Well, a new year is upon us. Time for goal setting, pondering, and fresh starts. Time for cold weather, basketball season and flu bugs. Yes, this year starts just as last year ended. Life is just as busy and hectic January 1, 2014 as it was December 31, 2013. So why put all this pressure on ourselves with high goals and extreme life changes? Why do we set ourselves up for such a fall?
Now I am not saying that we should not have goals. Goals are very important. They drive us when nothing else can. They give us focus and direction. They are the means to success. BUT, only when they are realistic and properly done. And that is different for everyone.
I can't sit here and think that because it is all of a sudden a new year that my schedule is going to somehow miraculously clear so that I can have time to achieve all those wonderful things I would like to achieve. I can't sit here and think that just because it is now 2014, that things will become easier and that I will magically and effortlessly arrive at my destination, 60 pounds lighter with long flowing hair and a six pack that would make Vin Diesel jealous. It just isn't going to happen!
I am still a mother of six kids. Six busy kids, who play sports, sing in the choir, play in the band and are involved in church groups and scouts. I will still have to go to work and even though I am just a substitute teacher there is rarely a week this year that I have not had to go in at least once. My days are busy and they will continue to be busy for quite some time.
I know some people are really good at setting goals and achieving them. They are unstoppable. I am not. I get down on myself, put too much pressure on myself and then feel guilty when I do not accomplish all that I set out to do. Do I have goals? Of course I do. Am I starting the year out with new resolve? Yes. But in a different way than before.
I am, of course, still on my weight loss journey. I am still on my betterment journey. I always will be. There is always a way to improve and be better. But there are no deadlines in my goals this time. Maybe that contradicts good goal setting. I don't know. But I know that deadlines in these areas don't work for me. I can say I want to lose 20 lbs by the end of April. It is very achievable in all actuality. But if I don't meet that deadline what happens? I get down on myself. I see myself as a failure, again. I undo all that I had been working to do with one carton of ice cream. See what I am saying?
So, in order to not fail I am changing my goals. This year I will continue my journeys but with kindness and understanding, for myself. I brought my treadmill in the house yesterday and cleaned it up. I walked on it this morning. One of my goals is to use it at least 3 times a week. It is an ongoing goal. One that I restart every week. One that if I don't meet one week I don't feel like a complete failure. It's small. It's obtainable. It's forgiving. Yes, I hope to lose weight from it but that isn't my focus. My focus is to be healthy, to be active, to feel good. I know I feel good when I exercise. My focus is there, not on what pant size I wear.
Another goal is to quit drinking so much pop. I love diet Dr. Pepper. It's is my go to after a long day. I know that is it not good for me though. Again, I am focusing on health and how I feel. I am not banning it. If I do have one, I have not failed. My goal is to be able to go for several days without one. Sounds silly I know, but this is actually a hard one for me. I have connected Dr. Pepper to relaxation. If I can sit down and drink a soda, then I can relax for a while and no one can bother me - a very needed thing for me when life is so crazy! I have had to slowly distance the two so that I know I have the right to relax without having to have a soda.
It goes the same for food. When the kids were little (six under the age of 7) things were kind of crazy! I was drained most of the time. I couldn't do anything without at least two children accompanying me - bathroom, changing clothes, making supper, it didn't matter. I love my children and I am very grateful I could be home with them but they still wore me out! Eating was my only escape! If I sat down to eat, then Michael would be the one to change the diapers or get the milk. If I sat down to eat, I didn't have room in my lap and I could just breath for a few minutes. Food became my "me" time. It has taken a long time but I am slowly disassociating those two things too. It is hard, but I am having to see food in a different way.
Along with that comes the process of trying new foods that are healthier. I had oatmeal today with strawberries in it. Not the microwave kind. I bought steel cut oats (I had never tried them before) and cooked a serving. I topped it with frozen strawberries and it made a wonderful meal. It was out of my routine of cold cereal with milk. I bought tuna fish and light bread. I had carrot sticks for a snack and yogurt. Will I still eat a treat? Of course! It's not about banning and being strict. It is about making better choices most of the time. Monday is my son's birthday. He wants finger steaks and mac & cheese. Followed by chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Will I eat it? Yes I will! And I will love it! And I will not hate myself for it. Why? Because I have not ruined my goal or my life for doing it. I made a kind goal. I am trying to change my way of thinking - not just with exercise and eating, but with all areas of my life.
The other day, I was feeling quite unattractive. I was apologizing to my husband for how I looked. He took me in his arms and told me I was gorgeous! That is a word that I have never used to describe myself! It brought me to the realization though that he loves me for who I am (I already knew that, but I saw it differently this time). If he only loved me for my toned body he would have left me after our first child 13 years ago. He sees past my hips and thighs and stretch marks and sees me. And loves me. I have to learn to do the same thing. If I am constantly down on myself for my failures and shortcomings how can I do that? I can't. I haven't. I won't.
Hence, the new focus. Instead of setting myself up for failure, I am trying to help me succeed by changing the focus. I am trying to heal, learn and grow in more than just weight loss and nutrition. I love to write. I want to do more of that. I love to bake. I want to do more of that. I love to take hot baths (only during the cold months). I want to do more of that. I want to read my scriptures more. I want to exercise more. I love to try new recipes. I want to do that more. I want to yell less. I want to take time to play games with my kids. These are all my goals. How do I accomplish them? One day at a time. If I fall short one day, I have the next. If when this year ends and I still have 60 lbs to lose with out a six pack in sight, I will not have failed. If I can play games one day a week, try a new recipe once a week, write every Sunday (or when the inspiration hits), go one day without raising my voice, I have succeeded. If I can do those things then I am becoming the person I want to be. My insides are way more important to me than my outsides. Yes, they are connected. But if I focus too much on my outsides, my insides suffer. If I focus on my insides, my outsides follow along.
So, here's to 2014! May we all find ways to improve and be successful in whatever ways work for us. May we learn what is important in our lives and reach out towards it. May we be kind and forgiving to ourselves (and others). May we find happiness and peace in our many different journeys.