When people hear about personal growth or following someone to become a better version of themselves, many times it's viewed with skepticism. Why do you need to grow? What's wrong with the way you are? I couldn't know it then, but I freely admit and shout from the rooftops now, "I DRANK THE KOOLAID!" The person I'm meant to be is in progress. I'm learning and growing with each passing day.
Two years ago a little known woman, Rachel Hollis, began #last90days. It was an activity to change the way we saw the last 90 days of the year. Why begin the first 90 days strong when you just finished the year in utter chaos? She gave tips and tricks to start the journey with intention. I had just received devastating news in July and was spiralling downward.
The main goal was creating a routine with 5 daily habits. How hard could that be?
1. Drink 1/2 your body weight in oz. of water
2. Wake up an hour earlier each morning
3. Give up one category of food for 30 days
4. Move your body for 30 minutes everyday
5. Practice active gratitude.
I began drinking my water, waking up 30 minutes earlier (not a morning person so this seemed like a win), doing a yoga flow every morning, and writing down my gratitude for the day. I will admit I never gave up a food category. Day after day I had these things in my mind and would robotically complete them. Of course there came a time when I fell off the wagon for several days. When this happened, I felt out of sorts and began again the next day. I didn't pay attention to the day, it could be a Monday or a Thursday. When that out of sorts feeling came, I hopped back on quickly. The old me would have stuck with this for a week, max, then gone back to the way I was before.
Looking back I think this gave me a sense of control when I didn't have any. My mom's stage 4 cancer diagnosis had thrown me. There was absolutely nothing I could do for her. This small thing I had control over. This activity has changed my life in so many ways.
I continued this practice through the New Year while adding her New Year, Do You activities. I wasn't always consistent and stopped many times, but I was never hard on myself during this period. My life would get a bit chaotic and I would turn back to the practices. I held on to them.
In one of Rachel's podcasts, videos, or emails she spoke about needing this practice not for when times were easy, but when times were hard. These habits would be beneficial in your life when it all seems out of control. How very true she was. The 5 daily habits (4 for me) continued through 2018 - 2019 when I needed it the most. These were things I held on to when I was grieving my mother. I would automatically get out of bed and hit the treadmill. It was a habit that forced me to start my day. My depression did not hit as hard because 1. I was not allowing myself to stay in bed and wallow and 2. I was moving my body which helped produce endorphins.
As I was on an outdoor walk/jog the other day, I was thinking about the different inspirational /motivational things both Rachel and her husband, Dave, say. I recently have begun working myself back to my old running days. My time sucks, but I'm working on improving it. I will jog until a certain landmark I randomly pick depending on how tired I am before I take a walking break. This day I picked my landmark and passed it up. I wasn't ready to slow down. I picked a 2nd landmark. I passed it too. Finally at the 3rd landmark I began my walk recovery before jogging again. I began to think about pushing yourself. You won't know how far you can go until you push yourself out of the comfort zone.
How did this practice and the ones that followed help me? In so many ways. First and foremost, I am not settling. There were always dreams on my heart, but I never did anything to chase them, they were always 'what ifs' in the back of my mind. I am actively working to achieve them now.
Some of the things I have accomplished by pushing myself to grow:
1. I am grieving my mom without falling into a deep depression (I have depressive tendencies.)
2. I self published my debut novel, Naive in Love.
3. I created an author website.
4. I started a blog.
5. I travelled to a growth conference alone (Click to read about my experience).
6. I have made wonderful friends on IG (past me: as an introvert I stalked, but would never engage).
7. I am #bookstagramming
And we are here again. October 1st marks the last 90 days of this year. Later this month will mark the one year anniversary of my mother's passing. It also marks the 3rd year I have been working on this practice. That's right. I'm working. Even though I consider it a habit, it is very easy to change tendencies and fall back into unhealthy habits. I am embracing these habits because I want to continue the growth. Continue making my mother proud. Continue modeling healthy habits for a soon to be 14 year old daughter.
I would not be where I am if I had not drank the kool aid. Whether it is 'everything happens for a reason' or 'finding meaning in everything that happens' I am grateful the stars aligned two years ago.