While I did make a blog post about my overall 2011 experience, I never really made a “New Years Resolutions” type of post. Mostly because NYRs generally only succeed in making me feel like I’ve totally failed at something that I’ve honestly forgotten to keep up with, other times it revolves around something ‘hobbyish’ (such as drawing more, learning how to knit, etc.) which I can’t really guarantee I’ll do since my tastes change so drastically over the course of a month.
So this year I decided instead of one really big goal such as “Quit Smoking” (Which I won’t for at least another two years) I decided that I would start doing little things to improve my overall health. I figured since I am already running around every day with the Kinect in an attempt to get into shape, I might as well try to do small things such as eating healthier, and watching my calorie intake.
One of the reasons I held off on writing this post for a month, was to see if these changes would be something I could implement in the long-term, and see how different these changes made me feel on the whole. After only a month; however, I have to say that with making a few small changes to to my diet and daily routine have made me not only feel better physically, but I also feel incredibly more productive, which makes me feel even happier at the end of the day.
Diet Related Challenges & Goals
- Exercise at least 4-5 Times a Week
Even if it is only doing my recommended 15-20 minute workout with Kinect’s Biggest Loser game (Review coming soon-ish). Truthfully I started the year by playing Kinect for 1 hour flat every day (mixing up Kinect Sports: Season Two and Kinect Adventures) but on work days that 1 hour smashed my at-home time a little too much for my evenings to be relaxing. Once I brought The Biggest Loser into the mix and started doing real workouts I also started feeling that I got more done in that 15-20 minute window than I ever did with the original two games. Which helped me feel more accomplished at the end of my “workout time”.I’ve found that doing 4-5 workouts a week gives me enough workouts to be demanding but not so many that I can’t have some flexibility. If I come home dog tired on Wednesday and just want to lay on the couch and contemplate my existence and not work out I don’t have to feel like I failed my goals for the entire week.
- Drink at least 30oz of Water a Day
I’m very guilty of surviving off of coffee as my almost only source of hydration. (Which is actually quite counter productive). After starting my current job, I had also started drinking soda’s again (ugh!), and ended up putting on some unwanted poundage. I found that by taking a empty Smart Water bottle and filling it with coffee in the morning kept me awake for the first half of the day, and filling it with water during the second half of the day kept me full from my lunch, and actually fought off the 3 o’clock slump.Ever since I started chugging water my waistline has decreased (since I am no longer retaining water!), my overall energy has skyrocketed, and I don’t feel as tired or groggy in the morning. Another wonderful plus is (Warning! Girl-Type talk coming up!) My period has been incredibly lighter and I’ve had next to no cramps whatsoever! Sure drinking water should be second nature, but I’m sure many Americans agree that half the time it is easier to grab a soda than it is to refill a water bottle.
- No More Fast Food! Period.
Ever since we’ve started juggling school and work William and I have both become bad fast-fooders. I’ve managed to substitute my quick meals from the drive through with Lean Cuisine and Healthy Choiceinstant meals (we still cook more often than not though, but it is easier to run home and eat a ready-made meal during my lunch break than to come home and frantically try to cook, or make a batch of the same thing to eat for lunch for an entire week on Sunday).I was surprised by how many different things were available from both Lean Cuisine and Healthy choice, and since I started tracking my Calories and exercise on a daily basis through My Fitness Pal I can easily see where my calories are going and where I need to cut back. Sure instant meals aren’t as good as a home cooked meal, but some of them are actually quite awesome. One of my favorite snacks is the Lean Cuisine – Spinach & Artichoke Dip with Pita Bread. (Only 200 Calories! Yum!)
I’m happy to say that of the 3 above goals I’ve managed to keep up with all of them throughout the entire month of January! All my exercises, all my water consumption, and no eating out. (Well… I had a Bojangles Sausage Biscuit this morning, but it was more of a treat than something that I feel bad about.) I think that I have found a small routine that works best for me, these changes seem rather small, but they have already had a dynamic impact on my overall fitness, self esteem, and health. I can honestly say that I have about 50% more energy now than I did before the start of January, and I couldn’t feel happier.
Personal Development Challenges & Goals
- Keep a Food & Exercise Diary
So far I’ve been doing this via My Fitness Pal (an awesome free site that has a almost inexhaustible list of food and exercises logged by other users) One thing I really enjoy about their website is that they also offer an Android application as well as an iPhone one in order to keep track of all of your calories and exercises. In the rare cases where we go out to eat now I can look up menu items via the app and make an educated decision regarding how many calories I have left for the day and if what I’m wanting to eat will exceed my carb or fat gram limit for the day.
- Stop Dropping the F Bomb
In real life (at least at home anyway) I have a rather filthy mouth. When I am out and about I’m not so bad, but when I’m home and/or around good friends I tend to drop swears without thinking. In an effort to become more ladylike I’m trying to cut back on the cursing. I’ve been doing okay, but sometimes the words slip out before I can think to filter them. If I absolutely can’t help but swear, I do try to do it in Cantonese, although in my mind it still counts. Will suggested a “Curse” jar and then when it gets filled up we can go do something nice, but I pointed out that would basically be a reward for swearing. So I’ve decided to simply flog myself with guilt as a punishment.
- Dedicate (at least) 1 Hour a Day to a Hobby
I recently took up Cross Stitching again, and I have been making little purses for myself and my friends. (Pictures to be added to The Gallery later). I find doing hands-on hobbies incredibly relaxing, and I tend to do them before bed or while sitting with William and watching a movie. Generally I get too wrapped up in other things (cleaning the house for example) to remember to keep up with my Hobbies. It wasn’t until Will had noted that I am a lot calmer and less antsy when I’ve worked on my cross stitching (or sketching, or spending an hour writing) at some point during the day that I decided to set an hour down to dedicate to my artsy-craftsy side. I have to admit though I certainly feel de-stressed now that I have the opportunity to stab a needle into something for an hour a day!
- Dedicate (at least) 1 Hour a Day to the Eclipsed Moon Network
And despite the lack of blog posts I’ve actually been doing this! Mostly you can blame my Trading Post for eating up a lot of my time. (Online Trading Card Games are a bit of an addiction of mine, I can’t help but love them insane amounts!) Truthfully I spend closer to 2 hours fiddling, fixing, playing around with, or just poking at my website. I love my domain! And I love being a site-owner. And I really put my heart into Eclipsed Moon. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my website as a creative outlit or place to play with.
Out of my personal goals, the only one I am having any issues with is my horrid attempt to cease swearing. I have other small personal goals (such as learning Manding from my roommate Daniel) that I also focus on, but they aren’t goals that I’m so invested in that I would feel bad if I failed at them.
Happier More Content Me
I like my personal and health related goals list because while they are improving upon my physical and emotional health, they aren’t really changing anything about me. I’m not losing weight for vanity-related reasons, I’m exercising and eating healthy for the sake of healthiness, and I happen to be losing weight as a fortunate by-product of that. I’m not forcing myself to do one hour of hobby-related things just to get them done, I’m setting aside a parcel of time to do something I want to do anyway, I’m just making sure my time is budgeted appropriately so that I’ll be able to do all of the things that I want to get done, and still have enough time for the comings and goings of real life.
Reader Question: What goals do you have planned for the year? Not all personal goals have to be health related. Maybe you are planning on finishing your degree? Starting your career? What small steps will you have to take to reach your goals, both large and small? How hard are you willing to work for them? If you create a blog post about your goals, be sure to link me to it in the comments and I’ll add you to this post (Yay for free linkage!)