Twenty-twenty and beyond has been a time of lessons and self-discovery for me. The last of my three children moved out making me an “official” empty nester. I fell in love. I quit drinking. I started working on my weight problem and my food addictions, but more importantly, I started working on my mindset and dealing with my past.
Full disclosure, there has not been a legitimate “therapist” involved in my evolution thus far. I’ve been working through these things on my own through the use of books and workbooks. I’m sure that having a therapist would have sped up the process but I couldn’t financially make it happen, so I did what I could with what I had. And what I could do, was check out books from the library, listen to audio books, and purchase books that I thought would be helpful.
For me, the key was not just deep diving into everything I could get my hands on, although, my better half might say otherwise. They key was to figure out where I was going and decide what I needed to get there.
Much like taking on a craft project, or helping your child with their science project or deciding that you want to build a bookshelf from a pinterest post, you have to know where you are heading so you can build your shopping list and decide what tools you will need.
When I started my journey in sobriety, I was lucky in that the only tool I needed was to not pick up the first drink. I’ve never been a “blow off steam” drinker or a “I had a rough day” drinker. I was always a “good time Charlie” kind of drinker. I refused to drink away a bad day or to drink when I was stressed. I think growing up in a family of alcoholics, I had convinced myself that if I only drank to have fun and when I was happy that I was somehow NOT an alcoholic. Over time, I realized that was false. My alcohol consumption and addiction was much like my sugar consumption and addiction, if I didn’t start, I would be fine. It was only after that first drink that I would go to total hell with the joke and drink myself into a blackout state, but only after a few rounds behind the karaoke microphone.
When I started my wellness journey, I had no idea what tools I needed. I was pretty knowledgeable about food and supplements. I had no idea about portion control and if I had thought for one second about creating my own “workout” routine, I would have become so overwhelmed, I likely would have reached for the ice cream instead of the weights. But, I saw LOTS of people online taking their wellness into their own hands. So, through trial and lots of error, I figured out what wasn’t going to work for me and then I finally decided that I needed to make a list of what I needed to find that would work for me. I needed to find a nutritionist. I needed to find a personal trainer. I needed to find someone to hold me accountable. If you follow me on social media, then you know that I ended up finding all the tools I need in one place and ended up becoming a partner in wellness with the company that saved my life, quite literally.
When I started my mental health and personal development journey, when I looked at where I wanted to go, I knew I wanted to grow into confidence. I wanted to grow into positivity & have a generally optimistic disposition that was genuine and not a lie. I knew I wanted to feel good about the body I was in no matter how many extra pounds I was carrying around. I knew I wanted to get over my fear of public speaking. I knew I wanted to be able to enjoy my life regardless of how much money I had or whether my life was “perfect.” So I made a list of all those things and I sought out professionals who were addressing them. I read books by Mel Robbins, Ed Mylett, Romi Neustadt, Jeb Blount, Kate White & Rachel Hollis, just to name a few. And when I found books that had actual “assignments,” I took them seriously and worked through them and you know what? It helped.
Have I reached all of my goals? Hell no. The only one I have perfected is sobriety. All the rest, I am still a work in progress. But, I can honestly say if I had not perfected the first one, none of the rest would have even gotten started.
I say all that to say, you have to know what you want your finished product to look like so you know what tools you need. And if you aren’t sure where to find those tools or if you can’t identify what they even are, I encourage you to reach out to someone you admire or someone who seems to have a pretty firm grip on the kind of life you want to create for yourself and ask them what they would suggest.
My life is not perfect, but I am perfectly happy in it. My wish for you as you go into the new year is to really take a look at what you want 2023 to look like for you and figure out what tools you need to get there and just do it!
Leap. The net will appear!