(Alternate title for this post: Lessons Learned in my Year of Growing Pains)
Happy New Year!
Can you believe it's already 2016? Because I can't. I feel like I'm hitting that point in life where time starts to blend together and move faster and faster and it's hard to differentiate between separate years. Oh no! Oh well.
I've been procrastinating writing this 2015 recap all week, but I figure I need to get it done while we're still in the first week of the new year so I can officially move on with my life.
If 2014 was the year of outward growth and expansion (quit job! launch and grow coaching biz!), 2015 was my year of inward growth, TRAVEL, personal discovery and comfort zone blasting! It was quite exhausting really. Which is why I've been putting off this recap...I honestly don't want to have to relive it, haha.
2015 was my first full year being self employed, and it's been a wonderful ride.
Last January I decided my word of the year was FOCUS. Here are some of the intentions I set:
A few of the big projects and milestones ahead:
-a new website and blog !!! CHECK! You're on it!
-a more established health and wellness coaching business and team Check check!
-WATERCOLORS IN THE ETSY SHOP (finally, right?) YESSSSS I DID IT! Still need to expand and promote them more, but here's my first collection of printable art!
-a new apartment this summer !!! Check! I still can't believe we found this place...the first time I've felt like I manifested a dream from thin air!
I want to start writing and sharing more of my life again. I feel like I got sucked into the learning and absorbing vacuum this fall, became overwhelmed with everything I felt like I "needed" to know and do, and paralyzed myself with too many conflicting priorities.
2015 is going to be a year of FOCUS and intention. I have a lot of big goals and dreams, and I know I'm capable of making them happen.
This is the power of intentional goal setting in action. When we put our dreams and visions into the universe (or internet), they have a tendency of happening on their own time. It might not be exactly like we expected, and it NEVER happens as quickly as we think it should, but it will all work out.
I had several really big achievement-based goals relating to my business that I EPICALLY failed to reach, but I'm ok with that! It's a story for another post...
This post is for giving thanks and gratitude to the lessons, adventures, experiences, and growth of 2015.
It was a WHAMMY of a year.
Word of 2015: FOCUS.
I learned that what you focus on will indeed expand and grow.
I learned this the good way, and also the hard way.
I learned that I needed to focus on myself and my inner journey instead of focusing entirely on growing my business, because our outer lives only grow and expand at the same rate as we grow and expand on the inside.
January and February were the months I pushed my mental and physical limits and learned how to literally travel beyond the edges of my comfort zone.
My biggest triumph: Completing all 60 days of Insanity Max:30!
Lessons learned: I did Jess Lively's Life With Intention Online and learned how to recognize my ego (aka inner mean girl), started to break up with my achievement-driven way of life that always left me feeling empty and unsatisfied, and slowly started to practice believing that I am already good enough. I did a lot of deep work on my values in life, and that set the tone for pretty much the rest of the year, although I'm still very much a student in all this personal development stuff!
I also added flannel blanket scarves to the Etsy shop, and went way overboard with trying to set goals and plan out the year. This year I'm definitely backing off the goal setting front and letting things happen on their own.
Looking back through my photos, I think spring was my favorite season of the year. It was the season of self discovery and spending time with family and friends.
I started reading The Artist's Way, and learned the transformative power of journaling every single day.
I started working with my first ever amazing life coach Cady, and she helped me dig deep into my potential, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and inner strength.
Ben and I also traveled to Cancun for the Beachbody Success Club trip! It was Ben's first official Beachbody experience, and we spent 5 days at an all-inclusive resort with the top coaches in the network, all earned for free in my first year of coaching...it was INCREDIBLE.
I also spent lots of time hanging out with my girlfriends and Tone It Up community here in Chicago, even getting a chance to meet Karena and Katrina themselves at their book tour!
My family came to visit and we went to the Chicago Flower and Garden show at Navy Pier to get the first glimpse of (indoor) spring.
I invested in Marie Forleo's B-School to learn how to run an online business, and got back to painting!
Summer was for travel and adventures!
I finally launched my first line of printable watercolor art in the Etsy shop. Hurray!
Ben and I met his family in the suburbs for a little reunion to celebrate his late grandmother's 100th birthday.
My partner in crime Katie and I traveled to Peoria to run a Shakeology booth at the Steamboat Classic Expo and also ran the race with most of my family. It was super fun and Katie is now officially adopted into our curly red haired clan.
Then Ben and I jetted off to Holland for our first trip to Europe together! I'm half Dutch, so we visited lots of family and traveled around several cities. (I guess I still need to finish re-capping our trip!). I hadn't been back since high school, so it was strange to revisit all my childhood memories and share my Dutch heritage with Ben. We ate lots of bread, stroopwafels, pastries, Heineken, and had a blast.
Then it was off to Nashville for Coach Summit with some of the wonderful members of my team! We had so much fun soaking it all in, celebrating, having girls night dinners, working out with Shaun T and Chalene Johnson, and learning so much about how to create authentic and successful coaching businesses. Can't wait to go back this July!
At the end of the summer Ben and I found our DREAM APARTMENT and moved! We had been in our old apartment for three years, so it was a mega move. I hate moving. It sucks. I'm hoping we can stay here for quite some time!
And I closed out my crazy travel season with a wonderful team retreat in Orlando, my first time in Florida.
Did I say the end of travel season? Just kidding. I kicked off Fall with a trip to Iowa to visit my college roomie Christine and her new baby girl! I also stopped by my grandma's farm in the Quad Cities.
Later in the fall I flew to Los Cabos, Mexico with my friend Kathleen to celebrate the wedding of our friend Deidre! It was the most stunning wedding, and a great way to unwind and relax for a few days at an all inclusive resort (twice in one year...I will never take my life for granted).
Ben and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on October 6th.
October was an explosion of energy. I couldn't stop writing. My brain wouldn't stop. I started looking for more creative personal development books to guide me.
I went through a rather traumatically explosive inner breakthrough that involved lots of creativity and also lots of anxiety. I created and piloted a 28 day online personal development course called Courageously Authentic with a group of 25 amazing women, and am planning to relaunch it very soon!
I officially completed a 90 DAY fitness program, ChaLean Extreme, and fell in love with strength training and weights. My attitude towards food and my body has completely transformed, and now I workout to push my limits and eat to fuel my energy instead of worrying about calories.
In November I spent a turbo-charged weekend in Dallas at another Beachbody conference with my awesome team! It's so fun to travel for work these days when conferences are basically super fun girls trips.
As fall turned back into winter, my energy started to go back into hibernation mode and I finally burned out from all the months of comfort zone blasting and personal growth, so I let myself slow my roll a little bit and relax. Enter tea, knitting, and Netflix!
I did launch a new GORGEOUS line of wool and flannel cowls in the Etsy shop and painted some more.
My mom and sister came up to go to the Christkindl Market (German Christmas Market) in Daley Plaza and we ate warm cinnamon sugar almonds and drank gluhwein.
As a teacher, Ben got two weeks of Christmas vacation so I decided to unplug and take a break too. We took a huge road trip down to East Tennessee to visit his mom, hiked the Appalachian Trail (ok not the whole trail, but a few miles!), and celebrated Christmas on a warm and rainy day that felt more like spring. Then we drove to Indiana to rendezvous with my side of the family for more feasting and presents and hanging out!
And now we're here, on the cusp of the new year.
Major lessons of 2015
- I finally feel like I'm good enough. I've made huge strides in dealing with my paralyzing perfectionism and performance anxiety!
- I'm at peace with my body. I can't express how amazing this feels. I don't care how much I weigh, I don't care that I have some extra holiday curves, because I know I'm the strongest I've ever been and that is so freaking awesome. I honestly think that since I'm not obsessing about my weight (ditched my scale!) or body image or food, my anxiety turned to my business because it needed an outlet...but I've made major strides with dealing with that too.
- I learned how to identify my "inner mean girl" and stop listening to her.
- I learned that spending time with family and friends is my number one priority in life.
- I LOVE travel, but it wears me out! I don't want to take more than one major trip every 2 months this year.
- I learned how to RELAX and kick my over-achiever to the side. I perfected the art of relaxing so well over the holidays that I'm afraid there's no going back, and I'm finding it hard to muster energy and motivation to go back to work this month! Work/life balance for the win.
What's up for 2015?
I'm not really thinking about it yet. I haven't felt the urge to create many goals and plans, because I kind of want to go with the flow, follow my heart, and see what happens.
I want to spend less time stressing, traveling, and spending energy.
More time relaxing, being, thinking, painting, building relationships, and having fun in my own city.
I do have a couple of big adventures lined up, so I know it's going to be a good year.
Cheers to new adventures, friends, and growth!