Creating goals for 2020 and reflecting on those from 2019:

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First, let’s look back at my goals for 2019. I got about half of them, and the ones not finished were about half done. I don’t know whether to consider that a success or not, but progress is progress and I had a really busy year, so it’s remarkable I got any of it done. Let’s break them down:

  • Plan a wonderful wedding fit for my upcoming marriage: I did it! And it was fabulous. It was honestly the best night of my life. You can see some pictures from it here.
  • More time of hobbies, less time online: Eh. Okay, so I spent less time online but it was because I was spending more time hanging out with friends (yay) and doing daily tasks that increased when I moved out and got married. I did spend time on hobbies, but I don’t know if I did more than in 2018, so I will call this one a half win.
  • Start barrel racing again: Things got really busy in the spring season, so I didn’t start going to races again, but I took all the necessary steps to start next season. I’ve been taking lessons and we’ve finally purchased a horse trailer.
  • Read more than 20 books: Check. I’ve read over forty books year, so I’d say I went above an beyond on this one. Audio books have drastically altered my reading progress, though I still love those paper books!
  • Buy a house: We did it! It’s beautiful and it feels like home. I’m so proud of it. We’ve gotten it all decorated and I’m so excited to come home to it at the end of the day!
  • Send birthday cards to everyone: I started out the year strong and I got birthday cards to people I saw in person. As for the rest… well I got all my wedding thank you notes out? That counts for something, right?
  • Pray more: I’m doing much better at this then I was at the start of the year, though I still have room for improvement.
  • Finish a novel: I didn’t, but I have been making progress on one after months of not writing at all. It feels good to break my writers block.

Now as for the coming year?

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The gift of “good enough”

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I’ve been writing a lot of posts about self improvement. It’s been on my mind, and I honestly think it is something we should all be striving for. It’s important to constantly be shaping yourself into something better, because like it or not, you’re going to change either way, you might as well be going in the right direction.

But with all the talk of self improvement I think I need to counter it, because perfectionism is the enemy of good. If you’re aiming for perfect most the time you will fail, you should be aiming for better instead, or depending on where you started, a lot better. You can’t be great at everything, sometimes you simply have to be okay with being good at something.

So let’s talk about settling. We’ve been taught that settling is bad, and in some situations it really is. You shouldn’t settle on a spouse. You shouldn’t settle when you know your work warrants more. But there is a different kind of settling that no one talks about, a healthy kind that keeps you sane.

I’m talking about knowing when things are good enough and taking them.

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The “FitBit” Method:

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I don’t have a Fitbit, but I know enough people who do to understand the drive towards getting in your daily steps. It’s a big deal to beat your friends or even beat yourself. It’s a fun easy way to motivate you to be more active. It’s a genius idea.

I found myself applying that logic lazily when I thought about reaching my social activity levels. The other morning I talked to my hairdresser while getting a cut, talked to a stranger in line for 30 minutes at the social security office, and I went and ate lunch with my mom. I had this brief image of a empty bar filling right up. I felt like I reached my mandatory social needs for the day, and that even if I did nothing else for the day I wouldn’t feel isolated.

We need to be active. We need to be social. These are parts of a healthy life. We also need to drink a certain amount of water, consume a certain amount of vitamins, earn a certain amount of money, do enough positive actions, and think enough positive thoughts. We have all these daily bars to fill, and we hardly ever think about it in those terms, but maybe we should.

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The timeline of getting over someone:

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I think we’ve been trying to figure out how long it takes to get over a relationship or friendship since they started falling apart, which is to say, since the beginning of time. If you Google how long it takes to get over someone you’ll find answers like “half the time of the relationship” or “18 months” and all kind of other answers. None of us want to submit to the fact that it’s different for everyone, no one wants to talk about the relationships it took years to get over or the friendship loss from six years ago that you’re still bitter about.

It’s tough, but there isn’t any timeline.

It’s tough, but there is good news in that, and it’s that whatever you’re going through is normal. You’re normal. That always brings a big sigh of relief.

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The Year of Thanksgiving

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I always try to write a Thanksgiving post. It helps me put my life in perspective. There are so many things for me to be thankful for, and a lot of time I end up overlooking them. I’ve gotten used to not having to worry about food and shelter, so sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have it.

This year has been a little different than most though. I’m not longer struggling as much with my health. I don’t feel stuck in slow motion. A lot of exciting and meaningful things have happened to me this year and I’ve felt fully present for all of it. I don’t mean to say that I’ve been thankful for each and everything in my life as I should be, but I do mean that I’ve been more grateful over all.

You think about your shelter when you’re buying your first home. You think about love a lot when your getting engaged and married. You think about how wonderful all the people in your life are when you have them all together in one giant room for a party.

It’s just been a little different this year, and I’ve been better because of it.

Between all the sickness and sadness that surrounded it the last few years have been a wild ride. There have been good things, but everything seemed to have a heavy shadow. These years happen to the best of us, and they’ll happen to me again, that’s one of the reasons this year was so important. We need years like this to remind us how lucky we are and how much we have to be thankful for. And whether you believe it or not, years of Thanksgiving happen to us all as well. We only need to keep working upwards, they’ll eventually come.

While you’re waiting make a list of all the things your grateful for, you might find that the year of Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be the best year of your life, it might just need to be a year that you’re aware of everything.

Now that things have settled down I’m going to try to make next yea a year if Thanksgiving to, so that I can enjoy this gratitude everyday, even in the darkness, because man, does it make you feel alive.

Our Wedding Shoot: Becoming a Smith

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I finally got all my wedding pictures back from my wonderful photographer (Sarah Warden Photography) and I absolutely love them! I posted over 250 of them on Facebook, but I thought I would just share the styled shoot here instead of all the candids. After all those shots don’t mean quiet as much to people who don’t know everyone involved.

I’m thrilled with how they turned out and cannot believe how wonderful that day was. It truly was the best day of my life.

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If you look for the bad you will find it.

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It goes for people and events, if you look for the bad in something you will always find it. If you go in with a negative mindset you will find something negative, it’s a simple game of find and seek. Sometimes those bad things are big, sometimes they make us feel justified for our negative views, but the problem is, when we find multiple small negatives, we still find our mindset justified. We still think we’ve done the right thing by raining all over the parade because we found something wrong with it.

Nice going being right, I guess.

The problem is small negatives don’t make a bad person or a bad event, they don’t even make a bad group. Small negatives are everywhere, and not just in the things we hate. All your favorite people, events, and groups also have small negatives. You’re just not looking for them in them, you’re looking at them with a positive eyes, which leads to the second point, which is if you look for the good in something you will find it.

It’s the exact same as the reverse. The half full and half empty debate is raging on, but it’s too generic of a saying, it implies that you’re either always an optimist or always a pessimist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We find good in the things we want to find good in and we find bad in the things we want to find bad in.

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