me+cacti

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Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and dating. Enjoy!

My 5 Main Goals in 2019 (New Years Resolutions)

My 5 Main Goals in 2019 (New Years Resolutions)

Hello! Happy New Year (or “frohes neues” in German). Last year, I didn’t write resolutions for myself because I already knew what I wanted to achieve and there was a very clear path of doing that. All I remember from my list was that I wanted to get certified to teach yoga, hit my one-year mark of travel, and move to Berlin. Check ✅check ✅and check ✅!

Since I discontinued my nomadic lifestyle as of July 2018, my lifestyle has been quite different, therefore, my goals are also very different. The main goals I’m working towards this year are:

1) Practice yoga more regularly

2) Read 20 books, minimum

3) Phone off by 10 pm on weeknights (this is not going so well)

4) No alcohol for January…maybe longer?

5) Journaling (both personal / professional)

Goal #1: Do Yoga More Regularly

It’s fun to look back on where I was a year ago. At this time last year, I was in Rishikesh, India halfway through my yoga teacher training.

Since then, I haven’t done much teaching apart from practicing my skillzzz on my own and giving private lessons to friends. It’s likely that I’ll probably stick to giving private lessons for now as I get some form of mild anxiety just at the thought of standing in front of a class of yoga students. (Trying to get over this.*)

I usually just practice on my own in my room taking classes on YouTube or using the site, Yoga International which also offers a 14-day free trial. I originally signed up for the trial and ended up keeping the membership because I think the classes and courses are well-worth it. Plus, there are some really talented and knowledgable teachers on there.

Obviously, there are many health benefits of practicing yoga on the reg. Everyone has their own personal reasons for practicing and I personally start feeling the benefits almost instantaneously. If I practice consistently for even just a few days in a row, I feel more calm throughout the day, more able to handle conflict, and less reactive to trying situations.

I read somewhere that yoga is more a “work-in” than a workout, and I kind of agree with that. Yoga forces me to turn inward and think about things I might be ignoring. I think that’s also why sometimes I don’t feel like practicing because it’s easier to ignore what’s really going on inside my own head. But when I do practice regularly, I notice how beneficial it is for me.

yoga backbend variation

Aside from practicing yoga on my own, I started networking and exploring the yoga scene here in Berlin at the end of last year. I attended a yoga pop up hosted by Berlin Yoga Conference. The conference was started by Anastasia Shevchenko, a dedicated yoga instructor and practitioner who’s been in Berlin since 2013. I met Anastasia at this pop-up event and knew I wanted to get involved somehow with the conference.

And so, I asked if I could be an ambassador and help promote the event! The first-ever international Berlin Yoga Conference will be held on May 24, 25, and 26th of this year. The three-day event will consist of “yoga workshops, mediation sittings, lectures, performances, and multi-media presentations.” If you’re in Berlin and want to attend the conference, then you can also get a 10% discount using the code “STEPH10” at checkout. Link to ticket and conference info can be found here.

Goal #2: Read 20 Books This Year

I have a list of 20 books that I want to complete this year. I started a bunch of books last year that I didn’t quite reach the end of….so I’m counting those on my list (might be cheating, but oh well).

Here’s some that I’m currently in the middle of and/or haven’t started yet:

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

The Decision Book: Fifty Models for Strategic Thinking by Mikael Krogerus

You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero

The Third Door by Alex Banayan

The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

Physical books > digital

Physical books > digital

As you may have noticed, lot of my books are related to productivity and psychology. I feel like I should probably include some easy reads and/or fiction to that list. It would be good to read something that allows me to shut my brain off a bit since some of these are a bit dense. I only listed eight books here, so I still have room for recommendations (leave me some suggestions by commenting at the end of this post).

Goal #3: Phone off by 10 pm and Not on Before 10 am

Last year, I lost my phone over the summer only a month or two in after arriving to Berlin. Not having a phone for an entire month was a rude awakening into my addictive habits toward technology. I wasn’t just addicted to my phone, but to being online in general. With my phone gone, the first thing I would do in the morning would be to open up my laptop and start consuming things immediately.

When I FINALLY got my replacement phone, I tried to use it less. In the beginning, it was going pretty well. I also started using the tracking app, Moment, which tracks your daily screen time and how many times you pick up your phone. It was sometimes an embarrassing amount!

I would tell myself that part of my job as a freelance copywriter is to be in-the-know with technology and social media trends, but I think I started leaning on this excuse too much to support my own overconsumption of Internet memes and overuse of my iPhone.

A lot of people online give tips on productivity and phone addiction, and I’ve noticed that many suggest turning off your phone notifications. I tried this and it didn’t exactly work. And so I ended up turning my phone off completely which has helped a lot, especially when I need to get work done.

Turning off my phone by 10 pm kind of goes hand-in-hand with my goal of reading 20 books this year since I often try to read at night before falling asleep. I finally invested in an actual alarm clock as opposed to just using the one on my phone. I haven’t owned one of those since high school! I’m glad I have it now since it means that the first thing I look at in the morning is no longer my phone. Instead, I usually* wake up to the sweet sound of classical music. (*I say usually but because half the time the station plays German radio ads —also a suitably jarring wake-up call 😏)

Goal #4: No Alcohol for the Month of January…and Beyond?!

I don’t drink much alcohol as it is, so this isn’t much of a challenge for me. In fact, it’s kind of something I just naturally end up doing at the beginning of each year whether I planned on it or not. From November 2017 until April 2018, I didn’t have one sip of the stuff. Even one glass one wine affects my sleep cycle as I end up waking up earlier than normal the next day.

H20 - the way to go

H20 - the way to go

Choosing not to drink during the first month of the year (A.K.A. Dry January) has kind of become a normal, mainstream thing. Drinking was something I did a lot in my early 20s, and I just don’t really enjoy it anymore.

Drinking, however, is always connected with socializing, especially in big cities catered to young working professionals like myself (side note: feels weird to refer to myself as a YWP). This has particularly been the case when it comes to dating.

I don’t typically discuss my love life, even though when I started this blog I thought I would end up dating guys around the world and writing about it. (Did date; didn’t write about it.) Going out for dates, first dates especially, and not consuming alcohol has been an interesting social experiment to say the least. Overall, it’s been pretty okay and the guys are usually understanding and don’t try and force me to drink in most cases. One guy decided not to drink alcohol with me (I think he was trying to make sure I felt comfortable, which was nice of him). I also feel like alcohol often creates a false sense of intimacy and obviously skews your judgement. I think if there’s a connection there, then alcohol isn’t really necessary. We’ll see how long I’m able to keep this up…

Goal #5: Journaling and Daily Scheduling

I don’t know about you, but I hoard journals. I have one for yoga sequences, one for thoughts, a mini one for groceries and random to-dos, several for personal journaling, some half-empty ones that I received for free at events, and a daily planner.

Excessive, I know. How many journals does one really need?

After much trial and error with this, I think the answer is two. One for personal journaling and one as a planner.

Journaling for personal use is something I really like to do, especially when I’m trying to decode my own emotions and feelings or just record something good that happened. I leave it on my bed, next to my pillow so that I can write down any crazy dreams I have first thing in the morning. I’ve also been meaning to try doing Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages exercise which basically helps you clear out your brain and any residual thoughts before you get your day started. I sort of do this already, but not everyday and sometimes not in the morning.

The other thing I started doing to be more productive is to plan my day hour by hour. It sounds a bit intense, but hear me out: If I don’t know what I’m doing each day, then I end up doing a bunch of small random things and spreading my attention pretty thin. I’m the queen on multi-tasking, but I am trying to get better at completing a project in its entirety before starting a new one AKA single-tasking. This is something I’m working on in all areas of life, like not watching Netflix and checking my phone at the same time, not listening to music while taking a yoga class online, not having 50 million tabs open at once.

Daily Planner by Ohh Deer

Daily Planner by Ohh Deer

Having a physical daily planner is something that I highly enjoy. It keeps me real organized and accountable. I found this one in Urban Outfitters by a UK-based company called Ohh Deer and I really like how it’s set up. Granted, I think the lines on the side could be a little wider to accommodate things I’d like to schedule in, but overall it’s pretty good. If you just want to get a plain old lined notebook, that works, too. I did that last year and wrote down everything I was doing for the that day, including the times I would take breaks, workout, eat meals, etc. It’s something that I’ve found really works for me and helps me get work done more efficiently.

Those are my goals/resolutions/whatever you’d like to call them. Aside from those, I have other projects and roles I’m working on…but you’ll have to wait for a later post to find out what those are ;)

What are you working on this year? Is there anything you want help with? Comment below!

xx,

Steph

Jodhpur: Short Guide to India's Beautiful Blue City

Jodhpur: Short Guide to India's Beautiful Blue City