A Wish for Reinvention

Earlier this month, Lowi got the ball rolling as we embark on the value of both wishes and goals. Sometimes wishes get short shrift because we can use them as these far-off visions that we say “someday” to ourselves about but never get into the goal-setting mode around.

And if that’s the case for you, then wishes can, at some point, be more like excuses than definite plans. But what wishes have that goals often don’t is emotion. A powerful feeling that propels them forward or holds them at the starting line.

Ironically enough, I, too, got some inspiration on this topic from Mel Robbins, but just in a different form. I have been listening to her podcast series entitled “Reinvent Your Life” on Audible. While so far, she hasn’t discussed the differences and value of wishes and goals directly, it’s all about taking stock of your life, your career, your health, and finances and asking yourself if you are happy with your current spot.

She asks, “Are you where you thought you’d be at this point in your life?”

And regardless of whether your answer is yes, no, or somewhere in the vast expanse between, her initial advice is the same: Stop.

Stop? What? We are barely into 2023. We have all this pressure, internal and external, to create an amazing life finally this year, and she says stop? What kind of self-help leader is she?

She reasons that first, you must get a clear picture of where you currently are. Even if, by all outward standards, your life and career is amazing, are you doing what you want? Are you even happy?

Reinventing Your Life is about looking back, maybe at the hopes and dreams you had years ago or ones that bubbled up in you during the hard days of the pandemic, and deciding that now is the time. 

What are the wishes that are making your heart sing, and what goals can you create from there that have legs?

I can fairly easily name a few passion projects that I have lacked consistency in moving forward on. I will have two weeks where I am focused and then two months where I do nothing. For example, what to do with my hobby of photography. I created some versions over the holidays and shared them with family and friends. I had a couple of people ask me if I was selling them and then I got stuck. I don’t know, am I? How will I go about it? What is the best and most cost-effective way to do that? Is it worth the work? Will people pay for this kind of product?

It gets lost in rumination or consideration. 

Weeks or months go by, and I don’t deal with it because I tell myself I don’t have the answers, which is true. But I am also not doing anything to elucidate any of those answers for myself. Instead, I use these questions as excuses to stop instead of guidance as to where to move next. My questions are guiding me to the next considered action. I am simply not taking the time.

I have at least three other examples. What about you? Do you get stuck in the thinking or the doubting? Do your wishes get held in purgatory because you don’t take the time to figure out how to turn them into goals, one small step after the next? Yeah, me too!

So I am listening to Mel Robbins explain to me how to do the scary thing that is change. Even when it’s a change we want. Even when it’s the change we need, we will resist.

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Make a Wish

We made it through the longest month on record and we are half-way through February. January always feels so long, cold and dark and there is this constant internal struggle to stay consistent with the healthy new habits we resolved to tackle and our desire to throw in the towel.  

How is February treating you?  Do you feel like the pressure has been lifted just a little?  I feel like once we hit February, everyone starts focusing on other things and realizes that the new year is more than the month of January.  We have a choice.  We can either go back and keep living the way we always have (which is what most of us do) or we can acknowledge that there might be more on our heart than just those passing new year’s resolutions that we wrote down at 11pm on December 31st.  I believe that most of us have a lot of pent up wishes and goals that we haven’t even begun to sift through.  Guess what?  We have a big, beautiful year stretched before us and I can’t think of a better time to talk about wishes and goals. 

Wishes and goals?  I know one feels like unicorns and sprinkles while the other feels serious and intimidating.  Turns out you really need both in your life to make transformation become a reality.  Sometimes in the midst of our darkest January our heart whispers a desire.  Listen closely because that is the real heart of your goal.

I know a lot of people just want to talk about grit, powering through and faking it until you make it.  These are all valid tools when working to reach our goals, but if the heart isn’t part of the story, then you might as well stop now.

How many times have you resolved to work on a goal that wasn’t yours to begin with?  Maybe you decided to lose weight because your doctor suggested it or you started to workout because your friend doesn’t want to go to the gym alone or maybe you even applied to a job because your neighbor said they could get you an interview.  These goals don’t have any legs to carry you through the hard parts because they weren’t your wishes in the first place.  Nobody can instill a desire unless you already have that whisper in your heart.  A doctor telling you to lose weight has to strike a chord somewhere within you, to make an impact, otherwise you won’t see it through. 

In the early days of January, I began thinking about my year.  I wrote what I would consider my wishes about how things could be better this year.  I say wishes because they were things I felt in my heart, but they had no meat, no plan, no strategy or way to accomplish them.  They felt a little flimsy if I’m honest.  We have all likely heard the quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry, 

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

We have all been taught that wishes are pointless, trivial, passing thoughts that have no business in our adult lives, but it turns out we might have been wrong.

According to Mel Robbins, author, motivational speaker and podcaster, making a change begins with a simple wish and that wish becomes the cornerstone of your next step. Robbins bore this theory out in her own life when she hit bottom 2 years ago.  She had lost her job, her husband was dealing with debilitating depression, we were in the middle of Covid lockdowns and she had no idea what her next step should be.  She felt stuck.

Maybe you can relate right now.  A lot of us began our year with regrets.  We regret squandering another year, for not working harder or differently, for not eating healthier, not doing more of what we love or not doing less of the things that don’t serve us. Maybe you empathize with not knowing what the next step needs to be.  This is where Robbins suggests we just sit quietly, close our eyes and make a simple wish; a wish for how we want things to be or what we want things to look like in the future.

It’s not magic.  We don’t open our eyes and SURPRISE! All of our dreams have come true.  It’s a starting point.  It marks a point in which we forget all the negativity and focus on how we want our lives to be. Robbins calls this place a temporal landmark.  For you, it might be a breaking point, a new year, a new place to live or whatever fresh start you find yourself in.

Photo by Cup of Couple on Pexels.com

Robbins details 3 steps to making change and step 1 is to make that wish.  She tells us in her podcast that your wish could just be that you don’t want your life to look like this anymore.  That is a great place to begin.  Acknowledge what you are feeling whether it’s lonely, scared, frustrated, mad, anxious, etc… and then do step 2 which is to do just one thing today that makes you feel better.  Take a walk, breathe fresh air, read; do something that you think the future you would do.  Do that each day as you create that plan for where you are going.  Still don’t have a vision of where you want to be?  That’s okay.  According to Robbins, if you just keep repeating steps 1 and 2 and reminding yourself that this place is temporary, a vision for what you want will become clear. 

Step 3 is to find proof that it can be done.  Look on the internet, ask around, follow someone on social media who has also made this change as proof that YOU CAN ALSO DO IT. 

That’s it.

Feeling skeptical?  I was, too.  Then I tried it.  I had this one thing that kept nagging at me over the past couple of years.  It’s something that I wanted to be part of my life in a bigger way.  So, this month I have been acting like that person and figuring out how to add this to my life on a regular basis.  I’m not there yet, but it’s working and each day I feel more motivated than the day before.  It feels good to be working toward the person I want to be. 

Close your eyes.  Quiet your mind.  What’s your heart’s desire?  

Make a wish.

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Gradual Bloom

For our first installment of the New Year, G spoke about the slow start of 2023.  For me, the New Year has always had a difficult time taking root until at least the second week.  Even growing up, we would roll right from the holiday season into my cousin Julie’s birthday which is January 6th.  Happy Birthday, Julie!  Our eyes were not focused on a fancy new year or starting back to school.  Our eyes were clearly set on the first slumber party of the year, obviously.

No, we haven’t had a slumber party in a number of years, but I simply replaced that joyous occasion with my wedding anniversary, which falls on January 2nd.  So, even as an adult I have had a difficult time getting my year going.  I mean, why stop the celebration on January 1st when you are clearly going to indulge in some form of dining, dessert, or drinks to celebrate another year of wedded bliss?  So, you will often find us extending our holiday debauchery well into the new year or at least until that Monday after our anniversary. 

It’s more difficult than it sounds, though.  Often, while we are off reminiscing about the number of years under our belt, the rest of the world is sending texts and emails, calling and leaving voicemails because the fun is supposed to be over, folks!  There is no time for a gradual unfolding of the new year. Chop chop!

This year, we celebrated 30 years and we went away for a couple of days.  On our anniversary, we received a call from our builder (we are building a house, but that is another blog series).  We decided it could wait and we chose to ignore his call.  One minute later, he left a voicemail and sent a text saying, “please call me as soon as possible.” These are not words you want to hear from the man building your house.  He isn’t desperately trying to reach you to tell you he just saved you a bunch of money or that things are going well.  In the end, we decided it would be easier knowing what he needed rather than imagining the worst and we called him.  In a nutshell, our excavation costs were running thousands over budget.  

Happy Anniversary, it’s January 2nd, and you are already in the red.

I realize not everyone is celebrating a birthday or an anniversary during the first week of the new year, but trying to gradually move into the new year can feel exactly the same.  It’s like we are all moving along celebrating life, holiday parties, lounging in our holiday pjs, watching movies with our families, toasting to a new year, and then BAM!  There is this hard stop to all things fun.  We’re supposed to begin our new workout routine, eat healthy, adhere to dry January, and be a new and better version of ourselves than the previous year and it’s all supposed to begin on January 1st at 8:00am.  Is it any wonder that January is the most depressing month of the year?

Let’s be honest.  Regardless of those resolutions we made, most of us get to January 1st, and we are just trying to take a deep breath.  Maybe our family just left to go back home, and we miss them.  Maybe we survived our first holiday without our family or we’ve lost a loved one and the last couple of months have been challenging.  Maybe, it’s simply that we are struggling with the post-holiday let down.  

Think about it.  All of this is a lot to process between the New Year’s celebration at midnight and the expectation that we are supposed to be in the gym first thing the next morning.  I mean, seriously, most of us likely feel like we failed before noon on the first day of the new year.  It’s depressing and unrealistic expectations do not set us up for success.

The point isn’t that we should phone in the month of January because it’s a lost cause.  The point is to be realistic when thinking about your new year and take January in bite-sized, doable pieces so you can achieve your goals and feel successful.  

Also, January is like 650 days long, so pace yourself.

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Slow Starter

Are you struggling to “get it together” this new year? Are you skeptical since 2020 broke your heart and ‘21 and ‘22 gave you a steady kick to the kidneys and a sucker punch to the belly?

It’s hard to believe in goodness, the universe and/or the divine when we coming down off a sugar high or climbing out of sleep deprivation. And if you are not a Christmas celebrator, you likely feel some level of post-Christmas stress and wonder; dare you to remove your hands from your ears for fear of hearing the third verse of Jingle Bells for the one millionth and 1 time?

From Thanksgiving to January, it is an onslaught, even if you don’t participate in all the trappings. It is a media montage of someone’s mythical life highlight reel running 24/7 where nobody ever tires, eats, sleeps, irons a shirt, or breaks a sweat. Meanwhile, comparatively, you’re still in your yoga pants from 17 hours ago and think you possibly spy a hint of yesterday’s mascara dutifully hanging on your lashes. 

Then we have the audacity and the innocent, wide-eyed optimism that only an amnesiac could genuinely muster to judge ourselves for not arriving on January 1, after a carefree night of revelry, of course, to a house purged of all things processed and sugar-laden. We are aghast at ourselves for not having the refrigerator and pantry stocked with fresh fruit, veggies, coconut water, and protein powder to the level that any good social media influencer would approve.

Did I mention we Christmas people are tired and broke? We don’t have the energy or the cash to visit the grocery store, even if that’s where the food lives.

We have shopped, wrapped, shipped, pondered, returned, and waited impatiently for late gifts since November. We are simply hoping for a good night’s sleep and a day without a cookie, and our pants still fit.

What we are saying is we are coming into 2023 with healthy trepidation because life experience and wisdom tell us we should. Also, please see above.

We are also moving more slowly because the year isn’t over by January 18. How could it be ruined because we haven’t found our groove just yet?

Who hasn’t started a previous year on fire and fizzled out by January 12? 

The cocktail hour of 2023 has barely gotten going. The servers’ trays are still full of bubbly to come. I promise.

Let’s all slow down. And, ahem, if you need to, unbutton the top button of your jeans/pants. I won’t tell anyone. That’s why bulky sweaters are all the rage in January.

We underestimate what we can accomplish in small, steady steps and overestimate what we can do with big, forced efforts that are overwhelming. This is a life, not a to-do list, although by looking at most of us, you’d be hard-pressed to notice the difference.

If you need a better reason than that, you can go with the moon said so.

The lunar new year, also known as the Chinese New Year, doesn’t begin until January 22. The lunar calendar is based on astronomical observations of the Sun’s position in the sky and the Moon’s phases. 

The moon affects the migration patterns of birds and the ocean’s tides, so it seems like a powerful enough reason to postpone gathering your ducks from the rave until then, right?!

We are taking slow, measured, but purposeful steps forward. Maybe not just for this year but maybe for the foreseeable future because the pace of the world, peer pressure, or the internet, I dont know who is to blame, is too freaking fast. 

This year, Lowi & G are whispering our greeting to 2023 and seeing if any lights fall off the thing first. Happy new beginnings. Here’s to being SLOW.

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