Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Being Resolute

First, it feels good to be writing again. While I agree we all needed a break, but I’m glad we’re back at it.

Looking over the past year, I think I did pretty well achieving what I’d set out for myself. My first goal was to move out into my own place. I had planned to do this around February or March, but due to some minor (but costly) medical tests, that was delayed until October. I moved to north Seattle, cutting my commute time to about a quarter of what it was. There’s a nice area to take Toby out to and it’s a lot more convenient to everything.

My second goal was to expand my social circle. Strictly speaking, I achieved this as well, but not as much as I had hoped. I made more friends at work and have gone out with them on occasion. I have stayed in touch with some of my friends in my grad program as well. Finally, I met some great folks in the running group I joined in August. I would have liked to have done more though. Maybe 2012 will be different.

My third goal – improve my health – was a great success. I joined Weight Watchers in January. I’d had success with WW before, so I hoped it would work well this time. Between January and June, I lost 20 lbs. More importantly, I kept it off (except for a couple pounds that jumped back on around the holidays – I blame my Italian in-laws for that one!) In March or April, I began running. This is something that I’d always wanted to do, but never had the stick-to-it-ness needed. I joined a group of colleagues in a weekly run. Over the summer, I started up with the Seattle Green Lake Running Group and found myself running on Saturday mornings. I even did two races – the 10K Dawg Dash to support University of Washington Scholarships in October and the Seattle Half Marathon just after Thanksgiving. While I didn’t do as well in the half marathon as I would like, I finished and now I’m hooked. I’ve alread signed up for a second one and am seriously considering two others in the coming year. So, I feel that 2011 was a very successful year.

Unlike my fellow bloggers, I feel that it is very important to list my goals here. This keeps me accountable. Had I not written my goals in this blog last year, I don’t know if I would have been so successful in achieving them.

I have two running goals. The first is to PR in a half-marathon this year. If I’m healthy, this shouldn’t be too hard. I hurt my knee five miles into the race and hobbled along the rest of the way. Ideally, I would like to break 2 hours, 30 minutes, but anything shorter that the 2:55 I did would make me happy. The second is to run a total of 500 miles for the year, which is an average of about 10 miles a week (taking into consideration recovery time after races.) Last year, I ran a little over 200 miles, but my training was very inconsistent and I took long breaks. I’m hoping having this goal will help me stick to my training schedule.

My household based goal is to work on purging a lot of the stuff I have and don’t need. When I moved from NYC, I took a lot of stuff that I thought I needed. Turns out, after four years in storage, I realize that I don’t need a lot of it. Also, with my Kindle, a lot of the books I have I don’t really need anymore. So the Goodwill and Half Price Books will be my friends this year as I try to pare down the stuff I have accumulated.

Finally, I want to be more social. I know this is the same as last year, but I don’t feel I did a great job at it. I’ve started branching out and moving closer to the city has helped.  I’ve made friends through running and I would like to get involved in some other activities that can only help.

Here’s hoping that 2012 will be as productive as 2011 was for me!

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Revisiting Resolutions

It’s my turn to evaluate how I’ve done on my resolutions so far this year. Technically we should have done this a month ago – closer to an actual halfway point – but alas, here we are.

I had three goals for this year:

Goal #1:  Move out to my own place

So, this hasn’t happened yet, but it should within the next two months. Due to some unexpected medical bills (nothing serious, don’t worry!), I ended up using my security and pet deposits to pay those off. It turned out to be to my advantage that I stayed where I am to get this stuff taken care of, so I don’t count this as a failure. I am in the process right now of looking for an appropriate place and hope to move out around the beginning of September or October, depending on what I can find.

Goal #2: Expand my social circle

I suppose this is a minor success. Since I started a new job last September, I’ve met a lot of new people. However, it wasn’t until January or so that I actually started to get to know any of them. I volunteered to chaperone a weekly ski trip and met several of them that way. I also became a part of a couple of committees that has broadened my social horizons. The major hurdle, however, continues to be the distance that I live from the city. Twenty miles doesn’t seem like that far, but when you have to drive all the way home to let your dog out, you don’t feel like driving back that twenty miles that evening to go out with friends. Moving closer will help. I’ve also recently joined a running group and hopefully will make some new friends there.

Goal #3:  Improve my health

This has been a great success at this point. There are two main parts to this goal – weight and fitness. I joined Weight Watchers in January and stuck to the plan with fidelity for at least four months. I got really good at making various soups for lunches which I loved. The crock pot became a very good friend.  Prior to my recent trip east, I had lost 19 pounds. I’m not quite to my goal, but summer is difficult for me to stick with any real diet because I get bored and there is food around. So, I’m not expecting any great gains during the summer – I’m happy to hold steady. Come September, though, we’re back to game on.

The second part – fitness – has also been a big success. I started a Couch to 5K running program back in March. At first, I was only able to run for about two minutes and walk for two minutes. Before long, I was able to run for thirty minutes straight. I was up to 4 miles when I first got to New Jersey in early July. However, due to the unbearably warm temps in the east, the lack of time while traveling, and lack of place to run, I slipped back a little bit, but I’m building back up again. I have signed up for the Seattle Half Marathon in November and I will continue to work with my running group when school gets back in session. So, I’d say it’s a success, but still room to keep going!

I think I’ve done a pretty good job so far this year. We’ve got five months left to complete them, so maybe we’ll do a recap in December before making our new goals!

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(title should be sung as “Tradition!” from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”…because that’s what popped in my head as I was sitting down to write my post today).

So Isabel’s post yesterday kind of took the wind out of my sails. Generally, I don’t make resolutions either. While I agree with Isabel’s stance of making a change when you’re ready and not just because it’s a new year,  if I want to be honest about it, my reason for not making New Years resolutions is because I know I’m not going to keep them, so why set myself up for disappointment? With that kind of attitude though, it’s hard to get anywhere. So I’m going to go against my normal practice and make some full on resolutions this year. Here goes:

Exercise: Quite possibly the most common New Year’s resolution. And quite possibly one of the most failed New Year’s resolutions. However, I feel I have a leg up on my exercise resolution. Several weeks ago, I started doing pilates and I’m really enjoying it. Unfortunately, with the craziness of the holidays, I got a bit off track in the last two weeks. I’m back at it THIS WEEK, rather than waiting for next week.

My other fitness-related goal is to start running. Here too, I have a bit of an advantage. I already told a friend I would do a 5K for one of the Breast Cancer charities this year. It’s one thing to go back on one of my resolutions, but it’s an entirely other matter to not uphold a commitment I made to someone else. I hope this commitment will be the motivation I need to get into a regular running program. But to help keep me in that frame of mind, I started reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougal.

Cook: I’m beyond tired of my dinners of pasta and garlic bread or cereal or PB&J. It’s time to start expanding my repertoire, and maybe even get to a point where I have multiple side dishes with my entrée. It’s a crazy notion, but I think it might be just crazy enough to work. I’m going to shoot for making a big dinner on Sunday, and have enough for lunch and leftovers for a day. If I can do that, and 2-3 more meals a week, I’ll be happy.

Patience and Temper: I’m not always a patient person. I also have quite the temper. I’m going to work on reigning in both this year. I know I’m not going to turn into Mother Theresa overnight, but if I can keep myself in check a quarter of the time more than I’m doing now, I’ll figure that’s pretty good progress.

I think that’s a good start. Like I said before, I don’t make resolutions so because I know I’m not going to keep them. I think these are pretty reasonable, and certainly attainable. I think the one that has the highest chance of failing is the cooking resolution, but I should be able to handle three meals a week.

To keep myself honest, I’ll use one of my free posts in a few months to report back on my status.

For all of you who make resolutions, good luck fulfilling them! And best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy New Year!

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