Focus. I’ve heard a lot about people having a “word of the year.” I’ve never set a word for myself but, after seeing that phrase so many times when we celebrated the new year, I couldn’t help but think about what my word would be.
After a few weeks of thinking about it, I looked at my husband and said, “I think my ‘word of the year’ is going to be focus.” He kind of gave me a strange look until I explained it.
As a mom, I focus on keeping my kids happy and healthy, my husband happy and healthy, and my home happy and healthy. What’s missing in that list? Me. I hardly ever put any focus on myself. My husband is always great about helping me focus on myself. But, oftentimes, I feel like I don’t have time to focus on myself. I’m always too busy taking care of the kids, doing laundry, cleaning the house, spending time with my husband, preparing food, running errands, and working a full-time job while also launching a photography business and running a blog. To take time out of my schedule to focus on myself seems selfish to me and somewhat impossible, especially given all that is on my plate. Moms, you can relate, right?
But, then I am reminded of this quote:
Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. – Anonymous
We’re always so busy. Busy, busy, busy. From running around on errands to answering work emails to taking care of kids … we are all pulled in a million different directions day in and day out. From the moment the alarm or baby monitor makes a noise to the moment the head hits the pillow at night, days can be filled with so many activities, needs, wants, emotions, responsibilities, tasks, etc.
With the on-the-go, busy lifestyle, it can be easy to forget about ourselves. But, I also know that tuning into yourself has so many benefits.
So, this year, I’m going to focus on myself. Sounds selfish, right? Over the years (even before I became a mom), I developed bad habits. Well, the way I’m going to focus on myself is by saying:
Goodbye, bad habits.
Bad Habit #1: Not Working Out
I’ve always been an athlete. Growing up, I lived at the ice rink as a figure skater, the baseball field as a softball player, the track field as a hurdler, and the basketball court as a basketball player. I always played sports because I loved being part of a team, working out, staying in shape, and being competitive. Yes, I tend to be super competitive.
While in college, I played on co-ed flag football teams, went for runs, and loved the long walks across campus. When I moved to D.C., I found a few co-ed softball leagues to join. I also tried to workout after I got home from the office and when I was home on the weekends. Simply put, I led an athletic lifestyle because it helped keep me balanced.
And then I became a mom. I started to slip into developing bad habits with my fitness. I would go weeks and months without even thinking about working out. I (luckily and thankfully) didn’t gain too much weight while I was pregnant with our son so shedding the weight after my first pregnancy wasn’t too hard of a task. I was able to lose weight but my body was not toned.
And then I became a mom for the second time. I (luckily and thankfully) again didn’t gain that much weight while I was pregnant with our daughter because I was super mindful of what I ate. A few months after our daughter was born, I had to get a tonsillectomy. Because my diet consisted of popsicles and pudding for weeks (talk about horrible pain), I lost quite a bit of weight during the month of recovery. I was pleased with my body but not 100% happy. I knew I had some work to do in order to tighten up some areas. I also knew that going on walks every now and then wasn’t going to cut it.
Since this is the year that I’m saying “goodbye” to bad habits, I decided to focus on my fitness. I prefer to do workouts at home so I did some research and found a program that should work for me. I saw people who had great results following the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines. I downloaded the app, purchased the workout, and decided that the second week of January would be my first week of focusing on my fitness.
I officially just completed my first week and am feeling great (sore, but great). I work out every morning before the kiddos wake up. Yes, it’s difficult to wake up early and workout but it feels great to get my workout done at the very beginning of my day.
One morning, my son actually woke up while I was just finishing up my workout. He sat on the couch and, while watching a movie, kept peeking at what I was doing. As I was doing sit-ups, he yelled out, “Peek-a-boo!” The rest of the sit-up circuit was a peek-a-boo game between the two of us. During a rest between circuits he looked at me and said, “What are you doing, mama? Keep going. You can do it!” Talk about the best motivation ever! Hilarious! During the cool down, he joined me and we stretched together. It was so cute watching him look at the stretches on my screen and then try to create them. I love that he knows that his mama is working out.
The program is 12 weeks long and, even though the workouts are tough, I can’t wait to start week #2 of my fitness journey. You can’t beat “me time” that also helps you get in shape. What’s not to love?
Bad Habit #2: Getting Very Little Sleep
I’m a workaholic. Before I had kids, I would easily work 80+ hours a week, especially since I worked from home so it was so easy to just hop on the computer and work. On average, I would get about four hours of sleep a night and I didn’t mind it (and because I’m not a napper, I would rely on that four hours of sleep to get me through my days). I would go to bed at 2:00 a.m. and get up super early to start the work day. I felt like I was always tied to the computer and work.
And then we had our first baby. Our son immediately put my workaholic bad habits into perspective. I immediately knew that it was super important for me to find a better work-life balance. But, I was still working until 2:00 a.m. and getting up at 6:00 a.m. to take care of him and work. I knew I needed a change but I just couldn’t commit to getting more sleep.
After our daughter was born, I realized that with taking care of two kids while working from home, I needed more sleep to help me be productive and alert throughout the day. I needed to find a way work-life-sleep schedule.
And, now that I’m waking up at 6:00 a.m. to workout before the kiddos wake up, I decided that this year is my year to focus on sleep. This past week, I’ve been able to create a life and work schedule that has me going to bed around 9:30/10:00 and waking up at 6:00 a.m. I’m almost doubling the amount of sleep hours that I used to get all because I’m living a life that is more disciplined. I’ve quickly realized just how much better I feel, how much more productive I am at work, and how much better of a mom I can be when I have more sleep a night.
Bad Habit #3: Biting My Nails
Gross, yuck, ewww … the list can go on and on about this disgusting bad habit. I’ve always been a nail biter. In fact, the two times that I can ever remember having nails is when I was pregnant with our kiddos. Because I knew just how disgusting of a bad habit nailing biting is, I knew that I didn’t want to bite my nails while I was pregnant. But, as soon as I gave birth, I immediately went back to biting my nails.
Believe me, I’ve tried everything over my 34 years. From putting TABASCO Sauce on my nails to wearing gloves, nothing seemed to work except pregnancy. And, since we’re stopping at two kids, I need to find another way to make sure I stick to getting rid of this bad habit of mine.
Ever since the clock struck midnight and the year turned 2018, I stopped biting my nails. Mind over matter, right? Well, just yesterday, I was able to file my nails a bit and paint them a nude color. I’m hoping that having nail polish on my nails will keep me from biting them. So far so good. I’m looking forward to getting a manicure to help get them in good shape to get strong and continue to grow. This is my year to focus on not biting my nails.
So, there you have it. I plan to focus on myself while dropping three bad habits in order to improve my overall health and well-being. By kicking these three bad habits to the curb, I’ll be able to fill my cup.
What bad habits are you getting rid of this year?