pictures taken near the Hambach Castle in Germany's Palatinate Forest
I love days where I wake up in the morning just feeling good about life. There’s something extremely satisfying about the kind of days where you leap out of bed excited to get work done, the kind of days where everything seems easier and everyone seems friendlier. I wish every day was like this! Bu we all obviously also have days where we don’t really want to get out of bed in the morning, days where even the easiest of tasks seem daunting. But I believe that it’s how we choose to deal with these bad days that determines how content we can be with our lives: Staying positive is easy enough when everything seems to be going our way. But learning to see the bright side of life even when it doesn’t? Well, I think that that’s a skill that we can all benefit from.
I have learned that the only way for me to get myself out of a funk is to not give in to the temptation of having a lazy day, but to force myself to be extra productive. This is obviously much easier said than actually done, but I have found that if I can only manage to get myself to class or the library in the morning things will usually fall into place again sooner or later. Taking charge of my day always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment, especially on days that seem like a challenge, and that in turn always causes me to wake up in a much better mood the next day. Sometimes even to one those amazing days!
Just like not every day of our life is the best day ever, so is not every year the best one we have ever had. I haven’t exactly made a secret out of the fact that 2016 hasn’t really been my favorite year yet. 2016 hasn’t been awful or terrible either, but it has definitely been a year of doubts and uncertainy and a year where I have questioned my place in the world more often than usual. And while that has lead to some good and memorable lessons, I do feel like I could have done without some of them.
2016 isn’t going to last forever and 2017 is hopefully going to bring a much needed breeze of clarity to my life. But since the best way to combat a bad day is to just get up in the morning and to make the most out of every moment, I figure that the best antidote to a not so ideal year is to not check out early and to keep going instead - and to realize that year is far from over yet.
I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom this year hasn’t exactly gone according to plan, but we still have four months left in which we can make a difference. And I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t just want to twiddle my thumbs and hope for better luck next year – I want to take charge of my life to set myself up for success in the new year. Four months is plenty of time to instill some positive changes, to try something new or simply to finally do all the things that you have been meaning to do all year. And since I want to encourage myself to actually be proactive about the last third of the year, I wanted to share a few of my own “end of year” goals on the blog. Internet accountability is a thing after all, isn't it?
5 Things I Still Want To Do This Year
Go on a family vacation
I’m heading to France with my parents for a good old-fashioned family vacation in a few weeks and I honestly couldn’t be more excited! We are going to roadtrip through the French Alps before soaking up the sun at the Cote d’Azur for a few days and spending almost a week in the country’s Dordogne region. We are planning to go hiking in the mountains, to visit plenty of beautiful countryside villages and, obviously, to eat some really good food. If you have any suggestions for places we should visit, I would be more than happy to hear them!
I haven’t been to rural France in ages and so I am really curious to see what impression it will make on me. Knowing how much I love the countryside, I think there’s a good chance that I will fall in love – so let’s see if my parents will manage to drag me home. With graduation and proper adult life coming closer and closer, this might also be the last time I go on a family vacation as the child of the family, rather than one of the adults. And I think that that’s all the more reason why I should savor this time right now.
Complete my reading challenge
At the beginning of the year, I set myself the goal to read 30 books in 2016 and while that may not sound like a lot to some people, it has actually proven to be quite a hefty goal for me since I don’t have a terrible lot of free-time for reading – and often just not the mental space after a long day of studying. I’m a few books behind on schedule right now because I haven’t been doing a lot of reading this summer, but books always fill with me with so much joy that I want to pick up the pace again so I can actually hit my target at the end of the year.
My upcoming vacation should give me plenty of opportunity to catch up – and I have already started to compile my France-inspired reading list – though I am also planning to cheat my way back on track by focusing on reading some shorter books. I am reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf right now and want to read “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck and “Lady Susan” by Jane Austen next and it is just so wonderful to take time out of my day for reading again. Have you read anything recently that you can recommend?
(P.S. At the moment, I really love using Goodreads to track the books I have read and want to read. Feel free to add me as a friend if you’re a member as well – I am always curious what other people are reading!)
Finally get into a gym routine again
Working out has been my absolute nemesis this year. I can’t pretend that I have ever been a total gym bunny or the biggest fitness fanatic, but there have been times in the past where I have headed to the gym regularly and practiced Yoga at home a few times a week and at the moment I do the exact opposite. To be honest, I really just cannot be bothered to go to the gym right now, but since I am well aware of the physical and mental benefits of working out, I am going to just have to figure out a way to make it happen again – but this may just turn out to be my biggest challenge. How do you motivate yourself to get active?
Get a haircut
This is easily the silliest (and probably the most shallow) plan on this list, but I have wanted to get a haircut for months now and for some reason still not managed to get myself to the hairdresser and so I obviously need to make a proper goal out of this if I want to have any chance of actually making it happen. I don’t have the kind of haircut that requires careful maintenance – I’m in awe of every person with short hair! – and I also have pretty strong hair that doesn’t need to be cut very often to stay healthy. But my ends have inevitably started to split now and so it’s probably time to show my locks some love again.
Start writing some helpful Heidelberg content
I realize that I don’t exactly write the most helpful travel blog on the internet and I am okay with the fact that I am probably missing out on tons of traffic from Google and Pinterest because of that – my blog is not my job and I just have way more fun writing travel stories anyway. However, I do have been wanting to add some actually helpful posts on Heidelberg to my blog for a long time now and just not gotten around to it yet and so I want to use the next four months to finally change that. At the moment, there are two guides that I’m particulary keen to write, but I would love to expand this into some sort of series eventually. And considering that I’m blogging on a somewhat regular basis again these days, this might actually be happening!