5 Ways to Create Momentum in Your Personal Life This Year

It's January 2nd: the day all those New Years Resolutions get put to the test. I know because I just started Whole 30 this morning and went on a run for my upcoming half marathon. Ambitious I know, but a girl's gotta do what she sets her mind to do. Some of us are feeling motivated, though others may be dragging their feet into 2018 desperately looking for some forward momentum. 

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Not going to lie, I am a pretty motivated person. I'm a doer and am constantly self talking myself into the next risk or challenge. But there are definitely times I am less motivated. I'm currently coming out of one of those seasons. 

I'm also a big believer in the concept of grace. A downside to being driven by nature is an over-critical view of self (at least in my case). If I'm not careful, I start to let shame run the show instead of allowing myself the grace to be exactly where I am. 

So there has to be a middle ground. There is absolutely grace to be where you are RIGHT NOW, no matter how you got there or how long you've been there. But there is also grace to move forward. Though a lot of circumstances are out of our control, there are several things you can do NOW that are IN your control.

Below you'll find a few suggestions to help you create some momentum in your life. I hope these tools help you to feel less stuck, more motivated, and filled with grace to move forward to the next step. 

1. Do something physical. 

One of the best spiritual practices I learned in college was to move my body. As a freshman in college, I put on the infamous "freshmen 15" and by the time I was a junior in college, I wondered what had happened to my body. I transferred schools that year and decided to train for a half marathon. The experience of doing something physical with my body prompted transformation in so many areas in my life. Since then, I've tried to do something physical whenever I'm on the upswing of transition. I give myself space to be and then challenge myself physically so that my mind, spirit, emotions, ect have a chance to catch up. It gives me clarity mentally and helps me feel like I'm making steps forward. 

2. Practice gratitude daily. 

The concept of gratitude is nothing new, but I believe it helps us engage the present moment with fresh eyes. Whenever we pause to identify the specific things we are thankful for, our perspective widens and we step back for a moment to see the full picture. Yes, I may feel stuck and depressed in this moment, but I wasn't always here. Being thankful takes me eyes off myself and gives me the gift of hope to look forward. 

3. Try something new. 

Whether you go out to a new restaurant, visit a park you've always wanted to go to, or attend a new workout class, trying something new helps us get out of our normal routine. When I try something new, it helps me combat the feeling of being stuck, because I realize I have the power to change things for myself. I can bake a new recipe, try a new writing prompt, or take a new route on my morning run. Whatever you try, adding something new to your life can help create momentum and remind us we have the ability to change if we set our minds to it. 

4. Check in with yourself regularly. 

I find it helpful to set a couple mile markers throughout the year to reevaluate where I'm at and where I want to go. For me, this means I take two personal retreats a year. I try to practice healthy self-awareness so that I can take advantage of the time before me, instead of trying to escape and avoid my current reality. Even if you're not meeting your goals, setting aside time to check in with yourself is so helpful so you can get where you want to go. If you're interested in taking a personal retreat, you can visit one of my previous blog posts. I should also mention that checking in means having the courage to be brutally honest with yourself - not to stir up shame, but empower you to move through it. You can't move on from what you don't admit. 

5. Be conscious of what you're putting in your body. 

I don't know about you, but around the holidays I always let myself splurge a little bit extra. But I've realized the negative effects sugar and other foods can have on my body when I fail to monitor my intake. Try cutting something out or just making a few healthy choices a day to see if you can create some positive momentum for your body (and your mind). It's no secret that sugar, along with other foods, can impair our thinking and our body's processes. I'm a bit fan of eating what your body craves, but I also believe in listening to my body. Sometimes my body is craving water instead of more salted popcorn, I just have to pause and listen. 

None of these ideas are rocket science; in fact, most are very simple. However, I've experienced significant breakthrough by applying these practices to my daily life. Wherever you find yourself at the start of the new year, I pray you give yourself grace and also think through what steps you can make today to start moving forward. Let us be people who keep showing up this year, even when we feel stuck. 

Living Integrated: Questions for the New Year

2017 was a big year for me. I turned 26, completed my first certification at the Cultural Intelligence Center, went to Peru (twice) then returned for the summer, moved to LA, started a new job, became a student again, passed my first quarter at Fuller Seminary, and am an official California resident (as of last week). 

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I went into the new year thinking it was to be my year. And it was in some ways. But in other ways, it wasn't. There were plenty of beautiful moments and dark ones too. I think life is about string all those moments together, integrating all the pieces - both the internal and external. 

This theme of integration is on my mind exiting 2017 and entering 2018. My hope is that these questions help you reflect on all the pieces of the last year - the good, bad, internal, and external. I invite you to look at the full picture of 2017 instead of focusing on one loss, disappointment, or missed goal. That's the temptation, right? To bring whatever pain, failure or disappointment into the new year. But that wouldn't be the whole story, would it? Join me as I look back and then ahead, acknowledging each piece of myself with kindness and grace. 

LOOKING BACK

1. Best moments of 2017 - list your top three to five in no particular order.

2. Can you identify the parts of yourself you gave the most attention? Maybe it was your body, your emotions, your career, ect. 

3. What about the parts of yourself you gave the least attention?

4. What about 2017 was worth waiting for?

5. What do you need to grief about 2017? Perhaps there is a disappointment, loss, or painful event you experienced that you need to recognize. Grieving is powerful, and without this step, it's often impossible to move on. 

6. What do you need to celebrate about 2017? Think about something you accomplished, learned or fought for. Maybe it's one thing you did really well this year - something you really knocked out of the park or invested your all in. Be kind to yourself and pause for a moment to soak it in. You did that. And that's worth celebrating. 

7. How did you honor your body in 2017?

8`. How did you honor your soul?

9. What about your mind?

10. Your heart?

11. Who stood by you in 2017? In other words, who did you feel supported or loved by this year?

12. Have you thanked them? If not, send them a quick text, or better yet, write them a note. I bet it will do you both some good. 

Looking back, 2017 was made up of both loss and great joy. That's usually how it goes, right? Though there may be pain or disappointment, there is always light and life and hope for what's ahead. Now start looking ahead to the new year, anticipating all it could be and more. 

LOOKING AHEAD

1. What are you bringing to the table in 2018? How are you different than the year before?

2. What fears are you bringing into 2018? Are you afraid of failing, not meeting your goals again? Maybe you're afraid of getting close to someone in fear of disappointment. Take a moment to identify any fears you're carrying. The more you shed light on fear, the more you have the power to overcome it. 

3. What do you want to be more of in 2018? Try to summarize your answer into a short sentence or phrase, something you can remember easily. Consider making this one of your mantras entering the new year.

4. Can you identify what you’re most hopeful for in 2018? An event, milestone, moment, ect…

5. What’s it going to take to reach that?

6. Out of the list you just made, what’s in your control and what’s not? Choose to let go of the things that aren’t and identify practical steps to move toward the things that are.

7. How are you going to honor your body in 2018?

8. Your soul?

9. Mind?

10. Heart?

11. Who are you going to invite to stand next to you in 2018? Maybe it’s your BFF or a friend you just met - whatever the case, write down that person’s name and make a conscious plan for how you plan to involve that person in your life. If there’s more than one, list them all.

12. How are you going to be kind to yourself this year? Can you identify some rhythms you want to put in place to help you stay engaged, present, and healthy? Maybe it’s going on a walk for 20 minutes each morning or setting aside time twice a year to get away. Identify at least one thing and list it below.


My hope for you this year is that you live full, integrated, healthy and aware. The more you recognize where you've come from and how you're entering this new season, the more prepared you will be to become your truest self. And I hope above all, that we all learn to be kinder to ourselves this year. 2018 is going to be good, friends. 

20 Questions To Ask Yourself Before the New Year

Anyone started on their New Year's resolutions, yet? 

After Christmas I typically put aside some time to process the past year, look for themes, and identify and articulate what I learned along the way. Reflection is powerful - if neglected, we forfeit the opportunity to build on what we learned and experienced throughout the year and often become ignorant to our own lives and what's happening under the surface.

Once I spend time reflecting, I look forward. It's popular this time of year to set goals, but I also think through how I want to achieve those goals and what sort of rhythms or boundaries I'm going to put in place so that I know what to anticipate and what to say yes (or no) to. Even if you're more spontaneous than structured, preparing and looking ahead creates an opportunity to take advantage of, anticipate, and be expectant for the new year. And I for one could use a little hope moving forward. 2017 is going to our year, friends. 

Below are some reflection and anticipation questions to help you get started and feel prepared heading into the New Year. 

  1. What are some highlights of 2016? Make a list of 5-10. 

  2. What kinds of disappointments happened in 2016? Make a list of 5-10. 

  3. What are some game changers of 2016? Maybe a specific friendship or a goal you set or some kind of rhythm you put in place. 

  4. Can you list any specific "grace moments" you experienced this past year? Where did you experience grace and from whom? 

  5. Who did you most learn from this year? And what did you learn? 

  6. What worked for you this year? 

  7. What didn't? 

  8. Can you identify any themes? What's something you kept coming back to? Maybe some word, phrase, category, or passage comes to mind. 

  9. Now can you begin to list your top 3-5 takeaways? 

  10. Out of your list of takeaways and themes, which do you wish to focus on or develop this year? 

  11. What are you hopeful for in 2017?

  12. What sort of promises or dreams are you believing for? 

  13. This is the year that __________.

  14. Who do you want to learn from this year? Why? How? 

  15. What do you want to grow, advance, or move forward? This can be in your own life or in some place you're investing in. 

  16. What's your edge? In other words, where are you going to dig a little deeper, move a little closer, risk a little bigger?

  17. What do you feel most passionate about or invested in going into the new year? How can you make these things a priority? 

  18. What sort of rhythms will you put in place this year? (Daily, weekly, and monthly)

  19. What will you say yes to this year? List your top 3-5 priorities to help guide you. 

  20. If you were to sum up what you're most excited for, what you want to focus on and develop and move forward with, what sort of theme or word would you choose? I like going into the new year with a word or phrase that's easy to remember. I'll often keep it in front of me in creative ways throughout the year. 

After answering some of all of these questions, think through the best ways to check in with yourself throughout the year. I like to take a weekend (or at least a day) 2-4 times throughout the year to revisit my goals and plans. It helps keep me focused and hopeful. 

Lastly, once you reflect and think ahead, do yourself a favor and thank the people you learned from this year and notify those you want to learn from next. You may even decide to send your questions to a close friend for accountability or a second pair of eyes. I think we're our best selves in the context of community - don't be afraid to reach out and recruit others to help you meet your goals!