A Promise to Myself on My 26th Birthday
Today as I’m writing, it is my 26th birthday. In looking back at the previous year, I can say without a doubt that 25 was filled with the biggest triumphs and some of the biggest challenges I have ever experienced. My 25th birthday was spent putting my grandmother to rest. To be honest, the entire day was a blur. I vaguely remember rehearsing the readings a few times that morning before the service and trying to make small talk with my second cousins whom I had only met once or twice at the lunch following the burial. To this day, I don’t think I’ve given myself the time to process my feelings on the loss of my grandma.
At the time, I was newly engaged to my now husband and planning my April 2019 wedding. We had a tight schedule with less than a year to plan so I did what I do best, moved forward. Planning a wedding is without a doubt one of the most delayed gratification experiences. You go into it knowing that you will have a beautiful day where your friends and family can celebrate one of the biggest commitments 2 people can make but there will always be family drama and outside opinions you have to deal with that will make the planning process stressful and depleting.
From the outside, the last year of my life probably looked picturesque. I did a great job of showing my highlight reel moments. My engagement, wedding and honeymoon photos were plastered on my personal social media accounts. Don’t get me wrong, these events were magical and I will cherish these memories forever. These moments made 25 a year that I will forever look back on with admiration and pride. However, what I have chosen to show online is only a portion of my year. There was so much more going on behind the scene that I was dealing with and I spent a lot of days mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted due to circumstances out of my control.
At the time, I did what I knew best, I suppressed my feelings and moved forward. I did everything in my power to control what I could and show up for others the way that I always had. Dinner was always on the table, I showed up to my son’s activities with a smile, I threw ‘just because’ parties, I showed up for work with a positive attitude, I checked in with friends, and I made time for my partner. I didn’t want anyone to suffer because of how I was feeling and convinced myself that what I was going through wasn’t important. That ‘other people have it way worse than I do’ mentality wasn’t healthy and caused me to slowly break down and lose sight of the things I love. I stopped writing this blog, I stopped working out regularly, and I put all my energy into my family and work. I replaced activities that I love with 15 minutes of social media scrolling here, and a 30 minute Netflix show there because I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. I allowed myself to dwindle away over time.
Last month, I looked at my calendar and saw that I was roughly 1.5 away from my birthday and had to come to terms with the fact that I hadn’t accomplished what I had set out to at 25. Instead of self loathing, I made a promise that 26 would be the ‘Year of Me’. I set out to make active changes to ensure that I don’t allow myself to let another year pass by without achieving my goals. Instead of waiting for July 30th, I decided to start then. Change can happen at any time if you put your mind to it. I didn’t want this to be the equivalent of New Years Resolutions that I’d break after 2 weeks. I wanted these to become consistent habits. Below I have outline the promises I’ve made to myself for my 26th year around the sun:
Fitness- Creating a workout routine was the most important habit I wanted to develop. I knew implementing and finding the time to do this would be challenging as a working mother and wife but also knew it would be the most beneficial and impactful change for me both personally and professionally. In the past, I’ve been the person that joined a gym only to give up 2 weeks due to being frustrated with creating my own routines. I have also been the person that started an at-home workout routine but didn’t push myself as hard as I should due to being alone. I knew group fitness would give me the structure and motivational setting to achieve my goals. I promised myself that in July 2020, I would like to be in the best shape of my life.
In order to achieve that, I set a weekly goal of 6 workouts a week. On weekdays, participate in classes with either a 5:15 AM or 5:30 AM so I’m not taking away family time after work. While the new schedule has been an adjustment, I have grown to appreciate being awake before my family and having the satisfaction of checking my workout off before I prep breakfast for my family. I found out about Class Pass through a friend. Class Pass is a monthly fitness membership that provides you with access to thousands of different studios, gyms, and wellness offerings across cities throughout the world. Initially, I signed up for a free trial to test out new workouts and studios in my area. I intended to get a membership to one of the studios I liked. To my surprise, I grew to enjoy Class Pass and the variety of workouts offered that no one studio/gym could fulfill and signed up for a monthly subscription after my trial ended. I have tried TRX, cycling, rowing, HIIT, strength training, barre, Pilates and kickboxing classes. I haven’t missed my target of 6 workouts in over a month and have made fitness a forever habit.
Cut Out Distractions- After my ‘aha’ moment last month, I decided I needed to cut out the bad habits I had adopted. Deleting my personal Facebook account was something I had thought about doing for so long but always wrote off. After all, I have a job in marketing and need to have a Facebook account to access my client’s business pages (and this blog’s Facebook page as well.) I also made the excuse of having my entire life documented from age 14 on there and my child’s life as well to not delete because I didn’t want to lose my photos and videos.
I knew my personal social media page wasn’t serving me so I decided to quit making excuses and delete it. I started by downloading my photos and videos from Facebook (here’s a step-by-step way to do it.) Then I put the downloaded photos and videos into Google Photos for storage. I created a mock Facebook page with only my boss and clients added to it so I can access work accounts and my blog’s Facebook page. Also, in order to ensure I don’t fall back into bad social media habits on Instagram (since I use it as a business tool), I audited who I was following and unfollowed people who I didn’t believe served me (i.e. makeup, fashion accounts, and memes). I also muted the majority of my friend’s stories in order to ensure that I am not falling back into bad habits and using my account as a personal account. Social media is a powerful tool if used correctly. I want to continue to use it to share what I’m passionate about and also to support the people who I believe are working toward something great. Silencing the noise and auditing my life has brought me so much peace and I recommend anyone try it out (even if only for a month.)
Start Writing- I love writing and telling stories. That’s what inspired to me to start blogging a year ago. Now that I have created systems for success, I feel comfortable starting to write again. For a long time, I was too stressed and overwhelmed to write. Sadly, once I started to emerge from the fog and feel better, I was discouraged to start posting again. I felt shame and embarrassment about starting this and then not being consistent with it. I felt uncomfortable sharing what had really been going on with me. That mindset hindered me from progress. Waiting for the right time to come or the perfect idea will never happen. That’s why I’m choosing to post this today, without anyone editing it or seeing it. I’d rather do something than wait for perfect. Choosing to act now and adjust later is a liberating choice.
I hope whoever is reading this feels encouraged that it’s never too late to pivot and make a change. Taking care of yourself is the least selfish choice a person can make. Start with your goal and work backward to determine the steps necessary to achieve it. Make small, incremental change but dream big! If I can do it, so can you.