At first I didn’t know how I wanted to tackle a New Years post on the blog. I don’t exactly believe in “resolutions” in the general sense, because I think we often tell ourselves each year is going to bring so much change and the moment we fall off the wagon we get discouraged and give up.
However, I do believe in creating positive sustainable lifestyle changes, and if those come in the form of a resolution then I am all about them. I think the New Year is the perfect time to wipe our slates clean and reevaluate where we are and where we see ourselves going.
2013 brought many huge changes for me and showed me that a New Year can actually bring an entirely new perspective. I went through a rough break up at the very end of 2012, and I had to rebuild the shattered mess I found myself in.
I threw my energy into things that I was passionate about: yoga, exercise, writing, friends, family, traveling, reading, trying new things. I singlehandedly taught myself to cook, fell even more in love with green smoothies and anything health-related, and most of all realized that I was happiest doing the things I loved most and putting any and all negativity behind me.
But that’s enough about last year. Now it’s all about 2014, and I want to share my goals and aspirations with you! It’s going to be a big year, people. And health is going to be the backbone and the driving force for all of us.
New Years Resolutions (a.k.a. Life Mottos):
1. Surround myself with only people who make me ridiculously happy. The other day my best friend Jillian and I met up with an old friend who we hadn’t seen in a long time. He is someone who has such a positive, genuine and inspiring energy. I can’t even describe how great it was to see him. I was feeling sick that afternoon and almost opted to rest while the two of them caught up, but I am so glad I went because it was one of the most enjoyable situations I’ve been in in a long time. It also reminded me that the people I surround myself with is all in my hands. I have the opportunity to feel that way all the time, and I am definitely going to make sure that 2014 is the year I keep the amazing people in my life closer than ever.
For example, these two shining beauties mean the world to me!
2. Have an alcohol-free month and maybe extend it to (largely) an alcohol-free year. I have been toying with the idea of doing this for a while. When I was in college (and even when I was in high school… shhh), I drank alcohol quite frequently. And by frequently, I mean every weekend and more than the occasional weeknight. I never liked the way it tasted, but I drank because it was a huge part of the social scene I had always been involved in. Every weekend included going to parties, drinking tons of alcohol, waking up hung over and doing the same thing the following night.
By my senior year of college (which was just last year) I started listening to my body and my heart more and more often when it came to drinking. I knew drinking so often made me feel like crap and also accounted for several extra pounds I knew I could get rid of if I cut back on alcohol. I started drinking significantly less when I went vegan, but because of the social aspect I continued to drink at least one night per weekend.
This year I want to make a change, so I am conducting an alcohol-free month (not sure yet if it will be this month or next month), and I am going to document the changes I see and feel. If all goes well, I will continue it into the following months. I will no doubt have to endure questions and pressure from people who don’t understand. But it will be so worth it, so I am finally going to take the leap. Anyone who is interested in joining, please let me know and we can make and email support thread!
A photo of me from my wilder days with two drinks in hand on the beach in Cabo:
3. Drink a green smoothie or green juice for breakfast every morning. This might sound like something I already do, but all too often I wait too long to eat breakfast and then it sounds like a great idea to add a bunch of granola or trail mix into my smoothies and then I am too full for lunch so I have to eat a late snack instead and it messes with my routine. When you have stomach problems like I do, it is all about routine. I learned this in 2013 and I am putting it to the test in 2014!
I like to eat small amounts frequently because it makes me feel my best, and I am going to stick to doing that this year. I have been doing it the past few weeks and I already see positive changes!
4. Listen to my body every day. This is not all that different from #3, but it brings it to the next level. If I wake up and I’m not feeling like a green smoothie or juice, I will eat what sounds like it will make me feel my best. Sometimes my body is more acidic, sometime more basic, sometimes more hungry and sometimes more lethargic. Listening to my body is key in feeling my best, and sometimes it can be easier to push those feelings aside and go with the flow. In 2014 I will listen to my body first and foremost.
5. Continue growing The Blonde Vegan. This blog, The Blonde Vegan Instagram account, and the connections, friendships and discoveries I have made through it over the past six months has by far been my largest blessing in a long time. My best friend asked me the other day what the most unexpected thing that happened to me in 2013 was, and my response was absolutely this blog and the healthy living community I’ve found through it. My goal is to continue growing the blog, connecting with all of you, and to find new ways to inspire and grow within this awesome health community. I also want to run The Blonde Vegan 5-Day Cleanse Program at the beginning of each month, and create new programs seasonally. I plan to create a YouTube channel and grow the yoga and exercise portion of the blog. So much to do in TBV world, bring it on 2014!
Photo from my first ever TBV photoshoot by the amazing Tynan Daniels.
6. Start teaching yoga again. I still practice yoga daily (wouldn’t be anywhere without it), but when I moved to NYC in August and got busy with school, the blog, and life in general my quest to find the perfect studio to teach yoga in the city fell by the wayside. I get so much joy out of teaching and sharing my passion for yoga, so in 2014 I absolutely plan on teaching again. Most realistically I will begin this summer, but in the meantime will be teaching privates for family and friends! Before I get back to teaching in a studio I would like to continue my yoga education by doing another teacher training in a specialized area and/or going on a yoga retreat.
7. Read more. I absolutely love reading fiction, and anyone who writes fiction knows that reading often is the key to writing well. Between school and the blog I usually end up reading books that are assigned for class and poring over food blogs and Internet articles, but I am determined to get back into reading for pleasure every night before bed. I am currently reading a book by Meg Wolitzer called “The Interestings” and it is fantastic.
8. Write every day. My writing workshop teacher last semester taught us to write every day, even if it’s just a little bit, to keep our skill fresh and our writing ever flowing. I go through weeks and even months where I write every day, but every writer knows it can be easy to fall off the wagon – especially when you’re writing a novel and the entire story exists in your head! Writing a novel can sometimes make you feel like you are going mad, but writing a little bit every day helps. I am usually too extreme for that – I’ll write 30 pages in one day and zero for the next five days, for example, but that has proven to burn me out.
9. Allow myself to be mellow. I have felt so much pressure in my adolescence and early 20s to always be “on.” I felt like I had to be on in class, on for my friends, on in public, and even in the yoga studio. What I mean by “on” is energetic, talkative, engaging, pleasant, etc. While I am a very social person, I have learned that sometimes it’s OK to just be. Sometimes all you need is a night in with your pajamas, some soy ice cream and your favorite TV show. And it’s even OK to be mellow with other people – in fact; you should surround yourself with people who you are comfortable being your complete mellow self with. I have bonded with people so much more deeply by having a quiet dinner or mellow movie night rather than going out to a party and drinking.
Moving to NYC was great for me because it helped me distance myself from the social obligations I felt when I lived in LA surrounded by everyone I went to college with. There is something amazing about knowing so many people in a city, but it also means doing tons of things that other people want to do even when you don’t necessarily want to do them. I have learned to say no, and I think people who knew me when I was younger and wilder are learning to accept who I am now, which is a much more mellow version of who I was once. So really, #9 is not just about allowing myself to be mellow but it’s about accepting the fact that I have mellowed out.
10. Don’t dwell. I am a dweller by nature. I dwell on conversations that don’t seem to go right, jarring or surprising situations, future commitments and obligations, past relationships, meals that made me feel like crap, missed opportunities, missed phone calls; you name it, I dwell on it. Not only is dwelling an ineffective way to spend your time, but it is exhausting and unpleasant. It also keeps me up at night, and I have enough insomnia issues to deal with! I know 2014 won’t bring me the magic cure to stop dwelling on the little things, but it is something I can certainly become more aware of.
11. Get a cute journal. Before bed each night my goal is to write down a good character idea, something that made me happy that day, something I want to work on, a good quote, a memorable conversation from the day, a good book title I came across, etc. It will be fun to look back and have 365 (probably more like 300, let’s be realistic here) fun ideas and smile-worthy things to look through.
12. Get involved in combatting the childhood obesity epidemic. I want to use The Blonde Vegan platform to make a change in the way the children in our country view food and health. I hope to do my part in educating our young ones about the power of fruits and veggies and I want to help make them attainable. I am still researching relevant nonprofits to get involved in – if you know of any, please shoot their names/websites my way!
13. Start acting again. Whether it’s an acting class in NYC or just reading scenes and monologues with friends, I miss acting and the amazing high it gives me to do something I am so incredibly passionate about (luckily I still get that high from writing and yoga, too!)
14. More random acts of kindness. It makes me incredibly happy to surprise people (strangers and friends alike) with random acts of kindness. I know it makes my day when people do something nice for me unexpected and unwarranted, and there’s no reason not to do the same for others as often as possible.
BOOM! That may sound like a lot, but 2014 is going to be full of super awesome things and I am not going to let the year slip away from me. I’ve never been one to sit back and make the most small or realistic choices, anyway… if I was, I would probably have a real job instead of this food blog!
What are your resolutions? Would love to hear you share. And, if you’re looking for a healthy way to start 2014, check out The Blonde Vegan 5-Day Cleanse Program. It starts on January 6th! Comin’ up!!!