Time for a Fresh Start

Happy New Year!

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Me (left) and my sister getting festive.

For the past week or so, the season of love and holiday and chocolate has naturally been inspiring some curiosity and introspection: what is my resolution for this year? What do I want to focus on for the next 365 days?

A million things came to mind: eat 2014 carrots (which is a cop out because we all know that’s low-balling my carrot consumption), visit every museum in NYC, get rid of all my clutter, learn how to tap dance, the list could go on because I live in a constant mental state of seeking self-improvement. At any given time, I have a mile-long list of things I want to learn/change/improve about myself to the point that I often get overwhelmed with all of the things I want to do! I’ve always considered this to be one of my best qualities: never complacent, always striving to be the best *me* possible. Why take the escalator when I can climb the stairs? Why take the train when it’s just a 20 minute walk? Why stay in and snuggle with Netflix on Friday night when I can go be a rockstar for my friends? Doing the harder thing is *usually* the better one (according to me).

I’ve been home with my sister (hallelujah) for a few weeks now, and my dad, and between talks with them and all this down time I’ve had to reflect, I’m starting to think maybe that isn’t the case. Maybe all this “striving for self-improvement” is actually hiding my feelings of inadequacy. This perpetual desire to be a better me has unconsciously made me see myself as *needing* to improve, to be better, because right now I’m not enough. And frankly, it has made me kind of unhappy. And not myself. Sometimes, I’ve strayed from my core values of happiness, love, empathy, and positivity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “you’re just so happy!” “I love how you’re always positive.” I think I’ve heard it so many times that instead of it being my instinct, it has become an expectation that I feel I need to fulfill.

What I want to resolve for 2014? Above all, I want to clean out the clutter. Not from underneath my bed, but from inside my head. All of that *crap*, the unfair expectations of myself, the need to always be better, and the feeling of needing to fulfill other people’s expectations. I roll my eyes when my mom says it at least once a day, but I truly think the key to satisfaction is one word: simplify. My brain is perpetually in 23 different places at once, and often I forget about myself somewhere in there.

My list of resolutions (for real.)

1) Make time for myself. Paint my nails and give myself 30 minutes to let them dry. Do my hair and spend a few extra minutes on my makeup. Take a bubble bath once in awhile. Let myself roast veggies for dinner instead of the quick alternative. I rarely do any of these things because my instinct is to choose the quickest option so I can increase efficiency and use my time doing something else (usually FOR someone else). Efficient = better. But I’m happiest when I can breathe and give myself sometime. The only person responsible for my happiness is me, so 2014 is the year of giving myself some attention.

2) Create clear fitness goals and stick to them. My blog started last year as a way to keep myself in check when training for a half-marathon. The training process was quite stringent and after I finished the race, I decided to be more relaxed with my exercise. Run when I want to, go to the gym when I want to, switch things up with some yoga. The goal was to still exercise as frequently (5-6 days/week) but to do it on my terms. But when I no longer had a clear reason to get out the door, my fickle brain made everything too complicated. I’m too tired right now, I’ll go to the gym after class. Well now I’m too tired to work out. Now I’m too hungry. It’s too cold. I have too much homework. Now I feel guilty about not going. Now it’s 9 pm and I haven’t left for the gym. Now I’ll go, but I wasted way too much of my mental well-being getting there. With a clear goal, I know I have to do something and so I do it. THere’s no other motivation necessary. I hope to get to a point where I don’t have this mental strife, but for now, I’m going to accept the fact that my intrinsic motivation isn’t quite working.

My first goal? Mudderella! A few girlfriends and I are going to be doing this awesome, women empowerment mud obstacle course in May and I want to be badass enough to finish the race with a smile and triumph, not panting and relieved it’s done.

And that’s why I’ve returned to the vegesaurus… to log my training! I had so much fun blogging last year, even if there were only 2 or 3 people reading each post. It’s completely self-indulgent and while I would normally tell myself that’s stupid and I shouldn’t do it, I’m going to look toward my first resolution and give this to myself. Because you know what? YOLO is true.

 

I look forward to getting back here, training, cooking, loving, and making lame puns.

 

xoxoxoxoxoxo forever

Caitlin

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