2017 Highlights & New Year Goals
I can't say that I will miss you
One thing that I love about blogging, or sharing life on the internet in general, is being able to look back at old posts, thoughts, and memories. And it can be a bit scary for some of us, but hey, we don't judge. I really love looking back at my old posts on the blog at the end of every year. I'm not sure if anyone recalls my 2016 farewell post that I threw together last minute, but I just stumbled upon it and couldn't help but laugh. At the time, Chad and I were just getting settled into apartment living, I self-hosted/moved my blog/started truly loving my blog, and fell in love with developing my own recipes.
As much as I enjoyed many parts of 2017, I will say it was a tough year. I started working for an almost ideal business and working almost an ideal job. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned and I was left extremely disappointed. After leaving the 36+ hours per week position in March, I just felt exhausted and confused. It brought back a lot of anxiety, some old and some new. I spent the spring and much of summer trying to make sense of it all, which in my case, only made things worse. I'm such an over thinker and I gave myself too much time to dwell on the past. I wasn't myself and I sadly realize that I will never get that time back; there are days that I feel like much of it was a blur. I didn't talk about it on my blog because I didn't want to draw any negative attention onto my happy space. My very first blog (like 2014) was kind of my venting ground for all things unhappy; I was terrified of letting any of that happen again. That's kind of how and why I started making more recipes this year. I was a. distracting myself, b. trying to keep my job-less self busy, and 3. in need of some therapy. And you know, it just kind of worked.
But I grew, and I continue to grow. My mom likes to remind that some years are transition years and they can only lead to better beginnings. I wanted to be honest with you all before the beginning of a new year, and remind you that things aren't always great. Sometimes things aren't great for days, weeks, and months but only you can change that. Without sounding completely and totally ra-ra cheerleader on you - it sucks but it's true. I wish someone could have snapped me out of that feeling and those thoughts, but they couldn't and still can't. Anxiety is something that is always there for me, whether it's because I'm just an over thinker or have a "creative mind," I'm not really sure.
The light and the lesson: growing up and growing into yourself is freaking weird, scary, emotional, hard, awesome, and not awesome all at the same time. People don't always have your best interest in mind and it's up to you to make sure you have your best interest in mind. I'm 22 and as much as I wish I knew what the next five years will bring, I don't and no one does. I've grown to the point of acceptance, a new found (necessary) patience if you will.
I have to give credit where credit is due; the final few months of 2017 have been much better compared to the first few. I'm working for an amazing family, practicing yoga more frequently, doing more workouts that I enjoy (including at home workouts!), and continuously eating food that make me feel my best. I'm balancing a healthy online/offline relationship with social media, focusing on my own goals, and planning for some new blog content. I'm learning the importance of mindfulness in every aspect of life; being present in the moment and not taking anything, anyone or any day for granted. I'm learning how to be strong yet vulnerable, to trust myself, my plan, and the world around me.
As a note to my 2017 self, you can't win them all.
As a note to my 2018 self, you better believe you can try.
Let's Do This, 2018
Life Goals: Graduation, Starting My Career, Staying True to Myself
As I mentioned, I had a lot of time to sit and think this year. I finished my third year of college and began my fourth, and final year, of my undergraduate program. It wasn't until this summer of not having a job, that I realized how stressful looking for a job can be. I am majoring in Nutrition Communications and though I absolutely love it, I wouldn't say it's the most opportunistic degree - especially in my hometown. My degree has allowed me to combine both of my passions; nutrition and writing. I've learned a lot about the marketing, communications, and public relations side of the nutrition field. Kind of like what I'm already doing on my blog, just on a much larger scale; which is how and why I decided to pursue this degree in the first place.
Goal number one, graduation. I tend to get ahead of myself instead of focusing on one thing at a time. Regardless of wanting to get my first job, graduating and obtaining an actual degree has to come first. I constantly stress myself out by looking too far into the future or worrying about situations (like not getting a job) well before I need to. I'm sure I will have plenty of time for real stress, so why not enjoy being a student for one last semester? - Note to self.
Goal number two, find my first big girl job or move in that direction. Even if it takes most (all) of my 2018, I am determined to find a job related to my career. I feel anxious, excited, and ready to contribute to some real world stuff; I feel like I've been practicing for years now and I'm finally ready to actually make an impact. I'm also dabbling with the idea of going back to school to earn my teaching license. Since I was a little girl, teaching has always been a passion of mine, but I always convinced myself otherwise. Teaching would give me the opportunity to implement and develop in-school nutrition programs for both inner city and public schools. Again, getting ahead of myself, but at least it will start in 2018.
Goal number three, staying true to myself, my message, and my platform. When I first starting blogging, I wasn't sure why I felt so drawn to writing and sharing my thoughts with the world on this platform that I called my own. I didn't realize that I would continue doing so for the next four years. There were many times that I thought about scrapping everything and just letting my blog be a thing of the past. I thought, "No harm no foul, who will even remember/care anyways?" And then I remembered that I didn't start this blog for anyone, I didn't expect to gain followers or subscribers, and I didn't think it would give me opportunities. I had very low expectations because I just loved writing and I loved writing about nutrition and health issues as an eighteen year old girl. Now, I can't imagine not having my very own website to capture, create, design, and talk about whatever I want. I can't imagine not sharing my real life struggles with likeminded women and girls around the world. I can't imagine missing out on friendships, conversations, compliments, and thoughts from people I would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise. I find it to be incredibly easy to be influenced into thinking or acting a certain way when following "influencers" on social media. I personally have let it happen many times and I absolutely hated that feeling of inauthenticity. Life goal number three - stay 100%, unapologetically, true to myself, my message and my blog.
Nutrition & Training Goals: Real Food, Real Workouts, Really Big Differences
I'm not one to boast about anything, ever - but, I feel like I finally have a full understanding for my nutrition, daily meals, and what works for me. At this time last year, I was still very unsure of why my body would bloat, hold weight, or look the way it would from time to time. I wasn't as focused on eating real foods as I am today, and I was constantly stressing out about getting to the gym more. During this past summer, I was going to the gym 4 times a week, running 3 times a week, and following a pretty strict diet. However, I was fairly weak under the bar, my body didn't look any different, and I was tired all the time. This was the most I have worked out (per week) in my entire life so I couldn't understand why I wasn't looking the part. I was focusing too heavily on what I thought I should be eating, rather than what was best for my body each day.
My nutrition goal, focus on real food. No more protein shakes for breakfast (greens shakes don't count), protein bars for lunch, and white rice for dinner. I'm focusing on eating real food, with real nutrients, and real benefits. I have been making eggs before work, taking a big chicken salad with me for lunch, and getting creative with week-night dinners. Not only does this help to keep my mentally and physically satisfied after meals, but it allows me to get more real food. I'm only able to get to the gym twice a week at the moment and I feel and look better now than I did when I was going four days a week. I've honed in on what works for my body with my current gym/work/life/goals situation. If you're stuck in a rut and not sure how to get to this place, I have a new post coming soon and it's all about how to find what works for you. If you have any questions/thoughts that you want me to cover, leave a comment below or chat with me.
My training goal, do what feels good. I let myself get so stressed about not being able to get to the gym four days a week until I finally realized that it didn't really matter. I started working a full time nannying job and going to the gym after a full day of work, sometimes feels impossible. Instead of getting frustrated, I've started practicing yoga more frequently, walking on the treadmill, and doing some at home workouts to keep myself active and strong. I'm incorporating more body weight exercises and cardio into my weekly training cycle and can already tell such a difference in my weight training. And most importantly, I'm not stressing about skipping the gym, gaining weight, or losing strength. My goal training goal for 2018 is to stay committed to my at-home, do what feels right workouts and not stress about physically getting to the gym.
The Best Blog Moments of 2017
I've been honest about my lowlights, set my intentions, and planned for some big goals; now it's time to talk about the best, happiest, and most awesome blogging moments from this year!
My first blog post of 2017 was a full day of eating on a Saturday. Looking back, not much has changed regarding what a "treat day" Saturday looks like for us. We still go out on the weekend and enjoy one night of eating some not so healthy food. It might not always be on a Saturday, but we always make sure we have one night of indulgence. As I mentioned in my original post, I do this to check in with my mind and my body. My happiness and relationship with food is key to sustainably living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Meaning, I need a pizza every once and a while.
Here are some of my favorite lifestyle related posts from this year:
Kennedy's 5 Healthy Travel Tips - she's just the sweetest human ever
Grocery Staples - Free Guide!
From moving my website and chatting about my longtime struggle with bloat, to making amazing friendships and creating my very first Healthiest Me Guide; 2017 has been a pretty great year on the blog. We can't forget about how delicious it has been as well! Here are some of my favorite recipes from this year:
It has been quite the year for recipes around here and I was so hard to choose my favorites. Each recipe that I shared, and continue to share, will always be one that I truly love and eat. I will never share anything on the blog that I don't live for and stand behind completely. Believe me when I tell you, we loved (and ate) every last bite of these recipes!
2018 for The Healthiest Me
And finally, my goals for THM in 2018
Goal number one, be honest about my thoughts. I want to write about topics that aren't easy to talk about; eating disorders (disordered eating), social media anxiety, coping with body image disorders, building healthy relationships with food and the gym, what to do if you've gained weight, and the list goes on and on. I mentioned above that I used recipes as a way to hide some anxiety that I was feeling over this year, and after talking things over with Chad, I realized that most of it was coming from relatable problems like feeling pressured to post certain things or act a certain way on Instagram, having the wrong goal in mind for my blog (wanting to be an "influencer"), and of course just little 22 year old girl things. Instead of hiding behind pretty food pictures, I want to talk more openly about it. Connect with people who might be going through the same things or have the same worries, and try to make a difference.
Goal number two, share more of real life stuff. Life isn't always banana bread and zucchini cookies - we do have to eat real food too! All jokes aside, I want to share more of my go to recipes that we eat on a daily/weekly basis. As much as I love food photography and making sure everything looks perfect, I'm realizing that this isn't helping the big problem and many of us still don't know how to eat. There is a lot of stress around what's good and what's bad, or whether or not you need to be eating the most natural, unprocessed, organic foods on the market. My goal for 2018 is to show you that you CAN achieve your goals (lose weight, gain weight, build muscle), by eating simple foods and creating easy recipes. Sharing more of my real life habits, recipes, and advice will help you achieve real life success.
Goal number three, quality over quantity. I'm not trying to be the next health guru or insta influencer; I'm trying to help my community find their healthiest and happiest self. With that in mind, I'm not going to post a six or seven blog posts a week just to market myself or attract more attention. I'm going to focus on posting one or two, informational and educational articles per week to actually help people right now. I don't care about the number of followers I gained or lose, what company wants to send me what, or what product I need to endorse next. I don't monetize my blog and I don't plan to use it for any sort of income. My honest goal is to help girls be happy, be healthy, and be confident in their bodies. For me, that all starts with quality blog posts that are actually going to help this online world.
Happy New Years, everyone! It's hard to believe that 2017 has come and gone, but I have a feeling that 2018 is going to bring a lot of new and exciting opportunities.
Thank you, thank you, thank you(and yes, I'm talking to you) for taking the time to read, comment, and share my posts. Your kind words of encouragement constantly inspire me to do more, be better, and push myself for this amazing community.
I am so excited to see what 2018 has in store!