My room. 

I started thinking about new year’s resolutions a few weeks before 2016 ended. I had a few things in mind…not so much resolutions but things that I wanted to change in my life.  Time slipped by and these got away from me a bit. I kept meaning to implement these changes or make progress on them but it was never at the top of my list.  The last few days, I was reminded that time will always continue to pass. I will always find an excuse or a reason not to fit something in or to change priorities. If I don’t implement the goals that I want to see, then who will?  No more excuses.

I looked at my goals for 2016 and for the most part, I was successful in the things that I was able to control. Being re-diagnosed with Stage 4 doesn’t necessarily change my goals but it does change the perspective that I have when making them. A lot of things that popped in my head are changes that I’ve been wanting to make anyway and just haven’t gotten around to it. So wrapping them up with a pretty green bow and calling them 2017 Goals is the way I’m incorporating them into my life.  It is Chinese New Year today, after all! 😊

One of the goals that I set for us is my One Line a Day book. Another is sleeping routines.

I was gifted these books by two different ladies at the end of 2015. They are 5 year journals but you only write a few lines for each day. It’s usually something memorable that happened or something fun that we did. Or maybe we had a visitor or Jacob did something I never want to forget. I’m pretty good about keeping up with them, though sometimes I fall behind and I’m struggling to remember what funny or special thing happened a few days ago. Having a memory that is failing does not make this an easy task. One goal this year was to include Jacob in these entries each day. He’s talked about it before and I’ve asked him what to include but I wanted it to be something he looks forward to each night. Since it’s a new year, this time when we open the book to a new day, we have last years entry to read. It’s exciting to reminisce on what we did this day last year or where Jacob was developmentally. 

One of the comments that filled almost every day for the first week of the year was about Jacob sleeping in his own bed. Nap time, bed time – even sleeping through the night! My goodness, it was going so well last year – what happened?! Radiation in April/May, that’s what. Halfway through and I was too exhausted for middle of the night wake ups or hour-long (and then some) bedtimes. Coming into our bed in the early morning turned into halfway through the night, turned into barely an hour in, turned into “Bedtime, Jacob! Hop in between Momma & Dad-dad.” The rest is history. 

I love Jacob sleeping in our bed – I do! He is such a good snuggler, he hugs me for no reason and, well, there is nothing quite like waking up to his smiling face telling me good morning (“it’s not too dark!”). But he often wakes up before he should because Joe & I are getting ready for the day. Or he goes to bed too late because we are finishing something up before bed.  For those reasons and more, we felt like it was time to try his bed again. 

We have been talking about it with him a lot, especially when we were on the cruise and going home to his big-boy bed. But we haven’t made any actual attemps yet. So this afternoon when Joe asked him where he wanted to take a nap, we were both surprised that his answer was “my room”.

It took a while, a walk around his room, lots of snuggles and some singing but it happened. After some ninja moves to leave the room, we were shocked that he slept for his entire 2 hour nap in his bed. Dare we try bedtime too?!

Since Jacob was in my tummy, I have wanted to start reading him different book series at night. Many are books that I’ve been wanting to read and others are from my childhood. I visited a used book store at one point when he was only a few months old and bought treasures just for that. They have been patiently waiting in his closet since, for me to look at every time I opened the door.  

Hours before bed, we started to tell him about our new routine. We continued to prepare him all night. When his jammies were on and his teeth were brushed, we asked him where he was sleeping tonight, “my room”.

And so it began. We laid in his crib and I read the first chapter of Harry Potter to him. He was fidgety at first, rolled around a lot, talked to his animals as well as himself…and eventually fell asleep. I don’t know that he actually listened to the chapter at all but tonight was priceless to me. 

Eventually, I want to record myself reading to him but for now, we have completed the first of many nighttime readings that are still to come. 

Here’s to 2017 goals!

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Things just got real!

As you know from last month, I am registered for a writing workshop in June.  My manuscript was sent off to the coordinators a few weeks ago. Earlier this week I received my homework for how to prepare for the seminar and what to bring. And today I was given the name of the person who will be critiquing my story!  Eek!!

I have received writing critiques in the past through peers and teachers in college but nothing like this. My first thought was a ping of terror – what of he hates it?!

But my rational side followed suit…so what? And I don’t mean that in an I-don’t-care kind of way. I mean it in a positive, I-care-so-much kind of way. The purpose of attending this workshop is to learn and grow as a writer, to understand what publishers are looking for and to enhance my writing.  I am excited to have a professional author – yes, author! – review my writing and tell me what he thinks. I’m anxious to hear the feedback that he has for me and perfect my manuscript so that it will be loved by a publisher and kids some day.  I’m thrilled to meet new people – people who have a passion and love for writing and reading.  I can’t wait to take in the entire experience and grow as a person and as a writer.

So, things just got real.  I am venturing out of my comfort zone, exposing myself and my writing to criticism (on purpose!) and taking a BIG step towards accomplishing my goals as a writer. How awesome is that?!

Do you think he’ll sign a copy of his book for me?  :mrgreen:

Hello, June…

Can you believe it’s June already?! I sure can’t. The year is almost half over! My baby sister is getting married a month from today and I have a feeling this month is going to fly right by us!

I’m in the process of determining what my personal goals are for this month. I know it’s going to be a hectic one but I am excited for the fun events that are planned…so the unexpected ones can only make this month better.

What about you? What goals do you have set to accomplish this month and how are you going to make them happen?

Breaking down goals

Yesterday I asked what keeps you all motivated to meet a goal. I received a bunch of great suggestions and advice to help with achieving goals, ranging from different apps that help to changing how you view your goals.

One of the responses that I received was in regards to having enough discipline to continue working towards your goal. For me, motivation itself is not always enough. Sometimes the goal can be slightly overwhelming because of the level of effort that is needed to achieve that particular goal. The thought is that when you demonstrate good discipline towards your goal and subsequently make it a routine, you then generate good (or happy) feelings as a part of the process versus relying solely on your initial motivations or feelings to continue forward. Eventually, your discipline turns into habit and it is simply second nature to work towards your goals regularly (21 days, right?).

Another idea that I learned about was breaking your goals down into smaller sub-goals. These sub-goals can be broken down into daily, weekly or monthly targets that you want to reach, which eventually add up to your larger, or end, goal. If you are a visual person, as I am, then you can put together a goal board for each step of the process. It’ll help you stay on track by reminding you of the goals that you have committed yourself to, but it will also allow you to see your progress along the way.

I find both of these thoughts intriguing and quite doable as well. There are a handful of goals that I want to work towards but the end result of what I am trying to accomplish seems daunting. Though it may seem obvious to some, the tips that I’ve received for how to attack these goals has helped me to break them down into more manageable tasks that will quickly add up. Writing it all down will also help me to see the progress that I have made over the weeks.

I wanted to share, in the hopes that some of you may be able to utilize some of these ideas. I’m off to create my goal board. Thanks to everyone who commented!

Goal planning

When Joe & I were engaged, I knew that I wanted to lose weight prior to our wedding. According to the BMI calculator at my doctor’s office, I was considered obese and my blood work was beginning to show areas of concern. A lifestyle change was needed and I knew I needed to fully commit to those changes in order to be successful. I talked it over with Joe and we decided to make the change together.

We started by setting a date that we would begin making these changes. We became engaged in October and the holidays were right around the corner so we opted to start after the New Year. That particular year, New Year’s Day fell on a Friday. Knowing that we would need time to prep for the changes, we opted to begin the first Monday of that year.

Every Monday after that became our “weigh in day”, where we would track our progress. Using excel, we inputted what our healthy goal weight was and the timeline that we wanted to reach it by. In addition to holding ourselves accountable, I asked one of my best friends to hold me accountable also. Having her cheer me on was a huge help.

Joe & I decided to track our food intake in order to help hold us see the food choices that we made each day. Every weekend, we researched recipes, grocery shopped and prepped meals for the entire week. We used a notebook to write down everything that we ate.

We also began walking. After work each night, we would go for a short walk around our neighborhood and talk about how our days went or what our weekend plans were.

By the time our wedding date arrived, we both had reached our goal weight and were happy with it. We had each lost the weight equivalent of a young child and were now within the normal healthy weight range for our heights. Our blood work was even showing drastic improvements and we were able to shop for new clothes to take with us on our honeymoon. I even wore a bikini, something that I had not done since I was a teenager.

For me, this was successful because I was able to see the progress week over week. Prepping ahead of time, setting realistic expectations and tracking progress along the way helped me to fully engage in the changes and better understand what worked and what didn’t. Writing everything down forced me to acknowledge what I was eating and how much (or how little) I was exercising.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about goals that I want to set for myself and I’m curious what other people do in order to help them achieve their goals (they don’t have to be weight related). How do you hold yourselves accountable? What keeps you motivated? Do you use a reward of some sort as the prize for achieving your goals?

Comment below and share with me! I’m anxious to learn the tips and tricks that others use to reach for the stars. Hopefully your tips will help me to achieve my goals too. 🙂

Goals!

I’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s Resolutions for 2016. In the past, I typically resolve to lose weight or exercise more. For the most part, I have been successful in these resolutions for most of the year but at some point along the way I cave to my old habits. Last year, our family decided to have a resolution together and we resolved to eat less processed foods and focus on clean eating. Since Jacob was starting solids in January of last year, it was perfect timing to start this resolution.

Overall, we did quite well and until my diagnosis we had spent most of the year without processed foods. We have faltered slightly since August, as I have indulged in between treatments in some not-so-great food choices. I blame my love for food and the amount of days that I don’t eat as enablers to my overindulgence in between treatments (chocolate, anyone?)

For 2016, I want to focus less on “resolving” and more on “goals”. I asked myself two questions: What is important to me and my family? And what do we want to accomplish this year? After lots of pondering, I’ve decided on the below goals for me – and for my family. (Don’t worry, Joe’s on board too!) I am a big believer in voicing your goals if you want to truly commit and make them happen.

  1. Get Healthy – At first, I thought Beat cancer, of course! My main goal is to be cancer free this year but I want to stay that way too. During my biopsy, my breast care specialist told me her goal is to help me live until I am 97 and frankly, I want to do all that I can to help make that happen.
    • MOVE! Now that the hard part of treatment is over and I’m regaining my strength every day, it’s time to get moving. I spend a large part of my day sitting at work and I know that isn’t healthy for me. I’m resolving to start walking at least a mile a day and I plan to increase that as I can.
    • Food…oh, how I love food. But I need to get back to the no processed foods and eliminate sugar as best I can. The days are hectic and I often feel rushed at home at night with all there is to get done before bed, dinner included. No more excuses. Dinner needs to once again become the time of night where we can cook together as a family and eat together as a family while we talk about our days. It’s one thing that was a non-negotiable when I was a kid and I plan to make that true again this year. I want to fuel my body with food that is nutritious, delicious and will help fight off cancer from here on out.
  2. Be Financially Fit – It’s no secret that breast cancer treatment isn’t cheap. I am incredibly fortunate to have health insurance that covers a significant portion of treatment and I cover the deductible, co-insurance and any prescription costs. Putting all of that aside, I want to refocus spending and saving.
    • Budget Check! Joe & I spent the day reassessing our finances and redoing our budget. While it’s a little stressful to take a hard look into the status of our finances, I feel better knowing where we are at, being able to try and plan for the expenses we know will come and project what our budget needs to be each month.
  3. Write – Oh, how I love to write.
    • I want to write every day, at least once a day. Maybe not always here, on my blog, but somewhere. It soothes my soul and clears my mind – and I enjoy it so much. I need to make time for that. I think writing every day, even if it’s just a few words, will make me feel good inside.
  4. Read More – Books, books, books!
    • I have a feeling surgery will be enabling this goal a bit while I recover. I love to read but life has been a little hectic lately and I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to be. This goal is two-fold with not being glued to my phone as much. I don’t have a book goal in mind but rather than taking to my phone and mindlessly scrolling through apps, I’d like to spend that time reading a few pages when I can.
  5. Enjoy the Every Day Moments – This is arguably the most important goal. If there is nothing else that I have learned over the last 6 months, it’s that life is short. Last week, a high school friend passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 31. Thirty-one.
    • We don’t know what tomorrow will bring and we need to live in the moment. I don’t mean go crazy and spend all your money and forget your worries. I mean that if my little man wants me to stop doing the dishes and read him a book or dance to his music, I’m going to do that. I’m not going to ask him to wait until I’m done. Because these every day moments, these are the ones that create memories. These are the moments that are worth living for.

So there you have it – my goals for 2016. It’s going to be a great year. I just know it.

What are your goals?