Eye on the prize

Hello peeps. I woke up to an alarming alarm at 4am to jump on a conference call… to have it rescheduled.

This is fine, because now I write.

I was thinking about a topic yesterday that I wanted to share with all of you. Last night, between attempting to go to the gym again after a year hiatus, and prepping for said conference call, I didn’t have the time to sit down and write it out for ten minutes. There’s nothing I despise more (actually there are probably a lot of things) than not being able to write when I need to, so maybe the reschedule this morning was a blessing in disguise.

Alright, long intro over.

 

I am working toward a hefty goal right now, one that I have always seen as just out of my reach. I finally ripped the bandaid about three months ago and have been working hard ever since.

I’ve learned an insane amount of lessons along the way, but there is one I would like to touch on today.

Keep your eye on the prize.

As we progress on our life’s path, as we discover more about who we are and what we want, we are presented with options. And while we are immensely lucky for that, it also creates a burden which we carry, wondering what choice to make and what road to take.

Within these three months of finally admitting what I want to do, many opportunities have popped up in front of me. Each time, it is difficult to say no, because, these are great opportunities… and what if I pass up a wonderful life?

What’s important to remember here is that, eventually, you do need to choose, at least for right now — at least for next.

But nothing is absolute. Nothing is forever.

One of my greatest fears is that my deepest dreams and desires won’t bring me happiness. I saw this when I finally achieved a six pack and size 2. Guess what? I wasn’t happy. I thought that is what I wanted… what if that happened again?

And so I worried about making a choice and going for what I want. I worried about passing up the opportunities in front of me — worried that I will always want more, that I will never be content.

But the truth is, if what you want is deeper than materials, if what you want is ingrained within the core of who you are — you won’t be happy until you try.

So maybe it won’t bring me happiness. Maybe I will pass up a wonderful life. Maybe I’ll get there and think, wow, what else is there?

But if I don’t at least put myself out there, I will wonder. If I don’t at least jump, I will never even give myself the chance to fall… and I need that chance. I need to fall. I need to rise again.

So, at some point, you must choose a path, always remembering it is not forever.

You must choose a path, and you must choose the one you want. You must choose the one that keeps you up at night. The one that, when you get just a taste, makes you shake with excitement and gives you butterflies deep in your gut.

The one that scares the shit out of you, the one that won’t be easy.

The one that you truly, truly, want.

Keep your eye on the prize.

Opportunities will come your way. Options will be placed before you. Decisions will need to be made.

If you’re working hard, you have a good foundation of experience, and you know what you want — don’t be afraid to pass up those opportunities. Don’t be afraid to dismiss options. Don’t be afraid to make decisions.

I have learned to say no this year. I have learned to walk away from great opportunities and wonderful experiences. Not because I am ungrateful or feel above them, but because I am opening the door to the possibilities of what I truly desire.

If you are following your dreams, if you are switching life paths, or even, if you are on a quest to better yourself in any aspect of life — remember that there are always distractions. There are always other options. There are always other paths.

Keep your eye on the prize. Your dream life isn’t going to appear tomorrow, but you could get one step closer, you could give yourself a little taste.

Put your blinders on. Quit staring at others and wondering if your road is the right one to take.

Just take it.

Enjoy it.

Claim your prize.

 

 

 

This passage sheds light on one of my deepest sources of internal conflict, and one of my deepest fears. Make a choice, realize that you do not need to choose just one your whole life… and most importantly, don’t let your figs die.

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My Battle With

I remember when I went to the dentist, a mere two weeks after the end of my training plan, when I was, the smallest and most muscular I had ever been. I had probably gained, like, a pound of water weight… or something. My dentist asked me how training was, and I said, “well, I’m not doing that anymore… obviously,” as I made a hand gesture toward my body. As if, OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t training anymore, because, look at me. GOD BLESS the dentist because if I had been them I would have been like, “WTF are you talking about? You’re annoying. Stop.”

It pains me that I thought this way, it pains me that it constrained so much of my life, so much of my happiness and openness to connection and love. 

 

I haven’t come clean about this yet. And, I can’t seem to get passed things until I write about them. What’s more, I can’t seem to get passed things until I share them.

So here we are.

I have struggled, for the past five years or so, with an eating disorder.

An eating disorder that eventually led to intense anxiety, depression… super effing fun stuff that I’m SUPER stoked to talk about.

I’ve been able to put on a brave face, throughout most of it, but I think the worst of it came this year.

This year, everything got to it’s worst. This year, I realized I was a walking self-deprecation – oozing the need for self-love and self-acceptance out of my pores.

Sound fun to be around?

Yeah… no.

Five-ish years ago, I became obsessed with how I looked. Though, I never really understood the fact that you actually could eat AND be fit and healthy. I was never overweight, though in my mind, I was. I saw myself different than others. The mirror tricked me – my own eyes tricked me – into seeing myself in a different light.

Every time I hung out with anyone, a comment needed to be made about my weight or food or fitness. Every time I ate off track I decided that “tomorrow” I was going to start a better lifestyle.

This, as most things do, escalated. It escalated slowly, as I was still in school and a bit preoccupied with figuring out my life and being social and working and getting a “real” job. But, nonetheless, it escalated.

Slowly, but surely, it became an obsession. When I had to “re-brand” myself and get serious about my career, when I had to become perfect in every way in order to be the badass career woman I wanted to become, it escalated fast. Why? It fed my need to be perfect. It fit in seamlessly with wanting to be organized in every way. If I ate the correctly planned meals, and followed the correctly planned schedule, I would be perfect.

Surprise, surprise…

I wasn’t.

As I started to figure out what to do with my life, as I began to carry the insane pressure of adulthood and the pressures which I put on myself – I freaked.

My obsession with my looks and food started to takeover.

I remember every comment ever made regarding my weight – positive and negative. I remember every comment made about my friend’s weight, my family’s weight, an acquaintance’s food intake, someone’s workout schedule.

I remember it all.

I didn’t look forward to trips, because of what I thought I looked like. I obsessed over it each and every day. I can’t really fully explain how much of my life it took over, because the magnitude is too great.

Here is what I dealt with, because, looking at me, you definitely wouldn’t think I had an ED.

That’s because my struggle is different than the ones that result in skin and bones.

My struggle results, actually, in weight gain.

I had never truly gained weight (other than the freshman 10 or so via alcohol and many-a-fun nights), until I started obsessing over it. I had never really had trouble fitting into clothes or obsessing over nutrition and diet until it overtook my mind.

So, as much as it still pains me to say this, I would overeat, in my mind saying, “I’m starting tomorrow.” Then, I would go on a crash diet for almost a week, just to do it again. For awhile, this wasn’t a huge issue. Maybe a little bit of weight fluctuation, but never anything drastic.

But again, as I navigated the world of adulthood and dreams, it got worse. As I strived for the perfection I once knew as a ballerina, it got worse. As I tried to live up to what I thought others expected of me, it got worse.

This is when my anxiety hit. I went to the ER for an anxiety attack, I had different bouts of freak outs, I couldn’t go a day without checking in with my calendar, schedule, and much too detailed of days (I’m talking to-do lists of normal things you should just know to do… because, perfect people don’t forget to take out their garbage, they just don’t).

So, finally, I decided to do something about it.

I entered a NPC competition. For those of you that don’t know, NPC competitions are those things where you eat on an alarm clock, weigh your food, workout multiple times a day, and then get a spray tan and walk on stage in a bikini to strut your stuff.

It was a great experience, and boy did I see results.

But here was the big problem with this strategy.

I wasn’t learning balance.

In fact, I was learning the opposite.

I’m not convinced that someone that was obsessed with food, their body, and everything else in that realm, should enter a competition where ALL they think about is what they look like, what they weigh, what and when they’re eating, and if they’re small enough to be on stage with the other girls.

Now, I really am not hating on this sport. It honestly was a great experience and if you are in the mental space to do it, I fully support that. I would just think carefully before immersing yourself in the experience.

Back to my story. I was in the final days of training, and I had a six pack. Like, a six pack.

But guess what?

I still thought I wasn’t good enough. I still thought I was “gross,” had more to lose, wasn’t worthy of the competition, love, or anything else.

I look back on pictures I took then, checking my progress as I did every day, and it breaks my heart to know that the person inside that chiseled body was so broken – still dreaming of the day she would be “perfect.” Actually, it breaks my heart to look at photos of the girl I was even two years ago, to know she was constantly worried about her appearance, constantly shaming herself and making comments so that “other people would know she knew she was…’fat.'”

It truly breaks my heart.

Now, toward the end of my training, a couple things happened that broke my confidence in half like a piece of firewood being chopped in two. You’ll read about this later, in my book, perhaps, but for now, just know I lost a lot of myself toward the end of this training. I became a walking ball of shame.

And what happened next, well, it wasn’t good.

I stopped training due to the broken confidence. And, within the first week of being off my perfectly crafted and weighed food plan, I was terrified of food.

I ate less than I had been in the final days of training (which by the way is NOT much). I was scared to eat too much or too little, since I had been on the perfect plan for so long, and I had worked so hard to get here. I thought I needed to lose more, still, even though there was really nothing to lose.

I should have known right then and there that I was headed down the path of self-destruction.

My confidence was broken. All I knew of the past four years was being obsessed with food and body image, crash/binge diet patterns, and weighing my meals to perfection (and eating on an alarm clock). I was terrified of food, again.

I was walking in shame.

And so, as you can imagine, I launched, hard, I might add, into my old habits.

Crashing, binging. Crashing, binging. Crashing, binging.

I stopped training. I isolated myself. I had forgotten how to truly socialize after a summer of no drinking and not being my once fun and carefree self. I stopped seeing my friends at the gym. My anxiety got worse, and worse, and worse. I was constantly ashamed which led me to my bad habits time and time again. I thought I was huge. I got depressed, and depressed, and depressed.

And I gained weight, and more weight, and more weight.

And I got more depressed, and depressed, and depressed.

I became out of control. Using food as my best friend and my worst enemy. My vice was food, rather than alcohol or drugs or gambling or whatever else people turn to, because, it numbed the pain I felt being so alone and trapped in a world where I wanted everything to be perfect yet didn’t know where to turn or how to get there.

I constantly tried to put myself back on eating plans. I watched my anxiety spike to insane levels. I felt the pain of years of not letting intimacy into my life due to body image problems and never feeling I was enough.

I wondered why I wasn’t normal. I wanted out of my own head.

Everything crumbled down on me, all at once.

And I let it.

It took me a long time to figure out what was happening, to realize what I was doing to myself.

Looking back, it sucks, you know, because I’m not stupid. I understand that eating well and working out and balance would solve all of this. I understand I have a great life and am extremely blessed. Believe me, I understand all of that.

But my need to be perfect was stronger than my understanding. My need to be perfect killed me, slowly, and then all at once.

I ridiculed myself over not being able to figure this out. I hated myself for what and who I had become. I despised the fact that I wanted to be a blogger. I hated my dreams and my big heart. I simply hated myself.

I didn’t appreciate anything. I couldn’t find happiness in anything. This had never been me, what was happening?

I felt out of control.

My need for perfection was what caused me to become the worst version of myself, rather than the best.

Funny how that works. Funny how, your greatest desire can be what ultimately pulls you  the farthest from it, if you don’t choose your desire carefully.

My need for perfection was stronger than who I had been my whole life.

But it’s not anymore.

It has taken me half of a year to overcome this, and I’m not there yet. Because, simply realizing and being honest about what is going on does not mean you are better.

It means you’re just getting started.

Your demons have been battling you for, in my case, years. And they have been, especially in your darkest moments, winning. They have been getting stronger, while you haven’t realized you even have the option of fighting back.

Now, you are stepping into battle, and you are weak.

The thing to know here, though, is that you are so much stronger than your demons will ever be.

And that is why you will win the war.

As long as you keep fighting.

So, my friends, my war is not over. No, not even close.

But I’m showing up to battle, I’m not staying home.

I have found peace in this mess, because I know now that I needed to get to the lowest of my lows in order to truly get passed this part of my life. I needed to try a crazy training plan, go through more crashing and binging, and all of the above, in order to let go of this part of my mind once and for all – to learn balance once and for all. I needed this to happen, so that I could live freely for the rest of my life – so I could free myself from myself and let go of my idea of perfection.

I often wonder where I would be today had my confidence not been crushed toward the end of my training. But I realize now that it doesn’t matter. Because my mind was still playing it’s tricks. I still didn’t believe I was enough. I still didn’t like myself, to the core of who I was.

And that’s what I needed to fix.

That’s why all of this happened.

 

 

The other day, I tried to, yet again, put myself on an eating plan and workout regimen. Because I want #results. But then I asked myself a question, and where it came from I don’t know.

The conversation I had with myself went a little something like this:

“Do you want to be the girl that eats six perfect meals a day and has one cheat a week and counts macros? Or do you want to be the girl that eats nourishing food when she is hungry, lives for the moments and not the food, works out to feel good, and doesn’t obsess? Either one is OK – but which one do you want to be? Which one are you?”

I realized, then and there, that I wanted to be the latter. Now, some people live like the first option, and are perfectly happy. I am ALL FOR THAT if that’s what fuels you, but, because of my mental health and what makes me, me – I knew that that path wasn’t mine to take.

I want to be the girl that is carefree. I want to be the girl that loves herself. I want to be the girl that let’s go of perfect plans and perfect looks. I want to be the girl that people want to be around. I want to be the girl I was.

That’s the girl I want to be.

For a long time, I used the fact that I had been dealing with this, severely, for a year, and before that, for about four, as my excuse. “This isn’t easy to get over when these habits and limiting ways of thinking have become so ingrained,” I would say.

And it’s not. It’s not easy, and it’s not supposed to be.

But the truth is, I was better longer than I wasn’t. I was carefree and myself longer than I wasn’t.

I loved myself longer than I didn’t.

The girl that is stronger than this, she is me.

She is in there, begging to come out.

And I just need to let her.

Things are meant to work out in life, and I just need to let them.

I need to get over this for the people I’m trying to inspire to live their best lives, because who am I if I’m not? I need to get over this for my friends, my family – the people I have yet to meet. I need to get over this for my readers, for my little sister, for the kids I might one day call my own. I need to get over this for the man I might one day meet.

I need to get over this for me.

 

Tears streamed down my face as I wrote those last lines. Writing is therapy for me, where I learn what I need to do and what steps I need to take to grow. It’s hard to come to the realization that you are your own worst enemy and that you are the reason your way of being has become the way it has.

But how lucky am I that I get to realize this?

Pretty f***ing lucky.

As with anything in life, there are many factors to something like this. There are many different facets of life, events, and everything in between that contribute to different hardships. I obviously have not gone into all of it here, because I’m saving that for my book (wink wink), plus, I’m just emotionally and physically (carpel tunnel?) drained at the moment.

But I do want to say this: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry to the friends that wondered why I cancelled plans. I’m sorry to the people that watched me change my attitude and way of being. I’m sorry to anyone that was ever hurt as I tried to figure out my path. I’m sorry to everyone on the other end of the line when I freaked out and cried over my own wrongdoings. I’m sorry if I made you question your appearances or health choices through my own insecurity and obsession. I’m sorry if I changed your way of thinking to the wrong one.

I’m sorry for the things I have yet to do – the things I might do as I continue to battle this every day.

But mostly, I want to say this: thank you.

Thank you for being there for me, even when I was a flake or not the same. Thank you for continuing to hang out with me even when I self-deprecated or wouldn’t let go. Thank you for texting me back about the same issue time and time again, when I’m certain you were exhausted from the same discussion. Thank you for forgiving me when I couldn’t forgive myself. Thank you for everything. Thank you for being you.

Thank you. Just, thank you.

I hope I can continue to do right by you, all of you.

And with that, I wrap up this extremely intense post. I apologize for the heaviness here, but this is one that needed to be written.

I forgive myself, I own this, and with all of that, I now move forward.

I love you all, and I’ll write some more sarcastic, fun pieces coming up. So please, stick with me.

Peace out ma homies,

Stasia

Storm before the calm

I’m working on some major changes in my life, and some that really scare me.

However, they are also what I’ve always wanted.

And that’s what makes them scary. Because, what if I fail?

What if it doesn’t work? What if I didn’t think this through? What if I didn’t do this at the right time? What if I was too impatient? What if I thought the grass was greener? What if I can’t do it?

And, the scariest question of them all, what if, this thing I have wanted for my whole life, what if it doesn’t bring me happiness at all? What if I’m constantly yearning for the next thing, constantly searching for something more?

These fears race through my head every once and awhile, threatening my decisions and my progress. Often, I give in. I give in to the fear, deciding I “want to do something else” that’s a bit easier – a bit safer. I give in to the stories I’m telling myself, thinking, “I failed today, I’ll start tomorrow,” or, “I can’t do this, I’m changing course.”

And there will still be days when I shift. There will still be days when I feel lost – forgetting my name, my favorite color, and who I am, to the core.

But more than that, there will be days that I don’t give in. There will be days that I say, “Yes, this is hard. Yes, this is confusing. Yes, I am going to do it anyway.”

Because this is what separates me from my old self. This is what separates me from playing the victim – the one that thought the world happened to her, rather than being the girl that happened to the world.

I’m changing the stories I’m telling myself.

I’m changing the stories I’m telling myself about who I am and what I am capable of.

I have decided to make this change in my life, and as I have done so, not everything has fallen into place perfectly. Some things are conspiring in my favor, sure, but some things simply are not.

And that’s okay.

I will not give in.

Because these tests, I will pass. These situations, I will figure out. These weaknesses in the plan, I will overcome through strength.

Going for what you want and having everything work out as planned are not the same thing. In fact, they rarely are. Going for what you want means doing it even when your plan isn’t perfectly penciled in.

So I am going to push, and I hope you do too. Because I am not a victim to obstacles outside of my control, I am not a victim of my own self-sabatoge – I am simply not a victim.

Because I want this. So I’m going to do this.

And I’m so lucky that I have the option.

No matter when you decide to follow your heart, life will happen.

There is never a good time.

Be grateful you have the opportunity to listen to your soul. If you have the ability to follow your gut – do so. And most importantly, have faith that it will all work out in the end, because somehow, it always does.

Vision

Vision. Dreams. Goals.

An extraordinary life.

As we step into the new year, it is important to think about what you want from life.

Damn, that’s a bit huge for some simple resolutions, wouldn’t you say?

Not really.

Why is this?

Because to me, goals are the most meaningful and create the most impact, if you know why you are pursuing them.

What’s your vision statement?

I think with the need for titles, building our resumes, and looking good on paper, we forget that while all of that is great – living a meaningful life – one that we can be proud of, is even better.

As I set my goals, some large, some small – it is important to me that I remain in line with my vision, my purpose – my “why.”

Ex: Losing weight to lose weight isn’t nearly as meaningful as losing weight to be healthy and at peace with myself, in order to inspire others to live their best lives and do the same.

See that?

 

It additionally relieves the pressure of the demands of time and achieving quickly.

Ex: Why do I want to continue to pursue my career path? (Other than the fact that I love my people) so that eventually, one day, I can own my own business and work for myself. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not even in ten years, but one day.

And that makes all the days before that worth it, because I am slowly but surely moving toward the end game.

And what’s the best part of this? Your vision, your goals, your dreams – they can change at any moment, any day, any year.

And that’s totally okay.

This was pretty brief, mostly because if you’re still reading you’re probably also now over me, but if you want to dive a little bit more into what this means, what your vision or “why” is, or anything of the nature – feel free to chat with me on the subject (literally slide into my dm’s).

Cheers, beezzes.

 

Health and Fitness Tips, Like, For Real

Hi guys! A friend recently asked me to help her out with her health and fitness (because of my social posts from this summer when I was going HARD).

I put something together for her, and in all honesty, it helped me more than I ever thought possible.

Why is this? Because, in all candidness, I have totally fallen off the wagon! After having done something so extreme, I kind of catapulted into an unhealthy lifestyle and incorporated too much of the foods I had wanted for so long, going back to my bad body image/mental issues and not taking care of myself — physically or mentally. I’ve still been working out to maintain muscle, however my confidence has declined dramatically, and you feel SO much better when you put good foods into your body.

However disappointing, I am choosing to NOT beat myself up and instead, learn from this experience and the fact that I never want to do it again (your own worst enemy, ya know).

So, here is a very attainable and realistic look into my tips for fitness. This incorporates a lot of the strict aspects of my ten week journey to a six pack, but also incorporates that little thing we call “life” (I love partying with my friends, because, duh).

  1. Focus on performance over looks. Care more that you did a level 8 on the stair master than the fact that you dropped a pant size. Focus more on the fact that you feel amazing than on the fact that you are taking more time than you want to tangibly see change. This is something I didn’t do, because I was training for a bikini competition, and it broke me. So just focus on feeling amazing and improving your strength/endurance! So much more fun anyway.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or eat too much of something. Seriously, don’t. And don’t over-stress about what or when you are eating – obsessing over it is usually a problem in itself (that’s how I gain weight honestly). Eat when you are hungry, eat small portions, eat real and whole foods. THAT is how you sustain for your whole life instead of three months. Now, this obviously doesn’t apply to those that want to make fitness and health a MAJOR part of their lives, because weighing your food and eating every 2-3 hours does work, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not something I personally want to carry on with forever.
  3. Don’t think of it as a burden or something that is taking time, but more of something that is actually freeing you up! You now know you’re doing what you can to reach your goals and feel better, and you actually save money and time by not cooking random things and eating out so much. This is not a burden, this is something you can control that is helping you in all other parts of your life.
  4. Don’t be intimidated. Workouts can be an hour or even shorter if needed. And meal prepping really doesn’t take more than a couple hours. Change the schedule up however you need! (Meal prep Monday and Friday, rest Wednesday, whatever works best for you). And if you don’t want to meal prep because you enjoy cooking, enjoy that time with loved ones – or simply don’t want to, that’s okay! Just know what to eat when you are out or what recipe websites to use on the fly. Do this how it works for you, so important.
  5. Take one day off a week. The rest of the days, make sure you move. And when I say move, I mean combine resistance training with cardio. And do something you actually enjoy.
  6. Time. There is never a good time. I hear people all the time. “Well it’s Christmas. It’s my birthday. It’s the summer.” That’s the thing. If you’re living life the RIGHT way, there will always be something fun standing in your way. It’s about learning how to incorporate those things into your lifestyle, not taking them out completely. And if you do need to, stop saying you can’t. I went the entire summer (including going to Night in the Country – a festival centered around country music and drinking) without drinking alcohol or going off my food plan. It can be done, it’s just, do you want to do it?
  7. Basically: Eat whole and real foods. Workout every day. Drink lots of water. Sleep.

Enemies

There are many mantras in which to live your life. Many quotes, many philosophies, many values, many “whys.”

I’ve unlocked a lot of these. Defined my own and what is true to me.

But I was missing something.

Because, though I had defined the reason I continue to work every day, the values by which I strive to live, and the few quotes which help me to remember the kind of life I want to live—I still felt stuck.

I felt trapped in my head, unable to attain certain things—unable to allow myself freedom, vulnerability, and a sense of, to be completely honest, not giving a shit.

It happened over Thanksgiving, over a talk with my dad.

“The only thing you have going against you is yourself.”

What. A. Wake up. Call.

It was in that moment that I realized that truly, the only thing I didn’t have going in my favor, was me.

How dumb is that?

I was the reason I didn’t have confidence in myself for professional endeavors. I was the reason I was self-conscious about different factors in my life. I was the reason I failed to accomplish certain goals. I was the reason I felt stuck in a world of immense opportunity.

Your only enemies are your own excuses.

Your only enemy, is yourself.

Because, though life throws you some shit sometimes, you have the choice to handle it a certain way. You have the choice to do things that make you happy, that honor your goals, dreams, and overall happiness and well-being.

Sometimes, we feel stuck. And sometimes, all we have to do is set ourselves free.

dreams or whatever

I used to always believe the grass was much greener [on the other side].

I dreamed of city views and world travels. Of published books and signed contracts.

And yes, I still have my dreams.

But they’re different now.

It’s odd to me, that often we think we want a certain thing, yet then when it is finally right under our nose, we look away.

We realize that we are actually pretty happy with the life we have built. We realize that we might not be ready to walk away just yet.

We realize that while we agonized over what could be, we forgot about what was—and how great it truly is.

It’s okay to be happy.

It’s okay to feel good about where you are in life. To relish in the moment and enjoy the process of growth.

Being happy, and being stagnant are not the same thing.

Yes, your dreams should scare you a bit. You know, “your dreams aren’t big enough if they don’t scare you.”

But I propose something a bit different.

Your dreams are your own. Your dreams are as big as you want to make them. And really, no dream is bigger than the next—because it’s all about perception. To one, owning a house in a small town is a big dream. To another, making it to the Today Show is a big dream. To another yet, changing one life for the better is the biggest dream of them all.

You see, it’s not about what your dream is. It’s about the dreaming itself.

And as we change, so do our dreams.

And as we dream, we learn to love our lives as they currently are—as they are currently setting us up to be.

I hope you never stop dreaming. I hope you realize that your dreams are enough. I hope you allow your dreams to change.

I hope you realize how amazing your life is, right now, today.

I hope you let yourself be happy. You free yourself from your own misconceptions of a “better” life.

I hope you work toward something, whether it be big or small, and realize that the working, well, that might enough.

12 things in 2016

Wow.

What a year #amiright.

I have learned a lot this year. I have been through some internal struggles. I have met some serious goals. I have failed more.

Was it the best year of my life? I wouldn’t say so. Was it probably the most pivotal? I dare to say yes.

In 2016, I have been promoted, moved apartments, completed a fitness regimen, cut all my hair off, went on some amazing trips, made friends, maintained friends, become closer with my younger sister (stoked on that), gotten back to my roots, and bought a car.

Those would be the major good things I can think of.

What else have I done?

I’ve been “down in the dumps.” I’ve had rough days. I’ve forgotten gratitude more than once. I’ve gotten my hopes up, only to be let down. I’ve proclaimed “what I want to do with my life” thirty times, only to realize it’s not what I want at all. I’ve had my lonely days.

So, it’s been a lot of ups and downs. It’s been a lot of good, and some, well, not so good.

But here’s the thing.

I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I’m alive to tell the tale.

I’m pretty fucking lucky, actually.

A lot luckier than most.

It’s hard to remember that every single day. It’s hard to remember that even if you messed up a goal or you don’t know where to turn, you are LUCKY to even have the chance to start over. To have the chance to ponder your goals and dreams, even if you don’t know what the hell they are.

Here is what I learned from this year, and it honestly took me the ENTIRE year up until about a week ago to come out with these lessons.

I hope to never forget them again (though I know I will, which is why I love this archived blog).

You don’t have to be perfect.

Oh, you don’t? God, no. I spent so much of this year planning. How do be the perfect version of myself, the best. How to live perfect days and be a perfect way. Seriously, so unattainable, so boring. I’d rather have my days where I eat a slice of pizza, drink a beer, and watch bad TV then ONLY focus on meditating and reading prolific books. Which leads me to my next point.

Balance is actually the key. 

I suck at this. Like literally suck. I’m an all or nothing person. And guess where this usually leaves me? NOT attaining my goals. Or at least abandoning them shortly after attaining them. It’s all about balance. Goals are great, living your life and remembering what matters is also great. Learn that, learn how to live.

Not everything belongs in your schedule.

Yeah, so… additionally suck at this. Not everything needs to be penciled in. Sometimes it’s about drinking 9 glasses of wine and hating your life the next day – all unscheduled.

Learn what makes you happy, and follow that. You are the only thing standing in your way. 

I was feeling down for about a week. I was pointing to everything under the sun for why I might be feeling that way. I went to the gym (for the first time that week) – and bam, I felt mostly better. I KNOW that going to the gym and eating healthy helps me to feel better about life in general. So why wouldn’t I do it? Your only enemies in life, are your own excuses.

Loneliness is an option. Let others in and have faith that they will understand.

I often spend time alone. Which is okay. However, being alone and being lonely are two different things. While wrapped up inside my own head, I often think no one will understand what I’m going through, no one will be able to help. Wrong. Give your loved ones the benefit of the doubt and let them try to understand. More often than not, they’ll give you some wisdom.

People are all that matter.

Refer to above. The people you love both old and new – that’s all life is about. I promise.

Learning to love where you are, right now, today, is the only way your goals will come to fruition and you won’t be miserable along the way. 

If you want to lose weight because you hate yourself today, you aren’t going to. If you want to lose weight because you care about how you feel and honoring the already awesome person you are – and understand that every single day you take a step forward you are one step closer and one step better – then you will reach your goals.

Dreams change, and that’s perfectly okay. 

I thought I wanted something my whole life. Turns out, I’m not so sure anymore. Dreams changing IS NOT THE SAME THING as giving up on dreams. That is important to remember.

It’s about the cup of crappy coffee, not the venti frap. 

It’s about the experience, not the extravagance. That’s all.

Overthinking kills. Life is actually pretty simple.

Want something? Work toward it. Unhappy with something? Change it. Regret something? Move forward. Think people are judging you? Stop caring.

Do your best and do what makes you happy. Way more simple than I tend to make it.

Focus on how you feel.

Consider measuring your success on your eagerness to jump out of bed every morning, your willingness to continue to work after a long day, your overall feeling of wellness rather than by crossing things off of a list. Life is about feeling great. It’s not about looking great, having a great house, having a great title. Focus on how you feel, and I guarantee those things will come, though.

Learn your whys.

Goals don’t matter unless you know why you want them. I have a few goals I’m working toward right now. My reasoning? 1. To live my why (to inspire others to their maximum potential and best lives). 2. To be happy. 3. To live my life in my own way. 4. To become at peace with myself.

These “whys” are huge. DUH I want to work toward mini-goals that contribute to those overall.

Who wouldn’t?

Alright folks that’s all I have for 2016. Good luck in the new year!

Wait, plot twist: here’s a 13th:

STOP CARING WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO.

Do you know how many people make fun of me for writing this blog? For doing pretty much everything I do? Many. I stopped caring, and they stopped bothering me. Literally just do your thing! (Highly recommend Do My Thang by Miley if you need a pump up jam in the morning).

Blog dat

My sister told me to “blog that shit” in regards to the recent trip I took home to Montana.

So here we are.

I’ve been back home in my routine for almost a week now, so details have since passed. And so, I will give you the 9 things you must understand, in order to even break the surface of trying to understand the Warren family based in Missoula, MT.

1. We don’t streamline processes.

Be it a conversation, a trip to the grocery store, a family outing to a basketball game – we generally make things more difficult than they should be. If I were to come into my family as a business coach, I would immediately streamline our internal processes, providing a more efficient and cost-effective approach. So, are we efficient? No. But are we fun? Yes.

2. Something must always go “wrong.”

“Wrong” is in quotes, because with our “life is an adventure” attitude, the things that go wrong, are not really wrong…because we easily brush them off. Example: we went tree hunting this trip in the freezing cold of Montana. As we were all talking over each other and getting nowhere in conversation (refer to number one), the window of the truck broke and would not go back up (why was it even down you might ask? Again, refer to number one). “Welp, there goes the window,” as Bill said. We all laughed, zipped up our jackets, and prepared for a freezing drive back home.

3. We literally all have opposite personalities.

That’s all.

4. We like Hallmark movies.

We’ll pretend we don’t (except Cath who owns it), but Hallmark is literally on every night. Cheesy movies are our jam. Just ask Mariel.

5. We are centered around hard work, a humble lifestyle, and family values.

On a serious note, we are a small business owner-minded family that works hard, lives within our means, stays grateful and humble, and truly values our experiences more than extravagance. Solid group of people in my opinion, but that’s prob biased or something.

6. We love our dog.

Dodger is like the king of the house. They’ll deny it, but it’s the truth.

7. Due to our competitive nature, things can go from good to bad real quick.

Apples to apples usually ends in an argument. Enough said.

8. We are freaks.

So weird. So odd. So random. But I would say this is all in a good way… usually.

9. In the end, we are happy to be us.

We’re lucky, blessed, grateful, and we love each other. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

path

The only thing that matters, truly, is the journey.

The why you are doing what you are doing. The good days and the days your tire goes flat. The two glasses of wine that turn into 17 with great friends. The weekends you spend with your family, the weekends you need to get away. The minutes spent agonizing over your bills, the minutes spent doing what you love.

This is what counts.

Everything.

We are, as humans, prone to comparison. We are prone to wanting more. We are prone to forgetting to realize that the journey itself, is actually our life.

The days and tasks spent building up to something great are just as, if not more important, than the days after you have arrived.

And I think too often we forget that.

I recently discussed my hopes for my future with my mom. Though as I spoke, my dreams felt so far away, so unattainable and hopeless – I was wrong (shocker).

After hearing what I wanted to do, she said, “well, aren’t you on the path toward that right now? I’m not understanding the problem?”

LOL.

Oops.

I had forgotten that while I am not there yet, I am on the right road.

I had forgotten that I am creating that future each and every day that I live an “ordinary” life.

I had forgotten that truly, it’s not about the end-game. It’s about the game itself.

It’s about the journey itself.

It’s NOT about what you see others doing, what you think is someone’s perfect life (newsflash, it rarely is).

Who gives a blank what everyone else is doing.

It’s about YOUR path. YOUR future. YOUR life.

TBH, life would be lame if I could live my dream, own my dream car and house, meet my dream guy, etc. etc. etc. – right this second.

To me, results are less meaningful if there is no hard work and struggle behind them. Think weight loss, promotions, big purchases. You had to work to get there, making it all the more awesome upon attainment.

So actually, I’m HAPPY I’m not living my picture perfect life today.

Because I think I like my slightly messy picture even better.

I’ll take working hard, appreciating what I have, and slowly but surely creating a life around me any day of the week.