Often, when a new year is about to begin, we see and hear people talking about “New Year, New Me!” And just as often, we make the same resolutions that we did the previous year(s). Then around now, at the end of the year, we beat ourselves up for not achieving everything that we thought we would. And a lot of times we overlook all the GOOD things that happened and all that we DID achieve…only focusing on the bad, the unfinished, the negative. Thankfully I came across an article shared by another fierce female in my life (I try to surround myself with as many of those as possible, honestly) and it really spoke to me! It encouraged the reader to end the year intentionally with 10 questions to reflect and review the year that was ending before focusing on the year ahead. So I thought what better way to restart my blogging by sharing my responses and remember all of the amazing bits of 2019?! 😀 (continued below my little picture montage haha)
- What makes this year unforgettable?
I think it would have to be taking my mom on her first cruise. To be able to give her that experience and spend that much uninterrupted time together was so special and memorable for me. I feel like we got to know more about each other as people rather than just mother & daughter, and I value every second I get to spend with her. We laughed, we cried, we got sunburnt…so many awesome memories were made and I’m so thankful to Beachbody for giving me the opportunity to spoil her and make up for some lost time when I was finding myself.
- What did you enjoy doing this year?
My word for 2019 was “PRESENT.” I wanted to “live in the now” (name that movie, quick!) and be more focused and involved. I aimed to spend more time doing things I loved to do and spending more time with people I care about. I’m pretty sure this question means to only talk about one thing that brought me joy this year, but I enjoyed so so so much because of my focus! So here are some highlights 😀
~I made as many trips home as possible to spend time with my parents, and was even able to join them for the entire week of Spring Break in Florida.
~I made an effort to attend some BMX races to support my nephew, which also included spending time with my sister who I only see a few times a year.
~I was able to attend my 20th high school reunion, a recurring family reunion that I haven’t ever been able to attend in the past, AND a get-together with college buddies that I only get to see once every 1-2 years.
~I was given the opportunity to attend the American Library Association conference where I got to hear many amazing authors speak about their craft as well as attend a session with Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I even got to meet R.L. Stine which made my 11-year-old self squeal with excitement (and yes, I did tell him he was my “gateway drug” to Anne Rice & Stephen King haha).
- What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?
My husband, Ricky, for sure. He supports me and loves me no matter what crazy ideas I have, how many trips I take without him, or how often I poke the bear. To have someone that pushes me to do/be better and helps me to look beyond my shortcomings and focus on my successes…it makes a huge difference. He may not join me running, participate in any of the workout programs I do, or focus on the same physical and emotional goals that I do, but he supports me in every one of my endeavors. He makes most of our meals (he really enjoys it, I promise haha), understands when I have to get my workout in before we leave, and often shouts “go baby go” when I’m struggling. He’s my biggest cheerleader and I’m extremely lucky to have him!!
- What’s your biggest win this year?
Again, I can’t name just one! I actually had quite a few accomplishments I’m very proud of this year. Again, highlights…
~I was able to color in 5 more states on my 50 State Challenge medal board (TX, RI, KY, MA, ME) and visited 7 new states altogether (+NH & WY)!
~I completed 10 races this year, including two 10 milers, two half marathons, and my 8th annual Monument Ave 10k!
~I achieved the rank of 1 Star Diamond with Beachbody and am in the top 2500 coaches out of 450,000. I was given the opportunity to walk across the stage at Summit in Indianapolis in July. I also earned entry to the New Leader Conference in Los Angeles in Feburary 2020, which includes a tour of Beachbody HQ and two nights in a pretty swanky hotel 😛
~I completed SEVEN different Beachbody programs from start to finish (Transform: 20, 21 Day Fix Extreme, 21 Day Fix Real Time, 21 Day Fix Extreme Real Time, Morning Meltdown 100, Shaun Week, 6 Weeks of the Work) AND ran groups supporting others doing the same!
But I think a bigger win, more than all of these more tangible successes (most of which came with medals or titles haha), was staying positive when negativity is constantly trying to surround me. I have worked really hard to be a positive light for those that don’t have one and it really helps to shift my mindset. I changed my previous mentality of “Remember your WHY” to “Find your Fight.” We’ve all got that inner badass…I just tend to use mine to push me forward in everything I do, whether I fully succeed or just make progress!
- What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?
For those of you that know me even a little bit, you know that music and literature are seriously my thing. HUGE parts of my life for as long as I can remember, and very impactful in everything I do! I often refer to song lyrics or quotes from books to apply to different situations (sorry for those of you that I gave “ear-worms” when I get something stuck in my head!).
I got to attend SIXTEEN concerts this year thanks to the Lawn Pass, which included many that I wouldn’t have made the effort to attend separately but were very very good! PLUS we got to attend another 3-day music festival to hear so many of my favorite bands (including across-state travel in an RV…quite the experience!).
I also made time to read or listen to 61 books this year, including finishing the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge with advanced prompts! Many of those books were YA literature that I can talk about with my students and, by sharing what I was reading or just finished on a sign behind our circulation desk, was able to spark lots of conversations and make more connections!
- What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?
The thing I worried about most this year was getting everything done that I want to get done before we become parents. Everyone says you’re never ready for parenthood…that you can’t make things perfect or plan everything out ahead of time. But this has been the biggest struggle for me since I definitely do not fly by the seat of my pants. I always strive to be prepared and anticipate anything bad or unplanned that can happen, but I definitely had to make myself realize that whatever is going to happen will happen whether I’m ready or not. I tried to accomplish as many of my physical, emotional, and financial goals as possible this year, so that it lessens my disappointment of things that can’t happen or will be harder to make happen if/when we get pregnant and become parents. I know things will change when we have a baby…but I didn’t want to have to give up everything I love or enjoy just because I plan on becoming a mom. I enjoy my lifestyle and hope it can continue with a baby in it! It’s been a very big shift for me and I’m definitely a work in progress! The jury is still out on how this one turned out because we have only started trying, but stay tuned for updates haha 😛
- What was your biggest regret and why?
I will be the first to admit that I’m not perfect and make plenty of mistakes, but I try really hard to live a lifestyle that doesn’t allow for much regret. I have definitely held an “everything happens for a reason” belief for as long as I can remember and I think it really helps me to gain an understanding for all that happens, good or bad.
Actually, I know one place I feel I really failed was getting things organized in our house since we’ve been here 3 years and there’s still unpacked boxes haha. But I think there are lots of you out there that can relate!!! Let’s make that a 2020 resolution 😛
- What’s one thing that changed about yourself?
Six years ago I really overhauled my lifestyle in regards to fitness and nutrition, but didn’t really focus on other things that could affect me or those around me. In January I started making a better effort to lessen my melasma by using sunscreen on my face every day and wearing a visor when I run (whether it’s sunny or not). I switched to using natural deodorant in August and, interestingly enough, find that I don’t sweat as much as I did with the clinical stuff or need to reapply as often (without being the smelly kid in class woot!). And we continue to try to use less single-serve items to reduce waste, buying more in bulk and now making our own protein snack packs.
- What surprised you the most this year?
Honestly, living more of a “YOLO” lifestyle. This surprised me the most because it doesn’t really align well with what I worried about the most that I mentioned earlier!! When Ricky and I first started talking about starting a family, I told him I wouldn’t really be comfortable until I was more physically, emotionally, AND financially ready. When we first moved in together and even the first year or so of marriage, we lived paycheck to paycheck. There were plenty of times we appreciated his employee discount at Domino’s for cheap pizza, chicken kickers, and lava cakes (hence why I went from 175 to 225+ in a few short years). My parents taught me how to save and when it was appropriate to spend, but in the past there were plenty of opportunities I passed up or things I didn’t indulge in (not because I didn’t want to, but because I couldn’t afford it).
So this year I always had the “babies are expensive” thought in the back of my mind whenever another opportunity or indulgence came up. But thankfully, I’m blessed to be in a much more comfortable place financially because of switching school districts 6 years ago and supplementing my income with my work as a Coach. As I mentioned earlier, I was able to travel to 5 different states for races, which often included airfare and hotel stays, plus meals, other transportation, and the race entry itself! I was able to have my mom join me on an all-inclusive cruise to the Bahamas and Haiti. We took TWO overnight trips to Snowshoe this year, taking advantage of our season passes, and I got a brand new ski/boot/pole set-up since I had been using my last setup for 8 years! We traded in our Rogue for a brand new, fully loaded, Honda Pilot because we wanted to have something bigger and more high-tech (that can also double as a mom-mobile for the future haha). We were able to spend FOUR days at Disney with a group of friends who have become like family, riding every single ride I had on my to-ride list (sometimes 3x even!) and having the best first-timer experience that I could have ever hoped for (pretty sure my cheeks hurt the entire time since I was smiling so much haha). And finally, making a weeklong trip to Jackson, Wyoming happen…which included two amazing days at Jackson Hole Ski Resort, a day of dogsledding through the National Forest, and a day of snowmobiling through Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.
I don’t mention these things to brag or make you think I’m better than you. I mention them because these things couldn’t have happened if I didn’t shift my mindset and priorities, plus make room in my budget. I could easily have said NO to one, two, or ALL of them…but then I would have missed out on amazing experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. Beyond the ski setup and car, I aimed to spend more on EXPERIENCES, not THINGS…and we already talked about continuing this mentality after a kid. Some of the best memories I have with my family are meeting up for Easter/Spring Break in Minnesota or Las Vegas, or geting a rental house in OBX, Myrtle Beach, or Florida. Though I appreciated every gift I was given, I valued this time together more than any tangible item I can ever remember.
So, long story short (too late, I know)…be open to surprising yourself and LIVE IN THE NOW!! We only live once and we can’t take shit with us when we die. Boom. *mic drop*
- If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?
Well, for starters…I would remind myself not to try and set up the laminator table in the Library workroom by myself. I would still have a perfectly shaped toenail on my left big toe rather than ripping it off and not able to work out for a week. But you live, you learn…right?!
But beyond that, something I suggest to both my past AND future self (and YOU, dear reader) is to live life with PURPOSE (which just so happens to be my word for 2020!). Do things that your future self will thank you for, and that your past self would be proud of. Don’t focus on your failures, but the progress you make along the way to your eventual successes. Dream Big. Smile More. Worry Less. And above all, Take Care of You.
Coach Cat <3