2015 Goals vs. Reality

I did turn 40 this year. It actually happened. And I must admit, I’m not dealing with it all that well. I’m more vain and shallow than I realized! I spend entirely too much time focusing on new wrinkles and saggy skin. I’m thinking about trying some kind of dermal filler or Botox or something. Just a little something to perk up my skin. Part of it is that I work in a very young industry, and I don’t want to show my age. Part of it too is just pure vanity.

But enough of that!

Last year was the first year that I truly made a set of New Year’s resolutions and then followed through with them. I have never been a goal setter, but this past year has been a game changer for sure. I never realized how vocalizing a goal would help me to really think about what I needed to do to actually make it happen. Yes, it took me til 40 to understand this!

I was far from perfect in reaching my goals this year. Some of that was my fault and some of it wasn’t. Here’s how things ended up:

  1. Learn to do a handstand. FAIL. Not necessarily from lack of effort though. I worked pretty hard to build up my upper body strength, but there wasn’t much I could do about my wrist. They are weak, slightly arthritic, and leaning towards carpal tunnel syndrome. I have pretty lousy joints overall. Thus, no handstand for me, but I have peace about that.
  2. Pay off our credit card debt and personal loans. SUCCESS. I also paid off my car! We were lucky enough to both make good bonuses this year, along with nice salary increases, and we made some money when we sold our house. I’m very happy to say we knocked out all of our consumer debt other than my husband’s car, and that’s just because we’re waiting to see what VW is going to do about the “clean” diesel debacle.
  3. Be less anal. I’m calling this a SUCCESS. I think I’m little bit more go-with-the-flow. I can’t change who I am inside, but I am committed to continually finding compromise with other people and their ways of doing things.
  4. Run a half marathon. SUCCESS. Boom.
  5. Downsize. SUCCESS. Man, I was all over the place with this one over the year. We went from looking at one bedroom condos and vacation cabins, to almost buying a five bedroom house, to ending up in a perfect-sized three bedroom with almost an acre. We’re sort of turning it into that cabin we also wanted too 🙂
  6. Meditate. FAIL. I tried. I don’t like it. I know it’s something that you get better at, and the couple of times I did it, I did feel more relaxed and clear headed. But making it into an obligation sort of took away the benefit. Maybe one day…
  7. Drink less. FAIL. I’m trying not to beat myself up about this one. I did a few alcohol-free weeks, and I’ve cut back recently as I’ve been losing weight, but this summer, I relied on our end of day cocktails to help with the stress of my new job and our move (mostly during our two month hotel stay).
  8. Go to marriage counseling. FAIL. We never went, not once. We talked about it. We talked about us, our relationship. I think we don’t have as much motivation to go to therapy together because we’re crazy in love and really do like and enjoy each other 95% of the time. It’s not like our marriage is in trouble or anything. We’re totally committed to each other and plan on spending our lives together. But I know there are old hurts we need to resolve eventually, things that always seem to bubble back up when you least expect them. To be continued.
  9. Write. SUCCESS. This will be my 117th blog post, according to WordPress. This is undoubtedly the most I’ve ever written in a year. I’m also doing social media posts for two non-profits, so I’m writing some there as well. I would still like to learn to write essays, so hopefully I’ll have some time and energy to devote to that in 2016.
  10. Continue to evolve my relationship with food. I think I can call this a SUCCESS. This summer was eye-opening, as I experienced stress-eating (and the accompanying weight gain) for the first time. Not good! I also had to pretty much admit defeat when it came to controlling what I was eating during that time. My self-discipline was stretched thin during the first few months of my new job. I thought I could use this blog as motivation to lose weight, but instead I just added on a few more pounds. In hindsight, I was just barely keeping everything together, so it was a bad time to diet. Over the year, I think I tried every kind of fad diet or gimmick I could find. NONE of it worked (shocking, I know). But now that things are settled, I’ve been able to lose 9 pounds since Thanksgiving. And this was during the holidays and a trip to Chicago that had the express pupose of eating! I’m feeling good about that. I’m understanding what works for me. For example, I am do not have success with low carb. Or Paleo. For me, I need to eat tons of vegetables and fruit, and add in protein when I’m craving it. I need to be very restrictive about the types of food I eat, especially fat. The more fat I eat, the more I crave it. It’s worse than sugar for me. And if I’m restricting what I eat all day, then dammit, it’s totally fine to have a glass of wine or a martini at night. I can’t be good all the time 🙂
  11. Try some minimalism projects. This is sort of a toss up, but I’m calling it a SUCCESS. Mostly, I realized I’m not a true minimalist, so while it’s not what I was expecting, it’s a great lesson. I like to keep the clutter very low and to stay organized, but I like to have stuff too. I prefer to have things just-so, rather than make-do. If I have things that are as perfect as they can be, I won’t want more things. So I’m going through my life and our home and working on that that now.
  12. Practice empathy, be more compassionate and stop being so judgy. SUCCESS. Now, being compassionate and empathetic is a life-long project and something I will always be working towards. But what I realize now, here at the end of the year, that most of what I meant by this was directed towards my co-workers. We were all way too close and they were driving me crazy. Getting away from them helped me stop being so judgy. Other people’s life choices are none of my business.
  13. Do a volunteer activity once a month. MIXED. I did not volunteer for most of the year. I did donate a fair amount of money, but it’s not until the last couple of months that I’ve been actively volunteering. But I would say I made up for lost time! As a social media volunteer, I’ve been posting for my two charities several times a week, and daily around Thanksgiving during the shopping madness. Moving into 2016, we’re working on an agreed-upon posting schedule so I can better organize my time.
  14. Travel less often, but more memorably. SUCCESS. We started the year at the beach, and then made trips to Asheville, Jekyll Island, Louisville, and Chicago. I also traveled for work, to Portland, New York, and Dallas. It was not as much travel as 2014, but we were able to stay in nicer places and do more while were there. This is a trend we’ll continue.
  15. Find a new job. SUCCESS. I knew it would be tough, but it’s been tougher than I imagined. But all these hard things are absolutely helping me grow, and I have learned so much. I miss my old company and my friends there, and I have the feeling I’ll go back there one day. I definitely needed to leave though, so I don’t regret that.

Of my 15 original goals, I had success with 10 & 1/2. The importance of each of these waxed and waned throughout the year. I really struggled over the summer and early fall to accomplish much besides working, running, and keeping my head above water. I’ve also struggled to find a true focus for this blog, but since I’m enjoying writing here, it’s not something I’m too concerned with 🙂

In all honestly, I’m pretty damn pleased with myself for setting these goals and following through with them. Even the ones I failed at, I truly did make attempts to follow through. Mostly they just became less of a priority as the year went on. I added in some goals here and there, with varying degrees of success. I’m excited for a new beginning and have lots of great ideas for 2016. See you then!

How was your 2015? Are you happy with your progress? And what are your thoughts on resolutions? Will you be setting any this year?

 

November in Review

I have been away from this space for awhile. Partly due to my workload, partly due to a bit of a social media break, partly due to volunteering, partly due to the holidays, etc etc. I’ve been dealing with some crazy back pain for the past 3+ weeks as well, and all the meds make me need a LOT more sleep. I haven’t been getting up before 6:30, much less at 4:45, lol.

I’m a little bummed that I haven’t had as much desire to write here. When I first started to think about blogging, I wanted to it be funnier and more essay-like. But then I quickly fell into making it all about my New Year’s resolutions. I made some good progress during the first half of the year, but the second half, life has been much more overwhelming than I prefer. I haven’t made much progress at all lately, even after editing and re-prioritizing my goals. I haven’t done any of my new house goals, though I am doing a bit better with my goals for fall.

As has been my refrain for the past several months, I’m mostly just trying to keep my head above water. With one exception: I’m finally making the time to volunteer! After reviewing my progress in October, I felt really crappy that I had done almost zero volunteering this year. I started looking for opportunities in my area and ended up finding a couple of nonprofits that were looking for virtual help. I’m now doing social media for two groups that are near and dear to my heart: an organization that helps spay and neuter pets for lower-income families, and a farm that rescues and rehabilitates unwanted horses. It’s been a lot of work so far and I haven’t figured out the best way for us to work together, but I’m really happy I can help out in some manner 🙂

The rest of the month was a blur. Work keeps on being intense; I can’t tell you how many days I’ve almost cried from the stress. Because of my mysterious back injury, I’ve had to take time off from running. I have gone on short walks the past few days, and not only are they not hurting, they seem to be helping. I’m hopeful that continues so I can get back into an exercise routine. As for our new house, we’re still working on decorating projects – although I will say we have outdone ourselves in terms of Christmas decor outside.

I’m continuing to mostly stay off Facebook. I do have to go on to post for my nonprofits, but I really haven’t been looking at anything personal. I find myself playing stupid word games on my phone with the time I used to spend on Facebook. Not the best use of my time, but a step in the right direction I think!

I read something yesterday about making December the beginning of your plans for the new year. So you don’t have to start your diet, but maybe you find some fun recipes and put together some plans for January. Maybe you don’t start running, but you take a couple of leisurely walks and think about what your route is going to be once you’re up to a 5k. I’m going to take this month to think about what I want 2016 to look like. Will I be job hunting? Will I be vegan? Will I train for another half-marathon or will I start swimming instead? Thinking about this now, planning for it now, I think will help me be more realistic and have a better chance to succeed.

What are your plans for December? Are you focused on the holidays or are you looking ahead to 2016?

 

 

 

October in Review

Wow, I have had just total writers’ block lately. I have logged on so many times and just stared at this blank screen for a few minutes, only to realize I had nothing to say. At last, here’s an easy topic: last month’s progress!

I have been dabbling with Project 445. It’s been pretty great, to be honest. I love having so much time in the mornings. I’m not doing it every day, not yet, at least. But for the majority of the weekdays over the past two week, I’m up at 4:45 and won’t let myself look at work email until after 6:00. It’s been good to take that time to enjoy my coffee and read what I want to read online. It hasn’t translated into many workouts, but I’ve been reasonably active.

October was a flash, that’s for sure. I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I’d hoped, but a lot of that was due to all the rain we’ve had down here lately. It also wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped, as work has been ridiculous and we’re still unpacking. We did get a new deck built (or should I say, we hired someone to get that new deck built, lol). We ran a fun 5k race and I was really happy with my time. Not a PR, but close. We went to Nashville for an amazing concert and stayed at a perfect Airbnb. We did a food truck night with family in our new little town, and also hit up the farmers market for local apples and burrata. Halloween was a bit of a dud, but whatcha gonna do…

We’re enjoying our new house. We’re loving the neighborhood and all the restaurants that are so close by. I’m also loving the proximity to my family, and Jack doesn’t seem to mind that at all. We went hot tub shopping yesterday. Hello, sticker shock! But I think it will be well worth it, especially after cold morning runs this winter. We’re basking in the glow of being moved in, so our marriage is doing wonderfully 🙂

In terms of goals, I have to be honest: I’m not really thinking of them. I continue to just try to keep my head above water at work. By the end of the work day, I mostly just want to drink wine and be brain dead. I’m not running as much as I was, but I think it was time for a little break and I don’t feel too guilty about it. There’s no point in forcing it.

The two biggest things I want to focus on for the fall are being healthier and finally volunteering. The being healthy part is both my diet and my workouts. I need to find another long-ish race to train for, since that really keeps me on track. As for volunteering, I’ve made a lot of excuses about it all year, which is pretty gross. I’m going to look for something now!

Did you enjoy your October? What are you goals for the rest of the fall?

September in Review

We’ve made it to October. My favorite month! So far it’s just been hectic and rainy, but that should change soon. I feel like September flew by. Between being stuck in the hotel (for six weeks, ugh) and being slammed at work, I don’t even know what happened. Honestly, I’m glad it was such a blur. I’m generally a fan of savoring my time, but this has been such a rough few months.

I was just reading my revised goals and my thoughts on them in September, and for the first time this year, I feel so removed from those goals. This blog has done wonders for keeping me on track, but I’m almost laughing at myself right now. I know it’s just because I’ve been so busy and have zero time to think about accomplishing anything else, but I look at what I wrote last month and I can’t even relate.

I do have some low key goals for the fall and for life in our new home. Overall, I’m committed to being healthier than I have been recently. I’m anxious to get out and find lots of fun running routes in our little town. I’m so happy we have a real kitchen again and can cook at home. I’m considering joining a CSA so I can really eat locally. But mostly, right now I’m just trying to get through each day without screwing up something at work. I can’t even think about decorating our house, which is the fun part of moving!

Overall, September wasn’t a failure. I didn’t make much progress, but I also didn’t completely fall off the wagon. Here’s to a more productive (and fun!) October!

August in Review

Happy September! Happy almost-fall!

I always feel relief when August is over. I’ve made an effort to enjoy summer more the past few years, but the truth is, it’s just too hot and too long down here in Atlanta. Yes, September means it’s not that long until it’s getting dark at 5pm and we’re freezing when we get out of bed in the morning (to run in the dark, no less), but it also means the best month of the year (I’m looking at you, October) is so so close. It means there will be a break in the humidity, that it’s time for football, that we can start anticipating the holiday season. It’s that precious time right before the good stuff, like the last couple of days at work before a vacation. I love it 🙂

August was exhausting. A weekend trip to Indiana for a wedding, lots of packing and cleaning, trying to dig my way out of the total confusion that is my new job, moving, house hunting, and lots and lots of running (to keep me from going crazy). We’ve been in a hotel for 10 days now, and we have no prospects for a new house. I’ve been to hot yoga twice since we got here, and it’s been damn amazing. I had forgotten how good it makes me feel (and how challenging it is!). I’ll definitely be incorporating it into my workouts moving forward.

I’m happy to check my progress against my slightly-revised goals:

  • Learn to do a handstand: I think I’m going to have to accept that this won’t get done. My wrists are really weak 😦 I also need to work on my balance. The good news is that yoga will certainly help. Maybe I will be able to do a headstand or something instead…
  • Continue to pay down debt: We’re doing well here. The money we made from the sale of our townhouse really helped, for sure. We’re on-track here.
  • Continue running and possibly do another half-marathon: Also on-track here! I’ve been running a LOT. I’m doing shorter distance but running more often (like almost every day). I think we’re going to do a 15k trail race in November, so it’s time to start hitting some trails.
  • Sell our house and figure out what’s next (condo, cabin, lake house, who knows…): Sale = done! Figure out what’s next, um, TBD here. We were really close, again, to buying a house, but couldn’t agree on terms with the sellers. We’re considering buying a condo or another, smaller townhouse, something that we could live in for six months to a year and then rent out when we find something better. We’re going to look this week at some condo neighborhoods. I know we’re all over the place with this. I guess the moral of the story is, if we’re going to buy something closer to the top of our price range, we aren’t willing to make a lot of compromises.
  • Drink less: Fail, fail, fail. I blame the stress. And girls just want to have fun!
  • Go to counseling with my husband: Also fail. But we’ve been talking a lot, and being kinder to each other. And having at least half of our move finished is helping a lot 🙂
  • Continue to write here: I haven’t been writing as much, since I’ve been in kind of a lousy mood for much of the month. I haven’t wanted to bore anyone with that. And I haven’t had much inspiration; I feel more like I’m just getting by right now. But I’m enjoying reading all of your blogs, and I’m compiling lots of ideas for future posts, when I’m feeling more positive.
  • Eat better. (Lose 10 pounds.): Ugh, major fail. My thoughts are that between the chaos of my new job and our move, I can’t even deal with being on a diet (or drinking less, for that matter). It’s like that’s my reward for all the stress. I’m trying to be accepting of this and the fact that I’m just heavier than I want to be right now, but it’s not forever.
  • Volunteer more: Fail. Our weekends have been slammed with packing/moving/house hunting/working. Yes, it’s an excuse. I think I am also feeling like I need to protect my chill time as much as possible. I’ll get back on track with this once we’re settled.

So for September, I’m going to keep running, keep hot yoga-ing, keep trying to eat more healthfully, keep house hunting, keep learning at work. This weekend is football! I’m excited to go to the Chick-fil-a Kickoff game here in Atlanta to root for Louisville (go Cards!). Hopefully we can do a hike or trail run on Labor Day. I have two trips to Dallas planned, for work, so I’m looking forward to meeting my clients and my team there. I’m praying we’ll find a place to live that works for us. Hotel living is NOT good for the whole pay-down-debt thing. I’ll be working on staying positive and strong and healthy, and looking forward to October 🙂

How was your summer? What are your goals for the fall?

June 2015 Resolution Check-In

The first half of the year is in the books! I do feel like time is flying, but thinking back to when I started this blog in January… that was kind of forever ago. Each month, when I do these reviews, I tend to get down on myself, and focus on all the things I haven’t accomplished. I want to change the tone this month, and for the rest of the year, and focus more on what I have done, like my friend allroundbetterme.

I’ve done some “big stuff” this year. I ran a half-marathon (finally!). We listed our house (and are currently under contract – fingers crossed!). I start a new job on Monday. I’ve been writing here regularly. I turned 40 (!!!). We’ve been much more mindful about our travel, taking more meaningful and less frequent trips. I even went horseback riding on the beach, which has been a dream of mine for pretty much forever.

I had a lot more motivation in June than I did in May. I ran or worked out at least five days a week, even on vacation. My mood has been pretty good, but that probably has a lot to do with giving my notice at work and spending a week at the beach 🙂 I did a decent job with eating well, but I drank more that I should have, what with pool days, my birthday, goodbye parties, vacation. We’ve also continued to spend more money than we should, but are getting more committed to pulling back there.

What I’m learning about myself is when there is a clear goal, such as “complete a race” or “find a new job,” I seem to do pretty well. It also helps that these goals are finite. What is tougher is less exact goals, like “be less anal” or “start a meditation practice.” These are things that I can’t just accomplish and check off the list. They are life changes, or even personality changes.

For the second half of the year, I do still want to:

  • Learn to do a handstand.
  • Continue to pay down debt.
  • Continue running and possibly do another half-marathon.
  • Sell our house and figure out what’s next (condo, cabin, lake house, who knows…)
  • Drink less.
  • Go to counseling with my husband.
  • Continue to write here.
  • Eat better. (Lose 10 pounds.)
  • Volunteer more.

As far as being less anal and more empathetic goes, this just hasn’t been bothering me the same way it did at the beginning of the year. Part of this is because of the changes at work. I was able to loosen up a bit, hand off some of my projects, hire some really good people, and accept that not everyone has the same standards as I do – and that’s not a bad thing at all. I’ve also been more conscious of how I deal with my husband. He and I are such different people. We have a lot to work on, but we’re so committed to each other and our marriage that I know we’ll continue to try hard.

My goals for the summer:

  • Lose 10 pounds. For real. Doesn’t matter how I do it, just matters that I do. This will be done by September.
  • Do a volunteer project. Just one. It will get the ball rolling. This will be done by September.
  • Continue my Motivation Monday posts.
  • Pay off one of our two remaining credit cards. This will be done by September.
  • Run at least three days a week. Lift weights at least two days. Continue the handstand efforts.
  • Move. If everything goes according to plan (big if, I know), we’ll have to move out of our current home in mid-August.
  • Enjoy the summer! Be outside as much as possible. Float down the river. Go hiking in the mountains. Cookout often.

Happy Independence Day weekend to all my American friends!

May 2015 Resolution Check-in

May has been a strange month. I feel like I blinked and now it’s almost June. It hasn’t been a good month for motivation. I’ve been trying to figure out why. Looking back on the month, really nothing has been in control. Since my half-marathon last month, I haven’t been into running. Part burn out, part fatigue, part not having a goal. I haven’t been good about spending money. I’ve barely written here. And I certainly haven’t had much discipline with eating and drinking.

The month started with me getting back from Portland. Then we started condo hunting in earnest. We had our anniversary trip in the middle of the month. Then my mother got sick and I spent a lot of time caring for her and not being home. Then it was Memorial Day weekend. And then we spent the better part of a week getting our house ready to list it for sale.

I think pretty much every Monday I was like, OK, this is it, time to clean up your act, Ginny! No meat/sugar/carbs/booze/shopping/being-a-lazy-bum! It didn’t work very well. I’ve been so out of my routine and I’ve had zero willpower. And now I feel like crap, shockingly. I just want to spend the day in bed with a box of donuts and a pitcher of mimosas and be cranky.

Don’t worry, I’m not that pathetic. I do generally lean towards giving myself a break, but I’ve let my discipline get away from me and I’ve reverted back to my lazy ass ways. It’s absolutely imperative that I GET BACK ON TRACK. Like, today.

But how? How to motivate?

Resolution Progress

  • Handstand: MIXED. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made at least a slight effort to do planks with my feet up on the sofa, so I’m putting a lot more stress on my wrists and shoulders to strengthen them.
  • Debt: MIXED. I paid off another credit card and made a big dent in another, which should be paid off in June. That will leave just one more credit card, and then we can take the personal loan. We spent a lot on our trip to Asheville, but we had that already set aside. We spent too much on going out to eat though. The good news is that we’re being more conscious about it now and haven’t been out in over a week.
  • Being anal: I’ve been thinking about this. I think I’ve been doing a better job, but it might be coming more from an I-don’t-care place than any kind of self-improvement place.
  • Half-marathon: Since this was done last month, I can check it off the list!
  • Downsize: SUCCESS. We made an offer on a couple of condos but they weren’t accepted. We’ve decided to go ahead and put our house on the market, which should be done today (!!!), and rent an apartment for awhile while the market chills out. We are going to start looking at mountain cabins too 🙂
  • Meditate: FAIL.
  • Booze: FAIL.
  • Counseling: Not currently a priority.
  • Writing: FAIL. I haven’t been writing much at all. I haven’t had much inspiration. I keep trying to find a focus for this blog but I can’t commit to just writing about one topic. I’m thinking of taking a blogging class.
  • Eating: FAIL FAIL FAIL. I have been hopeless here. I have eaten so much junk. I started the month committing to not eating meat, but that didn’t last, because then I started to do low carb, but then that didn’t last, so then I tried to make a bunch of in-between rules, but that totally didn’t work. The travel, the holiday, the being at my parents’ – none of these things were the reason, but they all contributed to me just being off my game.
  • Minimalism: See #5.
  • Empathy: SUCCESS, overall. I was a pretty good caretaker for my mother, which is not my natural way. I also sucked it up at work and did a decent job at least acting like I cared and trying really hard to understand other people’s perspectives.
  • Volunteering: FAIL. I wanted to do something this weekend, but the husband pointed out that we need to be at home in case someone wants to see the house (we have to pack up the dogs and get out of here). I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time with this one, honestly. I’ve gotten so selfish with my time, I suppose 😦
  • Travel: SUCCESS. We had a fun and busy time in Asheville, and I feel like we really got our $$$ worth.
  • Job: SUCCESS. I had several (ugh) interviews for a new job. This process has been going on since the end of March. The latest is that the hiring manager wants me, but I’m “too expensive.” She’s interviewing other people so she can say she did her due diligence. I have mixed feelings. I’m still not sure it’s a job I really want, but it would really get me out of my comfort zone.

Well, if you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening to my whiny ass! Time to put on my running shoes and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

What are your motivation tricks? Are you motivated by Big Scary Goals? And have you ever taken a blogging course and can recommend a good one?