I’ll be honest with you, this whole “New Year, New You,” thing does not make sense to me. I get it — New Year’s Resolutions and all that jazz — but that doesn’t mean you have to be a new person! You are you. I am me. There’s nothing magical about January 1 that makes you “new.”
On July 1, 2017, I woke up in my childhood bedroom in Goldsboro, NC, looked out the window to the U-Haul sitting in the driveway, full of all my worldly belongings. It was moving day. I shuffled into my bathroom to prepare myself for the big move across the State of North Carolina to a new city, for a new job. Then I saw the card my Mother had left me with the most beautiful thought:
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters
compared to what lies within us.”
This is my New Year’s message to you. No matter what happened last year and what 2018 will bring, what matters is what lies within you. You don’t need to be a new version of yourself. Just be yourself! Perhaps with a few new goals. But still you!
This is how I see it: The New Year is an opportunity. It is a designated time to reflect on all that happened in the past 365 days and explore all that you want from the next 365 days. Over the years, I’ve made my own set of New Year’s traditions.
Look back and reflect
Look forward and set new goals
Choose a Mantra instead of a Resolution
Let’s give it a go…
1. Looking back on 2017:
I will remember 2017 as the year that I threw my life up in the air and said, “Universe, you are in charge. Clearly I am not.”
When reflecting on the past year, I like to make a list of joyful memories, accomplishments and challenges.
List of memories:
Revisited my love of the performing arts (Father of the Bride and Wayne County Dancing with the Stars)
Rushed Franklin Street w/ girl cousins when Carolina won the National Championship
Won my first jury trial w/ Dad by my side
Found Cleo, my first pet and precious kitty cat
Sold my first house
Violently ripped out of my comfort zone
Started a new relationship
Discovered a new running group
Perfected the green smoothie
Found a new gym that feels like family
Visited old friends
Made new friends
Next, consider the lessons you learned this past year
Here are a few lessons I learned:
- Don’t be afraid to create something new.
A couple of close friends encouraged me to create Chasing Helen back in 2016. It took a while to convince me, but I’m so glad it happened in 2017. Yes, it’s a little scary to put yourself out there for the world to see. Sure, I don’t have thousands of readers or followers on Instagram. But this blog is my creative outlet. It brings me the greatest joy when someone tells me she did one of my workouts or that my words encouraged her to run or eat healthy. Even if my Mom is the only one reading this, I will continue to write, explore new healthy recipes and fun workouts to share in 2018. I encourage you to create or try something new in 2018. You may be surprised by how much your new creation makes you grow and brings you joy.
- Put a lid on your smoothie.
Literally. Put a lid on your smoothie. You may recall my little anecdote about the first day at my new job? Within the first 30 minutes, I spilled my green smoothie all over my boss’s freshly detailed Denali on the way to court for the start of a three week trial. (Face to palm). He didn’t fire me. I gave him a gift card to Autobell for Christmas. It’s all good. But I think about his Denali every time I put a lid on my smoothie, which is pretty much every day. Put a lid on it!
- Keep your heart open to opportunity.
On January 1, 2017, I could not have predicted my move to Charlotte, sudden career change, selling my house, finding my kitty, creating this blog. But I can tell, you with 100% certainty, that none of that would have happened without an open heart – a willingness to say “yes,” even when it was scary or I couldn’t see how all the pieces would fit together.
If I can give you one piece of advice for this coming year, it’s to keep an open heart. That means being open to change, open to new people and new experiences, and trusting the process.
Finally, as you enter this New Year, look back one last time and think or speak a moment of gratitude. No matter what happened to you in 2017 – good, bad, hard, happy, challenging, exciting – be grateful for those experiences.
OKAY – it’s time to look forward.
2. Look forward and set new goals
Instead of planning what the “new you,” is going to do in this new year, as if you are going to change into a new person overnight, think about what the “same you” wants to accomplish and why.
“If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” When setting new goals, I’m reminded of the wall in downtown Goldsboro, which displays this Thomas Jefferson quote.
Think about this quote when setting your 2018 goals. Consider the big picture. WHAT do you want to accomplish? WHY do you want to accomplish it? Answer those questions first. Then tackle the “HOW.” And be prepared to do something or some things that you’ve never done before in order to reach those goals.
In 2018, I know I’m going to run the Boston Marathon. So, in the coming days, I will literally sit down with pencil and paper and write out my training schedule for the April 16 marathon. I want to accomplish this marathon because I worked so hard to get here. I know I’ll likely push myself to new limits. Inevitably, there will be roadblocks along the way. Hopefully, I will grow stronger and faster in the process.
I also know I’m turning 30 in 2018. A whole new decade. How exciting! In addition to fitness goals, I’ve explored what I want in the way of my career, friendships, travel plans and this blog. Some of them are tangible goals and others are generalizations. With an open heart and an open mind, I will continue to grow and learn and experience the world even more so than in 2017.
3. Choose a Mantra instead of a Resolution
At the end of 2014, my cousin Jenny suggested that we set New Year’s Mantras instead of Resolutions. Mantra – a word or saying repeated frequently. We agreed that a mantra would be much easier to carry with us through an entire year than some empty resolution.
On December 31, 2014, I thought and thought about my mantra for 2015. I desperately needed change in 2015 and there were a lot of unanswered questions in my life at that time. There was no way all of the questions would be answered overnight. So, I landed on “Trust the Process.” Turns out, this was the best mantra ever and it’s one I carry with me always. It’s a reminder that so much of our lives are ultimately out of our control. We can work hard, be kind to people and do our best. But nothing is guaranteed. You’ve just got to trust the process.
Every year since, I have come up with a mantra instead of a resolution. Again, think about what you want out of the year to come and why.
This year, my mantra is “Hustle. Forward.” Between work, running and writing, 2018 will be The Year of Hustle. And, forward is the only direction. It’s all full steam ahead. So, “Hustle. Forward.”
I realize that not all of us need to hustle in 2018. Just yesterday, I was talking to my best friend, Sara, who celebrates her birthday on New Year’s Eve. She told me her 2018 mantra is “Let it Be.” She recognizes that she’s been hustling hard for the past several years. It’s time for her to take a step back, relax a little bit and let it be.
Maybe you are like me, and you’re ready to tackle 2018 going 1000 miles per hour. (Don’t forget to let your body and your mind rest from time to time. You’ll burn out quickly, otherwise.)
Perhaps you are more like Sara, and this is your year to let go of the hustle and bustle and just BE!
Or, you are somewhere in between.
Whatever you want from this New Year, I wish you good health, happiness and all the best in reaching your goals. I am here for you, to motivate you and support you in the process. Thank you for reading. I’m grateful for you!
Be yourself, trust the process, and keep moving forward.
See you out there.