52 weeks and counting

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At the beginning of the year my roommate breezed by me in the living room, talking about how she already “failed” at one of her New Year’s resolutions.

Then she smiled and said, “Well, at least I have 52 weeks to get better at it!”

For some reason this really struck me. Suddenly, 52 weeks felt like no time at all. It’s so easy to let an entire week fly by after busy work days, and hearing the year condensed into such a comprehensible, easily squandered timeframe confronted me again with just how important living intentionally is to make the most of every moment.

Technically, tomorrow marks the end of week 2. What are you going to do with your 50?

Next up, 2014

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Last year I decided on themes from 2012 and set ones for 2013, and it turned out to be one of my favorite posts. From time to time, I would look back to see how I was doing at my resolutions or if, most likely as I feared, I had forgotten about them entirely. I’m probably way too proud to say I really did accomplish last year’s goals, so I decided I would do the same style this year.

2013 was the year of…

Creativity. I made great strides as a budding amateur photographer and even won the Innovator Award at my agency’s annual peer-voted awards ceremony for the most creative strategies, ideas and campaigns (and tights, due to my daily variation of colors and patterns).

Relationships. Last year I was excited to announce the return of one of my best friends (now roommate). This year I had another lifelong friend move to the DFW area and managed to make some pretty huge strides in my romantic relationship. November 2012 I was sure I was on the brink of a break-up, yet somehow we grew together in a way I didn’t see coming, leading up to our engagement November 2013. Crazy! No offense meant to the rest of you guys, but I’m pretty sure I’ve locked down the most caring, intelligent, witty, handsome guy out there.

Travel. My real goal, if you haven’t caught on yet, is to make every year the year of travel. In 2013 I visited El Paso, Washington D.C., Austin, Chicago, Wisconsin, Tulsa, New York (twice!), Istanbul and Atlanta. What a great year!

Health. After battling what appears to be food allergies in the form of super swollen eyes and lips, I finally have the uncomfortable issues and itchiness under semi-control. I reached a pretty low place when my physical issues were leaving me ugly and sleep deprived, but I have been so blessed with a loving boyfriend, compassionate boss, tireless parents, understanding friends and the BEST DOCTOR EVER (aka Dr. Crawford). I also got to experiment with new recipes and restaurants in line with my new gluten, dairy, soy, egg, nut, bean – free diet.

2014 will focus on…

Engaging. Recently I realized that my natural inclinations to keep my head down in the grocery store and zone out to the tune of my to do list at work are just not what’s important. Life is not at all about me, and I want the way I live to reflect that. Some ways I plan on doing that include smiling more, asking questions, complimenting others, inviting people to coffee and lunches (heck, actually taking lunches) and dedicating one night a week to catching up on message replies, texts, maybe even a “hey, how’s life” phone call or snail mail note. I’ve let far too many close friendships grow distant and opportunities to connect with strangers fall by the wayside. No more.

Using time intentionally. This looks like lining up podcasts for my daily commutes to hear from Ben Stewart, the Bible app, TED talks or Italian lessons. This also looks like using my nights and weekends to pursue others and my interests, rather than pick up dinner at Whole Foods only to waste away on Netflix (no matter how good Sherlock, Parks & Rec and White Collar are). For instance, I have been promised a trip to Italy once I become fluent. Motivation, secured. I came across this quote the other day by H. Jackson Brown Jr.:

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

Rediscovering reading. When I was younger I read multiple books a week. Now, the same length book takes me at least a month. This year I want to read more, in turn increasing my appetite for even more books. Reading also has the side effects of inspiring creative juices and providing much needed rest, both of which I can always stand more of. I also really, really want to start a book club. I’ve been talking about this for at least a year, and enough is enough. If you’re in the Dallas area and love books and brunch, you should probably think about joining. More info coming soon as I figure out just what this looks like, but I’m très‎ excited.

Traveling. Up next is a road trip to Marfa, a leisurely beachfront long weekend in Maine, Austin for SXSW (and most likely my bachelorette party), another trip (or two, or three) to New York City and of course, our honeymoon. Right now, Italy’s Amalfi coast and Naples or Spain’s islands and Barcelona are in the lead.

That’s it! I could go on and on when it comes to goals and to do lists, but hopefully these themes give you a good idea of where I’ve been, where I’m at and where I’m going.

What have you got planned for 2014?

Moving forward successfully

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They say how you spend New Year’s Eve is how you’re going to spend the rest of the year. Okay, “they” might be The OC, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the show has impacted my life beyond its awesome soundtracks, Seth Cohen’s wit and Misha Barton’s great hair. I could go on about my love for all things OC (range rovers, bunnies and bagels to name a few), but this post is supposed to be about looking forward not back.

While I don’t go in for the superstitious side of this theory, I do think there is something to be said about starting the year with intentionality and resetting priorities to continue becoming a better friend, employee and self.

And I have to say, I happen to be entering 2014 the most organized, driven and ready I’ve ever been. It all started with a workbook my Bible study picked out called Moving Forward Successfully. Now, things like this typically strike me as pretty cheesy and forced. But with a good Songza playlist, some coffee and a little time, I really got into it and feel like I got a lot out, too. It was really fun and helpful to actually stop and think about everything that has happened this past year and my passions, plans and dreams for the future.

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But wait, there’s more! (Infomercial reference, intended.) The workbook is only part one of a full month reading plan to get my head and heart ready for the year.

Next up, The Happiness Project. I read this book every year. It is chock full of information and inspiration for goal setting. My hope in starting with this book is to reawaken my interests and ideas for self improvement during the year. If you haven’t yet, this is really a must-read.

Book 2 is called TrueFaced. It is all about embracing and sharing your true self for authentic community. While these are always good things, I know especially with an upcoming wedding and marriage that both knowing and sharing my emotions are going to become necessities. My current emotional response consists mainly of sarcasm, so I’m hoping this book helps me broach my uncomfortableness to better connect with others and at least try to have some fun with the whole wedding thing.

Lastly is Torches of Joy. This book is about international missionaries. While not necessarily a personal interest, this book has a key reason for being on this list – life is not all about me! I’m reading this book to widen my perspective, try to be less selfish and serve others more.

That’s it! I’m excited to get going. Not to brag, but I also have a completely clean and organized bedroom, not one but two planners purchased and all my annual doctor appointments booked.

Hello new year and happy 2014!

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