pulse check - week 1

How did your first week of 2017 go? 

I have a shit ton of goals/resolutions for this year, which I can't decide if it's a good thing or not. After all, if you have too much on your plate, how can you truly focus on other things? Ironically, one of my resolutions is to not do too much - to somewhat slow down and simplify and not to overwhelm myself like I did in 2016. I had so many different things going on that I would literally feel guilty and anxious at the thought of going out with friends on the weekend instead of tackling my tasks, or editing that article I owed. 

At the same time, I have SO much that I want to do and accomplish, so I couldn't shorten my list. I am just going to try to be more organized about my time and productivity - cuz hey, I think we all struggle with that sometimes, amirite? Here are some (not all, won't bore ya) of my goals for this year (and some of what I've already accomplished):

Minimize the clutter & get organized.  
My best friend recently described me as such to a colleague: "She is a mess when it comes to everything else, but when it comes to her work - she's totally organized and impeccable." I nodded emphatically at that description - she knows me so well. I am the person who doesn't open their mail and then has 5 months' worth to sort through and throw out. I will forget to pay my registration for my car as a result - or something equally important, and then curse myself for being so out of it. My bad habits only cause more stress but yet seem so hard to break. Yet when I'm at work I cannot function unless my workspace is clean and organized. I feel this underlying stress and tension when it's not. So, I took a clue and did a deep clean of my living space over the holiday break. I threw out clothes and anything that doesn't serve a purpose or need in my life. I feel so much calmer already when I see how clean and 'empty' my space is. I want to be the person that is organized not only in her career but in LIFE.

Get healthy(ier) in every aspect - physically, emotionally, and financially.
The past 2 years were interesting. I was working through a few things personally, and in 2015 that translated to me indulging my every whim and fancy - I told myself it was my year of 'yes' - I did anything that I wanted and bought whatever I desired, did anything that I thought would be a good time. I went on vacation nearly every month, including the Bahamas, Vegas, Los Angeles, and a trip to Europe (it coincided with a work trip, and I added on - Vienna, Prague, and Munich). My calendar was filled to the brim and I had not one moment alone or any free time. Despite these indulgences, I didn't rack up any debt but I just didn't save.

2016 was the exact opposite - it was my year of accomplishments. I was still super busy, but this time with classes, networking, and writing - anything to benefit me professionally. I couldn't get enough of it. Quite a bit came out of my efforts, too. However, it had a few side effects - I stopped making it such a priority to take care of myself the way I should. I stopped working out, because when I had deadlines looming or owed a client a project, it seemed like a lower priority. I also stopped monitoring what I was eating. Let me preface all this with the fact that I've never been a health nut, but I usually make some kind of effort. In the latter part of 2016, it wasn't just about noticing a few extra pounds or not liking how the OOTD looked - my reasoning is less superficial and more about concern for my actual health. Certain aches and pains and weird feelings - including dizziness - actually made me worry for myself. Paired with family history and the fact that I'm actually getting older, it was kind of sobering to realize I really need to get my shit together - like, for real. I've started gulping down water like it's going out of style (hello, my name is Karen, and I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi Cherry soda <3), taking a multivitamin, monitoring my fruit and veggie intake, and going back to the gym. Here's to #noheartattacks2017!

Add to that, balance. 
Every year my friends and I manage to get one date on the calendar that work for all 13 or 14 of us, and we rent a beach house for the weekend. It's the most fun, relaxing, wonderful display of female friendship and makes me feel so incredibly lucky and grateful to have the love and light that I do in my life. Except that this past year, I was so overwhelmed instead thinking about the assignment I should be doing for a class I was taking, an article deadline I was cutting close by taking time to be social, and how I had a huge event immediately after that I couldn't relax. I didn't enjoy it the same way and was completely frustrated with myself - so much so that I couldn't go to sleep, and began having anxiety attacks - something I had never before experienced. It was about that time that I again told myself to cut the bullshit - it's great if I was doing well in other areas of my life, but if I was doing so much that I couldn't even manage to enjoy time with my friends, I had issues. I have vowed that this year will be different. I am aiming for my goals, but managing my expectations and needs, as well.

Even though I was so busy that I didn't even go on one vacation in 2016 (talk about withdrawal - something like ten in 2015 to zero), I still didn't save much, either. Don't ask me where the money went - can't tell ya. See the recurring theme yet? It's going to be a hashtag. #getyourshittogetherkaren

Luckily, I don't have a lot of debt, and my car is due to be paid off this year. I already paid off two credit cards to start the new year off right (with a small portion of my sign-on bonus from my new job, woot woot 2016!). I figured out some goals and other things I need to do to stay on course. Writing it all down really does make such a difference. #closertogettingmyshittogether

This year I have a trip planned to Italy (Rome and Tuscany), France (Cannes and Corsica), and Barcelona, Spain, so I will be satisfying my wanderlust (but not going overboard with monthly vacations). 

Other goals/resolutions for the year include:

  • pitching my dream publications throughout the year, at least 2 per month.
  • asking my professional girl crush out for coffee/for dinner. There is a writer I admire (and her portfolio that I lust after) and if I'm lucky, I hope to make her one of my mentors (if not my newest biffle). 
  • make more money #duh
  • read at least one book per month
  • improve my public speaking skills 
  • pay off all my debt and save at least $10k
  • though broad, this applies to all areas of my life - push myself out of my comfort zone. on the regular - so far it's served me well every time I have. 
  • make time to binge watch Gilmore Girls. I never watched it and was curious about all the hoopla. haha. :)
There's a ton I haven't listed here, because some things are better left for later announcements. And, not sure these are officially on the list for this year (again, gotta prioritize), but I would like to brush up on my French that I learned in high school, and - I need to learn to cook. That should honestly probably be #1. Oy. 

What are your goals for this year, and how will you tackle them?

Reading List
Steal Like an Artist - Austin Kleon
#AskGaryVee and anything by Gary Vaynerchuk, really
Girl Code - Cara Alwill Leyva
#Girlboss - Sophia Amoruso
Leave Your Mark - Aliza Licht
Feminist Fight Club - Jessica Bennett
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck - Mark Manson
In The Company Of Women - Grace Bonney

Biggie - Big Poppa 
Beyonce & Nicki Minaj - Flawless
Carly Simon - You're So Vain
The xx - Say Something Loving
Mandy Moore - I Wanna Be With You
A Fine Frenzy - Almost Lover
A Fine Frenzy - Ashes and Wine
Vanessa Williams & Brian McKnight - Love Is
Rascal Flatts - What Hurts The Most
Blue October - Congratulations
Fun - We Are Young
Nas - If I Ruled The World
Bob Sinclair - World, Hold On
Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire


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