My New Year's Resolutions, And How I'm Sticking to Them

The month that feels like 100 months is almost over, so it's time I take a breather to talk about New Year's Resolutions. In between travel, work projects and moving apartments, it's been a challenge to stop and have a talk with myself about what I want to get out of 2018.

But, here we are, list at hand, and if you're like me and waited until the last minute to get your sh*t together then I hope this inspires your list, too. One helpful tool I used was a New York Times piece about setting resolutions by looking at the habits you want to change and addressing the root cause.

I also decided to take a little bit of a tweaked approach -- inspired by my dear friend Chelsea Henriquez -- where I have 5 themes to address alongside 5 statements, or mantras, that I am going to incorporate into my daily life. Without further ado:

Resolutions

  1. Connected Mind: Working in media means I'm constantly glued to my phone (you're welcome for my speedy texts back!) and this year I'm making an effort to connect more with my mind over the screen. I started by creating a ritual space in my new home that's going to solely be used for disconnecting. It's a little nook with Affirmators!, healing crystals, a journal, greenery and more. All of this to feel more connected and grounded, understanding myself in ways I hadn't done so before.
  2. Family and Relationships: Last year, I spent a lot of time and energy learning to love myself fully. It was important. I had come off of a relationship that left me with significant identity and self-confidence issues, and needed to remind myself of who I was -- and who I could be. This year, I want to take all that self-love and apply it to my family and friendships. That means: I'm calling more, I'm appreciating more, and I'm finding new ways to connect with people. 
  3. Food for Life: For the last 4 years I've been struggling with issues from IBS to H. Pylori, now working through SIBO. What all this science talk has led me to realize is how much all of my chronic issues -- in the gut and beyond -- are affected by what I eat. This is the year to take charge of diet choices, learn as much as I can about nutrition, and apply it to life my best, and healthiest, life.
  4. Financial Health: I'm a millennial, I'm in that sensitive financial time of my life where I am making money and learning how to better spend and manage it. That starts with being transparent about the state of my wallet. I created this document to help guide me and take a look at all my money talk (you can download and save or copy into your own Google Sheet). Everything from how much I earn, how much I save, how much I pay, where I'm in debt, etc. The formulas and goals sections are incredibly helpful to getting a better grasp on my finances.
  5. Climate Change: If you don't believe global warming is real, this is moment to press the unfollow button. Whatever your level of belief is to the human effect on climate, I'm happy to take a listen and learn more, but I can't sit here and continue to disrespect our planet any longer. This is the year I learn more, but I'm taking the small step and cutting out plastic bags completely. That means I'm shopping with my Apolis Bag and going reusable everything when I make the grocery store trip.

Statements

  1. I am enough: This is the year to entirely stop judging myself. Progress is my new perfection, and as long as I'm giving my best that is enough. I will not wait for someone or something to validate the person I am. Because I know, and love, the person I am.
  2. I am strong: Taking this one physical and mental. I am focusing on nourishing my body with what it needs to perform and sustain my lifestyle. That means I am engaging more in physical activity, practicing a clean diet, and working my brain muscle so that I don't sweat the small stuff. 
  3. I am balanced: It's not just my diet that's staying balanced this year, it's also the way I live my life. I work hard, I play hard. I make time for me, I make time for others. I connect, I disconnect. And I am more mindful of all these things. 
  4. Trust the process: There will be ups and downs, like with any year, so as long as I trust that all things are happening for a reason (*yawn*), then all things will fall into place. This also plays into my newfound self-confidence and acknowledgement of my support system.
  5. To whom much is given, much is required: This has been a mantra of mine for a while, and I'm elevating it more and more each year. I consider myself a very fortunate person, so I know I have a duty to give back and leave things -- and people -- better than I found them. For every blessing that comes my way, I've got to send the universe something right back at it.

How to Keep Them?

  1. Write them down, literally. It wasn't until I sat down to write my list that they truly started to register. I had a visual reminder of the promise I was making to myself.
  2. Make them achievable, realistic. No one likes to be let down, including you by you. Don't make a resolution that isn't realistic and you won't be able to handle. Make it challenging if you want the thrill of that, but don't set yourself up for failure either.
  3. Find commonalities with friends. Two is better than one! And a way to make sure you're keeping these promises is to collaborate with friends who are asking similar things of themselves.
  4. Make small steps to kick them off, then try one by one. Somewhere along my college education I learned that "going cold turkey" doesn't work. It's the same for resolutions. If you ask a lot out of yourself on day one, you're likely to burn out or get discouraged and miss out on completing your promises. Make a dent on each one, and work each month to further elevate what you're doing.
  5. Find ways to keep yourself accountable. When it's you measuring you, you have to create systems to keep yourself in check. Whether that means keeping a journal, a reward system, or a "do good when you mess up system," little treats can condition you to staying on track. For example, every time I use a plastic bag (by accident, or force), I am donating $5 to the Environmental Defense Fund.

But truly, these goals, intentions, statements, tips and tricks, etc., are all to just encourage me to raise my vibration this year.

What are your New Year's Resolutions for 2018?

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#BreakTheStigma: 3 Mental Disorder Myths We Need to Stop Using

Look left, look right, look in front of you, look behind you, and look in the mirror. One of you is affected by a mental health condition. Each year millions of Americans are facing the reality of a mental disorder of different nature and severity.

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May pays tribute to Mental Health Awareness by shedding light on the issues affecting so many and finding ways to provide support. Beyond money and time donations, education is one of the most powerful tools in fighting the stigmas that tag along with these conditions. Though this is a short start, here’s a couple of busted myths we need to never use again.

1. “Happy people can’t be depressed.”

Depression and anxiety are too often the poster child for mental disorders. When thinking of mental health going astray, many think about someone falling under severe feelings of restlessness and sadness. We see someone who is enjoying the fruits of life looking happy on the outside, and then put a mental block in our perception of them that tells us they simply can’t be suffering through depression.

“Happiness isn’t a permanent state; the experience of life includes every emotion,” says Dr. Patrick Wanis, Human Behavior Expert. “We can be fooled into thinking that someone who always has a smile on their face and appears to be so happy cannot actually be depressed, and yet they actually are deeply depressed.”

Depression is a serious illness with a huge stigma. No, a person can’t “just cheer up” like someone with a broken leg can’t “just put it back together.” It’s not about feeling sad or happy, it’s about feeling broken on the inside and creating a deep sense of hopelessness and despair that carries through their day-to-day activities.

2. “I don’t see how she can have an eating disorder.”

Whether we say she’s too big or too small to have a form of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, it’s often impossible to know the internal battles someone is struggling with from the outside. For Marcela Paguaga, a young thriving performer and blogger, her eating disorder started with her obsession toward achieving “the perfect body.” After countless fad diets she lost 74 pounds, but gained an eating disorder that she would carry through the next decade of her life.

“It was an addiction: losing weight and finally being accepted by society,” says Marcela. “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I was actually proud because I was finally looking the way I thought everyone wanted me to look.”

The dark side of an eating disorder also lies in the other mental health symptoms it can cause: depression, anxiety and feelings of suicide. For Marcela, seeking treatment for an eating disorder didn’t come until she started feeling symptoms like these. Through support from her family and peers, she followed through with therapy and now works to raise awareness of these conditions through her craft. You can’t see living disorder, but you sure will live it.

3. “ADHD is for kids — they’ll outgrow it later.”

If there were any of these that I wish most true, it’s this one. The transition from high school to college was hard for me, and not because the workload was more challenging. College demanded that I become accountable for myself, work and relationships while I hadn’t “outgrown” my ADHD symptoms. I struggled to keep grasp of people and things I was passionate about without letting my impulsivity, anxiety, absent-mindedness, forgetfulness and short attention span getting in the way.

Dr. Daniel Bober, Medical Director of Pediatric Psychiatry at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, says “about 60 percent of children with ADHD will become adults with ADHD and they will continue to struggle as adults in their personal and professional relationships, meaning their marriage and their work.”

Without help, adults with ADHD are highly vulnerable to depression, anxiety and substance abuse. But once you harness the power of condition, it turns into a gift. Unbeknownst to many of my peers, I started seeking treatment and counseling my sophomore year as an undergraduate and used my “Ferrari brain,” as the doctor called it, to be productive on campus and bring energy to the groups I belonged to.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides resources toward a stigma free society. Individuals, companies, organizations and others can take the pledge to learn more about mental illness, to see a person for who they are and take action on mental health issues.

1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition and each of them has their own story. Take time to lean in and offer support where you can.

Visit www.nami.org for more information.

If you — or someone you know — need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.