Ep 105: Reflections and Goal Setting as We Start the New Year
Fertility Forward Episode 105:
“The beauty of being a human is that you’re never done growing.” These are the words of one of our hosts, Rena. In this episode, we take a moment to pause and reflect before looking ahead.
We discuss how we’re going to approach the new year as we strive to grow, change, and evolve into better versions of ourselves. Tuning in, you’ll hear what we hope to achieve in 2023, from overcoming negative self-talk and being kinder to ourselves to challenging the labels we often use to define ourselves. You’ll learn about the power of "I am” declarations, the value of setting healthy boundaries, and why it’s good to limit the amount of negative content we consume or people we spend time with. You’ll also discover some great book and podcast resources that we have gained so much from. To start 2023 on a great note, take a moment to pause and reflect with us today!
Rena: Hi everyone. We are Rena and Dara, and welcome to Fertility Forward. We are part of the wellness team at RMA of New York, a fertility clinic affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our Fertility Forward podcast brings together advice from medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Dara: Rena, I am so happy to see you! I can't believe it's the new year - 2023.
Rena: I know! I feel like so many people were kind of out with 2022 and super psyched for 2023 to start.
Dara: Yeah, I mean, 2022 had a lot going on, but I always love the new year because it's a great time to reflect and when I work with patients it's often about, you know, reflection of the past and goal setting for the future. And this is kind of somewhat of a culmination of the year, but it, it, it's a great opportunity to really, you know, look back at the year and I look at it more as like all the things that I've accomplished and all the great memories that I had and then all the things that I kind of would like to, to look forward to or try in the new year. What about you? How do you think of the new year?
Rena: I think both of us feel similarly. We're not super into like these resolutions, but I'm really into reflecting and taking a pause and then goal setting and thinking about what I want to accomplish and work on in the new year, you know, as I strive to grow and change and evolve.
Dara: I think it's important to have that reflection and also to, you know, think about or what are the things that I would love to try to accomplish or the things that I'm excited to try or do in the new year without having the, yeah, even the term resolution. I think it's, I don't know, it sounds very finite.
Rena: I agree. And I, I think, you know, humans are so hard on themselves or can be, and I certainly used to be one of those people and something I've worked so hard on over the past few years is just giving myself grace. You know, I'm a, I'm a human and we're flawed and you know, I feel like people that make these sort of like grand pronunciations, like January 1, I'm going to exercise every day or cut out sugar or not drink alcohol, whatever. And then they end up not doing that because they're and they're living life, you know, then I think tend to beat themselves up so much. And I think that's so not worth it. Instead of can you just frame it as though, okay, I'm a human and instead of beating yourself up, maybe look at it. If that's not a habit that you wanna do, well then what, what made you do it? And, and maybe look at that and making changes there.
Dara: Oh, totally. And I think even like you, you made a good point that, you know, we tend to beat ourselves up and, and, and really not be kind to ourselves if we don't accomplish whatever these, these resolutions we set. And one of the things that I've reflected on is, and this is something that I talk to, you know also a lot of patients about is, is how can we do things with more kindness to ourselves? So just the idea, like, I wanna go into 2023 with less judgment, less judgment of others, but more importantly less judgment on myself.
Rena: I love that so much. I feel like you and I we're just always on the same wavelength. I finally had some time to exhale over the, the break and, and took some time off, although I say that lightly because I was taking time off work, but I was away with my daughter so it was not really time off, but it, it was finally I was able to do some, some reading and reflecting that, you know, I just don't usually get to do in the daily, you know, ins and outs of work. And I realized that I'm, I'm also going to do that too. And it felt really good to give myself permission to do that.
Dara: And then catch ourselves cause we are humans and I think, I dunno if it's our default, but it's something that we often do is talk badly about ourselves and if even if we can catch ourselves a second earlier or even catch ourselves after the fact, not shame ourselves and not beat ourselves up and actually say, you know what? Oh wow, I noticed I went there. That was not a nice comment towards myself. Or maybe not a nice comment to, to someone else. And then I think the idea of reframing, I think is great, which I know you are such a big advocate of that. I think it's such a, a beautiful word. Hopefully not overused, but I think it's such a, a nice way of changing the way you see it. Cause I think that's how changes are made when you actually say it the way you wanna say it in a kinder, gentler way.
Rena: Yeah. And I think it's not enabling yourself, it's not letting yourself off the hook or making excuses, but it is about sort of just seeing something through a different lens and a different perspective and, you know, instead of beating yourself up like, well what is this teaching me? How can I learn? How can I learn and how can I be better? And I know that both you and I are really big fans of Don Miguel Ruiz and the Ruiz family and you went to that retreat and I'm now reading the Fifth Agreement, which is sort of, I don't know if you can say that, like the second book of their….
Dara: It is. I think it is. I haven't read it. So I would love to, to hear down the road what you think about it.
Rena: So, well it just started, but what I've gleaned so far is exactly what we're talking about. You know, it's about loving ourselves for everything. It's not like, well I would love myself if I did an X, Y, Z, you know, I can love myself if I do X, Y, Z. It's no, I love myself regardless, even with these flaws that I have because again, I'm a human and I am flawed because no human is perfect. And so I'm super excited to see where that book takes me. I've, I've really been loving it so far.
Dara: Maybe I need to pick that up. I actually yesterday finished another book in, in that series also written by Don Miguel Ruiz. So he, he wrote The Four Agreements, which I think is a great starting point for people to read. I think everyone should, should read it. But this one is called The Voice of Knowledge and it kind of does encompass a little bit of the Four Agreements, supposedly, I think the Fifth Agreement cuz he does have a whole chapter on love and loving yourself. But I find it fascinating that he talks a lot about how we have this voice in our head, the voice of knowledge, which we think is, is all powerful, but oftentimes we use that voice for lies so that the, the voice that we hear is usually not speaking the truth. And when you are in love with yourself or you love yourself, that's when you are truly speaking the, the voice of knowledge without the lies attached to it.
Rena: Oh, I love that. I think it's hard, you know, as, as you know, and I, I think I know both of us are, are people that have worked really hard on and continue to work hard on loving ourselves and not letting that sort of like inner voice of, you know, negative self-talk or doubt be loud. But I dunno if you found this, I found that I can work so hard on it and I kind of really shut myself into like a safe space and I really keep my circle super tight and then when I feel okay, I'm really confident, I'm feeling really good about myself and I let outsiders in, is then when that negative self-talk comes back or the self-doubt. And then I find myself sort of retreating back like, no, I, I can't let these people in or new people because it raises these, these doubts and questions for me. And I was feeling so strong and now I'm not anymore. And so I think that's my goal for this year.
Dara: I think that's great. And I think the hard part is, you know, when we're learning something, we wanna do it perfectly and a lot of times we assume that once we learn it, we're gonna have it for life. But that's what I love about, I don't know, maybe that's the altruistic side of myself. And I do believe that even I think in life we have those opportunities, those, those challenging moments of those tests. And it's not to see if we're gonna fail. And I don't think the universe wants us to fail, but sometimes we have those tests and sometimes we do retreat further away from who we really are. But I think with reading and reminding yourself of, of, of who you are, having different practices, like a gratitude practice or having a mentor. So all those things could help get you back to, to where you wanna be.
Rena: For sure. I think it takes a village a hundred percent. I think I find that I am not good when I'm sort of alone in my head with my thoughts because then they start to sort of go on this vicious cycle. And that's why it is so important to build out, you know, mentors, healers, coping mechanisms to get you out of that. And, you know, I love learning from other people and reading and watching things and studying and you know, I think the beauty of being a human is that, you know, we're never done growing. It's never like, oh well when I become a parent, I'll be done. Or when I get married or when I get to this point in my career. No, I mean, I hope to be learning and growing until the day I die.
Dara: I'm with you. I totally, I'm…along with books. I mean, so definitely Domi Gal Ruiz, phenomenal and his two sons and that's, I went to a, a retreat in Boone, North Carolina a couple months ago and the son spoke and I believe the son was the one that wrote the Fifth Agreement - Don Miguel Ruiz Junior - and then his other son who's phenomenal is Don Jose. And they also have written some fabulous books. One of them is The Wisdom of Shamans and the book I also just finished is called The Mastery of Life, but they're all versions of this toltec tradition, this tradition from thousands of years ago in Mexico of, of how to live your life in your truth. And I think like those books are great, but even like podcasts, I'm not sure about you Rena: if you've been listening to any,
Rena: I've been listening to a lot of Ritual. I act, I love Ritual for a lot of reasons. I've been listening to a lot of him over the break. I don't know if you're familiar with Ritual,
Dara: I'm not. Share!
Rena: So he is an athlete. He is an endurance athlete. He is sober and he is someone that went through just a ton of stuff and then later in life really picked himself up, found his strength, found his power, and he's just this great incredible voice. You know, I think I just, I love his vibe, I love his guests, I love what he stands for. So I find a lot resonates with me. A lot of inspiration from his podcasts.
Dara: Ooh, I gotta check him out. There's so many pod I, I feel like there's never enough hours in the day, but I've been listening to this podcast supposedly I think he's been recording for three years or so. It's called Wellness and Wisdom by Josh Trent. I feel like he's like next level, I wouldn't say spiritual, but he just is very aware of how to live his best life, how to protect the, you know, his environment, how to, how to take care of the things and people around him. And it's really inspiring me to like, think differently. His latest thing when I listened to one of his podcasts was all about how a lot of people, they declare their one thing. And it's usually one extreme and how his goal for the new year is to kind of be more in the middle. There's something special about being in the middle of having that balance. And that was something for me to think about cause usually we like to declare who we are, what we are and what we like as opposed to being open to both sides and finding something in the middle.
Rena: I love that. I'm definitely gonna check that out. And I think, you know, what you said totally resonated. You know, I've been working myself on sort of a personal endeavor and, and figuring out, you know, do I wanna use a label or how can I apply that to myself? And I think, you know, so many of our patients though, of course we can tie that to fertility and you know, people then label themselves right as, oh, I'm infertile or like I am infertility and get very extreme with it and it becomes sort of an identity. And I feel like when I was going through that, I definitely did. I kind of like wore that like, ugh, I'm going through infertility. Like this is it. This defines me. And I, I agree that, you know, we can say it's like one day, well maybe I was a vegan for a year and now I don't wanna be a vegan anymore. You can always change your mind. We always have that power and no one can take that away. No one can can tell you, oh well, like you declared this, so it must be so, well guess what doesn't work for me anymore.
Dara: Yeah. I think that's great. And I think sometimes it's harder for other people when they perceive you as one way and they think, oh, you're the vegan or you're the, and and I think when you know yourself that it's not true at this moment. Maybe it was true a year ago, a month ago. That's okay. But that's why I think even the four, back to the Four Agreements, the first thing is to be mindful with your words. And I think those declaratives of ‘I am,’ when it's anything negative, you gotta be careful because that, you know, sometimes even if you don't want to be, that, if you're declaring someone that you don't wanna be, that will still be you if you say that the energy's out there. So declaring, you know, I am love or I am strength or I'm compassionate, those are things that I think are more the truth than some other I am’s that can really just be lies.
Rena: Oh my gosh. I love I am statements. I went on a retreat probably, this is probably four years ago now. I was in a very low place, really doubting myself, very not great. And I went on this retreat and I was taught the power of I Am statements and I've been saying them every day since. And they are a miracle. And I tell, you know, so many of my clients like, let's work on your I Am statements because and sometimes it's about you gotta fake it till you make it. Right? You know, when I started I didn't believe I was deserving or worthy or capable or any of the statements I was using, but if you keep repeating them, you start to believe them and they're so powerful. And I think you're totally right. You know, it's, it's about energy. And if we don't believe those things about ourselves, that's what we're putting out there and people are gonna click on that. Once we start loving ourselves, we start believing in ourselves. We believe we're worthy and capable. Other people will too. Yeah. But it all starts within.
Dara: I love that. And I think I had a, one of my teachers talk about how beautiful imagining things like using your imagination, how, you know, when you're young and, and you know, you don't have a lot of things on your mind. It's a time to imagine, you know, and to use your creativity. And I think a lot of times we lose that as we get older. And just bringing that, like, what do you imagine yourself to be? Or who do you want to be? Or who, what do you see yourself down the road in what situation? And I think when you use your imagination, and I guess when I think of imagination, I think of something beautiful and wonderful and, and I think when you keep on imagining that, I think that using your I am statements can really help you manifest that statement.
Rena: Yes. I love that you said manifest of course, because
Dara: Of course, we're both gonna use that word.
Rena: Of course we're gonna believe in that.
Dara: But, but the funny thing is on the other side, I was actually, I wanted to talk to you. It's fascinating on the flip side, sometimes when we can have a a, a bad day or a day that we claim as as not being a, a great day, I notice sometimes I get in those funks and I'm noticing it's when I'm listening, watching, reading some things that are negative. And it's not to say I wanna be a realist. I read the news, I wanna be kept up to date with what's going on. But I think there's too much sometimes. And there's a lot of times there's a lot of content out there that really isn't great for your energy. Like, for example, I was watching, I gotta say it's a great movie, it's called The Menu with Ralph Fiennes. It's a really great cast, but it was, it's kind of like a thriller. It's not really horror, but it's definitely there's, and I was left feeling heavy after I watched it the other day. And literally my entire day I had this heaviness and I realized, okay, I watched that movie. That's something that I need to, to be more aware of, be more mindful of. Maybe if I'm gonna watch that I'm gonna not watch it in the, in the morning and then have the rest of the day, or maybe even not at the end of the day before I go to sleep, but being more careful with my choices. Yeah. And I think that can make a big difference in terms of how you feel.
Rena: Totally. I think it's, it's what you watch, it's what you surround yourself with. It's who you surround yourself with, you know. And I think it's really important to be aware of people or things that are what I call like soul snipers or emotional vampires, you know, and people that sort of are things that just suck your energy and drain you.
Dara: Yeah. That's why I think boundary setting is great. I think when people think of New Year's resolutions, I think an, a great one is to set some healthy boundaries.
Rena: Yes. And of course that brings up, I know the book we've both read or reading is the Melissa Urban book about boundaries, which is fantastic.
Dara: Yes. It was a great reminder for me because I definitely do set boundaries here and there, but especially how to set boundaries. I think some with the harder ones is sometimes your parents or even people you have history with, who you feel really bad taking a little more space or some time alone. It's hard.
Rena: Totally. And I think what's hard is sort of similar to when you've sort of identified yourself as one thing and then you change it. It's the same with boundaries. You know, if you have a history with someone and you weren't setting great boundaries and then you decide that you're going to totally change your boundaries, you have to have a conversation. You know, it's not fair to expect them to now understand that you're setting boundaries. And it's important to say, you know, oh, now I'm going to set these boundaries. And you don't really need to explain. I mean, key rule of boundary setting is not to reveal too much because then people can poke holes in it. But be really strong in your boundaries. But to have that conversation and just, just say, you know, fyi, this is what I'm doing, it's going to be different. And give someone a heads up that there may be a change.
Dara: Good point. I think that's great is to not just let them know without giving them that warning and also letting them know that… And it's hard cause I think a lot of times when you have a history with someone, they see you one way. And if you are growing and developing and changing as we all are to some degree, that can be hard for someone who's seen you as the old version of yourself.
Rena: Exactly. And I think it's sometimes it's about, or all the times, it's really about having the awareness of yourself first and getting strength and conviction in who you are. And then you can disseminate that message and sort of reintroduce yourself.
Dara: I love that - awareness of who you are. Which is hard when we're, you know, living in a world where we're constantly going and doing and not necessarily like tuning in and being more present to get that opportunity to, to really see and feel who we are and, and be with ourselves.
Rena: Yeah. And I know both you and I are working moms and it's really hard to feel either that you can take yourself away, you know, there's always guilt, right? From work or your kids, but to be able to take that mindful time for yourself because then you are able to be better, you know, as a parent at your job as a friend, a daughter, you know all the roles that you play. And so to really take that valuable time for yourself to be able to sit in that, because in the chaos of daily life, it is really hard. You know, there's so much stimuli, there's so many things going on. And to be able to have that time to really sort of just be, and then you bring that back with you and can be better.
Dara: Ooh, I have all the feels. I feel like that's gonna be a big goal for me this year is to learn to be with myself a little bit more and, and discover, you know, like, I think it's a year of discovery.
Rena: Oh, I like that. So is that your, you know how people sort of choose a word of the year? Is discovery your word of 2023?
Dara: Is that my final answer? Yeah, I just like that word cause it's, it's open. It's open, it's open to so much and it, and there's a lot, there's so many ways you can go with that. Infinite ways to go with that.
Rena: Ooh. Infinite discovery,
Dara: Infinite discovery. Ooh. What about you, Rena? Any, any things that you kind of wanna hone in on this year or just be more aware of?
Rena: I think my word would be maybe peace. I would like to just be at peace, you know, I feel like I spent the last few years being very frenetic and working really hard and kind of building my life. And now I wanna be at peace with that because I have built something and I wanna be able to sit with that.
Dara: That's gorgeous. That's beautiful. How nice.
Rena: We'll see if that becomes a tattoo on my arm.
Dara: We'll have to you know, next year. See….Well, I'm so happy that we were able to connect and reconnect in this new year. I'm hopeful that there'll be lots of wonderful things ahead. I'm so excited for our listeners to get a chance to hear some wonderful new and some old speakers on our podcast. If you guys have any, any suggestions or anyone that you want on, please let us know.
Rena: Yes. We would love feedback. And you know, both Dara and I, we read a lot. We're always exploring new things and I think both of us are very holistic. So we would love to know sort of any feedback about people you would like on, topics you want us to discuss. If you want us to put out content lists of what we're reading or what we're watching, you know, and sort of make this a community. We're super open. I think we're really grateful to have this platform and please, you know, either DM us on Instagram or email us, reach out to us because we would really value and love your feedback because this is for you. And, and we're so grateful to, to have this and have this audience and, and this platform
Dara: So lucky. So since we always do this, Rena, what are you grateful for? I'm sure a lot, but right now, what are you grateful for?
Rena: Ooh, in this moment, let's see, I am grateful for autonomy. I am grateful for the choice to make choices and be in my power. Work, personal life. Yeah. I feel like I'm really kind of stepping into that and when I don't feel that it's, it's me letting you know things overwhelm me. So I'm super, super grateful right now to just feel really autonomous and to have, you know, a really amazing support system and, you know, have this platform, have RMA, have amazing people to work with. I love my job so much and I'm so grateful that we've built this. So grateful for you, too, Dara. What about you?
Dara: Definitely grateful for you. I'm grateful for being in the moment. I have a tendency to worry about things down the road and overanalyze and I'm just happy that I have this opportunity to be present, to be reconnected with you, Rena, after the holidays and to, I don't know, just feel like I'm in my body and I don't know, the idea of presence for me is something that I, I, I really appreciate. And just happy to be here right now.
Rena: Be here now as,
Dara: Be here now. So nice to catch up, Rena.
Rena: Yes. Love it. Well, this was so, so lovely. Always love talking with you and so grateful for this audience and this platform and super excited for what 2023 is going to bring
Dara: A-woman to that!
Dara: Thank you so much for listening today and always remember - practice gratitude, give a little love to someone else and yourself, and remember you are not alone. Find us on Instagram @fertility_forward and if you're looking for more support, visit us at www.rmany.com and tune in next week for more Fertility Forward.