Spotlight On: Personal Goals

>> Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yesterday I mentioned how my dear friend Steff (from Steff Says) has inspired me to write a list of goals for myself. It seems like everywhere I look right now, I'm seeing ways I want to improve myself. Or things I want to do. Or smart ways of living more simply. Eating better. Learning more. There are so many, it's hard to choose just a few. But taking time to think about it all was an excellent exercise.

Though I didn't write out goals last year, many of them revolved around running. Now that I'm injured, I'm discovering just how focused I had become on one activity. Of course, when I'm able to run again, I'm planning to take my training to another level. But what I attempted to focus on with these goals is my non-running life.

There's a lot I want to accomplish! Some of it big, some of it silly.


FITNESS

#1: Learn to Swim. I know how to swim, just not properly. I do a weird frog leg thing and never put my head below water. I want to learn the freestyle stroke. So, I plan to try a few private swim lessons at the Y. We'll see!

#2: Learn to Love Cross-Training. What this injury has taught me is that variety is a very, very good thing. More than good -- critically important. And I need to expand my fitness horizons well after I heal (fingers crossed!). I'd like to incorporate regular cross-training (swimming, biking, yoga, strength training) into my routine, and even run fewer days per week (thinking 4 instead of my usual 5).

#3: Complete 10 Chin-Ups. Regularly. Right now I'm up to doing 5 max. I can regularly complete a strong 4. Being able to do 10 would blow my mind. I mean, I honestly never thought I'd do one! I'd also like to complete two pull-ups. (If you want to do chin-ups, but don't know where to start -- just check out this post!)

#4: Train for Speed. When I'm able to run again, I'd like to be able to incorporate speed-work into my running. Perhaps run a 5K in under 22 minutes. My fastest is 22:30. Shaving off 30 seconds is do-able, right? Too, I'd like to break 1:45 in the half marathon.

#5: Race Less. I ran 12 races last year, with PRs in most distances. But racing all the time is no bueno. Not only because it can lead to burnout and injury, but also because a lot of training goes into each event. And doing well requires concentration on specific goals. I think I may pick 6 of my favorite races. (This goal will be hard, so don't yell at me if I find myself at a few 5Ks.)


SELF-CARE

#1: Stop Biting My Nails. Yeah. It's basic. A common goal, too. I'm a nervous person and have been chewing for years -- so really want to stop. For good this time!

#2: Indulge My Girly Side. I don't know if you've gathered it from my posts, but I'm not the girliest person ever. Sort of a tomboy who likes to dress up and do all the homemake-y things. Indulging means getting one spa treatment per month. Likely pedicures so my toes look gorgeous. I never do this kind of stuff. Ever. Maybe getting my hair professionally colored for once. Crazy stuff like that.

#3: Take My Daily Vitamin. Every day! I only remember maybe 4 times a week at most. I like to try and get what my body needs from my diet, but think a multi is important, too. I need to get better at it. Pronto.

#4: Floss. Seems silly. But I get on this flossing binge right after my twice-a-year dentist appointments. It lasts like a month each time. Then I just forget. Flossing is good for gums. Good for your heart. And it's time I grow up and start doing it each day.

#5: Grow My Hair. Again -- it seems silly. But I can't seem to let my hair grow past my shoulders. I'd like to get it long-ish for once in my life. THEN I can cut it off. But I'd like to know what it's like to have hair I can pull into a ponytail without stray strands falling in my face.


FOOD AND DIET

#1: Use My Cookbooks. Learn Proper Techniques. Finding recipes online is so easy and fast. But I have quite a few cookbooks. I'd like to make at least one meal a week using these texts. Especially the Moosewood books in my collection. Too, I have several books that instruct on proper cooking and baking technique. If I can't go to culinary school, I can teach myself. Five new techniques per month.

#2: Listen to My Stomach. I eat until WAY beyond when I'm full more often than not. Part of it is from marathon training and that ferocious hunger that was always there. But now that I'm not running that much, I need to pay more attention to my hunger signals. When I eat too much, I feel UGH. When I eat slowly and really FEEL full, I'm satisfied.

#3: Try 20 New-to-Me Foods. Ahh, expanding my palate. Of course, this item will require another list. So, stay tuned for that. If you have suggestions -- please leave a comment!

#4: Relegate Alcohol to Weekends. I often talk about my desire to drink less. I don't actually drink very much. More like one beer a day. But that beer makes me tired at night. I don't need it. I'd like to swap my weekly sips for water. Then have a max of 3 drinks on the weekend.

#5: Assemble Collection of Family Recipes. I've written before how my family doesn't have many recipes to share. I'll like to hunt and find at least some . . . and then put my own vegetarian/vegan twist on them. Plus, I'll add some of my very own. A collection to pass along some day, right?


PERSONAL

#1: S.i.m.p.l.i.f.y. (Caitlin also wrote about this yesterday -- inspired by John and Sherry at Young House Love.) I'd like to get rid of clutter. Get rid of stuff I don't need. I'd like to identify at least 100 items I can purge from my house, my life. Not only will this help with our mess, but it'll also help clear my mind.

#2: Shop Less. Especially for clothes. I love shopping. I don't love spending money. But I find myself with way more new clothes than I'll ever need. New kitchen items that are mostly duplicates. This goes along with simplifying, but I need less. And I'd like to WANT less, too. I have a feeling this goal will be incredibly liberating. (I'd also like to try something like Chrissy -- wearing only 30 pieces of clothing in 30 days, mix-and-match, using what I have.)

#3: Save More. Last I checked, I'm now 27. Holy CRAP. And I still feel like I'm 18. Sometimes I even feel like I'm treating my finances that way, too. Along with shopping less, Stephen and I both need to get into the habit of consciously saving. We already have a budget, it's just a matter of sticking to it and actually putting money into a interest-earning account. Now that my car is paid off, that's a good place to start with stowing away some dough.

#4: Develop the Non-Running Me. Make time for activities not related to food or fitness. Like crafting (knitting, embroidery . . . and I'm even interested in quilting and sewing). Music (more on that below). I'd like to participate in at least 5 adventures outside my fitness/foodie self each month.


OTHER

#1: Take a Vacation. Somewhere new. Somewhere we've never been before. I love our family trip to the beach (photos here). I enjoyed our camping adventure in Maine (photos here). But most of the trips we've taken have been to places I've visited many, many times. Growing up, my parents took us EVERYwhere around the US. But there are still a few states I haven't seen. Top contenders right now: Colorado and Tennessee.

#2: Learn Photography Skills. I'd like to get better at shooting portraits. I'd like to learn more about my camera. I'd like to also figure out a better storage method for my digital files. As I learn, I'll try to share along the way.

#3: Participate in Music. In some way, shape, or form. This one may mean I pull my guitar out more often. Learn a new instrument? Maybe do an open mic? But it could also mean I get my violin restrung and participate in the local orchestra. Or join the campus chorus. Music used to be my LIFE. And now I feel like no one would ever know it.

#4: Limit Social Networking. I'm on Facebook and Twitter way too much. I'd like to limit myself to 30 minutes a day on Facebook. And 15 tweets on Twitter. It's that simple.

#5: Improve Navigation on the Blog. I think you'd all appreciate an easier way to find things. Thanks for your survey feedback, because you've given us a lot of great suggestions!


So . . . that's a long list. And I could have written many more. I tried to limit myself to think I know I can feasibly accomplish in the coming year. Making attainable goals is important, as I recently learned. I attended a workshop where we studied characteristics of successful goals:
  • Make it specific.
  • Write it out in clear language.
  • Make it measurable.
  • Give it a deadline.
  • Tell people about it.
These are just a few helpful hints so you can better steer yourself in the right direction. You can best track your progress and complete what you want to achieve. It's also motivating to tell others. They hold you accountable. Etc.

To begin your list -- just think about the different areas of your life (Steff does a great job of this in her list, which is why I used it as a model), and start writing. Nothing is too big or small . . . but once you get your thought out, think about your goal and see if it meets the criteria above.


What are some of your goals? Do you regularly write out a list for yourself? If so, is it at the beginning of the year? On your birthday? Whenever you're feeling happy/sad/like you want to change the world? Tell us about your method! Just leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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