2018 Real Resolutions

2017 was the year of so many “firsts” and “lasts” for me.

I finished my last semester of college, competed in my last pom competition, slept my last sleep in the college house I lived in with my best friends for three years, the list goes on…

I also had my first day at a new job, moved into my first big girl apartment with Scooter, posted my first blog post and taught my first class as an instructor.

2017 was no doubt the craziest, most fun, scary, amazing year yet. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a single second of this year. Every struggle forced me to learn and grow, and every success allowed me to appreciate this wonderful, LoveLeigh (I had to) life I live.

As we enter the final hours of 2017, I have reflected on my wins and loses for the year and set some realistic goals for myself moving forward.

I won’t lie, I don’t like the idea of “waiting for the new year” to set goals, because we should all be setting new goals every morning. But I do think the new year is a good time to check in on yourself and reflect on what’s important. So instead of trying to set giant, looming goals, let’s set some attainable ones that lead to progress and growth.

I want to make 2018 the year of listening. This one encompasses a lot. Listening to your friends, family and colleagues and hearing what they are saying, not just listening to respond. Having meaningful conversation and showing you care is becoming more and more rare. Let’s all try to listen more.

This also applies to yourself. Listen to your mind and body, and respond accordingly. On occasion I’ve been known to ignore everything my body tells me and go, go, go until I am so sick and tired I can’t get out of bed. I am going to consciously try to slow down when necessary. If you’re a 24/7 mover, you know this is so hard. Let’s hold each other accountable.

My next intention is to live presently. This goes hand in hand with being a crazy busy person. There were so many days this year where I would go through the motions of a 16 hour day and have no idea how that much time had passed. I hate the foggy feeling of not knowing how you got from A to B. I want to pull the focus I have throughout parts of my life into my entire day. No more going through the motions and more present intention. Let’s be aware and actionable in 2018.

My boring and practical resolution for the year is to set and abide by a budget. I am mentioning it here so that I actually do it. I can’t wait for the conversations where this specific paragraph is held against me by my parents and personal financial advisor (Scott). Good. I deserve it. If I don’t surpass my monthly spending for the whole year, come December 2018 I will treat myself at Lululemon. Does that defeat the point of a budget? Probably. Give me a break, I’m new to this.

Lastly, I resolve to spread joy. I love all the #feels of the holidays. Everybody is happy and full of cookies and excited to see each other. This feeling seems to fade by the middle of January when we are all windburned and packed into public transit like sardines.

Let’s try our best to revive that joy. This starts by waking up every day and making the decision to be kind to yourself and those around you. Smile at a stranger, take some time for yourself, and go out of the way to make a loved one feel special. The feeling of joy in our lives shouldn’t be limited to one month of the year. Oh, and the cookies probably don’t hurt, so let’s continue to bake and eat those, too.

None of my resolutions involve specific numbers or deadlines. I just want to spend this year having as much fun and learning as much as I did last year (and saving some money). I want to continue to create and spread kindness, tackle my goals head-on, and release negativity from my life.

Please share your favorite memories from 2017 and your goals for the new year in the comments. I want to hear what you guys are looking forward to and reflecting on. Here’s to making 2018 the best year yet. Who’s with me?

Love, Leigh

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Smile at Yourself

Like many women, I am often told to smile more by men on the street. Every time this happens, it leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling. I get a pit in my stomach that sticks with me for the whole day.

I think the reason why it feels so intrusive when a stranger demands that you smile is because a genuine smile is one of the most valuable things you can give to someone. The reflection of joy that you present when you smile is special and should never be faked or forced.

A stranger demanding you to smile did nothing to warrant a joyful display of appreciation…but do you know who did? Do you know who deserves recognition for bringing you happiness? You. 

When was the last time that you smiled at yourself? Not to check your teeth for lipstick, but to see the real-time happiness in your own face?

As you know by now, I exercise at The Barre Code. Each studio has mirrored walls that allow you to check your form while you work out. Often times you are right up at the barre staring at your reflection in the mirror.

Sometimes during class I meet my own eyes in the mirror and am surprised by the intensity and fire I see in myself. What is more surprising, however, is how little we smile at ourselves.

It always seemed weird to me when the instructor would say, “look at the beautiful, strong woman staring back at you in the mirror and smile at her, she worked so hard for the last 50 minutes.”

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A smile represents so much more than a happy facial expression. A smile shows gratitude and appreciation. Smiling at yourself is just another way to show self-love and be grateful for giving yourself time to become mentally and physically stronger. Smiling at myself after a hard workout has taught me to recognize the aspects of my life that bring me joy.

If you don’t exercise in front of a mirror, I suggest taking a second to smile at yourself every morning when you are getting ready. It might seem silly, but it gives you a chance to reflect and be thankful. This leads me to my next point…

Smiling makes you feel happy. When I’m not having a great day, I consciously try to be a little nicer to others, in hopes that it may reflect back on me. Like karma, if you give smiles away, they usually come back to you.

Small acts of kindness, even things as small as a smile, can make all the difference in your own mood and others lives.

So, I’ll leave you with this, LoveLeighs – I hope you all know the worth of your smile and power of your happiness. It comes from within and when it’s there, it cannot be contained. Create your own joy and spread it to those around you, even when it seems hard to find.

 

Love, Leigh