IMG_20180218_133536232.jpg

Hey there.

Welcome to Sunsets and Street Signs! This platform is where I share my life’s adventures of minimalist living, creative expressions, travel, food, fashion, and family! Stay awhile so we can get to know each other!

End of Year Reflections

End of Year Reflections

diego-ph-249471-unsplash.jpg

As we near the end of the year, I can’t help but sit in wonder at how fast this year has gone. There is so much that has been accomplished this year, and I can’t imagine what next year will look like! A year ago seems like a lifetime ago but here we are with only a few weeks left of 2018.

As I look back on this year, I am amazed at everything I’ve accomplished in my life. I can honestly reflect back on this year and smile. This has been one of the best years up to date in my life and for the first time, I don’t feel the urge to have it end. I’m completely content to be in this moment, even if it’s cold and below freezing.

The biggest thing I would say was accomplished this year was receiving my independent counselor license. I graduated from college in December, three years ago, and I received my independent license at the end of last month. There were a lot of hardships that I had to overcome at the beginning, right after graduating, but I persisted and kept my eyes on the goal. I was determined. It was hard, but I hated the idea of giving up more. The focus and perseverance paid off this year as I was able to reach this major life goal! With this professional goal reached, I am very nearly done with my professional goals to date. I have two certifications I am working towards, and once those are completed, I will have achieved all the professional goals I had set for myself, minus one: getting a PhD. Since making that specific goal, my life has changed a lot. I’m not sure this is still something I wish to accomplish, but I will say the desire comes from time to time. Right now though, I am going to work on my work and enjoying the place I’m in at this moment. Settling for a time and allowing myself to grow professionally without the aid of college.

The next thing that I accomplished was getting my passport stamped! I took the trip of a lifetime when in September, traveling overseas with a cousin to Paris and London. We spent a week abroad seeing the sights and exploring the cities we came in contact with. On our flights to and from Europe, we made a stop over in Iceland, which allowed for even more stamps! We didn’t have a lot of time in between flights, but we did explore the airport some. It was a very exciting trip, and I am still living on that experience. I plan to share the photos here soon, but am purposefully taking my time with them. I did not want to post them right away so I could have time to go through them and identify the favorites!

In connection with this achievement, I wrote my first memoir (the first draft of my memoir anyway). This has been a desired goal for quite some time. I have been itching to write a memoir for some time, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. I felt like I needed an honest adventure that would be the centerpiece of the memoir. This became my trip to Paris. During the trip, I kept a journal and took over 1,000 photos. Upon returning and giving myself some time to plan out the outline of how the memoir would go, I used November to write out the retelling of the trip. November, as you may or may not know, is National Novel Writing Month, and I had committed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. This has been a challenge for me to accomplish in the past, though I have tried for many years. This year, however, I was able to do it. I accomplished the task and came out with a very surprising manuscript. The next step in this journey is to go through and edit it. For now, I’m again just taking my time and enjoying the accomplishment. I am proud of the work I put in and the energy I put into this project. This helped remind me how much I enjoy writing simply for me. If others can enjoy the work, that’s great too, but it can’t be my primary goal.

The next accomplishment I want to share about is getting my dream job! This happened near the beginning of the year, and I can’t believe I haven’t been doing it for a full year yet! It feels like a lifetime ago that I left agency life and began working full time in the private practice setting. I went full time in private practice in February where I promptly set to work on establishing my niche as a mental health counselor. I turned my focus to trauma and have not looked back from it. Over these several months, I have really focused on my therapy style to help those who have experienced trauma and I have started the process of getting certified in two therapy styles in order to grow my competencies! I love going in to work every day. It’s different each day which keeps me energized. I can set my own schedule, and just have an overall sense of autonomy which I was really looking for.

Probably my most challenging accomplishment was for my fitness goal. I am still not 100% there, but I don’t believe this is a goal that can be checked off and moved on from. I have done that so often which has brought me to where I’m at. I started this year out being 20 lbs heavier. I forgot what I looked like in my “prime” and was settling into the fact that I was obese and that’s where I would stay. Doctor visits were no fun, and I hated seeing that I had moved up from the BMI scale from overweight to obese. I was disappointed with my weight, but I was in denial about my overall health. I continued to say I was fit and healthy. I was in denial about my asthma worsening, and the pain I felt in my body even with the slightest of exercise. Finally, in May of this year, I made a change. I got a personal trainer, set to working out twice a week with him, and then started eating a ketogenic diet from June to mid-September. It was hard work indeed but I was determined. I needed to get back in shape. Within those short few months, I dropped 2 sizes and 20 lbs! I quit the keto diet when I went on the trip to Paris, because hey, who can be on a low carb diet when every corner has croissants and pastries? Seriously! Regardless, I have maintained my weight and my clothes size.

Lastly, I must say my husband and I have put a lot of work into our home over the last 12 months and I’m so proud of the outcome! We put a fresh coat of paint on the entire house which instantly gave it a face lift! The house looks so much younger than it did when we first bought it, and that helped make our house truly feel like a home. We spent a lot of time organizing our belongings, getting furniture that we truly loved, and tackling projects right away! We learned how important it was to put a stamp on our home and make it our own from the beginning. Though we completed the projects through a few separate phases, each time made the house even more perfect!

Seeing all these accomplishments make my heart warm. It’s wonderful to see how this year has turned out. There’s a lot more to work on, but I am proud of how far I’ve come. I can’t do it on my own. I am blessed to have a family that supports me, friends that stay connected with me, and a husband who pushes me when I am ready to give up. It’s not easy to keep moving forward. It’s actually the opposite, but if you can surround yourself by positive people, you can make leaps and bounds to reaching your goals! How did you fair in this year’s goals? Are you proud of yourself and what you’ve accomplished? What are your plans for the next year?

Let’s make a commitment to making 2019 even better than 2018!

  1. Identify your supports and each of their roles

  2. Set realistic goals and prioritize a few that will make the biggest impact

  3. Find an accomplice/accountability partner who will help push you and work with you regularly; a confidant to talk through the struggles

  4. Engage in monthly check-ins and reflect on how you’re doing on your milestones.

Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.
— Brad Paisley
Mindful Mondays

Mindful Mondays

Nearing the End of NaNoWriMo

Nearing the End of NaNoWriMo