Sometimes Goals Change – And That’s OK


At the beginning of this year, I had some lofty plans. I was going to either launch a freelance business or become gainfully employed. I was going to run three half-marathons in addition to my first 30K. I was going to clean up my eating, once and for all. I was going to find ways to become happier, more fulfilled, and better at being me.

We are two months into the year, and so far, none of my goals are shaping up quite the way I wanted. Although I have been looking for and applying to work opportunities, my heart hasn’t really been in it. I’ve been feeling a little adrift, not really knowing what direction is the right one. In addition, as hard as it’s been financially, there is one aspect of my unemployment that I’ve been enjoying: having time to be a mom. I love being here to get my children ready for school, and I love being here when they get home. At some point, unless I can get enough freelance work to keep the wheels turning, I will have to give that up.

My running goals haven’t been panning out, either, largely because of the winter we have had. Months ago, I registered for the Around The Bay 30K race, which happens on March 30th, and I promised myself that I would set my mind to my training. It has been a lot easier said than done. To be fair to myself, I have tried hard, but the Polar Vortex had other plans for me. Because of the ice storms, excessive snow and unbelievably cold temperatures, I have been forced off the road and onto the treadmill. The few runs that I have managed outside have been challenging – running through snow, running through icy puddles of melting slush, falling on ice and hurting myself.

A couple of weekends ago, while I was heading to the gym for yet another long run on the lab rat machine, I suddenly asked myself how much I cared about doing this 30K race at the end of the month. On the one hand, I hate registering for races and not doing them. But on the other hand, how wise would it be for me to attempt a new distance right after the worst winter I’ve ever experienced?

As I did that run on the treadmill, I pondered the idea of bailing on the Around The Bay race and instead going for the Midsummer Night’s Run – also a 30K event – that happens in August. I mentally experimented with this notion, and discovered that I felt surprisingly comfortable with it. Not only does it feel comfortable, it feels right.

And so I found another runner to take my spot at the Around The Bay race and I transferred my registration to him. As soon as I received payment from him, I signed up for the Midsummer Night’s Run. Now I can comfortably ease myself into outdoor training, and I will have an entire summer to train for this new distance. It means that I will only be running two half-marathons this year instead of three, but that’s OK.

And that is really the whole point of this post – that there is no shame in changing a goal. This time last year, I would have been horrified at the thought of not running Around The Bay. I would have berated myself for deciding to cut a half-marathon from my schedule. I would have thought of myself as a failure, as a person who gives up. But something in me has changed in the last year. Maybe I’m just getting older and wiser, or maybe I’m getting more realistic. Or maybe I’m simply realising that I deserve to give myself a bit of a break.

I still have some things to work on – like sorting out some kind of regular income, and developing eating habits that are consistently healthy. But I feel that in accepting and embracing changes to what I want to accomplish, I am at least moving closer to being happier with who I am.

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit: This picture has a creative commons attribution license.


14 Things I Want To Accomplish In 2014


1. Stretch myself to run a distance longer than the half-marathon. I am registered for the Around The Bay 30K race at the end of March.

2. Publish the book I wrote for 2013 NaNoWriMo. It may not be a best-seller (or maybe it will – who knows?), but I want to end 2014 being able to say that I’m a published author.

3. Sort out, for once and for all, my messed up relationship with food. For thirty years I’ve been flip-flopping between eating disorders and I’m tired of it.

4. Bring to fruition everything I have set in motion to get funding and support for our non-profit youth recording studio.

5. Get my home office space properly organized. That includes getting a new office chair so my ass stops sliding onto the floor.

6. Declutter my house and get rid of clothing, toys and things that are no longer used.

7. Run a half-marathon faster than 2:15:00.

8. Establish a habit of going to bed by 10:30 every night.

9. Stick to my training plans, without making excuses about the weather or how hard it is to wake up early in order to run or go to the gym.

10. Learn to cook more things from scratch. This year, I learned how to make great Hollandaise sauce and cook fish. Next, I want to conquer Alfredo sauce and find a semi-healthy recipe for cheesecake.

11. Make more effort to stay in contact with my brother. He is a really awesome guy and I miss him. I want him to be a bigger part of my life.

12. Complete another two credits for my post-grad writing certification. I am working on my third right now, and I want to have five done by this time next year.

13. Spend more time with friends. Virtually all of my friendships are conducted via the Internet. While that is highly convenient for my introverted self, it is good for the soul to be in the same room as a friend having a good chat. Preferably with wine.

14. Be comfortable being me, instead of trying to be a person I think other people want me to be.


What are your goals for the next year?

This is an original post by Kirsten Doyle. Photo credit: joesive47. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.


A Letter To My 2013 Self

Dear Me,

This letter comes to you from exactly one year ago. Today is December 29, 2012, and I wonder what you are up to, there on December 29, 2013. Perhaps you’re sitting in this same hotel room I’m in now, reflecting on the year just past and the year that is to come.

What have you accomplished in the last year? You set some pretty lofty goals for 2013. Which of those goals have you accomplished? Which ones did you modify as the year went on, and which ones did you just decide to ditch altogether?

You had a phenomenal running season in 2012, and you were hoping to surpass that in 2013. Did you? Did you beat 2:15 in a half-marathon, and have you broken that elusive one-hour mark in the 10K?

How is the long-term plan to run a marathon in 2015 going? Are you registered for the 2014 Around The Bay 30K? If you’re not, you should get on that soon.

How is work? I hope you have managed to hold onto your job in a time of great uncertainty and many layoffs. Are you making a reasonable supplementary income from your freelance writing?

Here’s a question I feel very weird asking: how is school? I would venture to say that no-one was more surprised than me when you decided to pursue post-graduate studies. By now, you should have completed two courses and you should be preparing for your final exam in a third course. I feel very excited to be embarking on this. A year in, I hope some of that excitement still remains.

And now for a tough question. Have you managed to get a handle on your eating difficulties, or do you still have this intensely uncomfortable relationship with food? You have spent virtually all of your adult life vacillating between eating disorders – it’s about time you sorted this out once and for all. Maybe something in the last year has helped you.

What’s up with the kids? For you, one year in the future from now, George is 10 and James is 8. Did you try the Talkability exercises to get George conversing more? Have you been reading every day with James to help him with his spelling? Did you get them both into swimming lessons like you’ve been wanting to?

And what are your goals for 2014? No matter how good or bad 2013 was to you, I hope you never lose the ability to have hopes and dreams for the future.

Your Younger Self

(Photo credit: Somegeekintn. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)


Body for Life: Week 1

A week ago today, I started the Body for Life challenge. I completely revamped the way I eat, ditching the carb-heavy lunches from the cafeteria-style shop downstairs from my office in favour of meals brought from home, consisting primarily of lean proteins and salad. In the evenings, I started making more of an effort in the kitchen, selecting dinners based on nutritional value rather than convenience.

At the same time, I have started getting myself into something resembling an exercise routine, following my post-half-marathon hiatus.

So, how has this all gone? Has my week been a success?

Well, in terms of hard numbers, I haven’t seen as much of a change as I would have liked, but the change I have seen has been in the right direction. I have dropped two pounds, and I have lost an inch from my waist measurement. I am off to a start, so yay!

I have had a surprisingly easy time where discipline is concerned, and I believe this is the result of planning. Last Sunday night, I meticulously planned out and wrote down what the week’s meals would consist of. Once I have a written schedule, I tend to follow it quite rigourously. I have not been tempted by all of the Halloween candy in the house, nor by any of the processed junk food in grocery stores.

In fact, I have been having something approaching fun in the kitchen, as I have tried out new recipes. To my astonishment, none of my cooking experiments ended in disaster, although there are some that I clearly need to practice.

The thing that killed me was time, and this makes me realize that the obesity epidemic can, at least in part, be blamed on the fact that many people just do not have enough time to accomplish everything. I don’t care what you tell me, eating healthily is a lot more time-consuming than the alternative. When I’ve just worked a nine-hour day and spent an hour and a half commuting home, it is so tempting to just throw some processed crap into the microwave instead of taking the time to prepare something that’s actually good for you. It is so easy to blame people for the poor eating choices they make, but honestly, in this day and age it is not easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Lesson learned: do more prep on Sundays to save a bit of time during the week. Even if I do that, it may take a while for me to adjust and do things as efficiently as I need to.

With Week 1 done, I am looking ahead to Week 2. The menu is planned, and I have some specific goals with regard to runs and workouts.

Check this space for another report-back next Sunday.

(Photo credit: Andy Roberts. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)



GUEST POST: A New Journey Begins

This weekend, I decided that I had had enough of not being as healthy as I need to be. I catch too many colds and take too long to get rid of them. I am always tired and run-down. I don’t run as fast as I know I’m able to, and in spite of having lost a lot of weight, I’m still about twenty pounds overweight.

Since I was a teen, I’ve had a one-extreme-or-the-other approach to eating. Either I consume calories as if they’re going extinct, or I live on the smell of an oilrag. That I have psychological issues with food is without question. Part of my problem, though, is good old-fashioned lack of discipline.

My nutrition habits suck because I haven’t tried hard enough to fix them. This weekend I decided that I was going to turn over that particular leaf. Right after I made this resolve, I went to see if anything interesting was happening on Facebook. And there, right on top of my newsfeed, was a status update from my good friend Mimi, who had made a very similar resolve.

I emailed her excitedly, and we decided that as we strive to improve ourselves, we will swap guest posts once a month, to tell each other’s readers how we are doing in our quests.

Mimi is a special needs mom like me, only with way more special needs kids. She is patient and kind, and she knows the true meaning of friendship. I recently did the 2012 Blogathon alongside her, and I am so thrilled to be embarking on another challenge with her – albeit a challenge of a different nature.

Today, Mimi tells us what her goals are. I am delighted that she is sharing her journey with us.

When I look back, I can see myself at various weights.  Some bother me and others make me wish I was back there again.  Before I had my first daughter at age 19, I weighed in at a whopping 97 pounds soaking wet.  I had no shape to my body whatsoever, but as soon as I got pregnant, through those 10 months of pregnancy (yes, my daughter was 28 days late!) I gained 91 pounds!  That was a whole me that I put on!  I worked very hard to get the weight off, and I managed to get most of it off, I got myself down to 120 pounds and was happy there, but then I got pregnant again and up went the scale.  This time I went up to 150 pounds with my daughter and after her birth, I managed to get myself to GAIN an additional 10 pounds.  See, my daughter was born with Down Syndrome, so I was more concerned with her health, than mine at the time.

I got married in 1994 and my weight was 160 pounds, which I was technically happy with.  I had a little pudge on me, but nothing that I was embarrassed about.  But then I had our next daughter and I immediately put on the weight again, and this time with each pregnancy I had, the weight just kept piling on, I couldn’t get back down to 160 no matter how hard I tried.

I remember the day that I was at the doctors office and I stepped on the scale and it said “200” in big bright orange numbers.  I about died right there on the spot!  It affected me so badly that I started eating my emotions, and my favorites are carbs.

I have since given birth a total of 6 times and am currently sitting at 225 pounds.  Just in March I was 216, but I’m stressed, there’s no doubt about it, but to pack on 9 pounds in just a little over a month, that’s a problem to me.

So I decided that now at my age (44) I need to fix this problem for once and for all.  My doctor has promised to take me off of my diabetes medications if I can get down to 175, but I want to do better than that… My goal is 160 pounds, like I was 17 years ago when I married the love of my life.

I want to lose the weight not only for me, but for my family.  If I can do it, then it will show them that they too can do it.  My hubby is over-weight as well and I think this weight loss program that I started would be great for him too.  He had one knee replaced last year, and is going to have the other one done this summer, so if he could take some of the extra weight off his knees, they will last longer.

But really, I’m just tired of looking at myself in the mirror and looking pregnant.  I’m not fat anywhere else except in the stomach, butt and hip area, which is of course where all of women’s weight tends to go.

The program that I am doing is the CTS300 which is sold at Complete Nutrition.  I’m really excited about doing this program because I’ve seen the pictures of the locals who have lost the weight and I am more determined now than I ever have been before.  I’ve tried Weight Watchers, that didn’t’ work for me… So I’m hoping that this program does.

I have an exercise routine that I do two times a day, I walk the treadmill at various inclines for 20 minutes, 2 times a day and I carry two 5 pound dumbbells with me as I’m walking.  By the time I’m done, I’m glistening like a diamond ring – because women don’t sweat!  My thighs are usually on fire by the time I’m done on the treadmill, but that just means I had a good workout, which is what I’m looking for.

So I’m not looking at this as a “diet”, but more as a lifestyle change.  I’m changing the way I look at food now, and I think before I go reaching for something to put in my mouth.

Check out Mimi’s blog at Wife… Mom… Writer… All Blessings!