New Year’s Resolutions for 2017: Get Woke

 

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My friend Christa sent me this amazing holiday card this year.

The time is now and the first thing you can do is try.

Let’s start with a definition, and this Bustle article is a very good place to start. To get a little deeper, check out Charles Pulliam-Moore’s article. Both call-out the Urban Dictionary definition of “woke” as being aware, and “knowing what’s going on in the community,” specifically relating to racism and social injustice.

To me, “woke” refers to a consciousness of deep-rooted, consistently perpetuated societal advantages bestowed upon white people (specifically white males) that have created and continue to create disadvantages for people of color and other marginalized communities.

How did I come to that definition? My personal experiences and those of my family and friends; conversations I’ve had with others; media I’ve consumed; workshops I’ve attended; boards I’ve served on…you get the idea. And I have to keep reading, and listening; I have to keep trying.

If you’re just starting out (or need a reminder), check out my What Can I Do Now? post, which featured a list developed by my colleague and shared just after the tragic deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.

Since I obviously find curated lists extremely helpful in endeavors such as this, here are a few others (this list of lists is so meta):

If you’re overwhelmed by all of the things you have yet to learn, try to frame it as, appropriately, an awakening. You could try to do it all at once, like setting an alarm clock with a sudden wail, or try it as if you set one of those Zen alarm clocks that mocks a sunrise and gently stirs you to wake up. Figure out what works best for you and proceed as necessary. And then keep going.

Tomorrow, we break a bad habit.

 

Hey! This post is part of a series. Check out the rest of them here:

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New Year’s Resolutions for 2017: Get Organized

Organization is a topic I enjoy thinking about, writing about, and experimenting with (I got a Moleskine planner for 2017 and am both excited and wary about my to return to a hardcopy system).

Since getting organized can apply to so many different aspects of life (your desk, your finances, your home, your schedule), I’m not going to try to tackle a list of tips or tricks here. Instead, I’m using this post as a plug for Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. From AT: “Each weekday in January we’ll be sending an email assignment to inspire and inform you on how to get your home in great shape; clean, organized and working for you.”

I meant to do it last year (and blog about it), but just ended up letting the emails pile up in my inbox before deleting them without acting on the assignments. This year, let’s try it together! For those who need accountability, here it is.

Tomorrow, we’re getting heavy with the resolution of getting “woke.”

 

Hey! This post is part of a series. Check out the rest of them here:

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New Year’s Resolutions for 2017: Get Fit

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One of my recent “post-workout selfies”

When I finished grad school, I realized that my body had stealthily become a Grad School Bod and I needed to whip myself into shape. I had a gym membership, but I craved more guidance and structure. So, I did two main things that I attribute a lot of my fitness success to:

First, I joined Beachbody and got a coach. I had never heard of Beachbody, but some friends had success with and spoke very highly of it, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Beachbody is a multi-level marketing company, which might make you raise your eyebrows, but their products—particularly their workout programs—are excellent (P90X and Insanity come from Beachbody).

Through Beachbody, I picked out a couple workout programs (I need variety) and also joined an accountability group (run by my fabulous coach, Tawny Stephens) on Facebook that provided support, inspiration, and motivation.

On my one-year anniversary of joining, I got Beachbody On Demand, which allows me to stream workouts on my computer instead of messing with DVDs. It’s been great for travel, which used to be a serious exercise roadblock for me.

Second, I started tracking my macronutrients. My husband read Bigger Leaner Stronger by Mike Matthews and when I expressed interest, encouraged me to get the book tailored to ladies, Thinner Leaner Stronger. In it, I learned how many calories and grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats I should get everyday in order to “lean” and get stronger (which was my goal, but you can calculate your macros for any goal). Using the book and Matthews’s website (which is written in a very clickbait-y way but has some great stuff), I found a balance that makes me feel amazing while also seeing results. I also don’t feel locked into a rigid routine.

Beachbody and Mike Matthews taught me to love strength training and to stop doing so much cardio! Now, my weekly workouts are all about variety. I still have the my YMCA membership and I’ve found a couple classes that I try to get to every week. One thing that’s worked for me is combining my fitness classes and social time—I go to class with a friend and plan to grab dinner or drink and catch up afterward.

Looking for something free?

I love PopSugar Fitness videos (use their Fitfinder to find one that will work for you), and they have a structured 2-week plan that kicks off on January 1.

And SELF Magazine has a 4-week plan.

I should point out that I get nothing from Beachbody, Mike Matthews, the YMCA, PopSugar, or SELF by plugging their offerings (except the joy of potentially helping someone!).

Tomorrow, we’re tackling the resolution of getting organized. See you then.

 

Hey! This post is part of a series. Check out the rest of them here:

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New Year’s Resolutions for 2017: A Series

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Hi, readers! And happy almost New Year!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not that into New Year’s resolutions. But if you are, great! I’ve been thinking about my successes in habit-forming, and figured it couldn’t hurt to share my tricks. And what better timing than at the start of a brand new year?

I’ve decided to end my blogging hiatus with a bang in the form of a series of posts on New Year’s resolutions and resources to make them successful. I’ll cover: get fit; get organized; get woke; and break a bad habit (one in particular). The final post in the series will be a round up of the strategies I share.

We start tomorrow. See you then!

 

Hey! This post is part of a series. Check out the rest of them here:

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A rough week (have hope)

This week:

A loved one was rushed to the ICU.
(He’s stable now.)

My husband and I were hit by a drunk driver.
(We’re fine.)

Our country elected a racist/misogynist/bigot/narcissist/sexual predator/tax evader without any political experience to the most powerful position in the world.
(We shall overcome.)

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What Halloween taught me about perfection

I’m a little bit of a perfectionist. I mean, I would prefer things to be perfect, but over the years,  I’ve learned to be happy with pretty darn good.

Take my Halloween costumes. Each year around July or August, I come up with a fan-freaking-tastic costume idea. Part of what makes these ideas so wonderful is how elaborate they are. I’ll spend the rest of the summer doing research and planning. By the time October rolls around, I usually have one or two Saturdays available to execute.

This is rarely enough time.

I usually end up scrapping the idea and going for something else that is also awesome, but requires much less effort. This year, I had big plans for an elaborate costume (that I won’t spoil because there’s always next year), but as September turned to October, I shifted gears and put a together a costume that required just one successful trip to a thrift store and one swift order from Amazon.

Getting something perfect takes a lot of time. In a world of deadlines and competing priorities, that time is a luxury we don’t often have. I have no regrets about the amount of effort I put into my Halloween costumes, my tasks at work, or my other responsibilities. Even if none of them turn out perfect, all of them turn out pretty darn good.

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As Eleven from Stranger Things this year (oh, I also grabbed a prop from my freezer)

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As half of a particularly dynamic duo, 2015: Thrift store suit, husband’s shirt, some gift wrapped boxes, bad shades, and gold chains

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As a gold digger, 2014: Strategically-wrapped and pinned gold fabric, gold shoes, gold jewelry, and a spray-painted toy shovel

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Wanna ride bikes?!

Sometimes I forget how intimidating it is to be new at something.

I rode my bike a lot when I was a kid, but I never really learned to take care of it (beyond aesthetic upgrades like spoke beads and a personalized mini license plate). I’ve ridden as an adult, too, but only rentals in faraway places. I have a bike now, but I never ride it (for lots of reasons, but they’re just excuses). So when I saw that a local bike shop was hosting a basic bike maintenance clinic for women, I figured it would be the perfect kickstart to a new hobby/mode of transportation.

Going to that clinic last night, I was patting myself on the back for doing the responsible thing. But I was also dumbfounded by the realization that I am a complete and total beginner and know next to nothing about bikes.

It was somewhere between the chain cleaning demo and Fix-A-Flat 101 that I felt like my head was going to explode. My eyes glazed over and I wondered if there were such things as bikewashes or roadside assistance specifically for cyclists. And then I wondered if the utter glee I feel when I ride a bike is even worth all of this effort.

On my (ahem) drive home from the shop, I thought about the fact that I teach beginners all the time. Being a beginner again put me in their shoes and reminded me that even when we’re eager to learn, it can be overwhelming to start at, well, the start.

Everything I’m good at took time. And, at times, learning wasn’t always pretty or even all that fun. I need to remember that not only when I’m training others, but also when I’m learning something new myself.

Bring on the training wheels!

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