Confessions, confessions!

I have a confession to make: I like to set goals. I like the feeling I get when I accomplish goals, which I think it pretty universal for most people. The part that might not be as popular is the goal setting and the daily work it takes to get to those goals. I like all three parts. Of course, I do not like not accomplishing my goals, and I feel like dealing with this is the hardest part of goal setting. 

I have another confession to make: Goal setting is exhausting! I am so Type A it's not even funny, which I know drives my constant need for planning, setting goals, changing things up, and attacking the day, but sometimes (and lately often) it can just be so tiresome. I also over-analyze just about everything. I look into things too much and the only thing it generally results in is driving myself crazy. I bring all this up because it's April 1st, a new month, I finished my elimination diet, which took all of February and March, and I started to plan new goals. THEN I started to wonder about whether that's actually a good idea or not. 

For example, when I joined Weight Watchers, I was SO DETERMINED! I tracked EVERYTHING for about 18 months consistently. I set goals/rewards at 5 lb intervals and in 1 year I lost 52 lbs! All of it worked, right? Right. Then I maintained and focused more on fitness goals and that was a lot of fun. I stopped tracking regularly because I thought, do I really want to track for the REST OF MY LIFE? Things were going great with all aspects of my life and then I think it all took a toll in December of 2013. 

Between work stress (we went through A LOT OF CHANGES at work, not knowing job responsibilities, etc.), finishing my last semester of grad school, planning a wedding, juggling two new car loans, and hell, it was Christmas time, all accumulated when two things happened: I fell out of the blue when running and I dropped a giant Pyrex bowl on the kitchen floor. Those two things probably don't seem related but they were the 2 red flags that something was wrong. As you all know, that was what led to my diagnosis of Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). I think all of that led to me feeling EXHAUSTED.

Now, Tyler and I are both very driven, determined people who thrive on being busy and having purpose. I think that's one of the reason we work so well together. We love feeling accomplished. While that is true about 90% of the time, we also like to hang out too and just veg on the couch or have a lazy day. In the 4.5 years we've been together I think we have had a lazy day maybe twice together not including being sick, which has happened twice when we both had pneumonia and influenza at the same time. I think one of those lazy days was because we were hungover too. So they do not happen often together, normally we each might have a lazy day independently from one another on a day we don't work or something. Anyway, my point is we like to be busy and have purpose.

Ultimately, what I am debating is whether I work best when I set goals, have purpose, am busy, and so forth, or whether I would benefit from less structure. When everything piled up in December of 2013, I told myself I needed less on my plate. I gradually reduced my time working at Weight Watchers until I quit completely. I stopped tracking my food. I started to change my workouts to focus only on running and yoga. I had more "lazy days" that were unplanned. I graduated. We got married. I have found various ways to cope with PsA. And now it's April 2015 and I still "feel" just as stressed out even though many of those events are over. There is less on my plate and I would not say I am happier or less stressed out or less anxious. I have gained 10 lbs and lost some muscle tone. I go back and forth between trying to accept those changes and not be too hard on myself, recognizing that PsA makes it harder for me to be as active or as productive because I am sore and exhausted all of the time, and instead telling myself to just get over it; that even though this chronic illness makes things harder for me, it doesn't mean I should just give up and succumb to comforting myself with food and old episodes of Friends and stop moving my body all together. 

As I reflect, I realize I need BALANCE. I enjoy pushing myself to the limit. It helps me to feel alive and confident and happy. I am recognizing that I do think that I am happier when I am busy, my life is full of purpose, and my days are spent performing well at work, taking care of myself, and spending time with those I care about most. The caveat to that is I think I do need planned days (or half days) where I spend time on my own and do things I want to do. I need PLANNED rest in between all this "go getting" to replenish my energy stores so I do not get to the point of exhaustion.

So what will that look like? I think it's goal setting time!

For the next 2 weeks (4/1-4/15) I will:
1. Track my food and activity everyday using the WW app
2. Include 2 of the following activities in my day: standing instead of sitting during meetings, getting up and walking for 5 minutes every hour, talking a walk at lunch, parking further away, taking the stairs, desk yoga, etc., walking the dog
3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes 4x/week minimum (this includes: hiking/walking, spinning, biking, yoga, strength training, swimming)
4. Take time for me every week. This will include setting aside a few hours per week for me to do something (or not do anything) for myself. #2 and #3 are ways I can take time for me DAILY. If the workout needs to be just a really light walk then I will listen to my body. If I need more meditation than yoga, I will listen to my body. 
5. Do one nice thing for other people every day. This can be as simple as having someone over for dinner or drinks or just the hang out, sending someone an email or text telling them how much I appreciate them, giving someone flowers, or baking cookies for my coworkers

What I like about these goals is that I think they will help my mind, body, and spirit. Planning for taking care of my spirit is sort of a new concept for me, but I recognize how important it is. On April 15th I will evaluate these goals and either continue them or make new ones. Now, to get started!

Enjoy your day! 


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