10 Subtle Ways to Feel Different in 2018 and Keep the Momentum Going

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It's a new year. Doesn't that feel so good?

The beginning of a new year always seems to be full of so much hope and clarity. It's an opportunity to begin again. Start over. Do things differently. 

We charge into January with so much intention, so much motivation, so much gusto. 

We are moving and shakin' our bodies. We are eating clean and healthy. We are in a state of gratitude and practicing some big shifts. We are on a roll. We are abundant!

Then, slowly, it starts to taper off. We skip the workout class to meet friends for happy hour but on the drive there, promise ourselves that tomorrow we will move our person once again.

But we don't. 

We crave pizza and cocktails and tell ourselves that it is just this one time. Tomorrow we will eat well again. 

But again, we don't. All of those things we wanted for ourselves start to slowly slip away. 

We find old thoughts and behaviors creeping in slowly and before we know it, it's as if we are back in 2017 all over again. 

Nooooo!

Kidding. 2017 wasn't that bad. 

Again, I kid. 2017 can take a big old hike!

Okay, okay,  it wasn't that bad. I had some pretty incredible things happen in 2017 too. But I am rather happy to flip the calendar on that one. 

I know I'm not the only one who is happy to say goodbye to 2017. It seems a lot of us had a bit of a difficult year and were more than happy to say peace! See ya later! Sayonara! 

But you see, the thing is, I really don't ever want to wish a year away again. The years are moving faster and faster and well, we are only allotted so many of them and I hope to make them all count. 

Be it a "good" or "bad" year,  all of it has an offering for us. This is coming off a year that more times then I care to admit, had me wailing on the floor in the middle of my living room.

So much of it made no sense to me.

However, I am starting to see things a bit clearer and although I may never say that it all happened for a reason, I am starting to see more clarity in how I can take those crappy moments and turn them into something really meaningful. 

And damn it feels good to feel optimistic again. 

I have something pretty awesome and big things in the works. I'll be so excited to share it with you soon. 

Until then, I spent New Year's Eve in a deep reflection, thinking about the previous year and drawing my biggest learnings from all the events that happened and the conclusion that I came to was that 2017 was a catalyst for some pretty intense personal growth on all levels

Physically, emotional, mental. You name it and 2017 challenged it all. 

Parts of 2017 really did stink. However, even those hard events have created new ways of me wanting to be with myself and in the world. 

This year for New Year's Eve, I decided to forgo the usual get dressed up, find a party, drink too much and feel like utter and complete poop the next day for a quiet, reflective night at home by the fire.

I'm not going to lie, my FOMO definitely kicked in. (Mom, FOMO means, fear of missing out.)  But if I have taken anything away this year it's getting really honest with myself and asking what it is I truly need.

I needed to end 2017 in the most positive, intentional, loving way I know how. 

That involved getting quiet, playing my favorite tunes, making a fire, diffusing my favorite essential oils, and then answering some really honest questions I'd been avoiding for, well, ever. 

2017 may have had some doozy experiences but my ability to draw goodness from those happenings is what gives me confidence for 2018. 

And from the events of this past year, I realized that as much as this space is an outlet for me to share, process and heal, I want to get back to a place of offering you something more. 

So I took the last year and I came up with ten subtle ways to feel different in 2018. Use them, don't, use one or two, use none. 

Overall, I hope you too can look back at your 2017 with kindness and love and take exactly what you need to make this year the best.

10 subtle ways to feel different in 2018 -- and keep the momentum going.    

1. Take stock of what is and what isn't working in your life. 

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you know I am a big fan of having my "come to Jesus' moments. These are those sometimes painful, sometimes liberating moments when I stop hiding and get really honest with myself about the various areas of my life that aren't working. Or are working. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Those things that aren't working are merely catalysts to create change and go down a different path. A lot of the time you have to experience the pain to get on the right path. And those areas that are working -- well celebrate it! We all could probably use a little more celebrating in our lives. 

2. Go slow

I think one of the keys to creating lasting change in your life is going at it slow. This is speaking from years of experience. I'm what is called an Activator. I get an idea and wham! I want it all to fall into place right now and will do whatever is necessary to get there. Then I lose steam and move onto the next thing. I forget that sometimes, slow and steady wins the race. So my advice, and only because I've learned this the hard way, treat your idea, your dreams, your goals or whatever you call it, like a houseplant. Take all the precautions to allow it to grow big and strong. Good, organic soil, water, light, time to root down, and slowly but surely, it will in fact grow. 

3. Start small

You know that saying, Rome wasn't built in a day? Well, why the heck do we think we can take a lifelong habit and wish it away overnight? Patience is pretty important when it comes to making lasting change. And kindness. To yourself and others. Baby steps my dears. Just put one foot in front of the others and before you know it, you've walked a mile. 

5. Build self-trust

Every time we make a new goal or want to change a way we do something we have the opportunity to build self-trust. A healthy sense of trusting yourself is imperative to create habits that last. However, every time we don't follow through, we are breaking that trust with ourselves and others. We may be able to brush it off, but again, speaking from experiences, it starts to compile over time and feels like a big heavy weight on your shoulders. It doesn't feel good at all. So this is why going slow and starting small is really important. 

6. Live and breath your values

I remember one day I realized while talking with someone that I really didn't have a clear idea what my values were. That made me sad. Then I remember thinking if I don't know what I stand for, how am I ever going to get the things that I want? So I came up with a list of my top five personal values and I wrote them out and posted them on a board in my room. I base all my decisions, er, well, I try to base all my decisions off of whether or not they are aligned with those five values. I truly believe if you do this, you'll feel so much better about how you make decisions in your life. 

7. Say goodbye to those that aren't a fit anymore

You'd think this one was a no-brainer but it's amazing how many people we tend to keep in our lives without really taking a good long look as to why. I've had to silently say goodbye to a few friendships this year and mostly within the last few weeks. Not because I don't care about them deeply but because it wasn't healthy for me to keep them as am active person in mu life. It was what was best for me to propel forward on my path. I knew it in my gut. Holding on to them was like holding onto a giant weight. I felt like I couldn't get any forward momentum.

It's okay to say goodbye. It's hard. It's not always black and white but most of the time you know, deep down, that it's the right thing to do.  

8. Let go of expectations

Expectations are a huge killer of happiness and joy. When we expect a certain outcome, we limit ourselves from the possibility that life could offer us something so much better. When we have expectations, we are often met with great disappointment when life doesn't unfold how we think it should. Sometimes it can derail us. Often it will prevent us from moving forward with our goals, hopes and dreams. And thus, we get stuck. Really stuck. 

I know it may feel totally unrealistic to never have expectations but I think as we learn to adjust them we stay in the organic flow that is life and our let down isn't as extreme. We allow life to redirect us and from personal experiences, the redirection is usually better then anything I could have crafted had I forced my way into fruition. 

What's that saying? Oh yeah, let go, let God. 

9. Give up the ego labels

I learned this lesson big time this past year when I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that had no known origin. I found myself feeling really confused and lost, like I didn't belong. People would ask what kind of cancer I had and I'd just stare at them blankly. "Um, well, I was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of an unknown primary."

I'd be met with blank stares and looks of confusing and I'd want to reach out and say, "Yeah, I'm confused too."

Eventually I had to find a way to just stop caring so much about the label and focus on other things. This made me think about all the other areas of my life I am attached to certain labels. Labels help us compartmentalize ourselves into little boxes.  However, I think that sometimes what we identify ourselves with can cause overwhelm and internal chaos in our lives. I find myself feeling this way a lot. Especially being a 'jack-of-all' trades kind of gal. But when it comes down to it, I'm just me, Amanda, and feels so much better.

10. Get a Dog. Seriously. Or a cat. Or both

Okay, this really has nothing to do with feeling different in 2018 but Rocky kind of changed my life in 2017 and so if you are teetering on the line of deciding whether or not to get a pet, I say do it. 100%, get the dog or cat or pet. As long as you can responsibly take care of them, do it. 

 

A Lesson on Life from a Tomato Plant + Tips for Letting Go of the Need to Control

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Several years ago, back when I was single and called Seattle home, I lived with my friend Stephanie in her beautiful home in West Seattle. This was the first actual house other than my parents that I had lived in.  Her home had a beautiful yard and I was eager to test out my green thumb to see if I actually even had one.

With Stephanie's blessing, I went to the West Seattle nursery and purchased a tomato plant as I had a limited space to work with and to be honest, I wasn't even sure I'd be able to keep it alive.  I didn't want the deaths of multiple plants looming over my head so I decided to start small with a single plant.  I bought my beautiful little cherry tomato plant and brought it home to plant in the little space I created for 'my garden' on the side of the house.

The days that followed involved me obsessing over the plant,  checking it and watering it daily, constantly wondering if there wasn't more I should be doing to ensure that this plant would be bountiful and produce lots of juicy, delicious fruit.

The plant however, didn't seem to like what I was doing. It's leaves started to curl up on itself and it looked as if, despite all my efforts, it was going to die after all. Disappointed with myself, I eventually just let the tomato plant be and went about my life. I no longer felt the need to obsess and control what the outcome would be. I let go.

Several weeks later, in early August, as I  was sitting on the cobble stone steps that lead down to the patio,  I was reminded of that little plant,  probably shriveled up into a pile of brown stems by now, and I wandered over to the side of the house.

To my surprise, what I found wasn't a dried out pathetic looking plant but a totally robust and vigorously growing cherry tomato plant. Full of fruit and full of life.

Holy s&$*! was my exact reaction.

Standing there, wide-eyed and a little confused, I turned on my heels and ran inside and upstairs to where Stephanie was working. I told her she HAD to come see this as she knew all about the great efforts I had been putting into this little plant.

As we turned the corner to the side of the house I pointed at my blossoming cherry tomato plant and said "look!"

We both stood there and stared with disbelief because we had both succumbed to the idea that it was dead.

It was then that I had a major ah ha moment and turned to Steph and said, "see, sometimes we just have to let go and see what happens."

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I've carried this story with me over the last few years and use it as a constant reminder when I feel myself needing to control or manipulate a situation.

With many things in life, the more I obsess and try to force something the more it recoiled in the opposite direction.  There is a difference between being proactive in achieving a goal of yours and holding onto something so tight that you barely have room to breath.

As women we tend to want to control things out of the fear of the unknown. Underneath that, there is a fear and a lack of trust in the synchronicity of life and instead of letting it happen, we clench it between our fingers with the greatest of hopes. Unfortunately, life just doesn't work out that way. What we are trying to control or manipulate in our favor usually ends up being the very thing that isn't serving us in life.

But what if we let go and just let life happen. What if we got out there and lived more and did the things we've always wanted to do and let go of a certain idea or perception of how it HAD to be? . What I AM talking about is being open to the idea that there CAN be another way of doing things.That by letting go we will learn to trust that the universe has our back. It's scary, trust me, I know just how much from personal experience. But one thing I've grown to realize is that when I do let go, when I accept life for what it is right now, things always turn out in my favor and most of the time, far better then I could have ever imagined.

Is there anything that you are holding onto that  you could benefit from loosening your grip on?

Maybe that idea of your perfect weight?

What about a new relationship that has started to feel forced or disconnected?

Or, how about a business idea that just is not flowing organically?

Maybe a deep seeded resentment towards someone who hurt you?

The list could go on and on but you have the power to let life unfold the way it is meant to. The more resistance and rules we set, the harder it is going to be to live your life from a truly authentic, organic and beautiful place.

Believe me, I know this story all too well. I've held on tightly to many things over the years, from perceptions to unhealthy relationships  and there was always one common theme; I was so scared of the unknown, of letting go and trusting that things will unfold just the way they are meant to.

I still battle with the desire to control my life but using these simple tips, I've learned to let go, breathe, and go with the flow much more in life and have been rewarded for it greatly.

Simple Tips for Letting Go of the Need to Control

1.  Be Honest With Yourself

Ask yourself honestly why you feel the need to hold on so tight. Most of the time we are doing so out of habit, lack of self-confidence, and a feeling of desperation. Once we can accurately assess what it is we are feeling, we can begin to loosen the grip, trusty that even if the situation doesn't turned out as planned, we will be just fine.

2. Ask Yourself "What Do I Really Want and Will Obtaining This Contribute to That?"

Once you are honest with yourself, ask yourself what YOU really want and decide whether or not this thing you are holding on to help you achieve those goals.  Some of those things we hold on to so tightly aren't even things that really suit us and the life we really want to live.

Getting really clear on the life you want to live will help you identify whether or not this one thing will get you one step closer to it.

3. Be Patient With Yourself

Change takes time. If you are a person who, like me, is more black and white and the idea of letting go freaks the hell out of you, then be patient with yourself. Take little steps to create these lasting changes. Acknowledging the fact that you are controlling a situation is a huge step. Then see if you can't see it from a different perceptive.

4. Surrender  + Breathe

Sometimes we just have to throw our hands up and say okay, I give the f up and walk away. This doesn't mean you're a quitter. Actually, it's quite the opposite really. It means that you have come to a subconscious understanding that this situation no longer serves you. You know that saying, if you love someone set it free if it returns to you it was meant to be? Or something like that. Well, there is a lot of truth to that.

When we look back on our lives we usually see a patter; that things unfold the way they are going to, regardless of how  much we hold on.

Releasing control means that we make the choice to let go and let life unfold the way it is supposed to. In the end, I think you will find that it is a more peaceful way of living within the ebb and flow of life.

What is something you are grasping onto with everything you have? Can you loosen your grip? What would your life look like if you did so?

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