With 2018 coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on the last 365 days and set new intentions for all aspects of holistic health. After evaluating my personal growth this past year, here are my renewed intentions for 2019.
It wouldn’t be the end of the year without a post on goals and intentions, and in many ways, this has been writing itself in my head all month long. As I mentioned before Christmas, I spent the holidays just outside Palm Springs with my dad and sister. While the city itself has plenty to do, the area where we’ve been reuniting for Christmas is incredibly quiet. Life kinda seems to move in slo-mo there compared to here in LA, and while this was a very strange feeling, it was also a great time to disconnect, relax and sleep in. (Yes, me – I actually slept past 6am every day I was away!)
Aside from spending time with my family, this was also a great time to process all the thoughts that have been swirling around my mind about the new year. One afternoon I went back and re-read old posts I wrote about my intentions for 2018, and doing so put me in the perfect head space to set my intentions for the next 12 months ahead.
As a quick primer on where my head was at this time last year, I found myself feeling somewhat trapped for multiple reasons. In a nutshell, I was living back in Vancouver and had just been moved into a new full-time job role that I felt quite unsupported in. Let’s just say some major learning and growth happened through that – all of which I’m very grateful for. While extremely uncomfortable on many days, it 100% taught me about the type of person I do and don’t want to be.
A few weeks into 2018, I remember feeling like a robot that ran on the exact same settings every day. Wake up, go to the gym, go to work, come home, eat dinner, sleep. Done. Every. Single. Damn. Day. And when I wasn’t physically at work, I was thinking about work – yes, even in my sleep, when that was the last thing I wanted in my brain. With it consuming so many hours of my time and energy (to the extent that my health started to become compromised), I decided I should fill my non-working hours with things that brought me as much joy as possible: friends, fun experiences, me-time, creative pursuits, self care – all things that restored me. Otherwise, I’d burn out entirely.
My primary intention for 2018 was ‘let go to let in’.
In order to let all the things I wanted to have happen into my life, I knew there were things that had to go. Specifically…
- Let GO of time wasters, worry, comparison, rigidity, stories, distractions.
- Let IN love, wealth, fun, friends, adventure, laughter, joy, creativity, exploring, lightness.
Filling the weekends with restoration helped me cope with the work stress for the first couple of months, but I still wasn’t in a place where it felt manageable. It was as if I was in a bubble and the only way out was to make a big decision – one I hadn’t clearly defined yet.
In retrospect, while many nights were spent contemplating the idea, I truly did not believe I’d be moving to LA in June to start a new job. I’d certainly done plenty of California dreaming about LA being this wonderful Mecca full of anything I could possibly dream of when it comes to health and wellness – and trust me, it is very much that! But I didn’t really think I’d be selling my car, packing up my belongings, finding a new apartment, settling into a new neighbourhood – and city, state, and country. I hadn’t fully wrapped my mind around what it would mean to start over again – even though my previous cross-country solo move from Waterloo to Vancouver sort of served as training for it.
Little did I know, about a month into 2018 was when I finally got the call from the company that brought me to LA. (That story is here.)
Upon arriving I had the great fortune of things going incredibly smoothly. A few friends with exceptionally generous hearts immediately helped me get what I needed to feel at home. The new people I met every day – especially my co-workers – made me feel instantly like I belonged. Thinking back to the start of this new chapter repeatedly sends chills of gratitude up and down my entire body. (I’ll also admit that it has also made me teary on more than one occasion!) Talk about a year taking on an unexpected twist! Yet at the same time, I think my past experiences were lining up to make LA the natural next step – I just didn’t know it yet.
Letting go of rigid structure
Back to that primary 2018 intention to let go of things that were holding me back, rigid structure was one of the biggest. I’ve gone into detail in the past about how enforcing this on myself has been beneficial at times. For example, it helped me train for and successfully race half marathons, triathlons, and my first half Ironman. Rigid structure has helped me juggle a lot of life projects at once, such as my full time job, athletics, blogging, holistic wellness coaching, etc. It’s helped me feel in control of my future because I know there’s a plan for it, and once I decide what I want, it’s just about breaking that plan down into smaller actionable steps.
It wasn’t my desire to let go of all sense of structure entirely. There is a difference between general structure and rigid structure, and general structure is still very much important to me! What I craved a year ago was a loosening, not letting go altogether. But sitting here now, I still see a lot of rigid structure in my life. Upon realizing this, my first reaction was the self-judgment that I hadn’t made much progress. Truthfully, I do still live amidst a lot of scheduling and planning.
After letting my judgmental thoughts happen, this compassionate voice in my head piped up, and I liked what it had to say. I realized that last January, although I wanted to release the tight grip I had on myself, it wasn’t time yet. Starting completely over in LA has been FULL of uncertainty, newness and learning, with plenty going on outside of my control. (Heck, not LA alone, that’s just what life is about!) Rigid structure has provided me with a sense of comfort, and with so much in flux this year, I’ve clung to it as a way of finding ease and routine amidst the chaos – even if things didn’t necessarily feel chaotic in the moment. I’m sure some of you might feel this way too, and to that, I say cheers to our protective human instincts!
Letting in love, adventure, creativity, and all the good stuff
Looking back at the things I wanted to let in also had me feeling down on myself for not doing them in the ways I imagined. But again, the compassionate voice reminded me that life is so different now – for the better. If I wasn’t fully ready to release rigid structure and those other things that were holding me back, how was I supposed to find room for the goodness I wanted to let in? Seriously, sometimes I wonder if my brain has vacated my head saying “sorry, but she’s crazy.”
Renewed intentions for 2019
I’ve grown in a lot of ways this year, building a new circle of friends, landing at a mission-driven company I whole-heartedly love, and getting a feel for what being 30 is all about. The things I was worried about previously seem to have worked themselves out in many ways, and just like all past experiences, I believe they’ve helped set me up to deal with inevitable challenges in the future. So now, it’s time to look forward.
The term ‘do-over’ is often used to describe something that didn’t quite go right the first time around, but to me, it sort of has a negative connotation. It’s used when the first time was considered messed up, or a waste. Despite not letting in all the wonderful things I wanted to, I definitely don’t consider 2018 a year I messed up. It was magical in so many ways, and taking time to look back made me realize how truly grateful I am for everyone and everything that was part of it.
With that in mind, what I want for 2019 is very much the same as what I talked about for 2018. The main difference now is that I think of these things through a slightly different lens after having moved and switched jobs. I’ve written about a bajillion journal pages about how I’ll be actively living out my intentions in the coming days and months, across all areas including wellness, finances, relationships and my career. But for the sake of bringing this post to a close, my renewed, re-inspired intentions are:
… of worry, rigidity, comparison, chronic multitasking, over-scheduling, information overload, things that aren’t aligned with my values, and feelings of obligation (especially around presence on social media.)
… more love, fun, connection, relationships, flexibility, laughter, joy, creativity, exploring, spontaneity. self-kindness, and saying yes to opportunities that align with my goals.
In addition to those intentions, I’ve also been writing up a 2019 bucket list of things I’d like to see/do this year. While some might sound totally random and pointless, they all relate in some way to my intentions. So far, the list includes things like…
- Talk to people more often: co-workers, at the gym, Uber drivers, and complete strangers
- Expand my social circles and nurture relationships
- Attend more events with like-minded people
- Work with no more than 5 browser tabs open at one time
- Learn to do more fun things with my hair
- Attend BlogHer Health in January
- Explore Oahu, Hawaii in February
- Release feelings of obligation to post on social media
- Limit impulsive purchases
- Use the Mint app to track my finances and spending on a regular basis
- Challenge myself to a spending Dryuary: 20 (or more) $0 days in January
- Do a monthly financial review
- Get my taxes done early
- Get a California drivers license
- Try a boxing class
- Learn to snatch more than 35lbs with good form
- Learn to do a handstand and headstand
- Do at least 5 new-to-me hikes around LA
That was a big read, so thank you for sticking it out.
While this blog and my Instagram posts might sometimes make it seem like my year has been sunshine and rainbows, I wanted to share all these thoughts in case you too have experienced similar self-judgmental ones lately. I’m very aware that there is so much I absolutely do not have figured out yet, but also love that we can choose to make the learning process fun. I also find it incredibly exciting that we are at the beginning of a fresh new year with the opportunity to make anything happen. How great is that?!
If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear about any big a-ha moments you’ve experienced in 2018, and/or some of your intentions for 2019. And finally, I want to take this chance to wish you nothing but the best in 2019 – and beyond. You’ve got this, I’ve got this, and I can’t wait to experience the ride with you. Happy New Year!