Ringing in a new you

‘Twas the season of cookies and eggnog, rum and champagne, sleeping late and long, staying up until tomorrow, and eating whatever whenever however with whomever. It was the season of mirth and good cheer and fun and family and friends and appetizers and chocolate and shortbread and brunch. It was the season of merry and plenty. And now it’s the season of SHUT IT DOWN.

There are commercials about it, about stopping the over-indulgences and getting ‘back on track’. They remind you that you’re still awesome, but hey, stop being so crazy and start getting back in line.

There are deals (OH THE DEALS) of 20, 30, 40, 50% off gym memberships, gym equipment, bootcamp classes and find-your-abs-under-your-keg plans.

There are the great sell-offs and purchases of people’s abandoned treadmills and stationary bicycles and weighted-yoga balls and workout clothes. Wanna make a buck? Sell your dusty workout stuff. Wanna get in shape for cheap? Buy other people’s dusty workout stuff.

And everywhere you turn are people helping you make the resolutions that will set your year on FIRE and give you a bikini body in three easy moves in just five minutes every day.

It’s exhausting. And it’s unrealistic.

Can you get a skinnier, toner, more fit you? ABSOLUTELY. You can. You will if you set your mind and body to it. You will if you make a plan that’s reasonable and realistic and if you really want to.

But can you do it the way you’re being sold it? Probably not. Because they’re not selling you change. They’re selling you a NEW YOU. They’re selling you a promise that they have no intention of helping you achieve. It’s mean. And it’s a vicious cycle that happens every year.

For me, 2014 was the year I solidified my love of running and of exercising. It was the year I really started writing again. It was the year I fought alongside my man for my marriage. It was the year we really got into the groove of being a family of five. It was the year we took control of our spiritual health and made a huge change to where and how we worship. And it was the year of rediscovering bits of me that I had lost in the fog of pregnancy, newborn schedules, breastfeeding and depression. It was a year. And now that I’m facing another year, I wonder what I’d like for 2015. What will it look like? What will we accomplish? What will I accomplish?

Instead of resolving to do a bunch of things (2014 was not the year of being able to magically create more time), I thought I would make a list of things I’d like to stop. Things I’d like to knock-off, cut-out, and generally quit. It seems strange, since statistically this is generally what happens on January 10, the day of quitting all your New Year’s resolutions, but for me, I’d like to get a jump-start on jumping ship.

1. Quit talking trash about myself. I eat a cookie, I eat five cookies, I eat the rest of the cookies and not only does my stomach hate me, my brain is a royal jerk about it. It berates me and tells me in no uncertain terms that I suck, that I’m a failure, and that I’ll never be thin and pretty and lovely because ALL THE COOKIES. In truth? I shouldn’t eat so many cookies, but I shouldn’t be a jackass about it either. It happened. It’s over. It’s time to remember the good things I did do and move on.

Voice in your head

2. Quit wishing away the day. I’m not saying I should stop and smell every damn rose, but I should stop wishing for nap time and Ben time and bedtime and then alone time. I should start enjoying the time I’m in. I have the energy and space and now the emotional and mental capacity to do it, and I’d like to stop living in my depression-era head space. I’d rather live here because I can. I fought long and hard to enjoy this moment. Now I need to stop wasting it.

Living for the weekend

3. Quit glorifying the busy. Oh, I’m a real winner at this one. I can tell you, in great detail, exactly how busy I am. But in reality, I’m as busy as I MAKE ME. No one else. Me. I am busy chasing children, sure, but am I chasing them effectively, efficiently, in the best way for them and me? Probably not. So, I’m gonna stop being a martyr of the schedule and start being the freaking empress.

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4. Quit coming up with new excuses. I feel like I’m stocked up for excuses on why I can’t/don’t want to/aren’t able to write my book. There is no reason why I need new and inventive ones for the roster. The old ones don’t hold water and work just fine for being weak and ridiculous.

Just Do It

5. Quit avoiding running. I stopped running when I started having weaning depression because from where I sat on my comfortable couch inside my warm house in my bare feet and pyjamas it was SO HARD. And then dear friends Heather and Bethany asked me what they could do to help me get back to being happy-brain me and I said, I need to run. Bethany instantly said, Tomorrow? And we did. I went. I ran. And when I got back I was blissed out on the high of it. I love running. It is in me now. And I need to stop abandoning it just because my brain forgets how awesome it is. I will be running until I am physically unable. Period. Enough trying to run away from running. Toni, Bethany, and another good friend Andrea and I will be doing a half-marathon in May just to solidify my commitment to quitting running avoidance. It should do the trick.

oprah-winfrey running

What are you going to quit this year? And what will you ultimately give yourself in the process?

~ Julia

I could do better

I was always the last child, and of course I never felt like I ever measured up to any of my sisters. But this is not really about them, I just don’t feel like I measure up in general. I am constantly comparing myself to other people, their accomplishments and their lives.

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I need to stop! I am working at my life, I am growing up and finding my way!

I am trying so hard to please everyone else that I am literally driving myself insane. I don’t know when it became so important to me to please other people, and I don’t really care.
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I need to live for me. I need to live for my life.

People are sometimes very judgmental and very decided about how you should live, and the outcome of your life.
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I don’t think about other people’s lives like that. I think about if they are happy, I think about if they are good people to me and I think about how they treat others.

But here is the thing – the blame cannot and should not be placed on anyone else but myself. I let people’s judgements creep into my brain, I let their thoughts and feelings take me over, and then they become my own. I am to blame for this.

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As Mommy has always said to me, “You are very sensitive.” And it is true, I am. I am sensitive to other people’s feelings and thoughts, and I tend to neglect my own.

So I have made a decision.

Instead of going through life thinking that I could do, or have done better, I am going to do my best for me, for me and for Joe.

I am learning, so I know I will still sometimes slip and think about what other people want for my life before I think about what I want, but I am going to do better.

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I am me and I am odd, and I am just beginning.

~ Andreah

Trying to understand

A few weeks ago, I came across this:

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I have seen this quote or some iteration of it a few times before, but for whatever reason this time, it struck a chord with me.

It really got me thinking about the quality of the conversations I have with the people that matter.

Was I actually understanding what was being said, or was I busy thinking of  what to say next?

More importantly, in this go-go-go world, was I scared of the idea of not knowing what to say right away and pausing to really consume what was being said or shared with me?

I noticed it wasn’t just me that struggled with this concept of mulling over what was really being said, digging deeper and trying first to understand, secondly to converse.

I noticed it even more when a disagreement was brewing.

That got me thinking of how many arguments could have been avoided if this piece of wisdom was practiced more frequently. How many sorries could have been saved from having to be said?

Could relationships have been saved or outcomes changed? Could a friend’s call for help have been heard sooner? Could my circle of incredible friends and family feel more connected? Could Michael and I thrive even more?

The answer is most definitely.

I feel it’s part of this need I have to slow life down more lately, to take a step back and truly enjoy it.

I’m going to try the same with my conversations until it becomes second nature. I am guaranteed to not always agree, but I can at the very least take that step back and try to understand first.

~ Toni

Dr. Maya Angelou: April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

Dr. Maya Angelou, an incredible human being, activist, teacher, woman, and poet died Wednesday May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.

We’d like to honour her here by offering a collection of some of her quotes. And we hope that we can do her justice by living her wise, wise words: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya - Accomplished

 

Maya - Best

 

Maya - Enough

 

Maya - Handle

 

Maya - Normal

 

Maya - Success

 

Maya - Teach