Saturday, 18 January 2014

New Year - can't quite...

Woman on couch thinking about New Year resolutions
I'm usually ready on January the 1st with a list of plans but this year I find myself wandering like a rudderless boat. Where to go? How to get there?

Lisa's brilliant post explores her motivations and ways of removing obstacles in order to achieve her goals for the New Year. I'm not sure if I am in a place to be able to dissect my own goals with such clarity. However, it's worth a shot. Let's give it a go then, using her framework.

1. Abstraction i.e. what are the overall, big picture urges?
The first thing that comes to mind is health. Somewhere vaguely hanging around my mind is the idea of growth, but I'm too tired and busy to contemplate growth at the moment, so let's just stick with the idea of 'Health' for the moment.

2. Next level of detail i.e. what do I mean?
Well, my physical and mental health could do with a bit of improvement. My spiritual health is okay, I think. My social well being is also okay, at a superficial level at least. (I'm using the Maori concept of holistic health; Hauora to unpack the idea of health.)

3. Obstacles i.e. as Lisa says, "It’s a waste of capacity to bash away heedlessly at what you want. Better to try as hard to remove obstacles as to set goals."
So, what is getting in the way of health?
·         Mainly, putting 90% of my energy into work. People have limited willpower and energy. I have been putting most of my mental and physical effort in one place, leaving not enough time or energy for anything much else. 
·         Also, a lack of routine. Habit is a brilliant way to deal with things like physical health, for example eating the same healthy breakfast each morning or going for a walk every Saturday morning.

4. Resolutions
Hmm... this is where I come a cropper. Putting less effort into work isn’t really an option as I do actually want to stay employed and progress within the organisation.
What to do? Or not do? What are the options?

Firstly, if I’m too busy, is there anything that I can not do? Well, no, I think I’ve already gotten rid of as much as I reasonably can.

Since moving to England, I've stopped a lot of things that used to consume my time. We have a small flat with no garden, I’ve pretty much stopped cooking (and don’t even buy food quite often enough) and cleaning (We do a burst every month or so... and keep the essentials like washing clothes going during the week). I don't volunteer any more. I have one hobby. Well, two if you count blogging, but that comes and goes according to busy-ness. Hmm... possibly three hobbies now I come to think of it... anyway, I do need to socialise a bit!

No, I don’t think there’s anything I can stop. So how do I manage to start some healthy things?

Well, I signed up to do a Dryathon (i.e. not drink alcohol) during January to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. This obviously has some health benefits, though I have been turning to chocolate or ice cream at times in place of a glass of wine.

I’m also avoiding red meat and processed meats i.e. bacon, chorizo etc. (Mmm... chorizo!). This is surprisingly restrictive for example when choosing a quiche, pizza or soup. Still, also healthy as these are things I particularly should avoid.

I have also gotten a bit more rigorous about walking 20 minutes each way to work even if it’s raining (hint, it’s always raining).

Still, it's not enough to actually lead to healthy. 

I think I've come to a standstill in my thinking here - any suggestions?


  1. Small steps are every bit as valid as grand. overarching goals.( I find much goal-setting overthought.) There are many other indicators of where we might focus our time next: our dreams, what is happening when we find ourself smiling, what it is for which we receive others' thanks. I used to teach this subject to corporate executives, and suggested they take a long walk and kick some leaves instead of going though laborious exercises to parse "the purpose of my life". The answer is simple and elegant, if we just stop to let it rise from within.

  2. Hmm... I like that idea of 'letting it rise from within'. I'll work on that one...

  3. Thank you so much for this.

    It sounds as though you might want to do something focused for exercise - if full body well-being is the goal. Yoga, Pilates, weight lifting, etc. That is what I have realized, that I have to do that next level for health in my 50s. So the personal trainer.

    And some of us have to overthink:).

    1. Yes, I've been saying I should get back to yoga for a year or so. And I have gym membership where they do yoga classes. I just need to get over the barriers to actually going!


I get really excited when I shout into the void and the void says "hello" back at me. Thanks for your comments!