Inspirational stonesIn 30 days I will be 36 years old. I have no idea how that happened. Seems like just yesterday I was walking home from school with the person who is still my best friend today. But that was decades ago, and now I find myself married to a pretty funny guy with two of the most awesome kids a mom could ask for. Indeed, I have lived a blessed life.

But if I can keep it ONE HUNDRED with all of you, my blessed life has been very out of balance lately. I think I started the year off with high hopes and I let my drive get the best of me. Working on too many projects, trying to manage my mother’s care, keeping up with my kids and my marriage–it was A LOT. I wasn’t sleeping enough most nights of the week, and I eventually paid the price.

I got sick in August. It was just a virus, nothing serious, but boy did it knock the wind out of me. The blessing is that it forced me to slow down. I had to pull back and rest. I am grateful that God sent that virus my way. Without it, who knows what would have happened. While recovering from my little virus, my mother started having unexpected health issues–possibly brain seizures. It landed her in the hospital about 3 times in a matter of 10 days. It was a lot on her, and, admittedly, it was a lot on me, too. Life sure knows how to throw a lot our way. But, when all is said and done, at the risk of sounding terribly cliche, I am stronger for it all. Nothing like a tough month to make you realize where your strength lies and what you have to offer the world. Indeed, I am a fighter.

Now it’s September and my birthday is just around the corner. I find myself in deep reflection, like most of us do when a birthday approaches, asking myself what can I do in the next 30 days to improve the energy in my life. What can I do to end this year with a bang, and to take things a step further, what can I do to help other women end this year with a bang. Why do other women matter? It’s simple, really. I firmly believe that when you get, you give and when you learn, you teach. If I can do anything to help another woman navigate the challenges of life and come out winning, I think I can tell God I did good. After all, everything I do is really guided by my desire to tell Him that I did good.

Below is what I plan to do in the next 30 days. I will report back on my birthday, October 2nd, and share what lessons I learned and where I stand. Send me positive vibes because I can never have too many of those.

1. Workout EVERYDAY. Yep, I said everyday. Let’s be clear, though. I am not talking about 60-minute workouts. I just don’t have time for that. I am, however, talking about intense 20-30 minute workouts. I started the year off planning to lose 40 pounds. I lost 20, gained 5 back, and now I find myself annoyed. It should not be this hard. I need to make exercise as important as brushing my teeth. Here I go!

2. Stop yelling at my kids. I am a good mom. I have no doubt about that. I mess up at times. I think all moms do. But at the end of the day, I do my best to give my kids what they need, and I do it with love and compassion. In the last year, though, my increased stress level has led to moments where I don’t respond to my kids the way that I need to, particularly my son. After telling him to do something more than 5 times, I get pretty frustrated and my voice escalates. It’s not good for me or my kids, so I am stopping it today. Time for me to get back to a life without yelling. It’s much better for the soul–everyone’s soul.

3. Give up cakes, ice cream, cookies and pastries. I have a major sweet tooth, and I have the cavities and extra pounds to show for it. I am not giving up these things permanently (that is just crazy), but I will give them up for 30 days. I just know that my husband better get me the best birthday cake ever! 🙂

4. Go to bed before midnight. This one is tough because I have been staying up late a whole lot for the last year. But I actually think that going to bed earlier and trying to rise earlier might be the best thing I can do for myself, both personally and professionally.

5. Read 2 books. I almost typed 4 books, but let’s be real. Unless someone gets me a nanny as a gift, that won’t happen. Two seems a lot more reasonable. I need to get back to reading more because I need the knowledge to advance my career ,and I also need to read to further develop my craft as a writer.

6. Finally pursue a few opportunities I have been avoiding. I hate being rejected. I thought I didn’t care, but I do. Especially if the rejection is about something that really matters to me. But, without rejection, I won’t be making it very far in life, so I have decided to embrace it for the next 30 days in the hopes of realizing that it doesn’t sting that bad, and even if I am rejected 100 times, the one time I am not feels so freakin’ good that the 100 moments of rejection won’t matter all that much.

I’ll report back on my Birthday!