Goal Check-In: How I Am Doing on the Goals I Set on My Birthday
Last summer, August 9th to be exact, I turned 41. While it’s not usually a monumental birthday for most, it was for me. You see, when I turned 40 I had a new baby and was well aware that we were most likely moving to North Carolina… so many other large life items overshadowed what turning 40 meant. When 41 hit, all of those feelings that typically hit at 40 came rushing in, and I knew that I needed to really take control of my life. At this age, I realize that I am about halfway through my life, and the healthiest years are very likely behind me. The question in my mind that I started turning over and over, as written by poet Mary Oliver, was “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” At 41, I still have so much left to contribute to this world, and I don’t want to pass my time idly, or hold myself back because of fear or self-doubt. I want to do the very best that I can possibly do with my one sweet life. As I turned 41 last summer, I wrote several goals down, focusing on how I could better take care of myself, my relationships and community, and the world that I am lucky to be inhabiting. Today, on my 1/2 birthday, I wanted to have a little check-in with those goals, and be honest with myself and with you, dear reader. I hope to share some insight on what I’ve learned in reaching for these goals, as well as where I’ve faltered. After all, we may learn from our successes, but our failures are truly what teach us the big lessons. I’ll go through each one and I am going to give myself a grade on each, but if you want to reference it, I shared all of my original goals here. (This post uses affiliate links as well as Amazon associate links. I may earn a small commission on purchases made through these links.)
Physical Health Goals
- Limiting Wine: B+ With our move, and then the kitchen renovation, I fell into a trap of evening wine most days of the week. It was only a glass or two, but it was certainly not necessary. This past fall I eliminated wine completely in October and November, and I felt fantastic! My skin looked better, I was able to sleep so much more soundly at night, and I found that I had more energy and less anxiety. Over the month of December with the holidays I slipped. It wasn’t terrible, but I’d say I had wine maybe 6 or 7 times over the month. When January hit, I decided that I would only have wine on special occasions, and I would no longer bring it home, unless hosting something. I’ve done really well since then, and have had wine on two occasions since the start of the year, and both were evenings out with friends. I honestly used to fear going to social events and not having a drink… I thought my friends would judge me for not joining them, and that I wouldn’t be nearly as funny (because obviously I am hilarious when I drink…). What I’ve found is that I can have just as much fun with my friends when I am not drinking, and they have never once judged me for not partaking. And I remember the funny moments a little more clearly. 😉
- Exercise Smarter: B+ I joined a gym last August, cut back on excessive running, and started attending Body Pump, barre, and yoga classes. I even got re-certified in January to teach indoor cycling again! (I used to teach years ago.). I’ve started teaching again, and do a great job of mixing my workouts up so much more and feel really good about that. However, I did burn out on running and sort of stopped… I need to just get back to doing it once or twice a week because I love how lean it keeps me, and it’s such a great mental workout! It’s physical work for me, but it’s very much mind over matter, and I strongly believe that when I am running, I have better focus over all. Where I can still improve… I could stand to add a more intense strength day, but I just love going to classes and don’t love working out on my own.
- Nutrition: B- I have improved in SOOOO many ways over the last few months. I begin each day with a very clean plant based protein smoothie, and I don’t snack in the morning. I eat a clean salad for lunch, and I’ve swapped out cheese for vegan options. I usually eat a really healthy dinner as well, and I am very much eating an 85-90% vegan diet. (I talked about a lot of the changes I wanted to make in my eating because of the environmental impact here.) So where is the problem? Why am I giving myself a B-? Two words: afternoon snacking. Oh man, that time between Wilder waking from his nap and dinner time… I am just looking for things to do, which often results in mindless snacking on whatever is laying around… it’s often healthy options like nuts, but too much of a good thing is still too much. I need to break this habit! Each day I write down in my goal journal that I am going to see my abs… it’s not a vanity goal, mind you. It’s not because I want to look fab in my underwear because who really cares about that? The reason I want to see them, is that I want to know that I worked SO hard and I did it! Right now my abs just say, “we’re under here… stop burying us with snacks!”
Mental Health Goals
- Meditation: D Yeah, this one is not happening as I wished it would. I love to meditate at the end of my yoga classes, or at night to help me fall asleep (I talked more about my sleeping tips here). That goal was not about the end of yoga class though or trying to sleep… it was about making time to meditate in the morning and be more mindful in my life. I take time to journal and plan each day now, but I have yet been able to carve out the time to meditate. It’s challenging to me, because I like to get up early and exercise, and then the dogs are barking and Wilder wakes up, and finding my zen is out the window. Look at me making excuses… This goal needs a lot of work! I welcome any tips you might have for me on making that time.
- Journaling: A- Last fall I started keeping a daily gratitude journal, and on January 1 I began a goal journal. I’ve religiously kept both up, except for the day I got food poisoning. I absolutely love my start today journal and planner from The Hollis Co. The planner is quarterly and I have found mine so helpful that I will definitely be purchasing more for the future. It’s kept me on task and on track with my big goals and dreams! The only reason that I gave myself an A- is that I wish I was writing more… a little more free style journaling! Again, it’s hard to find the time to really do it all, so this is one thing that has slipped through the cracks. However, I do keep up this blog more regularly, and I do consider that writing, even if it’s not a journal. I keep my planner and journal on my desk and sit here each morning as I have my coffee, planning and writing. (Also, you can see my hair is shorter here… I may have cut it myself… with craft scissors.)
- Taking Classes & Seeing Speakers: A Since that original goal post was written, I saw one speaker who I adored, went to a conference where I took many business classes, took several of Lindsay’s candle and perfume workshops, and this week I am actually headed out to a hand lettering workshop! Given that I am a pretty busy mom, I consider this a win! I honestly thought this goal would be one I would fail at, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see me rocking it. 😉 I have found so much personal growth through all of these speakers and workshops, and have loved every moment. If you can make the time to continue learning, especially hands on and in person, by all means, DO IT.
- Travel: D In the last several months, we haven’t gotten out like I had hoped to explore around us. We did take a day to head to Mount Airy, North Carolina to a fall festival, and we quite enjoyed ourselves, and the donuts. 😉 Aside from that, the only traveling I did was to Austin, TX for the business conference I attended. I did get to see many of the city’s great murals, and eat at some of the delicious restaurants, but there wasn’t a ton of time for sight-seeing. In January, I also had the opportunity to travel to Hilton Head to see the HGTV dream home, but it was a quick work trip. Of course, our fall was much taken up by soccer, and then winter and the holidays hit, so hopefully we can improve. I gave myself a D because it wasn’t a total failure, but it also was nowhere near a success.
- Reading: A+ Go me! Once I set my mind on this goal, it wasn’t hard to achieve. I love reading! I’ve formed a book club with a few instagram friends, and on top of our monthly reads, I am reading a couple more books each month, plus listening to books on occasion. I shared my January reads here.
- Listening to Inspiring Podcasts: A While I don’t listen as frequently as I used to because of joining a gym (I used to listen each morning as I walked or ran) I still listen very frequently. I still walk my dogs most days, and I often take Wilder for afternoon walks when the weather is nice and tune in then. I’ve also expanded my horizons since last time and have added Marie Forleo, Amy Porterfield, Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger,and the Rise Podcast to my list. In addition to those, I have a list of others I would like to try.
- Exercise: A While I can stand to push myself a little harder, now that I mix things up so much more and add yoga once a week, I can honestly say my mind is in a much better place about exercise. I have always enjoyed the results of the hard work it takes, but now I enjoy the actual hard work as well. In addition to personally loving it, I’ve made several friends at the gym, so there’s camaraderie… something I don’t have when I run or walk on my own. Gym buddies always help encourage you and keep you accountable. Just last week, I met a few friends at Body Pump, and I have a gym bestie who I see each week for barre class. Additionally, I love the team of instructors and the support they offer. When you feel like you are tired or want to give up on your own, gym friends and instructors lift you up and get your mind right again. These are just a few of my gym buddies, who happen to also be badass female entrepreneurs… Erienne creates her own clean beauty products (her lip balm is my new favorite and I am about to give her face mask a try as well!) Susel is super adorable and bursting with energy and positivity and writes a healthy lifestyle blog. She’s most definitely an enthusiast and I just love that about her. She also snapped this photo of us after body pump the other day, so I asked if I could share it here. Lastly, Jessica owns Sonder Mind & Body here in Greensboro, and they offer floatation, a wellness cafe, massage, holistic healthcare, and so much more.
- Date My Spouse: B We rocked monthly date nights August through November, but then came the holidays and a tight budget… we just didn’t make it out on an official date in December (minus the Sunset Hills Running of the Balls 5k where we had Wilder in the jogging stroller- photo below). We did start attending Saturday morning cycle class together in November or December, and you could count that as a date, I suppose. 😉 I am only giving us a B here, because without that date night in December, I definitely felt a little shift and a little more disconnected to Chris. January we went on a double date, which was SOOO much fun, but we didn’t have one on one time. For Christmas, I gave Chris a date night pass to Breakout Games here in Greensboro, so we’re looking forward to cashing that in and saving it for our no spend month. Nothing like being trapped in a room and trying to work as a team to get out to rekindle those flames and bring back that connection… or perhaps it could end with us killing one another, but I am hoping for the former.
- One on One Time with My Kids: B- Oy… I really need to be better about this one! It’s really easy for me to spend time with Emmy one on one… thrift shopping, attending Scent Workshop, or going on a trip to the HGTV dream home. Wilder and I often have one on one time, just because that’s how life goes… we go to the library, the park, take walks, play, color, read books. Where I falter is with my oldest, Sawyer. He’s a 14 year old boy and I struggle to find activities we can do together. We did find a show that we LOVED watching together and we spent a couple nights a week snuggling in my bed and watching it. I’ve also taken him out for breakfast a couple of times, but I am really hoping to make more quality time with him. He only has 3.5 years left at home, and I don’t want to look back on this time regretting missed opportunity.
- Love Myself: B My relationship with myself is complicated… Most days, I really truly am happy with and proud of myself. I work hard at everything I do in life, and that fulfills me… knowing I am giving it my all. Some days though, I let that insecure girl I once was creep in, and I fall into the comparison trap and wonder why I am not good enough or as successful as she is. Why didn’t I get that opportunity? After reading “You are a Badass at Making Money” I am working on shifting and keeping more of an abundance mindset, and that has certainly helped.
- Be Present & A Good Friend: B I have made so many new friends over the last 6 months, and cultivating those friendships has honestly come very easily to me. When we first moved here I struggled a bit and felt somewhat lonely… once I opened myself up to making new friends, it’s like the floodgates opened and now I have a large pool of people I love and that feels incredible! However, with time management I have struggled to maintain contact with some of my Maryland friends, and that’s why I gave myself a B. I can and must to better to check in more regularly. There are a couple that I have phone calls with, but I truly need to pick up the phone and call more of them the old-fashioned way. A text can’t convey what a voice can. I have started occasionally leaving friends voice messages rather than texts because I know it’s nice to hear a real voice sometimes. Here I am with my new friend, Amy, at Cugino Forno, learning how to make pizza.
Do More Good
- Shop Responsibly: A- The past few months, I have really thought long and hard about everything I purchase and bring into the home. In January, I did the 30 day thrifted fashion challenge, and absolutely loved putting together outfits with a mix of Goodwill and things I already owned. For Christmas, I was given pieces that were sustainable, and just bought my first pair of jeans from Everlane. I’ve walked into Target several times just to get diapers, and have come out with…. JUST DIAPERS! Next month I am even doing a no-spend challenge. I’ve done that once before and it truly helped change my habits. You can find several tips on cutting back on spending here. Below is one of my favorite thrifted ensembles.
- Reduce Plastic Use: C I have purchased reusable plastic zip bags I use for produce, and I make my kids use containers to pack their lunches. I use reusable produce bags and grocery bags for shopping. For my smoothies, I use stainless steel straws. Sounds like I am rocking it, right? Wrong… here is my dirty little secret… we purchase organic food pouches for Wilder. They’re SO convenient to use, and it’s a great way to get him vegetables. I truly need to come up with a better solution for feeding him, and sneaking in some foods. He eats smoothies that I make for him every morning, and I may start doing that for his lunch as well. Things definitely need to improve there. I am considering getting these reusable fill-yourself pouches because he truly loves his getting his food that way.
- Be a Better Human: C Well, I had all sorts of great goals here like volunteer more (at all), be a good neighbor, donate more, and carry things in my car to hand homeless people. I can honestly tell you, I only handed out food to homeless people twice, and I have volunteered zero times. However, I have made my neighbors holiday goodies, and have been friendly, and invited them into my home for coffee. I am not a complete failure, but it’s definitely challenging. A friend had twins, and I signed up to be on the meal train and brought a meal (from Zoe’s Kitchen, because may as well use Chris’ work benefits rather than cook 😉 ). With Wilder in school 2 mornings a week, I could volunteer more, but I tend to guard that time very tightly as my allotted work hours.
- Blog Goals: C My goal here was very general… I definitely wanted to grow when I set that goal. I can safely say that I have grown a little, my instagram account finally experienced growth after a year and a half of stagnancy, so things are looking up. However, I am giving myself a C, because to be honest, I still don’t feel very clear on where I am headed. I have numbers in my head I would like to achieve when it comes to certain statistics, but I don’t yet know how I would like to get there. The business of blogging has always been a bit of a struggle for me because I hate to put so much time in pinterest and have my growth from one pin going viral… what I crave is a community of people who check in regularly and are inspired weekly by the different posts, not just that one viral pin. I guess what I want is for this community to grow, but I am not yet sure how.
- Redesign: A I am giving myself an A because rather than saying I failed at this one (obviously my blog looks the same!) I realized that I do not need to invest time and money into a redesign. It wouldn’t get me any closer to my goals in business, and would be a waste of resources. The A is because I am proud of myself for acknowledging that! 🙂
That’s all! As you can see, I had several goals when I turned 41, nineteen of them to be exact. Overall, I am doing fairly well, and going through this list really helped me to see that I am accomplishing several things I set out to do. This post also clarified where I need to turn my attention and do better. What is it that I intend to do with this one wild and precious life? Maybe I don’t know completely, but what I do know is that I want to be someone who lives a healthy (physically and mentally) lifestyle, and inspires others to lean into who they were meant to be as well. The world would be a happier place if we all took care of ourselves and each other. What do you intend to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in 10 years, and what do you need to do to get yourself there?