Out with the old and in with the new (year)!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The hubs, fluffy white scarf, and I ready to ring in 2012!
I'm a little obsessed with the Instagram app on my iPod Touch

Happy New Year, kiddos! (about 3 days too late). I hope that everyone rang in the new year safely and happily. I personally entered the year 2012 standing in one of the city’s busiest, most popular college bars surrounded by boys with popped collars and girls wearing sparkly mini dresses that showed more skin than actual fabric. There I was, standing in the middle a sticky, beer-soaked floor in my fluffy white scarf and sensible shoes, looking at pictures of my friend’s baby on her digital camera while trying to avoid being touched by the couple dry-humping next to me. My, my how times have changed. 

About ten minutes after midnight, Clay and I started yawning and excused ourselves.  

When did we get so old?

But in our defense, we had a pretty eventful day leading up to our final NYE excursion at one of our local watering holes.

That morning I had my final run of 2011 which ended up being far more laborious and sloppy than I intended. I really wanted to go out with a bang, but tightness in my hips and a sore groin muscle made my run less of a triumphant end to a great year and more of a major pain that I just wanted to be over. I was highly disappointed, but it’s my own fault. I know I didn’t drink enough water the past few days and having to run on the treadmill so much is throwing off my groove on days that I can actually make it outside.  Deep stretching and proper hydration are high up on my list of goals for 2012. 

After my pathetic run, Clay and I cleaned up and met Jeremy, one of my best friends from high school, for lunch. He and his wife were visiting family in a town nearby, and they made the trip up to our neck of the woods to have a meal and hit Oliver Winery for wine tasting. Clay and I haven’t gotten a chance to see them since they moved to Illinois and an afternoon of catching up was more than overdue.  

Once we had our fill of free wine, Clay and I took a power nap before heading over to our good friends’ house for a New Year’s Eve party.  We could only stay a few minutes, but Dan and Emily are certainly some of our favorite people to hang out with and spending a short amount of time with them is better than spending no time with them. 

After bidding our first New Year’s Eve party adieu, Clay and I headed downtown to meet up with some of our other friends at the aforementioned bar. While we waited for our friends to arrive, Clay insisted he couldn’t drink beer without a taco (it’s only logical), so we ducked into Taco Bell for a quick snack and to escape the cold.  It was here that Clayton delivered the most life-affirming compliment I have ever heard in my entire life: “Courtney, you’re the hottest chick at Taco Bell.”  

I can die now. My life is complete. That's almost like being the prettiest girl at Wal-Mart!

So that was our New Year’s Eve in a nutshell.  While I’m no longer a fan of going out to college bars and I think that standing in line outside of a club in the winter is one of the dumbest experiences one can ever have, we had a pretty good evening. 2012 began with a giant smooch from the hubby and the promise that we’ll make the next year together even better than the one before. I had my closest friends by my side, drunk college girls coming out of every possible nook and cranny in the bar, and rap music pulsating so loud it could probably keep my heart beating if I suddenly went into cardiac arrest—I was happy. 

I said before that I don’t particularly care to make New Year’s resolutions, but I do have some goals. I’m sure that’s probably the exact same thing, but whatever. To me, saying, “I have a resolution!” sounds too all-or-nothing, cold turkey, if-I-don’t-do-this-right-away-I’m-a-big-fat-failure. Whereas saying “I have a goal!” sounds much more tangible and like something I can work towards without fear of failing. And I hate failing. So, that being said, here are some of my goals for 2012

My lunch for Tuesday
Continue to try and eat a cleaner, healthier diet
So far, I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job at reducing the amount of dairy in my daily diet. I have eaten items that are made with dairy ingredients (breads, cookies, mashed potatoes, ect.), but I’ve eaten those items sparingly.  Like I said before, trying to start any kind of new diet around the holidays is torturous and there’s no way I would say no to a hostess who was gracious enough to cook a nice meal for me. And I probably will continue to have those items when the food is prepared by others (if I’m making them myself, I’ll use a dairy substitute) or other similar situations, but I’ve done an excellent job avoiding milk, cheese, and saying no to butter on breads. For me, saying no to ice cream and Cool Whip on my apple pie was the equivalent to having my arm pit hairs plucked out individually, but I stayed strong and didn’t give in!
A couple days after Christmas, Clay and I ditched our gallon of soy milk. It was proving to be an irritant on our digestive systems and after going online to research why, I discovered from numerous reputable sources that soy isn’t really the miracle food that so many marketers are making it out to be. It’s okay in moderation, but soy milk is full of phytoestrogens (a plant derived chemical similar to estrogen), can prevent your body from absorbing essential minerals, and is difficult to digest (as we had already clearly figured out). So we made the switch to almond milk.  I don’t care for the taste of almond milk quite as much, but I only ever use milk for cereal.

The fat-free corn chowder I made on Monday night
Eating lots of veggies and beans has never been a problem for me, but after diving into Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, I’ve promised myself to make more of an effort to eat my favorite plant-based foods in their rawest, purest form. Steaming veggies a bit is perfectly fine, but your get the most vitamins and minerals from crunchy veggies that still have their fibrous skin intact. 

And I will be drinking water, water, water! After reading Crazy, Sexy Diet, I learned how badly our body needs oxygen in order to function and water is the best way to give your body what it needs!  I’m guilty for only drinking water when it’s convenient for me (i.e. after a run or during a workout) and for the past few months I’ve been forcing myself to drink several glasses a day. Some weeks are better than others, but I am making it a priority to drink more water all the time.  I already notice how much it improves my running performance!
This photo is ... charming.

Be a better wifey
I don’t think I’m a bad wife (far from it, actually. There are very few things in life that I am actually good at, but loving my man is definitely one of them!), but I know that there are things I need to work on in order for Clay and I to remain happy as clams in our marriage.  I’m making an effort every single day to wake up and say, “God, how can I love my husband the way You want me to today?”  And, for those of you who are not religious, another way of looking at it would be to say, “How can I love my spouse to my fullest capacity today?”  There is nothing nearer and dearer to my heart on this earth than the relationship I have with my husband and I take no task more seriously than I do being a wife.  And it’s not always an easy gig. Sometimes I’m too impatient and too selfish and just too PMS-y.  But that’s when I need to refocus my priorities and ask myself that question: “Am I loving my husband the way God wants me to do? How can I love my husband the way God wants me to right this second?”

Meditate
After my parent’s got divorced I went from being a carefree, obnoxious little ham who loved being the center of attention to an uptight, anxious preteen. And little has changed since then. If you’re new to the blog, I named it Notably Neurotic for a reason … I’m neurotic. And obsessive. And I worry everything into the ground. 

And I’m basically at my whit’s end with it all.  It’s no way to live a life because it’s not a fun life. And I’m doing it all to myself (which I think makes it even worse). 

When I tried hot yoga I was amazed by the overwhelming feeling of calm and relaxation I felt afterwards.  Sure, I was sweating through my t-shirt and it eventually gave me an acne breakout, but my mind was at rest and I felt like a puddle of warm goo (a huge change if you’re constantly tense and rigid). However, I can’t afford the cost of going to a hot yoga class every week ($15 for a single class? No thanks.), so I need to find something else that will give me the same zen-like buzz  for little or no money.  I purchased an at-home yoga DVD by Jillian Michaels and while she didn’t scream at me as much as I thought she would, I’m not feeling the same relaxed energy I did after the hot yoga class. Plus, it’s more of a cardio yoga session, so it’s not even the deep stretching I truly need. 

I’m going to keep my options open and start looking for a different yoga DVD or see if I can’t find a yoga class that’s cheaper elsewhere. In the meantime, I’m going to start researching meditation techniques that may be nothing more than lying on the floor or on my bed with soft music and deep breathing exercises (although I am fearful I’ll ultimately end up falling asleep … but I guess that’s pretty relaxed). 

Try new things
Clay and I have already dove head-first into this goal! We have plans to go snowboarding later this winter with Jeremy and his wife.  I went snowboarding in high school and absolutely loved it (with Jeremy no less!), and I know Clayton will, too. Additionally, last week Clayton and I signed up for an 8-week Salsa dance class with our friends, Dan and Emily.  We start next week and I’m already preparing how I’m going to break it to the dance instructor that I have no rhythm and if she needs proof, all she needs to do it watch me play Just Dance 3. Stay tuned for a blog post about this disaster waiting to happen.

Still as handsome as always
Be a better fur mommy
My beagle boy is 7 years old and I’m still in denial that he’s no longer a puppy (even though he will always be my baby).  I want his middle-aged and golden years to be the happiest and healthiest of his life, so Joey better prepare for even more walks outside and millions and millions of more snuggle hours.  He’s so precious to us, and I always want Joey to know that!

Stay positive, kick out the negative
I’m going to reach this goal … even if it kills me. Even if it’s nothing more than stopping a negative, self-deprecating thought in its tracks before it can blossom into something harmful, it will be a huge step in the right direction. Stop the bad thoughts before they even happen. If I feel a negative thought coming on, I’ll just start thinking about something else; I won’t even entertain it.   

Stop stressing my running times
They get me where I need to go
I’m far too “time oriented” when it comes to my running.  I focus too much on how fast I ran, who runs faster than me, and what my finishing times are. It’s taking the joy out of running because I’m forgetting how freeing and amazing the simple act of running is by itself.  I need to stop ruining perfectly good runs by telling myself I’m not fast enough (see above goal).  It’s only hurting me in the long run and I shouldn’t care how fast anyone else is because I’m not them and they’re not me. Being fast doesn’t make you a better than runner.  The best runners run for themselves, not against a clock.   

Give More
Weather it be volunteering my time, a monetary donation, or even simply lending an ear to listen, I am making it a priority to give to others.  According to Luke 12:48, "For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." In Layman's terms, to whom much is given, much will be expected.  While I am not financially rich, I am richly blessed with a loving husband, a loving family, and a roof over my head. In return, I want to express my thankfulness by giving to others in any way that I can and pass on the blessings even if it's just holding the door open for a stranger or letting someone cut in line in front of me at the grocery store.

Focus on my writing
This goal is pretty self-explanatory.  I’ve seen pretty sizable jumps in readership over the past year, and I would love to see those numbers continue to grow. I love writing this blog and love sharing what I have to say and what I’ve experienced with other people.  I hope that it continues to be the motivation I need to start seeking other writing avenues and work towards my goal of becoming of a professional writer. A few of you have kindly mentioned that you'll be among the first in line at the bookstore to buy my first novel. So thank for you reading and I hope you’ll come back and read often in 2012!

What are some of your New Year's goals?

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5 comments

  1. #1: Make better choices.

    I'm sure I'll come up with more goals for this year (one of which I think I've decided on already), especially because you seem to have put a whole lot of thought into your goals and now I feel like a total slacker for my "Make better choices" endeavor, so I'll share soon! :P

    P.S. I like the idea of goals rather than resolutions - it fits my new idea quite nicely.

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  2. Yay! Can't wait to hear (or read) what you come up with! I think goals are just a great idea to get your life into perspective and find what you truly value in life, ya know? Plus, with goals, I feel like if you slip up or don't always stick with it, you'd don't look like such a total loser. It feels like a more long term lifestyle change.

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  3. Totally agree! And yes, a new post is in my very near future... :D

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  4. i am trying to eat less crappy food as well! (i've been putting this off for years) i wanted to pass along a blog that has been helpful: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/

    many of the guidelines are from michael pollan's "in the defense of food" which i hear is a good read. i've seen him in various interviews/documentaries and he makes a lot of sense.

    also--i read "columbine" last year and it was fascinating (aka: horrifying). jon and i live about 2 miles away from the school and i still can't bring myself to visit.

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  5. "Columbine" is keeping me awake at night and has given me nightmares. What little I knew about the whole event was exactly what I had heard in the media which, as you know from reading it too, was a lot of speculation and false information. What I think I'm having the most trouble with is how the parents of the victims found out there children didn't survive. It's ... chilling.

    Thanks for the website link! I think it will be a great resource!

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