New Year Reflection & Intentions

I'm settled back into my apartment and finally have the time to sit down and put all this past week's New Years reflections and thoughts into words. 2016 was a rollercoaster of a year. There were ups and downs and curves and I'm truly grateful for all of them (even the very worst ones). In 2016 I tackled my anxiety, and even though it'll never completely go away, I took so many necessary and helpful steps to combat it and make life so much better.

In 2016 I suffered the worst of and overcame unhealthy issues with food and a habit to over-exercise, coming out stronger, both mentally and physically, after a very restorative summer.

In 2016 I finally learned to say "no," helping me be able to focus on the most important things in life rather than accepting every opportunity that came my way.

In 2016 I truly became confident in who I am and stopped caring what others think of me.

In 2016 I ran my 3rd half marathon with my dad and I will never ever forget what an amazing feeling it was crossing the finish line with him.

In 2016 I finished two more semesters of college with a 4.0, and although I had to work my a** off, it was so worth it.

In 2016 I experienced heartbreak in many different ways, but I learned so much from each time that it broke a little more.

In 2016 I got my first tattoo that represents how far I've come in my faith and reminds me each day to trust in God's plan.

In 2016 I grew so much closer in so many meaningful friendships, as I finally learned to let toxic people go. I reconnected with an old friend and she's been my rock this year, I got to live with my two best friends at school, I got my little... the list goes on and on.

Overall, 2016 was crazy and I'm not going to pretend it was an easy year. There were so many internal battles I had to overcome and there were so many tough days, but honestly when I look back at 2016 I can't help but see all of the amazing things that came out of it all. There was so much happiness, joy, accomplishments and growth moments that that's what I've decided to focus on as I reflect on 2016. Seeing the good is a choice and it's the choice that I've made. :)

I love this time of year because I'm a very goal-oriented person. I love making goals and working on personal growth, so New Years is totally my jam (throwback to last year's New Years post about how I don't like New Year's resolutions LOL... Some of that is still very true, but my thoughts have definitely changed on this topic).

I believe more in setting intentions rather than setting resolutions. Intentions focus on a way of being in order to reach a goal from a variety of different ways, while resolutions are a lot more rigid and if a specific action plan isn't put in place, are usually abandoned pretty quickly.

This year I'm focusing on 4 main intentions. Some are more quantifiable and easily measured, and some are more abstract and will take daily checkins and reflections to make sure I'm sticking to them. I think it's important to have a mixture of both types of goals- the ones you can actually check off of a to-do list each day, and others that take more mental strength to reach.

  1. Redefine my morning routine: I've always had a pretty structured morning routine which was a goal of mine a couple of years ago and I absolutely love it. I wake up at 5, drink a glass of water, have a shot of ACV and water, take my vitamins, make coffee, eat a banana and then workout. The only issue with this routine is I check my phone A TON during that hour I have before my workout while I sip my coffee and eat my snack. My goal this year is instead to do a short yoga flow as soon as I get up before my normal routine and before checking my phone. This will help me check in with my emotions and reflect before the day gets started. So far it's been going SO well and has been starting my day much more positively. Due to the nature of my passion for blogging I'm on my phone a lot, taking photos, posting photos, engaging with my readers, etc. but it doesn't have to start as soon as I pop my eyes open. :)

  2. Stick with meal planning and meal prepping: I was super good at the beginning of this school year with planning my week's meals before grocery shopping on the weekend, but I stopped doing it for no apparent reason. Without a plan I started being way less creative and eating random (healthy, but random) meals for dinner, which doesn't always sit well in my stomach. As of this past weekend I'm back on the meal plan/prep game and I'm LOVING it. It helps me switch up my meals so I don't eat the same things over and over and helps me save money at the store because I only buy what I know I need for dinners (instead of getting what I think I could maybe need for a dinner... maybe ;) ). My meals are also so much more balanced which is easier on my sensitive stomach and keeps me more satisfied. As for meal prepping- even if it takes up a couple of hours on Sunday it's such a time saver during the week. This is going to help me feel so much calmer and collected during the busy semester. (The beaches in Hawaii were the perfect place to reflect and set my 2017 intentions)

  3. Focus on self love: I've gotten to such a better place with self love and confidence this year, but I believe it's truly something I can always work on even further. I still have days where I am far too hard on myself for things that truly shouldn't matter like how fast (or slow) I ran, how much I could or couldn't lift at the gym, for feeling unmotivated, etc. I want to work on giving myself more grace this year and allowing myself to feel what I'm feeling in any given moment without feeling guilty. Some days I'm 100% on- my run feels super easy, my lift is great, I'm super productive, I'm super positive, I'm super happy and I overall just feel like I could conquer anything that comes my way. And other days aren't so good, but I have to learn to not make those days even worse by thinking negative things about myself. How will I do this? Positive self talk and positive mantras, until self love simply becomes second nature. :)

  4. Be more go-with-the-flow and receptive to change: I've always had a difficult time with change, ever since I was little. Change, big or small, makes me feel off-centered and I find in times of change my anxiety is heightened and my mood is lowered. This is why I love my super structured schedule and being in my own space in my apartment. And although I think having a schedule that I'm dedicated to is a very positive thing and keeps me motivated and productive each day, I want to be able to accept change without so much struggle this year. Life isn't always going to be structured to a T, and I hope that in this coming year I can learn to take a deep breath and be more okay with things going differently than planned. Spontaneity is good and I want to focus on allowing more of it into my life.

I only chose 4 main intentions because having too many will make it difficult to truly succeed in any of them. Of course in the coming year there are MANY more things I hope to accomplish (with the blog, in school, within my sorority...), but these four are bigger picture and most important because they will all help my life become less stressful and more positive.

What are YOUR intentions for this year? I'd love to hear from you and see what you're all striving for in the new year. :)

XO nat