One Monday in graduate school, my friends and I were reviewing the previous weekend, which began Friday night with a luau at one of their houses. It was a good one in which we pulled out all the stops to welcome the new class. Like most of my classmates, I spent the weekend eating comfort food and lying in bed with the curtains drawn. One of the gals mentioned that she was up at 5 AM Saturday morning to hit the gym. I know my face showed my surprise, but she didn’t appear thrown off. I asked why, and she responded with ‘I always work out. Why wouldn’t I just because I was up late?’. Um. I don’t know. Because your head probably felt like it weighed 100 pounds? She had a fantastic body, tons of energy, and she was smart as a whip. I remember thinking, that’s probably why. She doesn’t miss the gym every time it’s inconvenient.

It has been 14 years since I had that revelation, yet here I am still thinking that ‘missing this once won’t matter’. I have allowed excuses to stop me from achieving my goals. I have the same plans year after year, yet I fail to achieve them. Every day I have the opportunity to move toward those goals, but I allow ‘it’s okay if I skip today’ to creep in. 

There’s an ongoing debate about which part of reaching a goal is the most important. Is it taking that first step of getting started or that last step of completion? I say it’s all the steps in the middle. Fourteen years later, I’m finally catching on that every day, every action, every step is critical for ultimate success. Life is all about the journey. There is no finish line to achieving your dreams. There’s always something else. If you don’t take, and enjoy, all the steps in the middle, what do you have?

I typically like to apply this methodology to reaching big goals or keeping my house clean. Although those are great applications, this past year, I have really let my physical and mental health slide. It has been a rough year, but that is no excuse for the negativity, depression, and anxiety I have let take over me. It’s no excuse for how I have treated the people I care about the most. It is time to apply the principles of “no excuses” to taking care of my mental and physical well-being.

During each of the next 12 months, I will focus on a specific area in my physical and mental health in order to improve my overall well-being. Although physical health is a critical part of mental health, my primary focus this year is on improving my mental wellness. Although physical health does have a significant impact on mental health, mental health can be a major roadblock in mental well-being. My top priority is focusing on my mental health while using the physical aspect to boost overall wellness. I will introduce each monthly challenge and wrap up the month with an overview. Who knows; I may even throw in a mid-month post just for fun.

I would love for you to join me on my adventure. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we will have 12 new wellness-promoting habits that we can lean on to ensure our mental well-being lasts as long as our physical bodies!

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