G is for Goals

A quick update on how I am doing on acquiring new habits for 2016 and my twelve areas to clean.

Around mid-March I realized I had lost sight of my goals for the year. I think this was because they are written in my bullet journal and I had started writing my daily task list in my day planner. I sat down with my lists and refreshed my memory.

First the cleaning list. I actually had four tasks already done (all associated with clearing out and organizing the garage) so I was ahead of schedule. But several of the tasks left could be rather time consuming so it is best if I don’t slack off. I decided to tackle the shredding. It only took two weeks of 10 to 15 minutes a day and I was done. Another task crossed off.

Next up will be working on my photos. I have the latest batch of printed photos to post in an album and I plan to do that next week. The more herculean task will be to label, group and purge all my on-line photos. I have more than 4,000 so this is going to take some time. I will have to spend say 15 minutes a day or maybe do a month at a time. Once I get started hopefully a good method will present itself.

On the habits side I am making progress.  Slow progress, but progress.  Some habits are very hard to get to stick.  Any interruption to the routine and I have the unhappy task of starting all over.  I would be referring specifically to my healthy eating goal. Right now I am on day five of the Whole30 and it is going well.  I will give details when we hit “W” which will be towards the end of the 30 days.

For March and now April I started a task tracker in my bullet journal for these four things:  walking 10k steps a day, 10 to 15 minutes of quiet time each morning, working on my upper arms and in March it was doing the shred and now in April it is meeting my blogging challenge.  I’ll add the photo work once it begins.

I have been doing excellent on my 10k steps a day typically getting in between 11k and 13k steps.  But now I have hit a hiccup, my treadmill needs to be fixed.  I love doing my writing while walking.  It seems to help hold my attention and I love accomplishing two big tasks at the same time.

Now I am scrambling to think of ways to get all those steps in.  If I walk my neighborhood loop it is 1,000 steps, boring but easily doable when the weather cooperates.  So I am trying to create a new routine where I walk a loop or two after lunch and after dinner.  We’ll see.  With walking the dog in the morning and walking to get my son from school I should be close to 10k steps.  I am also considering dropping my goal to 8k steps, just until the treadmill is fixed. If it even can be fixed, still researching that.  I won’t be very happy if I have to replace it.

While not officially meditation I have learned to greatly appreciate taking ten to fifteen minutes each morning to plan my day, sit quietly and maybe do a little needlework.  I am finding it very soothing and when I can’t do it it seems like my whole day feels a bit rushed.

In addition to walking I wanted to add some other type of exercise.  I have decided to work on my arms which are starting to get kind of um, flabby.  So each day I take a few minutes to do a few pushups and/or use my hand weights to do a series of exercises.

I feel like my plate is full enough for April with the A to Z blogging challenge and the Whole 30. Mid- May is when my son gets out of school so a whole new routine will have to develop then. I am hoping to remain flexible so that I don’t completely lose sight of my goals over the summer break.

 

Habit Number One

When I made my list of habits to acquire for 2016 I thought I would start with meditation. Not too time consuming, no special equipment needed and I hoped becoming a “Zen master” would help tackle all those other habits.

Instead we decided to do the Whole30. My husband had a lot of co-workers doing it so I said okay. It made sense for me as I had been feeling really bad of late, like my thyroid meds aren’t working very well. I was disappointed to realize that just two weeks (or was it three?) of bad eating had such an extreme impact on my body.

So habit number one is healthy eating.  Whole30 turned out to be more of a Whole15, at least for me.  I am still eating mostly Whole30 meals but I am not strictly following the rules.  Having done the Whole30 before I have already learned many things about what I can and cannot eat.

For February the habit focus will continue to be healthy eating with an extra focus on sugar.  I finally realized I had no idea how much sugar was too much and after some research I am going with a limit of 25 grams a day.  That is ‘added sugar’ so things like the natural sugar in an apple do not count.

I have also had the crazy idea that I can actually eat anything I want as long as I make it myself from scratch.  So if I want a donut or a bagel I can have one as long as I make it myself, from scratch.  I have started buying organic flour and I made bread using just the organic flour, water, salt and yeast.  I only ate a small slice but I didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects so I will continue baking and sampling different items over the coming months and see how they make me feel. I know I need to keep my intake of any baked goods small but I think I will do okay with having a tiny portion of a treat once in awhile.  I would not be okay with never having any baked goods at all.

I am rather excited about eliminating all the chemicals from the food we eat, or at least a reasonable amount.  I am hopeful about staying at a decent weight, desperate to keep my thyroid in check and optimistic that a fairly clean diet will lead to a healthy old age.  Here’s to 30 more days of wholesome nutritious eating leading to a lifetime of good eating habits.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Our harvest of oranges before the predicted hard freeze.

Goals for 2016

After a bit of thinking and a lot of doodling I have come up with THE LIST. Since I won’t be starting until mid-January there may still be some tweaks but for the most part this is what I am going with.  They are in no particular order and I will be implementing these habit changes one at a time using the “Zen Habits” method.  I doubt they will all get done, actually if I have just two or three new habits firmly entrenched by the end of the year I will call it success.

  •  Improve eating habits
    • reduce grain intake and search for healthier grains
    • keep sugar intake low
    • avoid chemicals, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
  • Steps
    • experiment with grain free recipes
    • eliminate processed treats (no more store bought cookies, desserts etc)
    • decide ahead of time when I am going to break my rules and keep track

Goal: better sleep, better mood, less joint pain

@ I am already doing most of these things to some degree but I want to try a little harder.  I have begun looking up all the ingredients on things like crackers and cereals and researching to find the healthiest flours.

  • Increase my physical activity
    • longer walks with dog (10k steps per day goal)
    • yoga
    • jump rope
    • biking
    • hand weights
  • Steps
    • create a schedule
    • start small

Goal:  better sleep, better mood, tone muscles, increase upper arm strength

@ this one is going to be tough because I don’t really like to exercise. I also need to be flexible and adjust my routine to fit the time of year.  Swimming in the summer instead of walking for example.  But this is where the Zen Habits will be very helpful.

  • Meditation
    • two 5 to 10 minute sessions per day
  • Steps
    • start small
    • be patient with myself

@ I had already started on this goal, I thought it would be a good one to give the “Zen Habits” method a practice run with.  But then I got sick and now I need to start over.  Such is life.

Goal:  peace of mind, better focus

  • Writing
    • finish writing something, anything
  • Steps
    • set time or word count goal
    • investigate entering some contests

Goal:  to write enough that I can think of myself as an author, to feel a sense of purpose, to add another dimension to my day.

  • Photography
    • take better photos
  • Steps
    • watch a Great Courses DVD I bought this year
    • read blogs about taking photos
    • look into photo editing software

Goal: become a more knowledgeable photographer

@ I enjoy taking nature photos and am ready to up my game.  The last few years I have made myself a calendar and I want 2017’s to be fabulous!

Hopefully I will have the patience to take my time and attend to each new habit properly.  This time next year my days will look very different if I am successful.  I am looking forward to change, feeling better and discovering who I can be in this next phase of my life.

 

Don’t hate me but it is time to talk about…

goals for next year. (Ha! You thought I was going to say Christmas didn’t you?)
I don’t make New Year’s’ resolutions perse, instead I like to set goals for the whole year. But lately I have been thinking about habits. Specifically my habits, ones I want to adopt and ones I want to resume.

The reason I am thinking about this two months early is because now is a good time to make plans, before the chaos of the holidays kick in. I have read Leo Babauta’s book  “Zen Habits” and it makes sense.  You have a better chance of success establishing habits if you make one change at a time and do it slowly.  So that is my plan.

In addition to deciding what habits I want to add to my life I need to prioritize them and make sure I understand my reasons for wanting to add them to my days.  All this is going to take a bit of thinking and I want to make some observations about the behaviors I want to change.  For instance I am going to write down all the sugar and grains I eat for the next week to see exactly what my intake is.  I am also going to wear my pedometer and see how many steps I average in a typical day.

I have five different habits I am thinking about so far.  The plan is to have a strategy mapped out by Thanksgiving so stay tuned!

And a couple of completely unrelated to the post photos, but I am all giddy about autumn these days!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Yams with a maple cranberry sauce.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Our Trader Joe’s haunted house. It may be all autumn in my head but it is still in the mid-80s here so the icing got a little drippy. We decided after that we liked it better that way!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The back door.  It looks kind of like a face.

 

HAPPY AUTUMN TO ALL!