Year Of Growth + 3 Ways I'm Stretching Myself In 2018

I am declaring it a year of growth for my life. If I'm being totally transparent, entering motherhood has made me feel like I've lost a bit of control over my life. I've done some reflecting and I've realized that something that I have full control over and that I'm going to grab the reigns of is my ability to grow as a woman. I've spent the last decade of my life prioritizing self growth, reading books, listening to audios and attending seminars. It makes me feel like I'm thriving in life. They say if you're not growing you're dying. I feel that to be true. When I'm not growing, challenging myself, and learning, I feel a sense of complacency that utterly annoys and frustrates me. One of my highest values in life is growth and the beautiful thing about that is I have full control over it! 

 
Change is inevitable but personal growth is a choice.
— Bob Proctor
 

1. Read More

It really can't be a year of growth without reading can it?! No, I think not. I just finished the book Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, I am currently reading For The Love by Jen Hatmaker and I have a stack of books that I will be reading next. All of my book choices are personal growth and development books. 

I am also reading the Bible this year, specifically the New Testament. This will be my very first time reading the Bible even though I have been a Christian for about six years now. How is it that my faith can feel so strong but my knowledge feel so little. I am excited to get into the word more aggressively. It's been going great, it is actually such a simple discipline, easy to do. It's just a matter of staying committed. The Bible app has wonderful programs for basically whatever you are searching for. I found one that breaks the New Testament down so that you finish it in one year and it also has devotionals each day to help you better understand what you are reading. 

Audio books and the Bible app have seriously been life changing for me as a mother. It isn't simple to read a book while taking care of Giulian, but listening to something is an entirely different story. It simplifies these daily disciplines for me and makes them much for enjoyable and for more doable as a mother. 

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2. Challenge Myself

I've decided to run a 10k. Okay, I get it... some of you are like yikes that's a challenge for her?! Yep, it sure is! 6 miles without stopping is a challenge for this girl. And I am super excited to take it on. I am running a race called the Boulder Boulder with two of my very best friends. I can't wait! It's exactly what I need in my life right now. A reason to get in shape, a reason to train for something, and something to challenge myself. The race is just a few weeks before Giulian's first birthday (cry face) and that means I will be in great shape by then. A runner friend suggested I start with running two miles without stopping, and then work my way up to six or more. So, that's what  I'm doing. This morning I ran two miles in the frigid 38 degree air and you know what? It felt pretty good. It was super hard and my lungs were less than thrilled, but the fact that I am challenging myself is what feels good. No, it feels fantastic. Plus, if I could give birth, I can absolutely do this.  

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3. Having My Motto Be "I Do What I Say I'm Going To Do"

This ties in perfectly with numbers one and two. If I start a book, I need to finish it. If I say I am going to read the Bible, I will read it. If I say I am going to workout this many days a week, I will. They say in life how you do anything is how you do everything, I believe this to be true. How you show up in one area of your life can represent how you show up in all areas of your life. I want to be the kind of woman, leader, wife and mother that is trustworthy. By trustworthy I mean in all areas. I believe my friends and family would trust me with their kids, money, secrets, etc. ( I am overall a good person with an intention of love and kindness), but when it comes to my friends and family trusting that I will do what I say I am going to do, well... I would say that is an area for growth. I don't have a reputation for being a quitter or a flake, but I do think that I have a habit of saying I'll do something and then three weeks later totally negating the fact that I said it in the first place. Being a mom and having Giulian has made me reflect a lot. How do I want Giulian to see me as a person. What do I want to teach Giulian with my actions and words? I want Giulian to grow to be the kind of man that does what he says he will do. I want him to be a man of his word and a person who follows through. It all starts with me. He will watch me say I am going to do something and he will watch if I actually do that thing or if I brush it under the rug. Big or small things in life, this matters. Starting a diet and declaring I will not eat bread for the next 30 days and then on day 15 I'm eating a sandwich... that plants a seed in my sons head. Heck, that plants a seed in my own head. Rachel Hollis talks about this in her new book Girl Wash Your Face and it was so in line with everything I've been thinking and feeling on the subject. Rachel Hollis said it perfectly in chapter two of her book when she wrote, "When you really want something, you will find a way. When you don't really want something, you'll find an excuse. How does your subconscious know the difference between what you want and what you only pretend to want? It looks at a history of how you've tackled similar things in the past. Have you kept your word? When you set out to do something, did you see it through? When we're at a loss, we reach for the lowest bar- and the lowest bar is typically our highest level of training." Seriously ladies, pick up her book, it is gold. She is so right, why would you trust yourself to finish the big stuff in life if you always quit on the small stuff. Your subconscious mind has no clue when to take you seriously. This year I am committing to doing what I say I am going to do, with the big and small things in my life. 

Having this be my motto is serving me in another way too, I am now more protective of my "yes". Before I jump into saying yes to everything I have to really really evaluate if it is something that I want. Because if it isn't something I truly want to commit to, I will end up half-assing it or quitting. Sometimes saying no to things is quite liberating. 

 

I am so excited to be reflecting in December of this year, 2018, and say wow I truly am a better, stronger version of myself because I chose for this to be a year of growth. I can't wait to have the proud feeling knowing that I finished what I started and stretched myself in 2018. It will then roll into 2019 and allow me to feel encouraged to set even bigger goals and greater commitments. This is a year of massive internal growth for me,  I can feel it and I am gonna chase that. 

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5 Reasons Having A Community Matters - Galentine's Day Edition

Com·mu·ni·ty

noun

a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

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I made the decision to start my blog in October of 2014, knowing that I would have a space to explore my creativity and style. What I didn't know was the amazing community I was about to join. The blogging world is filled with goal driven, ambitious, creative women who have huge entrepreneurial spirits. And to top it off, the Denver blogging community is filled with stylish, kind, down to earth women! What a bonus! 

Last weekend I had the privilege to hang with some of my blogging girlfriends for a fun Galentine's Day celebration, sipping champagne, eating chocolate covered strawberries (oh and cake too), and in typical blogger fashion, taking tons of amazing photos to document the whole day. We went to the stunning Renaissanse Hotel in Downtown Denver, enjoyed one of their beautiful suites and had gorgeous steak dinner at their restaurant, Range Downtown. We partnered with some local brands to make our Galentine's Day extra special, we wore the most adorable shirts that are from the online shop called Fiercely by Valery. We ate the most amazing chocolate cake that was made by Beehold Cakes, and I must say that cake was so delicious it reminded me of a brownie! And as if that all didn't already sound like female heaven, we were surrounded by the most beautiful floral arrangements by Flower Bombers, which of course added the most gorgeous pop of color to our girls day. 

I think having a community around you who shares similar goals and interests, in whatever you do, is important. In every aspect of my life I have made a commitment to immerse myself in a positive community surrounding that part of my life. I joined MOPS to be around more Christian mothers with similar visions for themselves in motherhood. In our business we surround ourselves with motivated people who have had massive success in the field we are in. I have a community of best friends who are also in marriages that I admire and respect, that way we as wives can encourage and inspire each other. And in blogging, I have made a huge effort to participate in practically every community event that is available, join every group that exists for Denver bloggers, and build relationships with the Denver bloggers that I adore.

Because I think having a strong community is so important, I thought I'd share with you my top 5 reasons that I think having a community matters! Here we go!

1. Teach & Encourage Each Other

A candle never loses any of its light by lighting another.

Everyone has something that they can teach me, I truly believe that. Whether it be a technical skill or a life lesson I truly believe I can learn something of value from just about everyone I meet. It's so important to surround yourself with people who have mastered the skill you are trying to get great at. I love learning, asking questions and growing any chance I can. The great thing about it is, the more you know, the more you can help others. I get so many people asking me "how to" blog related questions and I am always open and eager to help and encourage as much as I can. That attitude helps to create a more positive community of people empowering people.  Being a part of a community allows you to learn from, and teach people in a way that is truly special.

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2. It Pushes You Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

When you are meeting new people, learning new things and and having new experiences, chances are that your comfort zone will begin to be stretched. This is a good thing. In anything I've done in my life, I have only gained success once I was willing to say goodbye to my comfort zone.  A few years ago meeting with a group of blogger ladies and letting a photographer take our pictures would have made me super nervous (in a socially awkward kind of way) but now I am able to just laugh and have a blast. Being around other like minded people in a community will help you stretch outside that comfort zone and really grow. They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone and I truly believe that to be true. I also think the best version of you is sitting right outside of your comfort zone, so go find her! 

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3. Being Around Like Minded People

It's such a breath of fresh air being around people who have the same interests and attitudes as you. You have much deeper and more meaningful conversations when you are around people with similar goals in life. It's important to be an individual but it's also important to have a "tribe". Being around other people with a similar vision and similar goals as you is not only fun, but it will challenge and encourage you in many ways. Like I said before, the Denver blogging community is filled with driven, kind, goal oriented women, and that is absolutely the kind of women I want to be spending my time with. 

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4. Sharing Ideas & Insights

When you are part of a strong community, it allows you to have access to people with great ideas and knowledge. I learn so much from surrounding myself with knowledgeable people. It also gives you the opportunity to share your own ideas and insights with others. Getting feedback on ideas is super valuable, in any area of life. Sometimes when we are the ones working on something  and we are so involved with it, we can easily miss something that and outsider can spot quite easily. Sometimes we are in the trees and all we see is the trees. Feedback from your community can help you see the forest. In the blogging world, creativity is key, and being around other influencers helps me to practice and stretch my creativity muscle.  

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5. Build Friendships

This is by far my favorite and I believe the most important aspect of community. I have created the most amazing relationships from making community a priority in my life. Some of my best friends have come from being part of a group or community together and then building a friendship outside of that as well. I'm so grateful for the amazing women I've met in the blogging world and can't wait to continue to strengthen those friendships as we all continue our journey in the blogging world. 

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All photography on this shoot was done by Alejandro Caballero with Avid Visuals. Thank you so much for the beautiful photos and for putting up with us silly ladies all day!

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