With half a lifetime of failed New Years resolutions under my belt, I have determined to find a better way of looking forward to the upcoming year with hope and inspiration! For me, the answer came with understanding goal setting. Last year I learned that a goal is easier met when it is clear and specific, and that it should also be realistic and measurable. With this new and basic information, I went about setting some goals.
In general, I wanted to be healthier and lose some weight, so I knew that I would have to make some lifestyle changes to accommodate. The 1st GOAL was to reach my ideal weight which meant losing 16lbs and to increase my energy and balance my hormones. The obstacle was that I love my late night snacks and my lifestyle was super busy with kids so I didn’t have any energy left over to exercise. I HATE exercising, by the way.
I also wanted to incorporate some outdoor recreational activities and adventures with my family. My 2nd GOAL was to make monthly steps towards a more energetic and adventurous life! The obstacle was that I didn’t have very much spare energy to do fun things, as I mentioned before, and I am so dependent on a plan that I constantly planned all the fun out of the adventures by making them easy instead of great!
Another area of my life that needed improvement was the crazy amount of clutter that ruled my life by sucking up all my free time and causing me loads of stress! GOAL #3 was to clear out everything that isn’t either useful or beautiful and make my home more functional for the needs of my family. The obstacle was the obvious piles of clutter, the small amount of time I have to dedicate to addressing it and the acute lack of organizational skills in my possession!
I began setting a plan to tackle the obstacles that were already plotting against me to derail my goals. The first goal was the hardest because this wasn’t a new idea. It was that same old struggle that in the past had drawn me towards endless health and weight loss gimmicks that promised a quick and easy fix but never panned out. I can’t count how many magazines I have bought, coveting the tight abs featured on the cover. Even the health magazines with some natural, glowing earth momma on the front cover couldn’t whisk away my struggles. A healthy body and mind was going to have to be a gradual change in habits that would eventually bring lasting change. The first thing I did was to clean up my diet. I even subscribed to weight watchers for a couple of months (after seeing a friend with noticeable results from their program) only to see or feel no changes. I counted food points and measured regularly only to be disappointed. I only felt frustrated.
In February I began exercising regularly. I also made a life changing decision. When a close friend texted me and asked me to hike the West Coast Trail with her, I said, “Sure! I have to Google.” There was a crazy fear and excitement that gripped me when I read about the 76km hike for advanced hikers. No freakin’ way had I ever dreamed that I would do such a thing! I had already said yes even though I knew I could still back out, I didn’t even want to. My friend and I hired a personal trainer and began personal limit style training which literally pushed us to the brink of vomiting or passing out each session. We trained in a gym, at the park, at the track or at the flight of 56 stairs behind the grocery store. In the beginning I could only run up and down the stairs twice, but by the end, I could run it 17 times and speed walk another 15 times with 10 push-ups between each ascent.
By May, I had way more stamina but I hadn’t lost a pound and my measurements remained the same. Though I had far more energy, my metabolism was still at a grinding halt, overloaded with hormonal pollution. Another dear friend had introduced me to a book Trim Healthy Mama and I decided that it was time to take the plan seriously. The plan focuses on starting with protein at each meal then choosing fat or carbs as your fuel. The concept is to never double fuel, therefore engaging your metabolism to burning fuel and not storing anything. I switched to natural sweeteners like stevia and xylitol and drastically reduced gluten. To make a long story short, by the end of 2015, I am 17lbs lighter and my metabolism is working again!
I should also mention that hiking the West Coast trail with my friend and my 18 year old daughter was a personal accomplishment of a lifetime! It was 7 days and 6 nights of backpacking, extreme hiking and living in the woods. This also crossed over into my second goal of recreation and adventure, which is great because I love multitasking.
Another adventure that I jumped on was the opportunity to join a team of women from my community to compete in Mudderella at Whistler in Sept 2015. I did have to bow out, however, because my niece chose that date for her wedding which we attended instead. I did drag my whole family down to participate in the Wild Goose Chase this year and though everyone complained bitterly at first, they all were glad that we went! It was a last minute decision so I conquered my need for a plan in order to participate so this was overcoming one of my fore mentioned obstacles! Everyone ran the 3.5K race and my oldest son, who has Autism and doesn’t particularly enjoy physical activity, won 3rd place in his age group! The cheers from the community were far superior in his eyes than the medal he won. By the end of the year, I can look back and say that GOAL #2 gets a check mark as well.
The 3rd goal was a feat that could make even the bravest of housewives shudder. To be completely transparent and fair, it also helped that I found an AMAZING housekeeper who is a wizard at straightening out my chaotic household so that I could focus on the root of the problem without drowning in laundry!
I’m not a slob. For all of you neat freaks I will clarify the difference between dirty and untidy. Dirty involves germs, garbage, possibly odors and excessive dirt. Untidy is just scattered and misplaced things, in my case, an excess of items that don’t actually belong anywhere. This creates clutter.
For me, the solution came from identifying my values and understanding what is important to me. I took an e-course called The Upstream Field Guide. It went right to the root of the issue, to my life’s purpose; identifying it and then changing my environment to serve my purpose. The transformation started slowly at first and then picked up momentum. I went through every room of the house and evaluated everything! Clutter piles became tidy workspaces and overwhelming closets became functional storage for items that we actually use! I even took an entire area previously used to pile random, unused items for “storage” and made it into my office, from which I am now writing my blog!
I finished off 2015 by going snowboarding with my whole family! I hadn’t been on a snowboard in 21 years and I was a bit terrified of hurting myself, but I rocked it!!! Well, I didn’t suck.
Watch for my new goals for 2016 coming soon….