New Discoveries

I stole this resolution from a friend of mine. Not this year, but from a couple of years ago. She decided to try to do one new thing every week, and I decided to join her in it. We’d each suddenly lost someone very close to us a few months before (and a couple of weeks apart), and we wanted to live more fully in their honor, because you never know when you may not have the opportunity to do so.

 

2018 Goal_Do One New Thing Every Week

 

The new experience could be going to a new restaurant or trying a new activity or wander through a new town or anything in between. Just something that we hadn’t experienced before.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a routine, to forget to venture out of your comfort zone, and there’s so much you could be missing. Even if you try something and say, “Nope, not for me,” at least you’ve given it a try. You’ve expanded your horizons a little further each time. You’ve lived a little more fully.  And you may just find your new favorite cafe or discover a great new town or find that you really enjoy doing xyz activity.

So in 2018, I vow to experience one new thing each week, and will be posting it on Instagram and my personal twitter account with the hashtag #52in2018 (I also stole this from her and adapted it for this year). And to clarify, the 52 is for weeks in a year, not my age. I don’t have nearly the wisdom of a 52 year old, at least not yet! 🙂

To the friend that started this two years ago, thank you. You’re a beautiful and inspiring soul.

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Making New Connections

Goal Number 4: 

2018 Goal_Make One New Connection Every Day

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I’m an introvert, and a socially anxious one at that. It’s not that I have a difficult time talking with people. In fact, by virtue of my job/career I have to all the time. But I’m not a big small talker, as most introverts aren’t. I’ll exchange pleasantries because I have to, and because it’s the polite thing to do.  But I want real conversation. I want connection that means something. And I know there are others that feel the same way. Whether it’s because they’re introverted or socially anxious or feel that others don’t understand them because of an illness, or even just shy (I am not, but I can understand it). So whether it’s online or in person or a chance meeting, I want to make one new connection every day. It doesn’t even have to be someone I’ll regularly stay in contact with, or happen some grand moment. But it’s nice to connect with people, even if for a little bit. I want to offer that to others as much as I want to make it happen myself. Because as introverted as I am, it’s nice to feel like there are others, or at least someone else, who get you – even if just for a little while.

Everyday Inspiration

2018 Goal_Find Something Hopeful In

This is 2018 Goal number 3. Every day, I’m surrounded by people and life that inspires me. My friends’ hard work, big hearts, knowledge, perseverance. There stories that I hear of people overcoming major obstacles. There are children I know, who find the joy in even the tiniest thing. Who don’t worry about last month or next week, but are enjoying the moment. There’s my dog, who literally things every time she looks at myself or my husband is the best moment ever. Who is so excited for every meal, that’s the exact same kibble she’s gotten for the last 2.5 years, like it’s a giant steak that she may never get again. Running after a toy is the most fun thing in the world. Every time.

Often, I’m inspired by nature – the sun on a perfect cloudless day, making life just a little bit sweeter. The first signs of spring, the smell of rain, the vastness of an ocean or the peacefulness of the woods or a mountain. These calm me, help me think more clearly, make me feel hope even on the most difficult days.

I want to capture these moment. To take stock of them, revisit them when I need a little extra dose of inspiration, on those particularly rough days.

Today’s inspiration was simply a positive feeling. I woke up, worked out, meditated. I felt good. I told myself that today was the day to go after another of my 2018 goals: doing something every week that scares me. And I did it. It wasn’t anything major, simply an email that I really didn’t want to write because of where it could lead. But I knew I had to, and I did. It made me feel accomplished, despite being such a small task. So in a way, I suppose I was my own inspiration. Me, and the positive feeling that started off my day.

Facing My Fears

2018 Goal_ Do One Thing Every Week That Scares Me

This year, I’m going to try to face my fears. At least some of them. Maybe not quite the mountaineering kind illustrated above, but the smaller ones that are significantly more difficult to pinpoint. For instance, my overwhelming fear of making calls, especially to people I’m not close with/don’t know at all. Or my massive fear of failure and rejection at even the slightest thing – like, “Oh I’m afraid to cook this new meal because what if I do it badly and nobody likes it…” type of fears.  Despite knowing that whether or not someone likes the new dish I cooked doesn’t speak to who I am as a person, it sometimes feels like it does. Like it’s one more thing I’m not good at. So I need to get over that. Because there’s just as much chance they’ll like it… or at least some chance. And I’ll not know if I don’t give it a go. Plus, the more I avoid it, the more the fear builds. Often, the worst part is the anticipation, the what if. Rarely do little challenges like this turn out nearly as badly as I envision them.

So each week, I’m going to try to do one thing that scares me/makes me nervous or anxious, even if it’s minute. Because if you battle anxiety, you know that it doesn’t feel minute, even if you know logically that it isn’t going to make or break anything. Even if you know that by not doing it, you’re holding yourself back somehow.

This is the goal I am, as you’d expect, most anxious about. It’s forcing me out of my tiny comfort zone, which is exactly what it’s intended to do. But, naturally, that’s also what makes it a bit nerve wracking.

 

I Don’t Make Resolutions, But I Do Make Goals

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  I know myself too well for that, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Plus, most resolutions focus on one final end result, as opposed to behavior changes that could help you sustain this resolution. i.e. Say you want to lose 10 pounds. You could do this by crash/fad/unhealthy diet the last couple months of the year, or you can do this by positively making changes your eating/activity/other habits that will help you maintain the lower weight you hoped for.

So instead, I make goals. This year, I’m focusing on goals that will help me change specific habits, which I feel will help me get the most out of life, and enjoy life a little bit more, even on the toughest of days.  I’ll be posting each day on Instagram and Facebook each day as well.  I’ll try to explain them a little bit better here.

Goal 1

2018 Goal_ Ask for Help

Now, ask for help can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, and often, even to the same person depending on the situation. And I’m not above asking for help when it’s something that I know I can’t do, or something someone else can do much more easily without much effort expended (i.e. reach something on a top shelf, since I’m 5’0 in shoes).

Where I’m often bad at asking for help is bigger projects or commitments, when I think people will just say no. Or won’t respond. Or that I’m putting them in a bad spot by asking because they don’t have the time/energy/etc but feel bad saying no. Take Spread Hope Project for instance. I’ll put out a general, “Hey follow me on… like me on… here’s my blog link”. Or I’ll do a generic, “Anyone interested on helping? Any local businesses want to be part of a project?”. But I’m really not good at asking people, or local companies, or anyone else, directly.  I haven’t once reached out to those I love directly, individually, and said, “It would mean the world to me if you could post a few pics with #spreadhopeproject tagged. Or if you would buy a shirt and post with it. I know it’s money, but there’s a sale for 40% off right now so it wouldn’t be too much.”

Even writing those words above, I feel like I’m putting people on the spot and it makes me squirm.  Which is ironic because when people ask me to help with something (unless it’s selling something directly/having some sort of selling party, for reasons of my own) I am almost always excited to do so. Especially if it’s for a good cause.  So why it bothers me so much, I don’t know. I can’t count the number of times someone I thought just didn’t care had never seen my posts about fundraising, or being in need of support or help, or something like that. Or they thought they reached out but didn’t, or meant to and forgot.

I’m going to start slowly, maybe posting specific requests, but not asking outright. At least that takes away the generic aspect, even if still a more mass/safe approach. But I’m going to attempt to be more comfortable with asking directly. Because you never know who’s searching for an opportunity like the one you’re offering, and neither of you even realize it.