The 10 (terrifying!) NEW things I tried in 2016

We joined the YMCA earlier this fall but I didn’t use our membership for a good 6+ weeks because I felt too awkward. Okay, let’s be honest: I was downright scared to try anything exercise related.

Finally, one Saturday, while Aaron was out of town, I grew a backbone, loaded all 4 kids in the car, and we went to the Y.

Micah, my 9-year-old who struggles with anxiety, said, “Mom, I’m a bit nervous.”

“Me too, honey.” Guess where he gets his anxiety?

“What?! I didn’t know parents got nervous!”
I assured him that all people get nervous at times but that it was normal. “It’s good to try new things, even when you’re nervous.”

2016 has been a year of New Things, and I was terrified to try most of them, for a myriad of reasons: Fear of failure, fear of wasting money, fear of learning a new skill, fear of a bad experience, fear of looking stupid…lots of fear.

But, despite my fears, I tried lots of new things this year. Here’s how they turned out: (SPOILER: Mostly FANTASTIC!)

1. Scheduled Writing:

I’ve been blogging for 8 years but, aside from Write31Days, this year was the very first time I have ever put “Writing” on my weekly schedule. My goal was to write every Monday and Thursday. This goal filled me with trepidation because I was sure I was going to fail. In the past, I was lucky to blog 2-4 times a MONTH!

But, save for a handful of weeks this year, I was able to keep my goal. In fact, this is my 100th post of the year!

2. Joined BlogHer:

Along with writing regularly, I wanted to launch myself into the blogging world in a more concrete way. I would often see “BlogHer Influencer” buttons on blogs that I admired, but I just knew I would never “get there” as a blogger.
After a bit of research this spring, I took the plunge (feeling dumb) and joined BlogHer, a networking site for female bloggers (It was surprisingly easy).

It was a great move for me. Simply cross-posting my regular posts to BlogHer exposed my writing to a wider world of readers…and larger blogs too.
ScaryMommy emailed me after reading an article that was featured on BlogHer and I was shocked and ecstatic to be published on ScaryMommy in April.

3. Self-Hosted Blog:

I had resisted self-hosting my blog for years because it was expensive and because I was scared of all the digital set up I would need to do.

I finally took this step in May and it was a headache and a half. I lost all 8 years of writing for about a week (I found it again) and felt like I was drowning the deep end of a digital pool.

But I didn’t give up and I learned a lot about the back-end of blogging and website set up, so much so that when I set up Mothering Beyond Expectations in October, the website design only took me two hours, instead of two weeks. I’m learning…slowly but surely.

4. Twitter:

I’d thought about joining Twitter for years but was too intimidated. It wasn’t until one of my former professors (and a social media-savvy writer herself!) told me I needed to join that I took my shaking hands to the keyboard and created my own twitter account, for TheBamBlog (@brittany_meng) and, a few months later, for MBE (@MotheringBeyond).

I felt totally twitter-stupid and my professor-friend sent me several private messages, outlining the do’s and don’ts for twitter best-practices. I still have a lot to learn but I’m gaining followers weekly and it’s opened up my blogs to new audiences and for that, I’m grateful.

5. Vitamin D:

At the beginning of 2016, I was having some health issues that concerned me. I finally scheduled a full physical (my first ever, besides pregnancy care!).

After all the blood tests, it turns out that there was nothing “wrong” with me (besides stress, exhaustion, and parenting 4 kids) besides low vitamin D.

I was relieved that there was nothing wrong but annoyed too. Would taking a vitamin really help?
It turns out, yes. I started taking Vitamin D on a regular basis and saw a significant upturn in my energy and mood. Tackling the vitamin deficiency, along with quitting my job, reducing stress, and taking steps to remedy 4 years of sleep deprivation, has significantly helped me to feel a lot healthier going into 2017.

6. VRBO:

One amazing, NEW thing I did this year was stay at a VRBO home in Colorado with my whole extended family for a week. I had never rented someone else’s home for a vacation before but the whole experience was easy, smooth, and fun. We had an amazing time at a GORGEOUS home this summer.

7. Tieks:

I am not a “shoe” person (my husband has more shoes than I do #truestory) and I usually shop at Payless for a pair of flats and wear them every day till they fall apart (about 10-12 months later).

After reading a million reviews about Tieks flats, I decided to take the plunge on a really nice pair of shoes. I figured if I wore the same pair of shoes every day, it was worth the investment.

The Tieks came and they were beautiful. But I didn’t like them. Oh, I wanted to. I wanted to love them. But they hurt my feet, even after I ordered a different size. I finally sent them back full of disappointment but glad I didn’t waste $175 on shoes I was “supposed” to like but just weren’t for me.

8. Clothing Services:

I tried two online clothing services this year that were a lot of fun. The first was StitchFix, a personal shopper-esque clothing service where you fill out an online profile and a stylist shops for you and sends you a box of surprise clothing. You get to try on everything at home and send back the things that you don’t like.

I got three StitchFix boxes this year and kept 4-5 items (each box has 5 items). It was a lot of fun but expensive too, definitely an indulgence.
I also tried ThredUp, essentially an online Goodwill for designer clothes. Shopping at ThredUp was a lot of fun and I wear all my ThredUp finds on a regular basis. The prices were good too. I’ll probably shop there again in the new year.

9. Books:

One of my goals for 2016 was to read more books and I read over 30 NEW books this year by making reading a regular part of my bedtime routine.
I also started listening to Audio Books for the first time this year! I’ve loved listening to Harry Potter on Audio Book with Micah and Benji and I’m looking forward to exploring our public library’s Audio Book options in 2017.

(Top 3 books from the list above? The Rosie Project, The Madwoman Upstairs, The Life We Never Expected).

10. Exercise:

Seriously, this was probably one of the biggest fears I’ve conquered this year. I’ve always hated exercising, mostly because I am terrible at all sports, uncoordinated (growing up, my family told me I ran like a duck), and have found most exercise to be mind-numbingly boring and/or painful.

But, despite HUGE misgivings, a ton of excuses and negative presuppositions, and feeling like I totally did not belong there, I tried several exercise classes at the YMCA, including Flexible Strength, Tai Chi, Pilates, and 3 different Yoga classes.

And I LOVE Yoga! I’ve started going to Yoga 2-3 times a week in the last two months and I really, really enjoy it, mostly because I feel good when I’m done (the 5-10 minutes of laying flat with my eyes closed at the end has NOTHING to do with that, I’m sure!).

Another huge benefit of Yoga is that I am slowly toning up and I no longer have a 1-2 finger width wide gap between my abdominal muscles (Diastasis Recti: Thank you, 4 children).

I also have more energy and am gaining more endurance and flexibility than I ever thought possible (there will be no headstands any times soon…if ever. #StillUncoordinated).

So there you go: 10 NEW things I tried this year, most of which terrified me. I’m really glad I gave my fear the boot though because so much good has come into my life as a result of trying Something New.

My new fear to conquer in 2017? Zumba! (maybe…if I can muster enough courage!)

What new things did you try in 2016?
What new thing do you want to venture into in the new year?

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