as good a time as any to curb expectations and eliminate disappointment over things that just aren’t going to happen. When you feel good physically, it helps your mental outlook and vice versa.
Growing my business: working out will take time out of my schedule, but the upside is that I’ll feel better. The hour of sleep I miss in order to fit in that gym visit or run through the neighborhood will ensure I don’t take an hour away from time to work on my business. I can network more for my social media client list, stay up-to-date on the latest of social media education and news, write more blog posts, improve my photography or pitch more brands…and more. Feeling more positive and feeling better all around will only make this easier!
What’s on your list for 2018? Some of the same? No matter what you have on your list, there are things we can all do to improve 2018.
Laugh more. Life’s too short to take it all seriously. The husband and I were talking while taking a walk the other day and the topic of bad things came up. In a general sense, bad things were like life-changing things that were horrible to deal with. As a couple, we’ve had a lot of challenges, but bad things? I honestly had to think about it. That said a lot to me. What seems horrible at the time may just need a new perspective that can only happen after you’ve had a chance to absorb it and come up with a plan.
Enjoy people for who they are. One of my friends is fantastic at business advice, but not so great at personal advice. I appreciate her practical approach, removing my emotional hurdles, and I don’t expect her to be the one I talk to about every day problems. We don’t go to a hair stylist for a manicure, right? Don’t throw away the baby with the bath water and miss out on a good relationship just because you don’t share political views. Easier said than done but we can’t hide in our house all day, right?
Remember that you matter. Whether this applies to your physical health, your mental health or your time, it’s not selfish to put a stop to things that hurt you or to take time to do the things you need. Always giving to others is draining, and ignoring your needs will burn you out. Get physical activity, get your hair done or take an hour to wander the mall with a Starbucks in hand, even if you have to say no to something else. Being a martyr pretty much gets you nowhere.
Pursue a dream. What do you really want to do in life but have been putting off? Train for that marathon. Enroll in photography courses. Learn how to decorate cakes. Start that business. “Busy” is something you can change.
Turn off the news. Each morning, when I sit down to my desk with my coffee, I flip on the TV. I like to hear what’s going on in the world. Before long though, I’ve changed the channel to a food show or a movie that provides good background noise. The news anymore is just too much. I don’t need to watch more than five minutes to have an idea what political ridiculousness is happening or who else has been involved in sexual harassment. You can stay up to date by reading a few carefully-chosen websites.
Tackle the things that make you dread being home or going to work. Dislike your job? Start applying elsewhere. Is your house too cluttered? Pick one area a week and declutter it. I regularly clean out my closet, and while it’s still pretty full with its many categories — at-home wear, work wear, event wear, fancy stuff, summer duds, winter warmness — it all fits and I can find what I want….except my shoes. I spent a couple of hours early in December, literally going through every of the 150+ boxes of shoes. I threw away several pairs, donated some others and then re-organized every pair in a way that makes sense. Boots here, heels there, work heels there, etc. I still need to put some sort of label on the box ends so I can see each box’s contents at a glance, but it’s so much better than it was. One step at a time!
Your list items may be much more simple or more complicated, but whatever they are, make your Project 2018 doable. Make the end goal enjoyable. Take back your year before it gets away from you!