2017 was trash you guys. I’m leaving almost everything from it behind. So much shit happened last year – good, bad, and just downright ugly. I suffered the biggest loss of my life and made the decision to distance myself from all of my family and their drama (more on this later). I refuse to bring any of 2017’s baggage into the new year with me or my family.
We’re 4 days into a new year and I’ve had the chance to do a lot of reflecting. I’ve thought long and hard about the last year. I realized that there are some things that I can’t go back and change but a lot of things that I can change moving forward. In 2018, I’m going to do better because I know better. This list is good and a lot of it is super personal, especially number 17 but that’s the most important thing that I’m leaving behind.
17 Things I’m Leaving Behind in 2017
1. Unrealistic expectations
The biggest lesson that 2017 taught me is to not set myself up for failure by having unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations surrounded our life in 2017: our business, marriage, mamahood, family life. They were everywhere. Let me explain…
I expected the toxic people in my life to do better, change or realize their flaws. I expected the people in my life with mental health issues to all of a sudden realize they needed help. I expected people to respect my boundaries and my sacred space. I expected opportunities to just come my way because I busted my ass after Tristan died. Remember when I was on tv for the first time? I expected that my husband and I would be on the same page at all times. I expected my friends to be there when I needed them the most. I expected grief to not totally cripple me. Most of all, I expected all of the hospital staff to do a damn good job when it came to my son.
I had a lot of unrealistic expectations last year but moving forward all that I have is realistic goals. I learned a lot not only about myself but about the people in my life. I realized that I can’t change people no matter how I try. I realized what it’s really like to be the product of a type-a narcissist and how soul sucking that can be. I realized that I can’t stress over the things that I can’t change and sometimes it’s okay to let people go even if it’s not okay with them.
I no longer have expectations for others, only myself.
2. Inconsistent budgeting
Budgeting was one of our family’s biggest downfalls last year. Our income took a huge plummet with Tristan being in the NICU and us not being able to fully focus on our business. Our budget last year was non-existent. We paid bills as they came in and they weren’t always on time. Medical bills piled high and we were faced with a lot of life-altering decisions that consistently occupied our mental space. It’s hard to focus on budgeting when you’re solely focused on keeping your family together and making special memories.
3. Library book fines
Ok, I still haven’t paid those book fines but I’m definitely getting around to it by the end of the month.
4. Worry, stress and anxiety
Growing up I was never a worrier. Quite honestly I didn’t become a worrier until I became pregnant with Tristan. I allowed all of other people’s negative opinions to consume me and I worried about everything. When Tristan went back to the hospital I learned to let the worry go. There are so many things that I can’t control and no matter how much I plan, God is really in control.
My worry led to the worst stress and anxiety I’ve ever experienced. My health declined and I gained more weight than I ever had before. I learned that I have to distance myself from those people in my life who caused me to become a worrier in the first place.
I’m leaving the Negative Nancy’s behind and focusing solely on myself and my family. Despite every struggle that we’ve been through, we’re a truly blessed family (see the proof for yourself from my IG top nine). Plus every single time I worry now, God shuts that down quickly by sending me a sign.
5. Guilt about saying no
Once upon a time I used to be the queen of saying no. It probably was because I had so many things to juggle but somewhere along my journey, I lost that. I began to say yes to everything. Every opportunity that came my way, every person in my inbox, everyone in my life that needed something from me.
In 2018, I’m saying NO. I’m not backing down from my no either. In order to propel in life and business I can no longer drain myself completely for others. Last year I constantly felt like I did so much for others and I had nothing left for myself. This year, I’m not allowing people to take advantage of me and my skills. I won’t allow people to overstep the boundaries that I’ve set for them. I’m saying no, especially to Tatiana, because last year my parenting went completely out of the window.
I’m saying no over and over to everything that doesn’t make sense for me.
6. Working around the clock
I’ll be honest, there will be days that I’ll still work around the clock because I have dreams and goals that I want to achieve by the time I’m 30. I’ve got 3 more years, guys. There’s no better time to buckle down than now. 2018 had no choice but to be a good year for my family and I.
A large part of my business depends on my husband. He’s my photographer 90% of the time so naturally working around the clock is something that we have to do because he still works full-time. Our only time to come together on blog things is on weekends and weeknights.
7. Unhealthy fast food, unhealthy eating, inconsistent workouts
We’re 4 days into the new year and I’ve been doing great with eating healthier. I’ve actually been eating breakfast every day which is major for me. I’ve never been a huge breakfast person. In the last month I’ve gotten so much better at meal planning and prepping which I plan on sharing more about that soon.
My next step is to actually start working out once Tatiana goes to school next week. Pray for me because working out has never been my thing.
8. The need for perfection
Last year I held on to so many posts and projects because they weren’t perfect. I allowed my need for perfection to hold me back and my business suffered. I won’t do that this year. It’s so easy to get caught up in this blogging world and compare myself to others.
The reality is that those people with the perfect feeds aren’t perfect either. They have shit going on too. Everybody does.
Decluttering is a major initiative for me this year. I can’t tell you how much clutter drives me insane. It affects my work flow and leads to anxiety. If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, you know how much I’ve been decluttering already. I’ve tackled our pantry, living room, and currently working on our closet and office space.
It’s made a huge difference.
I’m getting rid of everything in our lives that we don’t need and that doesn’t lead to a better or happier life. I think I’m going to do a post about that too so let me know if that’s something you’d like to see.
My unrealistic expectations led to a lot of unhappiness. This year I’m determined to change my outlook on life and find something to be happy about every single day.
2017 came with a lot of stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and regrets. No regrets in 2018 because I’m taking action on every single thing that I want to do.
12. Fake friends
I learned a lot about fake friends in 2017. There were people I allowed in my circle that were only there for a come-up. I let go of those people by the end of the year. I realized that those people weren’t my friends when my son died and they didn’t reach out personally. It hurt a little but they were dragging me down and I needed to let them go.
13. Diastasis recti
Never heard of it? Well let me tell you, it’s a pain in the ass. For the past year I’ve walked around looking pregnant when I’m not. Diastasis recti happens when your abdomen muscles don’t go back together after pregnancy. Sometimes it causes me so much pain that’s unbearable. This year I’m determined to kick this shit to the curb and go back to having a normal stomach.
14. Buying books
Tatiana is a huge book lover but she’s also a hoarder. As parents we’ve allowed it to happen. Literally every time we go to the store she wants to buy a book. Don’t get me wrong, thats not a bad thing. However, this year we won’t buy a single book in this house.
Instead we’ll dedicate one day a week to making a trip to the library that’s 10 minutes from our house so that she can read all of the books that her heart desires. Buying books are great and we encourage our kids to read but Tatiana goes through them quickly and it’s not cost effective.
15. Bad photographers
I’m leaving all of the bad photographers in 2017. I’ve worked with so many photographers in my blogging career and I know now that I have to be selective with who I work with. I need photographers who can meet deadlines and stick to their contracts. Professional ones, ya know?
Also, I’m black. I realized last year that not everyone knows how to capture and edit all the glory of my melanin. Seriously though, I’m never working with a photographer again who makes my skin look grainy and bumpy. It’s just not cute.
If you’re looking for a good photographer, I highly recommend Melissa Ann Photography who shot our Christmas family photos and Joyanne Photography who nailed our wedding photos (here, here, here, and here). If a photographer isn’t in the budget, get you a good friend or a sweet husband that knows your good angles.
I’ve always been vocal about how much I can’t stand play-doh. I literally despise it. It’s stinky and gets stuck everywhere. If you give my kid play-doh in 2018, I’m cutting you off. #SorryNotSorry
17. Toxic people
I feel like I don’t even need to expand on this one because we all know what toxic people are like. They’re negative, soul sucking, self-absorbed, judgmental, manipulative, always playing the victim. If there’s someone in your life that you absolutely dread talking to or seeing because you know they’re going to have some negative shit to say, LEAVE THEM BEHIND!
If you’re still not sure, this article perfectly sums up the 10 toxic people that you don’t need in your life. Like the article says, avoid them like the plague. Trust me, I know firsthand how draining toxic people can be. It’s not worth it to have them in your life no matter who they are.
Is there anything that you’re leaving behind in 2017? Operation #DeclutterMyLife2018 starts today and I’m not turning back.