How I Plan To Be My Best This Year

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2017 Let's Do This...My plans for making this a great year | The Fresh Exchange

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I mentioned on Monday how this year is all about quality in our lives and as we have reflected and planned for 2017 I have decided on a few ways I plan to make this happen. This year I am slowing down and listening more to my creative side and a little less to the achiever part of me. This last year I realized just how loud my achiever side can be and how much it can muffle or beat out my creative self. Most of last year, I felt I was treading water just trying to keep up. Whether it was doing the dishes, keeping the house relatively clean, drinking enough water, running the blog, writing emails, sending thank you notes, texting friends back, getting in a shower, etc. It was a constant juggle of getting things to just stay afloat, which left me with barely much room to breath let alone enough room to think beyond where I was at or where I wanted to be. This year I plan to find comfort in stillness so I have greater clarity to head in the proper direction in the best way I can. It is a daily practice right now for me to calm the fight and hustle in myself enough to hear my creative self more clearly. All that said, I want to share how I plan to calm the demons and take control of making this year all about quality:

2017 Let's Do This...My plans for making this a great year | The Fresh Exchange

Meditation For Clarity:
I plan to start over on my 10-minute meditations with Headspace this year and make it a priority again. I think this helps with so many aspects of life and now is the time to start again. Meditation always clears my brain, brings calm, and allows me to find the space I need to feel confident about decisions. When I stray from meditation things usually become foggy, so I know this is going to be an important piece to being my best this year.

Working Out To Be Strong:
I know this is on everyone’s list but for me this is a big one on my list. I lost my baby weight within 8 months after Hayes was born (gained a total of 40 lbs and then dropped 20 lbs within a month after birth and have been working on the rest through nursing, eating well, and just doing yoga and long walks). Birth was fast and furious on my body and I have had quite a recovery to bring my abs back together properly while dealing with some issues with my pelvis that made it hard to do things such as lunges, side-to-side shuffling, etc., which ultimately limited what I could do to get back into shape. For a while even walking too much would have me in pain at the end of the day. Thanks to great Doctors, Physical Therapists, and a Chiropractor I learned to accept recovery would take time, but I was young and healthy enough to get back to a place I would be myself again if I was diligent. The constant and slow work of getting myself back together this last year has been a good practice in patience. Now that I am starting to feel strong enough to get back to rebuilding my body’s strength, I am taking the beginning of the year as my opportunity to become strong again. I am happy and proud of my body (a shift I never expected postpartum), but being strong is important to me for many reasons. That said, I am planning to jump in softly by doing Pilates (still on the hunt for great options of doing this from home) and using the 7-minute workout app for the next two months. My hope is the combo will build my core and basic strength back with the hope I can jump back into doing BBG. I was doing BBG when I got pregnant and loved how easy it was to keep up with and how strong it made me feel. I have found that when I feel strong I have more control and confidence in life than when I don’t workout regularly.

Eating Clean as a Continued Practice:
In all honesty, I don’t need to change much in this area, but I am saying it because I like to remind myself to stay on course. Food is a huge part of my mental clarity and being my best. When I get off course I am not a healthy or happy person. It took me years of trying a lot things to find out what worked for me. Mike and I have been eating a clean diet for years and thus why I know I lost my baby weight fairly easily. What this means for us is that we will continue eating a Paleo based diet . Basically, we have worked over the years to limit down to the foods that make us feel our best. Mike has other plans for the new year, but for now, I plan to eat a healthy diet full of good fats and veggies and lower in the categories of sugar, wheat, and unnecessary carbs. I have found sticking to this diet works great for me to feel energized and on the right track. The best part is everything is quick and easy to make while being healthy for all of us. Finding the foods that work well for you is so important. Food is a powerful way to clear your head and get yourself on the right track. It can take time to adjust your lifestyle to be comfortable with the changes, but it is possible as I have discovered in the last couple years.

Consuming Less Social Media:
Though we love social media just as much as anyone else, we have also realized over the last year how there is more content than ever to consume. Though it is fun and incredibly interesting, I have found that social media has a tendency to pull us away from the reality of our own life, leave us discontented unknowingly, and clutter our heads with thoughts and feelings that are many times unnecessary or even potentially damaging. With that said, we have started doing some decluttering of our social media practices. We are setting clearer guidelines about what we consume, when we consume, and how much we consume. I love to scroll and so does Mike, but this year we have deleted Facebook and Twitter from our phones and are not falling asleep scrolling anymore. Instead, we are ending our night reading and talking to one another. Already in just a few days, I realize how ending my day scrolling left me feeling so much anxiety and discontent for the life I love so much. As participants in social media ourselves, I find it extremely important to separate myself whenever possible so I can find contentment and solitude in order to remain focused on my purpose and goals instead of being distracted by other’s life direction. Though I find so much inspiration and joy in following so many people as they achieve things, go to new places, and more, I find that by keeping my social media consumption in check I can both enjoy it and not have severe FOMO when I don’t need to whatsoever. Contentment can be hard to achieve but I love our life so I want to limit anything that makes me feel otherwise.

Creating More:
On the contrary, I am spending my mornings and nights doing more writing, dreaming, lettering, cooking, planning, and enjoying the quiet. Doing this allows me to create better work. In the last year, it has been hard to find these moments since having a baby. Nowadays Hayes is more independent and needs me far less than he did even 4 months ago. This means I have more mental space to do more of the things I love beyond being his mom and just getting by with work. I always believe you must create a lot for your greatest work to come out.

Practicing Gratitude:
I heard a report on NPR on New Year’s Eve after I put Hayes down for the night about the secret to happiness. They asked various “happiness experts” about achieving this elusive goal we have as humans. Overwhelmingly they all agreed that gratitude (in various forms) is an essential piece to feeling happy. I spent a lot of last year, reframing times that felt impossible as a new mom and learned how to find beauty in even the hardest times. Out of that I also learned the importance of giving thanks, reminding myself of the great things, and really learning what it means to feel grateful. It isn’t always easy, but I started the hashtag #GratitudeTFE to help remind myself to practice gratitude, and this year I plan to use it even more.

Give Back:
I have debated for so long about how best to use my skills to give back to the world around me and this year showed me how much our world needs us each to give back to it more than ever. I am still working on this one, but this is the year I really want to commit to something that hits home for me that uses my talents as equally as it does good. I have seen this as a common theme already this year and I am excited to dig in further to decide on how I will do this myself.

So, I want to hear, after a whole week into 2017 what are you thinking for the new year? Did you decide on a word? Many of you talked about coming up with one! What other ways do you think would be a great way to work on quality?

 

Hello! I’m Megan Gilger,

A strong believer that nature and the seasons are our greatest teachers. We live on a hill in Leelanau County, Michigan just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. This land we are responsible for is where we are focused on building a life around the seasons and intention. We spend our days here building a regenerative model of living and focusing our garden on native plants and intensive polyculture planting styles. My focus is less on self-sufficiency and more on community-sufficiency through how we grow and connect through the seasons.
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