New Year, Same Shoes

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The Holiday Season brings about such blissful times full of family, friends, and deliciously home-cooked meals that unfortunately sends that whole low-carb thing out the window. Along with reflecting on the past year and all it's splendor, or in 2016's case- it's tragedies- we also look ahead at what's to come. While most people lean towards wanting to lose weight for the New Year, call their parents more often, or wake up earlier in the mornings- I'm hoping to do some soul improvement come January 1st. A spiritual makeover if you will, I plan on focusing on my mind and soul this year. If we can change our mindset to be full of good vibes & uplifting thoughts, we can surely do anything. Throw on a pair fabulous shoes, and consider yourself ready for 2017! For the past four years, the Holiday Season usually equated to a month off from school and a validated reason to lie in bed for days on end, watching as many episodes of Scandal I could squeeze into a 24 hour span. Nevertheless, having a big girl job unfortunately marks the end of my days spent under the covers, and the luxury of simply being bored is a thing of the past. Amid all the Holiday madness of spending time with family & friends, shopping all the post-Christmas deals, and recovering from a weekend long sugary sweets fest- I've had little time to go over all that it is I want to accomplish this upcoming year. Nonetheless, I took a few days to contemplate my most pressing weaknesses, and discovered a couple things I'm hoping to improve come 2017!

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1. Unplug. My biggest pet peeve with myself is how attached I am to my cell phone. I have this horrible need to respond to text messages at lightening speed, keep my Instagram feed constantly refreshed, and be forever in the know on all my friends' happenings via their Snapchat Stories. I am your typical basic twenty-two year old who proudly dons the crown of social media queen, while shamefully being the go-to girl for the latest celebrity gossip, never missing a beat.

I'm humiliated when I think about all the times I've been out to dinner and pulled my phone out of my purse just to check on what all the other people in my life are doing at that very moment. The incessant need to feel connected to people across the Internet is the very reason I'm so disconnected to the person across the table.

I'm starting to see that the real thing I'm missing out on is life.

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What I'm going to do: Decrease my social media screen time. I love social media and being a marketing manager by day means it plays a big part in what I do. But that being said, I don't need to take a quick snapshot of where I'm at or a flashy video displaying the group of people that I'm with, just so other people can know I'm having a great time. Can't a girl live a fabulous life without the need to document?! This year, I'm striving to live my life in the present moment- not the social media moments that create this desired approval full of views, likes, and sugary comments. I hope to become the type of person who could forget their phone at home for a weekend away, and not feel like the world as we know it has ended. (This may have happened once, and I 100% turned the car around. *rolling eyes emoji*)  Cleansing my mind is the 2017 goal, and it has got to start with unplugging.

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2. Grow in my faith. Now that I'm officially an adult by all of society's measures- it's time I become an adult in my faith as well. I can no longer hide behind the invisible wall of laziness, throwing excuses to God as to why I can't read my bible or why I can't go to church. "I'm so busy with work, and I'm tired when I get home at night," "I'm always running late in the mornings," or "Other people my age probably aren't either." 

As a Christian, we should never be too busy for God.

It's often an uncomfortable encounter with my conscience at the end of each day where more time was spent on meaningless tasks and insignificant worries than my relationship with Jesus, which in turn provides a shameful blanket of guilt and negligence that snuggles me to sleep. My heart will forever yearn to become closer to Jesus, despite my weak mind sometimes deciding otherwise. But lucky for me- He's laid out the steps for me to do so, with an everlasting promise of love and forgiveness to follow.

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What I'm going to do: Get my priorities straight! In the year 2017, I'm going to make a conscious effort to spend more of my time dwelling in scripture in hopes to grow closer to Jesus. I no longer want to be a lukewarm Christian, who says my prayers at night -giving thanks for my blessings while asking for more- and then calls it a day. I want my relationship with God be something that is forever evolving, becoming contagious to those around me.

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3. Live within my means. This year, I want to become financially-savy in a way that accommodates my paychecks and my needs without overdoing it. Obviously I'm not going to become an extreme-couponer overnight- or ever for that matter- and let's be honest here, my finances are forever going to be a work in progress. But besides that, now is the time to live a lifestyle sans declined debit cards and minimal savings. Financial instability is sooooo 2016.

What I'm going to do: Stop pulling money out of my savings account. I think it's finally time to stop getting overdraft notices, and start getting real with myself. For me, that means it starts with actually having a savings account that doesn't simultaneously serve as a backup checking account.

I lose sleep over the fact that I have more equity in the shoes in my closet & the throw pillows on my couch than I do money in the bank.

If you struggle with this as well, I found that my initial savings contributions were too aggressive and therefore I was unable to make ends meet with the little amount of paycheck I had left. If you try to save more than your budget can handle, you may find yourself just like me- getting too comfortable touching something that should otherwise be known as the "Do Not Touch" account. Even if you can only afford to put $20 each paycheck into savings, own it! You can always increase your savings contribution after adjusting your spending patterns or getting a raise, but forming the habit of leaving your savings account alone will be well worth the smaller deposits. Cheers to the year of learning how to be a financially responsible adult, in a pair of reeeeally fabulous shoes... that were purchased in 2016, I promise!

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The important thing to remember come January 1st is that bettering yourself by forming better habits doesn't happen over night. Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, all successful business women started out having many tearful nights with bills piled up on her countertop covered in chocolate ice cream smudges. Well, at least I imagine that's how most of them started out...

For me, the start of 2017 isn't a shiny new self-activating restart button that has the phrase, "New Year, New Me" written on it, because why would I want to be a new me when the current me is just fabulous, only needing a little fine-tuning now and then. The start of a new calendar year gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year and get excited about our growth in the year to come. I look forward to all the triumphs and challenges this year for all of us, and I can't wait to be inspired!

Cheers to a New Year, and my very favorite reason to wear sparkles!