Goals for 2016: The Year to Come

Goals for 2016 - Ali in BloomOften times people resolve to lose weight, exercise or eat healthy in the new year. I mean, can you prove me wrong? I’d be willing to say it’s one of the most common resolutions made on January 1st… if not the most. Unfortunately, often times they fail. There is a reason why. Keep reading to figure out why – and to find out the solution. In 2014, I tried to put an end to those kinds of resolutions all together. I pledged to not only love my body but respect my body, my mind and myself instead of making a new year’s resolution to lose weight that would only dwindle away and result in lost hope. The problem with a lot of New Year’s resolutions is that people don’t realize that a completed resolution often requires a lifestyle change – not a month of determination.

Resolutions are often GIANT goals that can seem overwhelming and unobtainable after a few weeks. My suggestion to you this year if you’re making a new year’s resolution is to think about why you’re making it and to think of it as a lifestyle change. In order to achieve it, create small goals for yourself. Small steps make climbing a mountain that much more feasible. Write down your goal and the steps you will take to achieve it; revisit your notes frequently to stay focused.

I’ve shared my story before: loving myself and obtaining a body I was proud of took time and was a hard journey. If you’re hoping to change your body in 2016, understand that it wasn’t until I changed my mentality that I changed my body. And now, with a new healthy lifestyle, I feel good, strong and healthy every day. Instead of hating your body and wanting to change it, learn first to love your body in any way, shape or form, because the more you love your body, the more you’ll want to take care of it and treat it well – nourish it.

This year I don’t need to make any major changes to my workout routine, eating habits or self-esteem. In 2016, I want to focus more on creating a well-rounded, fulfilled, happy lifestyle for myself that I can maintain throughout the years. Graduating in May is sure to bring a lot of changes to my life, so I’m putting all of my goals in writing here to keep myself on the right track over the five months before graduation and the months to follow.

Primary goals

In 2016, I want to find balance. I feel like right now I am at the busiest time of my life. I’m trying to finish school early, get good grades, perform well in my internship, participate in school organizations, turn my blog into a business, spend time with my friends, spend time with Ty, spend time with my family, maintain an apartment and find time for me. In 2016, I hope to prioritize my life, focus more on making sure that I’m happy and nourishing relationships. It’s time to prioritize, schedule, plan and find balance.

In 2016, I want to turn my blog into a business. Most people expect me to go off and get an office job after graduation in May. No one ever really thinks that blogging as a business or freelance is a legitimate option, but I’m hoping to prove them all wrong and turn by blog into a business in 2016 and freelance on the side. My journal is filled with a carefully detailed plan and set of mini-goals to be able to accomplish this feat. I’m up for the challenge, though! I think I’ll regret it if I don’t give this little corner of the internet my full and best effort. This really feels like a full-time kind of thing.

Secondary goals

In 2016, I want to read more. I love reading; I always have, and I always will. For as long as I can remember, though, school has really gotten in the way of me reading for pleasure. So after May, I want to indulge in some good reads – and maybe even sneak one or two books in during spring break this year.

In 2016, I want to travel to one place I’ve never been before. This one shouldn’t be too hard, but I wanted to document this goal to hold myself to it just in case. It doesn’t have to be a big, flashy and expensive vacation, but I want to always explore and discover new things – learn. So if I plan a weekend vacation, I want to expand my horizons. This year, I went to Door County for the first time, and look what happened – I fell in love with it. I also went to Des Moines for the first time and discovered the most beautiful farmer’s market. Great things happen when you explore.

In 2016,  I want to move out on my own. It’s hard, because I love being home and spending time with my family so much. Honestly, I could probably live with my family forever and be so happy, but I’ve grown up a lot in the past few years, and I really feel like moving out solo is something I’m ready for. Moving out for college, into a dorm, sorority house and then into my college apartment has really given me a glimpse into “adulthood,” but I know that I can handle more than paying the cable bill each month and I will be able to manage my budget, bills and life as an adult!

I have high hopes for 2016. It’s going to be a year of big changes, but I know that I’ll have my family and friends by my side.

What are your goals for 2016? Have you set any? Why or why not? Make them obtainable, concrete and measurable to be able to hold yourself accountable and make your way toward achieving your dreams.

Everyday I am Thankful

Reasons to be thankful

I’m thankful everyday, and as Thanksgiving gets closer and closer, I think it’s even more important to share these sentiments. It is so, so easy to take things for granted when all is well in your world. That’s why I am so excited to be linking up today with the circle link-up to share all of my reasons to be thankful this season and year-round in a fun, little acrostic poem (remember those?!).

Time – It’s so easy to forget that time isn’t a guarantee in this life.

Happiness – Sometimes happiness comes harder for some people than others, but whether it’s a frequent state of being or fleeting moments, where would we be without laughter, hugs of joy and big smiles? Happiness can come in a variety of forms. There is always something to be happy about!

Adventure – It may not be a necessity, but I sure am thankful for it. Finding new activities to try, new places to explore is one of my favorite hobbies.

Nature – Nature has a way of calming you, distressing you, refreshing you. Whether out on a canoe or raking leaves in your backyard, a breath of fresh air can do a lot for you.

Kindness – That moment when someone smiles at you when they walk by, picks up your dropped pen or even gives you a compliment. Those are such feel-good moments.

Family & Friends – Of course, our support systems. Sometimes they annoy us. Sometime we fight. But they’re the people that always come back and always have our backs.

University – Going to college has introduced me to so many new people. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me find myself. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.

Life – the good, the bad and the ugly. Every minute of it.

Imagine Your Perfect Day & Change Your Life

imagine your perfect day

Last Friday I stumbled upon an article on XO Sarah (The Escape: Imagine your perfect day). She wrote:

For those of you working to make a change – pull out your journal, put a date at the top of the page – one month, six months, one year, three years from now – and include lots of specifics on how your perfect day/life will be.

Think of how you would wake up (lazily with the sun, kids jumping on your bed, a quick start workout), where you’d work from (your own office, a coffee shop, a beach in Costa Rica or a coworking space in Berlin), who you would talk to (a business partner, a fellow freelancer, your family, no one at all), what projects would fill your to-do list, where you’d spend your free time, and how you’d end your day.

It left me thinking, and I wondered… Does it really help to imagine your perfect day? I decided yes.

Originally, I viewed this exercise the same way that I do bucket lists. It could only lead to disappointment when your goals and dreams aren’t obtained – but no.

Imagining your perfect day allows you to realize where your priorities lie and helps you get closer to the best life possible. It’s okay, however, if you never fully obtain the “perfect day” you originally lay out, because our dreams and ideals are constantly changing with us as we enter new stages of our lives. And even if we work so hard to get to our perfect day and we can’t reach it, setting this goal made you a few steps closer and made your life a little better. That in itself is worth imagining your ideal day.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the routine that we have already created for ourselves and fixate on the day to day. Sometimes we move about our lives without even realizing that we even have the power to change them.

So I wondered… I’m content and happy with my life now, but what is my perfect day?

7:00 am – Wake up slowly and naturally without a blaring alarm in my ear, be able to toss and turn and enjoy the warm comfort of my bed, head first things first to the kitchen and make coffee – yummy, fancy coffee (not the icky black kind) and enjoy it outside on my balcony/deck.

7:30 am – Get ready for my day. Have the time to enjoy being able to pick out an outfit and experiment with my makeup. Do my hair. Eat a healthy, full breakfast.

9:00 am – Go to work at a job I love, a place where the offices are carefully decorated to allow creativity. I imagine I’ll be working at a desk, but I would also like to have time to talk with my co-workers to brainstorm ideas and work together collaboratively.

5:00 pm – Come home from work (by biking or walking, of course!), feeling relaxed and content. Take some time to get organized. Respond to texts for maybe the first time all day and then set the phone aside. Begin making dinner with my friends and family – enjoy the people, company, and conversation. Make dinner more than just a meal.

8:00 pm – Write a little… maybe a story on loose leaf paper… maybe in a journal, on the blog. Let out my creativity.

9:00 pm – End my day curling up in bed with a good book.

I think my ideal day revolves around getting back to the basics and disconnecting from my computer and phone. I’ve realized that being outside and with my family and friends is one of the things that makes me the happiest.

I think I’ll be repeating this exercise at the end of the year before I start looking for my first post-grad job to see if these are still all of the things I want. Writing down my own personal perfect day has actually taught me a lot about myself.

So what did you learn? How do you imagine your perfect day?

A Little Fun in the Sun: Your Summer Bucket List Ideas

summer bucket list downtown portrait

Summer should never be a boring time of the year. There is an enormous amount of time for outdoor activities and exploring, and on a rainy day, there are plenty of fun alternatives, but I know that in the spur of the moment, sometimes it is hard to come up with a game plan. So I’ve taken action and come up with my own list of fun things to do this summer!

13. Let’s start with the obvious… Go swimming. Not good enough? Try your hand at tubing, wake boarding, water skiing, etc.

12. Go to the zoo because you’re never too old for the zoo.

11. Start a garden in your backyard. Don’t have a yard? You’re not out of luck; plenty of things can grow in pots – try fresh basil!

10. Go hiking through a national park, up a hill, down by the lake… Start exploring!

9. Or if you don’t have the energy to go hiking, go horse back riding.

8. Go to a fair/ festival/ outdoor concert you can easily spend an entire day at a fair. With food carts, carnival rides, games, and entertainment, you’ll be bound to spend hours roaming around.

7. Read a good book whether you’re laying out on a lawn chair, soaking up the sun or hiding inside from the bad weather, reading a new book is a great way to relax and unwind.

6. Try a new recipe with all of the in-season fresh fruit and vegetables available.

5. Camping because at some point throughout the night, your phone will die and all that will be left are great friends/ family, the stars in the sky, the crackling of the firewood, and yourself, and I assure you, if you give it a chance… it will feel great.

4. Get crafty it’s the perfect temperature to pull the side table out into the garage and give it a new coat of paint. Or maybe you finally have a little extra time to put together that old scrapbook. Making something with your own hands can feel so empowering and refreshing. You’ll want to do it all over again!

3. Farmer’s Markets are worth becoming a morning person for if you aren’t already one. You’ll find yummy eats, friendly faces, and a great energy amongst the hustle and bustle between stands… all before 11 am.

2. Volunteer your time somewhere locally.

1. Roadtrip… Even if it’s only an hour and a half away. Nothing beats having your windows rolled down, music playing, your hair winding every which way behind you, and being in good company. It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.

What are your plans to make this summer exciting?