2018 – The Big Year of Big Changes
When I started 2018 last January, I was at one of the lowest points in my life. My anxiety was at an all time high. I was medicating with alcohol, anxiety medication, ibuprofen, coffee, and crappy food. I was fifteen pounds overweight. I was tired, foggy headed, and honestly just trying to make it through my day. There was no joy in my life unless I was drinking. My relationships were a mess, and I was in a constant state of chaos and self hate. UGH!
How I got there? I have NO IDEA. I just sort of woke up there one day.
Of course I didn’t realize then just how bad I felt. All I knew was that I had to make changes. I didn’t even know what they were, I had no idea what to do, but something in my gut was telling me: Change or Die
I knew deep down in my soul that I could do better. I knew I wanted to live better. I knew I could be a better wife, a better Mom, a better version of myself.
I remember the day everything changed for me. I was standing in my kitchen one morning in January of 2018, a weekday, and the house was empty. A voice on TV caught my attention. I looked up at the TV and there was a Mom talking on a morning show and she was saying something like this, “I am there for my kids now like I never knew I could be. I am living the most amazing life, and all because I gave up alcohol.”
I looked at this woman and she was radiating. She was glowing, with a smile on her face ear to ear. She kept talking about how she gave up alcohol and her entire world changed. The TV showed her and her children laughing and hugging each other. I thought to myself, YES! How do I do that? HOW??!!!!
Then the lady revealed she was the author of a book called THIS NAKED MIND: CONTROL ALCOHOL: FIND FREEDOM, DISCOVER HAPPINESS & CHANGE YOUR LIFE. The woman on TV was Annie Grace.
I ordered her book right then on my Kindle and read it that day. I wish I could say everything changed for me that day, but it didn’t. What did change was that I had a better understanding of the role of alcohol in my life.
It wasn’t until March of 2018 that I really began my journey of healing. It was March of 2018 when I finally said yes and enrolled myself in therapy, and then I quit drinking alcohol for over 120 days straight.
Looking back at who I was just one year ago, I am so THANKFUL for the changes I’ve made. I’m a completely different person today than I was back then. I’m alive and healthy. I have joy every day. I have drive to achieve. I’m a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, and sister. I’m healthy and full of energy. I jump out of bed with a fire in my soul and a reason to live.
Everything is different.
Now don’t get me wrong, this transformation has not been easy. I’ve done A LOT OF WORK. I’ve been in therapy for a year. I’ve read countless books. I’ve been journaling. I’ve had hard conversations. I’ve pushed myself to change habits. I’ve missed out on fun activities as a sacrifice to my health. I’ve worked my ass off to get here and I’m still working every single day.
Below I’m sharing with you the TEN MOST EFFECTIVE changes I’ve made this year.
Because I’m your friend, and because I love you — I want to help you.
I want to share how I came out of this bad place so that maybe my story can help you start your journey of living your best life. We live in a society of the most medicated, depressed, obese, in debt, and addicted people in history. This is not who we were made to be friends, and I don’t want that life for our children.
We all have a voice inside telling us who we were meant to be. We all know our road map. This is how I’m finally walking down mine and I hope it helps you discover yours.
The biggest changes I made in 2018 to change the trajectory of my life:
- Self love is key
- You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. Stop pouring your love into everyone in your life, and pour love into yourself. Take care of yourself first. Before your kids, your husband, your mom, your coworkers, anyone!
- No coping with alcohol, food, shopping, staying busy. etc.
- Identify your coping mechanisms and ask yourself why you have them in the first place. For me this was alcohol, shopping, perfectionism, and busy work. When I had triggers to do these things, I stopped and asked myself why. This showed me a much bigger problem which I could work on, verses focusing on the symptoms.
- Live for your future self.
- Think about where you want to be in 3-5 years. What does the best version of you look like? Once you know where you are going, you can then plan your time intentionally to get there. I do this exercise every morning to plan my day. We all have the same amount of time in a day, use it to get to where you are going, not just reacting to what life throws at you.
- Your children will be who you are.
- I used to feel guilty for taking care of myself. I thought all of my time should be spent on my children, a clean house, my husband, my obligations, etc. I never took care of myself and I didn’t even know what I needed to survive. Once I started practicing self love, or self care, I watched my kids start it too. They started taking care of themselves the same way I did. They started saying goals out loud. They started working harder. Alex (my 11 year old) even told me I was his role model and he wanted to be like me. Your kids learn by what you do, not what you say. Be the person you want them to grow up to be.
- Unpack your baggage.
- I spent the first 6-7 months of the year dealing with my past. I unpacked one bag at a time. I stopped running from my story and accepted it as who I was. You cannot move forward without getting rid of the anchors you are dragging with you. Once I did this I realized most of my anxiety, my urge to drink, and my stress was coming from things I had never dealt with from my past. Its not fun, but its necessary, and you only have to do it once.
- Don’t make yourself small.
- I realized that for a long time I was putting my thumb on my dreams and goals because I thought they were too big. I’m a dreamer by heart, and my true self believes I can do anything no matter how big or crazy it is. By telling myself my dreams were too big, I was making myself small. I wasn’t allowing myself to grow or to be who I wanted to be for fear of other peoples opinions. The truth – other peoples opinions of my dreams are none of my business. (Thank you Rachel Hollis for that information!) If you are a big person – be a big person and do it for YOU.
- Have hard conversations.
- I realized that having hard conversations is a way to honor yourself. If you have a dream, an idea, a version of yourself you want to be that is different – you might have to have a hard conversation with someone you love. Do it. Once I was honest with my needs I realized that the people that love me appreciated my honesty. I realized those hard conversations weren’t hard at all. I was making up hypothetical situations that didn’t even exist in real life.
- Don’t be scared to be a leader and a change instigator.
- In giving up alcohol and changing habits in my life, I had to stand out. I had to say NO when everyone was still saying YES. I had to defy the norm. It was scary, and I felt alone a lot of the time. But you know what? By being the instigator of change – I changed my family. I inspired my friends. Are you using the actions of the people in your life as an excuse to not change your own? (Think about that) Be the person you want everyone else to be. They will probably see the changes you are making and want that for themselves, and then you can lead them. Then one day you will look up and realize you aren’t alone at all. You are single handily making your world a better place.
- Add things in instead of taking things out.
- It is much easier to add things INTO your life, instead of taking them out. For me, I added in yoga at night instead of drinking. Once I did yoga I didn’t have the stress so it was easier to not drink. Focus on what you need to ADD in, and the bad stuff gets easier to cut out.
- Habits are hard to change. The way I changed my habits was to write down everything I needed to do every morning until they became a new habit. I start my day every morning an hour earlier. I write down my whole day including the little things like wash my hair, drink water, do the laundry, eat three times a day, write in my journal, read my book, get my work done, do yoga. Write down everything until you one day all these new changes are new habits.
- Believe you really can do it ALL.
- I know this is all overwhelming, but by taking baby steps, you really can have the life you’ve always wanted. Trust me, I’m proof. Just try one thing at a time, and don’t give yourself a time limit. My yourself a priority. Real change takes time but it snowballs. One change leads to another to another to another. I had no idea where I was going a year ago, but by taking it one day at a time, focusing intentionally on one task at a time, I was able to change everything.
I feel like I could keep writing about this all day, but I know this is a lot to process at once! These are only my top ten changes that I made last year, but not all of them. I want to keep having this conversation and I plan to dive into each of these topics moving forward with more information and more resources for you.
Why am I telling you all this? Why am I admitting all this on the internet?
Because I wish that someone I loved would have grabbed me by the face, TEN years ago, and shouted at me all of these things. I wish someone would have showed me the mountain that was on top of me. I wish someone would have told me they see the real person I was meant to be, and that I wasn’t being that person.
I love you my sweet friends and sisters. I see your potential. I see your suffering. I’ve been there and I want to dig into the dirt with you and help you move your mountain. I want you to get out of your own way and be the person you know is inside of you right now begging to come out. You know that voice in your head is right. You know what to do!
Don’t live one more year of regret or I wish I could have…Start today. Change one thing. Just do ONE thing to move forward. One thing at a time, whatever it is.
I’m with you and I will help you. I love you sister!