Finding Love in My Reflection

It seriously blows my mind that self love is so hard to attain in this day and age. Like how did we get to the point where it feels more natural to tear ourselves down than to lift ourselves up? I don’t just mean women either because it happens to everyone in some form or another. I spent my entire life up until a few months ago absolutely hating my body. I look back and cringe at the way that I talked to that middle school girl in the mirror and how I starved that high schooler for days on end and how I cut that college girl open because I believed she was worthless. In our culture today, it is so dang hard not to fall into the trap of self-deprecation, but trust me it is not a cliche when they say the most important relationship you will ever have in life is with yourself.

I still have those voices in the back of my mind telling me all of the ways that my body is not enough when I look into the mirror. The voices telling me that my legs are way too big for a woman’s or that my waist needs to stay covered until it hits at least 25 inches. There will never be a time when I look into the mirror when I do not see some imperfections, but the difference is that I do not let those voices consume me anymore. They are not the voices that I listen to. It is an active choice that I make. Instead, I listen to the voice saying be thankful for those legs because they carry you through every single step of your day. Be proud of that waist and the strength that it holds in allowing you to do all of the activities that you love. Most importantly, I listen to the voice that says no matter what my body does not define me, my heart and my mind do. The way that I treat strangers as well as friends says way more about me than the size of my nose. My passion for learning and adventures displays my character way more than the curvature of my hips.

I am no expert at self-love. It is a journey that I take every day to get a little bit closer to accepting and loving every aspect of myself. I will always be fighting those insecurities and negative voices telling me that I am not enough, but it is my choice whether I decide to listen or not. Some days are still better than others but little every day changes have helped me gain more confidence than I have ever had before. Disclaimer: I am not the skinniest or fittest I have ever been. I think so many of us, my former self included, think that self-love will magically happen as soon as we get the body we want. We think that people with the bodies we admire practice self-love easily because they look amazing. That is simply not true because everyone has insecurities. You can start your journey to self-love no matter what stage of your life you are at because self-love always comes from within.

Always remember that compassion is beautiful, kindness is stunning, and your heart will always say more about you than your body ever will. So please, beautiful friends, stop punishing yourselves because you don’t look a certain way. Being kind to your body will do you way more wonders than punishing yourself ever will (trust me, I have been there). Even if in the beginning you don’t believe it, fake it until you make it because one day you’ll wake up and you will realize you don’t have to fake it as much as you used to because you are truly starting to believe it.

You are all so uniquely beautiful. There is no one in the world like you and that is one of the most amazing gifts we could ever be given. I challenge you to give yourself one compliment today because you deserve all of the encouragement in the world.

Love always and forever,

The Traveling Brunette

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How to Get Into a Workout Routine

By this point, I sadly think it’s safe to say most people have abandoned their fitness goals of 2018. I get it. It took me a long time to get to a place where I genuinely love working out and I wish someone had been there to guide me at the beginning of my journey. Everyone is different so everyone’s fitness path will vary slightly but I want to give you some tips that may guide you and help you reach your goals a little bit faster.

1. Find workouts that you enjoy- I cannot tell you how long I wasted hating exercise because I was forcing myself to do exercises I hated. I do not like cardio, but for years I forced myself on extremely long runs because I thought it would slim me down fast. Not only was I wrong but I got into a mindset where I hated exercising. Thankfully now, I have discovered what kinds of workouts I love and thrive off of but everyone is different. I looove HIIT and strength training. They are my jam and I would do them all of the time if I could. However, it’s important that I incorporate other types of exercising into my routine to keep my body guessing and to keep me from getting bored. So, if you are forcing yourself to do some kind of workout that you do not enjoy just because that’s what you’ve been told would give you results STOP RIGHT NOW. The most effective workout is the one that you will actually do. So if that is HIIT then awesome. If that’s going on a long walk with your dog then fantastic. Maybe it’s pumping weights at the gym or playing a sport with friends or hiking… whatever it is find what gets you excited to work out. Constantly try new things to discover what you love. Fall in love with moving, in whatever form that may be.

2. A short workout is better than no workout- just because you don’t have an hour in your day to workout does not mean you don’t have time. Honestly with my schedule, my workouts last around 30-45 minutes and I’ve never had better results. You do not need hours in a gym to see results. The important thing is being smart with the time that you do have and to make the most out of it. Find little ways throughout your day to be more active because it all adds up. Put down your phone more often and I promise you’ll have so much more time than you thought you did.

3. Expand your goals- I know most people get into fitness for aesthetic or physical goals. They want a bigger butt, a smaller butt, a slimmer waist, leaner legs, bigger arms, etc. etc. etc. Not only does obsessing over these goals put you in a bad headspace for fitness but they also can discourage you when you don’t see results as quickly as you expect. Physical results take a long time but you WILL get there. But in the meantime, it’s important to focus on other goals that will motivate you long term and transform your body long term. Maybe you want to be stronger, or to be able to take a flight of stairs without getting winded, or to be able to run faster, or to touch your toes. Whatever it is focus on that more than the physical stuff because when you do, I promise the physical stuff will follow and they’ll be so much more rewarding.

4. Put yourself first- when life gets busy, fitness is usually the first thing to go, which is so sad because you should always make time for your health and happiness. That is why it’s so important to make fitness a habit so that you’re always finding time to take care of yourself no matter how busy you are. Believe me, I could have a million excuses as to why I’m too busy to workout but I don’t. Fitness is my “me time”. It’s time devoted solely to me to help me better myself, to take care of my body, and to make myself a priority even if only for 30 minutes. So that sometimes means I have to wake up an hour earlier in the morning to fit my workout in. Or maybe it means not watching Netflix in the evening because I would rather move my body and make progress towards my goals. Making time for fitness isn’t always easy, and until you discipline yourself and make it a priority, you’re always going to find reasons why you can’t. You deserve to be healthy and happy and to reach the goals you’ve always wanted to. So focus on that end goal of being stronger or faster or whatever it may be and stick to it. You’re going to mess up sometimes, we’re all human but everyday is a new day and a completely new start. Start believing that you deserve all of this and make the time to care for yourself and give yourself a better future.

I really hope you found some encouragement in these pieces of advice today. Remember that you are so beautiful and worthy no matter where you are in life or what you look like. You are strong and capable. I believe in you and your ability to make your dreams a reality.

Carry on, warrior.

An Attitude of Gratitude

 

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I do not know what it was about this subject, but it just hit me really hard today to write a short post about cherishing the relationships in your life (and I do NOT just mean the romantic ones). Sadly, I feel like relationships are the first thing to slip our mind when we think about what we are thankful for in life. We get in a habit of relying on those relationships because they are constant, so we forget what a blessing they are because in an instant, they can be gone. How crazy is that? You may think that nothing will ever ruin your friendship, your mentorship, etc. but we never know what the future holds. Life happens, people grow up and grow apart, things change and that’s okay! So, I want to be in a constant state of gratitude for the relationships in my life.

I think we take so many relationships for granted, especially family ones, because they seem to always be there and everyone has them, right? No. If you have healthy familial relationships, be so thankful! Some people never get to experience that whether it be because of death, addiction, adoption, etc. Sometimes I start to throw myself a little pity party when I look at some of the relationships my friends have with their siblings and they do not even realize what a blessing it is. I am completely estranged from my brother and while I do not see that changing, I would give anything to be able to have a healthy relationship with my sibling. I mean, when you think about it, it is so cool! You can never create a sibling, no matter how close you are to a friend. It’s a kind of relationship that is so unique and genuine.

When I start feeling pitiful though, I turn it around and think about all of the amazing relationships in my life that maybe others have not had the privilege to enjoy. I have found true, genuine friends who truly support me and build me up in ways I never thought possible. I have formed relationships with teachers who have mentored and encouraged me to be the hardest worker I can be. I have the most loving, hilarious, and passionate fiancé I could ever hope for. I have built up the most incredible support system around me, but sometimes, I take them for granted. I rant to friends knowing they’ll encourage me or I am grumpy towards my fiancé because I know he will love me through it.

I want to make a constant effort to be grateful for each of these relationships. Rather than relying on my friends to be supportive because that’s how friends should be, I want to be in a constant state of gratitude for finding such amazing individuals that treat me way better than I treat myself. I want to be thankful for the “family” I have built rather than focusing on the family I do not have. I just wanted to write this post today in case you’ve fallen into the same rut. There’s no shame in falling into an ungrateful period, we all do it sometimes. The important thing is realizing where you are at and taking action to be thankful for all of the wonderful blessings in your life, especially the people who make every day brighter!

Thanks for taking the time to read today,

-GT

Letter to 17 Year Old Me

Dear Gab,

Where do I even begin? Your life is so much greater than you could ever imagine that it would be at 17. I don’t even know how to recount the numerous adventures and changes that you have gone through that have brought you some of the most precious things you will ever have. First of all, I want to remind you that it gets better. You feel so alone right now, surrounded by people who do not see the real you and would judge you if they did. You are uncomfortable in your own skin. In fact, you hate your body, but I promise that you are going to find freedom in self-love. Those “friends” that you give your heart and soul to but receive only judgment from in return, they will fade. In a few years you will discover what true friendship actually feels like and it will hold you tight. I can’t even remember how many times you have been telling yourself you will never find love. And it isn’t your fault; you hear it enough from others every day. You have begun to doubt yourself. You are doubting your beauty and you are doubting your worth. You are beautiful and worthy; you just haven’t met the man who will worship those things about you yet. So, hold on and keep believing in true love because I know you are about to give up.

Speaking of the man of your dreams, he is fantastic! He is every fairytale you have ever wished for and every prayer you’ve ever said. He loves you unconditionally and with the passion that you’ve always wanted but never believed that you really deserved. And he’s searching for you too.

Remember that high school isn’t everything and even though you are unhappy, you panic at the thought of going to college. Accept the wonderful change ahead of you because it is so much better than anything that you are leaving behind. Don’t forget to cherish these moments, though. Remember the way your heart races when you walk across the stage and win so many awards for your intelligence (and stop being embarrassed that people think you’re too smart) and savor the adrenaline rush when you step onto that volleyball court. Enjoy your time here but know that the future ahead is blindingly bright.

Please start taking care of yourself. You are going to find friends who accept you and encourage you and a man who loves you with his entire being, but until then, step away from the treadmill and stop skipping lunch. Nourish your body because it going to take you to so many wonderful places. Stop punishing yourself for not being Barbie. You deserve so much better than the hate that you give yourself. You’ll learn to love and nourish your body, but start taking steps now.

Finally, never say yes to anything that you do not deserve. Stop saying yes to the judgmental friendships, or the silent treatments, or the feelings of unworthiness. You deserve more and I promise you will find it. There is so much more that I wish I could say, but I want you to experience all of the love and laughter along the way. Stay strong. I promise you’re going to make it through.

Love,
Me

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*Disclaimer: I know this is a different (more personal) post than I normally do but I think writing letters like this can be very healing. I also wanted to share some of the encouragement and lessons that I wish I had known when I was younger and perhaps inspire you to write your own letter.

5 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Sad

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Over the past year and a half, I have struggled pretty hard with mental illness and an overall constant feeling of sadness. When it first began, I was so unused to the feeling of constant sadness that I did not know what to do which led to the feelings spiraling out of control. Over the past six months I have worked my butt off stepping out of my comfort zone to seek help and find ways to keep the sadness and anxiety at bay. If you are in the same place my first and biggest piece of advice is: fake it ’til you make it! Honestly this idea always seemed ridiculous to me but it is a miracle worker. When I am sad, my mind and body tell me to stay in bed and sleep, thus shutting out the rest of the world. If I really want to start feeling better, though, I HAVE to push myself out of my comfort zone and do things I do not necessarily feel like doing at the moment. I’ve been through a lot of trial and error, but I’ve discovered that these top 5 activities truly help me turn my emotions around and regain control over my life.

  1. Go Hiking/Walking– Honestly, the main point of this tip is just getting outdoors and getting active. Nature is so beautiful and quiet, which helps center me and make me realize how small my problems are in comparison to the vastness of the world. Also, moving around gets your endorphins pumping which is a natural, automatic mood-booster. I personally love hiking, so if the weather is nice it is my all-time go-to, but even a short walk can turn my mood around.
  2. Talk to a friend– Just getting your emotions somewhere outside of yourself can be such a relief. All of that sadness and anxiety that is churning in the pit of your stomach needs an outlet, so talking to someone else can be a great relief. Even if you do not get down into the nitty-gritty of all your emotions, being with someone who makes you feel safe and you are comfortable around can save you from your thoughts and give you new perspective.
  3. Find a hobby that is medicinal– This can be one of the best parts because it can be anything that makes you happy! So experiment with everything new. For me, I try to have three different types of hobbies: one that gets me active, one that gets me creative, and one that feels indulgent so when I feel sad, I can choose which activity I feel like doing at the time. For me those three are playing frisbee, writing in a journal, and baking healthy desserts. Finding these hobbies may take time and they might push you out of your comfort zone, but open yourself up to the experience and you will have a blast experimenting.
  4. Find new surroundings– This means forcing yourself out of the comfort of your bed or your couch and just finding new scenery. Even if you just relocate to a friends house, your local cafe, or one of your favorite spots outside. Being in a new location forces you to reevaluate your surrounding and your realities. It will provide you with a fresh perspective and new realities. Either way, you’ve accomplished something today by getting out of bed and going somewhere new.
  5. Do not ignore your emotions– Let yourself feel: you cannot be on either extreme. It’s unhealthy to let yourself become consumed with negative emotions but it is also unhealthy to completely ignore or deny these emotions as well. I have done both, so I know that all of these emotions will catch up to you. For so long I wanted to be strong and independent so I ignored my emotions and pushed myself beyond my limits. Eventually, these emotions caught up to me and knocked me on my butt. So let yourself feel, acknowledge these emotions, but also strive to improve this mood as well.

I really hope that you found some comfort in my own personal tips. Remember that no matter what, you are never alone and there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel even if you aren’t seeing it right now.

Lots of love,

GT

10 Lesson I’ve Learned from 2018 so far…

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Although we are only a month into 2018, I feel like I’ve been faced with more challenges and crossroads than I could have ever expected from a new year. So, here are 10 (of the many things) I have learned so far in 2018!

  1. Doing your work in a coffee shop increases motivation x100– I do not know what it is about sitting down at a local coffee shop with a warm drink and your laptop, but I have found it to be incredibly calming and motivational. I am the biggest procrastinator if I am left in my apartment to work because I will find one hundred reasons to keep putting it off. The second I step into the coffee shop though, I am ready to kick some butt (and the coffee certainly doesn’t hurt!).
  2. Find your tribe and love them HARD!– I know that we hear phrases like this all of the time and, until this year, I always brushed them aside as silly sayings. However, this year I have already had to lean on friends much more than I ever have and it has made me realize how absolutely essential it is to surround yourself with people who genuinely love and care for you. Whether it is repeatedly telling you positive things about yourself that you would never admit or joining you for lunch when you are having a bad day or even sending you funny memes throughout the day, true friendships are so priceless.
  3. It’s okay to step back from people who are draining you (even if they are family)– If someone is draining you emotionally or mentally with their presence or even the thought of interacting with them, it is completely okay to take a step back to take care of yourself even if they are family! No matter who it is, no one should be a toxic drain on your emotions or positivity. Maybe they do not even realize they are doing it, but regardless, love yourself enough to put yourself first. Take a step back, recharge, and then reevaluate. Most of the time all you need is a short break and the people who love you will understand your need for space.
  4. Get into a routine– Whether you enjoy a morning routine, a night routine, or anything in between, it is important for us to have some sort of ritual throughout our day. For me, my time is the morning. It allows me to clear my head, treat myself, and prepare my mind for the rest of the day. Routines are comforting and especially during hard weeks, your routines might be what keeps you sane.
  5. Plan one thing every week that you can’t wait for– This doesn’t need to be huge or expensive, but I have found that it is so much easier to get through the week if I have something to look forward to. Whether that is a weekend trip to my favorite coffee shop, catching up with an old friend, trying a new recipe, or even just a relaxing weekend, I feel so much more motivated to kick butt during the week when I know I have a treat waiting for me at the end.
  6. Make time for creativity– Having a creative outlet is so important for my mental health and when I do not make time for it, my attitude and outlook certainly reflects it. Even if all I can do is fit in some calligraphy or reading a chapter of a book each night, I feel so much more recharged when I make creativity a priority.
  7. Chocolate is a life-force and I need it daily to survive- I’ll just leave this here
  8. Do your best even if you aren’t where you want to be yet– This applies to so many things: fitness, relationships, friendships, academics, job positions, etc. So many of us waste away our lives obsessing over getting to the next phase where we believe we will reach the ultimate state of happiness. Then when we get there, we are not absolutely happy and already on the way to wishing for the next thing. Dreams and goals are important, but it is also equally important to slow down and enjoy where you are right now.
  9. Take care of yourself if you expect to take care of anyone else– Like I touched on earlier, in order to be the best version of yourself, you sometimes need to step back and place yourself first. We all push ourselves to beyond our limits sometimes so it is important to make sure that we don’t forget about our mental and physical wellbeing along the way.
  10. Not all fresh starts are instantly happy– With all of the wonderful events happening this year, I somehow thought that 2018 would automatically be the best, happiest year of my life. However, I have already dealt with a lot of sadness and challenges that have shown me that this is not always true, but just because the beginning was rough doesn’t mean that the end won’t be heavenly.

 

I hope you all have a wonderful start to February,

GT

“Falling” Deeper in Love

Cumberland Falls- Corbin, KY: January 2018

Guys! I am so excited to share this post with you all today! Last weekend, Derek and I visited Cumberland Falls to take our engagement pictures and I cannot express to you how magical the entire experience was. I was literally left speechless from the enormity of our love, from the incredible talent of our photographer, and by the absolute magnificence of the falls during winter. I myself had never visited the falls before but I cannot imagine a better experience. I was initially nervous to take our pictures because I’ve never been comfortable in front of a camera, specifically a professional one that easily picks up every flaw on me. When I got there though, I was so comfortable and happy that it all seemed so effortless. Even our photographer was amazed at how comfortable Derek and I were in front of a camera and she was gushing at how perfect the pictures already were. So, without further ado, I want to share with you all the beauty of Cumberland Falls during the winter and our wonderful engagement pictures. I could not be happier with how they turned out and it makes me even more excited for our wedding! P.s. I may or may not have tears in my eyes looking at these pictures again!

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I could not be more in love with this man or these pictures and I cannot wait for round 2 today! Thank you for sharing these special moments with us!

Love,

The Traveling Brunette

My Biggest Fitness Tips!

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While I don’t consider myself an expert, I’ve certainly been dedicated to health and fitness long enough that I’ve picked up some great lessons along the way. I’ve had the numerous ups and downs of someone traveling along the journey of making their health a lifestyle rather than a short-term goal, although I’ve definitely had those too. Since I know fitness is on a lot of people’s resolutions for 2018, I thought I would share some of my biggest tips that have helped me along the way.

1. Don’t dwell in the “downs”– This is one of the hardest but most important lessons I have learned. When making health and fitness a lifestyle, you are inevitably going to experience some slip ups or moments of stagnation; everyone does. I spent years being so unbelievably strict, working out for 2-3 hours every single day, never even eating a bite of “bad food”, days of not eating anything and guess what? I was miserable AND I didn’t get a single step closer to bettering my health. These habits weren’t good for my mind or body. It’s taken years but I’ve finally learned to embrace the slip-ups. They’re an important part of my journey. They DO NOT mean I have failed, they DO NOT mean I am unworthy, and they certainly DO NOT mean I will never reach my goals. It’s quite the opposite actually because it means I am human and I’m going to come back stronger than ever tomorrow!

2. Drink more water– I know this one is such a cliche but, man, is it true. I think all of us know that we need to drink more water, but we really don’t make an active effort to do it. And for awhile, I had to force myself to carry around a huge liter of water so I remembered to drink it but I cannot tell you how many benefits my body has experienced! I get less migraines, I’m way less bloated, my skin has started glowing, my hunger has decreased, and so much more! It’s so important to stay hydrated, so find ways that makes drinking water more enjoyable for you.

3. Find the workouts you truly enjoy– First of all, there isn’t one kind of workout that is miraculously going to give you your dream body. It’s important to switch it up and try new things to keep your muscles guessing, to keep away boredom, and to make the greatest gains possible. I used to think running was like the holy grail of fitness, but I hated it. So, I either forced myself to run and dreaded it or I would find excuses not to do it. I didn’t get any closer to my goals and my body did not change. I tried so many workouts and found that I love HIIT and strength training the most. Not only does my body respond to these but I truly love doing them. The most beneficial workout is the one you are actually going to do! So experiment and find what you love and switch it up. Maybe it’s walking with a friend, swimming, weights, kickboxing, Zumba, whatever it is embrace what makes you happy and I promise you’ll start to see the changes much sooner!

4. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet– Unfortunately, we can’t all keep our hyper-active teenage metabolisms. So, making healthy choices is vital in making fitness a lifestyle. Try following the 80/20 rule: pick whole, nutritious foods 80% of the time and indulge in your favorite treats 20%. Not only will it help you shed the pounds, it will improve your skin, help fuel your workouts, give you more energy, and much more. Also, stop labeling foods as “bad”. There is no such thing as a bad food. Those are labels we create ourselves. Just try to fuel your body with nutrient dense foods MOST of the time and stop stressing. I used to put ridiculous labels on foods to the point I refused to eat any food I didn’t cook and I didn’t shed a single pound. Now that I am much more balanced and way less stressed, I’ve lost 30 pounds and never felt better. There’s no miracle diet either. You lose weight by being in a calorie deficit, so any eating style that does that will help you lose weight. Also, don’t use exercise as a punishment for indulging. Work on forgiveness and start over tomorrow. Having a healthy relationship with food is so important!

5. Self-love changes EVERYTHING- Finally, this is my most important tip. It’s so sad for me to say but I literally spent my entire teenage years HATING my body. I viewed it as disgusting and unworthy for not looking like my petite best friend’s or like the girls I saw on magazines. I longed for a naturally petite body, but that’s not what I’ve been given. I have an hourglass figure and naturally muscular build. I will never have a petite or Victoria’s Secret angel’s body, and that okay! I was desiring a body that was literally impossible for me to have. Of course I have fitness role models, but I’ve made sure they have similar builds as me so I can be realistic in my goals. Also, I don’t punish myself for not looking like them anymore. We are all in different parts of our journey and I will never look exactly like someone else. I constantly have goals I want to meet but I’ve finally learned to love my body in every stage of the process. I’ve come so far and even though I want to go further, I worked so hard to be the woman I am today and that’s worth celebrating!!

I really hope you’ve found some comfort and inspiration from this post. Like I said, I’m no expert but I know how lonely and defeated I used to feel on my journey and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. Remember, to love and have fun before anything else. I will always regret the holidays that I was too busy obsessing over my body to enjoy the love and family around me. Enjoying life is so much more important than being shredded, so find your balance and love every step of this journey!

All my love and support,

The Traveling Brunette

“A Love Beyond the Stars”

Original Poem:

 

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I am the moon.

Quiet, full of mysteries, never discovered.

I am covered in craters of insecurities, imperfections.

They run deep and cover me.

 

He is the sun.

Warm, bright, radiant.

Brilliant.

No one can deny his presence. He lights up the world

And all can see and marvel as he shines. Burns.

 

I am the moon, ever-changing, ever-present.

Present in the light and darkness.

He is the force that makes me shine

An altogether brighter being.

I glow from his magnificence.

 

Every day a new goodbye as he leaves to go light the world.

The world is envious of him but I bask in his brilliance.

Ever-present though hardly ever seen.

He burns bright, steady while I glow, change.

I guide his way back home.

 

The sun and the moon

Awaken. Awaken with your star-crossed love.

 

-GT

2018 Resolutions!

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Hello, 2018!

Wow, I can’t believe that 2017 is actually over and 2018 is here. So many amazing things happened in my life this past year including: finding help and healing, getting my two fur babies, traveling across the world, and getting engaged! Even though 2017 was full of so much love and adventure, I know 2018 is going to be even better: getting married, turning 21, traveling to Scotland for our honeymoon, graduating college early as a double major, and so much more. This year I wanted my resolutions to truly reflect my desire to soak up every single moment, work hard for my dreams, and to focus on all aspects of my health. So, without further delay, here are my 2018 resolutions:

  1. Live in the moment– I have an incredibly bad habit of wishing away the present in order to fast forward to a future I somehow believe will be better, but the truth is, my present isn’t what I want it to be because I’m not putting in the effort to make it positive. There’s nothing more depressing than constantly wishing that you were somewhere else. This year is going to be one of the best years of my life so I want to soak up every single minute of it and that includes taking breaks from social media, focusing on myself and my family, and finding the positive in the negative situations.
  2. Focus on all aspects of my health- I know one of the stereotypical resolutions is getting fit, losing weight, etc. and there is nothing wrong with these resolutions if you are doing them for the right reasons. For years, I struggled with a toxic body image and it poisoned every aspect of my life. I refused to go out to eat or to any event that I did not know exactly what food would be served, I never took a single bite of what I called “bad foods”, and I overexercised myself every single day. When I met Derek, he truly helped me enjoy life and stop focusing on my body. When I actually started having fun, I ironically started losing all of the weight that I had worked so hard on losing before but never had been able to. Last year, I finally reached my ideal body with the definition, speed, and strength I had always wanted. However, after years of overtraining and unhealthy health habits I had completely burned myself out. I literally took off an entire month of any activity because I was so sick, exhausted, and I lost my former “ideal body”. So this year I want to focus on balancing all aspects of my health: physical and mental. Never sacrifice your joy in life in a desire to reach a fitness goal. Find the balance. If your life starts revolving around the gym and unhappiness sets in, reevaluate and find what’s really important to you.
  3. Be more open- What is it about our current social media-obsessed society that has trained us to only reveal a highly edited version of ourselves to the world while we fail to actually open up to anyone? I used to be one of the most reclusive people I had ever met. However, finding love and genuine friends helped me start breaking through my shell. I still struggle being open sometimes, even with those closest to me. Sometimes its out of fear and sometimes it’s just out of habit. Either way, this year I plan on focusing on being open.
  4. Travel every chance that I have– Being the Traveling Brunette I obviously thrive on traveling. I honestly think that I will go insane if I stay in one place for too long. So this year, I really want to focus on traveling, even if that’s just a weekend trip to the state right next to me. There’s something about even the slightest change of scenery that is truly revitalizing to the soul.
  5. Finally, shower others in love- In 2017, I was full of toxic energy due to constant comparison with others, refusal to release the past, and feelings of jealousy. When you hold onto those toxic energies for so long, it truly poisons your mind and body. I became so sick and it has taken me a long time to recover and for what? What did I actually gain from any of that comparison and refusal to forgive? Absolutely nothing and I never would have. So, this year my final resolution is to finally let go of that negativity and just radiate love. I know it will still be difficult sometimes but honestly it is so unbelievably freeing to love, even if others may not deserve it. Do it for you.

I wish you all the very best of luck with your 2018 resolutions and I can’t wait to share this wonderful new year with you!

Happy New Year, everyone!

-Traveling Brunette