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If you’re the kind of person who gets equally caught up in and annoyed by New Year’s resolutions, then welcome to the club.
As a person who is in recovery from an eating disorder, my resolutions often looked like “lose ten pounds,” “work out harder,” or “get a six-pack”. All embarrassingly cliché, but c’est la vie. I think New Years of 2018-2019 was the first year I didn’t have a body-focused goal in mind. Instead, my goal was to purchase a bathrobe, which I’m currently wearing as I write this.
2019 was the year of personal growth for me. I sucked up my fear and hesitation and finally started this blog and a dedicated Instagram account where my art, home decor, and writings now live. I plan to focus more on all of these and figure out what I want to do with them in the upcoming year. 2019 was also the year I went to therapy, which was the catalyst for finally beating my eating disorder.
Another thing I stuck with in 2019 was listening to audiobooks. I think I listened to somewhere between sixty and seventy audiobooks this year alone, which is absolutely mind-blowing. Years prior, before I started utilizing audiobooks, my goal was always to read one book per month which I never did. I have ADHD and unless the circumstances are perfect, I have a really hard time reading. Since I work alone and have a lot of available listening time, I’m consuming somewhere around 3-4 books a month, sometimes more.
One particular audiobook that I listened to this year changed my life in a completely unexpected way. Early this summer, when I was power washing my fence to re-stain it, I finished listening to a book called Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. I still had many hours of power washing ahead of me, so I quickly scanned through the available audiobooks on Libby, and I landed on You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero.
Let me clarify something: self-help is not my jam. Or, at least, I didn’t think it was. But it was available for immediate listening and it had really excellent reviews, so why not give it a shot?
Also let me use this chance to say something else: why are so many of us who love to read such literary assholes? I used to be the insufferable snob who only liked classic American literature or philosophy or dystopian fiction. Mysteries? Not worth my time. Romance? Too embarrassing to even think about reading. Young adult fiction? If it’s not Harry Potter, I don’t want it.
God, I was a jerk! I’m sorry to anyone who had to deal with me back then. Reading and listening to books is magical and screw anyone who tries to make you feel less-than for what you want to read.
Okay, I digress.
I started You Are A Badass and within the first five minutes, I was hooked. I binge-listened to it all day and all the next day. I texted my friends and family about it. I told my husband he should read it. I even bought a physical copy of the book to keep on my nightstand to annotate. I was now, officially, a lover of self-help.
The premise of You Are A Badass is that you already have everything within you to achieve your goals, you just have to convince yourself that you can do it. A big part of this book is the concept of affirmations. No more “I think I can do X, Y, Z,” and replacing that with “I am going to _____________.” And you have to say them out loud. You have to feel the affirmation coming through you. Good energy begets good energy, and the universe (or God, if that is more your speed) will give back what you put into it.
Since then, I’ve adopted positive affirmations into my life and it’s really changed the game. I started saying things like “I will work in a creative capacity,” “I will do (insert something that scares me — like ride my motorcycle in the city)” and it works. There really is power in believing not only that you can do something, but that you will do something.
So this year, I’ve decided I’m going to completely forgo traditional New Year’s resolutions in favor of New Year’s affirmations and I implore you to do the same. Write them down somewhere you will see them daily, and speak them out loud. We can do hard things. We can do scary things. So, we will do hard things and scary things.
My affirmations for this year, as of writing this, are:
- I will continue to be the creator of an online community that does good.
- I will learn how to capitalize on my skills.
- I will honor my body and our journey together.
- I will be more confident with money.
- I will take more physical care of my body as well as my mind.
I’m a million percent certain I’ll add some, remove some, change some, and achieve (and probably not achieve) some of these this year. I think setting realistic expectations or having zero expectations is crucial. This time last year, I had no intention of blogging or cultivating a community of creatives on Instagram. I didn’t even have the chia house Instagram account! I was thinking about buying a bath robe and taking more ownership in the business Jake and I own.
But that changed. I realized that that path was just the one in front of me, and it wasn’t the one I would’ve picked first. I am proud of Jake and the business he created, but other than having my name on the official business paperwork and the occasional networking event, I’m mostly absent from it. And that is okay for me. Actually, Jake and I have had many conversations this year where we’ve both agreed that I would be miserable in that line of work.
This year, I realized that I don’t know exactly what I want to be doing professionally, and that’s okay. I’m happy in the in-between. I’m happy not knowing. I’m happy just living, growing, and learning about myself from the comfort of my 2019 bath robe.
Happy New Year!