My 2016 New Year’s Resolution

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I’m collecting donations of gently used running shoes, clothing, and gear for the track and field athletes at Rhodes Hall High School in Hanover, Jamaica. Donations can be mailed to: Danielle Cemprola, PO Box 26101, Greenville, SC 29616. If you would prefer to donate online, please visit my GoFundMe page! All funds raised will go directly to the team. You can read more about the kids and their incredible stories here.

WELL, HELLO THERE.

You might notice something new about me… something a little cleaner, bolder, and dare I say, sexier? Yeah, no, you’re right, it’s not me, it’s my blog! I’ve been wanting to change the design for well over a year now, but I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start. I kept putting it off more and more until I was forced to confront the fact that my old slogan of “Stomping through the 50 States and D.C., one marathon at a time” no longer applied. Could I have just changed “marathon” to “race” and gone from there? Yeah, probably, but in addition to running, I want to write more about the other adventures I have across the globe, too. There’s been a subtle shift in the content on my blog and my attitude towards life over the past year or so, and I wanted my design to reflect that.Thus, I knew it was time to make a change, but I was scared. Doing any kind of tech stuff outside of writing my posts is super overwhelming to me, and I was afraid I would lose all my content in trying to switch everything over. I shouldn’t have waited so long! I finally decided I had had enough and headed over to Etsy, where I looked through hundreds of blog redesign shops before deciding to work with Jana at Little Web Writing Hood. I asked a few questions and then took the plunge, plunking down my money and putting my faith in her for a total redesign from the logo down. I hope you love it, because I certainly do! There’s still some tweaks and updates to be made in the coming days, but overall, this is the new T-Rex Runner!

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I should have done this years ago!

It only took 28 years, but I finally got pretty good at making New Year’s Resolutions a couple of years ago. In 2014, I resolved to make my life more interesting, and I succeeded wildly. In 2015, I vowed to make choices that benefited my physical, mental, and emotional health, and I’m proud to say that 2015 is probably the healthiest year of my life so far. Some examples of good decisions that I made:

  1. I ran my 50th and final marathon, allowing my body and mind to rest after years in pursuit of that goal.
  2. I stuck to running 3 times per week and 3-4 marathons per year, like my doctor told me to.
  3. I took my focus completely off weight loss, stopped counting calories, and allowed my body to find its “happy weight” – and it worked!
  4. I learned to look at food as fuel.
  5. I committed to a regular barre practice and became a Barre3 instructor – finally, strength training that I enjoy!
  6. I started using a planner, committed to a time management strategy, and found a way to balance the many pressures in my life without completely losing my mind.
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Uhhh I think I forgot to tell you guys that AJ and I went to Arizona for my birthday. I’ll write about that soon, promise.

In fact, this year had me feeling so healthy and so positive that I actually bumped down from the highest health insurance plan my company offers (we’re talking ridiculously high coverage here, but ridiculously high premiums to boot) and switched to the lower one (still really good) for 2016. That’s confidence, my friends!

As 2015 drew to a close, I found myself thinking about more ways I could improve and become my best self. I’ve made tremendous strides over the past few years in a lot of areas, but one area that I know I can improve on is living with intention. What does that mean, exactly? Well, for me, living with intention means that I identify my values and my big goals and dreams – the ones I really want to achieve – and I take practical steps to work towards those goals and values and avoid making decisions that would bring me further away from them.

A long time ago, when I was still really struggling with my eating disorder, I mentioned to my therapist that I really wanted to get healthy before I ever had kids because I didn’t want my disordered behaviors to negatively impact them. She nodded thoughtfully and said, “Well, do you expect to just wake up healthy one day?” “I guess not,” I said, “but I’d like to think that I won’t still be dealing with these issues by the time I get to that point.” “Right,” she said. “In order to get to that point, though, you have to practice healing. You have to make steps every day to get better and recognize that there will be steps forward and leaps backward along the way. You have to keep moving forward and working towards that goal, or you’ll never achieve it.” It seems silly, but that was a light bulb moment for me. Like, wait – things don’t just happen? We don’t just suddenly wake up healthy or happy or in Nepal – we have to actually take steps for years to reach that point and achieve our goals? How profound.

“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

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This is all there is

My resolution for 2016 is to live with intention. No more just talking about things I want to do without actually taking steps towards doing them. No more espousing values without living them.

Now that that nebulous BS is out of the way, let me give you some practical examples. There are three big trips I really want to take before I even think about having kids (which we are not currently thinking about). These are:

  1. Trekking in Nepal
  2. An African safari (and possible Mount Kilimanjaro climb)
  3. A trip to New Zealand

And if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, you’re thinking “Damn, that’s going to cost a lot of money.” And you’re right. None of those trips are cheap. They all require a lot of vacation time. They also require a fair amount of chutzpah and a willingness to step way outside my comfort zone. Fortunately, I have plenty of chutzpah and my comfort zone has been expanding with each passing year. What I also have is a bit of an impulsive streak and a lot of wanderlust, so I sometimes work myself into a fit and book trips to places just because I can’t stand the idea of not going anywhere for awhile. Hey, at least I’m honest. But living with intention means that I need to take steps that get me closer to my goals, not farther from them. That means saving my money and not blowing it on random purchases of yet another pair of yoga pants. It means planning out my trips at the beginning of the year to make sure my travel schedule allows me to do the things I really want to do, even if that means doing a little less throughout the year. It will probably mean working a little (or a lot) more overtime than I already do. It will definitely mean sacrifice.

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I’m coming for you in 2016, Nepal! Photo source here

I’m not just focused on my travel goals for next year, though. When I do spend my money, I want to see a return on my investment. Will this item benefit me in my career, my education, or my happiness in some way? When I choose how to spend my time, I want to know that it was time well spent. Does this activity help grow my relationships, help me relax, or encourage an accomplishment? Am I using my time wisely?  There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. I just think that actually slowing down for a second to think before I speak, act, or spend will help me identify what I really want and further mold my life into what I want it to look like. So this year,  I’ll be asking myself the tough questions and encouraging relentless forward progress. 2016 is the year of intention, and I intend to make it a great one.

“Such a simple concept, yet so true: that which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves.”
― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

LEAVE A COMMENT: What is your New Year’s resolution? What areas do you want to work on?

23 thoughts on “My 2016 New Year’s Resolution

  1. LOVE the new blog design! Seriously, It looks fantastic. And I love that thought of practicing healing. I think I’ve worked to do that without even knowing it. Danielle, I am so grateful to have gotten to know you over the past few years. You are truly an amazing person, and I cannot wait to see what you do next. Bravo! Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks so much, Suz! I think you have worked to practice healing as well. I’m excited to see where you go this year with running, your blog, and life! I know big things are in store for you and Alex.

  2. There are safari marathons and half-marathons in a few places in Africa and your magazine DID send you to Jamaica, just sayin’…

  3. It’s funny – I was on the iPad last night re-reading the ‘Festivus’ post to finally comment (ok, maybe today 🙂 ) and noticed the new theme … LOVE IT! Love the colors, the clean feel, the new catch phrase and … well, all of it.

    One of my big changes in 2012 after becoming a long distance runner (as opposed to a 12-15 miles per week runner) and losing all that weight (again) was to refocus on food. Like you mention, the ‘food is fuel’ thing became my mantra – especially after nearly crashing badly during my first half marathon (well, I guess I DID crash, but I finished in a decent time) taught me that unlike before I needed to FUEL my body!

    Now that I run ~10 miles every day I really need to be sure to fuel up properly. But eating that much was a scary thing for me, so I needed a new approach – and on my blog I talked about “intentional eating”, something I had read about back then in a somewhat different context. And you know what – it works! Sure I will always have a ‘funky relationship’ with food, but it is better than it has ever been! And I have my family to keep me accountable as well!

    Similarly, after hyper-focusing on running in 2012, then integrating running into life in 2013, late in 2013 I really needed to refocus on everything in my life … and similar to what you say it was all about intentions. Living intentionally is incredibly liberating and stress-relieving. You focus on what matters, and free yourself from the minutia that will drive you nuts otherwise.

    I have LOVED following your journey this year … all the ups and downs scare the crap out of me and I often feel personally invested in my hopes that everything continues to go well – so happy for your marriage, general positive trend of things, better attitudes and mindsets and so on. And I hope that 2016 is even better!

    1. I found myself nodding along with everything you said, Michael! Especially the part about how much you love my redesign, haha! I think you’re so right, and I hadn’t really thought about it that way. It is tempting for many of us, especially those of us with addictive personalities, to become hyper-focused on whatever we are working on at the time. I have certainly sought to distract myself from the various low points in my life through food, running, etc! But those things are not a cure, they’re just a temporary fix, and when they spiral out of control (through injury or life events or whatever), it can feel like you have nothing left. I have found so much peace by working on food and running being the “side dishes” in my life rather than the main course. It really is freeing! I am so grateful for all your support and comments over the years. I know you’ve been right there with me throughout it all and I appreciate that you see the positive progress I am making. Here’s to 2016!

  4. I’ve followed your blog a long time, but never commented (I don’t think). Just wanted to give you an internet high five for your 2016 resolution – it’s very similar to mine and I found myself nodding along as I was reading:) Here’s to living with intention and making those big goals happen!

    1. Well thank you so much for reading along all these years, Shannon! I’m so glad you finally commented. I love that you can relate and I think it is such a meaningful goal that can be implemented for a lifetime. Let’s make it happen!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Sheena! That’s the basis for how I have lived my life these past few years.

    1. Thanks so much, Ange! I’ve really enjoyed your posts on the New Year and I hope you hit your “words” for this year – AND crush Dopey!

  5. Love the redesign, it’s a great look.

    If something happens to the Nepal plans for 2016, I’m back in Tanzania between Sept 26 – Nov 12. Not to humble brag, but you can totally see Kilimanjaro from Ngongongare (my ‘home’)… when it’s not shrouded in clouds. Just kidding. I’m totally humble bragging. We can also see (and walk to) Mt. Meru. Okay, now I’m just being a twat about it 😉

    Seriously though, if I can help answer any questions for your future trip, let me know.

    1. That is awesome to know, Andrea! Will you be going back in 2017? Because that’s my goal for fall 2017!!!

      1. I will probably not be back in 2017 just because I like to roll over as many holiday surpluses as I’m allowed so I’m there as long as possible. But I will definitely pass on any and all information I can. 😀

  6. I still want to go on a trip with you somewhere! My sister and brother in law regifted me The Art of Racing in the Rain for Christmas so your end quote caught my eye. I have to agree that I need more intention this year. Somehow I managed to spend 9 months traveling and training and exploring and having all kinds of fun meeting new people – but I don’t know that I have any more answers to “what’s next?” now than I did back in April…

    1. I have loved following all your adventures and seeing your pictures! It sounds like you’re living the life and while it can be frustrating and counterintuitive sometimes to not have “direction,” it’s also a blessing that you don’t NEED to have direction right now. I say enjoy it for as long as you can and hopefully the answers will come to you eventually!

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