As I sit sipping eggnog we picked up from the farmer’s market this weekend, I realize that the end of another year is fast approaching. Last year at this time, I was taking stock of my life, and wasn’t pleased by what I saw. My life had gotten away from me. I didn’t feel like I was making choices, I had just been sucked along for the ride. My career felt stagnant, good friendships had fallen by the wayside…It probably didn’t help that I was often eating a 1 lb. bag of Twizzlers and a tube of pringles for lunch regularly. Oh yeah, while I was still relatively skinny, I had reached my heaviest weight ever, felt lethargic, and was starting to have issues with my back. Apparently, age and my body were not getting along very well. Needless to say, it was hard for me to take stock of my life, and see the “fulfillment” inventory running so low.
It was a personal breaking point for me, layer upon layer of personal neglect weighing me down. I wanted to shed the weight. Physically and emotionally. I decided it was time for a New Year’s Resolution, and I came at it with the “Go big or go home” mentality. I made a bunch of resolutions, bought poster board and star stickers to track my progress, and declared that 2012 was going to be the “Year of Awesomeness” to anyone who’d listen. Now, it’s the end of 2012, and I have to account for my year, if only to myself.
So first, to be honest, most of those initial goals were never met. But the idea of awesomeness didn’t die with those goals, those goals were transformed by awesomeness. For instance, I thought I was going to do P90X. After a month, I was bored, and it wasn’t working with my schedule. So I took up running. Then, I decided to run the Baltimore 5K, and set a goal of running it in 24 minutes. I ran it in 22 minutes and 13 seconds. I didn’t keep up with P90X, but I was awesome. And I shed the extra weight, got my butt in shape, got a gym membership, and am continuing to train with a new goal in mind for next year (sub-20 minutes!).
The best part is that I learned so much in the process of living the Year of Awesomeness. I learned that I need to set goals that feed my desire for knowledge, that have deadlines and dates associated with them, and that are based on measurable achievements. I like to accomplish, to be able to check the box, to know I am making progress. “Doing P90X” wasn’t a goal for me, just a manifestation of my vanity and ego. Most of my goals shifted in similar ways. Something with tangible benefit, measurable, skills driven. These are the things that motivate me.
I also learned a valuable lesson about getting people involved in your life. I told everyone I could think of about the Year of Awesomeness. I posted on Facebook, told students, told family and friends. I didn’t realize it, but I was creating a brand for the next year of my life. Every now and then, one of those people would ask me about my “Year of Awesomeness,” a little reminder to stay awesome, and keep going. That poster board with the star stickers hung on my closet door all year with “Year of Awesomeness” written in my messy handwriting scrawled across the top. I hardly used it, but it was a constant reminder of what I intended my life to be every day.
I know that I am constantly bombarded with messages from advertisers about what I should want out of life and how I should feel. How their products can give me those things or make me feel that way. But my own personal brand was far more powerful and genuinely fulfilling. My life was about something, something big and meaningful. I saw the impact on those around me. I saw other people getting on board with the Year of Awesomeness. I got support, and I also inspired.
Now, with 2013 approaching, I find myself contemplating my successes and my failures, and looking ahead to next year. The Year of Awesomeness has run its course. Its time for a new year, and a new message. I look forward to sharing it with all of you soon.