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.
Is it weird that when I wrote that, the first thing that came to my head was the conversation I heard on breakfast radio the other day while driving into work about Kegel exercises and how it is basically like stopping your…errr…flow??
Probably not as weird how the radio host went onto say how guys can also now do Kegel exercises (and if in your mind you’re as confused by that as I was, don’t fear. We’re still biologically different) and it’s comparable to holding in a fart. Apparently it does wonders in the bedroom AND you can do them without anyone even knowing.
Unless you do actually fart, then you’re screwed.
(But not in the good way either )
All class here folks.
But no, this is not what this post is about. (Unless you want it to be. I’m totally cool with it plus I know how to use Google)
And again, the first thing that comes into my head when I hear that is the far away booming voice of Captain Planet declaring “With your powers combined….I AM CAPTAIN PLANET!”
You deprived children you.
Captain Planet was all sorts of awesomeness back in the 90’s. I hear they are planning to bring him back via BIG SCREEN! Tell me you are excited!
Anyways, after my niggling knee injury which has kept me from getting high (runners high people), I was on the lookout for some other type of activity that I could do to heal my leg and work on those balance issues.
And then one day, sifting through the million and one emails I get every day from Groupon, Scoopon, Jump On It etc etc (is anybody else as obsessed with these deal sites like me??), I saw a deal for 12 classes of Power Yoga in South Yarra.
The catch – you had to use it up in 6 weeks – that is twice a week from the first class.
Yep, I’m a maths genius.
Now, I’m no commitment phobe, but I do have a tendency to flake out of things when things happen…wait…that’s basically the definition of someone who avoids commitment.
But, I decided that this was a sign from whatever higher being there is basically telling me to get up off my ass and take the opportunity to try yoga out.
So I did.
And I LOVE it.
I have been to two classes already in the last two weeks (and yes you sharp eyed people, that also means I’ve missed two classes. Both for very good reasons) and I’m kinda hooked.
Firstly, the yoga teacher has a body TO DIE FOR. Lean, strong and toned. If yoga does that to a person, then I am thinking this is a good thing.
Secondly, this yoga was HARD.
It’s a Vinyasa flow style of yoga which pretty much means that the movements kind of meld into each other in a flowing way.
The word Vinyasa actually means “breath-synchronized movement” and the teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to the next in time to your breathing. You can hold certain poses or perform a sequence (like a Sun Salutation sequence). It’s a lot more dynamic (thus sweat inducing and calorie burning!) then your meditative style of yoga and it can be done in a heated room as well.
The first time I got there, I was nervous. Nervous because I was wearing form fitting crop pants and I normally don’t wear these because, I DO think my ass looks big in them. All the other people there were also part of the deal but they seemed more relaxed and toned with small asses.
Just my observation.
Also, as I have mentioned before – I have horrible balance. So I had visions of me lumbering around the mat like an elephant while other people calmly moved from pose to pose and I spent most of the class lying on my back or tripping over my own feet.
We started off in Child’s pose and then moved onto the Sun Salutation sequence. Not expecting the constant flow of the series of poses, I found this to be harder than I imagined. All thoughts of cockiness that yoga was easy flew out of my mind as I moved from Warrior I to Warrior II and felt the burn in my thighs.
We did a few more poses that had me grinning and thinking sleazily “Ohhh yeah. THAT’s why they say yoga is good for the bedroom”(Frog Stretch and Plow pose anyone???).
It was actually really liberating to focus on nothing else but my breathing, holding the pose and just being relaxed. It forced me to remove all thoughts from my mind.
“The mat doesn’t lie” said the yoga instructor as she moved around us to occasionally adjust our pose or make us push that little harder.
“Everything you have out there brings itself in here.”
I struggled and sucked completely at all the balance moves (Tree, Dancer) to which she said was because I struggled with balance in my life.
It was DEEP, man.
It actually made me grit my teeth and try all the harder to perfect it and I’ve sworn a challenge to myself that by the end of the six weeks, I WILL do it.
By the time I left after spending an hour of bending myself into a pretzel shape with a warm, noodley-like feeling, drenched in sweat, it was, you might say – enlightening.
Well, let’s not go there yet, but I do have to say that I did enjoy it. It DID make me want to almost treat my body to this and feel for just a small moment in time that nothing else mattered but myself and my body. That no matter what was happening with my life, that I can come to this place and just BREATHE.
I may not turn into a tree-hugging, organic-cotton wearing hippie just quite yet (and no offense to those who are tree-hugging, organic-cotton wearing hippies) but I’m very thankful that I decided to take the chance to do this. It feels right.
And hopefully, by the end of it I can get some balance – both on and off the mat.
Have you ever done yoga before? If so, most hated pose? Forgive me if this is TMI, but Kegel exercises – yay or nay?
But in reality – it’s less guilt and more frustration.
Coz I’m never gonna run again…..
See what I did there? For the sake of writing that one line (which by the way has been stuck in my head for the last three days. Evs is on the verge of kicking me out of the house. It’s that and “Mooooooooooooves like Jagger”), I HAD to use that post title.
So why am I crooning away to annoying songs and feeling sorry for myself?
Well, because it seems my knee injury is not going anywhere. I tried to go for a very gentle 5k run on the weekend with Evs and it turned into a more 5k slow jog-excruciating pain-shuffle-walk-please-carry-me kinda of run.
It’s frustrating, because it means I need to start over.
Back to the walk-run combinations.
Back to the shorter distances.
I was asked how I got into running and while it’s not a hugely interesting story there’s a reason behind why I started to run.
I wouldn’t consider myself a runner – I’ve been doing on and off for the last few years and most of the time it’s a struggle for me to get the motivation to get out there and do it.
However, I started running more seriously when I kinda got jealous when Evs started training for a half marathon last year and the weight just melted off him.
I started off small – just a loop around my neighbourhood. I had to stop multiple times on the way and could barely run non-stop for even 1 kilometre.
Plus it never helped that there is this mofo of a hill right after I leave my house and I nearly pass out trying to reach the top.
Slowly, I continued this route (which was about 4.5km all up) and every time I noticed I was able to do more and more of the distance without stopping. I was getting faster.
I ran this about 3 times a week – and yes, the weight melted off me too (not much but enough for me to go DAAYYYM!).
Then, I got injured.
Evs and I were heading out for a run and about 1 kilometre away from home, I TRIPPED over myself, rolled my right ankle and skinned half my left knee off.
This may be the most ridiculous way of getting an injury but I never claimed to be perfect. Or coordinated it seems.
There was so much blood, and I had to use my socks to stem the blood flow before Evs and I hobbled back home.
So, even THINKING about running after that gave me some sort of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and I holed up, ignoring the plaintive looks my running shoes gave me (yes, it looked at me).
I forgot I had signed up for the 10k at the Melbourne Marathon and having run my longest distance of 7k only twice prior to the race, I nervously finished it.
And I realised why I ran.
The music in my ears, the rush of wind, the feeling that I was working my body and my legs are getting a really good stretch.
I zone out when I run, it gives me space from everyone to think and breathe and RELAX.
I believe they call that a runner’s high.
I call that a combination of lack of sleep, adrenalin and jelly beans.
The endorphins only lasted a week after the race and I lapsed into my slothly ways.
Since then, on and off, I’ve tried to run the distances and the speed that I was used to and failed.
Every. Single. Time.
It was too fast too soon. Too long too soon.
And thus I got injured again.
So, this is a huge lesson in humility and patience.
I’m starting over.
A great program for beginner runners is the Couch to 5k program. It eases you into running through a walking/run sequence and by the end of 9 weeks you can run 5 kilometres non-stop. You can even do it on the treadmill if you so desire.
There’s a really good podcast you can download and a free iPhone/Android app to help you along the way as well.
I’m not going to be following this program strictly per say, but using the principles of the program to get myself and my leg ready again.
Also in the meantime, I have consulted my sister (who just so happens to be a Physiotherapist. SCORE!) and she believes it’s a balance issue. And that makes sense.
So I am taking up yoga for the next 6 weeks or so and also will be incorporating some more strength workouts (I miss lifting weights!) and other forms of cardio.
Slowly, I know I’ll get back up there.
Anyone interested in giving the C25k challenge a try – let me know! We can do this together
Ever tried running? Yay or nay? What’s your fave form of cardio (and shopping and going to the fridge multiple times totally counts too!)
So it’s been a little quiet around these parts. Not for any lack of things to say, but more for the lack of time to say it all.
How do people do it?!
I have the best intentions, but never the fail-proof plan to get them through.
Anyways, enough wallowing. I am sure y’all glad I am back. I could almost hear the crickets chirping around this place!
So what have I been up to since the weekend?
Well I joined the gym.
Wait – you knew that already.
Ok, so I WENT to the gym.
I’m loving my weights and my body is sore and aching and I can’t sit on the toilet some days because my quads are burning. But I am loving it – more details on this exercise adventure soon.
Evs and I also made the second recipe from our Food Safari adventure – Malaysian Laksa.
It was..wait for it…holy yum DELICIOUS! Pics and recipe to come soon.
I got my first fitting for my bridesmaid dress as well.
Can I just stop and say that my friend is fucking genius. It’s barely started, but I can see the vision she has and this dress is going to be amazing.
However, since I have not been blessed with typical Asian tiny-ness genes, I will be filling out that dress like nobody’s business.
Beyonce, watch out.
I have a booty and am not afraid to use it.
I have also been spending a fair amount of time at my parent’s place, helping my little brother with tests and preparing for interviews. That boy is growing up so fast that I can barely remember when he was curly haired toddler wobbling around the room.
I made a zucchini-carrot cake/slice thing last night in an effort to make a healthy dessert.
It was pretty good.
But it might have something to do with the fact that I slathered it with my favourite cream cheese frosting which contains like 2 cups of icing sugar.
I was in a slight sugar coma last night after literally eating spoonfuls of frosting from the bowl because I had clearly overestimated the amount I’d need.
Wayyyy too much than this little healthy dish could take.
But extremely delicious.
Let me know if anyone wants the recipe. Was easy to make and I even used Whole Wheat flour and Evs didn’t even notice (he hates it when I ‘experiment’ with my weird healthy food shit and try and substitute everything with something healthier. But ha! He actually liked this cake. And I swear it had nothing to do with the frosting.)
I have so many ideas buzzing at the moment, some exciting decisions that I am thinking about making and just general happiness.
Life is good
Ever try substituting an ingredient for something healthier?? What song are you currently loving?? (Random I know, but my playlist needs serious updating)
I am so sore. And while it seems every blog post I am writing these days is starting off like this – I actually have a reason besides Miss Jillian for the source of my discomfiture.
We had a lovely 4 day-weekend which was the height of laziness for me. Well, not quite. I did manage to do some things in between catching up with episodes of Mad Men (Oh Roger Sterling – I HEART you) and SYTYCD like finding my own way in Wan Chai to go apply for my Vietnam visa, looking for places where I can go get my shots taken (a most frustrating exercise indeed), go for multiple walks in the neighbourhood whereby I turned into a sweat puddle every time I stepped outside (which also entitled me to a tub of frozen yoghurt every time I went for a walk. Whaaat? I need some incentive) and actually cook a meal at my apartment for the first time in 2 months.
I also took the chance to step away from the computer as much as I could and just…chill.
Oh – and go wakeboarding. Twice.
I am not sure why it took me so long to go do this, but it was an amazing experience. I am now living in jealousy that people in HK can do this sport pretty much for most of the year. I went with Jups and her friends on Friday and again on Sunday evenings.
If you don’t know what wakeboarding is, imagine this – a tranquil place outside of the hustle and bustle of the city where people spend their days lying in deck chairs, shirt off, skin glistening in the sun. Children run around scrabbling in the wet sand while elders watch indulgently and others collect crabs and drop them, squealing into a bucket. Dogs roam around lazily, lapping water from wherever they can get it or lie in the shade motionless except for the occasional swish of their tail to shoo away a bothersome bug.
The water stretches out as far as the eye can see and boats of all sizes and purposes bob gently in the waves. A speedboat breaks the quiet for a moment and roars around edges of bay and then comes to a crawl as it nears the pier.
A man jumps out – shirtless, tanned and lean. He is our speedboat driver and wakeboarding instructor Kwan. He motions for us to leave our shoes at the pier and hop into the waiting boat.
I am nervous, because of the notorious motion sickness I get and I wear my sea-bands, but my fears are washed away as the ride is smooth. And fast. The water is calm and perfect for wakeboarding.
We eventually stop and get ready. A wakeboard is similar in shape and size to a snowboard with attached boots that you slip your bare feet into. To enable this, the inside of the boots are squirted with soap. A life-jacket is also worn and gloves as well.
Yes I look like a fly But I'm on a boat! And not throwing up!
When it was my turn I pushed myself off the back of the boat and was slightly surprised to taste the saltiness of the water. For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to me that we were out in the ocean. It had really been that long. I floated around like a turtle on its back, holding onto the handle of the thick rope, which is attached to the boat while Kwan moved the boat into position.
I spent the first day on Friday with only one goal in mind – to get UP onto the wakeboard. And I did
The trick to it is to relax and actually let the momentum of the boat pulling you to actually pull you up and onto the surface of the water. I was invigorated enough by the experience to want to try it again on Sunday. Thought that it would be easy enough since I had managed to get up just a few days earlier.
But I couldn’t.
I must have face planted at least ten times over the course of the evening. It was frustrating to say the least. There is this feeling that when you are actually up on the board and can hold your balance –the boat speeds along and you just go with it. You skim over the waves, the board so light.
It feels like flying.
And that feeling was so close, the more I tried to hold onto it and yet every time it would slip through my fingers and elude me.
Jups and her friends made it look so easy which made me even more determined to do this.
Kwan – hotness
At this point, evening was fast approaching, light was fading and I knew I had limited time before we had to turn back. Jups was kind enough to let me go first while there was still the last of the light (in her words she likes the dark anyways ).
I face planted a few more times and floated around waiting for the boat to come around yet again, dejected. I was tired. But I wanted to do this.
I decided to have one last turn, before giving up. I tried to remember everything Kwan and Jups had told me to do. Relax. Bend your knees. Get up quickly and straighten your back to keep your balance. And SMILE.
So that very last time, I got ready. The boat pulled away and I held onto the handle. Knees bent. Relaxed. The boat sped up and I moved along with it. Suddenly I felt myself upright and nearly shitted (shat?) myself. I was UP!
I quickly straightened up to the sounds of cheering from the back of the boat. I can’t even describe to you how it felt. The waves rushed up beside me, spraying me with sea water. My hair whipped around me in the wind, my arms strained against the rope, my legs shook with the effort but I couldn’t help but grin. The sun set behind me, slowly casting the water in darkness.
I was flying.
Me – finally wakeboarding
(click for bigger picture – courtesy Jup’s Blackberry )
Have you ever done any water sports? What’s the closest feeling to flying you have had?