New Year, New YOU!

    There's something about the slow crash from the holidays leading into a new year which has everyone considering changes that they want to make. Everyone's opinion as to why this is - and why it's easier to set life-changing goals for a new year - are plentiful.. and everyone's truth is completely valid! I'm an advocate for always preaching and honing down on your own, unique truths and that's exactly the momentum you should approach each [new] year with. The truth is that a new year gives us pause to ask ourselves what goals we want to set and achieve that year... and for some, that hardest part is just setting that goal and making the plan. As a quick rehash of my previous New Years article around setting obtainable goals, I want to share some tips that I've used in my life to overcome obstacles & achieve goals that I used to struggle with...

   If you've discovered my blog in more recent months then you may not be aware of the journey I undertook that brought me into my path as a Healer. It was almost 10 years ago where I hit a physical/mental wall that had me sinking deeper into depression and returning to suicidal thoughts.. all of which caused a lightbulb to light up in my brain (which caused me to awaken). Over the course of that year [in which it happened], I enacted some seriously-needed boundaries that resulted in cutting my birth family off and set course on some personal goals that I had previously struggled to achieve and inevitably gave up on. Among my addictions was the fact that I ate away a lot of my emotions as an adult... and as a a result, I got the wake-up call when I tipped the scales at 185 pounds during an annual physical. Despite numerous attempts at diet & exercise - all while watching my husband shed his excess weight while I had little loss - I had completely given up and landed on "accepting" that I would always be obese.

One of my recaps from my weight loss journey:
Left was my wedding (where I lost 10 lbs!), right before embarking on the goal,
Right was taken after I smashed my plateau (150 lbs),
and the Bottom was the lowest I've ever been since I was a child.

   I need to point out here that my mental state made it easier for me to give up which was essentially the problem. Every time I tried to lose weight, I'd hit my plateau at 150 pounds and stayed there... and after staying there for weeks on end, I gave up. This was my first big mistake, but I wasn't ready to power through it. The truth is that unless you're mentally prepared to do everything that's necessary to see a goal through, it's easy to fall off course. THIS IS LESSON NUMBER ONE IN GOAL SETTING -- Which is to make a goal that you'll (1) stick to no matter what, or (2) be able to achieve without wearing yourself too thin or can achieve through stages. I know that all too often it's easier to give up when the going gets tough, other concerns arise, or you mentally struggle with it. It's not your fault... if anything, we can all be too hard on ourselves; the problem is that makes it harder to progress, so we make the decision to give up.

   This is why - this time around in trying to lose weight - I made it a goal to reach a certain weight over an unknown period of time. I didn't put the pressure on myself in trying to lose X amount of weight per month, and I didn't give myself a date to hit my goal weight by. It made it a lot easier because instead of holding myself to an expectation, I was more grateful to notice the progress I made day-by-day. I patted myself on the back for every fast food meal that I reluctantly passed on, I found joy & creativity in becoming a cook that went the extra mile using all fresh ingredients, I became proud of the self-accountability in keeping a nutritional record of my daily eating habits, and I became comfortable with the fact that it would take me at least a couple of months to break through my plateau. Long story short, which is LESSON NUMBER TWO IN GOAL SETTING -- I made it all a process that was both a learning curve I approached in my own comfortable pacing and one where I enjoyed the little things that came along the way. This is how we grow as a person, no matter what the goal is.

The truth is that my weight fluctuates with stress, and over time,
I started to become comfortable with myself regardless of what my weight is.
The pandemic meant I put on 10-15 lbs due to being stuck at home, but since
it's still a huge difference from where I used to be, I'm happy with that.

   Enjoying the process is a huge contributor to success because it keeps us going! In fact, I'll be the first to admit that while I was diligently counting calories and carbs, all while forcing myself into the monotony of eating dinner after dinner of a lean protein + rice or salad + veggies, I accounted for leaving room to enjoy pizza on Friday nights (my one guilty pleasure that cannot be taken away!). It's those little joys that make it worth it in the end, and it keeps you going to be able to have your vice every once in awhile. Yes, it takes hard work to achieve any goal, but what is life without the ability to enjoy what you want every once in awhile? Think about this when you set your goal(s) because all work and no play is what really stumps your mentality when it comes to any challenge. Make it easy enough that it won't break your back (or brain) to work towards it, get help or advice when you need a boost, and allow yourself - in whichever way works - to have some fun along the way.

   It took the better part of a year for me to come close to my goal weight, but the fact that I stayed the course was the REAL power and progress. Every person is different.. and when we're talking about weight, their are so many unique & individual factors that don't allow it to be a straight-forward process. So if any other advice I would offer is this: don't "check your boxes" based on hitting a milestone goal on a set date, do it for achieving each step/milestone regardless of when it happens. I actually gave up the full-time regime when I was within 10 pounds of my goal weight, but because I adapted to a healthier lifestyle, I ended up losing the rest without even consciously trying to. The entire process has been similar to the learning & growing experience that I've had with my recovery from my past abuse, my breakaway & recovery from my other addictions, and even the journey that's accompanied the opening & growth of my business. It's all about setting a goal, and persevering regardless of the obstacles, set backs, and differing priorities that come along the way.

Through all my goal setting and goal smashing, my best friend was actually my journal!
Anytime I need a wake up call of sorts, I open this and read who I was back then..
and immediately appreciate how far I've come and know I can achieve further goals.

   With us approaching what will be our 3rd year in a pandemic.. one which has completely lifted the veil on the [previously] unrecognized issues within our society.. we are viewing 2022 as a year where we can see ourselves making changes that elevate us to our highest potential. Whether it's for our own success, that of our loved ones, or just to start creating the positive changes we want to see in the world.. all involve looking within to see how our goal looks to us. My final advice which is my THIRD LESSON IN GOAL SETTING is to not only be realistic about it, but seriously envision where and how you see yourself at the end of it, and work towards that vision. At the end of the day, if you don't have a crystal clear goal and the willingness to reach it, it's even easier to give up trying.. so don't let yourself get started on the wrong foot by pushing yourself to achieve something that isn't fully resonating with you. And once you've found your goal(s), DON'T GIVE UP! You'll be celebrating all your successes through reaping the rewards at the end!

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see my exciting New Years offerings!

Ashley Tilson is an Intuitive Healer that specializes in trauma & addictions recovery. If 2022 is the year that you're ready to break free from a traumatic past, rewrite your mindset & self-talk to a more positive & self-serving perspective, and begin anew full of authenticity, purpose, and pure happiness, then you'll want to consider one of her Trauma Healing programs. You can learn even more about her and her business on her website!

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