Day twenty five:

Well, the final day of this challenge is here with the all important question:

How do you want to be remembered in life?

A positive influencer

I want to inspire others, particularly women to be strong both mentally and physically.

Not to settle for anything or anyone. Ever!

I want to be seen as a holy person, a role model for people younger and older than me.

To encourage others not to give up or quit when times get tough.

When times do inevitable get tough, people will think of me and say to themselves, “because she did it, I can do it!” and they will stay motivated.

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Can you relate to any of these things?

Onwards & Upwards…

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Day twenty four: advice

What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?

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Five year old me:

Keep playing. Never stop learning. It’s okay to be shy, but don’t let it stop you from making new friends and trying new activities

Sixteen year old me:

Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not “fat” – don’t be so hard on yourself. Research and visit as many colleges as you can – start soon. Don’t worry so much about what other people think

Twenty-one year old me:

(See above and add…) Don’t settle – on a job, boy, etc. Stand up for yourself and be firm in your beliefs. DON’T GIVE UP. Trust in God’s plan and everything will work out.

Right now me:

Trust the process and enjoy the “now.”

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day twenty three: in a year

Let’s jump forward a year. What would you like to have achieved in the past year?

Piggybacking off of my previous post, below are areas of my life outlined in the seven dimensions of wellness that I want to have achieved (or be close to achieving) in a year:

Social – Reconnect with friends that I’ve grown apart from, hangout with people I’ve met through my young adults group outside of our normal meet up times, and host more gatherings (my social anxiety has got my heart rate up just typing this)!

Emotional – Not take out my emotions/bad days on other people, more yoga/meditation, write and communicate my feelings with others, and see a counselor as needed.

Spiritual – Deepen my prayer life, attend church weekly, and stay active with my new women’s group.

Environmental – Stop getting plastic bags from the store (I am pretty good about bringing in my cloth bags, but could do better), start an herb garden, and refurbish older items around the house or from thrift stores vs/ buying brand new.

Occupational –  I want to continue to grow into my new position at work and take on more responsibilities.

Intellectual – Read more books, become more fluent in Spanish, and complete a crossword puzzle without cheating…

Physical – I want to  have more self-confidence with my changing body as I continue gaining a healthy amount of weight. Build more muscle mass and cardiac endurance

 

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Onwards & Upwards…

Day eleven: regrets

If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

Wow, these questions just keep getting deeper and deeper! In short, I regret not being more assertive. I regret not saying “no.” For not standing up for myself in potentially harmful situations because I was worried what others would think of me. My self-esteem has always been pretty low and at times has inhibited me from reaching my full potential (professionally, socially, spiritually, etc.).

I do believe that self-esteem and assertiveness go hand-in-hand. As I become more aware of instances where I did NOT have the confidence, leading me to make poor choices, I feel like I have to “fight” harder not to slip into my old ways. As much work as it is, look forward to becoming more assertive and hopefully having less regrets.

And sometimes, just sometimes, I regret not going to grad school right after I received my undergraduate degree.

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What do you regret NOT doing? 

Onwards & Upwards…

Day ten: afraid

What are you most afraid of?

I think it’s funny how Dictionary.com defines “fear” as a noun – person, place, or thing. When I think about fear, I tend to think about fear in more “abstract” terms. A lot of “what ifs” versus being afraid of heights, spiders, and other phobias. I fear missing out, making the wrong decision, making mistakes, rejection, what could go wrong, the unknown… 

I’ve always been a chronic over-thinker which heightens my anxiety and create problems that don’t even exist (and most likely won’t occur). Lately I have realized just how much my thoughts have been counter-productive. I have actually ended up missing out on certain opportunities because I was afraid on the what could happen and trying to “predict the future.” Now I work on challenging the legitimacy of my anxious thoughts (a lot of rationalizing self-talk), being proactive, and having faith that everything will work out. I will leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about fear:

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What threatens your mental and/or physical well-being? 

Onwards & Upwards…

Day nine: proud

What are you most proud of?

Most proud of? Another tough question… I think an all encompassing answer would be my strength – both mental and physical. After battling eating disorders for over 10 years, I have kept my maintained my weight the highest it has been in seven years. Keeping the wight on has led to many other gains. The ability to run a 5K and develop muscle mass by weight training are a few physical feats that concurrently increase my mental strength.

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What are you most proud of?

Onwards & Upwards…

Day eight: beating fear

When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

Anxiety is fear. I have anxiety. So much so that I take medication for it. Weaning myself off of it/trying to become less dependent on the pills makes me anxious. There are times when breathing, praying, yoga, etc. still can’t calm my brain. I think it’s safe to say that my anxiety can take over my life. It’s pretty constant, but there are certain situations that cause my heart to race more than others. One of them being group settings. Hello, social anxiety!

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The past 5 months I have been making major strides in putting myself out there. I began going to a young adult program at a new church where I knew NO ONE. I started volunteering for a new ministry event that they were putting on and ended up meeting my boyfriend because of it (I like to think of him as my “reward” for making myself vulnerable).

Dating my very social boyfriend means that I have met a LOT of new people. I hate small talk (but I feel like I’m slowly getting better at making actual connections with people) and going to back-to-back group events with family and friends doesn’t seem as exhausting it was in the beginning. However, as an introvert, I still need time where it is just the two if us to recharge.

My boyfriend had mentioned a retreat that he went on several years ago and the positive impact it made on his life. He kept encouraging me go on it as well and to sign up when the next one was announced. I kept brushing it off, telling him that I am sure it’s a great experience, but I didn’t feel ready. Long story short, I ended up going on the retreat last month. I honestly didn’t even want to go. Again, I didn’t know anyone or anything about the format. It ended up being a life-altering experience that I am beyond  grateful that I pushed through my “fear of the unknown” to go.

Though the retreat was wonderful, I still struggle going to our weekly “retreat team” meetings. I am still mentally processing all of the emotions that I experienced throughout that weekend. Hearing other people’s stories each week can be tough and emotionally draining. Listening to them also tends to drudge up issues from my past that I wish would just go away already. But that’s how you grow, right? Facing fear head on. No hiding.

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Yes, I would be afraid to go skydiving, get a tattoo, and drive in a 200 mph race car. Those are fears – I’ll call them “outer fears.” I admire people who do those things whether they are fearless or it takes them courage to follow through. Just because my fears might be “inner fears,” doesn’t make them any less scary than “outer fears.”

Overcoming both are huge milestones to be celebrated. Every time we do something that we are afraid of (within reason) we prove to ourselves how strong we are and gain the confidence to continue challenging ourselves and moving forward.

When was the last time you conquered something that you were afraid of?

P.S. Thanks for keeping up with my personal growth exercise!

Onwards & Upwards…

Day “five”: qualities

Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

To answer this question, I am going to revert to one of one my previous posts. The timing is for this post is perfect as I saw Maria and her parents today. Her father, Bill, has Alzheimer’s disease and I have witnessed the toll it takes on her family, particularly her mother. Even when times are challenging, both of these women’s hearts are full of kindness, patience, and humor – qualities that I think are necessary to be a decent human being and to live a happy life. Perseverance and a strong faith are also characteristics that I strive to have. The list goes on and one, but these are a the main qualities that I desire for others to see in me.

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What qualities do you admire in a person?

Onwards & Upwards…

Another week, a new week

Another week has passed being home, without a job. Although I had laid out specific, but what I felt “doable” goals and routine for last week, I still felt unsuccessful. I kept beating myself up for slip ups or not accomplishing what I wanted to. “Why oh why, despite my best efforts, can I not get myself together?!”

Self-Care

I become frustrated as I spend time and energy applying for jobs and then 1) never hearing back 2) getting a rejection email. It makes me feel like I’m not qualified to do anything. Although I keep telling myself that the right job will come, I am still discouraged. I have had a few interviews over the past week (both in-person and over the phone) that, if nothing else, are good for “practice.”But which each interview and job search I feel more overwhelmed and made me question what I really wanted to do.

But then I thought of what my previous counselor had told me before and what she’s tell me if I were sitting in front of her again:

Show yourself some self-compassion.

This is always a very hard concept for me to grasp. I always felt like I never do enough – exercise, avoiding trigger foods, organizing my home/life. Last week was also busy with social and family engagements so my eating/sleep schedule has been off. I end up eat more (unhealthily and later) and go to bed long after midnight. I can definitely tell the difference in how I feel both physically and mentally after getting rest. So, my lack of sleep is probably contributes to lackluster feelings. It’s crazy how it can throw the next day off before it even begins, making me less motivated to get off the couch and have a productive day.

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I think instead of focusing on rigid goals, what will be more therapeutic and helpful for me right now will be to do a 25-day personal growth exercise that I found on Pinterest. I’ll be able to know myself more and practice the “self-compassion” that my therapist is always preaching. I will start posting regularly on this journey tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are some ways that I have already been practicing self-care/compassion:

  • Stopped watching a TV show/movie and or reading something if it doesn’t bring me joy and/or stresses me out
  • Set out time to read before bed
  • Sorted through my old clothes and purse to donate
  • Stopped running when my ankle/knee hurts
  • Dumped out a Diet Coke that didn’t taste good (that’s what happens when you go without drinking one for awhile – you just taste the yucky chemicals!)
  • Started crocheting again

What are ways in which you practice self-care/compassion?

Onwards & Upwards…

Re-focus

I’ve been having an incredible difficult time staying focused. My mind had calmed a bit after the retreat I went on a few weekends ago, but now it’s right back to going 100 miles a minute. Throughout the day my emotions range from: positive, annoyed, tired, lonely, anxious, depressed – then a brief bout of “okayness”- then back to being unhappy.

To cope with all of these feelings I just want to eat all of the things, which in turns just makes me feel worse – no self-control, low willpower, weak. I’ve tried to establish routines to give my day order/stay on track, but my motivation to adhere to my list is low.

Thinking about something I have to do (even if it’s “fun”) leaves me feeling exhausted even though I know I usually feel better once I’ve completed something. I don’t want to start something because I know I won’t want to finish it (laundry). Charts can be a good guide, but I tend to beat myself up if I don’t meet my goals.

It’s been a series of mini victories/little things that have kept me going.

  • Going to the store (even if it’s one out of several errands on my list)
  • Laying out and reading a book in the sun in the afternoons
  • Being the one to initiate a conversation versus waiting on people to make a move (call/text)
  • Learning to say “no” to people and activities

Things I’ve learned lately:

  • I rely more on my boyfriend for social support than I’d like to be. I love him to death, but want to be able to make myself happy without depending on him to do so.
  • really don’t like being told what to do/receive unsolicited advice/being micromanaged. If I want advice/need help I’m more open to it if I ask for it myself.
  • I do not want to be a teacher like I had been (re)considering. The health care field is, however, looking more appealing.
  • I get jealous a lot easier than I care to admit

Goals for the Week:

  • More yoga, walks, and strength training versus cardio
  • More reading versus social media
  • Less sugar and alcohol (two drinks and desserts)
  • Sort through my clothes/belongings to donate

Onwards & Upwards…