I love the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. I enjoy looking back over the previous year and looking ahead to the coming one. And this year I am really excited about the coming year!
A Look Back
2013 was a year of continued growth for me. I started on a journey to deal with my food issues and all the issues that went along with them back in April 2012. But it wasn't until this year that I really started to see the fruits of my labors. It finally all started coming together for me this year and I credit that to the intentions that I set for myself for the year and to the continued effort that I put into it. There were times this year when it would have been easier to slip back into comfortable, old habits. But I knew where those habits would lead and I didn't want to be trapped again. And there were occasions that I did repeat old patterns; but once I realized what I was doing, I noticed my actions without judgement and then chose new actions that were in line with my intentions for the year.
I blogged about my the intentions that I set for 2013 a year ago. Here they are from that blog post:
My Intentions for 2013
- Manage my time well, utilizing my schedule to do so.
- Strive for balance in my life. Balancing my roles as a wife, mother, student, home manager, self, and dreamer as much as possible. Following my morning routine will help me stay balanced.
- Grow my creativity by writing and taking photos more.
I was by no means perfect this year. And that's okay; perfection wasn't what I was working toward. I set these intentions with the desire to add to my life, to increase my enjoyment of life. There were times during the year that I strayed from these intentions. But they were always there, waiting to guide me back onto the path of the life I wanted. I spent 2012 being controlled by food and my weight. All I wanted for 2013 was to learn to enjoy life again. And I am so grateful that I realize that goal this year. Not only did I learn to enjoy life again, but I fell back in love with life! And that is worth every ounce of effort that it took to get to that point. I am so grateful that I am ending the year stronger than I started.
How Yoga Influenced My Life
Another thing that I credit my renewed positive view of my life to, is yoga. If you have been following me on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest then you know that I started exercising 5-6 days a week on October 24, 2013. I decided to make that consistent effort to exercise and release stress to see if I could deal with some physical problems that I had been having for a while without having to take medication. There is nothing wrong with taking medication when it is needed, but I knew that I hadn't given exercise and stress management a consistent try. So before I went on the medication, I decided to really try to manage my conditions with consistent exercise and stress management. I was scheduled to follow-up with my doctor on January 2nd so I committed to exercising 5-6 days a week until I went back to see him. At the time, I couldn't decide if I wanted to take the med, but I was so tired of how I was feeling. So I decided to give regular exercise a try and if I didn't see any results then when I saw my doctor in January I could decide to go on the medication.
I am so happy that I tried because I have gotten so much relief from my ailments, even other people can tell by the way I move now that my body is healing. I have noticed that after a high stress event, some of my symptoms start to reappear again. But to combat that, I have increased my relaxation focused activities, amount of sleep and gentle exercise around times of stress, and that has helped to improve and shorten the duration of my symptoms.
When I started exercising in October, my goal was to log onto YouTube each morning and exercise with whichever video caught my attention for that day. I had subscribed to a bunch of reputable fitness channels so I knew that I could make a choice without injuring myself. My goal was to keep exercise fun by being varied and spontaneous about what I chose each day. I posted the videos with a review to share with everyone that followed my blog on the social media sites. And for the first few weeks I did pretty good, but then I rediscovered yoga. :) And now I'm afraid that I haven't been as varied in my workouts anymore. So, my apologizes to everyone that liked getting the varied recommendations from me because I know that lately they have all been yoga, with occasionally some Pilates. :D But I can seem to bring to make myself do anything else!
The truth is that I have gained so much from doing yoga regularly, more than only physical fitness. While I have strengthened my body, I have also strengthened my mind and brought calmness and peace to my life. I am so much better at dealing with stress now, and happier too. Honestly, I enjoy yoga so much now that I secretly wish that I could live in my yoga clothes and teach yoga. Here I am on the verge of graduating from nursing school (finally!) and all I want to do is practice yoga and share yoga with others so they can have their own transformations too. It will be interesting to see where my path ends up going! I have finally learned that I don't have to have everything in my life figured out and planned out. Instead, I am focused on taking life one step at a time; enjoying each step, making decisions as they appear and trusting that I am on the path that I am meant to be. This has given me freedom that I have never felt before.
Looking ahead to 2014, there are some exciting things on the horizon. I will be graduating from nursing school in May 2014! After many years of hard work, sacrifice and dedication from all my family and with the support of extended family, we are finally on the verge of completing this goal for our family. I have no idea what area of nursing I want to work it and that's okay. I will figure that out and end up where I am meant to be, even if it takes a while to figure it out. One day I will know where my place is.
I am also really excited to continue to grow my yoga practice. About 3 weeks ago I discovered Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. Something about her style and personality really clicked with me and I love practicing with her videos. She is launching Reboot, a 29 day yoga experience on January 2nd. I decided to join the program and I am really excited to see where my yoga practice is by the end of January. I'm looking forward to a month to grow and deepen my practice.
I am also excited to continue writing. I want to blog more and spend more time writing. I started writing a children's book series and so far I have 2 books in the series. It is a lot of fun to lose myself in this imaginary world and write these stories. My children love the stories and want me to write more. They also wish that the stories had pictures. My son asked me if the stories could have pictures "by the end of 2014". I told him that I didn't know but was a good goal. I would love to be able to turn these stories into books with beautiful pictures that my children and other children could enjoy. We'll see... :)
I don't have my intentions set yet for the coming year because my husband had off this year after Christmas and we were enjoying a lot of relaxed family time. But I will share them with you soon. As this year draws to a close, I am grateful for all the blessings of this year and for all the lessons learned.
Onward to 2014!!