My Year of No…

Most people start their “New Year’s resolutions” in January. I normally do too, but this year was different. This year my resolution started in October and has been, and will continue to be, my year of “No”.

If you have been following my previous posts or have talked to me for about 12 seconds in the past 12 months, you would know that I just got married this past August. I’m sure you agree that planning a wedding is incredibly time-consuming. So, the closer I got to the wedding day, I had top force myself to really focus on just the wedding and put any side projects or goals on hold. Therefore, I STOPPED EVERYTHING.

By everything I mean: I say yes to everything and get involved with a lot of activities- inside and outside of work.

  • At work: in addition to my job as an executive recruiter, I started this blog, was doing a bit of video content for the company website and was on the ‘culture committee’.
  • Outside of work: I was starting to do a bit of public speaking, I was the interview chair for a local scholarship pageant, and I teach at and help my sister run a small yoga/barre studio we own together in our hometown. ( I guess I’m just one REALLY lazy, selfish millennial! 😉 )

When I first put a pause on my life to focus on the wedding I initially felt really “off”, because it was first time in a long time that I was not adding things to my plate. With my only real “goal” being to stay as focused as humanly possible at work and do everything I could to make the wedding perfect.  

Once I got back from my honeymoon it took me a long time to get my mojo back. All I wanted to do was to continue going on adventures, drinking margaritas and piña coladas, and NOT work. I didn’t want to face the pile of everything that I was able to ignore all spring and summer.

Now, I am sure some of you are thinking you should always be “enjoying” life and I totally am for that for the most part, but I have this tendency to always think that I am not enough. I am not doing enough, I am not being enough, I am not enough. Therefore, I fill that void with accomplishments, successes, and things I can strive towards to prove to myself that I am “enough”. Maybe a little twisted in some ways, but hey, we all have our demons.

During my time off, I started to realize that I actually don’t need all of that to make me happy. I found happiness, joy and excitement in the simpler things in life and I was desperate NOT to lose that. I didn’t want to miss out on the small pleasures of life because I was distracted by the big goals.   

As a result, I started to get selfish with myself and my time. What did I really want to do with my time? What is it that really makes me happy?  I got real with myself and made a short list of what I needed and wanted to do to make me truly happy.  

Ultimately, for the first time ever, I started saying “no”. That powerful two letter word started to rock my world, and I never knew it had such amazing powers. At first it was a quiet timid no in the form of, “I don’t think I want to do that right now”. But, rather quickly that turned into a loud blunt, “Yea, f*** that, NOT interested in doing that.”  And it was FANTASTIC! I have never felt more free, liberated, and in charge.

I started by plucking off the things I used to do pre-wedding that I was no longer interested in pursuing, by reached out to the organizer or person asking, and basically told them, “Yeah, it’s gonna be a NO for me, dawg!..” Just kidding. =] I didn’t say it exactly like that, but in my mind I did!

The more I said no, the better I felt, the lighter I felt. When I was faced with something new that I wasn’t enjoying, I had the confidence and courage to say “no” again, like the Pilates training last weekend (see previous blog post).

Shonda Rhimes might encourage people to have a year of “Yes!”, but this will be my year of no. My year of simplifying life, focusing on short list of goals that really matter to me, and finding that perfect equation of “less is more”.

I plan on continuing to do this all year long in 2019. Let’s see how it goes!…

-Emily

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