Every year in my teens and early twenties, New Year's Day would bring lots of declarations of losing weight and getting more done and doing things everyday. I didn't really understand how to create good habits, and while I was filled with optimism, I had no follow-through.
In the past few years, I've tried instead to write a list of reminders from the past year - some things I've learned that I would like to remember as I embark on this fresh start, this new year full of days that are mine to spend how I choose.
So here are my reminders for 2016. Let's spend this year building upon good habits we already have and cultivating a new one, if we can carve out the time. It's going to be a great year, I just know it.
1. Drink water like it’s going out of style.
It is literally the most important thing you can put into your body. It will keep you healthy, keep your skin intact, keep your organs clean, help you digest your food, keep you fuller longer after you eat, replenish every cell in your body after a tough workout or a long night. It is more energizing than coffee and will make you feel better than alcohol. Drink water at every occasion this year. Don't be afraid to ask for refills at restaurants. Fill up frequently at work. Bring it in the car on trips - long ones and short ones. 12-15 cups, everyday.
2. Believe in your power, smarts and beauty.
You honestly have a good thing going with what you've done already, and you keep up the habits, schedule and goals to keep it going. This is a big one, as it encompasses many of your insecurities. It's hard to believe in yourself in everything you do, but part of it is not being afraid to appear less powerful, less smart or less beautiful. It's knowing that overall, you are those three things and everyone that knows you knows it too.
3. Don’t skimp on sleep.
You seem to think that going to bed at midnight and crawling out of bed at 6:30 is the way to do it. You get mad at yourself for not succeeding at that everyday (or most days). You're made at yourself for being late, for feeling rushed in the morning, for not going for runs before work, for not having time to meditate in the morning. But the answer is not getting less sleep or taking less medicine or putting your alarm clock two rooms away or getting a sun lamp. It's about going to bed earlier. Like you used to. Try to get into bed at 9:30. I know that feels weird now, and you won't always be able to do it. But you will feel 1000x better in the morning when your alarm goes off at 6:30, if you've already drifted off to sleep by 10:30.
4. Trust your instincts.
There are literally thousands of decisions to make everyday. You jump from thing to thing mostly on instinct, but the truth is when it comes to those bigger choices, instinct usually directs you where to go, too. There is something to be said about research and talking it through, but your heart knows what's best for it, and that should be good enough for you, too.
5. Remember you will never regret working out.
Seriously, when you go back and forth about it, and talk yourself out of it, you may reap small benefits like getting a little more work done, but what is 30 minutes more tasks in a day, when you could get 30 minutes of sweat in, make your heart healthier, have more energy, make your muscles stronger, increase your endurance, get better skin, sleep better at night, have less anxiety and just generally feel like a badass because you chose YES? It isn't much compared to all of that, so just do it.
6. Wear flattering clothes and take pride in your appearance.
When you look nice, you feel better. That is a fact. Losing weight is great, but there is no reason not to look fabulous today, at today's size and with today's shape. Pick out new clothes that flatter your shape today - not two years ago or 4 months from now. Select outfits that make you happy and feel good, but also make you look like the woman you want to be. Brush your hair, curl it up, blow it out. Do your makeup - spend a couple extra minutes on the foundation and eyebrows to really look polished. Pick out accessories each and every day - at least earrings. Sit up straight. Walk tall. Smile.
7. Save money.
No, really, I mean it. This is something you have gotten better at, but where there is so much opportunity for growth. You and Dylan make more money combined than you have ever had in your entire life, but you have also gotten really, really good at spending it. Try sticking to a budget for a month. Then do it again. Create systems in place that save $5 here or $10 there. Cut out the things that don't matter. Making eating out or takeout a special occasion. Don't go overboard on groceries you don't need. Make food everyday. Ask friends over instead of going out. Don't drink alcohol in restaurants. There are 1000 little ways to save money, and if you can double or triple your savings by the end of next year, you will be in a far better position to have a wedding, buy a house or get ready to have some babies than you are now.
8. Read a lot of books.
You love to learn. You love to engage, be absorbed in a subject. Take this year - and those 30 or 45 minutes in bed every night, to get a few chapters of a book in. See if you can beat Mark Zuckerberg and his 26 books in a year. Read the books you have, borrow ones from friends, get recommendations, learn new things, go outside your comfort zone.
9. Say yes a lot, but don’t be afraid to say no when you need to.
Some of the best nights of your life have been ones you could have said no to. Some of the best experiences you've had have been things you said yes to because you were curious or excited or full of optimism. Not every experience is a great one, but you thrive on living in the moment and being busy. But all that being said, saying no is still ok too. Give yourself time and space to get things done, to stay on top of your life and your work.
10. Be grateful each and every day for what you have.
You have so much in your life, more than you have ever had before. Take time each day to appreciate it all and remember you are lucky, you have earned it and you will do everything you can to honor and respect all that there is for which to be grateful.