Can you believe the first month of 2016 is already in the books? I can’t! I’m taking a break from my normal “tall fashion blog” posts to talk about some projects I’ve been working on. I tend to set goals year round, but the beginning of a new year always seems like a good time to evaluate what I’m doing with my life, what I can do better and what I’ve done well.
My 3 goals for 2016 are the same as last year because I feel like they need more work. This year, I’m focusing on creating small habits that will help me accomplish my goals. I find that if I try to make a drastic, time-consuming change, it usually doesn’t stick. I need to take bite-size steps toward accomplishing my goals in order to be successful.
Goal #1 – Focus on Fitness/Physical Health
Like many people, I’d like to tone up my jiggles and also be more consistent with my exercising for my general well-being. Last year, I sputtered along with my workouts but was never consistent. One of the things I tried was the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred videos after learning about the program on Anett’s Tall Girls Fashion blog. I started the program a couple of times but didn’t stick with it the whole 30 days because, quite frankly, I’m just not that self-motivated. I’m the type of person who needs accountability and a workout buddy.
This month, a friend and I started Jillian’s 30 Day Shred Challenge together and I’m so happy to say that I did the program for 13 days in a row before missing a day. Technically, you’re supposed to do 30 days straight…but sometimes life gets in the way. Why did I miss a day? I was in Vienna and dropped the ball on fitting my workout into our schedule on one of the 4 days. Instead of beating myself up about breaking my 13 day streak, I patted myself on the back for 1) working out 13 days straight which is quite possibly a record for me and 2) doing my workout on both Friday and Saturday during my Vienna trip. Sunday is the day that I missed but as soon as we got home from the airport on Monday night, I resumed the program.
The reason I like this program is that it’s only 20 minutes, albeit an intense 20 minutes. I wanted to get myself into the habit of working out every day but knew I’d have to start small. On the days when I REALLY don’t feel like doing the workout, I tell myself “Get your buns in there and start that video…it’ll be over in 20 minutes”! Before I know it, I’m done with the workout and am so happy with myself!
I ended up missing 3 more days because I tweaked my ankle after a little trip-and-fall, but I resumed the program again last Monday and hit the 22 day mark. Unfortunately, I pulled a muscle in my back while doing day 23 yesterday and am having to take a break from the workouts until the pain subsides. I’m super bummed about this latest set back, but I’m determined to finish the 30 days (even though they won’t be consecutive). After that, I will have to decide what my next workout challenge/routine will be.
Goal #2 – Learn a new language
I’ve been “trying” to learn German with my at-home software since fall 2014. I love (and highly recommend) the Fluenz software for anyone wanting to learn a new language. Thanks to that pesky issue of lack of self-discipline, I’ve only completed 37 out of 150 lessons which is “nicht besonders gut” (not especially good). I would say my “survival” German is OK (I can count into the 1000s, can shop, can order food at a restaurant, can buy my bread at the bakery, coffee beans at my fav coffee roaster, just the right amount of fresh cheese from the fancy food market and I know several nouns and verbs etc.), but I’m nowhere near conversational.
It’s not rocket science that in order to be conversational, I actually have to have people to converse with. Novel thought! But before I can converse with people, I have to have something more to say than “I’d like 250 grams of that cheese please”. I’ve decided to take a 4 week intensive course which involves going to class every weekday for 3.5 hours. German will be spoken in the classroom 90% of the time. Will this 4 week class make me fluent? Of course not! But I will have the opportunity to speak in German every weekday for 4 weeks and I think it’ll be just the kickstart I need to feel confident enough to start attending this conversation group I’m interested in. Leading up to the 4 week course, I plan to complete module 2 of the Fluenz software (which means I’ll have 60 lessons total under my belt). After I complete the 4 week course, I’ll continue with lessons 61-150 of my at-home software and might consider taking another intensive.
Speaking of learning German, here are a couple of photos that I took of a beautiful castle in Germany – Hohenzollern Castle.
Goal #3 – Focus on Spiritual/Mental Health
Remember my post about how I wanted to cut back on social media because I felt like my memory was going to pot and my brain turning to mush? My goal is to replace some of my screen time with reading, journaling and listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Toward the end of 2015, I set the goal of spending 10-15 minutes reading a short thought provoking snippet from a devotional book in the morning and then writing my happy thoughts, worries, prayer requests etc. in my journal. I don’t know about you but I LOVE journaling. I find the process of writing down my thoughts and musings to be very therapeutic. 10-15 minutes may seem pretty piddly but remember, I’m trying to build a habit and I need to get consistent with a small amount of time before I can graduate to larger amounts of time.
Last week, I started listening to the audiobook The Gifts of Imperfection – Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown. The book is resonating so much with me, that I find myself spending more like 30-40 minutes listening to the audiobook and writing notes, so I’ve already doubled my initial time commitment of 10-15 minutes. Yay! If you’re not familiar with Brené Brown, watch her super popular Ted Talk about Vulnerability. It’ll rock your world…I promise!
At night, I don’t want the last thing I see before I go to bed to be a screen, so I either read my book about the life of Renoir or close my eyes and listen to the latest Mitford audiobook – Come Rain or Come Shine. I’m hoping to eventually increase my night reading to an hour but for now, I aim for at least 15 minutes so that I can build the habit.
Did you make goals at the beginning of 2016? How do you typically tackle them – via small steps or sweeping changes or a different method? Do you know more than one language? If so, what are your tips for learning a new language? How do you feel about journaling?