Starting off the year right (Monthly wrap-up #1 2023)

The January Wrap-Up is coming in a bit late. Last year, I tried to do a weekly wrap-up, but it became overwhelming weekly, and it eventually failed. This year, I’m committing to making my blog one of my leading social media, so I’ve taken the time to evaluate what is doable. In the past, I was too ambitious about what I could accomplish. I am setting a more attainable goal to get the blog moving in the right direction. So here I am telling you the content you didn’t expect is coming in LATE. (I hate to admit it, but it might be on brand for me.) I could keep talking about this for days, but I should get to the point.

January highlights:

The Louisiana Marathon weekend was great fun this year. Tot ran her first 5K, and that warmed my heart. The whole family had a great weekend. I ran the 5K and the half marathon. Although this was the slowest half marathon I’ve run in a long time, I still had lots of fun and made many memories! I don’t know what it is about this race, but it makes me feel hopeful for a strong year of running.

I’m a massive fan of working to achieve your goals, but I decided to try something different this year. I made a vision board. The whole manifesting and visioning juju has yet to be something I’ve believed in. The funny thing is: I’m a visual person. I learn by watching others, which is also my teaching style, so making a vision board is right up my alley. I made my vision board and made it my computer background, so it is something I look at every day. And I must admit, it helps, and I have already noticed changes in my thinking about approaching my goals. Seeing is believing, and I’m glad I’ve chosen to envision what I want out of the year.

I’m proud to say I meal-prepped food and ate most of my meals at home.  I regained some of my workout motivation and stuck to a workout program.  I’ll talk more about that later.

I ran the Houston Hot Chocolate 10K.  That was the first time I’d run in the rain in a long time.  It wasn’t the worst experience in the world.  Plus, the race ended with some good chocolate!

Honorable mentions include: 

  • I made crunch wrap supreme at home because that has to be healthier than eating Taco Bell, right?
  • I started making more coffee at home because I have the Nespresso machine.
  • I am highly invested in my god-daughters volleyball playing.  I knew nothing about volleyball until December, and now I need to know everything about her progress.  It’s funny how it works like that.
  • I’ve eaten chili almost every day since Christmas Eve. I made chili for a family celebration and then decided it was the easiest thing to meal prep. It’s vegetables and a ton of protein, and it’s easy. I had to leave the beans out, though. 

January Reading Wrap-Up

I read six books this month. I said I would slow my reading down to focus on other things. What can I say? Reading calms me, and I commit to reading for at least 20 minutes daily. I stuck reading only 20 minutes a day except for a few days. I did swap out television-watching time some days with reading, and I still read many more books than I intended. I read some flops, but I also read some great books.
Books I read in January: Spare, Rock Paper Scissors, The SToried life of A.J. Fikry, The Atlas Six, Election

Spare by Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex. Spare is an excellent book if you’re interested in the Royal family. I liked reading about Prince Harry during his formative years and why he hated the press. I also found it interesting the relationships he held with others and how they shaped how he handled the relationship with his wife. (That may be a bit deep, but it was interesting.) I gave this book 4.5 stars.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin. This isn’t a book I would have usually picked up, but it ended on my Kindle recommendations. I almost put the book down because I thought it would be sad and a mood drain. I was wrong. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. A.J. Kikry doesn’t have a perfect life, but this is an example of how everything wrong can lead to something good just through the people you meet. I gave this book five stars, and I recommend that everyone read it!

The Atlas Six by Oliva Blake. The Atlas Six is an exciting journey into a magical world where six people are selected to join the Alexandrian Society. What is the Alexandrian Society? We don’t know, and they don’t know either. This book ended where the story should have begun, but I understand there is world-building and character development that needs to happen. There is a lot of THAT in the book, along with a lot of dialogue between many different characters. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with the characters, but the book is still interesting. The ending intrigued me for the next book, which I started yesterday. Stay tuned to the February wrap-up to know what I thought. I gave this book four stars.

The Runaway Groomsman by Meghan Quinn. This romance book follows Sawyer, who runs away from the wedding of his best friend and ex-girlfriend. He made a big splash and needs somewhere to hide away, which happens to be Fallon’s lakeside town. The Runaway Groomsman is a regular romance story with no big twists, just many sweet moments. The book is available on Kindle Unlimited. A solid book worth three stars. 

The following two books were my flops of the month. I will only spend a little time talking about these books, but I wanted to share that I read these books.

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney is a thriller and interesting story about a couple trying to save their marriage on a weekend getaway. The book presented manipulation over manipulation throughout the book, so by the time I got to the twists in the book, I didn’t care. Nothing started to happen until 230 pages into this 300-ish page book. A two-star book that you can take or leave. I choose to leave it where I left it. Luckily, I borrowed the book from the library for free.

Lastly, I read Election by Tom Perrotta. This book is about grown men misbehaving and affecting high school students. Election was made into a movie in the 90s, so I thought the book would be interesting. Tracy Flick wants to be the student body president at Winwood High school, which is the story behind it. After getting past that point, the characters seemed disjointed and disconnected. The book didn’t click with me. I gave Election one star.

Changes I made

Getting my workouts in creating a lot of stress in my life toward the end of 2022, and sometimes I would skip them due to stressing about getting them done. I changed my workout schedule to meet better where I am. I am very schedule oriented, especially now that I have a child. I liked having my workouts done during the week, so the weekends could be spent doing other things. I had to make a change, though, because time is more limited during the week with work and other activities. I have more time on the weekends, and my stress levels are less. Ultimately, making the change has made me less stressed and more productive.  

I also switched things up in my home. It took a lot of work to change the rooms, but my home is more functional now. I used to dread going into my workout room because it was isolated from the rest of the house. It held an “out of sight, out of mind” feel, which isn’t always good. I also moved my home office, which has now become more functional, and I have been more productive. I’ve spent more time working and less time napping. And now, they are well-defined spaces in the home that make things much better.

My vision board has spoken, and I’ve been putting together better outfits. My closet is filled with clothes I never wear. I always go with what is most comfortable or casual. But there’s a way to be casually elevated, which I always try to achieve, but I miss the mark because I need to take the time to wear the outfits in my closet.

What I could have done better

I must focus on spending quality time with the people who mean the most to me. It’s not enough to spend time with these people; I need to be present with them. Even if it’s only 20-30 minutes, it’s good to take the time to show people how much they mean to you, and they can depend on you.  

Also, I’ve got some trash sleep. Sleep is essential, and getting good quality sleep can save your day. I need to do better at creating a quality night routine that will set me up for the night and lead to a better tomorrow.

Lastly, I need to drink more water. I find myself reaching for that water bottle less in the cooler months. I could go hours without even drinking anything. I’ve always prided myself on getting my water in throughout the day, but it’s been lacking this past month. I must do better. Stay hydrated helps with weight management, sleep, skin, hair, nails, etc. Do you have any tips for drinking water?  

Videos from this month

That’s my January wrap-up. I hope to better myself in these things; others are lovely things to share. I want to share some things that might help motivate you to be a better version of yourself. I hope you enjoy my monthly wrap-ups and thank you for joining me on my journey.

What is the best thing that happened to you in January? What are one thing you did differently and one thing you could do better?

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