Think Positive Monday: Make Commitments, Not Resolutions

thinkpositivemonday

(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

Happy New Year! I too am suffering from holiday break hangover this morning. It was a festive, indulgent, and relaxing holiday vacation. Now, we are refreshed and looking at the blank slate that is the New Year with optimism and high hopes. 

Yes, New Years, the time of resolutions. We all make them, even if we don’t broadcast them out over social media or to our friends and family, I can’t help but believe we all make small decisions to improve ourselves and our lives.

Many sound the same: live a healthier lifestyle, save money, lose weight, sleep more, quit smoking, drink less. 

I personally have vowed to follow two resolutions:

1. Save More Money

2. Relax More (a hard endeavour for an overly anxious woman like myself)

But the problem with resolutions? By March most of them have gone out the window. We are overly optimistic these first few weeks, thinking we hold the ability to turn our lives around. Then our busy schedules, stress, and old habits start to come back.

Fact: We always have the ability to turn out lives around.

The real problem with New Year’s resolutions is the fact that they are all overly vague. They are broad, general, ideas. So, you say want to live a healthier lifestyle…have you selected your meal plan or your weekly gym routine? How will you hold yourself accountable?

Yes, I’m determined to save more money, but without a working budget, a list of things we are going to cut from said budget, and a way to keep myself on track, that determination is nothing more than an optimistic thought. I say I want to relax, but if I don’t have a plan for the entire year of how to stress less I will never make any changes.

This may sound obvious, but if it is so obvious, why do so many people fail on their New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s all about the commitment. The act of following through, which takes an action plan and dose of daily intention. 

I vow to not just make resolutions but to make commitments. In order to save money we are in the process of dropping our cable subscription and finding ways to cut back on our grocery budget. In order to relax more I’m going to commit to practicing meditation and yoga,  go to bed earlier, and teach my mind to learn that it’s okay to let things be. 

What commitments do you plan to make for the new year and what is your plan for following through on them?

 

 

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

what do you want to be when you grow up, what is your passion

How often do you question and wonder about what role you want to be playing in the future? The thought about who I will be and what I will be doing in 5, 10, 15, even 30 years down the roads passes through my mind nearly every day. It’s the beauty of being human; we are constantly changing, growing, and propelling forward.

When we were little, the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was thrown to us from everyone we met.  My answer was always changing but the answer was always defined by the same constant – as a child, I chose my career choice based on what made me happy:

When I was 6 my answer was an elementary school  teacher. I wanted to follow in my mom’s foot steps and I liked to boss people around. But in hind sight I also liked sharing my newly learned tools with people. I’d spend hours setting up a fake school room and teaching my imaginary students that week’s spelling words or mathematical time tables.

When I was 11 I wanted to be an actress. I loved the way movies and plays made me feel, the power that actresses had to tell stories, to evoke emotions, and how they seemed to ignite with life.

At 13 I wanted to be child psychologist because I wanted to help children that couldn’t vocalize their pain or confusion. I wanted to help kids overcome unhealthy or dangerous environments and understand their thought processes.

At 15 I wanted to be an anthropologist/historian – I loved learning and researching about history – especially the history of society and domestic life. I wanted to learn more about trends and why certain aspects of history happened and continue to repeat themselves. I wanted to compare past narratives to current narratives, to learn more about the human race and our connections to the past.

At 18 I wanted to be a fictional write. Poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, a playwrite. Anything. I wanted to examine people, analyze life, and write stories. I wanted to find common truths, common loves, common understandings of the meaning of life and communicate them  and connect with readers through words.

All of these fields were based on activities that I was deeply interested in and that made me happy. Yet, I never got paid to do any of those things. None of these jobs ever became my career. I don’t consider my current job my career. My job does not define who I am.  I believe my career is the life long pursuit of happiness.

So, when your career isn’t serving the purpose of fulfilling your passions you may feel a little disjointed. As you get older, your peers, elders, and family stop asking you what you want to do with your life. As an adult you are overcome with too many other daily questions and worries. Yet, the responsibility to ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?” now lies solely in your hands.

What is your passion? Don’t let it get lost in the mundane day-to-day responsibilities of life.  I recently received some great advice to examine your tears. Think about it. What makes you cry?

Reflect back on the past couple of years. What has never failed to make you cry tears of joy? (perhaps you’re not a crier like me, then think about what has made you laugh uncontrollably or get angry or mad?) Once you discover what that is, find a way to incorporate that into your every day life. Do a little piece of that each and every day.

Perhaps it will be a simple hobby or something you only think about a few minutes a day. Nurture it, believe in it. Perhaps it will grow into something greater. Pinpoint your passions and find a way to live them. You’re never too old.

So tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?

xoxo Katie

Use Your Voice (vlogging like a boss)

Well, I did it! I did my very first video vlog. I really wanted to take on this challenge because I like to think of this blog as a personal wine or coffee date with friends. I wanted to share my voice and for you to see more of the  “real life” me.

Like I imagined, it was terribly awkward talking to myself on my webcam and I sound VERY serious. I managed to only have one mind blank, so laugh your way through that one. YouTube will always get the last laugh and pick the worst screenshot possible to use. But, I did it, and it really wasn’t as bad as it seemed after I started talking.

I decided to vlog about the power of using our own personal voices. If you don’t show respect and confidence in yourself and your own thoughts, why would should anyone else? Check it out and then enter to win an inspirational bracelet below!

I wear my “Be The Change” bangle from The Shine Project: Threads to remind me that I am in control of my own story, that I hold the power to make the changes I want to see in my world. I love Threads (they help at risk youths attain their goals of going to college and establishing careers and being who they want to be!) so much that I decided to giveaway one of their “Be The Change” bangles to one of you!

Threads giveaway

Enter below and remember to tell me what YOU want to change in your personal life in your comment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

xoxo Katie

Stop Apologizing

icecream

How often this week have you found yourself apologizing for your behavior? How many times have you said the words “I’m sorry“? (and I”m not referring to when it was in response to bumping into someone, making a mistake at work or at home, or after a fight with a partner or friend).

I can count at least 16 times.

I apologized for not doing my hair. I apologized for not taking down my Christmas decorations yet. I apologized for wanting to get a fattening appetizer AND an entrée at dinner. I apologized for wanting to talk about something that I’m excited about for longer than 4 minutes. I apologized for wanting to go to bed super early. I apologized for wearing leggings. I apologized for needing to work on some writing on Sunday. I apologized for not being able to hang out with a friend because I had errands to run, laundry to do, and a house to clean. I apologized for having a green smoothie for dinner last night. And many more.

Why am I apologizing for actions that do not harm other people? Why am I apologizing for actions that I enjoy and that make me a happier and healthier woman?

By doing so I’m selling myself short. I’m downplaying my self-worth.

I’m telling the world to not take me seriously.

I’m telling the world that I’m not good enough.

We women live in a judgemental world. Believe me, I can be as judgemental as the rest. The reason for our female to female judgements is an entirely different blog post. But, I think we have a hard time validating our life choices and behaviours because we ourselves are so quick to judge others and in turn we believe others are judging us just as quickly and meanly.

I know I’m afraid of being un liked. But to what degree? To the point that I’m not being my true self? To the point that people will never have the chance to know me? To the point that I’m not giving my self and my life a fighting chance to succeed?

By saying, “I’m sorry, I know you’re tired of hearing about it, but I want to talk about how much I just want to start trying to have a baby again. Just a few minutes okay?” I’m telling my friend that yes, she shouldn’t care about my feelings. That I should be embarrassed to feel like this.

By saying, “Ugh, I know I look a mess today, I just didn’t feel like putting on anything other than leggings and Uggs” I’m telling other women that we should be expected to dress up and look fashionable every single day. That we cannot look beautiful otherwise.

By saying, “I’m sorry, but I have to leave a little early. I would like to write and read a little before going to bed” I’m telling my friends and family that my goals and needs aren’t that important.

When a coworker says, “You look nice today! I really like that dress on you!” and I reply, “Oh, this is what I wear when I’m bloated, it’s just really comfortable” I’m telling them that I don’t deserve a compliment.

I may not always be using the words, “I’m sorry” but I am apologizing for who I am.

It’s time to stop apologizing, to stop being afraid to express who we really are, to stand up for ourselves. 2014 is the year I vowed to respect myself. We deserve to respect ourselves enough, to know that we are enough.

I was inspired to write this blog post after reading this article,written by Brianna Wiest, that has been floating around social media last week. Wiest list 18 things women shouldn’t have to justify.

Below are my favorite 6 things from the article:

Putting themselves first. When Barbara Walters asked Michelle Obama if it were selfish that she openly makes herself her first priority she responded: “No, no, it’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”

How little or much they’re eating, especially if it’s “unhealthy.” You can eat a big lunch without having to say “I haven’t eaten anything all day” or have some delicious ass nachos without saying “I totally deserve this, I was so good this week, I’ll start the diet again tomorrow.” More importantly, you shouldn’t have to always be interrogated with “that’s all you’re having?” or “you’re going to eat all that?!”

 Not having baby fever. You aren’t more or less of a woman– or person– if having a child isn’t for you now or ever. You shouldn’t have to back it up with the reasons you’re not maternally inclined but will maybe consider it down the road because “who really knows– maybe someday!” when you do really know that you don’t want kids but don’t want to be glared at like a heartless monster.

Enjoying what would otherwise be called guilty pleasures because they’re “girly” things. They don’t have to be “guilty” pleasures, they can just be pleasures. You can enjoy getting your nails painted and wearing a skirt and re-watching 13 Going On 30 a thousand times without floundering in stereotypes.

Amount of makeup worn on any given day. If you want to rock it au naturale, you do that, you beautiful little thing, and if you want to work it like you’re in a drag show, you can do that too. Your face. Your rules.

Being upset about something that warrants an emotional response. You don’t have to apologize for feeling something or acting out on it if it’s real to you. The people who judge you for being a human being, and not being ultimately demure and emotionless and in your place, are the ones who need to apologize.

 It’s time to stop apologizing for who you are.

So what if I like wearing leggings as pants (Blair Waldorf isn’t going to come and chastise me and ban me from NYC). So what if I could watch teen dramas all day every day, they make me feel all the feelings and that makes me happy. So what if some days I eat super clean while the next I want to eat a giant plate of nachos and that’s it? It’s my body and I’ll face the consequences.

It’s time to own up to your actions and stand confidently in front of your choices and the things that make you happy. Don’t put off your happiness because you are afraid.

Respect your choices and they will respect you in return. Happiness and freedom will follow.

Will you join me?

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

I got to have a little RESPECT

respect 2014 goals

The first few days of 2014 have been full of celebrating with many toasts, kisses, inspiration, and laughter. A great deal of ideas and hopes and promises for the upcoming year were thrown around. And now, I’m back at work and 2014 has me feeling a bit overwhelmed. Looking at this year ahead is filling me with anxiety. What if I can’t hold on to my promises? What if my hopes are simply too big? How do I get started? I feel like there is too much other “stuff” in the way, blocking me from all that I want to accomplish in 2014. What if I fail?

As I mentioned earlier this week, I don’t really do New Years Resolutions. I’d much rather have hopes. The word “goals” scares me a bit as it makes me figuratively run straight to those hills called “procrastination”. All over blogland, bloggers are choosing a single word for 2014. Their “mantra” for the upcoming year. I’ve decided to follow in those footsteps and after much thought I’ve chosen the word RESPECT. (feel free to sing it out like Aretha Franklin, I did!)

2014 is my year to respect my hopes and inspirations.

I tend to get lazy. I easily fall back on old habits. Or worse, I find myself putting others wants and needs before my own, letting my dreams settle like ignored dust bunnies under my desk. Today I chose to respect my hopes enough to put them first.

I vow to respect myself enough to know that I deserve all of my individual hopes and dreams. That I am good enough to obtain them and live them out.

I want to build confidence in myself, my work, and my, dare I say it, goal completion. I want to challenge myself in 2014 and give myself enough respect to know that I am stronger than I think.

Respect for my mind:

I hope to challenge my writing and this little blog and take it to new places.

I hope to get back to reading more often and a larger variety of literature.

I hope to take on new opportunities and to say “yes” more often.

Respect for my body: I hope to respect that my body and all of its flaw.I hope to stop being ashamed of those flaws.  I hope to take better care of it and give it love.

Body, it’s time for you and me to be friends. We have many years ahead together, and we can do so much.

Respect for my soul – I hope to nourish myself more. Leave more time for “me” as well as for the little family that is Ryan and I.

I hope to have more patience with myself and with Ryan.

I hope to be less afraid. To not back away from goals that seem too big or too long to obtain. Even things that seem so obtainable like saving more and spending less.

I hope to stop comparing myself and my life to others.

I hope to remember that I deserve to have my own hopes – and that they are okay even if they are different from others.

I hope to embrace my individuality.

I want to push open every window in my home and let in all the possibilities. Yes, some days it may rain. Some days it may be so cold that I just want to curl up in bed and forget everything else. But avoidance as not taken me where I want to be in life. I will get back up and attack the fears. I will leave the windows open. I will listen to and respect my hopes.I will respect my choices and go after my dreams.

I want to soak up so much of my life that its beauty radiates from me. I want to be full of beauty.

xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

Close Your Eyes

positive_future_quotes

Take a moment and try something with me. And I promise, only a moment, this excercise should take you all of 1 minute.

Take a big breath, exhale, and close your eyes. Now, picture your future. Remember only take  a minute or less. What do you see? What is the first thing that comes to your mind?

December flew by in a whirlwind of pine and peppermint scented flashes. It was one of my best Christmas seasons to date and I tried to lick up and savor every little moment. In fact, this whole year has been pretty spectacular.  On Friday, I posted about my top 5 memories. Yet, I’m finding myself in an all to familiar state of mind on this second to last day of 2013.

Where have I been and where am I going?

This week between Christmas and New Years provides amble time for reflection. Honestly, I’ve been pretty down these past few days. Call me out for being a baby, but I’m so sad December is over. You see, all of the anticipation, joy, and love that surrounds Christmas fills me with hope. Hope that the future is bright. Hope in the power of love. Even when I would be feeling knocked down at work, or when I would feel the stress of bills and money being tight, the thought of going home to my tree or looking forward to a family tradition or gathering would get me through the day.

I wallowed a bit more than I’d like to admit this weekend. With the magic of December fading away, I felt like we were getting stuck back in the daily grind. Ryan going back to his night-time law school classes (1.5 more years sounds both short and long), saving money, and getting through the stressful days. But like most good wallowing it allowed me to reflect and look ahead to the New Year.

Ah yes, that time when we all make grand New Years Resolutions. Well, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They are empty promises. I think going to the gym on January 2 and then going again on February 2 will prove my point.

Instead, I like to keep things simple.  And by simple, I mean breaking down your life into what makes you happy and what makes you unhappy. Why not choose happy?

home ryan and katie

The question, “What are your plans for the future?” has the tendency to make my heart rate go up and my palms sweat. We are trained to look at our life in 5 year increments. Our future looks like a tall ladder with rungs marked with stages like “Graduate”, “Find your perfect career” “Get married” “Buy a house” “Kids” “Retire”. Really, none of us has a clue. You can’t plan out this life.

What you can do is have hopes. I choose to hold on to my hopes as I navigate through this messy life. My hopes are what make me happy, what get me through the day.

This is what I seen when I close my eyes and think of the future:

Ryan, myself, a dog, and an undisclosed amount of children (sometimes it’s 2 sometimes it’s 3) lying in a big bed with the fluffiest white pillows and softest white sheets you’ve ever seen. My vision is in black and white and we are surrounded by photos of family and dear friends.

That’s it.

Everything that is important to me is in and surrounding that bed. Plain and Simple.

Who knows when that image will become my reality. This year?  The next? Five years from now? Nevertheless, that is my hope for the future, that is what makes me happy. That image will replace my beloved Christmas tree, music, traditions. I choose to carry the joy and hope that Christmas brings with me through the year. What I see when I close my eyes will be my beacon – my north star guiding me to stay on track to my future. Why put off happiness?

Because, it’s time to face the music. Today IS yesterday’s future and I’m ready to choose happy, no matter what.

xoxo katie

 

 

 

Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m a Recovering People Pleaser

Katie, I am enough

Disclaimer: This post was a little awkward for me to write, and I’m nervous for you to read it.

You see, I’m a people pleaser. I’m always concerned about making other people happy.  I’m alway worrying about doing the right thing. I’m always comparing myself to others, making sure expectations are met. I’m always worried that if I say no to someone, I’ll be a disappointment. I do whatever I can do to avoid conflict and to make sure everyone around me is happy.

I’ve stayed in failed relationships way too long. I’ve taken on extra responsibilities at work even though my plate was already too full. I’ve made social commitments when I was emotionally drained. Saying “yes” has become a habit. I’m looked at as the nice one, the sweet one, the one who will do anything for us. But, where do I fit into this picture? It usually ends up with me being unheard and taken advantage of. Often, people never even know my needs, because I never make them matter enough to be heard or valued.

I was scared to write this, because I don’t want to be conceived as whiny or negative. I was always like this. I remember writing a diary as a young girl (one of those really cool ones with a lock and a key!) and thinking “oh, I shouldn’t write that, what would my mom think when she reads this if I die?” That seems very morbid and narcissistic for a young girl doesn’t? In my early twenties, I’d get so stressed that I made myself sick and or wouldn’t eat. My high stress job and relationship were ruining me. Even after a gall bladder surgery, I was still suffering from chronic heartburn, stomach pains, and anxiety. It’s gotten better over the years, but I still have my sick moments a couple of times a month.

Lately, I’ve been trying to break this habit – to recover from my people pleasing ways. What caused me to start writing this rambling blog post? In addition to my position at a consulting company, I’m a freelancer for non-profits. I honestly love working for non-profits because I like to do work that is bringing change, which means something. However, the money is never there. Last week, I received a call that my biggest client can no longer afford to pay my salary. I was crushed. I had invested a lot into this organization – not just my time and work, but emotionally. Yes, I was getting paid, but I also did a lot of work for free. Whenever anything was asked of me I’d say yes. Even if it stressed me out to the point that I had chronic heartburn and stomach pains and I’d be up past 1 am working, I did it because I cared and because I was “such a nice person”.

I didn’t want to let this company down. I wanted to impress them too. And now, they wanted me to continue “helping” them, but strictly volunteer. I’d lost about 30% of my net income. It was a big loss. Ryan’s in law school – money is tight. I would need to find another source of income. And yet, I considered saying I’d do the work for free. Or, I’d be on call if they’d need me in a bind.

I knew how this would turn out; I’d basically be doing all the same work but getting no income. When I mentioned this, I was reminded that everyone else in the organization was not getting paid. That they simply cared about the cause. That hurt so much. I would love to have the luxury to volunteer my time for organizations I care about. I want my work to mean something.  But right now, my time is my money. And I feel like they know that. They’re all in a different, ahem, tax bracket than myself. But I know when I’m being swindled. They know I always say yes and they’re taking advantage. It hurts and I’m going to put my foot down. For the first time, I need to put myself first. (Even simply writing that sentence makes me feel SO selfish.)

I am enough. There, I said it. My thoughts, my values, my life choices are enough. I’m not going to bend myself to please others than those that please me in return. I am enough. I need to focus on what makes me happy. This blog has been wonderful; it’s been a great tool for me to re-connect with who I am. It’s been a way for me to break free of the professional persona I’ve had to put on and show my true self.

I’m going to listen to my heart and my bones and do what is healthy for myself. I’ve started this week with my desire to de-clutter my home and simplify my life. I’ve been going to bed earlier, reading more each night, and staying off my phone. I’ve noticed changes. In the past I have worried that my other job is not “enough”. I compare myself to others with fast moving careers and think I am a disappointment to myself. Fact is, I love the consulting company I work for. Like any other job, it has its up and downs, but I’m fascinated by the creative work that we do and the people we meet. It’s low stress and healthy for me. It is enough. I love that I’m not so stressed out at the end of the day that I have zero energy left for any other projects (like some other work mentioned above). I have energy to do the things I love, work out, read, write, support Ryan and make our home a nice place – these are all things that make me happy. I am choosing to love my life. I am enough.

xoxo katie