If you didn’t change this year, would you still like yourself?

My penchant for self-improvement goes as far back as middle school, when I got it in my head that reading the whole dictionary would be a great way to enhance my vocabulary. I figured one page a day for a couple of years was all it took, so I dutifully sat on my floor and opened my dictionary every day – no one made me or probably even knew about it before now. And there I sat, a 12-year-old girl reading the dictionary for fun (I was obviously very cool).

Eventually I lost my place in the dictionary, but the combination of being an introspective, goal-oriented learner / dreamer means I’m constantly thinking and reading of things I want to do, learn or improve. The new year is usually no exception (see 2015, 2014)!

After a lot of life changes and challenges though, I spent the last year asking a lot of questions about myself – how I think and am made, what my skills and talents are, what my purpose and passion is, how all this looks professionally. While all this was incredibly helpful at the time (Clarity on Fire!), I now feel like I’m at a point where more self-analysis really isn’t going to get me anywhere new…except maybe a little crazy.

I was driving one day, listening to the Jess Lively Show as always, and out of nowhere, something inside me very clearly asked, “If you never changed again, would you be happy with yourself?” My initial response was resistance, with excuses like “well, if I never changed again literally, I’d eventually be a pretty bad wife and employee.” And “that’s ridiculous, life always changes so I couldn’t help but change with it at some point.” But this clear thought pushed back against the discomfort, until I had to admit that my answer right now was really, NO. I don’t really ever like myself right now, I like the future version.

So this year, instead of goals, I have a word: Acceptance.

I want to accept myself so I can just be me instead of obsessing about what the best version of me looks like. I want to accept myself so I can be confident in my worth personally and professionally, which I think will take care of the wife and employee bit. I want to accept situations I’m in, instead of feeling like I’m constantly fighting everything around me – myself, time, traffic, other people, my own expectations. So it feels like the world isn’t ending every time something doesn’t go perfectly, because it never will. 

And that’s it. No list of goals, no calendarized steps. Just being, accepting, appreciating.

Here’s to 2016!

prosecco celebration

Early Mornings

At first I thought I was crazy to commit to waking up earlier during late fall/winter when mornings are supposed to turn dark and cold. Luckily, I forgot I live in Texas, which means mornings have been much more manageable than expected with just a cup of hot coffee or tea and the occasional sweatshirt.

Dallas Mornings

Waking up an hour early (which for me means 6 a.m.) might not sound like much to some of you, but it took – and takes – a lot out of me. In college, I came way too close to not graduating on time despite a quite good GPA and full credits simply because I literally could not wake up in time for an early morning class. It was one of those last semester blow off pass/fail classes and ALL you had to do was show up twice a week at 8 a.m. for about 15 minutes.

I think I’ve made my point.

But for someone who also suffers from both chronic forgetfulness and lateness, waking up with enough time to think about life and get ready for my day is kinda a necessity. This post is also a lovely reminder to myself, as the past few…well, okay…weeks…have not been as successful as November.

Dallas Sunrise

Here’s some things I’ve learned about waking up:

Don’t

  • Say “Just a few minutes.” Don’t even pause to think about how cold it is, how tired you are, how comfortable your favorite and aptly named comforter is…get out of bed right away.
  • Get back in your bed for any reason.

Do

  • Change your alarm title to something that motivates you. For me it’s reminding myself the why behind my waking up.
  • Get a wake-up accountability partner. Someone to affectionately bug you, text you in the morning and wait for your lucid response.

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