It’s that time again – where one year ends and another is just about to begin!
There is nothing more refreshing or rejuvenating than a fresh start, am I right? A clean slate, a new beginning. A new year, a new you!
Last year I wrote all about my New Years resolution here. But for this year? Well, I have a lot of changes up my sleeves and I will have to reveal those later to you all! 🙂
But when the time comes for you to actually decide on what it is that you want to resolve to do this year, you’ll need a good way to remind yourself about your goals!
And my friends, that’s where I’ve come in!
Below are some cute and functional downloads of New Years Resolution templates! With 5 different styles and designs, you can pick the one that best fits your personality, your goals; or you can even print them all! I don’t care what you do or how you do it… just make some goals and make them happen!
What I’m doing with mine is printing it, writing my resolutions, and then hanging it on my bathroom mirror so I am reminded everyday of my goals. You can put it anywhere you want; just as long as you take the time to figure out whatever it is that you want to do in 2019.
Dream big this year! I feel like this will be my best year yet, and I can’t wait to hear what you’re all planning on accomplishing! Share with me your resolutions, I would love to hear them.
**Directions for Download**: Simply click on one (or all) of the links above to choose which design best suits you! From there, you can either download it to your computer, or simply just print it out! Easy peasy guys! 🙂
I recently went on a trip back home – to the Philadelphia suburbs where I grew up!
I haven’t been able to go back for almost 3 years, and I have been aching for it so much.
So, when I managed to find a $250 RT ticket from Salt Lake (absolutely unheard of!) I jumped on it and was on my way!
Her Heart Is In Our Hearts
I spent my first night back in Wallingford, PA with my mom’s best friend and her husband. We spent hours catching up, and reminiscing about my mom and all of our memories from when we all lived down the street from one another. We laughed a lot, and we cried a lot too.
I needed that, I desperately needed to spend that time with her and feel as if my mom were in the room with us too, laughing at the old stories and remembering all the good times. Being around her, I feel so close to my mom because she carries a huge piece of my mom inside her heart and I needed to be close to that for even just a few hours; it was so healing and so vital.
My heart felt a little less heavy from sorrow and a little more full of joy after I spent that time with them.
Holidays are the Hardest
After Thanksgiving, my heart has been holding this heavy sadness for my mom – I mean, I miss her all the time but the holiday season is always just a little bit harder. After dinner was done and all of my siblings and I left my Dad’s house, I went home alone. But, instead of going straight home and putting on some holiday movie by myself, I decided to take a detour and go visit my mom in the cemetery.
I brought her a Diet Coke like I always do, because it was her drink of choice. It was freezing, about 29 degrees and it was very dark except for the few grave-sites that had lighted fixtures on them around me on the hill.
There in the darkness I cried – and not just some tears, I full on ugly cried. I felt pathetic, but I think I needed to let it out and feel my grief in that moment. Sometimes I try to hold it all in and just deal with it, when in reality I need to own my pain and my sadness and feel it – really feel it. Because the reason it hurts so damn much is because I loved her, so damn much. And that love will never change.
The next day before meeting up with a friend, I had to go see my childhood house. I can’t go to the place I grew up and NOT go see my house!
I drove down the familiar roads, not even needing GPS even though I haven’t lived there for 15 years; it is all just so deeply ingrained and I remember it all!
Finally pulling up to my house, I pulled the car over across the street and just stared at it. I wanted to go knock on the door and ask if I could go see the inside of it, but I didn’t want the people who live there (in MY house) to think I was some kind of crazy person.
So, instead, I sat across the street and admired it, remembering so many memories as they all rushed over me. I lived there from 18 months to 18 years old, so almost half of my life! Remembering the girl who lived in that front window, she seemed like such a ghost compared to the girl sitting in the car now.
Feeling so sentimental, and still missing my mom and my family being all together for so many years in that place, I was suddenly crying there on the side of the road. And I’m sure anyone driving by must have thought something was wrong; but I mean, wasn’t there?
And one man actually was worried, and he stopped his car next to mine and waved me to roll my window down. He was a gray haired older man with an incredibly kind smile, although his eye full of concern.
“Are you ok sweetheart?” he asked in his thick Delco accent.
“Oh… yep! I’m Okay, thank you!” I responded, feeling stupid for crying on the side of the road trying my best to wipe my face.
“Are you lost? Can I help you with directions somewhere?” He offered.
I wanted to respond no, because I knew where I was and where I needed to go, but in the moment I responded, “You know, I am a little lost. But I think I can find my way.”
“We all get lost from time to time, but remember there is always someone around that can help you find where you need to go!”
After profusely convincing him I was ok, he drove off, but his words stayed with me.
Lost But Not Forever
I stayed there in front of my old house for awhile, just thinking about life.
That man’s kindness and his words meant more to me that I think he could have known in those moments we spoke.
The truth is, we are all lost sometimes – but not forever. And we even lose pieces of ourselves too – but they aren’t lost forever either; not always.
And just like that kind man said, there is always someone around who can help us find where we need to go.
Finding My Way Back
This trip home for me, I hoped would help me recover pieces of myself that I have lost. This town, and area, was where I was raised, where I figured out the beginnings of who I was and what I wanted.
Important steps and parts of myself were created and developed here; some of my most painful memories also culminated there. But you need the hard times to help you see your own strength and resilience, and to appreciate the good times more.
Going back to your home – to your roots wherever they may be – is important. It is an necessary place to return to occasionally, to feel that part of yourself again. If it’s been lost, you can try to replace it where it all started.
Or if there are painful things associated with your home, you can also go to face those old demons and finally let them go. This is also an important step on the road to self-discovery.
Home Is In My Heart
I ended that portion of my trip to the east coast with a dinner in Media with 3 of my closest girlfriends from high school.
We laughed, reminisced, and caught up with each other. I hardly ever get to see them, and every time I do it is magical and so healing to my heart. I am continually grateful that we are all still friends and keep in touch, even though we live so far apart.
That night as I lay in bed I thought of that old saying:
Home Is Where Your Heart Is
And as sappy as I always used to think it is, it is so valid and so true; especially now that I live so far from the place I consider home.
My home is inside my heart, I carry it with me everywhere. My friends, my family, the places I hold such fond memories of, the ones I’ve loved and the ones I’ve lost too; they’re all in there in my heart.
So maybe in a way I’m not really lost, I think those pieces of myself are still in there inside me, they’ve just become buried under everything else that I’ve been facing and dealing with.
But my home, the place where the real “me” resides, is always with me in my heart.
Do you know what the word compassion means? We throw it around often.. but do you really know what it is?
Showing compassion for someone or something is literally showing your humanity for them, loving them and caring for them like we all should be doing anyway!
Today is World Compassion Day, which was started to help make changes towards how all creatures big and small are treated on this planet.
The first WCD was on November 28, 2012, and according to Wikipedia:
The first WCD was held in Mumbai, India in the presence of the 14th Dalai Lama on 28 November 2012. It focused on the need for compassion towards animals and all living things on this planet. It brought to India, Humane Society International, an organization that works in the area of animal welfare.
What an incredible way to maintain kindness towards all the creatures existing on this planet with us!
How to Show Your Own Compassion
In honor of World Compassion Day, and how much I love all the creatures of the earth, I wanted to give you guys some options as to how you can help! Here are some conservation, preservation, and support organization geared specifically towards animals!
The Ellen Degeneres WildLife Fund
Click here to head to the website to check it out fully, and to donate to this wonderful cause to help save the gorillas!
Here is the mission statement as stated on the website homepage:
The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund was established to support global conservation efforts for critically endangered species. Building a permanent home for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is the first initiative of the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. This project will permanently secure the future of wild gorillas in Rwanda by building on successful field conservation efforts, while empowering the people living near the gorillas to thrive in relationship to their own ecosystem.
In 1967, Dr. Dian Fossey founded the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda’s Virunga mountains to protect and study the endangered mountain gorillas. Although Fossey’s life was cut short, her work lives on in the people and programs of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and its continuing conservation success story.
World Wide Fund For Nature
Click here to check out their website, and to donate by adopting an animal!
From their website:
Support WWF’s global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats with a symbolic species adoption.
Click here to read more about their conservation efforts in our oceans around the world!
From their homepage:
Today, Project AWARE is a global movement for ocean protection powered by a community of adventurers. We connect the passion for ocean adventure with the purpose of marine conservation to create lasting change.
Supported by this growing movement, we envision a world where the ocean doesn’t need protecting. Our local actions collectively protect the most vulnerable marine species and decrease pollution. We work together for a clean, healthy ocean – and we have fun doing it! Join the adventure!
Wildlife Conservation Society
Click here to donate and help conserve habitats around the globe that are threatened!
From their website stating their mission:
WCS’s goal is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 16 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity.
This is outlined in our 2020 strategy, which positions WCS to maintain its historic focus on the protection of species while developing an ambitious plan to engage with a rapidly changing world.
The challenges are greater than ever, but with the focus, dedication, and passion of a committed staff—combined with a unique mixture of field, zoo, and aquarium expertise—WCS will continue to set the bar for science, conservation action, and education that has driven our success in protecting wildlife and wild places for over a century. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, adhering to core values of respect, accountability and transparency, innovation, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, and integrity.
The Humane Society of the United States
Click here to donate and help save all local animals in shelters as well as wild animals living around you!
Their mission statement to help animals:
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s most effective animal protection organization. With you by our side, we take on the big fights to end suffering for all animals.
Save the Animals
At the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing: compassion. We each need to do our part to love one another to make this world a better place: human to human, and human to animal too.
We are all co-existing on this planet, so why not make it a better place for all of us to be in? Love makes everything bearable, and better. So show some love today for those creatures who need our help!
Maybe it’s a hug from a loved one when you’re having a bad day. A phone call from a friend just to say hi and check in. A card in the mail from someone you haven’t heard for in awhile (OMG what’s snail mail gasps every millennial reading this!) A nice compliment from a co-worker, or even someone holding the door for you.
Go a little bit further though; what else is kindness?
It’s donating blankets, and winter coats to the homeless. Offering your time to help with a charity organization. Bringing a meal to someone who is having a rough week or is recovering from surgery. Kindness is more than just praying for someone (which is also great); it’s going and checking on them, bringing them food or assisting them with babysitting if they need it. Offering someone a ride to and from the airport just because you can and you care. It’s actually asking them about their life, and then actually listening while they tell you. It’s giving someone a ride home, buying their lunch, or bringing them a plant as a gift; all just for the sake of kindness.
Kindness is so many things, and can be done in so many ways. But the bottom line, the common factor and structural foundation of it all, is love. Kindness is love.
World Kindness Day
Today, November 13, is World Kindness Day. The purpose of having a day set aside for it, is to highlight the good deeds being done around the world for others.
Think about how negative, scary, and just overwhelming things in the news tend to be lately. Pretty much sucks, right?
Something like world kindness is great, because it can give us a positive perspective again on the ability we as humans actually have to be nice and giving to one another for a change.
So let’s focus on being kind to one another! Let’s be good humans!
Be Kind Today
I will keep today’s post short and sweet, but I leave you with some homework; go out today and do as many kind deeds as you can!
One would hope that the title of the event would actually indicate that the experience would move rather quickly; but this is never the case with a “fast” of any kind, I have come to find out.
I am no stranger to fasting – every first Sunday of the month I participate in a 12 hour-24 hour fast (depending however long my poor hypo-glycemic body can do without food…) with the members of my church congregation.
However, when I contemplated trying out a 10 Day social media fast, I felt like it could be a good thing for me. And I hoped, naively, that it would go quickly and I would finish it and say something dumb and whimsical like, “Oh man, it’s already been 10 days? That sure went fast!” (stupid dad jokes, I know…)
Well, clearly I was wrong. That social media fast was more difficult for me than I want to admit. However, some really great things happened because of it too.
Keep reading to see just how it went, and what I learned (and accomplished) without my beloved social media.
So, for starters, I did not make it the 10 days like I had hoped to do. In the beginning I was like “I got this! 10 days is nothing!” But, after 4 1/2 days I was really struggling. In fact I had to end up deleting the apps off my phone until after the fast so I wasn’t tempted to look at them!
It was almost scary to realize what a habit it was to just open my phone and click open either Instagram or Facebook. I kept accidentally doing it without even realizing it, then would have to hurry and close out of it.
But, once I removed the actual apps from my phone, it was easier to not look at them.
Granted, I definitely still felt that void. I constantly would wonder, “I wonder what so-and-so is doing today” and absent-mindedly go to check their stories. It was a learning curve for sure without it.
But, I am proud to say that for 7 days I was about 99% social media free (the first 3 days I was legit 100% free from it… the rest of the week there were a few times I peaked and broke my fast…)
But even so, I feel pretty good about even doing it as long as I did!
To Do List
I noticed on the first day (last Monday) that I had a lot more “free time” on my hands now that I couldn’t steal glances or waste a few minutes here and there scrolling through social media.
So, I started checking things off of a personal to-do list that is on my phone; mostly things I want to achieve as goals, or things I want to look into pursuing.
Here is a brief list of the things I accomplished without social media this past week:
Looked into Grad School, and started researching my financial options
Completed an online training video series that has been sitting in my inbox for weeks!
Started officially planning my next international adventure
Finished 1 1/2 books (which is huge considering I have a giant stack waiting for me to finish on my nightstand)
Wrote 4 whole chapters in my novel
Re-branded my blog
Also, planned out and made an actual calendar of things I want to blog about (crazy I know!)
Reprioritized my life goals (which means I made a new To-Do list, but I cut some things out and added some new things too!)
Finally finished the recent season of The Walking Dead on Netflix! Now I can watch the new episodes airing on tv! 🙂
I mean.. I literally was more productive than I have been in a long time!
Beyond feeling productive, here are other side-effects I felt during my social media cleanse:
I made it a goal to get to bed early every night; by 930 or 10! And guess what? I did it! I also fell asleep easier, faster, and woke up before my alarm every morning! What kind of sorcery is this social media fast stuff anyway…
I noticed I had more energy. Probably from the extra sleep!
I felt less stressed
I noticed I felt more confident
I felt more motivated than ever to attain my biggest dreams
Overall, I felt happier! (Even though I would complain about missing social media.. I’m not perfect people!)
It was interesting to see how I felt without constantly scrolling through photos of the so called ‘perfect’ lives we all try to show on there (and I do it too!) I think we tend to get into the mindset of comparing ourselves to everyone we see on there, even if we don’t realize we are doing so.
And comparison is the thief of joy… right? If we live our lives comparing it to everyone else, we will never be happy or satisfied with what we have!
I have to assume I felt less stressed, because I didn’t spend my time wishing I was out there going on adventures and already fulfilling my dreams, like so many of the Instagram accounts I follow. Instead of stressing and wishing I could be doing it, I made a real game plan and started doing the work to hopefully get there myself!
Your world won’t change unless you yourself change it!
The big question is, will I ever do a social media fast again?
And the answer is – yes.
I don’t know if I will do another one for quite as long as this one, but I want to continue to take breaks every now and then, to recalibrate my “reality” and make sure I am on track with my own goals and dreams.
In the past month, Utah has become emblazoned by the fall changing colors. A few weeks ago I was able to hike up to Lake Blanche in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Two weekends ago I made it up into American Fork Canyon here in Utah, on the famous “Alpine Loop” to go explore and admire the gorgeous leaves changing colors for fall.
Finding a deeper symbolism from the fall leaves and the new seasonal weather (of course):
– Fall represents preservation of life: as animals store food and prepare for the winter
– The colored leaves represents life changes
– Trees shedding the leaves represents letting go
Thinking about these, I definitely don’t want to “fall back” into my bad habits. I instead want to fall forward, going head first into my endeavors.
Preservation of life is simply having a plan to continue to do what I love, and make my dreams a reality through hard work, and storing up as much of my free time for those goals.
Life changes also correlate with changing my priorities, to do what matters first, and start cutting out the things that end up wasting my time.
Letting go of old ideals, old memories, old notions… it’s definitely the hardest of the three for me. But sometimes letting go leads us to the new places we need to go, and to the new person we need to become.
Make It Fast
This whole social media fast become a much deeper concept to me than I realized it would; and I really am glad I decided to do it!
I can whole heartedly recommend anyone to try it, even if it’s just for one day. Or even make goals to be on it only during certain times of the day.
I dare you to try it! And please write me in the comments or email me and let me know how it went for you and what you learned!