My 2012 Review

2012 ReviewFor me, 2012 was a great year for growth. I developed professionally and gained some skills I didn’t explicitly set out to conquer—but I am grateful that it all happened.

My main achievements were: learning more about fitness and nutrition, maturing emotionally, building relationships (personal and business), and recognizing that value lies in experiences and the intangibles—not material possessions. All in all it was a year where I discovered how to nurture my strengths and how to challenge my weaknesses.

This article will detail some useful resources I used to achieve these items, and my new resolutions for 2013. Let’s get ready to rock this year!

FITNESS

I’ve done my research on nutrition, have experimented what works with my body, and have gone to the gym consistently for all of 2012. Also, in April I ran my first 5k—something I thought I could never achieve because I thought I hated running. Our bodies are capable of so much more than our minds think we are. We are our own limitations.

Resources on nutrition:

  1. Eat less carbs/starches/white refined flours.
    This includes pasta, breads, rice, chips, etc. Whenever I eat these, I feel really bloated. I eat way less now that I’ve made the connection.
  2. Eat more protein in your diet to help you feel full.
    Most of the American population likely gets too much protein. I’m a vegetarian and have found that when I eat a little protein with every meal, I eat less and stay fuller for longer. Try it out if you don’t already eat enough.
  3. Stay away from processed foods.
    It’s so easy to reach for a convenient bag of chips or cookies or even a frozen meal. Every time I do this, I don’t feel healthy, I feel really thirsty and like I retain a bunch of water (this is likely due to the sodium). Cut it out and you’ll feel much better, guaranteed.
  4. Cut out the sugar.
    I had no idea sugar was in just about everything! It’s in sauces, packaged dinners, “health” food. Man, just stay away because the substance messes with your bone density, teeth, skin, and waistline.
  5. Understand why you are mindlessly eating.
    After reading the book called “Mindless Eating,” I gained a whole lot of insight as to why we tend to overeat in social situations, and how to trick my body into thinking I’m eating more–or at least resist the temptation. If anything, this book provides some handy tips on how to beat your brain when it comes to overeating.

Resources on fitness:

When it comes to learning about fitness, I default to Youtube videos as my favorite source of inspiration. For a brief while this year, I was also lucky enough to get personal training sessions at my gym where I learned correct form for some heavy power lifts like deadlifting and squats.

Some of the people I tend to watch on Youtube include those that are extremely motivated and inspirational themselves. I would never take fitness advice from someone who didn’t practice what they preach in their lives.

  1. A chick with abs that is extremely strict with her diet and exercise routine–and she’s a mom.
  2. Another girl who is toned and flexible to boot.

My boyfriend taught me to break my workouts down into categories–targeting: arms/shoulders, back, chest, legs, and core. It’s important that you hit one of these categories HARD every workout. I also recommend working out once every other day or about 3-4 times per week for best results.

EMOTIONAL MATURITY

Petty arguments serve for nothing. I’ve had more than my share and can more clearly see when I have engaged in one. I’m now of the belief that my time is better spent on more important matters—like working on my fitness, or learning a new skill.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Spent time at family functions, gatherings with friends, and learned how to forge business partnerships. Working at a company where I get to manage those partnerships has also been great exposure to this side of business.

What I did to gain these skills

  1. Taking on a couple of internships during my senior year of college. Not only did I build experience, gain professional connections/mentors, but I also found out what I didn’t enjoy doing.
  2. Communicating at work—soft skills are extremely important for just about every profession. By “communication,” I mean writing emails, speaking to people, interacting in group settings, work functions, etc.
  3. Staying in touch with family: try texting/emailing/calling a family member every other day or whenever you think of them. Sometimes it’s as simple as texting them a funny picture that you ran across during the day that reminded you of them. Attending family functions is also a great way to automatically be closer to family just by gracing people with your presence.

TRUE VALUES

This fits in with my goal of minimalism. At the beginning of this year, my hope was that I would be able to comfortably give something away without a second thought. That happened. Multiple times this year. I gave bags and bags of things away to Goodwill and took a few pictures of items for memories. I’m okay now. I don’t feel the need to buy excess things. A lot of the reading I’ve done this year of bloggers and people I admire is that money is time. When I know I can live off of a certain dollar amount per day, why would I spend it on something that I don’t really care about if I could instead have one more day of freedom to spend my time exactly how I want and with whom I want?

Tips:

You can do this too. If you’re afraid that you’re a person who clings too much to material possessions and that it’s weighing you down or causing stress, you can follow these steps to help get rid of that stuff from your life.

  1. Take a picture of the item and place it in a bag to be given away. If you don’t need it within the next couple of months, you won’t miss it. 
  2. Use psychologically persuasive points on yourself. Remember that someone else will cherish this item more than you can. It’s not fair to deny the other person of this possession if they could really enjoy this item in their life.

SETTING UP FOR THE FUTURE (2013 Goals)

In 2013, I aim to continue this trend of personal development. My main focus this year will be setting up my life so that I’m in a position to achieve my 5 and 10-year goals. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I’m going to let you know that in several years I’d like to be married and have children of my own.

This inevitably means that I need the skills, network, and drive to be able to maintain a decent income even while working from home (my long-term future goal as of right now is to be a stay at home mom that is also an intelligent businesswoman).

FINANCIAL

I’m steering my life towards financial independence, and continuing to mature my professional relationships to make a name for myself in the consulting space by providing results to small businesses.

INTELLECTUAL

Learning more about business and how it works is a large goal of mine. This would include reading about the topic and applying my learnings in the field.

FITNESS

I definitely have more ambitious fitness goals this year. I’d like to be able to do a lot of the hardcore “dude” exercises that you’ll see guys doing at the gym—push ups, pull ups, dips, benching lots of weight, deadlifting, etc. Since I’ve built up the consistency of going to the gym, it won’t be hard to continue. I want abs and my goal is to have them by this summer. Be warned: If this happens, pictures will follow.

What have you learned in 2012? Do you have resolutions for 2013? Share them below in the comments!

Planning

How to Do Something Well: Planning

PlanningLay out your guide

Create a bare bones skeleton of the tasks you need to complete in order to make your goal happen. This is where a lot of people get stuck. Some might say, “Well I don’t know every single step to take to achieve my goal.”

It’s true: there may be some grey areas, or steps that you just can’t seem to imagine the answer to right now. None of that matters. The most important thing to do at this moment is start. You can adjust course along the way.

Plan, but do it efficiently

When starting out for the first time, don’t over-plan. You might waste your time by becoming overly involved with a step in the process that you might not even end up implementing. It’s kind of like editing before you’re done writing the piece. You’re spending precious moments tweaking a phrase that you might end up cutting out completely.

If you spend time figuring out details that you’ll eliminate from your plans later, then you’re not being efficient in how you’re reaching your goals. The path to efficiency in goal-reaching is to identify the minimum plans needed to get you started and then just start.

Carve out dedicated time

If you say that you’re serious about something, and it’s not one of the first things on your mind when you wake up or at least scheduled on your to-do list, you’re not actually serious about it.

When a project/goal/skill is important to you, the best thing you can do for yourself is to consciously plan it into your day. Make it non-negotiable. For example, you can say, “Today I am dedicating two hours to learning how to code,” or “Today I will run three miles without stopping,” because those steps will get you closer to your end-goal of doing that thing well. Without this specific plan, the time in your day will pass you by and you will not have made any progress on what you consider important in your life.

Chase Your Dreams

7 Reasons Why You Should Chase Your Dreams

I firmly believe that each of us has an inner compass—one that will ultimately guide us in the direction that will make us happiest.

Here’s a quick but effective list of the reasons why I’ve found dream-chasing to be worth my while:

  1. You’ll undoubtedly gain new skills.
  2. These skills will be interesting to you.
  3. You’ll have fewer regrets.
  4. You’ll take more risks.
  5. You’ll fail.
  6. But you’ll become stronger in the process.
  7. If you don’t chase your dreams, no one else will do it for you.

Number 7 is what really sets me into action—just knowing that no matter how much I’m loved by my family or friends, that only I can set myself up to reach my dreams.

Sometimes it’s lonely knowing that you’re on your own in that respect, but at the same time it can be liberating to know that you’re in charge.

One of my personal dreams includes the desire to work for myself.

I hate the idea of someone else being in control of where I put my time and energy. Do you ever get that feeling?

This summer, in lieu of a stable part-time, I’ve opted to follow my intuition and am putting more work into finding a sustainable business model of some sort.

For me, this could mean freelancing or producing a product. Either way, I’ll let you know how these pan out.

Happy dream-chasing everyone!

 

Goals That Excite

2 Easy Steps to Setting Tangible Goals that Excite You

It is often that we picture ourselves richer, fitter, or smarter only to fall short of accomplishing these goals.

I set hundreds of goals for myself each year, big and small. Although I don’t reach them all, it’s the process of setting them that gives me a better vision of who I am, and it’s the process of meeting them that shines a light on my true character.

1. First, do something intangible: Visualize

This first step is pretty cheesy, but it works.

Picture yourself 1, 5, or 10 years from now (whichever time frame suits you best) and imagine your most amazing self at that time. Now, consider the changes in your life that you’ll need to make to get yourself there.

Sometimes I like to picture myself leading a healthier lifestyle complete with increased exercise and toned abs (Oh, how I wish!), or feeling more secure about finances, emotions, or relationships.

Other times I would ideally like myself to have learned a new skill like programming or better writing techniques.

The goal here is to pick aspects of your ideal self that make you excited about the outcome and the process.

We can’t forget that the process is what’s going to bring us through to the end, the final achievement of the goal. If you’re not crazy about the process of achieving your goal, then it’ll be difficult to continue when the demands of reaching your goal get tough.

Once we have a general roadmap to your goals, and we know they represent your favorite you, we’re ready to transfer them to a concrete form.

2. Then, package it right: Present your goals in a sexy format

Don’t just write down your goals on a scraggly piece of college-ruled notebook paper.

Find a way to make them call out to you with their awesomeness.

A few examples would be to:

  1. Write your goals in bubble letters and proceed to color them in with rainbow markers.
  2. Or, create a sleek binder equipped with plastic shields and your goals neatly typed up. (High five for superb organizational skills!)

Sometimes relaying the information to yourself in a new way can excite you all over again and highlight the vivacity of your goals.

This makes them easier to digest and more fun to implement.

Good luck with your goals!

Personal Growth

3 Ways to Record and Improve Personal Growth

The best way to make sure that you are continually improving yourself is to track the systems you use to make growth a priority in your life.


Journal

After recently reading Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, I was inspired to write my thoughts down more often. Goldberg argues that writing practice is akin to stretching before a run. You must do it often to warm yourself up, and you can’t expect gold whenever you sit down to do it.

Journaling is also a wonderful way to find yourself. In my experience, it has allowed me to vent my frustrations without spreading misfortune unto others.

There are a variety of methods that you can use to journal, but I prefer using the computer. When writing straight from my thoughts, I simply can’t keep up with a pen and paper.

Create a Reading Log

This can include a list of books that you have completed, the dates of start and finish, and your notes. Taking in the ideas of others and turning them around in your head is the quickest way to open your mind about new topics and learn pertinent information that you can share with others. You’d be a stale conversation mate if the topics you mentioned in conversation remained the same week after week.

In addition to recording the books you’ve already read, it’s a good idea to keep a list of books that you’d like to read next (for the sake of convenience and to form a habit).

Have a Goals List

Every year you should take the time to visualize yourself in a year’s time. You’ll be surprised at how accurately you can unfold that vision if it’s what you truly want. Your mind will likely continue to churn those goals over month after month, allowing you to be open to opportunities that would otherwise be passed over.

The first step is writing things down so that you’re consciously aware of your subconscious.

(P.S. Here’s a list of my goals.)