I one upped my biggest competitor over the span of 12 months using one method.

Who is my biggest competitor

I revere her as someone I love dearly and only wish her the best things, however I felt like there were times she brought out the worst in me.

She constantly questioned me, making me feel like I was inadequate. I felt intimidated to be around her knowing she would say something about anything and everything I did.

Some examples: what will other people think of you, you’re so bad with your money, why can’t you just do [insert high expectation here], etc. She’s rash and hypercritical of me.

While being so close to her I’ve seen her grow and fail through her ups and downs. Considering all these situations, I knew I’d be able to challenge her and ultimately win.

She is me, I am my worst enemy.

What I thought was self care

I was stressed about my student loan as usual, the nagging feeling of uncertainty about being able to afford a future really dug its teeth into my fear.

Now at 31, with poor eating habits and a genetic predisposition to hypertension and cardiac disease, it’s becoming harder to keep my blood pressure down. I’ve also noticed I’m unable to maintain my weight as easily as before.

These among other thoughts, personal and work related, lingered in my mind. Read about my Quarter-Life Crisis here.

In the past, I’d do and buy certain things to sort of drown out whatever stress I was experiencing. I did the spa days and retail therapy, which only worsened my financial state. Read about what I no longer spend money on here.

The euphoria didn’t last long. After continuous stress and feeling like there was no end, I knew things needed to change. Avoiding my issues had been causing more mental turmoil, spilling over into other aspects of my life. Read about how I evaluated my stress level here.

It was time to take a different approach. I asked myself what is the root cause of my issues and how can I improve these things?

These issues were addressed with goal setting.

Monthly goals

My new definition of self care includes taking care of my physical, mental, and financial health.

Every first of the month I wrote out 3-4 monthly goals. You can see these on instagram here. Posting them on instagram motivated me to be accountable.

The reason for having few and simple goals was to create feasibility on my end. If something seems too daunting for me, I don’t always follow through. Read about creating SMART goals here.

If I didn’t accomplish a goal during the month, I adjusted the practicality of the goal and set it for the next month.

Habit Changes

It takes on average 66 days to form a habit. Read more about the study of habits discussed by Dr. John M Grohol here.

Resetting unaccomplished goals for the next month helped instill the habit through repetition.

What I’ve learned about myself through this process of goal setting is that your daily behaviors and overall mindset also begins to change. You start to make room to prioritize your goal.

When I accomplished a goal I didn’t automatically drop the habit, but started to build on it.

Present day Katrina as of November 2019

Here’s the list of goals that are now my daily/weekly/monthly/yearly habits:

  • Throw extra money to student loans each payday (my loan is now 85% paid off!)
  • Donate clothes I no longer wear
  • Volunteer
  • Work out 3x/ week
  • Drink 48-60 oz. of water daily
  • Be mindful of gas consumption
  • Eat healthier snacks
  • Sleep for at least 7 hours/night
  • Decrease credit card use
  • No phone usage past 2145
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Pack lunch for work
  • No spend days
  • 2 Gram Sodium Diet (It’s been 2 months since I started this diet. I lost 3 pounds and my blood pressure has improved!)

I’ve learned that I’m in control of my thoughts and actions. Creating and accomplishing my goals gave me a positive outlook on how I viewed myself and my physical/mental/financial health.

Competition won’t ever stop

As human beings we’re never satisfied, which is why we’re always wanting more. It’s inevitable, and possibly the reason for being so hard on ourselves.

I have to remind myself that there are many things in life beyond my control, to be ambitious about what I can control, and to be grateful for the things I do have. Thanksgiving is year round!

I’m definitely grateful for what I’ve experienced over the past year. If I met 2018 Katrina I’d be like whoooo isss sheee??? 

Once I gained an understanding of how to build off the stress to change my habits and accomplish personal goals, I created peace within myself.

Millennial Challenge

  • What aspects of your life would you like to improve?
  • What goals will you set for next month?