New year intentions and a stone-cold sober January

My first post of 2020 may be coming in a bit late, but honestly, I felt so exhausted by the holiday season that planning the year ahead seemed overwhelming at first. But the past few days marked a New Moon and the Chinese New Year, so now’s feeling like as good a time as any to set some intentions for 2020.

I know I’m not the only one who feels like this new year comes with a little extra oomph. We’re in a brand new DECADE, baby!

Things like #tenyearchallenge and #2010vs2020 on Instagram bring up memories of where you were at the beginning of the last decade, which really helps you appreciate how far you’ve come. 

The funny thing is, I’m in the same physical place now as I was in 2010 – staying at my parents’ house in New Jersey as I prepare for a major life change!

Back in January 2010, I was getting ready to leave my research position at Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute. I was staying in this same house, the one I grew up in, and driving a total of three hours round-trip to commute to work. Because I was also training for my first marathon at the time, my days typically started before the sun came up and ended well after it went down so I could run at the gym after work. 

But I had the energy to do all this because I was so excited about what would come after it: my first cross-country road trip with my then-boyfriend, my first marathon in Napa Valley, California, and then the rest of the year spent traveling and teaching English in Costa Rica and Peru. 

me smiling at the Napa Valley Marathon finish
This is me at the beginning of 2010 after finishing my first marathon. I wore cheap shorts that chaffed like hekk! Am so much smarter now.

Now, here I am again. Except, this time with my husband and four dogs. We’re getting ready to buy our first house. I’m a full-time freelance writer, working less than 20 hours per week in whatever location I choose. My mornings typically involve getting up to meditate and journal before I watch the sunrise. Then, I go for an easy jog around the neighborhood with Bruce, followed by a pack walk with Jason and the other dogs. 

It’s peaceful and enjoyable, exactly how I want it to be. 

As far as running goes, I’m proud to join Hammer Nutrition for my third year in their sponsored athlete program! 

But with moving across the country from California to New Jersey and searching for/buying a house in yet another state (will reveal the location soon!) I haven’t signed up for any 2020 races, yet. 

This lack of races to train for really frustrates the 2010 version of me who packed her schedule so full she hardly had time to think! I’m sure I’ll register for something fun soon, once I give myself some time alone with Ultrasignup.  

Right now, I’m still focusing on more strength workouts than ever before and letting my morning dog jog of 2-3 miles count as a run. Even as I type that out, my inner mean girl is saying, “that’s it? you should be doing more.”

And that brings me to the intention-setting part of this post. 

Yesterday, as I was following along with my monthly BodyTalk virtual healing circle, the practitioner brought up the topic of intentions for the year. She mentioned how she also didn’t feel called to set any around the start of the calendar year but felt like now was a good time. 

She suggested a few that resonated with me so much that I wrote them down: Be meticulously kind to yourself. Let things be easy. And finally, she added that setting intentions and making change is good, but know that things are already okay.

That last one really shook me. 

Things are already okay. 

This concept is one I’ve been processing for a while now. 

If you’re like me, this truth can feel a little tough to swallow. As an ultrarunner, dog mom, and self-employed babe, I always want to be better. At everything. 

And as soon as I finish something I spent months working toward, I tend to jump right into planning/training for the next big thing right away.

But the key is to respect where you’re at right now, celebrate every accomplishment, and reward yourself for hard work. I think that’s where the meticulous kindness comes in!    

I love those intentions, but I also have been holding something of a resolution since New Year’s Day: teetotalism.

I love that word!

That means I haven’t had a drink since champagne on New Year’s Eve.

My plan is to go through the entire year without drinking at all. Last year, I took four months off from alcohol between December-March. Not drinking made such a huge improvement in various areas of my life. I slept better. My skin looked great. It was the first winter I can remember that didn’t involve depression. 

All good things. 

When I started drinking again, it was typically only 1-3 per week. Beer or wine only. But even that small amount had an impact on my mood and sleep quality. 

I want to see what magic happens after a full year. 

I also know I’m going to want the occasional glass of wine or beer before too long, so I’ve already forgiven my future self for that. 

This year is a little bit different than last time, though. Aside from a Snoop Dogg concert a few days ago, I haven’t had any weed since arriving in New Jersey. I promised my mom I wouldn’t keep it in her house and I take that promise seriously. 

So that means 100% of me is dealing with 100% of all the things right now. 

The stress of buying a house? There’s nowhere to hide. I can’t tell you the number of times I joked about picking the wrong time to give up drinking! But it’s all good. This just proves to me that I really don’t need a glass of wine or a bong rip to take the edge off. 

The edge is here, honeybuns. I’m standing right on it with a clear, sharp mind.

But I gotta tell you, that joint at the Snoop concert was like a refreshing desert oasis. So, I guess technically it’s been a nearly-stone-cold sober January?

I’ll leave you with the song Snoop played as he walked off the stage Thursday night.

That’s it for now. I look forward to circling back to update you on my race schedule for 2020. In the meantime, please share with me what you’re excited about this year! And don’t forget to be meticulously kind to yourself.

Big hugs!

mental health running

Lauren Steinheimer View All →

Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.

2 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Best Wishes to you and Jason on your home purchase, that’s BIG!
    I too liked the “Things are already okay” intention – guess many of us have trouble realizing this!

    Like

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