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For as long as I can remember, I would make New Year’s resolution and promise myself that I would stick to my resolution and become a new Shirley as soon as possible. In other words, I was on the “new year, new me” bandwagon. However, I never stuck to any of my resolutions and would repeatedly disappoint myself every December 31st, because I knew deep down that whatever it was that I was promising myself I would change probably was not going to happen.
But, this year was different. Why? Because my mindset was different. Instead of preparing myself to disappoint myself, I took time to sit down at my desk, reflect, and think about who I am, what I want to change, what I am capable of doing, where I want to be by the end of 2019. I literally wrote down questions in my notebook and answered them, allowing myself to know what I wanted for myself.
If you are like me, then I highly suggest downloading and printing out the questions and answer them honestly in your notebook/journal. I find that when I write things down, I am more prone to follow through. That is why I have so many journals, notebooks, and planners. But, that’s a different story for a different time (stay tuned, lol 😉).
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again” | f. scott fitzgerald
Oh, how I love F. Scott Fitzgerald. He so eloquently says such powerful things and I just love his writings. I love his poem, For What It’s Worth, because I think it beautifully reiterates the notion that we are in control of our lives and our happiness and that at any time, we can change our circumstances and be all of what we want to be. That said, I just had to accept that I was the one with the power. I had to accept that I was the only one that could change my life and make myself happy. It was me and only me and I guess it took me until recently to be mature and mentally strong enough to be ok with that.
I was finally done looking back at old pics of myself and wishing I had my tiny frame back, but opting to do nothing about it. I was finally done letting my room become so disorganized when I am naturally a very organized and disciplined person. I was finally done letting the opinions of others hurt me I was finally done not pursuing all of what I have always wanted to pursue. I was finally done apologizing for who and what I am. I was finally done setting myself on fire to keep others warm.
Simply put, I was finally done being unhappy!
Putting my foot down and saying, “Enough is enough,” was such a liberating and powerful feeling. Taking my power back and allowing myself to be in control of my life felt amazing. And once I came to the realization finally wanted to be happy and live my life for me, I chose to make the following nineteen changes —
1. meditate daily
Yep, that’s right! Prior to 2019, I studied the power of meditation and was unable to find even one negative side effect/outcome of daily meditation and reflection. And being an anxious person already, I knew that if I made meditating on a daily basis a priority, I would end up being a better version of myself. That is why I decided to take this really seriously and I even went as far as to make my own personal altar/sacred space in my bedroom! I definitely recommend reading that post, because I go into detail about its benefits, why I made one, how you can make one, and what mine looks like!
2. work out (way) more
This was one of the very first things I wrote down in my journal when I was making a list of all of the things I wanted to change and/or do in 2019 (and for years to come, honestly). I have always been in shape and I have always eaten healthy. However, it’s no secret that I didn’t prioritize daily/weekly exercise. I would always put it off and then look in the mirror and belittle myself because I wasn’t 130lbs like I used to be. And like I said, I am healthy, so not being 130lbs anymore isn’t really that big of a deal. What the issue was is that I allowed myself to look in the mirror and say and think such horrible things to and about myself. I did this because it was my way of making myself feel better for not taking the initiative to work out. But, I changed that! In fact, I made a post on here a while back about how setting a strict schedule helped improve my life and my happiness immensely! After reading this post, go check it out here.
3. start volunteering routinely again
I have always volunteered. Growing up, my parents instilled in us the importance of helping those around us, especially those who have less than we do. Honestly, it’s something I’m really grateful to have been taught because it is something I will have my children do, too. Anyways, I volunteered regularly for as long as I could remember. And then once I got to college, I started having less time to volunteer and I also made the excuse that since I was in a different city, I didn’t know where I could volunteer, so therefore I don’t need to. I’m rolling my eyes at myself as I typed that last sentence so I don’t blame you if you did, too! But, now that I decided to go to college locally and not only that but make sure to do the things that are important to me, I decided that volunteering on a regular and monthly basis needed to go back to being a priority! And luckily it has.
Also feel free to contact me, because I can tell you some great places that I highly recommend volunteering at! There are tons of places to volunteer at in St. Louis, so it’s definitely something I think everybody should do monthly — it’s very rewarding.
4. stop saying sorry for things that have nothing to do with me
Apologizing for wrongdoings is important in any and all relationships. However, saying sorry for the things that are not in my control (or my fault) is a toxic and negative habit to get into. And when I say “for the things that are not in m control (or my fault),” I am simply referring to people-pleasing. I briefly talked about it on my ‘About Me’ page and went further into detail in my recent post about how I got bullied and left out because I “talk/dress/act white,” but a lot of my people-pleasing tendencies started in high school, as a way for me to try and fit in and make people like me. But, as I got older, I realized that not only was it impossible to make people like me, but that it’s also emotionally draining and exhausting, as well as counterproductive. Unfortunately, habits are not as easy to stop as they are to form. That said, I put it off for a lot longer than I should have. In fact, I put it off until a few months ago. But, anything is possible, right? Right. So, once again, I sat down and I wrote down all of the things I loved and liked about myself, my morals, my values, things I supported and believed in, personality traits of mine, and all of the things that made me love being alive and happy. In doing this, I was able to see all of what made me, me. And most importantly, I was able to see that because I loved these things about me, I was never going to apologize for them.
5. start and finish a new book each month
Growing up, I was constantly reading new books. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more responsible resulting in less time, so reading, much less reading all of the time, became a rarity. And honestly, I missed it. So, I promised myself that I was going to make reading a priority again and that I would make time for myself to read so that I could read a new book every month. So far, I have read Michelle Obama’s Becoming, Sarah Knight’s Get Your Sh*t Together, and Peter Swanson’s Before She Knew Him. I highly recommend reading all three of those books!
6. work towards becoming a vegetarian by 2020
This one is a bit easier for me, surprisingly, because I have never been a big meat eater. In fact, I really only eat grilled and baked chicken and the occasional cheeseburger; no bacon, ribs, pork chops, ham, steak, wings, etc. And being the animal lover that I am, I figured that if I can go as far as to only use products that are organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, then I can take it a step further and apply this to my eating habits, as well.
To do this, I am cutting meat out of my diet, which is not hard considering I’m not a huge meat-eater, slowly but Shirley 😉😅😜 (I laughed, which is interesting because I usually hate my name’s puns). I have also been using my Pinterest and other vegetarian forums and websites to find and try out awesome recipes.
7. create and follow a daily schedule
I would go into detail about all of this, but I already did in my recent post about scheduling, which I totally recommend reading. However, I will say that if it wasn’t for my awesome schedule, I doubt I would have been able to prioritize, let alone schedule, anything that I wanted to do! But, as I said, go check out my post on the importance of making and maintaining a schedule once you’re finished reading this post to find out what my everyday schedule looks like and WHY I decided that I needed a schedule.
8. stop wearing leggings, swetpants, and yoga pants all of the time
To Lululemon, Athleta, and Fabletics — I love you dearly. However, we need to take a break. It’s honestly not you, it’s me. I guess I just came to the realization that I have closets (yes, plural *looks ashamed, but oh well*) full of nice clothes that I haven’t even worn because I spend all of my days wearing your products. And I’m not complaining, because I support my Lululemon addiction. However, I want to be able to wear clothes that fit my style, which is classy, professional, and chic.
That is what I would say to them because it is true! And it all started in college when I would just roll out of bed, brush my teeth, throw my hair up into a ponytail or whatever the heck that knotted ball of hair on my head is called, threw on some Lululemon leggings, a tee, and either my running shoes or my Uggs and quickly walked to class. I had no cares in the world as to what I looked like. Well, I did for like the first week or so of classes and then I realized that I have nobody to impress and that class is for learning, not for fashion shows. However, though that point is valid, I still should have continued to put effort into my appearance. And because I went to a private preschool and grade school and then an all-girls private high school, I had worn uniforms all of my life, so on dress down days, I did my hair and makeup and looked cute. And then college came and I got lazy in what I wore. But, I wanted that to change asap. Which is why I recently made it a top priority task to…
9. clean out my whole entire closet
Yep. I spent hours and hours going through every single article of clothing, every type of shoe, and every accessory I owned and decided whether or not I actually wanted it and if I didn’t, I either gave it away or sold it! And I would go into more detail on this whole thing, but, guess what? I have a super in-depth post about my wardrobe cull coming soon, so please stay tuned! You will not regret the wait, I promise! 😘 😎
10. opt to give things away vs. sell things
Through cleaning out my whole entire wardrobe, I quickly found that I had a lot more clothes in my ‘sell/give away’ pile than I did in my ‘keep’ pile. And while that’s good, because it showed that I actually went through my closet versus keeping 98% of it and giving away only a few shirts that needed to be trashed anyway. However, once it came time for me to go through the ‘sell’ pile, I thought to myself, “Do I really need or even want money for this?” And while I may have maybe wanted the money, I knew I didn’t really need it. I am all for giving back and helping others out. That said, I chose to donate most of it. And honestly, I am glad I did because it makes me happy knowing that someone who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a good portion of the clothes on my closet, can easily have access to trendy and quality items at little-to-no cost!
11. fill my closet only with things that match my style
I have a whole post (well, maybe even a post series…) dedicated to this coming soon, so you’ll just have to wait! 😘 😘 😘 😘
12. eat three healthy meals a day
So, I’m a workaholic. I put my all into the work that I do and I’m glad I do because I know it’s always good quality. However, I quickly came to find that I was prioritizing my blog (and other business venture) more than I was prioritizing my health. I was eating maybe one meal a day and drinking coffee to keep me energized since the lack of proper meals was having me feeling lethargic. I knew I couldn’t continue not eating 3 meals a day, so I started meal prepping and it’s been great! I also made sure to incorporate meals that require me to use my super cute pink whisks that I got on Amazon recently.
13. redo my room (and keep it clean at all times)
WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK TO SEE WHAT I DID TO MY ROOM! I did a complete 180 in terms of changing not only the look of my room, but the vibe! Yes, the vibe. I will show you how changing the color of my room improved my sleep and most importantly: my mood!
Click here to read the post and see how adorable my room turned out!
14. try out a new resturant each month
What better way to get to know who you are than to decide what you do and do not like to eat? I became super sheltered and picky over the last few years. So, to force myself out of my comfort zone, I decided that I was going to try a new restaurant each month. So far I have zero complaints, which is good!
15. get a mani and pedi on a regular basis
I used to get my nails done every week. But, just like how I stopped dressing up and wearing stylish clothes like I used to, I also, unfortunately, stopped getting my nails done, too. But, I knew that I needed to make me, myself, and I, the main focus of everything, so I made sure to make pampering myself a top priority. Because who doesn’t love getting their nails and toenails all clean and prettied up? I love it. I missed it. So, I am super glad to have made sure that I made time to treat myself on a regular basis so that I can get back into the habit of treating myself right and looking good (and feeling good)!
16. thrift more
So, I have expensive taste. But, I also have “basic” taste. I’m really into the vintage look, so I wear a ton of sweaters. So one day I decided to go to a local thrift store and ended up walking out with like 10 sweaters that matched my style perfectly. I was so happy! Since then, when I know I want a new sweater or cardigan, I make sure to check out the thrift stores around me, because they always have vintage-esque items that I absolutely adore!
17. stop being such a shopaholic
Let’s just say that this is a work in progress… 😬😳
18. document + journal about experiences and memories more
I am a lover of pictures and taking pictures, because I love the idea that a simple photo can bring back so many positive thoughts, feelings, and memories. With that being said, I wanted to make it a priority to spend more time journaling and documenting the good times, so that I could always go back and remember the awesome experiences and events that shaped me and brought me lots of happiness. In fact, I promised myself that from here on out, at the end of every year, I would compile all of the pictures I took along with little journal snippets of the things that happened that year and have a photo album made! I absolutely love Artifact Uprising and my jaw dropped when I saw how cute and classy (not to mention pink 😍) their photo albums are. I cannot wait!
19. be the best version of myself possible
This is the most important one! I can honestly say that I am without a doubt the happiest I have been in years! It really feels amazing when you prioritize yourself and put your wants and needs first. I feel so at peace with who I am and all of the decisions I’ve mad. But, this is a journey. A lifelong journey, at that. So, as any journey goes, there are ups and downs. But, I welcome the ups just as much as the downs, because I have learned to love and trust this journey of mine!
With that, I thank you all for reading. Your love and support mean the world to me. Love to you all!