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?

 

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Truth!

I enjoyed Slacker Runner’s A Little Truth Time post yesterday. So much so, I wanted to steal her idea and do it myself!

Truth: I woke up at 4:30 this morning and counted down the minutes until my Starbucks opened at 5:00.

Truth: I desperately wanted a Holiday Spice Flat White. Then I saw they are 280 calories, so I settled for a Caffe Misto with a shot of espresso added. Calories saved: 180.

Truth: I have been taking Unisom to help me sleep every night for almost a year. Last night I decided to go without, thus explaining why I was awake at 4:30 this morning 🙂 Also explaining the super intense dream I had about falling in love with my Uber driver!

Truth: I am loving this warm weather in December. First, we totally got robbed of a nice fall because it rained for pretty much 6 weeks straight. Second, I don’t need it to be cold to be in the Christmas spirit. I’ve always loved the idea of a warm, SoCal kind of Christmas. Also, I read that this warm weather is because of El Nino, not global warming, so we should all shut up and enjoy it.

Truth: I have a Chapstick addiction. I have them everywhere: my car, most rooms in the house, my office, my purse, my coat pockets. My stepdaughter asked for Chapstick for Christmas and I TOTALLY GET IT.

Truth: I am feeling uninspired to go running lately. I am prone to burnout and have learned not to fight it. I have been going on lots of long walks instead, and yesterday I did some intervals, so that was something different at least.

Truth: I am late feeding and walking the dogs this morning, and Jack wanted me to wake up him about now, but everyone is sleeping so soundly and I’m enjoying my quiet time – I don’t want to wake anyone up! Even though my Caffe Misto is all gone 😦

Got any true confessions you want to share?

 

‘Tis the Season

It’s so almost Christmas, y’all! Of course my workload has been intense, but I feel like maybe (fingers crossed) things are lightening up and I’ll get to enjoy the rest of December. It’s been crazy so far. Jack and I spent a few days in Chicago, eating ALL THE FOOD. We were lucky enough to have great weather – sunny and in the ’50s. I’ll take it! We walked all over and tried to eat at as many great restaurants as possible. The Girl and the Goat absolutely lived up to the hype. If you go, get the cauliflower, or just make it at home. We also ate at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants and got the burger from Au Cheval. Normally when we travel we aren’t such tourists, but since we only had a couple of days, we wanted to hit at least a few of Chicago’s more famous restaurants. And they did not disappoint!

We also got a hot tub! Finally! I cannot even remember how long I’ve wanted our own hot tub. We have rented so many mountain cabins, only to never go hiking and instead spend the weekend in the hot tub. The delivery came at an great time, as we’ve both been dealing with back/neck/hip injuries and this is crazy therapeutic. I know some people hear “hot tub” and think “ew,” but for me, it’s relaxing and comforting and I love that Jack and I just hang out and talk. And maybe have a mimosa 🙂 Much better than vegging out in front of the TV or ignoring each other while we’re on our laptops.

We decorated our new home a little over the top for Christmas. I don’t know how many strands of lights we put up. We also hung ornaments in the bushes, and Jack got a couple of those inflatable things. (Not a fan, but it’s his house too and it’s cute how excited he was about them.) Our TV room is like the coziest room ever. We finally got the fireplace in working condition, and I hung up our new stockings. I even totally dorked out and hung up stockings for the dogs. And did I mention they have their names on them? Barf 😉

We’ve been so busy, meeting our neighbors, doing house projects, exploring our new town, managing my volunteer projects, catching up with old friends, being buried in work. This past weekend was my niece’s 6th birthday party, and this weekend is my Dad’s 73rd, so we’re spending lots of time with family as well. Somehow, we even feel like we’re kind of on top of the Christmas plans too. We sent out our cards and have like 75% of our shopping done. Last year, we took our families to the beach instead of giving gifts, and turns out we really missed gift-giving. Also, this is the first year (in 15 years! crazy!) that Jack’s kids will spend Christmas with us. True, they definitely aren’t kids anymore (they are in their 20s and 30s), but it’s still going to be awesome having everyone spend the night here and be together on Christmas morning. ❤

In other news, my back is doing much better and I’ve been able to do a few short jogs over the past two weeks. I also FINALLY got motivated enough to get back on the diet train, and I’ve lost about 6 pounds so far. Eight more to go – hopefully in the next 5 weeks before we head down to Mexico in late January. So far December has been a much healthier month. I’m eating primarily a vegan diet, and this amazing weather (today’s high is supposed to be 70, with sunny skies) is motivating me to be outside. I’ve done something athletic every day this month but one, and that was the day after we got back from Chicago and I was exhausted and slammed at work.

I’m also continuing to think about my goals for next year and what my resolutions are going to be. So much of what I’m able to accomplish will depend on what my job is like. There are times when it’s 70 hours a week and times when it’s 30. I still haven’t mastered the art of working from home either. I tend to be productive until mid-afternoon, then I hit a wall. In an office setting, I could talk to my co-workers or walk to get coffee or something, but here, I end up playing games on my phone or taking a nap with my computer next to me in bed. Not so good 😦

But for now, I’m going to keep enjoying the holiday season. Jack and I are so damn lucky to have the lives we have, with our families near us, in our cute little house, with our awesome marriage, and with laps full of little dogs. It’s so important to remind ourselves of that when we’re pulling our hair out at work. We are so blessed 🙂

How is your holiday season going? Do you have a love/hate relationship with this time of year? Are you thinking about your goals for 2016, or are you just enjoying what you have right now?

July in Review

just realized I didn’t do a review of my goals/progress for last month. It was a crazy month, but still, this makes me feel pretty scatterbrained.

TOO-MANY-TABS

{INPIRATION: momentarily tapped out}

Anyway. We didn’t get the house. The appraisal came in waaay under the agreed-upon price. There was no way we were going to make up that big of a difference with cash at closing, and the crazy seller wouldn’t budge. Good luck to him with that, btw. Now we are starting all over again, with the super fun difference that we’re moving in a week and a half. To a hotel. I love me some hotel stays, don’t get me wrong. I loooove hotels. But living in one, for at least a month, with three dogs and two people who mostly work from home (work from hotel?) — that is no luxury. It’s also a giant waste of money, as was the cost of the home inspection and appraisal we just paid for on the house we didn’t get. Good times!

I’m also pretty much failing on the lose ten pounds goal. I’m up, I’m down. I have a few really good days and then blow it all when my boss takes us out or I spend the weekend in Louisville. I’m struggling with balancing my eating while working from home. I mean, I’m literally five feet from my fridge. I need to be better about going into the office (or at least not working in my kitchen).

At least my running is going pretty well. I ran four days in a row last week, which I never do, and the second two were better than the first two. I have to say though: this summer is a bitch down here in Atlanta. The temperature got into the 90s in May and hasn’t gotten out. It’s suffocating. It’s sticky. It’s NOT FUN. It’s not even pleasurable to be at the pool because it’s pretty much been like bath water since early June.

We also had a reasonably frugal month. We’ve been really good about not going out and not buying lunch. We didn’t buy any clothes. We had our wine at home. We ate through most of what we had in the pantry and freezer and really limited our grocery budget. Good thing we did that, since this move is going to be much more expensive than we had planned. (Did I mention we have to live in a hotel for a month???)

This is much less formal review of my 2015 goals because I am not feeling very formal right now. I am feeling a little beat down instead. Remind me never to change jobs, go on a diet, and buy a new house at the same time again, ‘kay?

Live From New York!

Happy Friday!

I’ve spent the week in New York City, training for my new job. My brain is pretty much melting. SO much new information, plus all the frenetic energy of the city. I’ve been wined and dined but have also had a lot of time to myself. I’ve also been pretty good about keeping up with my health goals: I’ve jogged twice, took a 4 mile walk, and did some bodyweight exercises in my hotel room. Running in New York is a different beast. I’m not near anyplace good to run, so I’ve just been zig-zagging my way through Midtown. I’ve also made a decent effort to eat healthfully, despite all the amazing temptations up here.

I knew taking this job would mean stepping outside my comfort zone. And I wasn’t wrong. I’ve gone from being an expert in my field to almost starting over. It’s scary! I’ve been doubting my decision all week. It does help that I kind of anticipated this doubt. I’m definitely giving this a go. I imagine it will be better when I’m back in Atlanta, as the team there is older. (The digital world in NYC is soooooo young!) It will be important for me to continually remind myself why I made this decision. I needed to take this chance and I needed a change of scenery.

I fly back to Atlanta tonight. Overall, my anxiety about flying has been much better this trip. I sort of feel resigned to it. Assumin I make it home safely, we’re going to spend the weekend house hunting. We’re scheduled to close on our current home on August 20th, so we really need to figure out what we want to do. We’re all over the place, between downsizing (condo), buying a vacation property, moving to the almost-country and getting a big ol’ house with room for our families. TBD…

SO. MUCH. CHANGE. I might have overdone it 🙂

Summer Runnin’

Running in the hot weather is so different from running when it’s cool/cold outside. This was the first winter I kept up with my running, knowing I had the half-marathon in mid-April. It was a great motivational tool and one I’ll be using again.

Yesterday was my first really hot-and-sweaty run of the season, and I forgot how good it feels! It’s such a different challenge from piling on the miles in the winter. Instead of waiting until the sun is up and doing its best to warm the air, we try to hide from the sun and find a shady route. We’d planned on doing a trail run along the river, but time got away from us so we stayed close to home. This limits our options for shade – there is pretty much only one way to go, and it’s super hilly. Brutally hilly. But: for the first time since I started running this route two years ago, I crushed it. I ran all the hills. And my pace was really strong for me, for the heat, for the hills, for the extra five pounds I’m lugging around. I made those hills my bitch 😉

It wasn’t easy, and I got a little overheated. I forgot how good it feels to sweat like that though. It’s so cleansing. Don’t get me wrong – it kicked my butt. My legs were already sore from three gym days this week, and they were destroyed after the run. As good as it feels to sweat like that, it’s also exhausting. We then had to madly clean/organize/style our house for a showing (which turned out to be for today, oops), so after that I was fried. I fell asleep in the sun at the pool, which for a horrible napper like myself, is no easy feat.

I was really excited to have the strength and the lungs to finish that run the way I did. As I’ve written here, I have had very little motivation or discipline since I finished training for the half. I have barely run more than a couple of miles since then, so to take on those four hilly miles was not something I was excited about. I was shocked to have a breakthrough run the way I did. It’s made me so much more enthusiastic about running this summer. We are registered for a 10k on July 4th, and after yesterday, I’m feeling pretty good about it. Running has been feeling like a chore lately. I’m hoping I’m moving past that now.

Do you prefer warm weather or cool weather runs? What are you fitness goals for this summer?

Back on Track

I’m happy to say I’ve started off the month strong! After my recent pity party and six weeks of being off my game, I’m feeling much better in the motivation and discipline department.

I know that taking care of myself is directly linked to being disciplined. They are inseparable. I have to be disciplined enough to take care of myself, and taking care of myself makes me much more motivated to maintain that discipline. It’s challenging to start back up when I’ve gotten off track, but once I do, it’s not too hard to keep on rollin’.

It’s my birthday month, and I want to turn 40 feeling strong, both physically and mentally. I want to be one of those obnoxious people who’s like, “I’ve never felt better!!!” So far, so good. I’m back in my workout schedule of alternating days at the gym and running. I have a 10k race on the 4th of July that I’d looove to finish in under an hour, so I’m pushing myself to run faster rather than farther. Here’s hoping that will help with the running burnout I’ve been feeling for the past few weeks.

I’m really working on my diet. I used to eat super healthfully – tons of fruits and veggies, no meat, lots of salads and stirfry and oatmeal. When we did low-carb last fall, that opened my diet back up to eating meat and a lot of fat (butter and cheese, hello!). And then when we were training for the half-marathon and doing a lot of 8+ mile runs, I was eating all the carbs I could, including ice cream, candy bars, and pastries. I’ve basically been out of control and nothing has been off-limits. I also all but stopped working out with weights. So while I haven’t really gained any weight, my body has definitely changed in the past few months. I’ve lost some of the muscle I built up last fall and winter and have traded it for soft fluffiness 😦

I would definitely like to drop about five pounds by the end of the month, so my clothes will fit better and I won’t be completely mortified to be in a bikini. I’m going with the all-things-in-moderation route. No tricks or gimmicks or anything. Just self-control, and not too many drinks. Here’s to a good month!