5…4…3…2…1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!
January 1st is one of my favorite days, mainly because I can bust open my brand new 2018 planner. Does anyone else get that same feeling? There’s just something refreshing about a clean slate of another 365 days to fill with an abundance of events and new opportunities. I’m into it.
As we all post our Top 9 on Instagram, reflect on the events of 2017, and set new goals for the new year, I’m left with a feeling of gratitude and excitement for what 2018 will bring.
It sounds cliché, but the events of 2017 taught me quite a bit about myself and what I hope to achieve in coming years. It was one of the most difficult years of my life, mentally and emotionally, and in those moments, I was frustrated and exhausted. However, as I look back, each of those moments offered a chance for me to grow, learn, and look at life from a new perspective. Take a peek at some of the #goals I have for this year.
Resolution #1: SELF CARE
Last year, between January and May, I struggled with self confidence. As I gave up my title as Miss Northern Lights 2016 and began competing for local titles, I wore myself very thin. Chasing a dream does not come on a straight path, and the bumps in the road often feel like mountains. Mentally, I was unsure of myself and my abilities, I was not taking care of myself, and I continuously put my own well-being on the back burner.
During this time, I had a mission to impact as many people as possible, hosting workshops, traveling to meet with others, and going out of my way to make people happy, even if I wasn’t. In the moment, I felt I was doing the right thing, especially for the dream I had. After all, Miss America is a servant leader, and if that was my dream, I had to continue practicing that all day, every day, 110%.
I would do anything for my GEMS, I’d do anything for my family and friends, and I’d do anything to make my community a better place for future generations.
However, anything does NOT mean everything, and one can only give so much of themselves before they need to take a step back and recharge. This thought finally sank in when I walked off the Sweeps stage in April, tired after giving all my efforts, realizing that I wouldn’t be back at Miss Wisconsin in 2017. Of course, I was upset, but that didn’t mean my life goals or human purpose ended there.
Instead, I decided that I wanted to work on myself, so when the time comes, I would be ready for the service and selflessness that comes along with being a titleholder, but also to prepare myself for many other goals I had. I needed to practice being healthy (mentally, emotionally, and physically), happy, confident, and secure in my abilities if I wanted to be able to give myself to others and achieve the most.
So many women and volunteers in this organization are givers. We share the same goal of impacting communities and making change. This is why I love this program, BUT, giving and giving and giving without taking time for self care can be unhealthy. This is why I choose to take time for MYSELF this year. Resting (and not apologizing for it), reflecting, believing in my capabilities, and asking for help when I need it.
Resolution #2: GIRL BOSS
In 2017, I had a lot on my to-do list. I wanted to make GEMS a non-profit, establish programs in schools and communities throughout Wisconsin, explore internships, make connections, take steps in the right direction for my future, and MORE.
I think too many people are afraid to chase after what they want. Too many people are comfortable, but not happy. We live our day to day lives aiming for mediocre and just getting by. What’s holding you back? Fear of failure? Fear of breaking a cycle? Fear of taking a risk? Well STAHHP!
This year, I’m taking initiative and stepping up to the plate to make things happen. A friend of mine once said, “One of your dreams is to be Miss America one day…do you realize that EVERY woman is only three steps away from making that happen? Local title, state title, then Miss America. One step at a time is all it takes.”
This goes for all of us. You are only a few steps away from whatever you want to achieve, no matter how big or crazy the goal may be. Trying to finish your degree? Trying to start your business? Trying to get healthy? Trying to find a new job that you love? TAKE INITIATIVE, TAKE ACTION, TAKE THE STEPS TO GET THERE. No more sitting back and letting the days go by. I’m going to take this journey with you and I’m going to be a girl boss this year.
Resolution #3: PRACTICE KINDNESS
This year, I learned that we’re all judgy AF, but you know what? I’m gonna do me, and you can do you, and we can all be happy doing our own thing.
I think social media makes it so easy to judge other people through a screen and a keyboard, unable to truly understand the impact that our virtual words have on other people. Let’s all try to recognize how we can effectively communicate with others, stop the hatin’, and start practicing kindness. Couldn’t we all use a little more of that?
Be kind to those who serve you, be kind to those who are different than you, be kind to those who are vulnerable, be kind to those who need kindness the most. In a world where there is so much hate, we have to remember that WE are the source. Human beings have the power to create and spread hatred, but we also have the beautiful ability to use our voices and our hands to spread kindness. This year, I want to spread a little more kindness by carefully evaluating my own thoughts, words, and actions.
P.S.. Speaking of spreading kindness, I came across a song in the past year that was created and promoted by a variety of artists and social influencers after the 2016 Orlando shooting at the Pulse nightclub. I encourage you to listen to it here. Let me know what you think of it! It’s one of my favorites.
Resolution #4: BE FEARLESS
Okay, let’s continue.
Based on these experiences and what’s been going on in my mind for a number of years, I find myself sitting in a puddle of fear some days. Fear to leave my house, fear to travel more than an hour or two from home, fear of public transportation (this is more common than you’d think), fear of certain places or things…the list goes on. This year, I want to JUST DO IT (where’s Shia LaBeouf when you need him). I want to go places, see things, experience new adventures.
Every time I find myself fearful, I want to remember that every opportunity–big or small–is a chance for growth. Change can be scary, and stepping out of your comfort zone is not easy, especially if you’re on an anxious struggle bus like I am, but we’re all in this together. Time to take chances this year.
The “new year, new me” cliché is a bit lame, because I believe you can recreate yourself and reinvent your life path ANY day of the year. I look forward to the 365 days of opportunity that lie ahead, and I’m ready to take on the challenge. I hope you choose to make the most of every day and start making shit happen.
Go you. Happy 2018, friends.