So last year I made a few New Year’s resolutions. As I’ve mentioned before, I am constantly trying to be a better person. I don’t need the signal of a new year, per se, but the idea of a fresh start always helps. I’m currently working on a few person things, but I’ve thought about some bigger sweeps I want to make in 2013. But first, let’s see how I did on my resolutions from 2012.

I love this quote. :)

1. Find my abs.

OK, truth time. I completely forgot I made this declaration. Mostly because I constantly want to find my abs, but I’m usually not so intentional about it. All in all, even with my lack of memory, I think I did fairly well with this one. In the summer, I started Jamie Eason’s LiveFit workout and saw some major results. Then, Jesse and I started doing Insanity when I moved to Seattle. I don’t have a six pack (remember all those cookies?) but I’m in probably the best physical shape of my life. So, I got some ab-age going on. I’m satisfied with that.

2. Learn to play the drums.

I did this! Mostly. I can actually kind of play the drums now. I definitely want to keep the momentum going in 2013, especially now that we have a place to set them up (because OMGWEFOUNDAHOME – details later) but I can keep time and get splshy with it when I’m not totally self-conscious. Yeehaw.

3. Cut down on my drinking.

Yes, I did this. Especially these last three months because I was on a diet where I couldn’t have bread, much less alcohol (long story). All in all, with the exception of a few celebratory occasions, I drank moderately to not-at-all. Yeah, me. Maybe I’m just growing up? The appeal of overdrinking isn’t there anymore like it was when I was 21. I just want to wake up tomorrow hydrated and with a stomach that isn’t turning.

So, I did it! I basically fulfilled all of my New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly think that’s the first time I’ve done it. Granted, some of it is probably because life just moved that way, but I like to think I had a lot of control over whether these did or did not happen. *pats self on back*

So, now it’s time for 2013. I have a few goals in mind that I’m working on, including carrying over the abs and drums thing. I’d like to see myself continue to improve there. So, here are the big ones:

1. Grow my business

I have set myself a goal income for this year, along with some other goals, including how many clients I’d like to carry along with my job at The Gottman Institute. I feel as long as I am realistic and I work hard, there’s no reason I shouldn’t succeed here.

2. Get my half-sleeve

So, I know some people don’t view tattoos the way I do, but I promised myself I would get a tattoo to symbolize my growth and resilience since starting counseling almost 5 years ago. I’ve come so far since then, and I have a really cool idea of something I want. I promised myself once I make X money this year, I’m getting my tattoo. It’s happening. Plus, I want that constant reminder on my body telling me, “You’re strong. You can do anything,” because you know what? I’ve already done so much.

3. Practice patience

I’ve talked a lot about my struggles with being patient. I’m basically the archenemy of patience. I hate waiting and I always want instant gratification. This trait has made me more miserable in the past year (relatively speaking) than anything else. I set up expectations for how long things should (see, those shoulds suck) take and I end up being disappointed and mad at who? Oh, myself. I love blaming myself. I’m stopping that, too.

4. Start Yoga Teacher Training

I hope by this time next year, I am making moves to become a yoga teacher. I love yoga so much and I don’t get it into my life nearly as much as I would like. I think becoming a yoga teacher would be an intentional act of getting yoga into my life forever, while also providing a cool platform for more work in mental health/wellness.


It’s happening. We have a yard now.



I’m weird about food.

Like, I love it. Maybe a little too much. I eat healthy, I exercise, and I’m in great shape. But, have a pretty dicey relationship with portion control. Heck, forget about applying portion control to food, I have a hard time with it in my life. I want more, more, more.

I’ve talked with Jesse about it – he lives with me, he sees how much I love food. It’s so amazing. I love cooking because I flow when I cook. I don’t think, I just create, and I’m pretty good at it. I mean, what’s better than making a masterpiece and then EATING IT? Nothing.

I’m also always cold. Always. Maybe it’s my thyroid, maybe it’s my tiny hands with their tiny veins trying to regulate my regular-sized body, but I’m just cold. Fingers are popsicles, toes are ice cubes. Playing footsie with me can be a risk to your health. I’m a miserable person to be around when I’m cold.

I’m also kind of moody. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Maybe it’s my thyroid (gosh, darnit thyroid – such a pain). I can go from being really happy to really bummed depending on what happened and bounce back in a heartbeat. I’m mercurial. I’ve always been this way.

I catastrophize. It hasn’t been sunny here in like, I don’t know, forever (see: dramatic). I sat in front of the heater last night in my workout clothes, waiting for Jesse to be ready to work out, and I just pouted. It was late, I was hungry, I didn’t want to work out and it would be like… I don’t know, 1.5 hours until we ate dinner after workout + shower? I hadn’t seen the sun in ages, my skin is dry and cold, and OH MY GOODNESS EVERYTHING IS AWFUL.

Then I cooked, showered, and ate (did I mention I suffer from hanger? (hunger + anger)), I got my new electric blanket, I poured myself a glass of wine, added in some holiday cookies and all was right [enough] with the world. I was back to being pleasant and lovely.

Why am I sharing this with you? One, because I’m not perfect and I’m not happy all the time. I AM A HUMAN BEING. It’s nuts. I’m also just a tough pill to swallow, even for myself. Part of being a therapist is trying to not be mad at yourself when you’re being a crappy human and you can’t help it. Sometimes I eat too many cookies, sometimes I’m hangry, sometimes I’m cold and there’s nothing that can be done about it, and sometimes I’m irritated that I’m irritable and I just can’t (or don’t want to) snap out of it.

But these are things I’m actively working on to be better at. I am light-years beyond where I was three years ago. Nowadays, I feel capable of working on these things, including forgiving myself for being so human. I’m so hard on myself, I worry (while in mid-catastrophizing about everything) that Jesse will be mad at me, or resent me for being unpleasant. Let’s review that tidbit of knowledge: I’m already upset about being upset, but then I’m more upset because I don’t want my partner to be mad at me for being mad. It’s exhausting.

I think about all these issues I want to work on. I think about how much I love cookies and I look at people who intuitively eat almost always and I get down on myself. Then I think, “Why do I behave like this? Why are the cookies so important?” I find my answer. Then I’m empowered with the strength to solve the problem – the cause of the cookie binge – with something healthier than three cookies. Maybe it’s one cookie and something to erase my boredom, because let’s face it – I will never be a woman who says no to at least one cookie.

My health is harder. What do I do, just wear 40 jackets and say, “Oh it’s my thyroid making me moody! I should stop”? Um, that’s hard to do. Just stop feeling a certain way in a nanosecond? I don’t think so. But, you know what? When I know why I feel a certain way, it takes a lot of power out of the negative feeling because again – there’s a solution somewhere in there.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because it’s my blog and sometimes I like to share my vulnerabilities because I know I’m not alone. I know you guys out there have issues with eating too many cookies and beating yourself up about it, sometimes. I know we’re all wrestling with being imperfect, which makes me feel normal. I also know sometimes it seems like I have it all figured out. I don’t and frankly, what a boring life that would be.

I always make a New Year’s Resolution, but I also do this. I sit and think about how I can improve on my life. How can I be a better person for myself and for others? Where are my areas for improvement that I can make a priority for active change? It’s empowering.

So today, I will probably finish off the rest of the cookies I baked and then not buy any at the store for a few months. That will limit my cookie intake. I will layer better, keeping my core warmer. I will call my doctor about my thyroid medication and tell her I’m feeling weird and moody, more so than usual. I’ll wear mittens, I’ll kiss my wonderful boyfriend because he tolerates the grumpy and adores the pleasant things about me, I’ll write this blog post, and I’ll feel connected with you guys because hey – we’re all in this together.

Private Practice Prep

There’s a lot that goes into opening a small business as a therapist, but not nearly as much as I thought. With the exception of those few moments where I’m just completely nervous about the future and this crazy endeavor I’ve gotten myself into, it’s actually been kind of fun.

You know what’s totally weird though? Promoting yourself. If there’s one lesson I’ve had people wag their finger at me for and say, “Don’t fail to do that!” it’s been about marketing my strengths, skills, and abilities. I mean, I know I’m a great therapist and I will get the job done, but other people don’t know that. You can’t really measure if I’m the best, you just have to experience it for yourself. A lot of people have a problem with that idea because it means potentially paying for services only to be disappointed by what they paid for, plus feeling even more upset because they really needed help, took a chance, and ended up feeling likely a lot worse.

So, I’ve been placed in this interesting position where I have to step outside of myself and say, “What are my strengths? What will clients see in me that they won’t get from other therapists?” and then tell the whole world about it. So, do you want to see what I’ve been up to?

The Jen Bingaman Private Practice site

Man, Jesse definitely has a fan club and I am its president and CEO. I seriously can’t imagine my life without him as my partner, much less imagine how stupidly difficult and expensive it would be to start this business without his techspertise (I just made that word up… I like it!). I might have to give him my first born child or something…

Anyway, we still have some small tweaks here and there (pictures, glitz, header), but the site is live and all the copy is there. For those of you who are curious, have the time, the interest, or the expertise, please go to the site and poke around. Let me know if you have any suggestions based on your experience or if you see any glaring spelling or grammatical errors. I’ve looked over it so many times, my eyes are turning to mush.

If you’re feeling really wonderful and generous, especially if you live in Seattle, will you share the site with your friends and family, especially on social media? It goes a long, long way.

Jen Bingaman on Psychology Today

So for those of you who don’t know, Psychology Today is pretty much the go-to resource for people looking for therapy services. They are practically a monopoly, but they also have a pretty decent set-up for showcasing therapists and providing people with a good selection of practitioners in their area. I worked long and hard (and may continue to do so) to get my profile as accurate and authentic as possible since I know a large majority of my web referrals will come from Psychology Today.

Jen Bingaman at Seattle Direct Counseling

I’m really excited about this one. I’m a member of a group practice! I working with two other wonderful therapists, each of us with our own style and skills. I’ll be working from a downtown office one day of the week, providing eTherapy other days. If any of you out there have been interested in eTherapy in the past, the time is nigh! If you don’t live in Washington, there can be some tricky rules about state-to-state internet counseling, so look up the laws for your state before you contact me and share what you find. Man, I am so excited about all of this. It’s going to be such a fun adventure.

I’ve done tons of other less exciting things like get liability insurance, open a business checking account (OK, so that was fun until I had to put money in it… and then spend it), get a business license, and pay lots of stupid fees for all of it. Oh well, you have to spend money to make money, right?

Speaking of spending money… I’m going to need an amazing accountant. Does anyone have any recommendations here is Seattle? There’s a reason why I never majored in Finance.

Tomorrow is Friday. So many good things… including puppies!