Hi, I’m Kathrin, and I’m a resolutions junkie.
The start of a new year is always an exciting time for me as I look forward to the next things I want to accomplish or see or be.
I make big, BIG plans. And I don’t always (read “don’t usually”) follow through.
But after reading Oola for Women this year, I realized a few things about my resolutions addiction:
1. I rarely accomplish any of my goals or keep any of my resolutions because I don’t set SMART goals.
2. No matter how many times I say I’m content and happy in my current state, I am often looking for the next thing rather than being grateful for what I have.
3. I look forward more than I look back, but I’m rarely grateful for my past...regret is the feeling I most often have toward my past experiences.
So this year, I used the Oola process (1. Evaluate where you are now. 2. Set goals for your Oola life. 3. Make a plan to achieve your Oola Life.) to set SMART goals and have been meditating on Oola’s core mantra: “Be Grateful, Have Faith, and Live Oola.”
Only 6 days into the new year, I’m already accomplishing and crossing goals off my list (which is an incredibly liberating feeling!), and I have a clear, and easy-to-evaluate, plan for the year for how I’m going to reach the goals I set.
How did I do it exactly?
What goals did I set and what are my plans?
How can you use the Oola process to make 2018 YOUR most successful—freest and most sustainable—year ever?
Read on, compadre.
In the next three blog posts, we’re going to explore my process through the 3 steps of Oola so you can learn how to set resolutions for 2018 that will actually stick.
First thing’s first: Evaluate where you are right now.
Be honest with yourself and rate yourself in the 7 key areas of life (Fitness, Finance, Field, Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun). Visit Oola Life.com and fill out your wheel. Get your numbers and see what areas of your life are lacking freedom and sustainability.
My wheel at the start of 2018 looks like this:
Family is my big area of “success” right now. My romantic relationship is thriving and I can answer 9-10 for every question on the Family Oola wheel questionnaire section.
But the three areas of my life that are seriously low are Fitness, Finance, & Field.
And I noticed something about the other areas—friends, faith and fun—as they relate to my lowest areas: Because my Fitness is so low, my friendships suffer. I’m not confident and I tend to compare myself to my friends and slip down the envy slip & slide. Because I’m not very healthy right now, I find it hard to believe I deserve to be stress free, so my Faith journey suffers. I feel disconnected; I feel guilty about practicing self-care because I think, “I should be doing something to make money instead!”
Because Finance is so low, my ability to have Fun suffers. I don’t feel like I can spend money on Fun things, and if I do, I feel enormously guilty and like I’m drowning in debt.
Because I’m low in my Field score, I feel like a failure, which has an effect on my Faith, Fun, Friends, Family...everything.
My lowest scoring areas affect my highest scoring areas of life.
So just from the simple act of filling out my wheel, I recognize that I need to make some changes. NOW.
Rather than jumping in and setting goals in those three areas immediately, I did some inner searching to find out what happened in those areas so I can face my current situation head on.
I started with Fitness...it is the one I obsess over most often: I had to be brutally honest with myself about why I had gained weight over the last few years. I realized quickly that I still had a lot of pain and body shame from my loss of intimacy and eventual divorce in my previous romantic relationship. I had pushed that pain and shame to the side. I thought that my current romantic relationship—in all its amazingness and 10-scoring traits—would eventually blur out the pain of my divorce. Time heals all things, right? Well, that isn’t always the case...at least not for me.
I realized I have been attempting to practice self-love but I wasn’t allowing myself to see eating healthy food and exercises as self-love in action.
Because my life has been so unsettled, I continually sought some kind of sustainable fitness routine, but instability made sustainability in Fitness impossible. The second a routine got a little difficult to keep up, I quit and claimed it just wasn’t sustainable.
Then I evaluated my Finances: I had to be brutally honest with myself about why I was digging a financial hole and feeling anxious and overwhelmed with money. I also realized that I held nothing but contempt for my time spent at Duke Divinity School... I hadn’t really recognized any reason I could possibly be grateful for my three years living in North Carolina. I found no reason to be thankful for my master’s degree because it left me drowning in debt. I needed my master’s degree so I could teach at my alma mater...but making only $600 a month teaching didn’t make up for the financial hole my degree left me in.
I hoarded any money I made out of fear that something would happen and I’d need that money. I was stingy, and I rarely gave money or spent money on anything but bills. I was treading water in survival mode, and my legs were getting tired.
And as I evaluated my Field, I had to be brutally honest with myself about how I was going about running my business(es) and why I wasn’t making progress. I want my websites and social media platforms to grow my businesses so I can make passive (even residual) income from them in addition to my time-for-money income, but until last week, I wasn’t posting on social media or blogging regularly.
And I realized I had ignored any reason for being grateful for my time in North Carolina even though it had connected me with some of my favorite clients and given me 3 years of professional editing experience that I continually fall back on as my base every time my plans and ideas are smashed to bits by the freelance wrecking ball.
And in relation to all three—Fitness, Finance, and Field—I realized that I was in a holding pattern because when I moved back home to Iowa, I had to wait a year to be legally divorced. I had to wait more than a year until I could change my name back to my maiden name and change all of my identifying information.
And in that year I didn’t allow myself to feel comfortable working to grow my business, establish my fitness routine, or put any money toward paying down debt faster because I was terrified something else would happen and I would be broke again or gain weight again or fail in my business. I refused to allow myself to be grateful for my time away from my beloved state of Iowa because I had to do so much just to reestablish myself when I moved back.
How could I be thankful for something that caused me so much pain for so long?
And that lack of gratitude and that holding pattern lasted from April 2016 (my breaking point, when I left my husband and moved back in with my parents) until now, January 2018.
I was stuck, and even after going through the Oola process I still feel myself pulled back like a shoe to concrete with super sticky gum into that pattern and lack of gratitude...Two steps forward, one step back.
I accomplish one of my goals, and Fear settles in.
I allow myself to give freely, and Guilt steps up.
I make real plans to make my businesses great, and Self-Sabotage shoves me in the back.
I reconnect with an old friend, and Anger about past pain knocks on my door.
I lay out a plan of financial and field success, and Laziness bites me in the ass.
I work out consistently for a week, and Envy whispers, You’re not good enough, in my ear until I feel defeated.
I write out my goals for each area, and Lack of Focus steps in to blur my vision and confuse my plans.
But those blockers—Fear, Guilt, Self-Sabotage, Anger, Laziness, Envy, and Lack of Focus—can be destroyed with 7 accelerators: Gratitude, Love, Discipline, Integrity, Passion, Humility, and Wisdom.
The Oola guys talk a lot about Gratitude—the first Oola accelerator—and it’s the first part of their main mantra: “Be Grateful, Have Faith, Live Oola.”
So as I evaluated my life at the end of 2017, I knew Gratitude had to be my practice in the new year. The first thing I decided to do to move me toward my Oola life of balance and sustainability (read “freedom”) was to start keeping a gratitude journal.
Every day, I write “Gratitude” and the date at the top of a page in my notebook and “I’m grateful for...” I write down anything I can think of. The last few weeks in the negative degree weather here in Iowa, I’ve written, “I’m grateful for my warm apartment and cozy blankets” multiple times.
I write as much as I can. I write down every single thing I can think of to be grateful for that day...no matter how difficult it is.
Once I got into the “Gratitude” habit—where I was listing the things I am currently grateful for—I wrote out a list of all the things I was grateful to have learned or done or seen or experienced in 2017.
Things like “I’m grateful that I met Sue and decided to build my Young Living business in 2017,” “I’m grateful for the female friendships with Katie, Karen, Sue, and Morgan that I found in 2017 that have enriched my life so much already,” and “I’m grateful that Michael and I moved into our apartment in Ames and found a sense of stability for the first time in years in 2017,” made the 2017 gratitude list.
Then, I went back even further, to 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011...I read back through blogs and short essays I had written during those years when I was married and separated but not yet divorced. I cried reading the words I remember being so filled with pain...but I noticed that they were still somehow outlined with hope.
I’ve come so far in my emotional journey since then, but reading my thoughts now makes me thankful that I didn’t lose all hope even then. Comparing 2016 me to January 2018 me gives me more gratitude and hope for my present and future.
If I could get from where I was then to where I am now without Oola, without a plan, without friends, without Michael, without Young Living Essential Oils and emotional healing and yoga and chakra massage...without stability or any clue as to how to get through what I was going through, maybe, just maybe, I could actually realize my dreams in all 7 areas of my life in 2018.
I smile often out of immense gratitude for the woman I was age 20-26.
She went through some shit.
She conquered some shit.
She suffered some shit.
She rocked some shit.
She was married at 20. Divorced at 26. Drowning in deep, depressing negativity from 23-25. Hit rock bottom at age 25. Found love again at 25. Stuck in a holding pattern from age 25-26.
But in 2018, age 27, She’s on her way to living her Oola life.
I’m thankful for who I was. I’m thankful for who I am. I’m thankful for who I will become.
And when I finally entered that place where gratitude began to replace regret for the difficulties of my past life, I began to understand what “Be Grateful, Have Faith, and Live Oola” really means and how it can affect how I live every day for the rest of my life.
If you’re struggling like I was, do the hard work now to evaluate where you are.
Fill out your Oola wheel. Be honest with yourself about where you are and how you got there. Brutally honest...terrifyingly honest.
You don’t need to blame yourself for it, but you must face it.
Face the fear, the guilt, the shame...and write it down if you have to just to get it out of your head. Figure out where you are so you can start making plans for where you want to go and how you’re going to get there.
Then, start implementing the Oola accelerators and anticipate those nasty Blockers. Start and end every single day with Gratitude. Keep a Gratitude journal. Start as small as you need to—being grateful for the food on your plate, the hair on your head, or the shoes on your feet.
Before long, you’ll find you are grateful for things you thought had no goodness in them.
My Gratitude practice has given me the Freedom to be grateful for my marriage, my divorce, my three years separated from my family and friends, and even my expensive master’s degree.
From this place of Gratitude, I’m moving into the second phase of the Oola process: Setting Goals for my Oola Life.
Get started on your own Oola life journey with Step 1: Evaluate where you are now.
Head over to Oolalife.com and fill out your wheel.
Then, answer these questions to get you thinking and to get you ready for Step 2:
1. What areas of your life are the lowest scoring, and why are they the lowest scoring?
2. How do your low scoring areas affect your high scoring areas of life?
3. What times of or experiences in your life are you currently unable to be grateful for?
4. What can you be grateful for in this moment?
Keep your Gratitude journal. I promise you’ll find peace and freedom in it.
Do you have your own experience with Oola Life or want to share your own story of Gratitude? Or do you just need to share your experience with someone?
Comment below or Message me on Facebook on my Hungry Homesteaders page.