The Project

Wait, Who Wrote This List??

postit scrabble to do todo
Photo by Breakingpic on

Hello, readers!

Well, I could explain my absence with the usual “I’ve been really busy” (I have), “Time just got away from me” (how is it 2019??), or “I just forgot” (partially true), but the truth is I haven’t been feeling particularly motivated the last few months.  Not to tackle more goals, write about it, or do much of anything really.

It’s been a bit of a rough patch for me in terms of my anxiety and general mental health, along with some not-so-good days involving chronic fatigue and pain.  Also, I find that although I love the holidays, I always end up feeling run down and stressed out – I KNOW I am not the only one out there in the same frayed boat! It becomes so important to practice “self-care”, but the chances of actually doing something that requires action (even something as simple as picking up a coloring book instead of my phone) only continue to decrease as I feel worse…it’s a real chicken-and-the-egg problem.

There has also been a lot going in professionally, as I started a second job (more on that later!) and have been slowly shifting away from the field I’ve been focused on for all of my adult life.  This is a cause/effect of reevaluating my priorities and what I need out of a career at almost 30 versus when I was 22.  Some of these priorities are practical (i.e. ability to work from home if needed) and some are more values-based.  While I know turning 30 doesn’t mean I’m “too late” to pursue other things, it does add a layer to the decision-making process.

If you are also someone who lives with anxiety or love someone who does, you are probably aware that making decisions is not our strongest suit – in fact, we absolutely suck at it.  Why would people so good at researching and evaluating all possible scenarios be so bad at decisions? Because we are so good at researching and evaluating all possible scenarios! “Trusting your gut” and “just pick one and see what happens” are NOT pieces of advice that apply to people with anxiety – my “gut” tells me to stay at home and cuddle with my dog 90% of the time and the other 10% that might be productive is usually shot down by my brain (“Yeah that SEEMS like a good idea, but what if x, y, or z happens?!”).  So in short, this is not a process that I can tack onto a To Do List and cross off when done, not just because of my anxiety but also because it’s relating to bigger, life-ier things.

Essentially, that’s where I’m at with the entire Goals List.

Some backstory: I recently came across a great YouTube channel called Break the Twitch, which focuses on how to live an intentional and meaningful life in practical ways.  I found many of the videos valuable, but none more so than this one:

I highly recommend watching it yourself, but the basic idea is most people approach goal-setting very ambitiously without keeping in mind what is realistic and actually meaningful.  Now, as someone who helps people set goals for a living, you would think I’d be pretty good at avoiding these pitfalls myself…but a recent look at my THIRTY goals for the year shows otherwise.

Instead of taking on 4-5 goals at a time, I decided on “Thirty by 30” because it sounded really cool and I was SURE I’d be able to do it all mostly because I didn’t want to “fail” at the project.  Soooo not great motivations there.

Some of my goals are based on doing something every day for the whole year, meaning that not doing that habit for even one day means I couldn’t technically cross it off the list. Well, I can assure you that I haven’t done ANY of those goals every single day since my birthday in September, so those are essentially irrelevant at this point.

I also added new goals as they came up, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but also can be hard to keep my priorities straight.  For example, I had a great time doing a drum circle on my California trip so immediately added “Learn how to play another musical instrument” to my goals list…which apparently I’ll have the time to do while also learning a new language? Maybe that’s technically possible, but it doesn’t mean it’s doable for me with my current schedule and commitments.  Also, do I really NEED to learn an instrument, or can I take the experience on a more basic level and make a goal to try more new things that initially make me anxious or nervous? One phrase I took with me from my time in California is “Just Show Up” and it’s been helping me to get out of my anxiety-bubble for things as simple as going to a gathering at a friend’s house. Maybe “Just Show Up” is an all-encompassing goal that better aligns with my priorities?

Essentially, I realized the pitfalls in my goals list and how an ambitious mindset can be both motivating and discouraging.  I look at my list now and think “There is NO WAY I’m getting all this done in nine months” and that’s not helpful to me.  There are also things on the list that are logistically not going to happen (i.e. we’re postponing our plans for a cruise in order to focus on paying down debt) or do not need to be definitively completed just because I’m turning 30 (like deciding if I want to run my own business at some point).  While there are still goals I connect with and think are doable, I will be evaluating my goals in detail over the next couple of weeks and editing as needed.

So, “Thirty by 30” may end up being “Twenty by 30” or even “Ten by 30″…and I need to learn to be OK with that.  As I mentioned previously (and need constant reminders of), sometimes I lose sight that this is MY project and not something I’m doing for a grade or because it’s a job requirement.  There’s no point in doing it if I’m going to fixate on it not being a neat and tidy process with a snappy title, probably increasing the chance I won’t end up doing ANYTHING more on the list.  After all, my Big Goal is to leave behind beliefs, attitudes, and mindsets that have plagued me in my twenties so that I can start my next decade mentally, physically, socially, and professionally healthier.  My next step: How do I rewrite my goals (and ACT on them) so that can actually happen? I don’t have it figured it out yet, but I promise I’ll keep you in the loop as I (hopefully!) do.

Thanks as always for reading – Happy New Year!

The Project

Just Checking In…

forest meadow leaves autumn
Photo by Gratisography on

Hello all!

The seasons have officially changed and I don’t know about anyone else, but it feels like the days and weeks are flying by even faster than normal.  Between work and social events, I didn’t even realize it had been over a month since I had posted! Granted, I have not been crossing off any goals in this time, but one of my intentions is to write more frequently even if I don’t have something BIG to talk about.  So with that in mind, here are some updates and thoughts for where I am now…

  1.  Reaching your goals is HARD WORK! I was hoping I would have a slight leg up on the whole process seeing as my job as a health coach is based on helping people define, set, and reach their goals.  However, I also know from that experience that it takes a lot more than just writing something down to make it happen.  Even with the best intentions, high level of motivation, and frustration with wherever you currently are at, the odds of not hitting your target are pretty high.  A good example of this? New Year’s resolutions.  It’s been estimated that only 8% of people who make them will actually achieve what they vowed they would or wouldn’t do on January 1st – that means 92% of us are stopping short somewhere along the line.  And although a common saying is that “it takes 21 days to develop a new habit”, further research points to this process taking closer to two months, with a lot of variables that can extend that number much further.  As you can imagine, the more complex the habit or goal, the longer it will take.  I’m betting setting 30 goals at one time counts as complex…
  2. Like most people, I am full of excuses.  And like most people, they usually center on the Big Three: time, money, and energy.  Sure, I have thousands of free resources that would allow me to do yoga every day right at home, but where would I find the time to do it? Plus, I’m just SO TIRED that I can’t possibly do anything else but sit around on my phone, right? Perhaps I could do a more sedentary goal like learning a second language, which should be easy enough seeing as you can learn pretty much anything on the Internet.  Strangely enough though, I haven’t spent a single minute in the last few months since I set that goal doing anything bilingual unless you count watching the movie Coco (which I do recommend, by the way!).  So how do you go from excuses to action? I’d like to think I’m figuring that out through this process, but most days don’t feel like I’m making too much progress with it.
  3. Despite the obstacles, I will still finish this project.  Even if it looks a little different than what I imagined or some of the goals don’t get checked off because their “finish lines” are set further into the future.  A big motivator for doing “Thirty by 30” in the first place was to set myself up to live more purposefully as I get older and that is simply not something that can be magically accomplished before another birthday rolls around.  At the same time, I know my personal ability to follow through has been dwindling over the last few years (I believe I estimated it to be -25% today) so I don’t want to just throw up my hands and call it a day.  So I plan to work a little harder than I have the past month to tackle some of those goals, but also find the balance with living in the now and not being TOO focused on “self-improvement”.  Unfortunately in the past, that focus has backfired by putting too much pressure on myself and being extra disappointed when things don’t happen as quickly or noticeably as I want them to.  Also, there are SO MANY “self-help” resources out there that “paralysis by analysis” becomes a real thing.  Finding balance is probably one of the toughest but most important things in living a happy life and I’m hoping this project ultimately teaches me (and maybe my readers!) how to do so in the long run.

So friends, that’s the status of things right now and I’m really going to try being more consistent with my posts.  I think the simple act of writing is almost therapeutic for me and usually helps me shake the cobwebs a bit so I can look to the next step.  My goal for the next week is to cross off ONE goal from the THE GOALS and write about it on the blog – I hope you’ll stay tuned to find out what it is!

As always, thank you for reading 🙂


The Project

364 To Go

Birthday Sign

Hello friends!

Well, it’s official…I turned 29 yesterday! I’m not a huge fan of making a big deal about birthdays (says the person who started a website based on a single birthday), so it was nice to just keep things low-key.  As is tradition, my coworkers decorated my work space (see above for an amazing The Office reference from my fellow TV nerd, Doug) and gave me a lovely card and cake, along with my choice of an Amazon gift (spiralizer FTW!).  I was also lucky to have some of my favorite clients for personal training sessions and an early shift meant I could take it easy the rest of the day.  Believe me, I had grand plans about what I would do between work and dinner – I would at LEAST write a blog post (after all, my birthday IS the bookmark for this whole thing), do some yoga, take Rocky for a walk, AND maybe even cross of another goal to really start my 29th year on the right foot.  In the end I accomplished…absolutely none of it.

But isn’t that just the way it goes? We put ALL of our items on the To Do List and give ourselves an unrealistic amount of time to do it, and then get frustrated and discouraged when it doesn’t all going according to plan.  As a big list maker, I do this ALL. THE. TIME. While I do believe there are great benefits to making lists and having structure, I’ve had to learn that there is a bit of a mental toll to only seeing like 2 out of 20 items crossed off at the end of the day/week/month/whatever.  It sets you up to feel like you can’t accomplish anything because you weren’t able to do EVERYTHING.  I know from experience that things like self-care and downtime don’t tend to make these lists, because isn’t that what we’re trying to reduce or eliminate by “doing” things? Unfortunately, this means that if you’re like me, you have a hard time enjoying your free time and days off because you’re worried about not being “productive”…which usually leads to being less productive (hello, Netflix binge)…which leads to feeling really s****y about yourself.  So that’s a “goal” of mine in itself this year – be realistic with my time and allow myself to get away from the lists sometimes and just enjoy being present.  However, I’m not putting that on the “goals list”, because doesn’t that defeat the point a bit? 🙂

So what DID I do on my birthday after work?

  1. Cuddle with Rocky (obviously)
  2. Scroll through my Facebook notifications and feel grateful for all of the great people from all corners of my life wishing my a happy birthday (seriously, you all are great)
  3. Make myself a G & S (gin & seltzer!)
  4. Read (is anyone else reading “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark” by Michelle McNamara?? I have to read it in the daytime because it’s so spooky and I’m a chicken)
  5. Make dinner with Brian (who brought wine, roses, and cake home – lucky!)
  6. Binge watch the last few episodes of “Great British Baking Show” Season 5 (thank you, Netflix gods!) while mowing down on cake
  7. Fall asleep in bed watching said baking show

And you know what? I don’t feel the least bit guilty about not hitting my goals for the day.  That’s not to say I didn’t have thoughts of “ugh I really SHOULD be doing something” (we’ve talked about “should-y situations” already…), but at the end of the day it didn’t matter. There’s always tomorrow, or in my case, 364 days to go.

While it is a little fun to now say “my last year in my twenties”, there really isn’t a whole lot of difference between 28 and 29.  Where I DO feel it is in knowing my self-imposed deadline is now technically less than a year away and so far I’ve crossed off one goal – yes, it was a BIG ONE, but I was secretly hoping that getting a couple month jump start on the year would mean I would be tackling the goals left and right.  Surprise, surprise – it’s just a big To Do List!

So instead, I did some thinking today about where I might want to set my sights next and just start chipping at things as much as I’m able to.  Getting this blog post out is a good start and I hope to write more frequently throughout the year, even if it isn’t goal-meeting specific.  Stay tuned for another post that will discuss my difficulties with calling for appointments for myself, which I’ve already started to tackle by seeing a new primary care provider last week (one down, two more health pros to go!).  I’m also going to be adding new goals to the list as I go, starting with two new goals I’ll be talking about in my next post – check out the updated goals list for a sneak peek!

Overall, I’m feeling optimistic and motivated about the year ahead, while also trying to be kind to myself and realistic about meeting my goals.  This is something I work with my clients on all the time and now will be doing my best to apply it to my own life – if you have any tips and tricks, I would love to hear them in the comments below!

Thank you for reading – here’s to 29!



The Project

Birthdays Always Make You Think…

“I thought I would have ______ by this age”

“Uh oh, only ____ good years left”

“Hey, I look/feel pretty good!” (hopefully!)

Our thoughts and feelings about birthdays have a lot to do with how our culture and society views getting older.  We focus on “losing our youth”, whether we have wrinkles or grey hair, and trying to find out if we’re “normal” compared to others our age.  This is often when we do an appraisal of our life, usually measured by a timeline or scale set by standards that aren’t our own (i.e. when we “should” get married, have kids, go to school, pick a career, etc.).  It doesn’t help that we have perfectly-curated windows into other peoples’ lives through social media that can make our self-assessment even more skewed toward the negative.

For me, turning 30 on September 6, 2019 doesn’t make me feel old, scared, or nervous.  I often joke that I’ve been waiting to be in my thirties my whole life – a cliched “old soul” – so it’s not a number that I view negatively.  However, given that self-assessment is in my Top Five Skills (more on that to come!), I can’t help but reflect on who I’ve been with a “2” in front of my age and who I want to be when that “3” comes around.

I can give myself credit for accomplishing several things in my twenties – graduating college, living in 3 different states, being financially independent, finding a good job, adopting a dog, and having a healthy and supportive relationship.  These are important things that each took (and continue to take) commitment, work, and time.  I’m grateful to be where I am and have the privileges that I do.

However, there are MANY ways in which I continue to hold myself back and stay in the most dangerous place of all – my comfort zone.  As someone who has lived with an anxiety disorder for almost 10 years, it takes a LOT of effort to work through fear and “the unknown”.  I’ve chosen to skip social events, new activities, professional advancements, and more due to being anxious, afraid, and unsure.  This wasn’t always the case – unfortunately most of my issues cropped up when I started college and entered the “best years of your life!”, a saying that can only inspire pressure to live up to the social expectations.  The reality for many of us (especially in my generation) is that our twenties are confusing, awkward, stressful, lonely, disappointing, pressure-filled, and not ones we would willingly repeat.

With that in mind, I started thinking of the habits, beliefs, and actions that I want to leave behind in this decade – but more importantly, what do I want to do or start now in order to start that milestone year swinging? What are my larger values, priorities, and goals and how have they changed over time? Who am I now compared to when I was about to turn 20? How have I held myself back and what can I do about it?

Confession time – I am a major list maker.  So I started to do what I know best and list out some of the answers to these questions as well as specific actions or things I wanted to accomplish.  As the list grew, I started thinking that I would need some major accountability help in order to start crossing off instead of adding items.

Here’s where you come in!

A little backstory: I stumbled upon the website Hello Fears after watching founder Michelle Poler’s TED Talk in late 2017; she was capping off a “100 Fears in 100 Days” project that she self-designed to intentionally put her out of her comfort zone and confront her fears.  Besides relating to so much of what she was talking about, I was struck by how her fear-facing inspired others to act in their own lives, on large (coming out to a family member) and small (getting a major haircut) scales.  It’s scary just to put out into the world that you ARE scared, let alone act on it – I was inspired too, but not enough to do something about it then.

So – am I now 100% ready to share my fears, insecurities, imperfections, hopes, dreams, and goals with the world? Nope! But the truth is, I will NEVER be 100% ready to do that, or anything else for that matter. What I AM ready to do is reflect, plan, and act in order to leave behind what I no longer need and enter my next decade stronger, healthier, clearer, and more purposefully.  If that involves potentially embarrassing myself on the Internet, then so be it! And if even 1 person finds this blog helpful in creating positive change in their own lives, it will be 100% worth it.

If I haven’t lost you yet, please check out THE GOALS page where I will be updating my list of 30 goals as the year goes on.  I will also be elaborating on each goal in the Blog, so be sure to click “Follow” if you want to keep tabs on how I’m doing – I would also love to hear from you by sending me a note through the Contact Me page! Let me know if you have your own projects in the works or if you need some help putting your thoughts together. I do love a good list-making session 🙂

Until next time…