2019, Wipe the Slate Clean

Hi friends! I know it’s been quite a while since you’ve heard from me. (My last blog post was in September… I hate myself). BUT, I have a good reason! On October 1st, I received my Illinois Bar Exam results (which you may have read about on my Insta) and found out that I PASSED on the first try! My work immediately promoted me from Graduated Law Clerk to Associate Attorney, and just like that, the past few months FLEW by.

In those few months, I also lost my dear grandpa. He had been fighting a brave and furious battle with cancer. I don’t like to say he lost his battle with cancer, because he didn’t. He fought and fought hard, and he did it because he knew we wanted him to. At the end of it, he contracted an infection from the radiation, and when he moved on to a higher realm, it was ultimately his choice, as his heart stopped beating. So, we like to say he CHOSE to move on, the cancer itself isn’t what pushed him on. He moved on with all of us around him, holding his hands, and surrounding him with love.

For anyone who has lost someone near and dear in 2018, God, do I feel for you. This has hands down been the most difficult thing to go through. His funeral was the day before Thanksgiving, which we always spent with him. Christmas was hard. Every day has been hard. But, I know he’s with me and watching over us all. As Carrie Underwood put it, “but I won’t cry ’cause I know, I’ll never be lonely, for you are the stars to me, you are the light I follow…”

With the past few months being the whirlwind that they have been, I’ve been doing a LOT of deep reflection the past few days. I see so many people mock New Years Resolutions, and the whole “New Year, New Me” trend, but damn, this year I feel more motivated than ever before to start the new year fresh. Screw people who think being motivated to better yourself is dumb. There’s something magical about a new year beginning, and if it’s that little bit of magic, that fresh slate feeling, that gives you that little spark of motivation to be who you want to be, then DO IT!

I wanted to write this post for anyone who wants to make a change in 2019 but doesn’t know how or where to start. I’m not a life coach or anything, but I feel like my success, if you will, gives me a platform to encourage other women, and I want to use it!

  1. Do your actions match your beliefs?

Have you ever heard “live with intent”? I was listening to Rachel Hollis’s RISE Podcast last night (which you NEED in your life) and they talked about living with intent. This resonated with me in a huge way because of some of my goals I’ve mapped out for myself for 2019.

If you don’t know, I am a lifelong vegetarian and animal spokesperson. I say spokesperson because I use my voice for those who don’t have one, and animal “activist” has negative connotations because people hate PETA, lol. I have always believed that animals’ lives are equal in value to our own, and that we do not have the right to take another living being’s life. I KNOW that all animals are capable of emotion, including love, compassion, anxiety and fear (the list matches our own human emotions). See, Stella the family duck. Despite living my whole life believing that animals should not be hurt, killed, tested on, used for entertainment, etc., my own actions haven’t been matching those beliefs.

To explain, I was buying and consuming dairy products. I bought a pair of Bearpaw (not vegan) boots. I was buying all the “hot” products at Sephora and Ulta without checking if they tested on animals. I was eating at Jimmy John’s. The list goes on. By doing these things, I was funding and supporting the dairy industry which is rampant with animal abuse and neglect, I was funding the skinning of animals, I was funding and supporting companies that harmed animals that live their loveless, uncomfortable life in labs being burned by chemicals, and I was funding the owner of Jimmy John’s taking hunting trips to trophy hunt beautiful exotic animals.

Long story short, my actions, namely, where I put my money and what food and products I consumed, did not match my deep core values. After a lot of self-reflection, I decided I want to kick 2019 off on a different note, and make SURE my actions match my beliefs. I have decided to go VEGAN (yay!) and have already did a massive fridge and pantry dump, and refilled both with vegan EVERYTHING. I have done research and will only be buying makeup and other products from companies that do not test on animals. Also, I stopped eating at Jimmy John’s, and when my boss suggests ordering for lunch, I’ve started protesting ๐Ÿ˜‰

I want you to sit down and write out your deeply held values, and go through each one and evaluate yourself – have your actions been matching your beliefs? If not, what can you do to change that in 2019?

2. Work hard, SLEEP harder

This is one thing I am FOR SURE qualified to speak on. HOLY moly, am I an anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing, overachieving, perfectionist workaholic. I blame (and also, thank) my parents for this. One thing I am HORRIBLE at, is taking the time I need to rest and recharge so I can continue to put my best foot forward in the workplace and at home.

With my autoimmune diseases, I need 10-11 hours of sleep a night to feel my best. I don’t even get 8. I average, actually, between 5 and 7 hours a night. That is, like HALF of what I need to be getting, and I do it every night! And THEN, I have nights like last night, where I had nothing to do and could not wait to go home and sit on the couch and relax all night. I sat down for about 10 minutes, got antsy, felt like I was wasting precious time to be productive, and bounced up and meal-prepped until 11:30 pm.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS. I know it’s partially a good thing, because I wouldn’t be a lawyer at a dope firm at 24 if I didn’t have this deep drive within me. But, I’m not being the best version of myself by doing this all the time. I’m sleepy at work and I’m grumpy at home. Sure, I may be productive and working towards success, but I’m not being the best version of me.

Going into 2019, I’ve vowed to get more sleep, and learn to fight the urge to get up and do something when I’ve been blessed with valuable resting time. If I rest more, I can still kill it at work, but I’ll be less foggy, need less caffeine, and I’ll be more productive! All of us can use a reminder that you can be productive and successful, and also get your beauty rest. You can conquer the world, but also take a nap here and there. You can do (almost) ALL the things, but ONLY with the rest your body needs!

So, ladies, we are slaying AND sleeping in 2019.

3. In your mother’s voice: “You’re not leaving this table until you take your vitamins and finish that glass of water!”

This one’s simple. Drink your water. Take your vitamins. Put GOOD things into your body. It’s the only one you got! This will only fuel your body to feel better and more able to take on the world every day. If you have trouble drinking enough water (like me), stick some lemon and limes in there. Get to chugging.

4. STOP “just surviving” and STOP “living for the weekend”

I am the worst when it comes to this. I catch myself in this sort of tumble, rolling out of bed, crawling into work, dying to get home, doing nothing until bed, sleeping a little, and waking up to do it again…. All the while BEGGING for Friday to get here sooner.

THIS IS SO EFFED. Wow, what life are we living in a constant cycle like this? It’s so easy to fall into, but damn, do we need to break it! Every single day there is opportunity to live a little. Every time you wish for the weekend, you are literally wishing the numbered days of your life to pass you by faster. Work is part of life. It is not your whole life. You are not your job. Your job is not who you are.

You are a runner, a sister, a golfer, a blogger, a mom, a daughter, a crafter, a movie-goer. You love baking, you love watching reality TV shows, you love reading. You take photographs. You like spending time with your family. You like going to the gym. You like thrifting. Whatever you love doing, stop waiting for the weekends to do it. Carve the time into your days to do a little bit of what you love and enjoy every day. Stop stumbling through the week and start living your life!

5. You are not required to spend time with toxic people because of a blood relation

Oh, boy, this is huge. I know some people (especially older people) will disagree with me on this. Don’t let people guilt you into spending time with toxic people because “well they’re family so get over it!” NO. Just, no. You are not required to spend the limited time you have on this earth with people that make you feel bad. 

This goes for friends, too. People change. Just because you’ve been friends forever, doesn’t mean you’re meant to stay friends forever. If that person brings negativity to your life, if that person judges you, doesn’t support you or your decisions, and makes you feel bad about who you are, what you love, or who you love, CUT THEM OFF. Blood or not, CUT them off, sister. They are not worth your time. YOUR TIME HAS VALUE! Spend it with those who love you and make you feel good. Each day is a gift, you never know when you might not see those people again.

Minimum payments = self-sabotaging your future self

This is off on a bit of a tangent, but dang, is it important. Money is such a huge part of our day-to-day lives. You can sit there and be like “no it’s not, money doesn’t matter” and pretend that life is all rainbows and butterflies, but those butterflies aren’t paying your bills, are they?

Money and bills and debt is a huge underlying cause of depression, anxiety, and just general unhappiness with your life. Even if you don’t think bills and money stress you out that bad, it’s lingering in your brain. You would feel so much better if you were taking active steps to be financially above water, trust me. This means, STOP JUST PAYING YOUR MINIMUM PAYMENTS!

I recently had to set up my student loan payments that start in January (gag me). I looked at all of my options for monthly payments, including what my “end total” would be with each. The lowest monthly payment would be nice for now, but I would have ended up paying about $40,000.000 more at the end of my payment period just in interest!!! While it’s going to suck now, I chose a higher monthly payment (which means less shopping and eating out/going out) so I save about $40,000 in the long-run. I know so many people who have been bragging about how they “don’t have to pay anything yet” because their income isn’t high. YEAH, well I don’t HAVE to pay near $500 a month for my student loans, but I’m going to so I don’t drown in interest and growing debt.

I know, you’re probably thinking “I don’t have the extra money to pay more than my minimum.” If you sit down with your monthly debit or credit card charges, I’m POSITIVE you can find some extra money. Cancel that monthly subscription to the gym or tanning salon you never go to. Stop getting your nails done every two weeks and paint your own for a bit. Cancel your Apple Music or Spotify Premium payment and put up with the Spotify adds for a while. Make your coffee at home for two weeks and don’t go to Starbucks or Dunkin. There’s money, you have to just keep a closer eye on it!

If you’ve been thinking about who you want to be this new year, I hope you join me in doing some deep self-reflection. If anything, let this be a guide to you on setting some new year resolutions for yourself.

If any of this inspired you to set a new, new years resolution, comment below! I want to hear it!