TURNING A NEW LEAF (2018 PT. 2 HERE WE GOOOO!)

IMG_1598Here we are – the end of the first 6 months of 2018! It’s flown by, honestly. I can’t believe 2018 is already as close to ending as it is far from it’s beginning.

I’ve got lots of thoughts on how these past few months have gone, and also some exciting hopes and new goals for the remainder of the year.

WHAT DID I SET OUT TO DO FOR THE LAST 6 MONTHS?

Exercise my mind, body, and comfort zone.

Mind – write something for publication, something for fun; read 6 books (3 merit, 3 pleasure); go to a lecture

Body – 9,000 steps a day; cardio 2x week; hike 1x month

Comfort Zone – camp more; travel somewhere new every month; actually recycle

WHERE DID I FAIL?

 Let’s get this part over with first. Truth is – I didn’t accomplish EVERY goal I set out to do over the last 6 months. The reasons were varied – recycling turned out to be much more complicated in my apartment complex / city than I imagined; the bookstore where I was so excited to go to a lecture to stopped hosting them; I remained, at my core, a fundamentally procrastination-prone human.

There were days I didn’t walk 9,000 steps, months my foot never touched a trail, pages I left blank, because I didn’t sit down and write. I’m honestly okay with this though.

I wanted to interact more vividly with the world around me, and even if I didn’t accomplish that every minute of every day, I made an overall effort, and I think that counts for something.

WHERE DID I SUCCEED?

The two areas I feel I succeeded in most were blogging and running – they’re also the two areas I was most surprised by!

I cannot believe – literally cannot believe – I actually stuck with blogging every week. SO many times in my life, I’ve told myself I would do it, but just haven’t for a variety of excuses. I didn’t have anything to motivate me. I didn’t think my thoughts were unique enough, or even tangible enough, to write into being. I didn’t think it would matter, unless I had something wildly deep and meaningful to say every single time I wrote.

Writing, like life, very much does not work that way. The beauty is there, plain as daylight, but it’s surrounded by everyday nothings – work and errands and apartment hunting and brushing your teeth. It won’t be all beauty all the time – it doesn’t need to be. Just write, just live, just let it be and watch the fruits of engaging with the world grow around you, even if they just look like silly, meaningless blog posts along the way.

I anticipated my “cardio” goal as being something I would commit myself to begrudgingly. Maybe I would do exercise videos, lift weights, jog occasionally – but I didn’t think I’d ever admit to outright enjoying any form of exercise, because I’m not ~into fitness~.

Sometime earlier this year, I found a pretty running app that had a 5k running plan, and thought “That’s something I’d like to be able to do.” And so I paid up $10, committed myself to obeying the tiny voice in the app, telling me when to run, and eventually worked up enough endurance to actually do it!

And – wonder of wonders – I actually… enjoy it now? I never thought I would like running. At the very most, I thought I’d be the kind of person who runs not because they like it, but because they like how they feel afterwards. Turns out – you can like both! Not every run is some stellar experience, but I love going up and down tree lined streets, quiet neighborhoods, loops around the golf course nearby. I love not having to think about anything, and I don’t have to feel bad about that because hey! I’m already doing a thing. I can listen to old music, new music, podcasts, books on tape – literally whatever suits me in the moment, because it’s my time, and I don’t have to live up to any expectations.

THAT’S what I learned most these past 6 months, from taking on all of these goals. I don’t have to be great, or even good. It’s enough to exist, but it’s beautiful to exist trying.

SOME FUN STATS, JUST BECAUSE:

  • BOOKS READ: Drown, by Junot Diaz // Again the Magic, by Liza Kleypas // Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green // Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter // A Day In the Life of Marlon Bundo, by Jill Twiss // What Happened, by Hillary Clinton (still in progress).
  • MILES RUN: 102.8
  • STEPS WALKED: 1.8 million (counted)
  • HIKES HIKED: 5
  • SOCKS KNIT: 3

SO – WHAT DO THE NEXT 6 MONTH’S LOOK LIKE?

Fewer goals!

Or rather – fewer goals, but more intent behind them. I think one of my… not necessarily “problems,” but perhaps oversights when creating my initial list of tasks was the amount of change I wanted to take on – 10 goals! It’s easy, at a transitional period, to want to hop onto changing every aspect you don’t love about yourself / your life. There is some good that can come from this.

BUT! For now, I want to give more focus and dedication towards fewer goals, with the hope that I’ll actually pursue all of them with more intent than I was able to do in last few months.

BLAH BLAH BLAH – let’s get to the meat of it!!

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MY GOALS FOR 2018, PT 2:

NO SUGAR (more specifically, no refined sugar, w/ 2 cheat days a week lol).

I don’t like the idea of being fully dependent on anything in my life – barring obvious life-sustaining necessities. I also don’t like the idea of “dieting” or cutting myself off from some of life’s tastiest pleasures (hello bread, hello pastries, hello chocolate all ova the place). What I want is more ownership over what I eat, and I think this could be a challenging but rewarding 6-month experiment! Don’t let sugar rule my life! See if my body changes in any discernible ways. See if I feel better physically and mentally. See if it affects the way I run. I’ve found 6 months to be a challenging, but ultimately manageable amount of time to dedicate myself to maintaining projects and goals I care about.

I’m also excited by the idea of pursuing something that I KNOW WILL BE CHALLENGING FOR ME. Like, dear CHRIST, I know this is something that could kick my ass. But! I don’t want to just reach for easily attainable goals for myself. This one’s the kicker – the one I know could crash and burn, but I want to give an actual effort towards.

RUN 7 MILES A WEEK (+ run at least 2x a week still)

I’m curious to change up the style of how I run. For the last 6 months, I didn’t set a specific number of how many miles I would attempt per week. In fact, I didn’t even start out with a running goal to begin with! I told myself cardio 2x a week, and then that turned into running, which turned into 5k training, which turned into being able to run 3 miles on a regular basis!

Over the last few months, I managed a minimum of 4 miles a week. Once I started 5k training, that raised a bit, maybe to 5 or 6, depending on how well I managed my time and energy. It’s not that I ~couldn’t~ run more than this, it was more a task of peeling myself from my inherent laziness, or leaving time for other activities (like hanging out with friends, or making dinner for myself, or going to a coffee shop, reading, knitting, so on).

7 miles per week is a sweet spot I would like to reach. It averages to 1 mile a day,  fits easily into a 3 mile / 2 mile / 2 mile breakdown. One of the easiest ways for me to NOT run is by convincing myself that it’s too time consuming (I think as I sit, scrolling on twitter for hours on end). But 7 is a pretty easy number of miles to break down into manageable chunks. If I wanted to get REALLY casual about the time constraint, I could run 1 mile a day, which really doesn’t take much more than 10 minutes. (NOTE: this is actually what my v encouraging, motivating, run-educating coworker does! I didn’t know what “run-streaking” was before I followed her instagram, but it’s a pretty simple concept: set a daily running goal and go for it, every day, every day, every day.) Daily running isn’t something I want to commit myself to right now, but I do like the idea of small, steady steps made in the direction of self improvement.

As a fall back, I’m going to stick with a minimum of running 2x a week, just to keep my endurance up, and ensure that even if I don’t reach 7 miles, I’m still working myself in a productive way (and also, I don’t wanna lose the endurance I’ve built up!).

6 BOOKS (+ FINISHING WHAT I DIDN’T IN 1ST 6 MONTHS)

This one stays the same.

Still 3 for merit, 3 for pleasure.

I meant to finish What Happened, by Hillary Clinton, but it’s been taking me a while to get through it. Not for lack of interest! It’s just one of those books that makes me think and reflect – one that makes me take a step back after I read it. I’ll finish that this latter half of the year, and follow with the other 6 as planned, averaging to one book every month!

WRITE 60 PAGES OF ANYTHING (Consecutive, non-consecutive, real shit, fake shit, just anything OTHER than blogging or journaling)

I never want to give up on the optimistic hope that one day, I’ll get my shit together, sit my ass down, and just WRITE. It didn’t happen in the last 6 months – at least not to the degree I set out to do. But! I did manage to blog every week and jot down some ideas that (I think) have the potential to grow into something more substantial. Similar to my goal with music making, I want to encourage myself to not worry about being good. Just write! It can be 60 pages of absolute garbage! But if I write it into existence, and at least I have something more than nothing, something more than ideas floating around in my mind, lost quickly to busy days and mindless clutter.

BLOG EVERY WEEK (+ WEEKLY MUSICAL COVERS)

I’ve found this to be a satisfying way of committing and centering myself towards my weekly goals. I think more critically about my life, and what I do with it, when I have to sit down and focus on it. I’m not necessarily adding anything huge to this aspect of my goal keeping, but I want to maintain it, because of how it made me feel!

The small addition – I’m going to put a recording in each post! I’ve been disappointed with my lack of musical expression this year so far. It’s so easy to get busy and realize I haven’t touched something I love doing in over 2 months! I recently discovered this, specifically in regards to singing / ukulele paying. So! I’ve decided, for my own sake, to include covers in all of my blog posts for the next 6 months. I think it will be nice way to deadline this goal, and to record keep that I’m doing it.

I also support the idea of nurturing hobbies, even if you’re not particularly skilled at them. I enjoy singing, and I’ve got an okay hand for instruments, but I’m by no means anything close to expert. And I don’t need to be! I want to exercise my right to enjoy a hobby simply because I do, and NOT because it’s a wildly marketable skill. (That said, I’d certainly hope that by the end of 6 months, I might have see a little improvement in my strumming and vocal control, haha).

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