Give yourself a pat on the back, we’ve all survived the first half of January! The year has got off to a pretty good start – children back at school (although their school shoes mysteriously went missing over the Christmas holidays…), first weekend of lectures done, and some time spent compiling my goals for 2018.
In the past I’ve always tried to categorise them under specific headings, but this year I’ve just done a bit of a brain dump – what’s important to me this year and what I want to achieve. The below is just a summary, I’ve used a goals planner to refine them a bit more and I’m breaking them down into smaller chunks. However, this is a useful reference for me if nothing else, to summarise the key areas and to be able to check back on to review my progress.
I’m feeling like I’m heading into 2018 into a more positive place than I’ve been for a while from a health perspective. There’s been a lot discussed recently about four elements to health: nutrition, exercise, stress and sleep (Dr Rangan Chatterjee from Dr in the House has just published a book based on this). If I break down my goals into these areas, they look like this:
- Nutrition – just a case of keeping doing what I’m doing really. I know what good nutrition looks like for me (it’s very individual!), which is lots of fruit and veg, mostly wholefoods (i.e. minimally processed) with some exceptions when I feel the need (hello Friday wine). It’s going to be a busy year, so I want to make sure that I’m feeling my best and my energy levels are good!
- Exercise – I’m still waiting for a 2nd follow up with my consultant, but I would say that my hamstring has improved greatly (with the odd twinge) and I’ve been able to return to running, albeit slowly. My back, which was also causing me significant pain last year, is also much improved. I’m keen to get back into strength training too. I have everything in place I need to achieve the below – gym membership and I’ve re-subscribed to the Kayla Itsines Sweat App which I used successfully before. Specific exercise goals are:
- At least 10k steps every day and 5 million this year
- Aim for strength training 3 times per week
- Do a race. Any race!
- Prevent further injuries by warming up/cooling down properly and doing one rehab/foam roller session per week.
- Stress – this was a real problem area for me in 2017, so something I need to proactively manage this year. With our busy lives, I think the “mental load” we’re all under is heavier than ever. It’s the constant juggle of priorities, tasks and distractions that build up. Whilst not difficult tasks in and of themselves, things like children’s admin (the constant filling out of permission slips, replying to party invites, buying of birthday presents), meal planning and maintaining the car all take time and effort and sometimes it all gets a bit overwhelming. I think that getting more organised (see below) will help with this. I’ve also made some changes like reducing my working hours (currently temporarily, but hopefully more permanently) which just make life that little bit easier and will hopefully allow some relaxation time in the evenings, something that’s been missing of late. I also need to avoid inviting additional stress into my life. I’ve left a couple of Facebook groups this year and unfollowed some people on social media who just made me feel bad about everything that’s going on the world or myself. Surrounding myself with positivity is important!
- Sleep – this suffered a bit last year, my back in particular disturbed my sleep and left me feeling tired and less motivated to get up early to exercise! Simple things like changing my pillow seem to have helped. I don’t normally have a problem getting to sleep, it’s more waking up in the night. I’ve made a resolution to stay off my phone after 9pm as much as possible though, which is step towards better sleep hygiene.
I’ve been posting endless pictures of food on Instagram for a while now, but over the past year, I’ve really enjoyed being outside and taking pictures in nature. I got a lovely new DSLR camera for Christmas, so a key goal this year is to learn how to use it and start taking some pictures, purely for pleasure. I need to get to grips with the technical elements of the camera, so I’d like to go on a course at some point this year to get some better advice.
I’m still really enjoying my dance, and will be doing my first set of exams this month (Bronze Freestyle, the same as Daisy, which I find hilarious!). Ultimately I’d like to add in another type of dance too, ideally ballet, but I won’t make that a goal for this year as I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it work just yet. On a related front, we finally got Daisy a digital piano for Christmas this year, she’s been having lessons at school but hasn’t been able to practice. I did a lot of music as a child, but it’s been years and I’d really like to pick it up again. The piano was never an instrument I learned, and I need to refresh my music reading skills again too! I’m not sure that this is the year to get formal lessons, but I’m working my way through Daisy’s piano book for now and will see how I get on.
Get more organised
My life doesn’t look like getting any less hectic this year. I’m generally a fairly organised person, but when things get really manic, I find myself chasing my tail, not making the time to plan and then missing important dates/actions as a result. Although it’s boring, being systematic is the only thing that really works for me. I’ve been using my weekly plan (see more on this here) for 3 years now, and whilst I’m not religious, I do find it helpful. However, I think I need to get a bit more hardcore, particularly in the first 6 months of the year whilst I still have study in the mix.
The weekly planner has always been a little bit ad-hoc, in terms of the fact that I don’t sit down one day a week and fill it in, it’s more an ongoing place to put stuff. However, I now feel more like I need to schedule things a bit more, so that I set aside time each week to plan, and have certain “jobs” to do on certain days. I haven’t quite finished working that out yet, but Sunday feels like a good time to get set for the upcoming week, Monday to order the online shop to arrive on a Thursday each week etc. My main aim is to have so much of this laid out, and the appropriate time set aside, that it requires minimal thought from me and therefore reduces the mental load mentioned above.
Get the house of my dreams!
We’re in it, it’s just not quite there yet… This is going to be a huge year on the home front. After months of planning, we’re now ready to go out to tender for a builder to undertake our extension/renovations. Obviously a lot rides on their availability, but I’m really hoping that we can start late spring and be finished by Christmas (trying to stay realistic!). The changes are fairly major, which is going to mean moving out for a period of time, but I’m hoping that this will help things move along more quickly as the builders won’t have to tidy up for us every day. It’s clearly not going to be without it’s stresses, but I’m hoping that our timescales mean that the hardest bits of my course are finished before we start, so I’ve only got one major thing to juggle.
Sort my career
Assuming that the next six months go according to plan, I’m due to qualify as a Nutritional Therapist in the summer which I’m very excited about. If I am able to stay part time at work, that would be ideal, as it gives me a steady income and keeps my hand it with the Corporate world, whilst allowing me to start building my business. I need to spend more time developing my business plan (we have a module on this in semester 2), but my overall goal is to have established my business and started seeing clients this year.
My job has been ticking along over the past few months. Some changes in our team mean that I might be able to change around the groups I support. Not only does this keep things fresh and mean that I might be able to get some better alignment across the teams I work with, it may also mean that I stop supporting the Nordics which would be a huge tick in the box for me. The region is not big enough or structured in the right way to be able to do much strategic work, so almost all the interactions I have with those countries are reactive. I’ve build my knowledge in Nordic employment law, but other than that, I will be very happy to be UK focussed again!
That’s probably enough to be getting on with for now, and of course I need to break down the meta-goals into smaller steps to make them feel achievable, so this plan will evolve. As always, there’s a monthly focus, which for January looks like this:
- Chuck out challenge – I’ll be decluttering again this month, using the same process as last year (read more about that here). This is really important ahead of our house project, but as I’ve got a busy month I’ll be tackling the low hanging fruit for now and start thinking about the more difficult aspects in Feb (the garage, argh!).
- Set up my weekly planning schedule – of course this doesn’t have to be set in stone, but getting started and seeing how it goes is the most important thing. This has to be a net saver of time, so I need to be careful not to spend so much time on the planning that I’m actually being less productive.
- Establish my new exercise routine – the more that it can become a habit, the less of an effort it will be
- Make sure I take some time to relax – schedule it in if necessary
- No phone after 9pm