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Hello 2019: My annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post

Welcome to another edition of my annual non-New Year’s resolution blog post, where I list my top three goals for the year to come. I always used to have one fitness-related, one professional, and one personal goal for the year to come, but plan to change things up this year since fitness in the traditional sense is no longer a priority for me. Oh how I’ve changed in 2018!

I started publicly sharing my goals back in 2012 as a way to keep myself accountable, but also so I could look back and see where I was at the time fitness-wise, professionally and personally.

My 2012 and 2013 years were tough professionally and personally, as I was leaving one long-term relationship and moving into another, and transitioning from a tough contract job into a government position. In 2011 I completed my first triathlon and was a running machine, signing up for almost every local race I could afford. But in 2013 my focus shifted, and for some reason I made it my goal to “have abs” in 2013. I’m glad I decided to run my first ultra instead.

In 2014, I actually achieved all the goals I set out for myself, which I was super proud of — especially getting published (and featured!) in a print magazine and qualifying for Boston. In 2015 I did okay, but as I explained in this post, I was having another “transition” year, as I like to call it — where a lot more stuff was going on than what was shared on this blog.

We hit the trails as often as we could in 2018, as usual!

Although I completed zero of my goals for 2016 (I missed qualifying for Boston twice — I got injured at the Phoenix Marathon in February then missed it again by 12 seconds at the Victoria Marathon in October; I pretty much forgot about writing a book proposal; and I did not pay off 50% of my debt – although I did set up an aggressive payment plan and opened an RRSP), it was a much better year overall. Matt and I had a blast at Disneyland and Vegas in February. We finally moved in together. We added another furry child to our pack (Gus the English Springer Spaniel). I went to BlogFest and got to meet all my favourite wellness bloggers IRL. More friends got married and had babies. All my family and friends stayed healthy. I stayed healthy. I had close to 160 freelance fitness articles published online and four published in print.

Best day of my life on August 18, 2018!

In 2017, I was a bit more general with my goals. I thought I would be going back to school to do an MBA (I applied to the program, got in, but decided at the very last minute not to do it because I didn’t want the extra debt). I also planned to read a lot of books and go on lots of trail runs and hikes (check!). I planned to make more time and space for friends and family (check!), and to only do things in my spare time I truly enjoyed (check!). I also made a point to love my body more, which happened later in the year when I decided to take a break from food restrictions and exercise for several months in order to restore balance, both physical and mentally (before shifting back to restricting again, sigh). Other amazing things that happened in 2017 include getting engaged, running Seaweeze and signing up for a 250-hour yoga teacher training program, which I completed in 2018.

Honeymoon in Disneyland!

My goals for 2018 were a bit more ambitious and shallow. My fitness goal was to get as fit and small as I could for my wedding day, which I achieved. I did feel amazing, but every day was a mental struggle with food and I had no idea just how damaging that was to my body. While I don’t regret it, I’m just glad the damage I caused was reversible.

My professional goal was so move up in my career and to save money for the wedding, which I just barely managed to do. I’ve been pretty good at budgeting this past year and am slowly digging myself out from the debt of the wedding. I paid off one massive bank loan and am now just tackling credit card debt and that pesky student loan, which is down to it’s last few hundred dollars. I still haven’t done much on the professional side, but did end up applying to get into grad school again late this year to do a Masters of Public Administration. I picked a MPA this time instead since it’s more affordable and relatable to what I do, plus it can be done online.

Other things that happened this year that were amazing:

  • Got married to love of my life and had the most amazing wedding day surrounded by love and family and friends
  • Had so much fun with my mom, aunties, cousins and other family planning our wedding and seeing it unfold perfectly
  • Had the best time with my girls in Osoyoos touring vineyards and drinking alllll the wine!
  • Had an amazing honeymoon in Disneyland
  • Went to concerts, Sunfest, camping and other fun events
  • Rebranded my blog
  • Became a certified yoga instructor!
  • Got my period back!
  • Learned to knit 🙂

Yes, 2018 was an incredible year and will be hard to top.

We lost Kai in May of 2018 🙁 RIP Kai-bosh, we miss you on the trails 🙁

Goals for 2019

I’m not sure what 2019 will have in store for us, other than an epic three-week trip to New Zealand in January (can’t wait!!!). We’re going to try to start a family, but due to my hormonal struggles, I know this might take longer than planned. I’m going to be optimistic though!

But really, my one hope for the new year is that everyone stays healthy and happy; anything else fun or exciting that happens in a bonus.

Here are a few measurable personal goals I’m going to work on for 2019:

  • Stick to my budget and have 1/3 of my credit card paid off by the end of 2019.
  • Continue to grow professionally either by getting into grad school or moving into a new position at work.
  • Start teaching yoga! Either at home or community classes at MokSana. Once I get back from NZ I plan to focus on this more.
  • Read more books this year. I want to have read at least 10 books by the end of 2019.
  • Learn to play piano. I’ve started to learn the basics, but by the end of 2019 I’d like to be able to read music and play something other than twinkle twinkle little star 🙂
My little buddy 🙂

My less-measurable personal goals for 2019 will be the same as last year. I want to keep learning, loving and living to the best of my abilities. To stay strong if things get rough and remember to appreciate what I have today. To continue to make time and space for family and friends. To appreciate the little things and to stay humble. To keep moving, gently for now, until I can safely run again. To love my body more and learn to be comfortable in my bigger but healthier body. To only do things in my spare time I really enjoy and ditch the rest. To ask myself daily if my actions are serving myself or others in a positive way, and if not, to stop doing those things. To be gracious and giving. To make a difference in someone’s life for the better (be it an animal, nature or a person). To be a lighthouse – steady and strong in my convictions to draw others to the light. To be fearless and open-minded.

And with that, I’ll leave you with my favourite Neil Gaiman quote:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Neil Gaiman

Stress plus rest equals growth: Why I’m taking a year of rest

Last week, I was having a conversation with a colleague about my lack of motivation for blogging, writing, and side-hustling in general.

“It’s not that I don’t like doing it, and it’s not like my life has gotten exponentially more stressful or busy that I don’t have time to sit down and write,” I explained. “It’s just that when I get home I’d rather chill out with my fiancée and watch Netflix, or relax in the hot tub with a glass of wine instead of sit at my desk on my laptop. And now on the weekend, I’d rather peruse wedding and home furnishing boards on Pinterest instead of writing a blog and posting comments for an hour or two after breakfast like I used to do.”

Am I losing my motivation? Am I becoming one of those boring people who waste time instead of putting every extra second into trying to find a way to either make more money, serve others, or have a higher purpose?

My colleague offered some suggestions to help get me back on track, such as reaching out to do more coaching or teaching. They were good suggestions, but none of them felt right to me. (more…)

Five Things Friday: What am I doing with my life, Seaweeze and GPS art

five things fridayI had planned to post a few informative fitness and health related blogs last week, but I just didn’t have the motivation to write. To be honest, I was at a loss for words over the election in the states, and writing a blog post about my favourite protein bars or the most effective strength training exercises for your glutes just didn’t seem like the best use of anyone’s time (me writing, anyone reading). My concern and sadness for women, minorities, the environment, the future for our children and humanity in general took up more space in my brain than I could deal with last week, and I just needed to disconnect and think.

I got into the health and fitness business to help others — to share my experiences and use my skills to do something meaningful and fulfilling with my time. And while it’s still important to me and something I enjoy to do, I’ve lost that initial passion somewhat. I’ve been thinking about what to focus on next — what I can do to make a bigger impact, either in the health and wellness industry or elsewhere.

After several weeks of researching options and talking to friends and colleagues, I’ve decided to go back to school and do a masters degree next September. Not only to hopefully open more doors career-wise, but also for the opportunity to challenge myself and get exposed to global issues. I’m about 99% set on doing an MBA, but an MPA is also an option since I work in government.

The downside to this, of course, is probably zero time to write blogs and fitness articles come September. But we’ll see, depending on the program I choose to do. Both programs offered at the University of Victoria (where I did my undergrad) have a weekend or online option, which I would do so I can continue to work full time.

So that’s my big life update. And even though I called this post Five Things Friday, I don’t really have five things to hare. But here are two more things that happened this past week. (more…)

Forget goals: To get healthy and fit, focus on this instead

focus on the steps that will lead you to the goal, not the goal itselfWe often hear about how important goal setting is when it comes to achieving anything, from becoming more successful at work to improving your overall health and fitness. While setting short- and long-term goals are still important and a part of the process of achieving a more happy and healthy you, sometimes focusing too much on an end goal can be more of a barrier than a motivation factor.

I was listening to an episode of the Lift Like a Girl podcast the other week that touched on exactly this topic. In the episode, fitness coach JC Deen and Nia Shanks were discussing the perils of fat loss (you can listen to the whole episode here) and how where you’re at is a process of your habits. When asked how someone can successfully overcome the perils discussed earlier in the episode, JC read a quote from trainer Amir Siddiqui that I thought was a great analogy for why focusing on the end goal doesn’t always work:

“Get obsessed with consistency and the actions that feed the goal – getting obsessed with the goal won’t work and neither does having moderate goals. It’s like thinking about laying down the perfect foundation of bricks, perfect brick after perfect brick, rather than going nuts over seeing the building emerge.”

JC goes on to explain: “Your goal of seeing the building emerge is your ideal body or place in fitness. You can be so focused and obsessed with that you can forget to actually do what it takes right now to essentially create the process. A lot of times are habits are so low key that we don’t think about it; food, exercise decisions in the morning, etc. … we are a product of our habits. In order to make long-term lasting changes and improve everything, we have to start with building the processes. Either create new habits or change habits. Get obsessed with the habits and the processes, and then one day you’ll wake up and finally notice the change.” (more…)

Race Review: 2016 Beat the Blerch Half Marathon

race-review_-2016-beat-the-blerch-half-marathonI ran for agony.

I ran for serenity.

And I ran for cake (which was delicious, by the way).

The 2016 Beat the Blerch half marathon in Seattle on Saturday was one of the most fun races I’ve run in awhile for obvious reasons, but was also in it’s own category for a half marathon race experience. It’s meant to be a fun run, yet I was racing it as a pre-marathon tune up, so there’s that. The course was also 90 per cent trail, which can slow you down a bit but also has less of an impact on your legs and feet. And instead of warming up by doing butt-kicks and leg swings before the race, people were entering doughnut-eating competitions, downing bacon cake and eating marshmallows thrown into the crowd at the starting line by a dude dressed as a Blerch while Mathew Inman (aka The Oatmeal) read us Bill Pullman’s Independence Day speech (hahaha what???).

I’ll recap my race experience below, but first here’s what happened leading up to the race and what I thought of the race itself. (more…)

{Thinking Out Loud Thursdays} Things I’m loving lately

Happy almost Friday!

I usually like to save Thursdays for deep, well-thought-out and researched blog posts about health, wellness, fitness, mindfulness and nutrition… but this week all my brain capacity has been sucked up at work on a big project that has me feeling like I’m back in Uni writing a year-end term paper, only this time it’s actually important and effects people’s work. SO, that said, here’s a collection of things on my mind or that I’ve discovered over the past few weeks and love.

Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud, after all, so here we go!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

(more…)

Recipe: Healthy blackberry peach crumble {vegan, low sugar}

Healthy vegan blackberry peach crumbleOver the last two weeks or so when we’ve taken the dogs out for a walk after dinner, I’ve made a mental note to myself to bring a bucket along next time to pillage the blackberry bushes lining our street, which were starting to overflow with perfectly ripe black globes or deliciousness.

I kept forgetting, of course, until I saw our neighbour post on Facebook about the blackberry haul she collected that day. “Dammit! Those berries were mine! I want to make a crumble!” I said to myself as I leashed up all three dogs (for protection from hungry bears? To keep the neighbours away?) and set out to get every last ripe blackberry on our street.

Aside from Gus diving head first into the bucket when I bent down to try and get a few big ones hiding at the back (and proceeding to gobble up as many berries as he could before I could yank it away), I collected a decent berry haul — just enough to make my healthy blackberry peach crumble! (more…)

Five Things Friday – Sunfest, staycations and sunshine

5tfHappy Friday!

Every day has been like a flexy Friday for me this week because I’ve been on vacation since last Thursday. Instead of packing up to go camping again after Sunfest we decided to stay home and do things around the house. I had a ton of freelance to do this week so I agreed, on the condition that we get to take to dogs out to Mystic Beach today. It will be Gus’ first trip to the beach, so follow me on Instagram if you love puppies and want to see 45378 videos of them frolicking in the ocean.

Without further ado, here’s a random collection of things I’m loving this week. (more…)

Recipe: Easy tofu avocado salad rolls with Thai peanut sauce

vegan tofu salad rollsLooking for an easy and healthy alternative to a sandwich? Try these Vietnamese salad roll-inspired rice wraps — they’re super simple to put together and are a perfect high-protein vegan lunch option. I used a store-bought Thai peanut sauce because I was feeling lazy this week, but you can easily make your own.

Simple tofu avocado salad rolls with peanut sauce
Makes two rolls

Ingredients

  • Two rice paper wraps – you can pick these up at most grocery stores
  • 4-6 leaves of green leaf lettuce
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 85 grams (two pieces) firm tofu
  • 3 TBSP Braggs Liquid Aminos Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP onion powder, a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 TBSP spicy thai peanut sauce – homemade or store bought

(more…)

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