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Goals Update – First Quarter 2016

The first quarter of 2016 has now come and gone. It’s been both a slow and fast year. I had booked leave from work at the beginning of February for the end of March and it felt like it took forever to get there but then it also feels like no time at all.

Now that we’re into April I thought I’d provide my first 2016 goals update for the year, both the good and the not so good. So here goes:

Lose 20kg by 31/12/2016

Currently not going so well.

I have lost weight since the beginning of the year but not as much as I was working on. I kept to my healthier snacks (mostly) and my 1 shake per work week mostly and I was also building up my strength. Plus my fitbit shows me averaging 10000 steps on most weekdays (lets not go into the weekends.. they’re a bit less active).

Easter is my major weakness and with that being in the same week as our delicious trip to Melbourne there was really never going to be any good news at this point. I did try and get my weight down enough to take into account those events but I had some stomach issues in February which made me feel sluggish and gross and not wanting to do anything.

I need to get right back on that horse (where did that saying even come from?) and try again. It’s just so sad that nothing healthy (in my mind) compares to easter chocolate and cafe eating in Melbourne.

Learn to crochet

This is going ok. Around the time of my first post I bought a bunch of yarn and a new crochet hook, I also started following along on this video series for left handers (I’m fairly certain they have the same thing for right handers too) and I got through the first project. I also got quite annoyed during that first project and took a break before learning how to crochet in the round – I’m still on that break.

Since that time I have started getting more interested in cross stitch so, potentially, I will change this goal to that instead. Potentially.

Cook at least one new meal a month

This is on track (ish). I have made 3 new things, 2 of which were dinners and 1 cake however, I didn’t make any of them in January and one of the dinners was a fluke because we mistakenly received Pork Fillets in our online shopping and I found a recipe for them on the fly. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t add the 2 dinners into my routine as they didn’t turn out excellent. I do have this Rogan Josh lined up for next week so maybe it will be the lucky one.

Visit at least 12 new food places by 31/12/2016

Definitely on track (was there any doubt?), we have potentially tried 12 new places this quarter (especially with Melbourne in the mix) let alone this year. Reviews to come, eventually.

Work on improving All The Me

I am slowly working on this however procrastinating on the menu options. I have been working on improving my photos.

I still use just a phone camera (I’m not ready to take a DSLR out into public and start shooting food photos) but I have updated my phone and I have been doing more editing to improve the quality of photos. Let me know if you’ve noticed a difference!

I also signed up for a Facebook Page which all my posts are listed on (and some random other things) so follow me there to keep up to date! Have I mentioned how much I dislike Facebook? I really have no idea how people don’t hate it however, for exposure for my blog, it feels like a requirement so I’d love you to like my page if you feel inclined to do so.

One of the goals for this was to post once a week. I have done this every week except for the week I was in Melbourne. I didn’t have anything scheduled and I had planned to write something while I was there but you know, lazy. Plus there were other things to do! Hopefully the weeks that I did multiple posts make up for this – they do in my mind.

Overall I’m doing ok, some goals are moving slower than I expected (I blame the purchase of one Stardew Valley) but they have been worked on. I’m quite disappointed in my lack of will power when it comes to food and was really anticipating a better result on the weight loss goal but all I can do is try and improve from here.

Hopefully I’ll have a more interesting update come the end of June!

Goals are Hard

Goals and me, we have never really gotten along very well. I have been taught various methods of making achievable goals throughout my career (most notably the SMART Method) but still I don’t make them.

The plus side to this is that I am never in a situation where I have pressure about succeeding or failing my goals.

During one stint of a goal keeping session my mentor said goals are best when they’re written down and vocalised to other people. Let people know that you’re working towards something so that you are accountable for the outcome. She excitedly thrust a piece of paper and pen in front of me and asked me to scribble down some ideas that could be turned into goals.

I looked down at the piece of paper blankly, the pen shaking in my hand, while she hovered around me anticipating all the things I’d write down and how she could help me work towards them. The paper stayed blank and instead she asked me questions about who inspired me, who did I look up to? I couldn’t answer, I’d never really thought of it before and while she babbled to me about all the many people who inspired her I wondered how she could so easily tell me about all these things she wanted to do and how inspirational people made her feel without worrying about what would happen if she didn’t succeed.

How can someone so easily tell the world about all these things they may never actually do?

And so it came that I never made concrete goals, as it was easier not to rather than fear failing them.

The negative to this that I mostly just cruise through life and see what happens without a huge amount of direction. I pick up hobbies and then drop them when they become too hard and never really push myself to become better at anything, unless it comes naturally.

This year I am going to try to branch out and not be afraid of failing and see what new hobbies and adventures I can have in 2016.Goals for 2016!These are the goals I have for 2016, let’s see how I go:

Lose 20kg by 31/12/2016

Why:  So that I can work towards a healthy weight again.

How:

  • Separate it into blocks of 5kg per quarter. This equals only 1.6kg per month
  • Work on eating healthier snacks with less refined sugar
  • 1 thick shake per workweek! (you know how I love thick shakes)
  • Build up exercise gradually, focusing on strength training (at this point I’m happy with the cardio I get walking to and from bus stops and on lunch breaks)

Learn to crochet! (More than scarves)

Why: I enjoy doing crochet but sometimes find myself getting frustrated with it and giving up. I’d like to improve my skills and make some nice items.

How:

  • Look up left handed beginner patterns online to learn basic technique
  • Buy a bigger range of hooks and some different types of yarns
  • Purchase a kit or two to get started

Cook at least one new meal a month

Why: So that I have more variety of meals available to make and also to improve on my cooking skills.

How:

  • Finally put all of those cooking website bookmarks to use!
  • Don’t get intimidated by long lists of ingredients (especially if the recipe is marked “easy”)
  • Buy more staple ingredients so there is no excuse not to make something

Visit at least 12 new food places by 31/12/2016

Why:  My blog currently features a café/restaurant review every second week so I need to make sure I’m eating at new places to keep that up. It’s also nice to see what places are around as well.

How:

  • Find some interesting places around Canberra to eat at that are new, highly rated or not well known
  • Start a list of places I want to visit and start doing it!

Work on improving All The Me

Why: Why not really? Who doesn’t want to keep on improving their blog and seeing the improvements they’ve made along the year

How:

  • Create a bio for myself. I really hate creating “about me” sections but they can make a blog feel more personal
  • Improve quality of photos for the blog including both food and other types of posts
  • Add contact options so people can get hold of me without  having to comment
  • Post at least once a week – I did this for most of last year, I can do it again!

I think these are a good place to start! I don’t think they’re overly tricky but still something to work towards and they’re mostly fun things to do!

Fighting Social Norms

I’m at an age where people expect me to have ‘accomplished’ certain things. By now I should own a house, be married and have a few kids so that I can be considered as winning at life. So I thought I’d go through the ‘checklist to life’ and see how I’m going.

Owning a house ✓

Yes! One item checked. About 2 years ago now Jarrod and I talked about buying a house but at the time weren’t ready to jump into all that and wanted to save some money first, we’d been together a year at that point and hadn’t lived together yet so we wanted to make sure that was going to work out. I also wanted to get out of debt and actually have something to contribute to a deposit so we decided to rent for a year and then re-assess.

As you know we have been living in the house we bought for just over a year now so we obviously went ahead with that. It’s only the two of us in our house but it has 4 bedrooms and you can guarantee that when people find that out they give us a knowing look and say “oh, planning for the future?” because of course we are filling all that space with babies!

Married ✗

It seems like, in some peoples mind, this is the most important aspect of the checklist. Marriage is the end goal to life. Maybe this might have been true 50+ years ago when society was even more closed off to “alternative” lifestyles and the point of life was to get married, procreate and have your name continue on through the ages but I don’t understand why it’s still considered such a big deal. Perhaps even more so to some people. Those people who have their weddings mapped out from the time they understood the concept, those people who have this idea of the ‘perfect married couple’ and shove it in everyone’s face, those people who have to have a better wedding than everyone they know to show that their relationship is superior.

I have no problems with the idea of marriage and committing to someone for life. Would I get married? Sure. I really just don’t like the pressure behind planning the marriage, specifically the wedding. To me they should be about celebrating your life and future together not about how much you spent on the food or the reception or your clothes or about how many people are in your wedding party. I wouldn’t want to deal with the stress people put on themselves by making it the ‘perfect’ day. I’d much prefer to save a bunch of money from not having a hyped up wedding and use that to have a nicer/longer honeymoon.

Overall, I couldn’t see my life changing too much if I did get married. I’d just have a fancy new ring, a piece of paper and a new surname.

Kids ✗

If one more person tells me “oh you’ll change your mind” when I say I don’t want kids I may bite their face off. My body and my brain are my own and I know how I feel more than you know how I feel. If I say I don’t want kids, I’ve never wanted kids then maybe you should believe I don’t want kids rather than pushing your ideals onto me. Furthermore I don’t care whether someone feels like having a child was the best decision of their life, why does it automatically need to become part of mine? I have to say, I’m not looking forward to being even older and getting the old “you’re clock is ticking” every time the subject is raised.

Obviously having kids is a sore spot for me. It’s the one thing where people just do not understand if you don’t want them. They just can’t fathom that a woman wouldn’t want a baby to look after and nurture. I want to live my life the way I want to live it and not have the burden of a child to look after. I don’t want to have to outlay thousands of dollars on a child I’d much prefer to spend that on doing nice things for myself. Many people would say that is selfish and perhaps it is but I’m not telling them how to live their lives and expect they shouldn’t feel compelled to tell me how to live mine.

Yikes, 1 out of 3 on the checklist but fortunately, succeeding in these things aren’t what keep me going in life. Hopefully one day, as people become more and more open minded the checklist will change and become about living your best and happiest life rather than living the same life as everyone else.

 

 

On not having passion

Have you seen those blog posts with titles like “5 ways to find your passion!” or “How to find a job you love!” and then you read it and feel even more uninspired than you did when you clicked on the link? Me too.

Sometimes I watch videos or read articles on how to find a job that interests me or how to determine what it is I really enjoy doing and at the end I don’t feel like I’ve learnt anything new. There is never one of those light bulb moments.

How often do you see any posts about what to do if you don’t have anything you’re passionate about or incredibly interested in and how to deal with how that feels? I don’t think I’ve ever come across one. Maybe this can be the one.

I think that people who know exactly what they like and what they want to do, don’t realise how  much of a struggle it is to not know those things. It should be easy right? Pick something and go with it! I assume it’s those people who write all the ‘inspiring’ articles about doing what you love because it was just so very easy for them.

Unfortunately, I also have no useful advise. I mostly have frustration about it. I suppose I can say “hey, you’re not alone”. I understand how hard it is to look into courses or jobs and think that none of the options are interesting. I know what it’s like to do career tests and think the results wouldn’t suit me at all. I know what it’s like to look at 100’s of different job types and feel hollow inside because I don’t understand how I couldn’t know what it is I enjoy doing.

You would think my brain would know what my brain likes to do, right? Apparently not.

So instead, I wake up each day and drag myself to a job that makes me question the human race, go home, stare blankly at a screen of some description (be it TV or computer) as the time counts down until I go back to bed and repeat it all again, waiting out the weekend. At which point I can ponder what things I could do for 2 days until I go back and the cycle repeats.

And such is the way of life of someone lacking in passion or hobbies they enjoy.

In Five Years

Not many questions scare me more than “So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. I don’t even know how this became a standard question to ask people. Are we really expected to plan ahead for 5 years, working hard towards that goal and hoping for the best? That sounds sort of terrifying, especially if it doesn’t turned out as planned.

If someone had asked me 5 years ago (and they did) where I thought I’d be today, I can guarantee you it wouldn’t be where I am now. In fact, one woman pushed this point and asked me about my goals and what do I want to do and I should write it all down and wouldn’t it be wonderful? I did my best to stop myself from crying in front of her because no, I couldn’t see how it would be wonderful. I never thought I could have the life I do now. I always expected I’d be that same person, struggling to get by in a life she didn’t particularly enjoy.

Five years ago looked like this for me:

  • Working in a school supplies company, ordering text books and stationery for schools.. lugging boxes in a warehouse, faxing off orders
  • Living week to week and often running out of money before pay day came around again
  • Swimming in debt I never thought I’d pay off
  • In a relationship that was unstable, unpredictable and unhappy
  • Living in the cheapest 2 bedroom flat I could rent
  • Blaming everyone else for the situation/life I had

The flipside of all that is where I am now:

  • I’ve worked at 3 companies since that time. Currently in the public service
  • I have more money than I need, I make 73% more(!!) than I did back then
  • The only debt I have is a house mortgage. I was able to pay off my debt in 12 months and start saving towards a house
  • In a relationship that is stable, understanding, fun and happy
  • Living in a 4 bedroom house, that we’re paying off as fast as the bank will let us!
  • Taking responsibility (or at least trying) for my life and what happens to it

It’s sort of amazing.

A lot of people feel hopeless and that their life won’t get better but it can and if you put your mind to it you can make it happen. The hardest part is making the hard decisions and getting out of/away from bad relationships, whether that be friends, family or romantic. Get away from the people that bring you down. In turn, find people that lift you up and will support you. For me, that was Jarrod. He showed me that there was a better way of living and I was worth more than the situation I was in.

The second hardest part is taking responsibility for your life and accepting that not everything is going to go your way but how you react to that can make all the difference.

So, where will I be in five years? I have no idea! I expect my home and relationship will stay the same, but we’ll be in somewhat less debt. Maybe I’ll have finally worked out what I’d like to do for a job/career and be working in that role, or at least towards it. That’s the hard one, I’ve spent my adult life trying to work out what I want to do and I still haven’t worked it out.

Mostly, I just hope to be happy with the person I become.