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It's that time of year again. It's the time where new year's resolutions are being made, Snapchat stories consist of people either getting sh*t-faced and/or dealing with the aftermath of being sh*t-faced, or couples are either getting engaged or are pregnant. If you're anything like me, making new year's resolutions are just casual promises to myself that I'm under no legal obligation to fulfill. We've heard all the cliche goal statements one too many times: "New year, new me!", or my favorite, "This will be my year!".

We've all made resolutions that we've told ourselves the new year would be different and would accomplish our new goals no matter what. However, when it came to actually acting on them, swept them under the rug when fear arose.

Guilty as charged. Year after year, I've made myself resolutions that I told myself countless times I would go to the ends of the earth to achieve. "But this year is different!" I would say to myself, but it always ended up not being different.

But you know what? This year IS different. Looking back on 2016, it has brought me many opportunities and changes to my life that entirely changed possible outcomes in 2017. I never really sat down and reflected on everything I accomplished in 2016 until the new year began creeping up. Why is that? Shouldn't we be thinking about the progress we've made all year to keep our motivation levels high? We should be, but it has become far too easy to get wrapped up in all of the negatives and forget about the positives (also guilty as charged). Seriously though, I've made significant strides in 2016. I competed in a powerlifting competition and qualified for the state championships. I graduated high school. I stepped outside my comfort zone and took up a serving job. I entered college. I joined a new gym. I made amazing friends that I now couldn't picture my life without. I made the Dean's list. I became a health and wellness coordinator at the Fond du Lac YMCA. Those are pretty freakin' cool accomplishments if you ask me. All of these happenings have ultimately set up a foundation for 2017. I don't have a ridiculously long list of new year's resolutions, but I do have a couple that can branch out into many resolutions within them. 

1.) Fall in Love

In 2017, I want love. I want love to give, and love to receive, but from one person. Myself. I want to fall unconditionally in love with myself and all of my flaws, not in a selfish way, but an appreciative way. Instead of looking in the mirror and saying, "I don't like this imbalance, I need to make this better", I want to look at those imperfections and recognize and accept that they aren't really flaws at all, but are what makes me who I am. I must learn to change the things I can't accept, and accept the things I cannot change. Who knows, falling in love with myself might lead me to falling in love with someone else. What girl wouldn't want that? 

2.) Grow

Lately, I've been craving growth. For so many years, I've wanted to make myself small and fragile. I've strived to take up less space in this enormous world for almost half of my life. This resolution goes hand in hand with my first one. In order to grow, I must learn to love myself. I've always danced around the subject of allowing myself to grow. While some people have resolutions to lose weight, I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. I've fought my body for years and years. I've always viewed weight gain as the enemy, when really, fighting weight gain is the enemy. I have attempted to control every aspect my body for far too long. I thought that it would bring me happiness and confidence, but it has inhibited me from many opportunities, and to be completely honest, I feel less confident trying to make myself smaller and leaner. I've been down this road many times before, but this time I have ultimatums. If I want to become a stronger athlete, a better daughter, sister, friend, and possibly a mother someday, I need to accept that gaining and growing will only bring positivity into my life. 

3.) Be nice to my body (REST!)

I'm the kind of person who constantly needs to be on the go. I can barely stand to sit for a single minute without some type of movement. While some people struggle to get to the gym, I struggle to stay away. The gym is my comfort zone, my safe place; It's where I can go and none of my problems follow me. In 2017, I need to recognize that even if my mind wants to go, my body might not be on the same page. I need to learn that my body is not a machine and cannot give me 110% every single day. Pushing my body to its limits every day never ends in a good result. While I do believe it's important to push our bodies past it's comfort zone (change happens when comfort zones end), I also believe it's important to allow our bodies to rest and recover. I preach about rest and recovery, but I never practice it. In 2017, I'd like to, no no no, I WILL change that.

In the words of Hannah Montana, life is what you make it. 2017 will be what you make it. What if this year is the year you actually follow through with your resolutions? What if this year is the year that WILL be different? Do you feel that? That hopefulness? That hopefulness is your gut telling you that 2017 could be the greatest year of your life, if you work for it. Good things don't come to those who wait. Good things come to those who work for them. So to all of my readers, I challenge you to make this one simple resolution. Act on your resolutions, no matter what size they are, no matter what amount of work you have to put in to chase them. Do it. Do it fearlessly and bravely. Do it for yourself. Do it for your future. Do it for 2017.