My 2016 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year, lovelies! 

I hope your 2016 is starting off full of health and happiness. 

Here we are almost one full week into the new year and I am just now taking time to make my goals for the year. I actually think it’s a good idea to wait a few days into the new year before cementing your resolutions. You need time for the newness of the year to wear off a bit and reality to set in. It’s so easy to get hyped up on December 31st and make resolutions that, in reality, you won’t keep. Then you feel bad when you can’t complete your unreasonable resolutions. One week ago I was resolving to cut my hair short, dye it purple, and run a marathon before May. Now, I have settled down a bit and have compiled a list of reasonable goals that will help me improve myself and my quality of life in 2016. 
SIDE NOTE: When you make your own resolutions do not be afraid to add, subtract, or change goals as you see fit. If you are working towards a goal and realize you need to change it to most benefit yourself, then do it. These are your goals.  Don’t eliminate or change a goal just because you are tired and don’t feel like trying anymore. If you think a goal is unrealistic then switch it out for something more attainable but still challenging. 

Ok, without further ado…here are my 2016 new year’s resolutions. 

1.  Read 15-20 books. This is one carried over from last year. I read about 10-15 books last year so only half of my goal. I read a lot of online newspapers,  blogs, and magazines but I want to set aside more time to read actual books. 

2. Complete a Tone It Up fitness challenge. I’m a Tone It Up girl! Are you?  I’ve been following the Tone It Up nutrition and fitness plan for about 4 years now and it is life changing. It helped me get into great shape for my wedding and the nutrition plan helped reduce my migraines and completely eliminate my stomach issues. Plus, there is a huge community of women who are all here to support each other. If you want to check it out you can visit their website HERE. Every year they have  a bunch of free challenges so my goal is to complete one. They have one going on right now if you’re interested. I also have a separate Instagram for Tone It Up and fitness in general. Follow me @liveloveandtiu. 

3. Volunteer at least once a month. I really want to get involved with the House Rabbit Society and volunteer with them at least monthly. Do you have any suggestions of other good places to volunteer? Let me know in the comments!

4. Create more great content for you. This year I want to take my blog, Instagram, and Youtube channel to the next level. I am already working on a brand new blog website that will hopefully be ready soon. I’m also planning out a new filming and editing set up for my YouTube channel.  Let me know in the comments if there are any specific video requests you have and I will try my best to make those happen. I can’t wait to share amazing content with you in 2016!

5. Take a class…or two. I love learning new skills and I think continuing education is good for everyone. Last year I took an American Sign Language class which I absolutely loved. This year I would like to take another ASL class and maybe something else. French? Photography? French Photography!? 




6. Try a new hairstyle. I’ve been rocking these straight, long locks for about a year and a half. It’s time to spice it up with a new cut and maybe color. 

7. Cook more. This year I want to set aside more time to cook and try new healthy recipes. Someone requested I make healthy recipe videos for my YT channel so I will definitely share those with you. 

8. Write more…with my actual hands. In this age of technology we don’t really even need to get out a pen and paper to write things down. I was recently looking at some old notebooks of mine and I noticed that my hand writing used to be so pretty. Now, it’s a jumbled mess because I hardly ever have to actually write things down. This year I want to handwrite in my journal, notes to friends, to-do lists…anything to get me hand writing things again. 

9. Stay connected with far away friends and family.  This year I want to make more of an effort to Skype, Facetime, text, and send cards to my family and friends who live far away. Sometimes it’s hard to manage different schedules and time zones but I really want 2016 to be the year that we stay connected better. 

10. Participate in my local community. This year I want to explore my local community and take a more active role. I would like to attend more community events, network with people, and participate in the local culture. This can also tie into my goal to volunteer more. I also want to explore the local nature and get outdoors more. 


What are you new year’s resolutions or goals? Let me know in the comments section below or on any of my social media sites. 

Cheers to an amazing 2016!

Courtney

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5 Easy Ways To Become A Runner

Hate running? You are not alone, my friend. I have loathed running for many years and always said it “just isn’t for me.”This year as part of my “30 Before 30” (see original post here) I decided to challenge myself to run a race. Originally I set the bar very low and said I just wanted to complete a 10k. Well, in January I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in Denver with my best friend, Annie. She is doing her own 30 Before 30 challenge and has 1/2 marathon on her list. So in just 3 short months I will head to Denver, CO and attempt to run 13.1 miles. Eeek!

I would not say that I have fallen in love yet with running but over these past 2-3 months I have learned a few things that might help someone who also dislikes running but wants to give it a try.

Here are 5 easy ways to start becoming a runner:

1. Confront Emotional Barriers.
In order to complete any goal you must look at potential emotional barriers in your way. I never felt like I was athletic enough to be a runner. It was a case of lowered self-esteem. I say “lowered” because I don’t have low self-esteem in general but I think we all have those things that make us feel down on ourselves. I also worried that I would fail or embarrass myself. You have to acknowledge your emotional barriers and make a conscious choice to set them to the side where they belong. You may even use self talk to motivate you past these barriers. The most popular form of self talk would be giving yourself daily affirmations.

2. Do Strength Training & Stretching
If you have a strong core, butt, and legs it makes running much easier. I attend a weekly Piyo (pilates/yoga fusion) class which has really strengthened my thighs, glutes, and core. Piyo also helps firm your booty and who doesn’t want that?! I also recommend you stretch very well the night before a run and also right before running. Consider doing a 20 minute yoga routine each day. There are a ton of yoga routines you can find on YouTube.

3. Make A Great Music Playlist
You know those songs that makes you jump out of you seat and dance? Add them. Make a playlist filled with your favorite hits. I like to add songs that I know I’ll never skip. I also like to add some songs that have motivational lyrics so when I hit mile 3 and I want to stop I have someone literally yelling in my ear to “Don’t stop. Get it. Get it…..You can do it put you back into it.” That’s just an example from a  90’s Ice Cube song but you get the idea.

4. Set Markers
Make small goals to complete and then when you complete it just keep going. It sounds a bit insane to say to yourself, “Ok, I’ll just run to that tree and then I can walk.” but when you get to the tree you just keep going. It’s insane but it works. I like to challenge myself to run until the next song comes on. Then when the next song comes on I challenge myself to run for 2 more minutes and so on. This is the thing that has helped me the most. I always feel successful after a run because I have complete so many mini-goals. It’s great!

5. Start Walking
You have to start some place. There is this woman I have seen on the street in front of my house. She walks a 3 mile loop everyday from 3-4pm. She has been doing this for at least a year. A few months ago I noticed that she was jogging in between spurts of walking. That’s the way to do it. Start walking and then build up to walking and jogging a little. Then walk and jog a lot. Then walk, jog, and run!

So those are my top 5 tips to start running based on my own personal experience. I may update or add to this list as I continue on my own journey into running. Let me know in the comments section your tips or advice. You can also contact me with your tips at the social media links below.

Have a great day!

Other places to find me:
Instagram: https://instagram.com/courtney.val/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/courtneywval
Blog: http://www.imperfectpearl.blogspot.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/courtneywval/
Email: courtneywval@gmail.com

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30 Before 30 Challenge

Hello there!

I have decided to challenge myself to something a little crazy. While searching for birthday items for my husband’s 30th  I can across a lot of “30 before 30” pins on Pinterest. Many of the ideas related to a birthday scavenger hunt or 30-beer birthday cake but I have something else in mind.
I decided to make a list of 30 things I want to complete over the next year before I turn 30. Not only will this adventure be really fun and inspiring I think it will take the sting out of turning the big 3-0.

This past Sunday (Nov, 9th) I officially turned 29 so the challenge has begun. I had planned to have this post up on Sunday but life got hectic and that just didn’t happen.

On to the challenge….

Here are 20 of the goals on my list. I have a full set of 30 goals in mind but I want to leave a little wiggle room in case I get inspired or want to change something. After all, this is my challenge so I can do what I want. Ha!

I will be documenting this journey through this blog, Instagram, Twitter, and my YouTube channel. See below for all the links to follow me.

THE LIST:

1. Get Certified Medical Interpreter’s License
2. Reach 3,000 YouTube subscribers.
3. Read 30 Books in the next year
4. Run a 10k.
5. Start learning French.
6. Visit a new city.
7. Teach Luna (my bunny) 1 trick.
8. Write someone a letter every month.
9.  Vlog (video blog)  for 30 days
10. Invest in a better video/photo camera and lighting set-up.
11. Upgrade blog and buy domain.
12. Pay off my car.
13. Go Skydiving.
14. Go to a concert
15. Volunteer
16. Master 5 recipes
17. Take one photo a day for a year.
18. Make Christmas cards and send them out
19. Take care of dental work I have been avoiding.
19. Stay up all night and watch the sunrise.
20. Make and stick to self-care plan.

Thank you for joining me on this journey! If you have tried something like this before I would love your advice.

Follow Me Here:
Instagram: @courtney.val
Twitter: @courtneywval
Youtube: Courtney Val

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My Journey Into Running

Recently I have been thinking about the things I am afraid to do. Or rather, goals that feel too difficult to achieve. I used to be such a risk taker. I would experiment and put my ideas out there confidently. Looking back I think I was young and didn’t care if someone criticized me. Now I often see risks as moves that could create new opportunities or destroy them. Then I came across this quote:

“In order to fly you have to create space in the open air so that your wings can really spread out. It’s like a parachute. They only work from a high altitude. To fly you have to begin taking risks. If you don’t want to, maybe the best thing is just to give up, and keep walking forever.”
― Jorge BucayDéjame que te cuente

Oh, Jorge you are so wise.

This quote speaks to me in so many ways but the analogy of  “walking forever” hits
particularly sensitive nerve because I have a slight fear of running. I know. It does not make complete sense to me either. Especially since I have ran an couple outdoor 5Ks before and survived. They were slightly traumatic experiences for me on the inside but I just ran my little heart out and tried not to let the panic show on my face.

When I break it down there really is nothing to fear. I should just move my feet and…just..go. So I guess the movement part is not what I fear but the possible failure part. I know that every runner starts out slow and through practice becomes better. I am just not sure I would ever get much better. I also do not like running which makes me feel awful. I always feel I should like running because so many people I know love to run. They all rant about beating personal records and chasing that “runner’s high.” So I feel bad not loving to run. It makes me feel like I will never truly be in shape or healthy if I don’t learn to run well. A small part of me does want to enjoy running because it is good exercise and (from what I hear) good for emotional health. Don’t get me wrong I do run sometimes at the gym but it is always begrudgingly and I have yet to run farther than 3 miles at a time (with walk breaks).

The logical part of my brain tells me I have identified a clear problem I want to overcome so now I just need to come up with a solution.

Solution: Run?  I guess there really isn’t any other way around it.  Maybe if I back up and start from the very beginning I can get a better idea of where I am going wrong. So maybe I should run but with a plan. Start slow and make small goals. I am going to start by running 1/2 mile and then when I feel good emotionally and physically move up to 1 mile and so on. The biggest part of my goal is tied to how I feel emotionally when I run. I want to work towards eliminating my anxiety around running.

The journey begins now and hopefully this is just the beginning of reaching one of the many goals I have.

If anyone reading this is a runner I would love your advice/words I can say to myself when the panic hits. 😉

Thanks for being here!

Places to find me:
Twitter: @imperfectperla
YouTube: www.youtube.com/TheImperfectpearl
Instagram: cbwright
Email: cwlinguistics@gmail.com

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New Year Resolutions!

Happy New Year!

As a chronic list maker, goal setter, and just planner in general I get excited when the new year comes around because it means I get a fresh start to set new goals. I wanted to share with you today the things I’ve learned over the past few years about making goals or new year resolutions and successfully achieving them.

1.Make easy goals.
When I say easy I mean ridiculously easy. Think of goals that you are 100% sure you can achieve. I believe that by making and completing easy goals, you give yourself momentum to tackle larger goals. For example, one of my goals is to simply hang up my coat and purse everyday instead of draping them over the couch.

2.Use the buddy system.
Accountability is a proven method used to reach and maintain goals. Ask a friend to join you at the gym a couple times a week or volunteer at a soup kitchen. You can also come up with goals together and encourage each other throughout the process. Send each other motivational text messages or emails once a week as a reminder that you are still there for them and working towards the goal.

3.Reward yourself.
Just like  #1 make the reward very simple at first. Don’t make your first reward of the year a brand new pair of Jimmy Choo heels. Start off with something small like a new lipstick or magazine. It is also best to space out rewards. Once you have completed a goal go ahead and reward yourself but then increase the difficulty of the goal and the length between rewards.

4. Do a little every day.
Over the past 4 months I have been trying very hard to break my habit of procrastinating. I have done a really good job too and the way I have been accomplishing this is by taking a goal and breaking it up into daily tasks. It is not a new concept that doing small parts of a larger task each day will help you complete the task with less stress. It is, however a hard concept to put into place. One goal I made a few months ago was to keep the house more organized and tidy.

I used to let my laundry and house cleaning pile up until it was complete chaos. Then I would have to dedicate an entire day or two just to cleaning up those messes. Now I try to clean a little every single day so I don’t have to waste my weekend with a dust rag in my hand.  I also like to use the 60 second rule.  If something will take 60 seconds or less to clean up I do it right then instead of leaving it for later.

This same idea can be applied to a new year resolution. Think of some 60 second tasks you can do each day to work towards your goal.

5.Write it down.
We are all so busy it is possible to simply forget about a goal. So, writing down your goals and keeping them in sight will help remind you. Try writing them on a post-it note and sticking it to your mirror or on a colorful piece of paper you hang on your fridge. I like to sometimes set an alarm on my phone with a single word or phrase that reminds me of a goal I’ve made. (ex. Take Vitamin) This year I am going to try journaling again. It is a great way to check in with yourself for a few minutes every night and process your feelings from the day. Through this process you can track the progress of your current goals and you may even discover some new goals.

I hope these tips help you achieve whatever goals you are making this new year.

Here are some of the goals I am making this new year:

~Hang up coat and purse in the proper place everyday. (Remember Tip #1)

~Journal everyday or at least every week

~Volunteer in some capacity

~Strengthen yoga practice

~Run a race

~Experiment with new recipes

~Pass Medical Interpreter Certification Exams

~Work on new content for this blog. (Maybe more videos!?)

~Find joy every day in the small things

~Be happy and healthy!

What are your resolutions or goals for this new year? Comment below, tweet me @imperfectperla, or follow me on instagram (@liveloveandtiu) and comment on my new years post.

I wish you all a very successful year.

Peace,

C

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Monday Motivation Through Mindfulness

Maybe I am alone here but Mondays are when I feel the most motivated. It’s a weekly chance at a fresh start. Every Monday I like to make a list of attainable goals for the week.  Checking things off this list is very therapeutic for me so I always include some small things like “take mail to post office” or “do load of laundry.” Completing those little mundane tasks motivates me to tackle the bigger things on my list. Monday is also the day when I try to get myself pumped for the week. I do this by seeking out inspirational quotes, affirmations, or doing some mindfulness practice. 

The practice of mindfulness is a great way to feel motivated and inspired.  Essentially mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your surroundings in the present moment. When we are mindful we take in each moment and cherish it for what is it. The more we bring our focus to the present moment the more we can clearly set our intentions and enjoy the day. 
Here is a quick mindfulness exercise you can try for better focus. 
1. Stop what you are doing and just sit still for a moment. 
2. Take a few deep breathes and each time you inhale imagine the air starting from the tips of your toes and moving up your spinal cord all the way to the top of your head. As you exhale imagine the air coming into your body and flowing down your back, reaching every organ. You can also imagine when you are exhaling you are pushing out all negative thoughts and when you inhale you are pulling in positive thoughts and intentions. 
3. Now, open your eyes if they were closed and look at the objects immediately surrounding you. Really take notice of your surroundings. Give each object a few moments of your attention. 
4. Then pull your focus back on yourself. Really notice yourself and pay attention to your physical and mental being. 
5. Traditional mindfulness practice might leave it here but I like to use this focus I’ve created to set my intentions. I also give myself some positive affirmations and smile. The simple act of smiling can greatly improve your mood. 
Here are some mindfulness quotes that really inspire me.
“Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.” 
― Marcus Aurelius 

“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility. ” 
― Victoria Moran

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” 
―Thích Nhat Hanh


“You actions are your only true belongings.” 
―Allan Lokos 

“We use mindfulness to observe the way we cling to pleasant experiences & push away unpleasant ones.” 
―Sharon Salzberg 
Have a great day and don’t forget to smile, 
C
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