2017: Questing to Know Myself and Choose Happiness

Christmas is less than a week away, with the New Year skittering close after its heels. Though it might seem a bit early for a resolution-like post, when the mood to write strikes you, you ignore it at your own peril. I say “resolution-like” because I can already tell that I’m not going to have a nice, neat list for of goals I want to accomplish, like I have in the past. Quite frankly, I have one true goal, one resolution. It isn’t a new one, but simply a reaffirmation and a refocusing of something that I always want to strive to achieve. The start of another year is the perfect time to remind myself exactly what I want and how to achieve it.

Happiness and self-love.

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24 is a really weird age. I have more bills than I do fingers. Everything I was “certain” and “planned” to do, I’ve already done, i.e., finish school, go to college and graduate. I’m now in this mixed stage of floundering and survival, where I have goals and dreams, of course, but no longer is my path set in stone like it was whilst I was still in school. Now, more than ever, I have a lot of control in not how how my life is lived, but where my priorities lie, how my time is spent, how my values rank and where I want to steer my life.

That is both liberating and terrifying.

And on an average day, I’m pretty content. I currently average roughly 55-60 hours a week between working two jobs. One job lets me scrape by paying my bills. The other job is strictly going into savings, all of it to be used as funding for my trip to London in the fall with my Mom (and I can already tell you that trip is going to be the highlight of 2017). I’m lucky that I enjoy both jobs and the people that I work with. And though it turns into long days, I’m glad that I am being more proactive, even if my downtime has been cut down and my anxiety of never completing my To-Do List has risen because of it.

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I have two goals to help maximize my happiness surrounding my work life: stay more on top of my finances and create a weekly routine and goal list, and stick with it. I need to order a box of checks (considering the last time I bought checks was in middle school) and get a fresh balance sheet for both my checking and savings account and then form a solid habit of tracking what I spend and earn. I get easily stressed about money. And though I know I’m doing fine–I could definitely be struggling more–this stress certainly takes a hit at my overall happiness. If I was more aware of what was going on with my bank account, I think my stress of not having enough would definitely lessen. Plus, this isn’t a bad habit to form in any sense.

I also want to create a routine/schedule that I follow Monday through Friday, probably pretty rigidly. On top of two jobs, I also have freelance editing work, an internship and two free 14-week online classes over Tolkien to balance. And we’re not even factoring in normal health routines (showering, eating, etc.), my personal writing or editing, or my commitment to working out. Life is busy. And I get pretty bummed when I get into writing funks or don’t go to the gym or don’t read for a few days and I know it’s simply because I haven’t managed my time properly. So this week, I plan to map out a schedule that I stick to, with work and eating and things, and a weekly goal list of other things I’d like to accomplish not at a set time; and tape both up by my calendar, so I see them every day. By staying on top of everything during the week, my weekends will be guilt-free days for general laziness, video games or socializing (if this soul stuck in a work cave can actually navigate back to the sunlight that is having a life).

I’m also happiest when I’m writing. Not only writing, but writing consistently. If anything positive came out of 2016, it is definitely that I learned that no matter how busy I am, I can always make time to write and when I do, the results are stunning. I have a lot of projects I need to edit and new ones I want to write next year (but that will be a separate blog post, coming your way soon). These past two months, any excuse I’ve found to not put writing first, I’ve used. There’s no better time than January 1st to recommit to my craft and fall in love with writing again.

Speaking of falling in love, that’s also something I wouldn’t mind doing–both with someone else and with myself. But I can only control one of those and that is my attitude towards myself. Which, honestly, is my biggest focus for 2017–even more so than writing, which shows you how serious I am about this. The biggest way I know I can help myself learn to love myself fully is to pick up working out regularly again. During the fall, I ran for five weeks straight and it felt amazing. And even with so little time, I saw how much my body was changing and I loved it. I could look in the mirror and not cringe (compared to the four weeks after that spurt where every time I pass the mirror, I try to avoid catching my reflection). Even if my body wasn’t changing, I generally just feel happier, more accomplished and proud on days where I work out compared to days that I don’t. This week, I bought a pass to the gym–another sign of how serious of a commitment this is to me, because that pass, while I can afford, I can barely do so. It’s right across the street from where I live and I can squeeze in a workout in-between jobs. So after the holidays, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Every day you have the opportunity to grow and make the decision to become a happier version of yourself. You aren't the same person as you were yesterday. Who are you choosing to be today?  Tag a friend  /// Get the best happy quotes from the week delivered to your email. Link to sign up in my profile. via @angela4design by @happsters:

Of course, then there’s all the little things I hope to do throughout the year. Like rebuild my wardrobe to reflect my personality and style better. Get one or two more tattoos before London. Read a lot more books. Amp up my blog commitments to the three blogs that I contribute to and/or run. Query by the summer. Get my haircut regularly. After London, depending on the job, financial and timing situations, I want to look into renting my first little house, save up for a puppy and potentially getting back into the dating scene, if I’m not in it already. Do more weekend roadtrips. Collect more nerdy decor for whatever home I’m in. Find a single job that’s full-time.

And on and on and on and on…

Basically, for 2017, though this phrasing is going to make it sound pretentious, selfish or even potentially arrogant, I want it to be a year about me. Not in the I’m-the-center-of-the-universe-watch-me-flaunt-it kind of way, but in the I-recognize-my-own-value-and-worth-and-am-putting-that-first kind of way. I’m looking to grow, to discover and explore my own personality, to improve yet also be content with exactly the person I’ve crafted myself to be. Because if there was any time in my life where I had control to be exactly who I wanted and shape myself to be exactly the person I desire to be, the time is now. And I’d love your support along the way. 🙂

Wrap-Up List:

  • Start balancing checkbook regularly.
  • Create a weekly routine and stick with it.
  • Recommit to writing goals and stick with them.
  • Workout for 45 minutes 5 days a week.
  • Take care of me.

Well look at that. Apparently I came up with a goals list, after all.

Any goals, mindset changes, reaffirmations or new risks that you’d like me to cheer you on regarding? Hit me up in the comments about what these are and exactly how I can best support you and let’s hit 2017 with grins, positivity and the determination to not only love ourselves, but also change the freakin’ world.

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

7 responses to “2017: Questing to Know Myself and Choose Happiness

  • Sprinkle of Surprise

    love this!! i can so relate! just turned 24 last month and life is odd ha!
    great goals for 2017! check out my reflective 2016 post as well: https://sprinkleofsurprise.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/2016-a-recap/

    • Nicole Evans

      Isn’t it, though? 24 is such a weird age. Thank you! 2016 was definitely a rollercoaster ride for you, it sounds like. But I hope 2017 brings many blessings, new adventures and more weddings for you to go to. 😛

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  • oliviajensik

    I can ABSOLUTELY relate to this as a fellow 24 year old. I couldn’t have put it better myself – it’s as if all of a sudden, I don’t have a clear path of what to do with my life now that college is completed. And while that freedom is exciting, it’s also terrifying!!

    One suggestion I do have – I’m in the same boat as you, trying to (once again) resolve myself to a steady workout schedule. A trainer at my gym said the other day – “Have you ever actually written down your long-term health goals?” It makes so much sense to do so, even though many of us just have this idea in our head about wanting to be “healthier”. I took his advice and started long-term – with my goal of where I want my body to be in 10 years, and worked backwards. When I got all the way down to where I want to be next month, it seemed so much more manageable. Before I was just thinking – I want to lose XX pounds in X months. And now, rather than thinking “I hope I haven’t gained a lot of weight in 10 years”, I have a written plan showing exactly where I want my body and fitness to be when I’m 34. Think about doing this yourself! Even if you end up tossing the first few plans until you find the one that fits you best 🙂

    • Nicole Evans

      That is a really neat idea as far as figuring out your goals and realizing the baby steps you’re taking to get there are actually achievable. I may have to try this! Can’t wait for our catch-up sesh. ❤

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