Lessons Learned in 2014 and My One Word for 2015

Every time a year closes and a new one begins, I undertake some deep soul searching. Scratch the image of me sitting in yoga pants in my backyard chanting “Om”. That’s not what I mean by soul searching.

I always view a New Year as a chance to focus I what I really want for myself and my family. Last year, I faced several self-inflicted challenges. I took on a ridiculous number of challenges in attempt to prove I was this stealth supermom super runner blogger. Read my 2014 recap and you’ll see what I mean.

As last year unfolded, I didn’t only challenge myself with running goals. I had blogging goals and business goals for my blogging network, the Tampa Bay Bloggers.  Between training for marathons, raising money for #TeamDannyDid and traveling for blogging related opportunities, I was beyond burned out by summer. I was toast.

Proudly, I can say I experienced a very successful year in terms of hitting my personal goals, but I felt empty and hollow. I was a shell of myself. I felt pulled in so many directions trying to be supermom, a good wife, a decent runner, a great blogger, an effective leader and a good person all around. It was absolutely exhausting. If you read my year in review and you became exhausted reading, you can only imagine how I felt.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all and every opportunity that came my way. However, through each experience, I learned a lot about myself, my relationships as well as some very valuable life lessons.

As I reflected on the lessons I learned in 2014, it began to unravel the ONE WORD that I would focus on in 2015. That word is BALANCE.

One Word for 2015 Balance


To achieve balance in my life I will do the following:

Scale back on training and races.

Last year, I ran a total of 21 races. That’s INSANE! This year, I vowed to run less races. The first quarter, I’m locked into a very heavy racing load due to sponsorships and commitments. After April, I will slow down and fall in love with running again.

Focus on my family.

My Little Lion Man turns five this year. FIVE. And he starts kindergarten this fall. KINDERGARTEN. That means I have seven months to make the most of my baby’s last year at home with Mommy.

Fourteen years ago, I made the decision to be a SAHM. When my son graduates from preschool this May, it will also symbolize my graduation from a SAHM to a full-time WAHM. In other words, we need to party like preschoolers before that all goes down! Watch out! This mama is bringing back the themed preschool playdates!

Make appointments with real life friends.

That sounds utterly ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Years ago, I ran a very successful moms group and we hosted tons a playdates which offered many opportunities for moms to interact with other moms and their kids. Then along came Facebook and people spent more time staring at their phones, then engaging with real life people.

I book hair appointments, dental appointments and doctor appointments. I plan running meetups. However when it comes to friends and family, over the past year, I failed scheduling time for them. I’ve been working so much and training so hard, I forgot about the importance of spending time with my friends. Not really, it was always important to me, but there are only so many hours in a day and I felt like I was working non-stop and had nothing left to give.

Therefore, this year, I will schedule regular lunch dates and dinner dates with friends, family members and date nights with my husband to make sure I am actively involved in the lives of the people I love and cherish. I am a social butterfly and I need a real social life that isn’t connected to blogging opportunities and work!

Tighten my inner circle.

As I mentioned above, I need friends in my life. Unfortunately, I have been burned by a few friends and as a result, I began not trusting people. Sadly, by not trusting others, I isolated myself in the process.  I deliberately avoided making new friends for fear they would hurt me, use me or gossip about me. I need to let go of that pain and approach people with caution. There are good people out there. I just need to find them.

Say “No.”

Honestly, I’ve never had a problem telling people “no”. No one could ever twist my arm to convince me to do something I didn’t want to do. Yet somehow, when I became a blogger, I wanted to do it all. I said “YES!” to a lot of opportunities and discovered my limits very quickly.

It’s perfectly fine to turn down jobs. My time is precious and my family time is even more precious. Last summer, I struggled with balancing work and entertaining my kids. This summer, I will take fewer jobs so I can enjoy our summer even more.

Blog less.

This may sound like blogging suicide, but truthfully, I think it is a really smart move on my part. I will blog less, but better posts. If I blog (write) fewer days a week, I have more time for other things in my life, like simply life itself. If I continue to blog 4-5 days a week, I have little time for focusing on building up the Tampa Bay Bloggers, which also needs a blog and a heavy social media push. Also by blogging less, I can focus on effective social media strategies since so many opportunities and brands want to see high number on social media platforms, like Pinterest or Instagram.

Delegate more.

By delegating, I mean assigning tasks to people. My kids need to help more around the house and to follow through with that, I need implement effective chore charts. Any suggestions?

With the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I need to enlist help to run the network, build our blog and our social media channels. Any volunteers?

Share less.

This may seem ironic coming from a blogger who generates an income by what I share, but for me, this goes beyond a few lines on a screen. Because I am such an open book and I’m so trusting, I share with people way more than I should.

As a runner mother blogger, I share a lot about myself and my family, but I don’t share it al, such as friendships dissolving, money issues or fights with my husband. I simply tell the world that I’m an awesome mom and a dedicated runner and readers seem to enjoy my tips and stories. Sadly, in the real world, I feel judged by what I say and share and sometimes it feels like fuel to for others to loathe me. It’s bizarre how cyber friends embrace and celebrate me more than my real life friends.

Not sharing is not going to be easy. I’ve doing it my whole life, but over the years, I learned that I need to be more guarded.  Haters and self-loather really despise honest, optimistic go-getters.

Read more.

As a former teacher and a lover of literacy, I understand the importance of modeling reading to my children. I am also fully aware of all the wonderful things reading does for ones brain and yet, I couldn’t even tell you the title of the last book I read. Actually, I believe The Help was the last book I read…in 2010 and that is just downright pathetic.

While I read a lot of professional development articles online and pin twice as many, I need to make a concerted effort to read an actual book instead of blurbs about books on blogs and in magazines. Thanks for the literacy push, Mark Zuckerberg. If it wasn’t for that Facebook newsfeed time suck, I wouldn’t remember to read.

Stay away from social media time sucks.

As a blogger, it is so important to be actively engaged on every social media platform known to man/womankind. But Facebooking and scrolling through my newsfeed to see what Sally ate for breakfast or how Joe’s liver is recovering from his weekend bender, only takes away from what I should be doing, like blogging or folding laundry.

I can avoid time sucks by staying off Facebook and shutting out all the distractions and white-noise. That also means refraining from taking BuzzFeed quizzes. How important is it to know who my celebrity boyfriend anyway? He It can wait.

With these steps, hopefully I can achieve BALANCE in 2015.

What’s your word for 2015?

If you are having trouble, choosing on one word to focus on this year, the SITS Girls shared a great post to help narrow down and select a word that’s right for you. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the excuse to shop for a shirt or a piece of jewelry that helps me focus on my word.

I will wear my new scale charm bracelet representing BALANCE proudly.

Scale Charm and Bangle

Scale Charm and Bangle from borrowed from ShortandBaldBangles.


  1. Oriane Applebum says:

    Hey! That is a very nice post. I understand you when you talk about trusting people. Let the fear behind. With the time you surely have your ability to screen the people. Trust yourself first!
    Well I actually just wanted to say that the idea of having a word for the year is a very good one! I’ll search for mine!
    I wish you plenty of dreams and good times in 2015!

    • Denise says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your advice. You are so right! Please keep me posted if you choose a word. Good luck achieving your goals! Happy New Year!

  2. Nichole says:

    Yes! An “empty shell” is a lot of how I felt last year. Trying to be a better blogger, work my heiny off at the office, grow my side events company, buy a house – I just felt like…I don’t even know. I am definitely about balance this year! It’s all I keep talking about, lol. Cheers, my friend!

  3. Lora says:

    Oh I love it! (You knew I would!!) Balance is something I seek this year, as well. So important to life! Sometimes doing less allows us to do MORE! 😀

    I can’t help much with TB Bloggers due to my own fifty million obligations. But if there’s ever anything small, let me know! 🙂 I will put my thinking cap on for ways we can grow and expand!

    You inspire me! Thanks always for your guidance and insight!!

  4. Jenny says:

    Great post!! I’d love to meet you for dinner one night 🙂 And I can certainly help with book recommendations! Having a librarian friend can never hurt!

  5. BritishMumUSA says:

    Love your post, and your description of what Believe means and will do for you this year. I went back and forth on whether I would do it this year, and am glad that I chose to. It has been an amazing two weeks so far 🙂 Congratulations and good luck with your year and word!

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