I have never been the "new year, new you" type. You can start making positive changes whenever you so choose to take the initiative - not just at the first of the year, month, or week. But of course, I enjoy a good bit of soul searching and revitalization now and then for my plans and goals. There is so much I hope to accomplish not only in the coming year, but in the coming months, so I have been working on actionable plans to position myself for success. I compiled a list of things, feelings, and actions I am strategically eliminating from my life for a happier life in 2017 and beyond. I always enjoy the second half of winter break as it has historically been a time where I reflect and hone in on my goals and vision. This break has been no different. Here are a few things I am actively letting go of in 2017:
1. Saying yes -
This comes as a shock to nobody, but I have a lot on my plate. My eduction, my advocacy work, my career, my community - these are all my priorities. For as long as I can remember I have booked my schedule sun up to sundown, filled with as many activities as humanly possible. That's all fine - I have no intent to change that. I will however be more selective with what I fill that time with. One of the best pieces of advice I heard recently was "If it's not a HELL YES, then it is a NO!" It is a mantra I have been repeating for the past few weeks and will continue to repeat as I fill my time with what is most meaningful to me. I have learned the road to burnout is paved with good intentions - and saying yes to things that don't feed your soul. I will be selective, strategic, and purposeful in how I use my time. It could be an extraordinary worthwhile opportunity, but if its not an easy "HELL YES!" then it is going to be a no.
2. Clutter -
I have always been keen on editing and purging what I do not need in my life. I attribute a good deal of my success and mental clarity to being organized and that means down to every last detail of my home. If it doesn't serve a purpose, I don't need it. Moreover - someone else may actually benefit from it. I also have moved several times in the past few years and as a young professional I am sure I'll be making a few more moves in the next half decade. That being said - editing my belongings simplifies that whole process. While I am on break from school I have a serious project to tackle: my basement. Since it is not my immediate living space, I have ignored it a bit more than I should. Game over. The next week I will be continuing some heavy organizing before my busiest semester yet. I have been using several apps to help take my organization to the next level - Decluttr, Poshmark, and thredUP have all been helpful in my winter cleaning (with the added bonus of a little cash - perfect for kicking 2017 off right!)
3. Skipping sleep or gym time -
I have prioritized what seem like tangible or imminent items first when it comes to tackling my to do list - even if means skipping the gym or forgoing a few critical hours of sleep. When I talk about making time for what is most important, the gym certainly falls under that category. I am now viewing my gym time as non-negotiable, and same for the subsequent sleep. While I could probably stand to sleep a bit more as is, it is extra critical for recovery while training. Leg day is now on the priority list next to studying for exams and paying my bills - end of story. The things I want to do with my life won't work unless I do - so fitness and sleep will be playing a vital role in achieving my goals.
4. Using animal products -
Okay, so technically I gave this up awhile ago (beauty products some four years ago and food products this past year - yes, I have made an "eggception" now and then), but with new products and knowledge I am doing even better with this than ever before. Believe it or not, limiting my diet to plant-based options has actually expanded my palate. I have learned to get creative in the kitchen and I have discovered plenty of new healthy meals and foods I now couldn't imagine my life without. One of my favorite pastimes is now exploring vegan recipes and restaurants with Kyle. If a former competitive wing eater can give up meat and enjoy it, you can too. Think you want to start making the move to plant-based lifestyle? Here are a few great ways to start:
- Sign up for a food delivery service and opt for the vegan/vegetarian option. I personally decided to subscribe to Green Chef. You can sign up with my link to receive four free meals!
- Incorporate Lush products into your life. They are low-waste, vegan, and non-animal tested products. The secret to my hair? I use their shampoo bars religiously.
- Pick up a copy of Thug Kitchen. Their cookbooks are wildly entertaining and entirely plant-based. Thank me later. - Cooking a meal soon? Google the vegan version of the recipe - there are so many out there! Look into the recipe ahead of time, sometimes plant-based alternatives have special ingredients you may not yet have in your pantry, or they may require a bit more prep time. Regardless, its always worth it and satisfying when you make something healthy and delicious while learning some new tricks in the process.
5. Coffee -
LOL JK GUYS. I am however, giving up how I make it. After four years of undying love and loyalty for my Keurig, I have finished out my K-Cups and unplugged my instant coffee maker for good. I now happily use a french press on a daily basis. One batch makes enough coffee to fill the giant mug I use to get through my day and leaves me enough for a cup at breakfast. I can significantly increase how strong I make my coffee. It has been more budget friendly. It has helped me reduce waste. I am never going back. If you want my Keurig, hit me up. It's the next thing to go while I declutter my home.
6. Beating myself up over blogging -
Somethings gotta give - blogging in a timely manner is one of them. I love using this space to share some perspective from time to time, and moreover, share the stories and diversity of young women in leadership. But blogging isn't my full time gig, or even my part time gig - its a passion project. That's not to say I am opposed of making it a bigger part of my life, it is just not right now, plain and simple. There have been many times I get excited about something and start writing, only to have to put it aside for my real obligations. *pats self on the back for finishing this post* As I mentioned before, my schedule is insane and I need some flexibility with side projects. So while I am prioritizing fitness and sleep, I am not going to beat myself up if I skip writing for a week or two. Maybe one day blogging will be a more central part of my life, until then, expect to hear from me now and then amidst my regularly scheduled hustle.
7. "Sitting on my dreams" -
If I want it and I see it as a priority in my life, I am going to go for it. I was recently discussing New Years goals and resolutions with a friend. While talking about my own plans a phrase I used stood out to me. I caught myself saying something along the lines of "Yeah, I have been sitting on this dream for several years now." Really, Allie? You have had a dream in your heart and haven't been actively pursuing it? Now is the time - pursue it or lose it. I choose to pursue. Whatever dream you have been "sitting on" I hope you have the courage and inspiration to pursue this year too!
Do any of these resonate with you? What are you saying goodbye to in 2017? Let me know! Best of luck and cheers, my friends!