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. 


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. 


It's Okay To Do This


"And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been" - Rainer Maria Rilke

A brand new year. An opportunity to do things differently, to begin again. 

I hope you remember in this coming year that: 

It’s ok to not be perfect because when you can accept that you are imperfect you will finally realize you are perfect just the way you are.

It’s ok to be disappointed when something doesn’t work out the way you hoped because eventually, you’ll see that this disappointment brought an opportunity that never would have happened had what you wanted actually come into fruition. 

It’s ok to not always be strong or brave or courageous.  

It’s ok to not clean out his closet for days or weeks or years or ever even, if it never feels right. It was a love so deep and for so long, most of us only dream of experiencing that. 

It’s okay to say goodbye to people without actually saying the words. Send them love, or not. Wish them well, or not. And let them go. Close the door. Move on. 

It's also ok to say no. As much as you want, to whatever doesn't feel right in your soul. 

It’s ok to not practice yoga or meditate or journal. You can still be a deep, meaningful, inspired, creative, spiritual person. 

It’s ok to not be over him or her yet. Know that with enough time and distance, you will be one day. 

It’s ok to try a million different things over the course of your lifetime. You're a complex, ever-evolving person and hey, it gives you so many great stories to tell. 

It's ok if you don’t feed your kids homemade organic meals from scratch every night and you opt for a box of Mac and Cheese. 

It’s ok if the house is messy and you move the clothes from the bed to the floor for a week straight. 

It’s ok if you delete friends off social media. And it’s ok if that’s me. 

And it's definitely okay if you decide to delete social media altogether. The world will go on. 

It’s ok if you fall off the diet wagon day two of the new year. And it’s definitely ok to say a big FU to diets in general. 

It’s ok to want to grow and change and shed old skin. Even if you are worried what others may think. Even if it feels scary. 

It's okay to stop caring what other's think. In fact, I highly recommend it. 

It’s ok to go to the grocery store and buy nothing on your list but come home realizing you just bought $150 worth of food. 

It’s ok to start over...and over ... and over again until you find what fits. 

It’s ok if you like to say fuck. It’s really ok. 

It's ok if some days you just want to hide away and turn off your phone and watch twenty-five episodes of Sex and the City. 

It's ok to not have it all figured out. 

It's ok to be different and fully embrace it. 

It's ok to cry a lot. Again, you are a complex human with a ton of emotions. 

It's ok to want more for yourself and it's ok to be perfectly happy with where you are right now. 

It's ok to let go of the need to be a certain size. 

It's ok to stop coloring your hair and embrace the grey and it's ok to color your hair until the day you die.  

It’s ok to be 37 and still single after 4 years. 

It’s ok to eat quesadillas for lunch for a week straight. Quesadillas are really good. 

I can go on and on but the moral of the story is, I hope you go into 2018 knowing wherever you are, right this moment, is perfectly ok. 

Stop being so hard on yourself. 

Here is to a brand-spankin' new year. 

Sometimes the hardest part is just admitting you are worthy of it all

I remember the morning after my thirtieth birthday party very clearly. A fun filled night full of family, friends, booze and gourmet foods. Four things I love a lot. That night I felt so special, so loved and I think the picture below speaks volumes as to the amount of fun that was had by all. However, the next morning, my actual thirtieth birthday, told a very different story.  

As I peeled open my swollen and puffy eyes, my head foggy, my stomach queasy, I could feel the familiar sadness start to creep in, as if a looming dark fog was settling over my unsteady soul. I knew this feeling pretty well. I had woken with her darkness so many mornings before. 

In just a little bit, I was to get in a car and drive three hours to Eastern Washington for the Dave Matthews concert at the Gorge amphitheater with my best girlfriends to continue celebrating and I felt horribly unworthy of it all.

I felt pretty unworthy of a lot of things to be honest. 

I had just turned thirty and my life felt like a huge mess. I had moved back from Taiwan four weeks earlier, damaged the car a friend temporarily loaned me in a fender bender the DAY he loaned it to me, took a job that keep me feeling safe and was living, once again, with my parents...all at the age of thirty. Don't get me wrong, I have a DEEP love and appreciation for my folks and all the love and support they have provided me over the years. However, I just felt so ashamed of my life. I knew I had to figure out how to relinquish this feeling of unworthiness and reclaim my sense of freedom. 

I laid in bed, with my eyes closed and head pounding, wondering if I would ever pull my shit together. My heart was a mess, my spirit was dull and all those big dreams I once had were lost in a mix of tequila fuzz and self-loathing chasers. 

I needed something to change. I needed a spark to ignite the burning desire deep inside and to get me to step outside of my comfort zone and do all those really big things I had always wanted to do with my life.

Climb big mountains, travel to far off lands, be a rockstar girl boss, write and publish a book, help inspire change in others, live in Southern California, meet my love and live an adventurous life together. These were just a few. It's funny how some things never change over time though. 

As I lay there quietly in bed I felt the oddest thing. It was as if finally wanting to change bad enough was just enough to feel her darkness loosen her grip just a little. I knew in that moment this was my opportunity to escape her clasp.  It was now or never but I needed help, and before she could grab hold of me even tighter, I said a simple prayer which I believe, drove an unbreakable wedge between her darkness and my truth.  "Please help me. I cannot do this on my own any longer." Then, I peeled back the covers, sat up slowly and went about my weekend celebrating my self-proclaimed unworthy existence not knowing that I had just decided I was, in fact, very worthy. 

As I look back five and a half years later, I'm pretty amazed at what has transformed since asking for help in that moment of darkness. I wish I could say the clouds parted and bright rays of sun beamed down on me and magically, I was granted the ease I was longing for and everything started to fall into place. That wasn't exactly the case. Life got a bit easier in some ways but it also got a lot harder too. Allow me to explain.  

One of the greatest, and at times, most frustrating lessons I've had to learn over the course of my life is that you will continue to be presented with the same lesson over and over again until YOU, let me say that again, YOU, step up and take action to learn what you truly need to learn from them. My greatest lesson in this lifetime, I believe, is to accept that I am worthy of all that I want and desire and that I have all the power to create it. 

So, as I mentioned, life got easier in some ways when I asked for help and unconsciously declared that I am actually quite worthy. However, it still felt hard because I would continue to be presented with the same people and similar situations that would test me in great ways. 

The serious of events that took place from that moment on have taken my life on a really interesting and wild adventure. Each person, each experience, and every single moment has continued to teach me of my worthiness. Some of these lessons were harder then others, my failed marriage being a huge example, but was it really a failure or a lesson for me to dig even deeper and really see my value and worthiness? Walking away from a commitment like that wasn't easy but the realization that I WAS worthy of being treated better was what I needed to accept and learn. I was and am worthy of a deeper, stronger, more pure love with someone who truly sees and loves me. Accepting this one truth has helped me to see how worthy I am of other things I want for myself too. 

The career, the adventure, the unorthodox way of living, the body, the financial security and yes, the man who has the ability to love himself so much that he can love me too. 

And here is the real kicker, you are worthy of everything you want too.  

Do you even know just how worthy you are? 

The most important piece of this puzzle is identifying the things in your life that keep happening and truly believing that you are worthy of things happening differently. We may finally realize we are worthy but continue sabotaging our own happiness because we fail to understand that it is a muscle we need to constantly work. With every similar situation, it's our responsibility to do things a little differently. Can we say something in a different way? Can we forgive? Can we walk away? Can we find our voice and speak up? Can we accept the person for who they are? Can we accept the situation for what it is supposed to teach us?

My dad use to repeat this quote to me all the time. Back then I'd roll my eyes but now it's something I repeat often, "If you always do what you've always did you'll always get what you've always gotten."

The other night as I sat in my car watching the sun set over the pacific ocean I thought about my journey, how I ended up here and how I continue to be presented with people and experiences that are helping me learn this amazingly simple truth: I am worthy. Conflicts and people and situations that are making me rise up, find my voice and ultimately, lean in differently. Sometimes it feels hard. Sometimes they make me smile because I know why they are here. Sometimes I get sad because I just want this one particular lesson to be over already. And most of the time, I just say thanks. I get it.  

I smile at how far I've come and get excited about how much I still have to learn about life, others and myself. Something that use to feel daunting and so big is now an excellent example of living life as if it's just one big adventure. One thing is for certain, there is this peace in my heart that is unbreakable. I respect and admire the woman I have turned out to be and when I have a moment of being human, falling back into old patterns and habits, I nurture myself differently and remind myself that I am worthy regardless of what I sometimes say and do. 

I don't strive for perfection anymore because quite honestly, perfect is unattainable, perfect is unrealistic, perfect is boring and doesn't really exist. Worthiness doesn't come with obtaining this idea of perfection. Worthiness, like so many other things, comes with the truly believing you deserve it and then taking small steps in a different direction every time you are presented with a similar experience 

Worthiness is knowing that you do have a choice in the matter. You are the only one that can define whether or not you deserve something and then only you can go after it. 

One moment in your life could change everything. Whether you listen and make the small changes necessary from then on out, that determines everything.

So here are a few questions to real on. Chew on them. Soak them in. And then get very honest with yourself. But only do this if you actually want your life to change. 

1. Where do you feel unworthy? In what areas of your life? 

example: For me, it was money, a healthy, loving relationship, and having a job that is creative, fun, adventurous and location independent. Those were my dreams. And those also happen to be three huge areas in your life. If one is off, then your whole life can feel off. Three were off. That says something, right?

2. What is the story behind this unworthiness?

example: Yuck, I really hate having to admit this because its super scary and vul-ner-ab-le. But vulnerable is the key to happy times ahead so here I go. Once upon a time when I was young and super impressionable,  I picked up this little story from someone close to me who said, "Don't worry Amanda, you just need to meet a man who can take care of you. You don't have to worry about a career." Ugh. There. Sounds funny saying it out loud but from that moment on, it was like a tick that burrowed deep into my skin except it was my subconscious, and I learned that my worthiness was dependent on finding someone to take care of me. It's taken a lot of self-analysis and uncovering to redefine that belief. 

3. How can you reframe it?

example: Actually,  (if you know me you know I just did a little side-to-side head motion with a twist of index finger up in the air and hands on my hip) Let. me. tell. you. I don't need someone to take care of me. My dreams are just as important and relevant and I can achieve them just like anyone else thank you very much. (this is where I get super sassy}. The truth is,  I want a partner that grows with me, that pushes me to be better every single day, that gives me room to spread my wings and fly. That supports my dreams. Sure, we all want to be taken care of in some ways but having mutual love and respect for each other and our dreams is vital for happiness. 

4. Now the fun part...WHAT do you really want? 

example: I want to have enough money in the bank to always feel secure. I want a career that is inspiring others to achieve their ultimate greatness focused on health, wellness, fitness, travel and food. I want a love with a man that is deep, pure, real, passionate, adventurous and fun. I want to travel around the world and be location independent. Can I get a high five?

5. Decide and implement daily one small step to get you closer. 

example: Today, and every day, I wake up and set one little goal. For money, I put away X amount every week so that I can feel secure if something happens or if I want to take a vacation or have an unexpected expense. For love, well, I put myself back out on the market and took it a little more seriously and told the big old UNIVERSE that I'm ready. For my career, I'm taking bold and active steps, once again, in that direction. Travel, I'm committed to two big trips in the next five months and I'm gonna make it happen. 

You see, you really do deserve the things you want. Please believe me when I say this:

 You  Are  Worthy.