Looking Back on 2013

It’s always interesting to look back over a period of time to see where you are compared to where you thought you would be or even where you would like to be.

Right now, I am sitting in a Starbucks in San Diego surrounded by others with computers, sipping an Earl Grey latte and blogging. In my dreams, it would be a normal occurrence and not just a stop on my way to the airport to go back to Chicago!

But I don’t mean this quite so literally. Last year I commented on the new start that the New Year brings and how it prompts us to turn over a new leaf and make new goals. It was interesting to read through last year’s post since I haven’t stuck with any of goals I had for myself last year.

However, they did remain themes in my life for 2013.

Faith: time with God wasn’t as regular as I would have liked, but it was a huge improvement from 2012. Reading Jesus Calling nearly every day helped me to start my days off right. And although I am still not in a regular habit of spending one on one time with God, he has taught me so much this year. So although it didn’t look quite as I expected this year, I am happy with the progress I made.

Fitness: well, I started off well with eating right but that didn’t last either. But again, improvements have been made from where I was. And 2014 will be a second chance: starting on Wednesday, my roommate and I are going to strive for a Real Food diet in January. Of course, Bar Method didn’t figure into my plans at all since I started that in May. This has continued to be an important part of my life, sometimes more frequently than others. I did have the pleasure and privilege of taking a class at Bar Method Point Loma while in San Diego on vacation. What fun! So again, this didn’t look quite like what I expected but improvement was made over 2012.

Blogging: hahaha! Well, I did set myself a lofty goal. Not sure I’m going to even try for this year! Completing NaBloPoMo was a satisfying blogging achievement, one I hadn’t planned. I’m not going to set any kind of goal for myself here for 2014, but I would like to keep updating periodically. We’ll see how this goes!

There were other achievements in 2013 that weren’t planned for as well, such as paying off debt, getting a second (and third!) job, and, the largest and most satisfying, earning my PHR-CA! None of these made my published list for 2013 and were still important this year.

If I’ve learned anything from 2013, it’s that personal progress is more important than perfection. This is important, for me, as a perfectionist, to realize. While my achievements didn’t look the way I wanted them to for 2013, I am making strides toward the end I wanted. And I can be satisfied with that, without cutting myself down for not reaching the extremes I pictured in my head.

It’s nearly time for me to head to the airport. It’s been a great trip with many lessons and I’m sad to leave. But I’m looking forward to the rest of my week off of work and the opportunity to get 2014 off to a good start. Hopefully this flight will give me a chance to sit down and make some rough goals for 2014.

How do you feel about your year in review?

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Friday Favorites

There are many things on the way to Friday that are worth celebrating – some big, some little – and they deserve their own time. I’m taking some time again this week to highlight some of my favorite things and to be thankful for more than just the fact that it’s Friday.

This week, some of my favorite things were:

  • My mentor Janet. Her love, insight and example mean so much to me. The time we spend together is always a joy!
  • Saturday morning breakfasts and wedding planning with the roommate… after I made her earn it at Bar Method, that is. Getting the bride in shape is a maid of honor duty, right?
  • Completing both of my personal challenges for the month of November: NaBloPoMo and the 20 in 30 challenge at my Bar Method studio!
  • Quaint and fun outings with coworkers to celebrate the holidays.
  • Personal days that allow me to study for an upcoming exam…
  • Unexpectedly free car repairs, however minor they might be.
  • Wonderful current and former coworkers who call when I least expect it and share what’s going on with them and encourage me when I’m freaking out about the aforementioned exam.
  • The joy (and it was!) and privilege of hearing Liz Curtis Higgs speak in person. Her message was powerful and seasoned with MUCH laughter. God can and will do amazing things with our lives if we let him.
  • Starbucks Peppermint Mochas. Even though I don’t usually drink coffee, these have swiftly become a favorite. Probably because they’re mostly sugar…
  • Looking forward to fun Christmas plans with great friends, old and new.
  • Being nominated as a Versatile Blogger! Thanks Erin! Look for a responding post in the next few days with a list of a few of my favorite blogs.

Friday Favorites

There are many things on the way to Friday that are worth celebrating – some big, some little – and they deserve their own time. I’m taking some time again this week to highlight some of my favorite things and to be thankful for more than just the fact that it’s Friday.

This week, some of my favorite things were:

  • Yummy birthday dinners with great friends!
  • Family and friends who reach out to make me feel loved and special
  • Garages (yes, again)
  • A God who gently pulls my attention back to him when I’ve wandered away, seeking fulfillment somewhere else
  • The anticipation of a year full of possibilities!
  • Challenges that test my endurance, capabilities, and creativity, such as NaBloPoMo and the Bar Method challenge

Friday Favorites

At the beginning of every week, we look forward to the end of the end of it. When we finally get there, we celebrate. We even have an acronym for it: TGIF.

I want to take some time to highlight some of my favorite things from this week and to be thankful for more than just the fact that it’s Friday. There are many things on the way to Friday that are worth celebrating – some big, some little – and they deserve their own time.

This week, some of my favorite things were:

  • A fun day with coworkers. Sharing laughter during an hour-long improvisational comedy routine and tasting many different dips and sauces brought many employees together for some good fun.
  • Wonderful local restaurants that go out of their way to serve you, even on their last day. Go Roma Warrenville, you will be missed! Thank you to everyone for their friendly welcomes and great service!
  • Garages! It was 27 degrees out when I left for work this morning and it made my entire commute better to realize that I didn’t have to scrape my car.
  • An unexpected blessing in the form of a free Starbucks holiday drink in my email this morning.
  • Personal accomplishments like staying in thigh the entire time for the first time ever! This means nothing to you if you don’t do Bar Method. Move along.
  • Being healthy enough to be able to challenge myself to a 30-day fitness challenge without modifications or doctor’s notes.
  • Amazing roommates who, even though they are ridiculously stressed and sleep deprived, take the time to write and leave out happy little notes complete with little faces.
  • Great blog articles like this one that fly in the face of cultural beliefs and support God’s original plans. And then go viral!

Fitness Challenge!

Fitness is important, yes? We all know this. For me, life seems so much better when I’m running or working out regularly. I like myself more. There are all kinds of benefits! And yet it’s so hard to get out there and do something about it.

Last winter, I worked on running. But it was a long, cold season and my treadmill was getting boring. Plus when you don’t get enough sleep, it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed at 4:30am to stare on the back of the garage door for 45 minutes.

In an effort to get my fitness back on track, I Googled fitness classes in my area and happened across the Bar Method. What I learned on the website and the blog intrigued me. I’ve always had a fascination with dance and a dancer’s body; here was a workout that promised to give me something similar! With a free introductory class, how could I go wrong?

Wow.

Fitness classes have scared me in the past. I would get part way through and wish I was anywhere else. I would dread going to class and justify not going. After my first two weeks of The Bar Method, I didn’t feel that way. The 60 minute class moves fast enough that it’s over before I know it. After my first class, I was sore but I couldn’t wait to go back. Two weeks later and I felt the difference in my energy levels. It may have been a figment of my imagination because it was probably too soon, but I thought I could see the toning in my arms.

But as I said earlier, it’s hard to sustain a regular workout schedule when you’re sleep deprived. So sadly, this summer my regular workouts faded away under a burden of work and sleeplessness.

It’s a vicious cycle with which we all struggle: you’re tired so you don’t work out so your body gets weaker and you feel more tired. But when you can just muster up the energy to start working out, you have more energy. And – bonus! – you eat better because your body craves better things.

Somehow, I have summoned the energy to workout again. This probably has something to do with the 50 or so days left until I leave on vacation in warmer climates, but whatever the reason I am grateful. I am also grateful to the wonderful people at my Bar Method studio for their great timing in offering a challenge: 20 classes in 30 days.

What do I have to lose? If I don’t make 20, I’ll still have motivated myself to go to however many classes I’ve made it to. And maybe I can make it to 20! It doesn’t seem like a very big deal, but it is to me. It’s a personal victory for sticking with and completing something.

So I’m going for it. 20 classes in 30 days starting today. Wish me luck!

Have you ever done a fitness challenge? How did it go?