Today, I am 29 years old. Although it’s New Year’s Eve, my birthday feels very calm this year. I have no real plans other than going out dancing until I break a sweat. “Do you have a date?” Grama asked me on the phone today. “No,” I answered. And that felt OK.
Since my birthday falls on the very last day of the year, it’s always the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and set intentions for the next go ’round. But before I share my reflections with you, I want to tell you how grateful I am that you’re even reading this right now. This blog gets about 50,000 pageviews a month now and so many women (and the men who lurk!) are using the content on this site to design (or redesign) their ideal lives.
Thank you for being here.
You are the reason I write. I read every email you send, even if I do not respond right away (or at all). I have cried, more than a few times, after reading the heartfelt stories you have shared with me privately about your life and all the beautiful hopes and dreams you have. Today, I am saying thank you and wishing you the courage to “go live” in 2012.
I am wishing you the strength to move forward in joy. Embrace the truth that you are beautiful, powerful and free. Everything else is a lie.
Here is my Annual Review/Preview. I took the 20 questions I posed for the community and answered for myself what I want to remember about 2011 and bring into 2012.
What I Want to Remember About 2011
What was the most valuable lesson you learned this year? What I’m most grateful for is learning how to release my attachment to things. I now know that I need very few things to be happy, and they do not include clothes, furniture or even an apartment. In releasing my attachment to things, I am no longer angered when my stuff gets lost or damaged, nor jealous of others who seem to have all the items I can’t afford. I use what I have and buy what I need. Everything else I purchase is for my genuine enjoyment or fulfillment, not out of a need for the approval of others.
What was the biggest personal milestone you reached this year in your relationships, health, finances, education and/or lifestyle? I made a lot of progress on the health front. This year, I stopped eating meat, which was huge for me. My journey started with going vegan, then vegetarian. Now, I am mainly eating veggies, rice, beans, tofu and some fish. I feel a lot healthier without pork, chicken, or red meat. The process of eliminating meat from my diet has led to me be more conscious of what I put in my body, causing me to eat less junk food and drink more water than I used to.
What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) are you most proud of this year? Next month marks TWO whole years that I’ve been working for myself full-time as a consultant, speaker, trainer and coach. I’ve learned a lot and most days I’m surprised that I’ve made it this long without self-destructing. I’m also very proud that my co-author and I have been invited to speak in so many cities around the country as part of our ongoing book tour!
What was your favorite family moment from 2011? Being able to go visit my Grama in Ohio after her surgery. We ate Graeter’s black raspberry chip ice cream (seriously, the best stuff on earth) and watched Dr. Oz every day.
What was the best book/blog/song/movie/restaurant/city/country/etc. you discovered this year? Two books blew me away this year and have already aided tremendously in my personal growth: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield and Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie. Both of them taught me how to see myself better.
What I Want to Leave Behind in 2011
Which personal development area(s) did you make the LEAST progress on this year: health, finances, education, relationships, family, work and/or lifestyle? Finances. While I reduced my expenses dramatically, I didn’t do very much to reduce my debt.
What promises (to yourself or others) did you break in 2011? I broke a personal commitment I made to myself at the end of last year to pay down an important chunk of my debt.
What arguments/gossip/hurtful comments, if any, did you participate in or make this year that you wish you could take back and/or apologize for? I am very proud of how far I’ve come in my journey to be non-judgmental this year. I don’t think I had any arguments, really. I bit my tongue on gossip, for the most part. As for hurtful comments, there were a few times that I thought something hurtful in my mind, and although I did not voice it to the other person, it played a subconscious part in how I treated them.
What opportunities, if any, did you miss out on in 2011 because of fear or procrastination? I didn’t take advantage of opportunities to share my message through guest posts on other blogs as well as interviews that other bloggers wanted to do with me.
What did you do in 2011, if anything, that was out of alignment with your values? Whenever I made a decision like not going after a professional opportunity or not telling someone how I really felt, it violated my desire to choose love over fear.
What I Want to Bring Into My Life in 2012
What do you deserve more of next year? What do you deserve less of next year? I deserve more community and less isolation.
What personal milestone(s) do you most want to reach this year in your relationships, health, family, finances, education and/or lifestyle? I want to pay down an important chunk of my debt and be able to save enough money for at least one extended international trip.
What professional accomplishments (at work or in your business) do you want to see for yourself this year? I want to speak to more women’s groups about personal development, not just career topics. I also want to finish my second book!
What do you want to learn in 2012? How to be fully present in every moment.
What do you want to cross off of your bucket list in 2012? Visiting at least one of my dream travel destinations: Asia (Indonesia, Thailand, Japan), Italy or Greece!
What I Want My Life to Look Like in 2012
What part of your life do you want to pay more attention to in 2012? My health, especially my mind-body. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I want to commit to a daily practice involving yoga, meditation and tea.
Who do you want to spend more time with in 2012? Who do you want to spend less time with in 2012? I want to spend more time with like-minded women and less time with people who I no longer have anything in common with.
Which activities, habits or behaviors, if any, do you want to stop doing in 2012 because they are no longer in alignment with your values? Spending more time working than I do taking care of myself. Using being “busy” as an excuse not to stay connected to the people that matter to me the most.
Which activities do you want to start and/or continue doing in 2012? I want to continue my vegetarian journey and start incorporating more mostly-vegetable meals that are simple to make, like the emerald kale I fell in love with in Honolulu. I also want to join a formal community where I can connect with like-minded women on a regular basis.
What does your ideal day look like in 2012? In the morning: yoga, meditation, breakfast, tea, writing. In the afternoon: human connection. In the evening: dinner, tea, reading, writing, a consistent gratitude practice.