New Year, New Challenges

I have been meaning to sit down since the beginning of the month to blog about my goals for 2016.  However, I have been feeling the constraints of time, exhaustion, and just plain uncertainty about the goals I want to set for this year.  Last year felt like it had a completely different “flavour” than this year: I was hugely focussed on fitness, being healthy, expanding my social circle, taking time for myself, and basically becoming better integrated into my new life in my new surroundings.

This year, however, feels much different.  I feel like I am in constant battle with myself over my life decisions and choices.  I have been questioning whether or not I am in the right field of my career; I am struggling with maintaining an adequate work-life balance; I have a new baby on the way and I am both excited yet scared about what this will mean for my family… this list goes on. With all of these thoughts and challenges swirling around in my mind, it is hard for me to focus in on specific goals that would help to “make me a better me.”  Not only that, but I am finding it difficult to set realistic and measurable goals in the midst of all this mental turmoil: After all, a goal of “figure out what I want out of life” is not a helpful, measurable, or realistic goal.

As a result of this year’s “different flavour,” I am going to use a different format for setting out my goals.  Last year I set 11 goals and organized them according to categories like Health, Personal, Family, Misc.  Goals that were successful for me last year included: running a half marathon, meeting new friends, engaging in other fitness activities aside from running, reading 12 books in the year, and making more meaningful time for my husband and kids. Those are all goals that I would like to strive for again, maybe with slight modifications.  This year I will have a completely difference scheme: First, I will have some overall year long goals, and then I will have some goals organized as pre- and post- baby goals.  I hope to revisit goals every month to check on in their progress and to modify them as needed.  At he post-baby mark, I will reassess all the goals to see how I am doing.

Have Realistic Expectations


  1. Complete unfinished tasks:
    1. Baby birth record cross-stitches:  I started making E’s birth record cross stitch back when I was still pregnant with him (yes, 4 years ago).

      Little E’s Birth Record

      For various reasons, it keeps falling onto the back burner and it has always been a source of guilt for me.  A had his done before he was born, and it was twice as big and much more intricate.  While this is no time for excuses, I will say that I was not in medical school when I was pregnant with A, nor did I have a busy toddler running around and competing with my time.  This year’s goal is to complete E’s cross stitch birth record (hopefully before Baby Girl arrives) and also make one for Baby Girl.  Goal Deadline: End of my maternity leave (still TBD but likely before the end of 2016).

    2. Decluttering: I started reading the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

      Started but never finished

      I love the idea behind it, and I did manage to declutter my closet sometime back in the summer.  It made me feel great and I only wished I had more time to concentrate on decluttering.  I am going to make it my goal to do more decluttering.  The biggest challenge is that you need to set aside a significant amount of time to get this done.  I will have to do it in stages, but with being off call in a few weeks and then a maternity leave, hopefully I will have a little more time to dedicate to decluttering my home. I realize this is somewhat of an “unmeasurable goal,” but I will do my best.  Goal Deadline: Ongoing.

    3. Anxiety Management: Another “project” I started in 2015 and never completed was my Mindfulness and Anxiety Workbook.

      Another project to finish

      I did find the exercises in this book to be beneficial and I would like to continue working on them.  I have noticed my anxiety levels starting to creep up again and I want to get ahold of them while they are still manageable.  I am only about 1/3 of the way through the book.  Ideally I would like to finish it before baby arrives, but I feel that is quite unrealistic.  Goal Deadline: December 31, 2016.

  2. Self Care and Fitness:
    1. Meditation: I love my meditating app, Headspace.  When I was actually taking time to use it regularly, I found that I did feel more calm and less overwhelmed.  I don’t know if it was meditation alone that did this, but there have been proven benefits to mindfulness and meditation, so I am going to make it a goal this year to meditate regularly.  I only have 6 more call shifts before I am officially off call.

      I need to finish this series of meditations

      Until then (middle of February), My goal is to meditate every day that I am not on call.  Once I am no longer on call, I will make it my goal to meditate every day.  These are 15 minute sessions, so there is no excuse for me not taking 15 min a day to dedicate to myself.  I believe this will be a challenging goal for me because since the beginning of January, I have used the app twice.  Goal Deadline: Ongoing.

    2. Regular Exercise (Post-Baby): Baby Girl is due to arrive in the middle of May.  It is my goal to get back into a regular walking/running routine within 1 week of delivering baby.  This means that I will start walking regularly (at least 3x/week) either outside or on the treadmill until my body is sufficiently recovered to start jogging and running again. Goal Deadline: Must start once Baby Girl is 1 week old.
    3. Run a 10K race before the winter: Originally, I thought I would want to try and run the 5K or 10K race in the mountains that is associated with the half-marathon that I ran last year at the end of May.  I realized however, that this is likely very unrealistic.  Even if I was sufficiently recovered from pregnancy and child birth to run any meaningful distance, would I really want to drive 4 hours to the mountains with a newborn baby and the other members of my family for this goal?  It seemed like setting that goal would just add more stress to my life.  Instead, there is another Mountain race that I participated in a few years ago that takes place in September.  While I would like to hopefully be prepared to run a 10K sooner than 4 months post-partum, my official 10K running goal will be to run this mountain race in September with a time of 1:00hour or less. Goal Deadline: September 2016.
    4. Nutrition/Post-Partum Weight Loss: With baby #1, I did a horrible job of losing weight post-partum (despite breastfeeding for 14 months). With baby #2 I did an amazing job of losing the weight and was down below my pre-pregnancy weight within 6 months.  This time I am hoping to lose weight like I did with baby #2.  M hope is to do this with a combination of breastfeeding, regular exercise (see above goals), and nutritional awareness.  Last time I joined Weight Watchers.  Perhaps I will do this again.  Goal Deadline: Initiate within 1 week of Baby Girl’s arrival, then ongoing.
    5. TaeKwonDo: This activity was something I really enjoyed doing in 2015.

      2015 Taekwondo Success

      I have taken a break from it now with the pregnancy and it is my goal to get back into in once Baby Girl is here.  Since starting in January of 2015 until I started my Hiatus in December, I completed 6 belt levels!  It was also a great activity to share with my kids, who are now both doing TKD.  I will be starting up again at the “blue stripe” level when I return.  I don’t yet know if we are going to continue TKD through the summer months or not, but it is my goal to resume TKD and attain 2 more belt levels before the end of the year.  Goal Deadline: Red Stripe Belt by Dec 31, 2016.

  3. Personal Goals:
    1. Quality Family/Kid Time: I am making it a priority to spend more meaningful time with my kids and my husband.  Not only does this mean “finding” more time to spend with them, but it also means being more present in my time with them.  The biggest challenge to this is the existence of my cell phone.  I have already tried (with great difficulty) to not use my cell phone while I am with my kids.  This will be an ongoing challenge.  I also want to make sure I am setting aside time to “do” more activities with them instead of just watching movies with them or “supervising” their play.  Ideas for this goal will be a work in progress and will hopefully get easier once the weather is nicer and once I am more able bodied after this baby vacates my uterus! Goal Deadline: Ongoing.
    2. Find Meaning and Balance in my Work Life.  How’s that for the most vague and uncertain goal of 2016?  I anticipate that this year will involve a lot of soul searching and questioning myself about my career choices and how they affect my family life.  I can say with confidence that I am not happy right now.  I need to get off of this treadmill of putting up with the unhappiness and find solutions.  If a solution is changing career paths, then I need to come to terms with that decision and just make it.  If the solution is making changes in my current career situation, then I need to put aside the roadblocks I have set for myself (like length of my maternity leave, for example) and allow myself to be satisfied with that decision.  I don’t really know how to measure this goal, but I do know that something in this realm needs to change.  Goal Deadline: Ongoing
    3. Blogging: I love blogging and I find it to be extremely enjoyable and therapeutic.  I have really let blogging fall to the wayside and I need to stop doing that.  This year I will make it a goal to blog at least twice a week. Goal Deadline: Blog (at least) twice a week, all year.

If you made it to the end of this blog post, thanks for being so attentive to my long winded goals!  Wish me luck in my endeavor to accomplish these goals.