For as long as I can remember I have been goal orientated, maybe it started with the lure of those gold stars at school. From focusing on achieving good grades, to aspiring to a
good excellent performance rating at work, to setting targets on recovery, I have always been motivated by achieving results. I currently have goals for writing, fitness, health and refurbishment. Every week I plan my diary around what I WILL achieve. For example, my weekly targets are: 15 hours of writing, four circuit training sessions, and one yoga session. I then schedule all my ‘dull’ stuff, such as domestic nonsense (I even have targets for cleaning!) and ‘fun’ around this. And I also like knowing that the coming months will include new experiences, maybe something cultural to look forward to, or our next travel adventure planned, or a weekend with friends booked.
I know, I sound bonkers don’t I?! But this is how I have always run my life; I am schedule woman; I love nothing more than projects and targets. (Yes, I am confident I have control issues.)
And my husband is the same: he has goals for fitness, health, learning Spanish, travel, career and other personal development areas. In fact, I think he is worse than me – he has his targets on spreadsheets.
But despite our love of goals and targets, we don’t set any specific new year resolutions – we like to think of ourselves as work in progress; as continuous improvement projects (although for all the years of improvement work, I am not sure how improved we are!)
Although, the new year has been a point of reflection for me, I am essentially happy that I am focusing on the right areas of my life, that I don’t need to make any bold new resolutions for 2012.
There is a niggle at the back of my mind that this means I am not being audacious enough in what I’m going after, but I think after such big health challenges, I have become more cautious, more comfortable with taking baby steps. And experience has taught me that small incremental changes are more sustainable.
It is after all the baby steps that have got me to this place of recovery. And it is this approach that I intend to use to carry on moving forward. Or maybe it is also because there just isn’t an obvious problem that needs fixing; my life is pretty damn good. And I am privileged to have the support – financially and emotionally – from my husband to continue to build my new life at a pace that suits me.
And actually, this is probably my biggest challenge over the coming months: finding my ‘normal’. But what a difference a year makes, this time last year I signed up for the Chrysalis Effect Recovery Programme and began the journey (too cheesy?!) that has got me to this place of wellness; recovery is no longer my ultimate goal, because essentially I am strong and healthy again.
But – and there is a but – my version of strong and healthy may not be yours. There are still some residual limitations, such as, I need 10 hours sleep a night, I seem to need more down time than other people need, I need balance and regular relaxation, and I need a good diet. But when I stick to my ‘normal’ I feel really well – it is when I try to fit in with other people’s ‘normal’ that I wobble. And I am still in the early stages of this new life, I am still trying it on for size, working out what suits me best.
My body went through a monumental breakdown and it is my responsibility to treat it in the right way now it is strong again, to prevent such a breakdown from ever recurring. Rationally I know we are all different, but I get drawn into comparing myself to those around me, and worse, being drawn towards ‘shoulds’. But I know I need to live my life my way to stay healthy – the people who I am comparing myself to have not been through what I have been through.
So for now, my continuous improvement project is all about finding my ‘normal’ (and being at peace with it) and carrying on with my ongoing writing, fitness, refurbishment and health goals.
And, of course, there are some areas of my life that are fabulous just the way they are – but they need nurturing to make sure they stay that way: my relationship with my husband and the other wonderful people in my life, our passion for travel (our next two trips are already booked – Antigua later this month and Japan in April), having new experiences through art and culture.
So for me 2012 is about a nip and a tweak, rather than new resolutions just because it is the new year – and I suspect that this is a glorious, glorious sign of how far I have come and how truly blessed I am.
Happy New Year to all my lovely blogging friends, I wish you lots of love and laughter for the coming year.