Encourage Your Hopes, Not Your Fears

I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions, but people talk about them enough that the idea is something I think about. And so January has become a time for thinking about what happened last year, what I’d like to change in this next year, and how I plan to “show up” for my life.

Part of this focus in the new year comes along with participating in 30 days of yoga. I’ve been doing this Yoga With Adrienne program every January since 2015 and it’s a wonderful way to check in with yourself, get healthy, and focus on becoming a person who can serve others wholeheartedly. In addition to this, I happened upon an interesting blog post titled “Intentions Not Resolutions.” 

“I no longer make New Year’s resolutions – they’re too easy to give up on after week one and only become a source of guilt. … Instead, a few years ago, I began starting my New Years by choosing a word to inspire the kind of intentional living I wanted to focus on for the year.” — Jen of E.C.B.C

I’d sort of tried this last year when I discovered a site called My Intent that makes bracelets with a custom word on them. I couldn’t pick one word, though, and ended up with a bracelet that says “Balance” and “Connect.” I rarely wear it any more, though those two concepts still resonate deeply.

Encourage Your Hopes, Not Your Fears | LikeAnAnchor.com
Photo credit: MarrCreative via Lightstock

I’ve been thinking for a while now that if I made a new bracelet it would say “fearless.” What with working through my breakup and (finally) getting counseling for the anxiety I’ve been living with for 15+ years, 2018 was a year that I realized that 1) I have a lot of fears, and 2) I don’t have to let them control me.

There’s another bracelet that I picked up last year at an art festival that says, “Encourage your hopes, not your fears.” I’ve been wearing that one a lot. It’s the perfect message to combat my anxiety, which generally pushes hopes aside behind all the things that could go wrong because of all the things that I’m sure are wrong with me. But if I spend all my time turned inward thinking about my fears, then I’m just encouraging my anxiety to take over.

If, on the other hand, I encourage my hopes it changes things. And if I can learn to do that more consistently it might drastically change things. I hope I can keep growing this blog to reach and encourage more people. I hope that I’ll stop sabotaging myself because I’m scared of dealing with everything that might come with being a successful blogger and author. I hope I can climb out of my own head more often and connect with others (including God) in a deeper way.

My intention for 2019 isn’t just one word, but I do have one. I’m going to encourage my hopes, not my fears.

What about you? Did you set any intentions or resolutions for the New Year?

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The Classics Club

In my never-ending search for new things to write about, I stumbled upon The Classics Club by way of Carissa’s post at Musings of an Introvert. I love classic literature (not really a surprise to most of you — if someone doesn’t like at least some classic literature they probably shouldn’t major in English), so why not come up with a reading list and blog about each title? That will give me topics for 10 of Mondays blog posts for the next five years.

The Classics Club | marissabaker.wordpress.com

The challenge for those who join The Classics Club is to make a list of at least 50 books and read through it in no more than 5 years. I thought 10 books a year would be thoroughly doable (to put this in perspective, I’ve read 45 books so far this year), and so I posted my list and I’m signing up today. Some of them are re-reads, but most of the ones on the list are new to me. The titles on the list may change as I read, but here are the one I’m starting out with (*indicates a re-read):

  1. Adams, Richard: Watership Down*
  2. Anonymous: The Arabian Nights
  3. Austen, Jane: Lady Susan
  4. Beagle, Peter S: The Last Unicorn
  5. Bradbury, Ray: The Martian Chronicles
  6. Bronte, Anne: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  7. Bronte, Charlotte: Villette
  8. Burke, Edmund Burke: Reflections on the Revolution in France
  9. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: A Little Princess*
  10. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden*
  11. Burney, Frances: Evelina*
  12. Burney, Frances: The Wanderer
  13. Burroughs, Edgar Rice: Tarzan of the Apes*
  14. Cooper, James Fenimore: The Red Rover*
  15. Cooper, James Fenimore: The Water-Witch
  16. Dickens, Charles: Bleak House
  17. Dickens, Charles: Oliver Twist
  18. Dickens, Charles: The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  19. Dostoevsky, Fyodor: The Brothers Karamazov
  20. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Hounds of the Baskervilles
  21. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
  22. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The Sign of Four
  23. Dumas, Alexandre: The Count of Monte Cristo
  24. Eliot, George: Adam Bede
  25. Eliot, George: Middlemarch
  26. Gaskell, Elizabeth: North and South*
  27. Gaskell, Elizabeth: Wives and Daughters
  28. Hardy, Thomas: Far From the Madding Crowd
  29. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The House of the Seven Gables
  30. Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Scarlet Letter
  31. Homer: The Iliad
  32. Homer: The Odyssey
  33. Keats, John: Poems
  34. Leroux, Gaston: The Phantom of Opera
  35. Malory, Sir Thomas: Le Morte d’Arthur
  36. Montgomery, L.M.: Emily of New Moon
  37. Poe, Edgar Allen: Collected Stories and Poems
  38. Radcliffe, Ann: The Mysteries of Udolpho
  39. Rousseau, Jean-Jaques: Emile
  40. Scott, Sir Walter: Waverly
  41. Shakespeare, William: Henry IV, part 1
  42. Shakespeare, William: Henry IV, part 2
  43. Shakespeare, William: Measure for Measure
  44. Shakespeare, William: Othello
  45. Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein
  46. Stevenson, Robert Louis: The Black Arrow*
  47. Swift, Jonathon: Gulliver’s Travels
  48. Tolstoy, Leo: Anna Karenina
  49. Twain, Mark: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer*
  50. Wells, H.G.: The Invisible Man