It’s been a long time since I’ve hit this keyboard and it’s collected so much dust, you’d think it’s an antique.
Last year, I told you about how it was a new year, and how I was still the same person. This year, I’m changing my tune. I swore I’d never say this, but I guess it’s true: You can never say never.
To put it simply, I’m a heck of a lot different than I was last year and that’s okay.
A lot has changed since I wrote last. I’d like to say that I’ve grown up, become absurdly successful, and am living fabulously on a beach somewhere. But any of you that know me, know that’s not true either. 2019 was kick ass and kicked my ass. I married my best guy, bought a house (someone send Tim Allen my way), and have gone through multiple changes at my job. I’ve grown professionally and personally.
Don’t you worry though. I’m still sassy, snarky, and have ironically met my match in the form of a very persistent little bulldog (get your fix here).
So this one is for all of you out there trying to better yourselves. I hear you and I’m with you.
Here’s what I’ve learned throughout my journey:
Standing Still Gets You Nowhere. Recently in a conversation with my boss, she noted that change is uncomfortable but inevitable. She’s absolutely right. If you want to move forward, you can’t be stuck standing still while life passes you by. You don’t expect a train to stop for a passenger who won’t leave the platform, right? Life waits for no (wo)man, my friends. Change is hard, growth is painful, but nothing is worse than being stagnant.
Getting Comfortably Uncomfortable. Good lord, the last year has been uncomfortable. I could write for hours about buying a house (navigating the piles of paperwork that come with that), moving (how did we accumulate so much crap?), getting married, and potty training a puppy (please send wine).
Was all of that uncomfortable? Absolutely. Did it all happen according to my schedule? Hell no. Do I still struggle on a daily basis? You bet. Is it all worth it? Damn right.
Being uncomfortable isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Learning to flow with the changes is key here. Be mindful of change, and pursue change where you feel inclined. Like I’ve said before, life doesn’t happen according to your schedule. It won’t always be comfortable, or fit into your routine, but that doesn’t make it bad.
Cultivate connections. I have a passion for connection. I’ll be the first to admit that I have some incredible friends and acquaintances (yeah, I’m talking to you). I see you, and I’m here to cheer you on. We live in a time where we have so many options for connecting with others. Ten years ago, who knew that today we could show our support by “liking” photos? The options are endless.
That being said, we need to be mindful and intentional in our connections. Recognize where you are at in your life and cultivate the connections that help you grow. Stop holding onto things or people that weigh you down. Don’t be afraid to take out your scissors and cut some ties.
Stop apologizing. If you want to change, do so. You are in control of yourself, your choices, and your life. You don’t owe anyone an explanation or a reason. Storm the castle, take no prisoners. Do what you need to do to keep moving forward. You don’t need to apologize for the changes or for creating a new “norm” for yourself.
Other people’s perception of you or your journey isn’t the gospel and you don’t need to offer any reasoning behind your choices. Life isn’t a popularity contest, and you don’t have to be popular to like yourself. At the end of the day, you need to be able to be happy with who you are. Do what it takes to make that happen.
Pace Yourself Purposefully. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were you. Give yourself room to grow and change, at your own pace. Just because you ate a salad today doesn’t mean you’ll magically be down 10 lbs. tomorrow (dang it!). All change takes time, determination, and investment. Be purposeful in your approach and be realistic with your timeframe. This isn’t a race, and change is steady. Give yourself permission to move at your own speed. Forward is forward.
Give Some Grace. If you’re like me, you are your harshest critic. Change is a steady process, and it isn’t easy. However, it is easy to be hard on yourself. Why did you eat that cookie, fat ass? That ad looks like shit. Can’t you do better? This is why you haven’t been promoted. No wonder your friends are all busy. Why aren’t you done with that yet? That voice in your head is a liar, and your insecurities aren’t an expert.
Do you talk to other people like you talk to yourself? I’d venture to guess the answer is no. Talk to yourself the same kindness and courtesy that you give others. Cut out the negative self talk and give yourself some grace. You’re human, you’re going to make mistakes and struggle along the way. Like I said above, be patient with yourself.
Get Gritty. Change scares the crap out of most people. We panic, don’t know what’s going on, and we resist to try to get back to the “norm”. But what has the “norm” done for you anyway? Just because it’s comfortable, doesn’t make it the best option. Doing things simply because “that’s how you’ve always done it” doesn’t cut the mustard if you’re looking for progress.
What is your character made of? I guarantee you don’t just exist on this earth with the sole purpose of “maintaining the status quo”. Have passion and persevere. Show the world what kind of person you are and be brave enough to be uncomfortable. Set goals and follow through. Be tenacious, and don’t let yourself down. Saddle up, and show us your grit.
Okay, expert. So how have you changed this year? I’m not going to sit here and say I’m the best human on the face of the earth or that I’ve achieved a higher level of existence. I’m just a regular human, that’s trying to be better each day. Each day, I take inventory of my day and note the things that I can improve on.
Did I skip the gym? Tomorrow I’ll get up earlier and commit. Could my conversation with my boss have gone better? Let’s circle back on that during my meeting on Wednesday.
Being self-aware isn’t always fun, and these conversations with myself aren’t always pleasant, but they are necessary. Will I ever be perfect? Nope! Am I going to screw up and struggle sometimes? You bet, and more than I’d like to admit. But I’m going to be better, and more intentional each day.
Above all, be real with yourself, and don’t be afraid to get uncomfortable. To all of you that are struggling with change, keep moving forward. I’m cheering for you.
Stay excellent, friends.