Not long ago I was chatting to a new friend who asked me about what I do for work. If you’re a blogger, or if you also pursue a side passion outside of your full time job, you’d probably agree that the answer to this question isn’t often a short one. I responded saying that I’m a marketing manager, but that I also have a blog on the side.

“Oh really? What’s your blog called? What do you write about?”

“Eat Spin Run Repeat. It’s a blog all about clean eating, healthy recipes, fitness and goal setting.”

Eventually we were talking about how Eat Spin Run Repeat was born (almost 6 years ago!), how I became a fitness instructor and health coach, how I got into food photography, awesome companies I’ve had the privilege to work with, and a whole bunch of other blog-related topics. 

“You must really love to cook!” my friend said.

And it’s true – I really do. I love food – the colours, the textures, the smells, and the process of creating a dish that combines it all. I love the feeling of sitting down to edit photos after a long afternoon of recipe development because just looking at them makes the flavours magically reappear on my tongue again. I love sharing the recipes with you, especially ones SO good that I have to work hard to restrain myself from running to my friends’ homes shouting “Taste this! TASTE THIS!!!

Rainbow Carrot and Lentil Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

Food aside, I love that blogging allows me to express my passion for fitness, health and self-development with you and everyone else who cares to listen. It’s one of the most powerful accountability systems I can think of, and a wonderful way to meet great people. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several of my online blogger friends and readers in person, and can 100% attest that they’re some of the most truly amazing, inspiring and talented people I know.

While maintaining a blog certainly takes effort and time, I think the rewards far outweigh the work. All of the things I just mentioned are definite perks, but perhaps the biggest and most important of all is when I find out that I’ve positively impacted somebody’s life.

That’s exactly what happened over the holidays. I received an email from Jaime Lynn, a reader who I was lucky enough to meet in person a couple of years ago. She was the winner of my Gorgeous Guide to Goal Conquering at the end of 2014, and after a year of turning her goals into plans and her plans into action, she sent me the most beautiful letter to let me know how she’d progressed.

Life does not get better by chance

I asked Jaime Lynn if she was ok with me sharing her note with you, and she was all for it. It’s a little different to some of the lighter subject matter you’re used to seeing here, but her story is so inspiring that I couldn’t resist. So here it is:

Hi Angela,

I wanted to write you a note to thank you SO much for your Gorgeous Guide to Goal-Setting that I won last year! I have to say it has changed my life!

Just like you, I have always been a “goal-setting junkie”. Before I turned 30 I made a bucket list. I had a life goal to learn to run 10km. By the time I turned 30, I was in my first 5km running clinic with the Running Room. From there I went on to run 10km, half marathons and completed my first full marathon by my 32nd birthday. I used to think that marathons were only for crazy people, but once you start running, you can’t stop! From there I taught myself how to swim, and joined a triathlon team, and began brick training. I participated in several sprint distance triathlons. Those memories were some of the best of my life!!

Then one day, my whole life changed. Right before my 34th birthday I was drugged and repeatedly assaulted, and almost lost my life due to a drug overdose. I reported it to the police however, after a lengthy investigation nothing came of it. I spiraled into a deep depression, suffering Post Traumatic Stress, thoughts of suicide, abused alcohol and cigarettes, and ended up losing my job in Corporate Finance after 4 years, my home, my car, I lost everything. One year after my assault I had a nervous breakdown.

Needless to say, I looked to sports to cope. However, my performance really suffered, and eventually I gave up on everything I once loved. I saw my friends moving on to Olympic distance triathlons, half Ironmans, and even full Ironmans for some. I felt so left out and empty. I longed to join them. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t swim, I couldn’t hang out with my friends, I sold my bike. I became a recluse. There was a negative energy running through me, and a negative voice, along with images in my mind, that interfered with every step I took during a run, every stroke I made in the pool.

It was the most frustrating and darkest time of my life. I literally didn’t do any sports for close to two years. My big wall of race bibs suddenly stopped. Looking at that day after day, became a constant reminder that I was no longer the person I once was, and I started to dislike myself. Underneath it all though, I longed to get that energy back, that little chick-um inside that gets you going, that inspires you. No matter where I looked, no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get “it” back. I ended up taking the bibs off the wall as it was too sad a reminder.

the darkest nights produce the brightest stars

To make a long story short, after three stints in counselling, I finally found someone who could help me process the trauma and help me move forward. Then, I found a great job, which afforded me an awesome place to live and a car! I started to reach out to the friends with whom I had disconnected, and started making friends. Despite these great accomplishments, I was still lonely, I still lacked motivation in terms of getting back into sports, and still felt on the ‘outside’ of life. I missed the person I once was.

And then one day, I came across your Facebook page. It was nice to meet another girl who loved sports like I did, as well was into healthy eating. I won your Guide, and I dove into it, head first and did all the activities. I found it very motivating to acknowledge the person I was in the moment. My favourite was reminiscing about the things I used to love to do as a child. For me it was arts, cooking and animals.

Living in a day and age of social media it is very easy to get wrapped in what you don’t have, and compare yourself to other people. Your Guide helped me realize what a great platform I had to start from, and that was really encouraging. Dreaming up my perfect day was really helpful in identifying the areas of my life that are really important to me – the areas of my life that fuel me forward. This is exactly what I needed to know. Exactly what I needed to remember.

For the first time in years, I was finally excited to begin each new day and create a new chapter in my life. I now pick a country every month and make two recipes from that country. I host dinner parties, and make an effort to get out there and spend time with people. I plan and prepare DIY projects for around the home, including gardening and landscaping, which I find very cathartic.

maybe it's not about trying to fix something broken

I have gotten back into reading, which for so long I couldn’t do because I lacked focus. I’ve learned to knit and crochet, and recently began volunteering in both cat and dog rescue and foster. AND………….enter drum roll here………I finally got back into running and other sports! There is something about running, especially outside in nature, that brings me back to life. Now this, I remember. When the air and blood starts pumping, it brings your mind and body together, and brings about a greater sense of self and purpose.

When I began this process back in January of 2015, of being the “Chief Lifestyle Designer of Jaime Lynn Inc.” as you put it in the Guide, my only goal at the end of the year was to be happy, both physically and mentally. I think I had spent so long searching for external things to make me happy, when really what I needed was to be a happy on the inside first. Only then, can you really, really move forward, and put that positive energy and the spirit that makes you you, into action.

Now I am happy on the inside, I am able to move forward to achieve my new sport and other life goals. I am now looking forward to start training in January 2016 with a group to run the Ottawa Half Marathon! I mixed travel AND sports!! See – I’ve got it now! 😉

I now live a little bit of my dream life every day. How awesome is that?!

I can’t thank you enough for sharing with me a piece of what helps you!

Sincerely yours,

Jaime Lynn

***

Pretty darn incredible, right?

But am I telling you about this?

Be Strong - You never know who you're inspiring

Firstly, because I know Jaime Lynn’s story isn’t the only one of its kind. If you’ve experienced any sort of traumatic event that’s thrown you off course, I hope that what she’s shared helps to give you faith and encouragement to regain control of the awesome life you deserve.

And second, because I wanted to get you thinking about something I’ve been thinking about myself, which is this:

Who has made a significant impact in your life?

Whose lives do you have the ability to impact in a positive way?

In what ways can you be doing that today?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any or all of these 3 questions in the comments below. (But if you’d really rather not share, that’s 100% ok as well!)

The Gorgeous Guide to Goal Conquering 2016 > Get your copy!