My 2017 New Year’s Mantra

While I’d like to say I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, I have to admit that I’m pretty big on New Year’s mantras. I like looking back on the past year and thinking about what went well while also recognizing what could have gone better. My New Year’s mantras of years past have certainly served me well – I’ve vowed to live with intention, make my life more interesting, make whole-health choices – and I’ve done all of those things. So, when thinking about 2017, I thought long and hard about the impacts of those mantras and what they’ve meant for me over the past few years.

If I had to place a general theme around my resolutions over the past few years, I’d say they all center on breaking out of my comfort zone. I’ve worked really hard to overcome my anxiety and live life more vibrantly and less enveloped by fear. I can 100 percent say that I have achieved those goals, which is an amazing feeling – but it has also come at a price.

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Life is more vibrant now and includes more giant stingrays

In my quest to break out of my comfort zone and constantly push myself, I’ve sometimes pushed myself too hard for too long. I’ve had a few years of “yes,” that is, saying yes to pretty much everything that has come my way, be it travel, work, or whatever. That has opened some amazing doors, but it has also made me constantly stressed and exhausted and turned me into a person that I sometimes don’t like – like when I have to turn down a hike with AJ on the weekend because I’ve got too much work to do to leave the couch again. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and I feel unbelievably fortunate to say that in 2016, I found way too much of a lot of good things.

For example, there were several periods in 2016 where I was away from home for more than 4 weekends in a row, and I was out of town at least two weekends a month for every month of the year except two. That’s crazy! A lot of these circumstances weren’t necessarily within my control – I was in a lot of weddings this year and had their associated festivities, none of our families live near us, so we always travel for the holidays, etc. But it also didn’t help that I packed my schedule very tightly with every travel opportunity I could find without leaving much wiggle room if something else came up. When these insane travel months coincided with tough work deadlines and increased work responsibilities in the last half of this year, as they often did, it spelled disaster for my stress levels and ended in my cutting barre out of my schedule almost completely (I’ll be teaching about one or two classes a month from now on, just for fun). It also led to me nearly completely quitting working out at times and eating tons of junk food because I was too busy to cook anything else – not cool.

Like the time I traveled for 6 weekends in a row in August – September…but I got to run a half marathon in Nevis!

This December, all I could think about was the word balance. I need to find balance. That’s my goal for 2017. That doesn’t mean I won’t be traveling as much – in fact, I might visit even more countries in 2017 than 2016 – but it means the trips will be planned better, with more space in between them. Looking at my calendar for 2017, I have at least two months at home between most of my international trips (travel announcements coming soon!!!), although some are a little closer together. This feels a lot more manageable and realistic and also allows for other things, like work or shotgun weddings, to pop up in between. Hey, you never know.

Like sometimes your company picks you to go to Nicaragua for two weeks and you’re like “Yeah I mean, if I MUST”

Another big area where I want to find balance is with healthy living. I’ve been trying my hardest, but I have definitely not been living the most healthfully since late August, when things started to get really crazy with work and travel. There would be weeks where I wouldn’t workout at all except the barre classes I was teaching (which, while a great workout, isn’t the same as releasing stress by taking a class or going for a run), and many times when I just simply couldn’t find the time to cook something healthy. I’ve really started to recognize the importance of this and started making my workouts a priority in December. I’m shooting for an hour of exercise most days of the week and plan to incorporate running, strength training, barre, cycling, and hiking into my routine. I’ve noticed a big difference in my mindset since I’ve started getting back into it, and while it’s sometimes really hard (and honestly, sometimes just impossible) to take that hour to myself, I know how important it is. Cooking is back to being a priority, too!

I’ve touched on this before, but another part of my quest for balance this year is continuing to say “no” when I need to. I say “yes” all the time, and sometimes, my willingness to take on new things is one of the traits I like best about myself. However, never saying “no” means you end up overburdened and not performing to your best, and as I touched on in the lessons I learned in 2016, that’s not a great situation. So in 2017, I aim to work on balancing my “yeses” with my “nos” and asserting myself appropriately.

It’s time to make more time for this guy. He’s pretty cute.

I really love the direction my life has headed in the past five years, and perhaps it is no coincidence that most of the biggest steps forward in my life have coincided with my writing of this blog. Getting my thoughts down on paper (or the internet, as it were) has allowed me to constantly reflect on the things that I like in my life and the things that I don’t, and your comments and thoughts over the years have always helped me to see things from a new perspective. So here’s to you, and here’s to 2017! May this year be the most balanced, most transformative, and most wonderful year yet!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Are you a “resolution” person? What is your resolution or mantra for 2017?

10 thoughts on “My 2017 New Year’s Mantra

  1. Sounds like you already have made some changes and most definitely have the perspective you need to start 2017 with a balanced mindset. I have no doubt you will find it since you’re focused on it – funny how that seems to happen 🙂 I so look forward to following in your travels this year and seeing how you grow and change and explode with fearlessness over the next 12 months!

    1. Yes! I’m a firm believer in easing into changes, and since I knew this was what I wanted my focus to be in 2017, I decided to start a bit early to get the ball rolling. Hopefully, I’ll be able to stick with it! Please yell at me if I don’t.

  2. No lie, as I was reading, I was thinking/hoping that you would say “balance.” So boom, there you go. Balance is a tricky thing. I am a hard core balance seeker. I don’t like it when things are off to one side. It isn’t so much about symmetry, but balance. Like in a painting. But, like a painting, sometimes, you have to step back and look at the whole picture to figure out what is out of balance, and it might not be what you think that it is.

    1. Hahaha, is my need for balance really that obvious? Don’t answer that. I’ve never been a balance seeker – I constantly worry about stagnation. I’ve always pushed myself because I’m afraid I won’t do anything if I don’t. This is a new test for me – still accomplishing my professional and personal goals while also giving myself time to breathe. It could be interesting!

  3. Balance is such a challenge, because it means saying no to things we’d like to do, but may not fit in our overall priorities. It’s always a challenge for me because I want to do fun things, but then I’m often left stressed and out of sorts.

    1. Yes! I think this will be really challenging for me when it comes to traveling. I want to go everywhere and do everything, but then I’m exhausted and stressed when I’m never home. It’s tough to say no, but I’m working on it!

  4. Balance is incredibly important and incredibly difficult – difficult to define, difficult to obtain and difficult to maintain. I think every adult would admit to having a struggling history of trying to deal with balance.

    So I think it is an awesome mantra for you for the year – you have discussed your struggles finding balance in detail recently … so I think that trying to turn it into goals and strategies to make sure you are maximizing the things you want to pursue without losing sight of everything else or ending up overwhelmed, hurt, or missing unspoken communication in relationships.

    Balance for me … ? I feel like I have done a decent job of it in recent years, working to balance work, marriage, parenting, running, healthy eating, social life, paying for two private colleges without having to eat Raman and live in a box, etc.

    So what is my mantra? I have yet to decide – because I have the same basic goals as the last several years, but since I have set and hit the same core goals for the last 4 years … it might be time to mix it up. So “Sustain the Gain” is my core mantra … but seeking new challenges is definitely a direction I want to seek – but it is hard with so much focus on the kids. But at the same time, this is our 25th anniversary year, so “making 25 super-awesome” is another mantra.

    1. I agree! I think it will be hard to find and even harder to maintain – but I’ve never even tried before, so we’ll see what happens. I think it is helpful that I don’t feel as frantic about “missing out” as I used to – probably because I finally took control of my own life and decided to just do the things I want to do and stop thinking about them. Without that frantic energy driving all my decisions, it feels more possible to slow down a bit. We’ll see!

      I love your mantras and the fact that you can prioritize the things that are important to you personally (running, eating healthy, etc) while still also prioritizing your kids and Lisa. That’s a huge lesson for all of us, since it so often seems to be one or the other for most people.

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