A year ago, as I set my New Year’s resolutions, I had three main goals: 1. Run a marathon and qualify for Boston. 2. Reach out. 3. Start a preschool.
- RUN A MARATHON AND QUALIFY FOR BOSTON. Boom! I met this goal, and totally LOVED chasing it down. It was a transformative experience and fulfilling in ways I never imagined. (If you missed my marathon post, click here to read about it.) Just this week, I have started my training for Boston, and I am soooo excited! This has been on my bucket list for a long time.
- REACH OUT. I definitely reached this goal this year, although not in the way I was thinking when I set it. I really believe that when we set an intention in our lives, our Heavenly Father provides ways for us to live it. We just don’t often see things in the same way He does. I thought reaching out was going to look like saying hi to people more often, smiling at strangers, deepening friendships, and sending cards letting people know that I appreciate them. And while I did strive to do those things this year, I was blessed with a much bigger opportunity to reach out to people through this Project, which was not even a thought in my mind at the beginning of last year.
- START A PRESCHOOL. Well……I failed. I did NOT start a preschool this past year. In fact, this one never really got off the ground. I did take a couple action steps—requested the paperwork for my application, and had a couple contractors come give me bids to finish the basement. But almost immediately, something just didn’t feel right about this goal. In the third week in January, I found out why. I was feeling a need to create something, to contribute in this world, but was unsure of how, except that I didn’t think it was the preschool. I was toying with the idea of a blog, but didn’t know WHAT I would write about. And then, out of the blue, I got a text from my sister-in-law: “Hey, do you want to start a business? I want to be a life coach, and you could be a fitness coach.” After a two-day text conversation with her, a long talk with my husband, and a lot of prayer, within a day or two, I knew this is what I was going to do. Project Love Your Body was born.
Now, almost a year later, I am so proud of this Project. Honestly, it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. There have been some amazing highs, but also many days when I just wanted to quit. I could look back on everything that hasn’t happened, everything that I still don’t know, everything that I didn’t do, and all the reasons this Project could be considered a huge failure. And that’s exactly what my brain wants to do sometimes. In fact, seeing everything that has happened, everything I have learned, everything I did do, and all the reasons why Project Love Your Body has been a huge success has taken some major effort at times. But the effort is so worth it. Because focusing on the good is what gives me the feelings I need—proud, accomplished, determined, energized, fulfilled, committed—to continue.
So that’s what this report is about. I guess you could say that this post—a whole post about what I see as the successes of PLYB—is pretty self-serving. But if listing them out is one thing that keeps me going, keeps me striving, keeps me wanting to learn more, do more, reach out more, then in the end, it isn’t self-serving at all.
The purpose of Project Love Your Body is to help women develop a healthy love for their bodies—both the feeling of love, and the action of loving. I want women to strive to become a healthier version of themselves, but I believe that it is only from a place of acceptance and love for their body that they can truly do this. In the past year, I have tried to motivate women to accomplish these goals in three main ways.
- First of all, this blog! In the 41 posts I have written, I have shared thinking tools, fitness tools, nutrition tools, and lifestyle tools that can help us all. Projectloveyourbody.com has had over 18,000 visitors in its first ten months. Now, this number may seems small when you start to make comparisons, and sure, I’d love for it to be higher. But to think that something I shared here has had the potential to make a difference for 18,000 people makes me want to keep going! My three most popular posts have been The TRUTH About Your Body, 5 Fitness Ideas that Need to Retire, and Beauty: It’s Not a Contest, Is It? If you missed any of those, they’re worth the read!
- Social media accounts. I started a Facebook page called Project Love Your Body, and I’m on Instagram @taffy_projectlovebody. There, I share smaller tidbits about my personal body-loving journey as well as tips for yours. I don’t have a huge following, and I would love to share this message with more women, so if you’re not following me yet, head on over to those accounts and find me!
- Health Challenge Groups. These have probably been my favorite way to help women in their quest for better health and more love for their bodies. I have used Facebook Groups to lead 4 different challenges, ranging from 3-8 weeks: the Healthy Habits Challenge (88 participants), Body Bank Account Challenge (62 participants), Find Your Balance Challenge (106 participants), and Show the Love Challenge (34 participants—fewer, but my first income with the project!) And finally, not exactly a challenge, but the Happy Healthy Holidays Support Group (78 members) to finish off the year. While not all the participants fully took part in the challenges, many did, and it was so rewarding to see them achieve new levels of health, confidence, and love for their bodies. Here are a few of my favorite pieces of feedback:
“Thank you for the messages you share and the goodness you promote. And especially for teaching us how to take control of our thoughts and realize there’s something in life we’ve been totally missing! I’ve still got a long way to go, but there is more light and less darkness for me now than before.”—Michelle L.
“This is the best health and fitness challenge I’ve ever been part of. I’ve done similar Facebook group challenges, but they all were too focused on physical appearance and getting to a certain weight. I love that your challenge was focused on mental and spiritual health as well as balanced and realistic physical health that comes from loving and respecting our bodies.” –Josey M.
“Thanks for the jump-start to a more conscientious way of looking at loving myself and accepting my body. I believe I am on the track to better thinking!” –Dorothy P.
In addition to the things I created (blog posts, social media posts, challenge groups), I also spent a lot of time learning things that have and will help me in this pursuit. I took a course and became an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, where I learned so much about the amazing human body, and the type of fuel and exercise it needs. I learned about Bluehost and WordPress and other technology “stuff” I needed to know to start the blog. I listened to countless podcasts, read other blogs, followed social media accounts for information and ideas, read books, tried out new apps, and was constantly (really….to the point of annoyance at times) thinking of what I could share.
But beyond the learning and the content creation, the thing that I am most proud of is the thought work and personal coaching I had to do to keep moving forward. Project Love Your Body has been an emotional rollercoaster for me, but one that has been so worth the ride so far!
While feedback like I shared above is so amazing, and so helpful, the truth is, most days I didn’t get much feedback. There were blog posts that nobody read, social media posts that people never even saw (those tricky algorithms!), and challenges that didn’t go as planned. I battled the “I’m just so busy!” mindset over and over as I tried to incorporate this project into my full life. There has been plenty of fear—“What if I fail?”—and plenty of red lights—“I don’t know how.” But through it all, I’ve been able to find the new thoughts that keep me moving forward.
“I’m just so busy!” is traded out for “There is plenty of time for the things that matter most.”
“What if I fail?” is replaced by “If you’ve helped one person, it’s a success” and “I only fail when I quit trying.”
“I don’t know how” becomes “I don’t need to know it all; I just need to take the next step.”
And that final thought is what is keeping me going into 2018. Keep taking the next step.
To all of my faithful supporters in this first year, thank you so much! I appreciate every single like, comment, and share. This project is so small right now compared to the vision that I have for it. But your support keeps me going, knowing that something great is possible, and that if I just stick with it, I’ll find the way.
And, as always, love your body, and your body will love you. ♥