Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Sitting in the hottub after a short swim I started thinking about how swimming just isn’t as enjoyable for me as it was. Used to be I could swim an hour and feel great about it. Now I do a few laps and I’m bored and ready for something else. It’s not physical, I’m not worse at swimming that I was or able to swim less, I just am not as excited to do it as I was.

This lead me to reconsider what my goals are in what I’m doing. I used to be focused on lifting and running and had specific weights I wanted to lift, and distances or speeds I wanted to run (especially for events I wanted to do).

But I’ve also been slacking on my lifting. So why am I doing what I’m doing?

I realized that right now, my main goals for working out are just your vague and generic I want to be able to do more physically, and I do it for the health benefits. Which doesn’t really require a specific training routine though if I’m not training for anything in particular, just trying to be as healthy as I can be.

So I’m just going to go with my boredom and mix things up in my workouts. I’ve been doing Krav Maga more often (which is only twice a week though).

It is weird realizing that at this time my goals are not easily measurable since they are not performance based but generic health related.

It also however though reminds me of the importance of keeping in mind what your own goals are and how what you are doing is or isn’t based on your goals.

I’ve already written a bit about resolutions, but I have a few more thoughts on them. I was thinking about them last week and started thinking about shifting focus from the idea that resolutions should be something we do consistently from Jan 1st through Dec 31st to thinking of them as habits we want to have achieved by December 31st.

I’ve been thinking about this even more the more I hear people talking about failing their resolutions already- not even the end of the January and they already failed at their resolution. Hearing this, I just think “how can you ‘fail’ a resolution when it’s only the first month of the year? You have another 11 months to still work on this!”

Which has me thinking this is a needed mentality shift for people. If you resolve Jan 1st that this year you are going to go to the gym before work every day, and now it’s the third week of January and you haven’t gone to the gym at all this week, so you failed because you haven’t been to the gym before work every day since January 1st on. Since you have already failed, just throw in the towel and give up on that goal because you already failed. Except there is no reason just because you haven’t gotten this resolution down to a habit after only 23 days in, you can’t make it a habit. You have lots of time left to still work on making it a habit!

If your resolution hasn’t gone perfectly so far, that doesn’t mean you failed, it means you still have room to improve it.

One of my take away life lessons from 2015 is that it’s the little things in life that can have the most impact, at least for me.

I’ve struggled a lot over the past couple years with feeling not good enough, feeling like I’m not doing enough, and being unhappy. I’ve been stressed out basically. I was stressed out with school and feeling like I was never doing good enough or just plan old doing enough with it, I was stressed out working a job where my income didn’t cover my bills, I was stressed out trying to pay for health insurance, I was stressed out with a job where my work was not appreciated and I was not treated with respect, so I left that job and was still stressed out at not having enough money, I was also stressed out and feeling bad over social conceptions of what it means to not have a job.

By the end of 2015 I’m much happier. I’m not making a lot of money, money hasn’t ceased being a worry, ends still don’t quite meet for me, but it’s better than before. More importantly, I have a job where I feel valued. And those little things make all the difference.

I  still don’t have a “PhD” behind my name, yet. I didn’t present at any big conferences. I also didn’t go to any big concerts. I didn’t meet anyone famous. In many ways I didn’t “do” a whole lot.

Yet- I am far more happy with things.

With the new year, I saw this idea that I liked when I read about it- to create a rememberence jar- decorate a mason jar and then write down some good thing, or some memory, in that jar each day and at the end of the year you can see all these great memories or positive things.

This sounded great and I was totally going to do this, but then Jan 1st I was in my kitchen washing dishes late at night and wondering what I could possibly write down for that day. Washed dishes? That’s not really a big important memory to make note of.

But doing dishes is one of those little things in life. Few things in life seem to feel as good to me as a clean and empty sink. Maybe because I so rarely have one. Yet day to day those little things, and little sources of happiness, like getting all my dishes washed, have more impact on my overall happiness and quality of life than big exciting things, like going to a concert.

Which may just be me. I may just be exceedingly boring. I’m ok with that. For me, that’s how it is. So, keeping that in mind for myself, maybe something that seems designed to highlight “special” moments over everyday ones isn’t the best fit for me and my life.

I think there is a lot of pressure in our culture to have lives that look exciting from the outside. I feel this in particular being an introverted person, the assumption that surely my life would have more meaning, be fuller, and be better if I just go out more often, and do things, in public, with other people. But for me, that is not my path to happiness.

I mentioned in my last post that I like resolutions/goals for a new year that build off of things that have already worked. Well, keeping that in mind, I hope to spend 2016 staying in touch with the importance of little things. It may not make the most impressive instagram photo, or the most exciting story to share, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important or worthwhile.

New Year’s Resolutions are a funny thing. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually met all of mine, and yet each year I make them. This year will be no exception.

But I try to make changes and keep them more reasonable.

Last year I tried to make fewer goals and keep them more reasonable than I had before.

2014 I gave myself a lot of very specific goals but never did them. So 2015 I tried to do fewer.

For 2015 my goals were:

Fitness Goals:
Squat my body weight (and hopefully more)

Did not accomplish this. My max squat of 2015 was .89 times my body weight.
Bench Press 100lbs (and hopefully more)

I did actually accomplish this one! Though it was not a very bold goal.
I WILL actually do a tough mudder this year,


School Goals:
Keeping my goals more reasonable this time around- obviously finish coursework and pass my quals are on the list, but my big goal is to submit something for publication. That’s it, keeping it simple right now.

Did not quite meet these. I didn’t finish all my coursework, and as such was not able to take my final qualifying exam in 2015. I did submit for publications though!

House Goals:
I will get my office set up soon, finally!

Yes! This is done. Though the last part just got finished (I got a desk chair, so I can actually use my desk! lol)

Other Stuff:
Learn something new this year.

hmm, I didn’t really accomplish this in any specific, planned way. I’ve learned things, for certain, but something that was really planned in terms of meeting this goal? No.

One big problem with my new year’s resolutions every year, is that I have a tendency to make them and forget about them until the next year- when I look at the list and go “didn’t do that!”

So this year, I am trying to make my goals specific, measurable, reasonable, and plan a way of tracking them throughout the year.

So coming up with my 2016 resolutions, I started with a list of vague goals I want to accomplish:

  • meditate more often
  • Spend more time on art
  • Lift more consistently
  • Learn krav maga
  • Declutter
  • Journal more often


After making this list I took each item and answered 4 questions for it:

Why is this a goal for 2016?

Make it specific/measurable:

How will I measure it?

Is it reasonable?

Meditate more often

  • Why?
    • Meditation improves mental health, helps keep me focused, relaxed, and in touch with myself.
  • Make it measurable/specific:
    • Meditate daily, even if only for a few minutes.
  • How will I measure this?
    • Use headspace to help track meditation
  • Is this a realistic goal?
    • I hesitate to make goals that have to be done EVERY day, but by making it daily but not requiring any amount of time each day I think this is realistic. Even if I only take 3 minutes to meditate, that still counts.

Spend more time on art

  • Why?
    • I enjoy it, it’s relaxing, it’s something I do just because I enjoy it. A more vague way of wording this goal could have been to spend more time doing things just because I enjoy them, but for me art/crafting is this thing.
  • Make it measurable/specific:
    • Work on art or crafting at least 1 hr each week.
  • How will I measure this?
    • Use onenote notebook to track this
  • Is this a realistic goal?
    • 1 hour per week is realistic and not expecting to much. I can do one hour one day one  a weekend, or 15 minutes 4 days out of the week, however works out.

Lift more consistently

  • Why?
    • I want to be stronger, it’s good for my health, and to be effective I need to be more consistent. Consistency is often a big struggle for me.
  • Make it measurable/specific:
    • Lift at least 3 days/week on average
  • How will I measure this?
    • Use onenote notebook/calendar to track this
  • Is this a realistic goal?
    • This one I have the most trouble trying to make it realistic. I want to say I will lift 4 days/week but I know I won’t always meet that. Even 3 days/week I might not always meet. I say average because it is realistic if I do 2 days one week, 4 days the next, as I’m able to, then my average still works out. I also want this to include any lifting, since I aim to be do it more often. I am working on trying to allow myself shorter workouts when necessary to at least be doing something even when I don’t have the time or energy for a long workout.

Learn Krav Maga

  • Why?
    • I have been wanting to for years, and this fits my general goal of learning of something new each year.
  • Make it measurable/specific
    • In January I will sign up with a membership
    • After I sign up, I will attend a class at least 3 times/month
  • How will I measure this?
    • Use onenote notebook/calendar to track this
  • Is this a realistic goal?
    • 3 times/month should be a realistic goal. The most difficult part of this goal and what kept me from meeting it in the past will be the cost, but I’ve decided to make this a financial priority.


  • Why?
    • I need to get my house cleaned up, I have to much stuff cluttering up my space, and I know that getting rid of things and having less clutter will be better for me mentally.
  • Make it measurable/specific:
    • I will get rid of at least one box of stuff each month
  • How will I measure this?
    • Keep a box in my house labeled for the month, at the end of the month it is donated.
  • Is this a realistic goal?
    • Yes. I have enough to get rid of more than 1 box each month, this should not be difficult to meet.

Journal More Often

  • For now I’m dropping this goal. I have too many already, and I need to keep my focus limited. The more I say I will do, the less likely I am to stay focused on all of them and achieve all of them. If I do well with other goals, this may be added later.

Actually, no school goals came to mind for me this year. School took a bit of a backseat this last semester for me, and I’m actually far happier with things now. So, as I figure out how to fit school in my life without sacrificing too much of my health on it, I’m not making any specific goals for school.

Actually, overall my goals for 2016 are things related to improving my health, in particular my mental health. I think I have made  a lot of improvement on that front lately, and I plan to continue to improve there. I do think what works for me most of the time with new year’s goals is actually looking at what already works or is going well and setting goals that build on or continue those things.

For most of these goals I plan to use onenote to track them and ensure I am actually paying attention to them more than just one the first of next year. I have been using onenote to track workouts already, and it’s been very effective so I will use that method for other goals as well.


Also no goals related to running because I still can barely walk due to pain, so I have no idea when I will be able to return to running, or even walking more. I saw my PCP about my foot, had an x-ray which showed a heel spur and a tumor. Now I have to follow up with a podiatrist about the results and hopefully come up with something that will allow me to walk, and hopefully run, without such severe pain.