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  • Deanna Kohlhofer

Finish Strong

I ended 2019 with a couple of wild and crazy weeks – mostly because I was off work and could not remember what day it was. Crazy how a holiday and some vacation time trick you into believing every day is Saturday. As a result, my routine has been hijacked. I spent my vacation time sleeping in and doing everything at my leisure. It was heavenly, but I suppose all good things must come to an end.

For me, the end was Thursday. I had to go back to work because, you know, bills… That also meant getting back into my routine – which is a good thing for this structure-loving girl. I drug myself to the gym on Thursday evening and then again at the crack of dawn Friday. I got back to my early morning alarm and quiet time. I looked at my calendar and made sure I had a plan. I did all of this with the hopes of finishing the week strong. I know it is a mere two days, but those two days can wreak havoc on me if I don’t get things under control.

So back in the saddle I went!

But I resolve not to get stuck in a routine rut. While routine is key for me, I found myself in a predicament in previous years. Two years ago, I couldn’t get a grip on life. I was laden with anxiety and sinking into depression. Last year, I started to pull myself above the water and gasp for air. I did much better than the year before, partly because of routine, but I found that routine can also stifle me. And for goodness sake, no one wants to be stifled.

I have given myself permission this year. Permission to have a routine but to grow in its absence. Permission to throw routine out the window every now and then and be spontaneous, which is not a word usually used to describe me. Permission to work hard, but permission to have fun, also not a word used to describe me, but even still, I need to give myself permission...just in case. You see, it is in this permission that I can relax a little. It allows me to stop being rigid and legalistic and it opens the door to freedom. This permission also provides oodles of opportunities for me to review, practice an attitude of gratitude, and plan with excitement for the future.

So here I sit, in a quiet house, reviewing my week and looking over my calendar and not a single worry is washing over me. I know I didn't accomplish everything I had hoped. My Christmas tree is still set up in the front room. I haven't hung the gifts that were given to us. I am out of pre-workout and the dog treats are getting dangerously low. But I see that I squeezed in some workouts and set some physical goals for the year (ya’ll, I’m going to run a half marathon again!). I can cherish the time we spent with family, even under the tough circumstance of a funeral. I remember the fun I had on New Year’s Eve – the first year in a very long time that my husband and I left the house, hung out with friends, and stayed up to see what midnight feels like. And I sweat out a few calories in two days at the gym and didn't puke, and, oh how I desperately want to remember how I felt so I make different choices with the next holiday...

At the end of the day I can recognize the lessons before me and I am confident enough to keep taking the next step forward. I’m learning to slow down and savor the moments that make up my days. These moments are more than entries on my calendar and actions on my to-do list. These moments make up who I am. I don't want to be hurried or restricted because I have too much to do. I want to be present and I want to finish strong. Even if my day doesn't go as planned. Even when routine is mundane. Even when my muscles are screaming. My goal is to finish strong. Every day. Every week. Every month. Every year.

I am approaching 2020 with determination and focus and I hope you will as well. Whether your week has been a whirlwind of chaos or one to remember fondly, I hope you will finish strong.

Cheering you on,