Category Archives: Monthly Resolutions

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July/August Monthly Resolutions

It helps me to write down what I want to work on, or my monthly resolutions, and place the list somewhere I can see it every day. I have this month’s {which is rolling into next months} list hanging on a mini clipboard next to my bedroom door. The list is on top of ten or so other lists; I absolutely love seeing how my goals and resolutions have evolved as I’ve grown and changed. Here’s my July-turned-August resolutions – things that I’m working on, striving toward or in general, just trying to focus on.

1. Wake up before 7am every day: this comes from the 7am monthly experiment I’m doing in July with Zach. We both wake up before 7 am each day in an attempt to make the most of our day – especially those I-wish-I-was-still-sleeping hours. It’s definitely been a challenge, especially on weekends but really awesome to see how those few extra hours or minutes allow me to do a little more each day. Not sure if I’ll be waking up before 7am on the weekends in August though ;) We’ll see.

2. Be active: walk, gym, swim and pilates 5x/week: In general, I’m a pretty active person but I am trying to step it up this summer. I want to make sure my physical activity level never gets put in second place to work, going out to dinner, etc. I’m trying to spend every day {or at least five days} doing something active, whether it’s swimming, hitting a class at the gym, pilates or hiking.

3. Be generous: studies show that generosity makes people happier, improves relationships with other people and increases your life satisfaction. This summer, I don’t want to live and spend my money just on me. I’m really trying to send surprise gifts in the mail “just because” and give money to a few local missions and nonprofits. I’ve had this idea of ‘be generous’ on my monthly resolution list for awhile and was recently had the opportunity to support amy’s ministry with cru and young college women back in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was the perfect example of how sometimes “being generous” just falls in your lap. God presents opportunities for you to bless other people often without you planning or looking for it. How cool is that?

4. Write meaningful blog posts and letters to mail: I am always going to share blog posts about being happy and enjoying life on this blog, but I also want it to be a place for you to come and find peace and that feeling of “I totally have been there and know how that feels.” I want to be able to pour out my heart and my soul to you and for us to be able to share about not-so-happy things and this learning experience called life together. This blog post about forgiveness and this one about inner beauty are two examples. I also want to get back to sending more handwritten cards and notes in the mail!

5. Belly laugh: self-explanatory, right? I want to laugh deep and loud and enjoy life and the silly moments to the absolute fullest.

6. Live fearlessly: I love this Taylor Swift quote about fearlessness: “To me,  fearless is not the absence of fear. It’s not being completely unafraid. To me, fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.” This summer I want to live life fearlessly. I want to choose to live bigger and bolder even when it’s scary. I want to approach each new day and situation out of possibility, rather than fear.

7. Be a loving and supportive big sister: given that I talk about my sisters all of the time, you probably know how much the three of them mean to me. It’s such a blessing to be the big sister of Kerry, Katie and Hope and as I get older, I’m cherishing our relationships in a much deeper and more meaningful way. This July and August, I want to show them how much I love and support them and remind them that they always have a #1 cheerleader here for them.

8. Meet and spend time with new people: Did you ever hear the little song, “Make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver and the other gold”? My mom used to always cheerfully sing this to us girls when we were in a situation to meet new people. This month, I want to spend time with new people and get to know new people that I can learn from, love with and live in community with.

9. Remember beauty flows from the inside out. Always. I’m remembering how important inner beauty is and appreciating that, instead of hair color and body size and what I’m wearing that day. Here’s a few tips for finding beauty on the inside {thanks, Oprah}.

Do you have any goals or resolutions for the summer? Find a few more of my monthly resolutions here. Happy Tuesday!

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May Resolutions

Will someone please tell me how it is already MAY? Wasn’t it just Christmas and then just February and then just April? The older I get the faster time goes by – or at least the more conscious I am of how quickly those minutes dissolve.

I haven’t shared a monthly resolutions post since January and think it’s time I press the reset button on sharing these monthly goals and aspirations. Some are silly and little and day-to-day decisions I just need to make; others are deep and require much more digging into my heart and mind. Anyway, here are the nine things I’m working on in May.

1. Quit checking phone
We live in a technology craved culture. Everyone spends their days and nights glued to a computer screen, tablet or phone and lately, I’ve been too obsessed. I find myself constantly checking gmail, Twitter and Instagram and…why? What’s the point? This month I’m trying to take a step back and check my phone on a need-to basis; and rely only on email and social networks for what they are meant for: connecting; not obsessing. This blog post is a must read if you’re in a similar situation!

2. Dig deeper into community
Connecting with people who believe the same thing I do is important and something that often falls off my radar in my rushed days and weeks. Even when it feels awkward and forced, I want to truly dig deeper into community and meet people who I can be myself with, open up with and pour my heart out to.

3. Uncross arms
Yeah. I do this too much and it’s not cool. Trying to stop this bad habit ASAP!

4. Begin today
“I can do this tomorrow or next week or next year.” I have repeated the same lines to myself over and over and I’m just sick of it. There are so many things I want to do and experiences I want to have and I often put them in the future category, when they really could and should fall in the today category. I’m going to begin today, right now.

5. Start each day cheerfully
There’s nothing quite like starting mornings off on the right foot and I consistently find that my entire day is better when the morning begins cheerfully. A few things I do {not all at once} to begin my day cheerfully include: journalling, doing yoga, going on a walk, sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea before I get ready, stretching. The most important thing for me each morning is to not be rushed. This allows me to start the day serenely and optimistically, which in turn, often lasts throughout the entire day.

6. More Pilates!
Taking a hiatus from being a gym rat to go to more pilates classes. Why? Because I enjoy it. I feel great afterwards and it’s a different time of calm, energized and empowered feeling that I don’t often get from the elliptical.

7. Outfit experiment
I’m sick of wearing the same things every day. I have a closet full of clothes and need to actually mix my routine up and start incorporating new items in there! New meaning: new to seeing the light of day.

8. Laugh and cry hard and real
Laughing and crying are two of the surest ways to show your emotion. Laughing for me equals happiness, silliness, joy and lightheartedness. Crying can, of course, be happy but often means I’m frustrated, depleted, hurt and broken. Rather than shake these two things off, I want to make sure I am being real and actually feeling the laughs and feeling the cries.

9. Love always
No matter how crazy and stressful and hard and sad my day may be, love always wins. This is promise I’m clinging to because frankly, there is no other way for me to survive. This month I’m trying to love others by choosing to be patient, kind, forgiving, encouraging, humble, hospitable, caring, compassionate and respectful. I’m choosing to love if when it’s messy and difficult and view love as the fountain that never ends.

Your turn! What are you working on this month?

January Resolutions

How and why is it already the end of January?! This month has flown by…although I feel like I say that every month. Here’s eight things I’m working on this month – resolutions or goals if you will. Do you have anything you’re working on this month?

More monthly resolutions here!

1. Read 3 books

I absolutely love to read – and often don’t allow myself to just sit down and enjoy a book. This month, I’ve been trying to read more. I recently picked up I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron {highly recommend!} and These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen from the library and finished in a few days. Right now, I’m in the process of reading The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy. What are you reading? I’d love any suggestions!

reading and coffee

2. Recipe experiment

Speaking of books, I’ve also been flipping through the Happy Herbivore cookbook and encouraged to try new recipes! I don’t necessarily cook a ton but instead end up assembling meals together – salads, hummus and veggies or chips, etc. I want to take time to actually cook myself meals and try new types of food! First on my list: Mediterranean-style quinoa.

recipe experiment

3. Sing in the morning

Instead of dreading my morning routines, I’ve been trying to take control and change mine entirely. I’ve been trying to journal and stretch after waking up but I’ve also been trying to blast music and start singing. I’ve played and sang to everything from Taylor Swift’s latest album to 90s pop music and find my mood is improved when I give myself a little freedom to be silly in the morning. Singing helps!

sing

4. Book a trip

I’m having a major travel itch right now. I want to book a trip home for spring, but also a trip to somewhere I’ve never before. Maybe it’s because I can’t stop scrolling through my photos from my trip to Paris… On my travel list currently: Seattle, Denver, Boston and pretty much anywhere outside of the United States.

travel

5. Enjoy right now – now

This is something I majorly need to work on. I am always looking forward to what’s to come in the future. This isn’t a bad of thing in and of itself, but if that’s all I focus on, I’ll deprive myself from enjoying right now. I’m trying to slow down and soak up simple, special moments and enjoy where I’m at. A recent trip to the beach to watch the sunset was a wonderful reminder and way to enjoy that moment in the moment – without focusing on my phone, what other people are doing or what else is going on. How do you enjoy the present moment?

enjoy right now

6. Invest in friendships

When I was younger, I was way more focused on quantity over quality – I wanted to be friends with lots of people. Now, I’m more focused on digging deeper into the friendships I have with a smaller group of friends. I’m really lucky in that I’ve made some wonderful friends here in San Francisco and three of my best friends from Ohio also moved here. The way I define “investing in friendships” simply is to spend time with people that I love. To ask questions. To send handwritten notes. To go somewhere even when I don’t really feel like. To tell people how much I appreciate them. It’s obviously easier to invest in friendships when you see someone everyday, but I want to be extra conscious about investing in my long distance friendships – like with these four lovely ladies below.

andi

7. Remain calm

I’ve caught myself getting worked up over small things or letting little things frustrate me way more than they should. I want and need to remain calm – to take that extra deep breath, to count to ten before I respond, to just be. What I wrote almost two years ago still is true: Instead of being ruled by your emotions, but ruled by peace and calmness. Whatever I’m going though does not need to be handled with anxiety and mood swings.

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8. Write thankful list morning and night

Saying thank you has proved to be a powerful force in my life. I strongly believe that writing down what I’m thankful for and what makes me happy allows me to find even more things to be thankful for and happy about. I write Thursday Thankful Lists to document the things that week I’m thankful for but want to challenge myself to write down at least five things in my journal each morning and every night. This quote from one my favorite books is always a good reminder: The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agent who bring fullest Light to all the world….” To be thankful means to be brave.

Thankful List

June/July Resolutions

1. APPRECIATE ART: I want to spend more time enjoying art. One of the perks of living in a big city is that there are tons of art galleries and museums and I need to take advantage of it! I definitely am trying to learn more about art and in turn, appreciate it more!

2. SHOW LOVE: It’s so easy to show love to people who we are in tight-knit relationships with. I have no problem loving my parents, sisters, friends and people I’m surrounded with every day. Something I need to work on is showing love to absolutely everyone I encounter. I shared in this blog post “…it’s important to look at love from a larger scale. We are called to love e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. That’s right, the bus driver. Your coworkers. Your neighbors. That person from high school who annoys you like no other. The person you pass by in the park…You can love someone {and everyone} you meet by choosing to be patient, kind, forgiving, encouraging, humble, hospitable, caring, compassionate and respectful.” That’s a big resolution this month {and always}

3. LEARN TO BRAID: It’s ridiculous that I grew up in a family of four girls and did cheerleading for six years and STILL can’t braid! I usually half-attempt twist things that just look awkward. Learning to braid is on my to-do list this month, even if that means spending hours watching YouTube videos to figure it out. I just love this fishtail braid my friend Holly did last time I visited home!

4. LAUGH MORE OFTEN: How many times each day do you laugh? I get nervous sometimes that I’ll go a day without laughing – which would just be…not okay. A really good laugh is like a cure – I automatically feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a hilarious moment. Striving to laugh more often also forces me to “lighten up” a bit and stop being so uptight and worried about pointless things.

5. TAKE A 30 MINUTE WALK EVERY DAY: Swimming is my workout of choice, but I want to add in a morning or evening walk to my weekday routine too. It’s a great way to appreciate and enjoy where I live and “wind down” from whatever may be going on that day. Plus, when you add in a good friend for a great conversation, it makes it even better!

6. LISTEN MORE: As a naturally loud and outgoing person, I usually don’t have any problem speaking up in any given situation. I’m learning {slowly} the value of listening more than speaking – and engaging in conversations by listening well. It’s one thing to hear what someone says, but it’s another to truly pay attention and take in what they’re saying. I want to be a good listener – to others, to myself, to the world around me.

7. READ THREE BOOKS: Living in the digital age we do, I often find myself staring at a computer or phone screen most of the day. I’ve always loved reading so lately I’ve been consciously carving time out of my day {usually with a cup of tea before bed} to read. Right now I’m reading Lucky by Alice Sebold and Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible by Regina Brett {still}! If you have any good book recommendations, send my way please!8. FIND “WHAT MAKES MY HEART SING”: This is something my mom always asks me when I’m in funk or just feeling out of sorts thinking about where I’m at in life. She asks me directly, “What makes your heart sing?” This means – what do I feel like I’m called to do? What makes me happier than anything else? What is my purpose? What makes me feel alive? I’m not able to completely pinpoint the answer to the question yet, but it’s something I’ve been thinking and praying about a lot lately! I think figuring out what makes my heart sing isn’t going to just magically come to me, but instead will be a gradual process of figuring it out.

9. STRETCH: Self-explanatory…I need to do this more!

Thanks for reading! Do you have any resolutions this month? You can find more monthly resolutions right here. xx!

May Resolutions

1. UNPLUG: This month {and every month really} I am trying more and more to unplug. As much as I love technology and always being “connected” to what’s going on, it’s so refreshing to completely ignore my phone and computer for a day. As I explained in this post, it’s very important to me that I don’t allow my computer, phone and other devices dictate my life.

2. CELEBRATE OFTEN! Who says that celebrations are reserved for birthdays and holidays? In May, I’m treating every day and every experience as a celebration. I think spending some time in Ohio visiting college friends in Athens + my family {THIS WEEK!!!} will make it extra easy to celebrate on a daily basis.

3. FLOSS. Annoying {but necessary} things like flossing don’t become habits until done every single day. There’s no way around it; I just need to force myself to floss more often!

4. GIVE MORE COMPLIMENTS & HUGS. It’s sad to me when I meet or talk to people who haven’t ever been told how wonderful and beautiful they are or how much better life is with them around. I’m vowing to consciously compliment people more regularly and tell them just how special they are to me. Along the same lines, there’s something so special about big hugs and I’m giving more this month! Period.

5. SPEND MORE TIME WITH THOSE THAT I LOVE. I absolutely LOVE meeting new people, but I don’t want to neglect the people that mean the most to me in the meantime. This month, I want to spend more time with the people I love the most. I couldn’t be happier to spend time with my parents, grandparents and little sisters {one below!} later this month.

6. EMBRACE CHALLENGES: Really bad things happen and we go through rough patches in life sometimes. Rather than view challenges and ups and downs as a roadblock, I am going to embrace the not-so-good times. Embracing challenges, rather than be defeated by them, gives you the encouragement and motivation to move forward to a better and happier life.

7. SAY YES MORE: When I first moved to San Francisco, one of the best pieces of advice I received was to say yes to every opportunity. Pretty great, right? How exciting and cool would life be if we experienced more by saying YES? In the past year or so, I’ve slowed down and noticed myself “passing” on situations and indirectly saying NO to experiences. That has got to go! This month and moving forward, I’m saying yes more and more!

8. LIVE LIFE ON PURPOSE: This may sound cliche, but I don’t want to look back on life and realize I just let things pass by. I want to be an active participant in my own life! It’s important to do things purposefully and for a specific reason. This month, I want to live life {both the little & big things} intentionally!

9. BE JOYFUL. It’s a pretty simple solution = Happiness + Joy > Negativity and Grumpiness. I want to be full of out-of-control and unexplainable joy this month; I want to be as cheerful as possible!

More monthly resolutions here: September, October, November, December, February, March

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March Resolutions

1. Spark creativity: This month, I want to constantly be utilizing the right-side of my brain – the creative side. I want to really focus on looking at things through a black and white angle, but instead through a wide range of colors. I want to be imaginative and be inspired by my imagination – not just by my to-do list. A few creativity tips? Think like a child, imagine you are far away, laugh it up and travel. Living in a big city also helps {although I feel equally creative in small-town Ohio as I do here in SF!}

 polish my crown

2. Enjoy company: With lots of visitors coming this month and lots of good friends here, I want to focus on really soaking up the in-person time I have with some of the best people I know. I want to catch up with them – not through Twitter updates or Instagram pics but through one-on-one conversations!

Polish My Crown

3. Be kind: Kindness is easier said than done and in March, my resolution is to go OUT OF MY WAY to be kind to others. There is always time in the day to be courteous to others, even if it’s just a simple smile, hello or thank you. I love the quote “if we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.”

Polish My Crown

4. Do four new things: I hate being stuck. This includes my job tasks and gym workouts to my meals and outfit choices and everything in between. It’s very important for me to be thinking and living out-of-the-box. This month, I am challenging myself to branch out and try four new things. So far, I’ve skipped my normal swimming workout for a completely different strength-building one, and love the switch-up in my routine! Details to come.

Polish My Crown

5. Buy passport and plan travel: Can you believe I don’t have a passport?! This month, I’ve been to the post office three times and excited that I’ll *finally* have a passport in my possession in the next few weeks. I also begin planning travel! I just booked a flight to Ohio in May to visit Athens and my family and have trips planned for Chicago in July, Pittsburgh in September and back to Ohio in October. While I’m thrilled for my many trips scheduled back to the Midwest, I need to begin planning a trip to Europe for 2013!

Polish My Crown

6. Invest in relationships: As a blogger, I love love love talking with people that I haven’t met in person, but through the online space. One of the joys of writing this blog is that I can communicate and meet people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s very important to me to not let my previous relationships and in-person relationships suffer from this though! This month, I want to dig deeper into my pre-existing wonderful relationships with family and friends. This means spending time with these people more often, talking with these people more often and praying for these people more often. 

7. DIY projects: I’ve always loved a good DIY project. I do have to admit; my projects are usually home decor/fashion-focused, not “repair-like!” This month, I bought the perfect shade of yellow paint to update my desk chair and a little bench. I also bought the supplies to make my own chalkboard paint. Do you have any fun ideas for DIY projects? Send my way!

polish my crown

8. Positive self-esteem and body image: On Polish My Crown, I write about positive body image and self-esteem daily but find it much easier to write about it rather than believe it. Ouch, not good! This month, I want to be very conscious and aware of when negative self-talk goes through my head and actively remember that I am more than my body, job, relationships, age, income, or whatever else is bothering me in that moment. Being a queen means truly embracing just how wonderful you really are – and I need to work on it sometimes too!

polish my crown

 

February Resolutions

1. Live with authentic integrity: This month, I want to focus on really living in integrity and honesty. I want to be known by what I believe in and what I stand for. One of my favorite authors, Mark Batterson, stated in best: “If you compromise your integrity you compromise your opportunity.” It’s important to stand

Polish My Crown

2. Recharge: This resolution is something I need to embrace not just this month, but all the time! What I mean by recharge is this: taking time off each day to get away from routine, turning off my mobile/computer/Kindle, focusing thoughts on what is good and true. And of course, this means more rest, rest, rest! Afternoon weekend naps included.

Polish My Crown

3. Write more: I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve had stacks of journals and notebooks documenting everything from what happened that day to my life goals {at the age of like, 8} and everything in between. I love writing this blog, I love journaling every morning and night and I am working on writing for a few side projects.

Polish My Crown

4. Send one letter every day: This month, I’m participating in the Month of Letters Challenge. I’m sending one handwritten letter to everyone each day this month in order to send love to friends and family both near and far! Plus, receiving handwritten notes in the mail always makes my day.

Polish My Crown

5. Budget time and money better: This resolution is simple: don’t overspend time or money on things that don’t make me happier or better. Be smarter when investing time and money.

Polish My Crown

6. Outfit experiment: I have so many clothes in my closet that I just don’t wear. I wake up too many mornings saying “I have nothing to wear!” This month, I want to mix my outfits up more and use the items in my closet in fun, creative and cute ways! {Of course, looking to J.Crew’s winter catalog for inspiration!}

Polish My Crown

7. Make someone’s day every day: Every day may not be perfect, but every day I have the opportunity to make someone else’s day. This can be a family member, friend, coworker, random stranger, bus driver, coffee barista, anyone. It’s my job to radiate love and kindness and go out of my way to make other people’s lives a little sweeter. This can be making them cupcakes, buying someone else a cup of tea, tipping well or just saying thank you and smiling – small and simple things to make days better for other people.

Polish My Crown

8. Say thank you: It’s easy to always be thankful on Thursdays but I need to remember to be thankful each and every day. One way I do this is by writing things down every day I’m thankful for before I go to bed. I also want to make sure I’m saying thank you to the people who need to hear it!

Polish My Crown

You can read my September, October, November and December resolutions too! As always, thanks for reading and enjoy this lovely {a bit rainy here!} day. xx