2019: The Year to Focus, Learn + Love

a book cup of coffee and flavoured donut on square white ceramic bowl

I’m a huge fan of goal setting and new beginnings. Ever since I can remember, I loved checking things off of to-do lists and brainstorming ways to create goals and achieve them. There has never been any doubt that I’m Type A, let me tell ya.

I think that’s why the new year is so exciting for me. I love that people get excited for a fresh start and have so much hope for the year ahead. In years past, I would write a long list of goals for myself and have trouble keeping them all year long. Some I would achieve, but others were dropped along the way. (Who else can relate?!)

Last year I decided that instead of creating specific “resolutions,” I would theme my year with a few key words that motivated and inspired me. In 2018, I chose First, Do, and Joy. You can read all about why in this blog post.

This time around, I struggled with choosing words that best fit my feelings going into 2019. Nothing felt as right as the words did last year so I started to really think about what I wanted to achieve in 2019 and why.

That’s when it hit me. I kept using three words over and over again to describe my 2019 goals and dreams.

Focus, Learn, and Love.

Now let me tell you why.


FOCUS

In a world of the “need it now” mentality, we don’t focus like we used it. Did you know a goldfish has a longer attention span than a human does? F’real. Look it up. It’s sad. In 2019, I want to focus on a variety of aspects in my life: personal, relationships, habits, etc. including:

  • Less time on social media so I can focus on the present. This is a huge reason why I chose “focus” as one of my words. It’s so easy to get distracted because our phones are constantly buzzing with texts, updates, and notifications. This year I want to step back from the noise and focus on the moment.
  • Focus on my relationships by removing technology and spending quality time when we’re together.love coffee shop hangouts and good ol’ fashioned game nights. Quality time is definitely one of my love languages and I can’t wait for more of these moments in 2019.
  • Spend time developing positive daily habits. It’s so easy to rush, rush, rush through each day but this year, I want to truly slow down, enjoy the moment, and develop positive habits that will help me grow.
  • More time writing. I definitely say this at the beginning of the year, but I want to spend more time writing. Whether that’s on the blog or in my journal, I want to continue writing for fun and not just for work.

LEARN

Never stop learning. In 2019, I aspire to learn so many new things, big and small. Some will come from life experience while some will come from me seeking it out. I always want to grow and learn. There are so many ways to do this! A few of the ways I want to learn this year are to:

  • Listen to more podcasts. Current favorites include How I Built This, Girls on the Go, Serial, and Date Night Diaries with Steve and Stacy Hart. I’m always on the search for new ones to add so let me know your favorites!
  • Read at least 35 books. In 2018, I read 25 books. I want to challenge myself to read at least 35 books this year now that I’m back in the habit of reading regularly again. Check out my 2018 bookshelf here. 
  • Better educate myself on the world around me. I admit I’m not always in the know when it comes to world news and politics. Tech and current events, absolutely, since it’s part of my job. One way I plan to increase my knowledge of all things news is to actually read TheSkimm emails that arrive in my inbox every day. Subscribe and join me here. 
  • Be better at cooking. I’m definitely nowhere near where I want to be so I want to better my kitchen skills and cook more healthy meals.
  • Teach myself to bullet journal (and do it consistently). I recently discovered this new form of organization and planning and I’m obsessed. I received bullet journaling supplies for Christmas and already love it. More to come on this in a future blog post!
  • Start actively playing/practicing the piano again. I don’t want to lose the skills I gained taking lessons for 15 years. It’s time to start it back up and relearn some of my favorite classics while also teaching myself new pieces.

LOVE

This may sound cliche but I want to love more this year. It’s so easy to find the negative in a situation, but it’s so detrimental to your well being. Expressing love to others does not take a lot of energy either – just a little time and effort to truly show others that you love them. A few ideas:

  • Write more handwritten notes. A text is great but I don’t want to forget about the art of handwritten, snail-mail letters.
  • Enjoy each day. Even if it’s a “bad” day, there is always something good in it. I read a quote one day that resonated with me: “Just because you had a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life.” One way I’ll do this is to continue the 1-Second Everyday Challenge.
  • Serve more. I don’t know what this will mean in 2019, but I know I want to serve others more. God first, others second, myself third.

So there ya go! My three words for 2019. What are your New Year’s Resolutions or Word(s) of the Year? Comment below; I’d love to see them as we encourage each other to live the greatest year yet.

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Monthly Roundup: Five January Favorites

Can you believe it? January is (pretty much) over. This month went by too quickly and too slowly all at once.

As I wrap up the first month of 2018 and start prepping for February, I want to take a minute and highlight a few of my favorite things from this month.

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{ONE} The Greatest Showman

What an ah-maz-ing movie. Soundtrack, acting, story, casting…You name it, The Greatest Showman aced it. I saw it twice this month and highly recommend it. My favorite song: “From Now On.”

Listen to the full soundtrack here.

{TWO} 1-Second Everyday App

My friend completed the 1-second-video-a-day challenge last year and challenged me to attempt it this year. I already can tell it’s going to be a memorable part of 2018 as I capture the little moments of each day. It has helped me look for the good in each day and document moments I may have forgotten otherwise. Download the app here.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.22.46 AM.png{THREE} Carly the Prepster

Carly is one of my favorite bloggers, hands down. I follow her on Instagram and read her posts multiple times a week. I even had breakfast with her a few years ago in New York City! Carly’s Instagram feed is beautiful and her blog posts range from recipes to fashion tips to lifestyle hacks. Check her blog out here.

{FOUR} Starbucks’ Coconut Milk Vanilla Latte

I’m usually a caramel latte girl, but I decided to be adventurous (ha!) and order something vanilla the last time I was at Starbucks and oh my goodness, this latte is so good! A grande is *only* 200 calories, which yes, is still a lot of calories for a drink, but compared to a few of the other choices, it is wayyy less. And delicious!

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{FIVE} The Beautiful Word Devotional

I received The Beautiful Word daily devotional as an anniversary gift at the beginning of the year. It quickly became a highlight of my day. Each day focuses on one verse and a little reading to go with it. The pages are beautifully illustrated and the devotions are deep and thought-provoking. I can’t wait to keep reading it this year.

January’s been a fun month. I’m excited to see what February brings!

Don’t forget to share your favorite January moments below – I’d love to hear them!

On My Radar: 2018 Edition

Happy 2018!

I can’t believe it’s the start of a new year. In some ways 2017 flew by, but in others it dragged on. I’ve been eagerly awaiting 2018 for a while now, and it is finally HERE. Cue all the praise hands and happy dances.

So many exciting things are bound to happen this year, I can hardly wait.

Although I am still planning and finalizing my “resolutions,” I will share those with you soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share what’s on my radar lately because I’m really excited about them.

On My Radar…

{ONE} “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines

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This book! I received it for Christmas because I’m a huge fan of Fixer Upper. I was always intrigued by the husband & wife duo who flip and design houses, raise four kids, live in Texas, and keep God at the center. However, while reading The Magnolia Story, I became an even bigger fan of the Gaines’.  It’s an easy read, too, so it hasn’t taken me long at all to be almost finished it. I’ll probably finish it tonight and I started reading it a few days ago.

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{TWO} La La Land Piano Sheet Music

This piano sheet music book is another thing I received for Christmas and I *love* it. I’m always on the search for new songs to learn on the piano to challenge myself and keep my skills sharp. Since I teach piano and no longer take lessons myself, playing for fun usually does not happen on a regular basis. La La Land quickly became one of my favorite movies in early 2017, and the soundtrack is downright ah-maze-ing, so I am excited for the challenge.

{THREE} Fur Vests

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This trendy piece of clothing has stumped me. I love how it looks and received one as a gift this year. I’ve pinned a few outfits on Pinterest that includes this statement piece, but I have yet to test it out. It’s so warm and stylish, I’m excited to wear it soon.

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 4.10.56 PMI discovered Bloom Daily Planners a few years ago while researching the best academic planners to use during my senior year (*cough* my Type A is showing *cough*). Bloom is a Delaware-based company and their founders attended the University of Delaware, so obviously when I found this out, I was hooked and purchased my first of many products from Bloom. This year, I received the Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar and it sits proudly on my desk at work. It’s not only adorable and colorful, but every day features a quote or a challenge – two of my favorite things!

 

Those are a few things on my radar. What’s on yours?

5 Words: The Secret to Not Procrastinating

DISCLAIMER: 

In my blog post, “The time is now,” I mention I was reading through drafts of my unpublished blog posts that at the time did not go live because I was not sure if I wanted to post them. In “The time is now” I hint that maybe I’ll finally publish some of those old drafts.

The below post is one of them.

 

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The Secret to Not Procrastinating in 5 Words:

 

 

 

 

 

Turn. Off. The. Cell. Phone.

The time is now.

Well, it’s been a minute.

Actually, it’s been many minutes because I took an unplanned blogging hiatus as life continued around me.

I do not regret it…not one bit.

You see, I hadn’t realized this, but I was wearing myself thin. My brain was constantly in “work hard” mode and I mentally succumbed to this thought process that I had no time to “play hard.”

What exactly is “play hard?” You hear all the time this motto many proudly state as their own: Work hard, play hard. However, for me, as a Type-A perfectionist with a tendency to over achieve at whatever I do, “playing hard” does not always come easily, or naturally, to me.

I get stuck in the “work hard” cycle and rarely allow myself to “play hard.”

This does not necessarily mean I am a workaholic. I love my job and I love what I do every day. Coming to the office is not the issue.

The issue is the thought that I do not deserve to step away from whatever is considered “work” to instead, once in a while, focus my attention on spending time on myself.

Unfortunately for over a year that meant blogging was pushed to the back burner, as well as, a few of my other hobbies. I always said, “It’s not the time,” or “I don’t have time today,” or “There’s something else I should be doing.”

I made excuses for all the reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t.

Well, that’s changing. The time is now.

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The other day, I needed a break from whatever I was doing (I don’t remember what). I decided to log onto my website for the first time in over a year. I decided to click “Drafts” and read all of the blog posts I was always scared to push live.

That’s when it hit me.

I missed blogging.

I missed getting my thoughts on paper because I wanted to, not because I was expected to.

I missed making time in the day to write, about anything, to no one in particular. To the digital space in the hopes that maybe someone out there would read it, but maybe not.

That’s when I realized that it was time.

The time is now.

To start again. Maybe not as frequently as before, but maybe. Who knows.

I am fighting against my instincts right now to not create a content calendar. You laugh, but I shake my head. I am not going to make this a “work hard” thing. A content calendar and lists and to-dos are part of the “work hard” mentality.

Maybe one day I’ll switch to that, but for now, I will not.

“Play hard” has no restrictions. So therefore, blogging will have no restrictions (for now).

We’ll see how this works.

Maybe I’ll start by finally publishing a few of the drafts…

Or maybe not.

Whatever happens next, it doesn’t matter. I’ll just do it. No overthinking, no worrying, no unrealistic expectations put on myself by me.

The time is now.

January: The month of eventuallys

Winter session is winding down. Having almost two months off school is both a blessing and a curse. If you keep busy, the weeks fly by and before you know it, you’re back on campus with a running start. However, if you don’t have plans lined up for the long winter months, seven weeks can feel like an eternity.

Thankfully, I learned my lesson freshman year and every winter session since then, I’ve chosen wisely and filled my time productively. {Freshman year winter session was crazy long!}

At the start of this much-needed break, I wrote out a list of things I wanted to accomplish before the spring semester began. I can’t have too much free time or else I’ll go completely insane and start creating lists {and Pinterest boards} for everything. I decided that when I wasn’t interning or working this winter, I would use my free time to tackle the list of “eventuallys.”

While creating the list back in December, I stuck to indoor tasks thinking snow would keep me stuck indoors. Obviously that hasn’t really been the case, but at least I was prepared! One might wonder what a “list of eventuallys” is; it is exactly that: a list of things I said I’d do, but never got around to. Some of the items were easy to accomplish, while others took some time to complete.

I proclaimed January the month of eventuallys and got to work. IMG_8855

I’m a huge reader… when I have time. During the semester, I don’t prioritize “fun reading,” because of homework assignments and school-related things. Lately, there have been several books I’ve wanted to read, including Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Bossypants by Tina Fey. Light reading, yes, but books I wanted to read nonetheless. I found Bossypants and Gone Girl at Goodwill for $1 each (no lie!), so those were no-brainers to buy. I received Yes Please for Christmas, so I was excited about that. Those are just three of the books I read this winter, but they’re all amazing and I highly recommend them.

IMG_8721Another “eventually” was to deep clean my entire computer, which consisted of erasing all unnecessary files, deleting duplicate pictures, organizing documents into folders and creating an extensive online writing portfolio (you can sneak a peak at a very similar one here). It amazed me how much space I was wasting just by saving random word documents from high school. I must’ve been a hoarder in my past life, because as much as I love to stay organized, I keep way too much unnecessary stuff– emails and word documents being two of them, apparently.

A few other items checked off are: create several versions of my resume, complete my LinkedIn profile, order business cards, revamp sections of my blog, apply to several big-girl jobs, finally watch the movie Grease, catch up on “How To Get Away With Murder,” meet with several professional mentors, guest blog for another blog, host a guest blogger, complete taxes (wooooo) and prepare social media plans for the spring semester.

I still have a week and a half left of winter session before life picks back up. I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. It’s been great to intern, work and organize my life, don’t get me wrong. However, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m ready for classes and exams again {am I insane?!}. Plus, this is my last semester of school ever {uh, what?!} so I’me excited to see what it will bring.

What about you? What types of items are on your list of eventuallys?

2015: The Year Of Three Words

2015. It’s finally here.

Day 5 and I’ve already done this multiple times: 201415

In the past, I have begun each year with a list of resolutions. Doesn’t everyone? A list of tasks, goals, and dreams I believe would make me a better person. A more well-rounded individual.

Read more. Run more. Write more. Laugh more.

This year is different. 2015 crept up on me. No list was created.

The other day, I read this post by a blogger I follow, Jessica Lawlor. In it, she explains three words she wants to focus on for the new year: light, possibility and choice. She goes on to dig deeper into why she chose each word and that got me thinking.

Instead of writing a list of tasks, I, too, would choose three words.

Three themes of 2015.

I am excited to see what 2015 holds and will use these three words to help guide me through the journey:  Slide1

1. First. 2015 will be the year of firsts. The first time I graduate college. The first time I start a real-world job. The first time I don’t go back to school in the fall. But what else? Yes, I will approach several key milestones this year, but I think 2015 has more in store than that. I resolve to look for other firsts this year, to not be afraid of opportunity because it’s new. To experience life through the lens of adventure and transition. To look at 2015 as a year of awesomeness even if I don’t know how yet.

2. Risk. Similar to “first,” the second word I choose is “risk.” With a year of firsts also comes the risk of the unknown. A set of adventures waiting ahead with endless possibilities. A planner and organizer at heart, I am also an adventurer. (I said that here.) Adventurers take risks. Adventurers don’t back down from challenges. A few months ago, I wrote a post discussing a few tips for Type-A Adventures like myself. Risk is inevitable and can sometimes be confused with lack of thought. “Oh, that was risky.” “I took a risk and now I regret it.” In 2015, I want to take risks and step outside of my comfort zone, but don’t mistake that for stupidity. You can take risks and be smart at the same time. Risk is inevitable, but I’m ready for it.

3. Joy. Different than “happiness,” I choose “joy.” Happiness is temporary and circumstantial. Joy is a mindset. Through the little things, I yearn to discover the joy. I’ve discussed the idea of joy before, and I want to continue this through 2015. With a year of risks and firsts, it may sometimes be a challenge to find the good. Choose joy and keeping choosing it — that’s what I want to do. Instead of “I have to …”, replace it with “I get to…” Changes the perspective, doesn’t it? A mindset makes all the difference. Through every situation, good or bad, I aim to focus on the joy of it all.

So those are my three words for 2015.

2015 is another adventure, I can feel it. I’m excited for it. Ready.

A year of firsts, risks and joys.

A year of three words.

Let’s do this thing.