“Most good things happen without a plan: friendships, falling in love, finding a job, and so on. If you want to make your new year count, you’ll need to be intentional — not by setting goals, but by making space in your life for what really matters.”
Hola friends! It HAS been a while hasn’t it?? Thank you to those who messaged and emailed – everything is all good and I’ve just been swept up in the waves that are the new year. I started work again last week which was crazy and as much as I was trying to not let it be a repeat of how I felt right before the break, there were some hairy burning-the-midnight-oil moments.
There has also been a few other medical things I have been dealing with which is why I am a little behind on the pregnancy posts – all is fairly well, but, let’s just say not ideal.
How have YOU been?? I’ve been lurking around a little bit and popping in here and there when I can, but I’ve actually missed this space. We have the Australia Day long weekend and I’m taking this time to get back to the simple things and remember what I decided to focus on this year.
That means nursery designing + healthy cooking + family time + books, oh the books! + worksheet focusing + dream planning
AND this is the first Weekend Reading post of the year!! Woohoo! And I have a few good things for you guys to settle in and read this weekend:
I know we’re well into the New Year now, but there is always time and room for a fresh start. Here’s a great post from Sarah at Yes and Yes about 13 ways for a fresh start this year. I’ve already started by getting rid of clothes I know I’ll never wear and *cough* never fit into again.
If you have never had a Tim Tam, then I am truly sad for you. A quintessential Aussie invention, it has seen me through many, many moments in my life and blown my mind when I discovered the Tim Tam Slam. And, if you’re in an indulgent mood, this Tim Tam Tart will get you going.
“The healthiest people were those who didn’t spend money that they hadn’t earned, to buy things that they didn’t need, to impress people that they didn’t like,” says Deepak Chopra. A funny, ten minute TEDMED video on his perspective on health and happiness. (via MindBodyGreen)
My hormones are all out of whack and I find myself with a slight crush on the most random of people. Especially those on TV. This post on TV’s hottest Dads made me grin and blush embarrassingly at the same time because there may have been moments in my life where I…errr…we’ll leave it there.
Um, it was slightly worrying that I could relate to ALL of what this woman was saying about pregnancy (including the purchase of the Snoogle!), but I’m not freaking out as much as she is (and kinda loving it). That being said, it’s an refreshingly honest article on how some women just really don’t like being pregnant.
“If you educate girls, you will change the world,” – a wonderful organisation (10x10act) released a preview of their new documentary Girl Rising at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this week. Here’s the trailer to see for yourself.
There was a moment on New Year’s Eve, once the clock had struck midnight, when I was alone.
I stood by the window of my bedroom, the sky illuminated in the distance with the shining coloured lights of the fireworks over my beloved Melbourne city. Everyone was downstairs, the sound of laughter floating up, glasses clinking.
I held my own glass of champagne (non-alcoholic of course and it tasted like balls!) (Just to be clear – NOT that I’ve ever…errr…ok stopping) and slowly sipped as I stood there. The baby kicked in protest of the bubbly liquid and my hand found the curve of my belly to savour the feeling.
The prophecy of 2012 as the Year of the Dragon being one of tumultuous change had come true. I was thinking back and I remembered 2012 being one of confusion and fogginess. I was – am still - at a crossroads with my career, I felt unfulfilled and sensed potential in myself that trembled at the whisper of making it real. I travelled – notably Sri Lanka – which perhaps came at a time where I put too much pressure on myself and that was just the thing I needed.
I felt like I was being swept away in this current of life and I couldn’t do anything about it except let it take me along. I felt defeated and small, my yearning to have a life of my choice slipping through my fingers.
Then – I made a choice. I wasn’t going to stop my life for the fear of others. It was a big decision and one that I honestly haven’t completely fulfilled yet – but for me I took the biggest step. I had been thinking of starting a family for a little while, and Evs, was just waiting on me. I always had a reason not to – I needed to lose that last 5 kilos, I wanted to get a promotion, we needed to travel more. Then I realised that I was chasing happiness in things that deep down I knew wouldn’t change a thing.
Being pregnant, preparing for this baby, took up most of 2012. I learned to accept my body as it changed. I’ve cried like my heart was breaking. I’ve laughed with the delight and wonder of experiencing something so new for the very first time.
I can’t sum up 2012 eloquently – too much happened – both good and bad. The world, prophesied to end, went on.
Am I selfish to say that I’m glad to see the back of it??
2013 offers me a new start. A blank slate. And how can I not embrace that?
Last year, I made a vision board to visualise my goals for the year. In the cockiness and glow of the new year, I feel like I went a little overboard.
Yes I quit sugar. (And fell off it again).
Yes, I (am) start(ing)ed a family.
Yes, I tried to be more assertive (and wimped out on more than one occasion).
But, I didn’t achieve everything. And that’s ok.
This year, I still intend to make one – but my heart feels like I need to simplify. Focus on the core things that will make me happy. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older that I feel like I don’t need so many THINGS to achieve, but more a general sense of wholeness.
I know I am an escapist – whether it be to books, blogs or other countries.
And so I have chosen a word that I will live my year by. I want this word to envelop me, to guide me and to lift me up.
With courage comes confidence. With confidence comes courage. The courage to chase my dreams, be the best person I can be, to not give up. To face the unknown of motherhood and LIFE with courage. To find my tribe of like-minded people that I can be courageous with, be myself with. To find a mentor to guide me.
I want to feel like this when the fireworks go off again and I stand by that window:
I wrote in my very first blog post that ‘hope, like happiness, is a decision which we make’, and I couldn’t advocate this more. This year I consciously made the decision to move more confidently in the direction of a life that made me feel more authentic, passionate, and creative. It was a choice. It was a standard that I had set for myself, and as Tony Robbins says “we always, always, live up to our standards”.
This year I learnt that anything is possible. Things happen if you make them happen. It’s all about hustle and heart. When we have a deep desire to create something in our lives which uplifts and supports, the Universe will always conspire with us to make it happen. Miracles and magic are everywhere. The key is to be open.
I am going to let myself believe in miracles, in intentions, in GOOD THINGS HAPPENING – but most of all I am going to believe in myself.
PS. I was sent a great e-book from a wonderful woman Shannah, about simplifying and structuring which I am currently reading that is giving me some ideas how to put some structure around my intentions because I do truly suck at that. I’ll do a full review of it soon and may have some copies to give away as well – so stay tuned!!
PPS. I’ve started up the FatMumSlim Photoaday challenge again for January. See here for full details and if you’re interested to join or follow along, I’ll be posting my pics on Instagram and my Facebook page.
If there was one word to describe your intentions for 2013 – what would it be?
This might not come as a surprise to many, given I haven’t really talked about it much here on the blog.
I, uh, kinda, haven’t really exercised.
As in since THE START OF THE YEAR.
I also haven’t quit my job, read more books and completed my Food Safari adventure.
I thought I was being all responsible and shit by taping my goals to the wall and announcing them to the world to see. But the reality has been a little different to what I envisioned for this year.
Fast forward – my inspiration board sits propped behind my computer monitor, I haven’t REALLY achieved much on my list and I still feel as lost as I did all those months ago.
Mistake #1 – I forgot that life gets in the way.
OR – shit happens.
Meaning that you can’t EVER plan for everything, despite your many goals and desires. I am happy that I have them there, but if there is anything the last few months have shown me, it’s that life keeps going and things get shuffled around.
Bigger priorities come into play and the little things don’t seem to matter so much anymore.
I’ve been feeling that same restlessness I had at the start of the year – difference is the level of optimism and motivation.
On Tuesday, Evs and I went down to the shops to run some errands. Before we embarked on a whirlwind of things, we sat in a little cafe, coffees in hand and an almond croissant between us.
I told him that I was feeling, for lack of better word, blah.
I told him that I don’t feel like I have an aim in life.
And he told me something, which made me realise why I married this guy in the first place.
He said - “You have been so focused on one path, on something that doesn’t even make you happy anymore. You have so many other options there – look around and do what makes you happy”.
Perhaps I got a little goal-happy with my inspiration board – not saying I don’t WANT to achieve everything I have there – I just think I need to redefine them a little.
Open my mind up to other possibilities.
Achieving goals is HARD. It takes patience and self-discipline – two things I struggle with constantly.
But sometimes to achieve these goals, I think it’s totally ok to step back and realise when things aren’t going to plan. To change direction slightly or to refocus your energy to keep that internal motivation going.
I have a few simple steps to help me refocus:
Revisit your goals and break them down into smaller more achievable tasks – Every little action or choice brings you that one step closer to your goal and it doesn’t seem as daunting.
Stop procrastinating – Quite funny since one of my goals WAS to stop procrastinating. Epic #FAIL. Just get started – making that first step will get you set in the right direction and create a momentum to keep you going forward. Often, it’s the first step that is the hardest to do. If it’s fitness related for example – make a deal – “Just do 15 mins”. More often than now, you will find that those 15 minutes will fly by and you can keep going. If you only do the 15 minutes – then you have done what you promised in the first place. Win-win.
Keep track of your progress – I am guilty of letting my goals slide and before I knew it, a few months had passed by and I had barely done anything. Having regular monitoring will keep you focused and moving in the right direction.
Reward yourself – set milestones and then incentives to reach them. I feel like it really helps to have that tangible reward to keep you going – for me, it could be spending money on new workout gear at Lululemon without feeling guilty or a trip to the salon to spend some moolah on getting my fugly toenails sorted. Find your sweet spot and WORK for it. It’ll make that reward feel even more well deserved.
Focus on the now, the things I can do RIGHT NOW and not worry about the future.
So for me this means:
Getting off my butt and into the gym. I have a membership languishing and it makes me feel so guilty with the waste. I’m going to sign up for a few races to keep myself accountable and give myself something to strive for. GO TO YOGA. Just MOVE.
Blog more. Write, make the time to write and develop this blog. Do it because it makes me happy.
Spend time with family and friends. My mother is still recovering and because I live so close, I know I can help her more. This also means helping my little brother out as well.
Don’t stress about work – do what I can, but know that I have other paths in life.
Be happy. Smile. Eat chocolate. Run outside.
Keeping it simple.
Have you ever refocused your goals or made new ones? How do you keep yourself motivated – share!
These didn’t even include the ones I secretly made to get Evs to watch The Notebook with me, make pho from scratch and finally try out a blunt fringe.
Me circa 2007. The last time I tried a fringe. (Taken at a uni ball, both of us quite…err…buzzed)
Big declarations indeed.
But out of the ones I did declare publically, the biggest and the scariest for me at this moment is the thought of quitting sugar.
You probably think I’m crazy.
(You’re not the first.)
But, the more I read about this, the more it made sense to me and I decided to go for it.
I’ve been reading Sarah Wilson’s blog for a while now – I read her column in the Sunday Life part of the newspaper all the time and I liked what I saw from her blog as well. So despite my reservations that forking over money to find out how in only 8 weeks I could quite sugar forever (and the clincher – lose weight!), I did buy her eBook and one fine morning sat down to read it.
And I didn’t stop until I was done. It was well written – nothing pretentious, simple, honest in the fact that it would be hard and this was what had worked for HER. But after all of it, the benefits outweighed the temporary hardships that might be encountered.
So Why Quit Sugar?
Sarah mentions that there’s a reason for what people term their ‘sweet tooth’. Since we were wee bubs, we have grown up with a deep sense of attachment to sweetness.
A deep emotional one and a physical one.
‘Treats’ were often in the form of candy and ice-cream that grew into that slice of cake when we wanted to celebrate or a block of chocolate to help us feel better when we were sad. Before you know it, it’s ingrained into our behaviour and our reactions.
Now, if you think about not having those ‘treats’ to supplement that attachment – it’s fucking scary.
Sarah also pointed out that we as a world are more overweight than we have ever been. We keep on eating low-fat food and joining gyms, yet we’re still putting on weight.
Why is that?
Maybe it’s not fat that keeps making us fat, perhaps we should be looking to something else.
Also consider this – did you know most food products touted to be low-fat actually contain a shitload of added sugar – even more so than their whole food version? They need to make up the taste somehow.
Now this I could understand. My near-forgotten Chemistry degree started to resurface as I remembered what the base chemical composition of what these different types of sugar were.
But before you start hyperventilating at the thought of giving up your agave-sweetened homemade oatmeal squares, Sarah makes it very clear – it’s fructose that’s what’s making us feel shitty (Um, which actually is in agave. Sorry).
The biggest and most astounding reason for this is that our bodies do not have a hormone that tells us when we are full from fructose. Every single other molecule does. That way we only eat what we need.
There is no ‘off-switch’ for fructose.
So we keep eating, and never get the hint that we are full. Ever had a chocolate bar and felt full from it?
Secondly, fructose converts directly to fat. I’ll link to a few sites here and here, but basically it’s not used upfront for energy purposes like glucose is. So it sits around, and if you’re not an active person anyways – it’ll not be good for you.
(But be informed about this – I’m no dietary expert or a medical practitioner, so this is just from reading and making an informed decision myself. Fructose in moderation is ok – when you’re in shape. It’s the added fructose that we don’t realise we are ingesting that makes it worse)
What made ME decide to go for it
I kept reading the book, past Sarah’s reason’s for quitting, past the things to ponder and then stopped.
I felt like I was almost watching an infomercial, with the presenter about to show me the miracle cure.
(I had a nasally American voice in my head as I was reading these. Have no clue why)
Do YOU get an energy slump in the afternoon?
Do you NEED something sweet after lunch or dinner?
How’s your stomach….bloated much?
Can you seriously eat one piece of cake…and walk away?
Do you often feel unclear?? Like you can’t get to what your head is really trying to say?
I found myself nodding to each of them. But to be practical, I am sure that any one of these could apply to anyone.
But nearly all??
Having battled bloating for a long long time (still don’t know the cause of it), my very well known love of devouring anything sweet in sight and the inevitable 3:30pm munchies – I never thought to make the connection between sugar and what I had been experiencing.
I was curious.
So I decided to take this seriously.
I didn’t think it could hurt to reduce my sugar intake – even if it was just for the purpose of getting to the point where I could cut the emotional connection to sugar.
If you’re seriously interested, I’d recommend you getting the book for yourself and reading it through. I plan on posting my progress here on a weekly basis, along with anything else that I might find relevant.
Four days into the new year and the thought on everyone’s mind is “What are YOUR New Year’s Resolutions??”.
After the stroke of midnight, when the drinks had been toasted and the party poppers popped and the fireworks adequately oohed and ahhed over, the question was raised. Sam put it out there in a sort of game-show host kind of way and we each went around in a circle declaring what it was that we wanted 2012 to be for us.
He got to me quicker than I expected, and I panicked, still drunk on the high of the disbelief that we were minutes into a brand new year and some very good champagne. I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head.
Silence followed and I nervously started to explain “…you see I read this book and it all makes sense…” I trailed off.
But, they had already moved on, laughing at my mother’s typical goal of wanting grandchildren-and-not-the-furry-kind with a pointed look at myself.
However, once the last person had left, the leftover food packed away, the dogs sufficiently cuddled and the final dish had been placed into the dishwasher, I started to think about the very public declaration I had just made.
WHAT had I been thinking?
You see, I’ve never been good with New Year’s Resolutions.
There is a very definitive type of pressure that comes with being a New Year’s Resolution – they’re all shiny and exciting and new with the hope and promise of helping you become a BETTER you, but more often than not by the middle of January they have been forgotten, left to the wayside to collect dust and guiltily be reminded of every time you looked into the mirror.
I, like most of the population that wake up on January 1, are sucked into making these resolutions.
And to be honest, I’m not good with goals of any sort really.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I have said “Right. Time to put on my big girl panties and just DO IT (Quoting from a very smug shoe/fitness apparel company)” and then, lasted for maybe a week.
So this time, I took my time with thinking about what I wanted out of 2012. Yes, I had made one very big resolution, and I decided to stick with it, but I spent the last few days mulling over them. One thing I did do was take a leaf out this girl’s book and create a vision board to encompass my goals and provide me with inspiration throughout the year.
Let’s see that in more detail shall we?
You probably can’t tell since I went a little overboard in the motivation and inspiration, but I have tried to categorise my goals for this year into three different areas. I kept it general for the board and have them actually written down in my notebook with a bit more detail on HOW I am going to achieve them.
Have you ever tried setting goals? For me it was eerily similar to setting my business objectives for the year for my Firm. Eerily.
Anyways, here they are (and again eerily like my plan):
In 2012, I will….
Read more books – I have been doing this pretty faithfully in these holiday-filled days but the Game of Thrones series is keeping me occupied at the moment. Can’t wait to finish and devour the rest of my unread books on my bookshelf.
Cook more stuff – Be more creative in the kitchen. Yep, this means restarting up my Food Safari adventures (I mean, look how quickly THAT faded!) and also learning to cook more Indian/Sri-Lankan meals.
Make my house a home – this means actually doing half the things I’ve been meaning to do in the house. Pinterest will be my main source of inspiration here.
Work on the blog – blogging is fun for me and I want to make this space of mine grow. So that means posting more often, for a start.
Be more open to opportunities – Say ‘YES’ more often, even if it takes me out of my comfort zone. I think this will be exciting!
Spend more time with friends & family – I’m guilty of not being a very good friend and family member and being content in my little bubble. I need to make the effort more.
Take breaks – and often – I learnt in 2011 how much fun it was to travel and get away. I mean to do that more this year, even if it is just discovering my own city. Already have leave booked in for May!
Think seriously about starting a family – haha this will definitely keep my mother happy, but I want to make sure that this year I at least think about preparing myself emotionally, physically and financially for the prospect of getting pregnant.
In 2012, I will…
Procrastinate less – REALLY need to work on this one. I ALWAYS leave things to the last minute and it stresses me out (even though I work best under pressure!) to get it all done in time. This actually leads to my next one…
Delegate more – I’m at a stage in my career where I have juniors working with me and more often than not I tend to do even the littlest things because I feel like I can do it better or it will take me less time. Again, this is more of a stress-relieving thing, but also to help them with their development so I can focus on the bigger things and not have to worry about doing a million things at once.
Be more assertive (and push for that promotion) – I’m a non-confrontational person when it comes to my job and I tend to take the slack for a lot of things. To move up, I need to be more assertive and push for my own worth. Hopefully that means a promotion in the coming year.
Seriously start thinking about changing careers – This might sound counter-productive to my previous goal, but more so than now, I’m thinking of changing things up. It doesn’t mean I won’t work hard, but it means I’ll be more open to what’s out there.
Look for more freelance writing work – This one. Wow. Where do I start? This desire, has been a hidden whisper in my heart since the day I could pick up a pencil. All the while I studied maths and science, my heart ached for literature and creative writing. I’d have done journalism at uni if I had my time again. Being older has made me realise that we need to acknowledge our dreams. Writing them down turns dreams into goals. And that’s what I intend to do this year. Dream Big. Chase it and work hard for it.
In 2012, I will….
Quit Sugar – to the point I don’t NEED it anymore. I have a plan to do this and I’ll be sharing it here. It’s ambitious I know, but I think I need to do it.
Complete the Body for Life program – I started this about this time last year and lasted for about 5-6 weeks. I lost inches and never felt better. I gave up halfway due to illness and I’ve been wanting to finish it completely. Again I’ll be documenting my journey here on this blog.
Attend yoga at least once a week – I fell in love with Power Yoga last year when I did it for six weeks and my vow to myself is to continue it this year on a regular basis. It helped me immensely to de-stress and have some time for just me.
Reduce meat consumption – this one surprised me actually. I’ve never been a vegetarian, but living at home before I was married I was since my mum is and she did all the cooking. I ate meat rarely then, only when I went out and the occasional McDonald’s burger. Perhaps it’s me getting older again, but I’m a lot more aware of what I put into my body and I naturally tend to lean towards a more plant-based diet. I eat meat because Evs does and I can’t be bothered making two meals. I hope to at least reduce the amount of meat I eat, and that I do, make sure it’s quality (free-range, organic).
Build up running stamina – Ok, so you all the know the story. This year, I’m taking it slow and going to rebuild my running stamina – injury free. IF, I can’t do this, my goal is to find another source of cardio exercise (e.g. cycling, Zumba, spin etc). I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t end up a runner, but I am going to try.
Walk the dogs every day – When we had our dog-whisperer over to tame the wild beasts we own, he said that 80% of the problems we face are due to the dogs not getting enough exercise. Toby, especially since he is young and an active breed needs exercise to stimulate him so he doesn’t get bored and destroy our yard instead. My goal is, if it ain’t raining – we take them walking. Hopefully we can do this as soon as we get home, so we don’t have a chance to make excuses once we’re parked on the couch
Ok, so that’s it.
No biggie. Seriously – it’s almost the classic Eat Healthy, Exercise More resolutions everyone has.
Yep – I know it’s a huge list, but I’m an optimist and I want this to be the year where I make things happen for myself. I’ve put my vision board on the wall in front of my desk so I see it every time I sit down. It’s a powerful reminder for me and hopefully it will help me keep on track this year.
I also put one of my favourite quotes into a frame I bought on my desk to give me an extra boost of motivation.
I’m excited for 2012. I have my goals, I have my board and I’m willing to give it a shot.