As 2018 draws to a close, now is an ideal time to start thinking about your goals for next year. Need some help with this task? To read about the importance of setting goals, as well as some tips for doing so, please click here.
Here is a list of the goals I have set myself so far for 2019:
1. Mental health
3. Weight loss journey
Ever wish things could be different in your life? Change is possible, if you set some realistic goals and work towards achieving them. In my last post, I reflected on my achievements in 2018. I’m still thinking about my goals for next year but in the meantime, I thought I would write about the importance of setting goals.
Why set goals?
Who should set goals?
Everyone! Age is no barrier. Setting goals is not just for young people! When I was at university studying towards my BA 20 years ago(!), there was an elderly person in one of my English literature classes who had obviously made it a goal to attend university and obtain a degree (or at least complete a paper). As I have mentioned previously, I am currently participating in the YMCA 10k Summer Series. Some of the elderly runners are still doing marathons and half marathons (not to mention making it a goal to participate in the 10k series!). Very inspiring stuff.
When to set goals
Any time! A lot of people like making new year’s resolutions, whereas I prefer to think of them as goals I am working towards. Whether you choose to set your goals at the beginning of the year or at any other time, remember that you can revise your goals at any time. If you realise that you’ve set the bar is too high and your goal is unattainable, lower it. If you have already achieved a goal, set a new one! Don’t forget that it’s perfectly fine to set a goal for the following year (or even later). When I started the YMCA 10k summer series in September, I set a goal to run the course in a time of under one hour by the end of the series in April 2019.
How to set goals
Tips for goal-setting
As we progress rapidly through December, now is a good time to take stock and reflect on the year that has been. It has perhaps been my best one since 2010, when I had my first psychotic episode. I worked very hard this year and managed to get myself to a good place in many areas of my life.
1. Mental health – I had a psychosis in February but by April, I managed to pick myself back up again. When I recovered, an idea came to me. Taking meds all the time didn’t work for me because of the toll it took on my physical health, so I moved away from that and only take them when relapses occur. But instead of only taking meds when I’m sick, what if I took them periodically while I’m well, as a pre-emptive measure to prevent the onset of a psychosis? In June, I took my meds for two weeks and will do the same again in December, when the YMCA takes a break from the 10k series which I am participating in every week (more about this below and also in a separate post in future). At the moment, it is too soon to say definitively whether this method is effective, but I haven’t had a relapse since February last year, which was ten months ago. It seems promising though and I will provide an update on this some time next year.
2. Weight loss journey – I managed to lose 25 kg over the past five months without fad dieting or exercising excessively. As you might recall me mentioning in a previous post, the community gym I joined at the start of the year simply wasn’t working for me, so in July I re-joined Les Mills and started training at the Howick branch. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I see a trainer called Alice every week for motivation and support. Her brother Dan also helped me for a few weeks when Alice was on holiday earlier in the year. When I first started training at Les Mills back in July, I was 93.3 kg. At my last weigh-in yesterday, I am now 68.3 kg. I would still like to make further progress but am happy that I am out of the danger zone for diabetes. My blood sugar levels are very well controlled now that I have lost weight. The interesting thing is that although I am considerably heavier than my previous goal weight, my body composition (ie body fat percentage) has improved. I am now at 22% body fat, whereas I used to be a trim 60 kg but at 27-29% body fat. I am very pleased with this development and am keen to make even further progress with Alice’s help next year.
3. YMCA 10k summer series – In parallel with wanting to lose weight this year, I also really wanted to compete in the YMCA’s 10k summer series in the Auckland Domain, which kicked off in September when daylight savings began and runs until April, when daylight savings ends. So far, I have managed to compete in every weekly race, inspite of the weather (and there have been some horrible days). To date, my PB for the course is 1 hour 4 mins 9 seconds. I hope to bring my time below an hour by the end of the series in April. Normally I exercise first thing in the morning, but there is something really nice about running at twilight. There is also something about the Domain. It’s a special place for me. I used to run there a lot while I was at university, so it holds a lot of good memories. I can lose myself in the run and it makes me forget all my problems.
4. Garden – I had a very full winter garden this year and my summer garden looks like it could well be the biggest yet. I also entered the Yates Spring Veggie Growing Challenge, blogging about the garden nearly every day. On top of managing the garden and fitting in my training, this was challenging but incredibly rewarding. To read more about my gardening achievements in 2018, please click here.
What is in store for me in 2019? I will cover my goals for next year in a separate post soon.