Happy New Year everyone! 2017 has faded into a new year, 2018.

2018 has started off fairly hectic with a day of traveling to my parent’s home in Key West.

While in actuality the transition from December 31st to January 1st is just like any other transition to a new day, I think it offers us something special. I look at it as a chance to reflect on the passage of time over a year and what exactly we have left behind.

“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever. In its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”

Well, 2017 is now gone and I’m sure we all hope we have left something good behind. The New Year can be, for some, looked at as a checkpoint in our life to see where we are in our journey. What have we accomplished and what are we looking forward to accomplishing? Some people set resolutions for the New Year, others implement lifestyle changes and have goals of all sizes throughout the year. Whatever we do, the passage of one year into the next for one reason or another is a special time.

I was driving down to my friend Sam’s house on I5 in Washington a couple weeks ago on a beautifully clear and crisp Pacific Northwest day. I was surrounded by mountains in all four cardinal directions—Mt. Rainier to the South; Mt. Baker to the North; the Cascades to the East and the Olympics to the West. It was one of those days that makes you happy simply because you are alive and know you are exactly where you should be. Here are the thoughts that I had on that drive that sum up my reflection for 2017 and my life up to this point.

I think when you’re really genuine to yourself about what is important to you, and you pursue your passions and identify them, then I think your dreams can and do come true. And then you’ll end up like me, driving down the road in your favorite place in the world, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and it hits you that you currently have everything you’ve ever dreamed of. And now you get the exciting task of finding new dreams to pursue within the life you’ve made for yourself.

2017 has been a really big year for me. I graduated (finally!) after 6 years at Virginia Tech with two degrees in Biology and Geology. I moved back to Washington after a three-week road trip across the country—driving through 14 states and staying in seven National Parks. I joined, and became an ambassador for, the incredible hiking community Mountain Chicks, which has easily changed my life in many ways. I’ve hiked almost every weekend in my favorite state in the US, made countless hiking friends, and two new best friends. I met and fell in love with Sean and being in such a healthy and incredibly loving relationship has changed my life. We will be moving in together at the end of January, which is a big deal but also feels like the simplest and most natural step in the world. My relationships with my parents and siblings are stronger than ever and despite a 10-year difference, my sister and I are finally close. I have applied to four incredible graduate schools to pursue a Ph.D. in Geology and am anxiously, and of course optimistically, awaiting responses.

So, in almost all areas of my life that are of the upmost importance to me—family, career, pursuit of passions, relationships, friends, love of outdoors, spirituality—I have been given or achieved everything I have dreamed of and more. I have accomplished my goals and almost cannot stand how grateful I am for where I am currently in my life.

But there is another area. An area that, in the pursuit of my passions and goals and hopes and dreams, has fallen to the side. An area that is, likely, going to be the most difficult for me.

This brings me to…

2018 – The Year of Wellness

I have, for a long time, been in an on-again off-again relationship with wellness. Over the past six years while in college, I have either not paid enough attention to my wellness and overall well-being or I just let it all slide. It also doesn’t help that I have an outrageous sweet-tooth that is truly an out-of-control sugar/carbs addiction. I’ll run a half marathon and then not really run for five years. I’ll go gluten free and then I’m back on the wagon shoveling massive amounts of carbohydrates into my pie hole. I’ll go on a healthy living challenge (on three separate occasions) and then you guessed it…GET ALL THE SUGAR EVERYWHERE INTO MY BODY.

But it’s time for change and I’m finally ready to commit to it. I’ve read that in order to have lasting change, you have to find something you want more than what you are changing from. I’m tired of hating my body and feeling out of shape and heavy, like the real me is wearing a body suit. I’m also exhausted. I remember having so much more energy than I do now. When I try to run around with my kid cousins I can’t keep up and have to stop playing. I’m tired of not feeling like myself. I want a change. And I mean I really want it. More than I want sugar. More than I want to watch one more episode.

I want to feel healthy again. I never want to limit my dreams because I’m not physically fit enough to accomplish them.

Now, my plans for 2018 are NOT about me losing weight and getting thinner because that won’t make me happy. If you never change the negative perception of yourself, then no matter your size you will never be happy. Wellness is about much, MUCH more than just your outward appearance. Regardless of weight or size or appearance, we should love ourselves.

I think it is very important to be thorough in the why behind your goal. What is it you hope to accomplish? Why are you implementing change in your life? I am going for lifestyle changes in areas like nutrition, fitness, mental health (looking at you stress, you low-lying sneaky bastard). There are so many important reasons I am focusing on my wellness this year that go beyond my weight or physical appearance.

I want to have enough energy for life in general! To really live. This is the one chance I have at this life. There is so much I want to do in life and I am at the age where being physically fit allows me to do anything I could dream of. Climb that mountain? Sure! Walk for 93 miles around Mt. Rainier carrying everything I need on my back? You bet. Kayak across the Puget Sound in my foldable kayak? WHY NOT?! (These are just a few of my goals/ideas for 2018).

Stay tuned for more posts on wellness and my 2018 plans! You can also check out the sidebar for what I’m looking forward to, which are my big plans for the year!