13.1 Fears

On Sunday, I am running my third half marathon.

And man, that is not a statement I thought I would be writing a few years ago.

Heck, maybe not even a year ago.

It isn't really a secret that I still don't think of myself as an avid runner. And maybe it has more to do with only being two-years-new to long distance running. Which, yes, it is so different. If you can run three miles, congrats, I'm proud of you, that shit is hard. But I promise, it is so so different than running 13.1 miles.


And so with most race days, I get a little anxiety, a little turn of stomach.

It happens.

They are called pre-race jitters.

But I'm going to be dead honest with you, this is the most nervous I have ever been for a race. Ever. And I once ran a half marathon two weeks after returning from Miss America, at a time in which I basically wasn't running at all.

So there are two reasons for this mega case of nerves: I've got a time goal. And, last year, y'all I fought so freakin' hard for a finish.

It took literal blood, sweat, and tears (and damn stress fractured feet) to get across the finish line.

I just keep telling myself, I've done it before. I can do it again. And if I can't, I'll be surrounded by 20,000 people that can help me keep pushing through.

Annnnd I've heard it helps to voice your fears, put a name to them, and then get them the hell out.


1. I could hurt my foot/knee/hip.

What if I freaking do? Run strong, not fast. Pace yourself, listen to your body, and run the race you need to run.

2. The weather might be too hot.

Sister, it's Florida. If anything is going to prepare me for the VCM in May, it's Florida in February. 

3. I might be really slow.

4. What if I can't finish?

5. I think I've heard too many horror stories this year. I keep thinking of all the other race disasters I've seen from fellow runners.

Okay, well mind your own business how about that? If every runner on Instagram's bad endings happen to you, damn sister, you'll have a better story than the whole lot of them.

6. I didn't submit a start time, I could be in a much later corral.

7. It might be harder than I remember.

Girl, without a doubt. But you have literally run this race before, you have already shown yourself you are capable. 

8. Running for two+ hours is so hard, and I haven't done that in a year.

9. My stomach has been crazy during my last few pre-races. What if I can't properly fuel?

10. I know I'm going to be finishing much later than Bfield, they're all going to be waiting around for me at the finish line.

Uh, so? They signed up to come to this just like you.

11. Oh gosh, what if it's not too hot, but it rains?

12. I have had a lot of trouble pacing myself properly in my last few training runs. What if I'm too fast right out of the gate? What if I'm too slow?

13. This race is far away. I could forget my socks. Or my headphones. Or my shoes. 

Or, it could go really well. It could be perfect weather. I could run my strongest race ever. I could finish faster than my goal time. I could come out of it feeling strong and uninjured and fantastic.

It's not going to help me to worry about it now.

I'm going to eat as well as I can, stretch it out, get just a few more miles in, and run the best race that I can run.

Pageant Szn is Coming

I love this time of year.

Why? Because the Miss America state pageant classes are just filling out.


It's this time of year that the final winter locals are held, girls find their state dresses, and talent selections are made.

Obviously, that ship has sailed in my life. But funnily enough I still get questions - probably once or twice a week - about what my life was like then, or more often, why I chose that life for myself. 

I know, we see these posts all the time. Why Miss America? Yes, we saw them even more so after we felt like we had to defend our why. But this time of the year just leaves me all excited and giddy for the girls that are embarking on this for the very first time.

So I thought, if there are any of you out there that are brand new to this, or maybe still toying with the idea of joining us in this wackadoo-sisterhood-of-greatness, I'd share my why one more time.


One of the things I got asked the most during my year as Miss Vermont, and my years competing was, what made you get into pageants in the first place? 

I used to say that I was looking for something to join, to bring me out of my plateau, to give me...well, something to work towards. And that was true.

But I think I really put words to it when I started to say, I saw girls in parades who looked like me, who looked like they came from, where I came from. And those were the girls that were also making a difference. And that was even more true.

I was a sophomore in college who didn't have hobbies, didn't have fitness goals, wasn't in clubs, wasn't branching out. I was just, there. And to be 100% transparent, I issued my first attempt at competition as a challenge to myself.

It was like nothing I had ever done before. I wasn't in talent shows growing up. I didn't ever seek out the spotlight. I wasn't particularly girly or glamourous. And I certainly wasn't considered outgoing.

But I wanted something new. 

So I committed to the Vermont titleholder development program in November of that year, and in May I competed.

And I'll tell you what, I thought I was going to feel lost, and dwarfed, and incapable, and like how would I ever measure up to these seasoned pros? I just...didn't.

The Miss America program as a whole - and particularly the Miss Vermont Organization - are centered entirely around helping young women develop in a way that allows them to access their full potential in every part of their life. That alone fostered the ability in me to get my butt on that stage.

And place 3rd Runner Up in my first pageant ever. 

That was in 2012, and since then a lot has happened in my MAO journey. (For those that are just joining us, I was 3rd RU in 2012, 3rd RU in 2013, won Miss Auburn [NH] in 2014, 2nd RU and overall interview winner in 2014 [NH], and won Miss Vermont in 2016.)

But truly, I love the way that I came into this program, and I love that I did it at all.

Because when I started I didn't have a talent, I had very little service work under my belt, I could barely run a mile, and I was not the girl who thrived in interview.

Today? I still can't sing. Shocker. I have dedicated the last few years of my life to serving others. I have run two half marathons, two 10ks, and almost a dozen 5ks. And every single thing that I have done professionally, I owe to the hundreds of interviews I did within MAO.

Fun fact: for the job I have right now, I had two interviews. The first one happened less than 20 minutes after I completely passed out while donating blood. The second, the morning of a wake for my grandpa. 

I would not have thrived, let alone functioned, in those interviews if not for all of the interviews, all of the development, and all of the self-reflection and growth that came from being in the Miss America Organization.

And I feel like every year we get to this point, and we all have that one (or five, whatever) girl that we're dying to see compete. So we talk to them, try to convince them, and they all have two things that they say: I don't have a talent, or I don't have a platform.

Sister, let me be the proof in the pudding, the program will lead you, you only have to be willing to get in.


One of the things I always say when it comes to why + talent, is if you want it, you'll stop saying you don't have a talent.

Listen, I can't dance. Anyone who has ever been forced to do group choreography with me will tell you I cannot dance.

In fact, originally our group at Miss America was supposed to do this complicated beautiful dance in the filmed opening number on the boardwalk. Well, they ended up sticking us in bumper cars. To. This. Day. I think my piss poor dancing skills influenced that decision.

And I certainly cannot sing. Although, anyone who has ever been forced to be in rehearsals with me will tell you that certainly doesn't stop me from trying.

But I found something I was passionate about (reading, and the written word,) and I found my talent.

Your talent is the part that shows the judges you know how to work. It shows them you have the dedication to practice something. It shows them you are committed to learning something. And it shows them that you can get joy out of those things.

It shouldn't really be something that just comes so easily to you that 90 seconds on that stage doesn't freak you out.

And yes, there are more talents than singing and dancing. (Piano, speed painting, spoken word poetry, monologues, gymnastics, science, karate, flute, violin, twirling, skating, fencing, ventriloquism, sign language, hula, and harp. And also maybe a 1000 more.)


And then, there's the second part of that: why + platform. 

Which, I get. Coming into an organization where some girls already had decades of service work on their resumes was terrifying.

But here's the thing, service and platform work is about the heart you put into it.

Time matters, yes. But the why behind your platform, the why behind the hours you put into it - that matters far more. Because when we talk about our why in the Miss America Organization, it is never us.

Did I get into this because I wanted to try something new? Totally. But that is sure as hell not why I stayed.

I stayed because of the opportunities to serve others. I stayed because of the sisterhood. I stayed because I knew that if I kept going, I was going to keep getting chances to change things for other people. I stayed because my why became, look what I can do for others through this program. 

So, yes, my platform changed since I started. Yes, I totally thought I was coming in dead last when it came to service hours.

My platform became a piece of who I am every day - and then, well, it is much harder to fit on your resume, but it is a heck of a lot easier to say what you're about.


So, circling back: why did I make this part of life, and where does it stand in my life now?

I got into it on a whim, and committed to it because I saw in one six month period how drastically different my life was because of the program.

The Miss America Organization afforded me the opportunity to get dream jobs, to meet people, to go places, to serve others, to grow in a community, and to be completely college debt-free before my 25th birthday.

The state level pageants are what really counts for 90% of the girls that are involved in MAO. And thank goodness for that. Because it is the volunteerism, the selflessness, the community, and the downright love at the local and state level that makes the difference.

I know that I would not have had the success that I had as Miss Vermont, or in the Miss Vermont Organization, were it not for the people that donated their time, their efforts, their things, their money, and their love to the cause.

So, where does it stand now?

Well, I'm outta the game, for sure.

I don't have much involvement on the state level at all right now, truthfully. By choice, 100%. I work full time, and for some personal reasons I felt as though I needed to step pretty far back.

But both programs still hold such a wonderful place in my heart.

So I still answer the questions as they come, and I'll always still help those that reach out. Because if nothing else, I would just love if everyone got the chance to see how...how different your life is once you challenge yourself to be part of The Miss America Organization.

Being Alone: Soon with Bonus Pup

Alright. January, how'd it go? What happened?

A lot...and kind of nothing new at the same time.

Piper Kate was born. I won The Office trivia at Waterworks (with a wonderful team.) I spent New Years at home. I went to Chicago for the first time. I started running a lot more, and joined a new gym. I tried aerial yoga. I dedicated the home screen of my phone to Oprah. I started two new podcasts. Finished a super long Stephen King book.

And you know, spent most of my time alone. 

Which, I suppose, isn't too new. But I think, especially in the last five days or so, it has just felt so heavy. I think it has just been a lot more present - a lot more obvious that it is just me.

So what do you do, right?

Anything. Anything to keep you busy, anything to get you out of bed, anything to keep your brain moving past the feeling of being supremely and entirely alone.


1. Workout:

I have been going to the gym a lot. To the gym, to the yoga studio, to the treadmill in my parent's basement - the quickest way for me to empty my head is to get my body to work.

Does it always make me feel better? No. Man, it's depression, working out doesn't cure you. 

But it helps. It gets me out of the house. It gets endorphins flowin'. It gives me an accomplishment to check of my daily list of "things you should do to feel better."


2. Make plans:

One the quickest ways for me to ruin a weekend - Wait. Side note. Are weekends the hardest for anyone else? Because seriously, they have been the worst for me recently - is for me to go into it without a very specific plan.

Workouts, dinners out, day trips, errands - whatever it is, I need to plan it.

Otherwise? I'm spending 48 hours in bed, wallowing, alone, and upset that I've let myself do it all over again.

So, I schedule classes at Sangha, and map out when I go to the gym, and decide where I am going out to eat. It doesn't always involve a million mini details, but it gives me a little blueprint that says, get your ass out of bed to you have things to get done. 


3. Keep a routine:

Get up. Make coffee. Eat breakfast. Shower. Listen to podcasts. Go to the gym. Get a fun lunch. Do your laundry. Clean your room. Go grocery shopping. Don't stay up until 2 AM just because you can.

It seems like such an easy thing, to keep a routine on the weekend.

But honestly, there are so many simple ways to get derailed. And keeping a routine not only keeps you busy (and out of bed,) but it gives a map for things you already can and do regularly on your own.

Which, sure, you might not love every moment of grocery shopping by yourself. But it doesn't have to be painful - it doesn't have to be a trigger.


Being alone, sucks. It sucks when you are depressed, and when you aren't. It sucks when you have anxiety, and when you don't.

But I have long said that there is a lot of power in being able to thrive on your own too. That is still true for me. It's still how I press reset. Being alone is still something I know how to enjoy.

Remembering that lonely is not the same thing as being alone, that has been...y'all it seems so simple, but it has been so critical to moving through this.

It is moving past the notion of I am always alone to right now I am okay by myself. 

Like anything else, it is a habit to be learned. Like anything else, it takes time.

Did I necessarily think that it was going to take me this freaking long to learn how to get used to it all over again? Honestly, no.

It has though. It has taken a long time. And I still don't have the perfect solution for you.

But dang if I am not trying every single one that I can to get through this.


Wait, sorry, one thing to add before I post this: at some point soon we're going to talk about dating again (I'm not) and using apps for that (also not) and what it looks like to be nearly 26 and very very very single again (I am) and why that feels a lot like I ought to just build myself a convent in the mountains and call it what it is (I'm thinking about it.)


With that in mind I want to share one more thought:

Good Days Come, Good Days Go

Talking about the ebb and flow of depression is really weird, and pretty difficult.

In part I think it is obvious why, right? Because some days are easier than others. Some days are downright hard. And on a day when the fog just is not lifting, and it isn't even like you want to cry, but you just feel like you are in pain because you exist - that's not a day that I can talk about it.

I do think though, that explaining that the flip side of that coin isn't a happy go-lucky girl with no cares in the world, is important.

we need to talk about depression gif

Because that's just not the case.

There are good days of depression.

But that really means that I get out of bed a little easier, don't cry before say 10 PM, and eat three regular meals without anxiety.

A good day of depression is going to the gym, or yoga, and not crying about my fears or my inadequacies or my constant desire to be alone in my warm bed. A good day of depression is eating breakfast, and just being okay with it. A good day of depression is putting on a little makeup, because I want to.

On those days, I still feel like there is a gaping hole in my chest.

On those days, I still feel like there is an entire second me that has to operate and get through the day.

On those days, I still get painfully lonely. I still cry. I still struggle to make sure that I do the things that I am supposed to do, the things that make me happy, the things that keep me healthy.

But on those days, there is a little less weight on my heart. There is a little more clarity.

For what it's worth - there's no real timeline to this either. I'm not sure if I've ever explained that. But I think it is mostly clear to you all this is not about a broken heart, or the end of a relationship, or even about cold weather. Have those things made me sad? Sure. But that's not depression.

Just because I'm somewhat stable as a single girl again, doesn't mean I don't have depression.

Just because the sun has been out for the last three days, doesn't mean I don't have depression.

There doesn't have to be a reason for a depressive episode. And there isn't ever a hard and fast end date. Because here's the kicker, it is going to come when it comes, and go when it goes.

So there it is, the ebb and the flow.

Some days I feel like I am going to be on my own for the rest of my life.

And some days I laugh and go for long runs, and it for a while, it is like my brain isn't attacking my body. Those days, sometimes, like right now, come in little bursts. Little 48 or 72 bursts of goodness. And sometimes it's 9 bad days in a row and you run away to Chicago to catch your breath and remember what genuine freakin joy feels like.


Totally different...

I'm including the treadmill workout I did the other night here, because let me tell you, it was so much easier and more enjoyable than I thought it would be. And y'all deserver a run like that to.

60 seconds at 6.5 MPH
30 seconds at 7.2 MPH
60 seconds at 6.7 MPH
30 seconds at 7.5 MPH
60 seconds at 7.0 MPH
30 seconds at 8.0 MPH

Rest for 2 minutes (I jogged at 5.5 MPH) Repeat 4 times.

Also you should totally modify based on your own speed. I'm slow. And frankly, that's because that is where I am comfortable. And it is what makes me a happy runner. But! If you're fast, be fast!

Chicago, Just Because

29 days before I landed in Chicago for the first time, I decided I would go to Chicago for the first time. Which is obviously not exactly like me. Me, the planner of all things.

And not to give y'all the wrong idea, I'm not rolling in cash. I got my flights all with frequent flyer miles, and it cost me $21 in taxes and insurance. That's it. 

So what was the plan? Pretty much, to go into without a plan.

I needed a break from being, well, here. I needed to be with friends. I needed to try something new. And dangit, I really needed some good pizza.

Lucky for me, I had two friends I have known for ages (living together!) in Chicago, it was somewhere I had never been, and yeah, there is a lot of pizza out there.


We Ate:

Madison Tavern : About 1 hour after I landed, and after thawing out in a Starbucks (grabbing yet another "medicine ball tea," big fan,) I made my way up West Madison to grab lunch with Danielle.

And, if you have ever woken up at 3:00 AM, flown all the way to Chicago, and only had a banana and Goldfish, you might know how hungry I was. So I inhaled my Cuban sandwich, and we hit the very tip of the iceberg when it came to all the catching up we had to do.

Big Star : After grabbing the bus (!!!) home and finally also hugging Kendra, we headed out to dinner. Big Star was billed as "Tacos, Whiskey & Honky Tonk," I was in.

But you know what sealed the deal? When we found a seat at the bar, and started to order our margaritas, and the waitress simply said, "How 'bout a pitcher?" Baby, how 'bout it. 

So a pitcher of margaritas, loads of chips (and killer guac!) and plenty of tacos later, I sold my heart to Chicago, officially.

Kanela Breakfast Club : Knowing that you're getting the local's "best of the best," is hands down the best part about going to new places with people that already live there. And that's what we got when we went to breakfast Saturday morning (but also, with every stop we made.)

Y'all the menu was unreal, (two of us got the Loraine Scramble, and honestly, I have never loved eggs more.) And they were playing Disney movies behind the bar. But not just regular ol' Disney movies, they were playing them on VHS TAPES. 

Not kidding.

Mahalo : A dinner place with the most Rylee-aestetic ever? Sign me up. 

We had a drink in a pineapple, bomb fried rice, potstickers, wings, and a very shameless photoshoot on their swings that are inside the restaurant. Yeah.

It was just enough food to tide us over before our late night adventure at Bub City.

Did you think I was going to find my way to a country bar and eat atomic cheese while listening to a cover band? You did? Good freakin' call. 

By the way, they have group moscow mules at Bub City, and if you've got $55 it is all yours (and 7 of your closest friends.)

Fairgrounds: On Sunday morning we bundled up for brunch at the coolest coffee place in Wicker Park.

They had cold brew, on. tap.

We grabbed paninis, coffees, and breakfast sammies, and thawed out again while watching the line of pour-over coffees. 

Pequods: And to top it all off, we ended with Chicago deep-dish. (Well, we started with some bomb cheesy garlic bread, because you know how I roll.)

I have nothing to say other than I housed two pieces and had never been happier. 


We Went:

So, I went to the Chicago History Museum by myself on Monday before flying out. You might remember that Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

What a day to be at the museum. Of course, it was wildly busy. But they also had a lot of special exhibits up featuring MLK and perspectives on race and race relations in America.

We also went and got our nails done. As someone who is totally gun-shy of getting her nails done in Burlington, this was a total treat.

And! I also - obviously? - went to The Bean! And y'all saw that I nabbed a photo when no one was around. But yes, the tourists showed up too.

Overall, do I recommend a quick trip to Chicago?

Yes, duh.

But overall, this was more about me being about to do something new, being able to get away, being able to take a breather from being alone and sad in bed.

And it was perfect. It was friendship, and food, and finding my way around the city.

Not Totally Bravely Running Into 2018

Obviously, a lot happened this year.

If I'm being really honest, this post was going in a totally different direction until last night. When I had a really embarrassing meltdown about being completely alone at the start of a new year. Last year, I spent four days soaking up every bit of happiness, brunches, coffees, movies, snuggs, and friends. This year, I have been completely alone for the last three days.

And if you want to argue that I could have gone out on my own and found something to do downtown by myself: leave. Now. Seriously. That's insulting, and it goes against every inkling that I have ever shared about who I am, how I deal with my anxiety, and seriously - do you know anyone that hasn't gotten any sort of invite for NYE and still said, "Oh, I'll just make my own plans in an area where everyone else has someone?" No. 


That is my reality right now: considerable and pervasive loneliness. Which, doesn't bode very well for my outlook on the new year. 

And yes,  I know some of that is based on the chemistry in my brain. Okay, fine. 

But some of that? It's actually just me, being alone, and hurting. 


Now. On to the dreams and the goals, and the shit for which I have been busting my butt in the last few months. 

I've documented a good chunk of it publicly obviously, and privately, for whatever that is worth. I used to say that I'm not someone who consistently journals. Which, sure, that is ridiculous now since that is literally what I've done, just you know, on the internet.

Ideally, I suppose this is when I look back at all that - look at what I did in 2016 and 2017, look at what I wanted, and evaluate where I landed.

In 2016, I gave until it physically hurt. I gave my time, my money, my heart, my sanity - every inch of what I had, I gave.

In 2017, I planned for vision with grace. I wanted to continuously keep the courage to pursue my big visions - for myself, my relationships, my work, my service work, and for something that matters. 

Grace was going to be, and ended up being, the key. I knew I needed grace to power through my tendency to get tired, to fuel me when it hurts like it does now, and to give me the power to turn away from the all the things that were going to bring me away from my vision.

So, how'd it end?

...with a bang, and a fizzle.

Look, you know mostly how it ended. Let's not rehash it too much - but instead, let's talk 2018.

I gave you the simpler goals, and yes, and they are completely valid. But I have some bigger ones that I have been working on in the last few months particularly. I think having something more grandiose to work on - something that drives you a bit further than your goal to drink more water, and workout every day - is important.

While these aren't things that I'll be able to measureday-to-day, they are things that I really believe will drive a bigger impact for me in 2018. And, frankly, things that even since September have allowed for some much needed change in my life.


I think it is pretty obvious that owning my own story has been incredibly important for me.

Did I have to share how heartbroken I was? No. Obviously.

But that's part of my story. That is part of who I am now. And if it wasn't something I was willing to be honest and open about - it was something that was going to control me. 

Instead, I owned where I was in this narrative, and how to appreciate who I am in this process. 

The reality is that if you're denying where you are in your life, with your successes, with your failures, or with your heartbreaks - you are always going to be working to make up the truth. If you are going to deny the bleak spots in hopes of covering them, you don't get to revel in the joy that is on the other side of them.

And, that easily lead me into the notion of remaining authentic

This, admittedly, was driven in part by encountering a truck load of inauthenticity in 2017.

But I can't stress enough how these two things have shifted the relationships in my life. 

When I decided to crack open my heart - mean, y'all, crack open - on the internet, I gained so freaking much. The people that reached out, that supported me, that comforted me, that shared their stories with me - it was actually unreal. 

I didn't have to do that, I know. That was the authentic approach for me. That was the only way I was going to maintain who I was with...well, you. 

There are a thousand things to be said about sharing the highlights, and saturating the internet with only good things, and more over, deliberately curating your pain. Because of course it is nice when people reach out, support you, comfort you, and cheer for you. But when that comes from a place of inauthenticity...what's the point? 

So, while I don't think I ever came at it from that direction, I decided to approach what I put online from a place of complete authenticity. I decided that was the only way to make sure that I was cultivating a story completely of my own. It wasn't always pretty, or uplighting, or positive, or frankly, supported. 

Plenty of people looked at how I was sharing who I am, what I am going through, and the place I'm at in my life, and said, "yeah, no thanks." 

And plenty of people looked at that and said, I got you. 

That doesn't mean the choice to share that I've been crying, or that I've had an anxiety attack in the middle of downtown Burlington, or some other seriously personal shit, was always easy. Of course it wasn't. But the reality is that it is part of my story, and this story isn't always me bravely running through this season of life.

Luckily, this story, and that authenticity, yielded deeper (and new!) friendships in places I never expected. It gave me the opportunity to speak to my pain in a way that allowed other people to open up. It gave me a whole new platform to talk about something that actually matters.

And it gave me a whole new way to keep being honest with myself about my own mental health. 

That's the big one. '

It's really easy to deny where you are in your life. 

It's really easy to pretend you are happy, to pretend your life is satisfying, to pretend that you are achieving your goals, and to pretend like your head doesn't fight you at each of those turns. 

What isn't always easy is knowing that not everyone is going to feel comfortable with you being completely honest about your mental health. Hell, even getting people to listen to you once you say mental health isn't all that easy. 

But being honest about it, about where you are with it, it is a game changer. 

You lose some comfort, but you gain a hell of a lot more.

And I figured out that if I could do all three - if I could own my story, while being authentic, and being honest about my own mental health - I could shift the last few months of my 2017 into something that mattered.

Yeah, whatever, heartbreak matters too. But that was the launching pad, not the foundation.


That is where I am. And that is where I'm going too. 

I don't know how easy this is going to be to maintain. 

I know some days it hurts, just to be in the thick of it, say nothing about sharing it. Last night was no exception. I sobbed hours before the new year. Because I was so alone, and so sick of it. Is that glamorous? Hell no. No one "likes" that. 

But that's my story, that is where I am coming from. 

12 Goals Small Enough to Achieve in 2018

Alright! Goals!

Are we ready for this? Probably not!

The fall flew by for me, which probably has a lot to do with being wildly depressed, sleeping a lot - or not sleeping at all - and spending a lot of time wishing the time away. And one day I woke up, it was winter, and the new year was right around the corner.

So, here we are.

Looking 2018 in the face and asking what it's got. Which, if you think about how 2017 whooped our collective asses, is a little dangerous. But whatever, let's do it anyway.

And while we are at it, let's look at goals. The reality is - as much as you might want to say, well you don't need a day on a calendar to set goals, or even the jerk schtick of well new year resolutions never last... - the reality is good goals are literally a key to success.

Goals guide your actions.

And good goals help steer you to use the stuff you already have in your toolbox. You know, your goal of being a better runner is going to be aided by your stubbornness (a gift given to you, really.) Your goal of reading more books is going to be stewarded by your introverted nature (still a gift, promise.)

So, I'm into goals. I'm here for goals. Goals, that you set with honest intention, with a plan for follow-through, and an understanding of what you are working with - that's the sweet spot.

Finally! Y'all voted, and you wanted quick hit goals, and that is what you're gonna get! At least until I finish the post about the big three goals that I've been chipping away at in the last three months since, well who the hell am I kidding, you know. Also, I'm sorry, truly, for all the exclamation points.

1. Grow my hair out

2. Lose something like 7 pounds. I don't feel the deepest desire to give poundage - because let's be real a. you don't care, and b. I shouldn't - but let's go with more than 5. 'Cause y'all I got a year. 

3. Keep practicing yoga

4. Run two half marathons

5. Take sleep more seriously. Hold your judgement please. I know myself enough to know that while a solid eight hours is worth it, taking my days off to stay in bed until 9, 10, 11 o'clock is actually detrimental to me. So, sleep like ya need to.

6. Go to at least one new state and one new city

7. Get a dog

8. Stop procrastinating laundry. Just, suck it up.

9. Read 12 books. Yes, I'm including Audible books.

10. Sing Tell Me You Love Me more often, (and any other song I love belting,) because it makes me happy and I want to.

11. Drink 100 ounces of water a day

12. Climb some more mountains

And that's it!

Those are the easy ones, the ones that I've set out for 2018 because they are worth doing. And because I want to. Are they going to change the world? Maybe not.

Well, probably not.

But they matter to me, and they're gonna help make it another year worth talking about...in a year.