Blog #2. My Goals for 2017

 Photograph by Definitely Vegan

Photograph by Definitely Vegan

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways... and no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make a change" - Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror.

The start of a new year usually prompts people to think about their New Year's Resolutions and ideas for self-improvement. The same is true for me. Growing up, I thought it was part and parcel of New Year celebrations that you had to have a resolution, or you were doing something wrong. I always felt I needed to have an answer prepared if someone asked. "You don't have a New Year's Resolution? Isn't there anything you want to change?"

 Over the years I've had loads (losing weight, getting fit & not biting my nails) but come February they've lost power and I've returned to my old habits. At the time, I think part of me knew they were unachievable but I wouldn't admit it to myself.  I always thought "but this year will be different".  Why didn't I succeed? It's hard to say exactly, but it was probably a combination of low motivation, tiredness, lack of energy and laziness. The resolutions I had were poorly defined, unrealistic and not broken down into smaller steps. 

This time last year I set myself an experiment: not to eat meat for a month (at this point I didn't know Veganuary existed) and I did it! To be honest, the fact that I managed to do it surprised me as well as family and friends. Although it felt difficult at first, it was only a month and I was passionate about making that ethical choice. I noticed that I felt better (I didn't feel guilty anymore and my health appeared to improve) so I decided to continue the experiment after January. I think that was the difference... there was a real reason behind the motivation. In one of his latest Facebook Q&A's, Rich Roll said "the difference between motivation and purpose is having the passion for what's important" or something along those lines.

This year I'm choosing to focus on what I want in life and I have been thinking about these things for a while so I know I am passionate and motivated to achieve them. So here are my goals and experiments for 2017:

Improve fitness - At the moment if I work up a sweat I get out of breath really easily. I want this to change. I've signed up to the walk 1,000 mile challenge. Technically, that works out to 2.74 miles a day of purposeful walking which I'll do in the evenings. If I miss a day, no problem as I'll be doing some longer walks in pretty scenery at the weekends. Seeing the mileage mount up will give me the boost to continue. If I manage to do any other exercise (like swimming or yoga) that will be a bonus. By shifting my arse I know that I'll lose weight, my asthma will improve and I'll improve my stamina. I'll be starting this tomorrow with a 5 mile walk up Mam Tor in the Peak District and I'm excited to see the beautiful views!

I've also signed up for group PT sessions on the weekends. I haven't been before and working out with other people does make me a little nervous, but I'm going to commit to 4 and see how it goes from there. I know both of these fitness goals are achievable and I'm excited to get cracking!

Improve work life balance - This is a little harder to define and 'work-life balance' is probably not the right term, but I am super skilled at procrastinating and I want to be able to prioritise properly. If I'm honest, I think this avoidance is created due to anxiety about starting something new which I haven't done before. This means that if I have a deadline looming my self-care goes out of the window and I feel stressed, ridiculously tired and eating junk food for convenience as I have little time to look after myself properly. This is going to be a difficult one for me to work on and will involve me prioritising time and starting things sooner rather than later and not binging on Netflix. I guess I do also need to be more compassionate towards myself about those anxieties. After all, I have started difficult things before and managed to complete them!

So by prioritising whole plant based food (and batch cooking) this will leave me with time to work, exercise, clean and blog. I know that when I'm eating well and the house is tidy, I feel better in myself and motivated to study. I'll keep you updated with how I'm doing.

Blogging - I am enjoying sharing my journey with you all. Although it is a big step into the unknown (and a little exposing), it also feels useful and I'm going to be putting in the time and effort to see the site grow. To do this I'm going to make sure I post content weekly and I want to spend some time mastering the art of taking decent photographs (of food and nature). Rest assured though, I'll be posting regular content on Instagram!

What are your goals and experiments for 2017? How are you planning to achieve them? Let me know in the comments below :)

Happy New Year!

Definitely Vegan x