I love writing lists. I write them all day long, in journals, on my phone, on random pieces of paper, on blogs. I make lists of life goals, lists of resolutions, lists of things about my day, of food to cook. But this list of health goals has been harder to compile. Writing them down, breaking them down into manageable pieces, that's taking some work. They need to be concrete in order for them to work. I can't just write Eat better and stop smoking and be done with it. It that were possible I would have felt better years ago. I'm really good at making declarations. But declarations aren't making me feel good.
No, I need a plan. Today I'll start with listing the four goals that are going to shape my coming year (five goals, if you count quitting smoking, but I've already written about that here. In related news: I'd love a cigarette). I have this gift of a year ahead of me, wherein I can devote a lot of time to making some real changes. For so long now I've wanted to feel vibrant again, like I'm not dragging my sorry body and mind all over the place. I know I have it in me, I just know it. Do you ever have that feeling?
I've come up with these goals in consultation with my family doctor, my naturopathic doctor, and of course, with Matty, who hears my thoughts on these things pretty much all of the time. He's been around to hear me grieve the loss of my energy and health for years now and he's such a patient listener. He's making his own health changes right now, so I've got myself some in-house inspiration.
My goals are both straightforward and overwhelming to me at the same time. But I'm not looking for perfection here, just progress. Change isn't static but by nature takes different shapes and follows different paths. There isn't one right way to achieve a goal. Right? Right.
I want to sleep more.
I want to eat nourishing food.
I want to relax and manage my stress.
I want to move my body and feel stronger.
I adore sleeping, but I also love staying up writing or watching old episodes of Grey's Anatomy. I am in desperate need of some regular sleep, something this year off from midwifery school, and the fact that my children are now old enough to sleep through the night, will allow for. It's my goal to sleep a minimum of eight hours each night. I want to develop a simple routine for bedtime. Most of all I want to be able to say good night at the end of each day feeling like it is okay to turn everything off. Sleep is delicious and I need to stop fighting it.
This goal is both exceedingly simple and the most difficult for me. I love to eat and cook so much, but it's time to face the reality that how I eat might be negatively impacting my health. I've been working with my naturopath to develop and food strategy that might, if I follow it, reduce many of my symptoms. My goal is to eat for energy and health, and not only for the pleasure of a bowl of chocolate covered almonds. I dread food changes because they are hard, so writing about the process of these changes, the good and the bad, will be helpful for me.
This one is simple, though not easy. I suffer from anxiety and some pretty low moods sometimes, and then I stop breathing. I get upset and I take out these feelings on my body by allowing only the minimum amount of oxygen necessary for continued life, and not one breath more. When I walked into my last appointment with my family doctor and my naturopath, they both prescribed mindfulness meditation before I could even get two words in. And so it has been decided. I will breathe once more!
I've been slug-like for a while now. Sometimes I'm a slug because my mood is low, sometimes because my body hurts too much to do any kind of activity. Sometimes just because I'm a lazy human. It's in my nature to want to excitedly declare "I'm going to run a marathon next year!" (because I'm an eager slug). No, I'm not. I can barely walk for an hour sometimes without being close to tears at how much my legs hurt. So I'm going to start slowly. Could I ask you a favour? Could you remind me of this from time to time? Go slowly, Danielle. And for the love of all things, please remember to breathe.
In the coming days I'll post more about each goal, breaking each down into more manageable parts. Then I will share with you a little more about the process and what I'm learning. I'm doing this to give myself a space to take my goals seriously, and I hope maybe you'll get something out of it, too. I'd love to hear more about your goals and what you do to make them work, or how you also struggle with the work of making change.
Discipline is remembering what you want. I'm sharing these goals, personal and vulnerable parts of myself, because I need to keep remembering.
You guys! Let's do this.