Tag Archives: goals

Thankful

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In keeping with some of my summer goals and trying to be more mindful and appreciative of the day-to-day, I thought it might be nice, at least for a couple months, to indulge in a weekly “gratitude” post.  I envision this as just one sentence, photograph or a short list explaining the things I’m thankful for or particularly joyful about in any given week, and to focus small instead of on big concepts like “family and friends”. And I’d love to hear from others what they’re feeling thankful or happy about, too! Let’s spread the joy!

 

This week, a list, as I am feeling an abundance of gratitude:

*to be a part of the beautiful and resilient city of Boston (brought to light by attending Boston Bites Back as well as hearing this news from the BAA)

*tremendously reliable and genuinely kind neighbors who have taken out our dog twice, met with a plumber and signed for a wine shipment for us just this week.

*finally getting a shirt sprayed with “November Project”

*pictures of me putting my face in silly paintings:

sillinesssilliness3 silliness2

What little things are you thankful for this week?

 

 

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Learning to be Happy…

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I’ve struggled with depression as long as I can remember, and, as a result, I’ve also been preoccupied with the notion of “happiness” and how to get there and stay there. Obviously I recognize that I’ll never be one of those naturally ebullient and bubbly types, but how an I better ensure that I stay within the happier part of my own individual happiness spectrum? How can I fortify myself against the inevitable ups and downs that life will deal me and my family? Can I learn to recognize when I’m slipping and catch myself before I spiral down that dark rabbit hole?

I recently picked up the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin which, while sometimes annoying with her didactic tone and what seems like a fairly “charmed” life that she often takes for granted, she also makes some really thought-provoking realizations throughout the book that have made me re-examine my own life and how I approach it.

 

Goal-setting, but in a small and visibly achievable way, is central to Rubin’s Happiness Project and is a tool that has worked for me in the past for activities like running, but for some reason, I’ve never translated onto my relationships with others or more mundane tasks that make up my everyday. I’ve never explored becoming more myself in the context of concrete goals, and I think that there’s really something to this exercise and remaining more positive and, well, happy.

Rubin uses each month during the course of the year to focus on one aspect of her life. While I don’t think that this particular approach is what I want to do, Rubin did inspire me to sit down and think about the things that make me happy, the things that make me who I am (rather than those things I wish I could be or think I should do/be because others want me to be that way or do those things.

I love performing small gestures that show how much I love, appreciate and celebrate the lives of those I care about, I enjoy being active and healthy, especially with others, I enjoy reading and writing and being creative (though not necessarily in a traditionally artistic sense), being present for family and friends is very important to me, having space and time for quiet reflection and recharging keeps me energized, staying productive, organized and de-cluttered helps me focus — I want to live my life in a way that was authentic to who I am and makes these things central to each day, regardless of what else might be going on. After the Boston Marathon bombings, I also found myself in a heightened state of appreciation and love for the normal, everyday things I would typically take for granted and I wanted to make sure that even after time had faded the memory of the bombings and dulled that sensitivity, I remained more appreciative and aware of the beauty in the people around me and the life I live.

So I sat down and thought about some short-term goals for the summer months that would align with these values I identified for myself. I’ll have to write another post in September to let you know how I’m doing!  In any case, these are my short-term goals:

*be more productive!

*incorporate strength training, yoga and spinning into weekly workout schedule

*learn to play bridge with A

*take a creative writing, photography, swimming and/or music class

*finally get personal trainer certification

*land one or two freelance writing opportunities

*get re-certified in CPR

*finish 3 books

*update blog regularly

*make new recipe cards for new recipes you’ve tried this past winter

*complete a week-long juice fast

*learn to have a daily meditation practice

*take more walks, especially with A

*clean out dresser and closet — de-clutter!

 

So, although Rubin’s book at times has gotten on my nerves, I’d still highly recommend it! It’s certainly made a difference in how I think about my every day, and, if you decide to pick it up, perhaps it will do the same for you, too!

Do you have any goals for the summer? What are the things in life that are quintessential to being you?

 

 

 

Move it!

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Since I decided to talk about all of the food I’ve been eating on Fridays, I thought it might be appropriate to balance that out with a weekly work-out post. This might end up going a different direction each week, but it will probably include a recap of workouts from the past week as well as some goals for the current week.

This past week was the first week of my marathon taper, so there was a little bit less intensity involved, but overall still a solid week of training. My week looked like this:

Monday: Ran 5 easy miles in the evening.

Tuesday: Made it a lunch run since I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Got in 7 and change.

Wednesday: November Project! I love meeting friends early in the morning to tackle the Harvard Stadium Sections. If you haven’t done it, you should try it, or one of the other November Project Workouts!

I completed a "full tour," which is up and down all 37 sections!

I completed a “full tour,” which is up and down all 37 sections!

Thursday: I was going to go for a leisurely bike ride, but ended up taking a 3 mile walk with A and our dog, Klezmer,  in the morning since we both woke before the alarm. I want to do this more often — it was such a lovely and relaxing way to start the day together.

Friday: Hit up November Project again for some hill repeats. I curse these the entire time I do them, but I know they make me stronger!

Saturday: Met up with friends for a long run through Boston. I had 15 to complete and ended up with 16 miles for the day instead. We also ran a 5k in the middle, which was nice to get some faster, Marathon Pace miles in the middle of a long workout. Rain held out, too, which I was thankful for. One long run in the pouring rain is quite enough for one training cycle, thank you.

Me, looking chubby, Rosa and Janice. Trish is taking our picture!

Me, looking chubby, Rosa and Janice. Trish is taking our picture!

Sunday: Since A’s mom was staying with us Saturday evening, and we were indulging in a lovely brunch (it came out delicious!) a little later in the morning, I signed myself, her and A up for a morning spin class. So, so, so glad we did this. I always forget how much I LOVE these classes and definitely want to incorporate them more into my weeks!

This week  will probably be a lot of easy miles as well, since the Vermont City Marathon is right around the corner! The extra time will be used to sleep in, study for my Orgo final and indulge in a little downtime. I might try to catch a yoga class or at least do a yoga podcast at home once or twice to facilitate getting my tired body healed, rested and ready for 26.2!

How were your workouts last week? What are your goals for this week?

Growing Pains

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Dear 27-year-old Rachel,

This has been a year for me to learn and a year for me to grow.

This year I’ve started to really understand what it means to be a part of a partnership, which is something I thought I really understood before but when I’m honest with myself, I really had no idea. I’m amazed everyday at the strength of my relationship and the loving community me and my husband share. I am surrounded by people who really love me, despite all of my ugliness and my pitfalls, who want to lift me up and help me succeed, people who push me to be better when I’m too tired or sad or weak to continue pushing myself forward. I’ve learned what it means to really love someone and that it is rarely that fairytale I  so wanted to believe in for so long, but it’s beautiful and magical in it’s own way, when I let it flourish.  I need to remember more often all the people who are there for me and learn to trust in them more — they’re there to catch me when I fall and to beat their wings beside me when I fly.

Speaking of falling and flying, this year I’ve started to learn the hard lessons of letting myself both succeed and fail without so much fear, guilt and self-doubt. I finally opened my mouth to talk about the master’s degree I’ve been dreaming about for several years, clicking through university websites almost every day, daydreaming about programs I thought I could never apply to, terrified of the cost both in money and in time and what it would mean to have to ask for that, to allow myself to try.   I’m learning to speak up for myself and what I want, what makes me upset or angry, challenged, happy, both in my personal and professional relationships. I’ve surprised myself with my strength, but I’ve still got so much farther to go here — I make so many goals that I leave aside, which I excuse as not having enough time, but what is more accurately attributed to a fear of tackling things head on. I’m becoming more confident everyday, though, and I’ve come along way this year. I think running has taught me a lot in this arena. It helps to remind me to always put one foot in front of the other, to keep going even when it hurts and I’m tired, even when it feels too far or too tough.  This year I’ve learned about a strength that comes from somewhere deep inside.

This year I’ve learned about uncertainty and that it is okay sometimes not to know what I want or what direction to head next. It’s okay to slow down and be happy where I stand. Sometimes its true that I’m scared to move forward, but sometimes I start thinking I need to being doing so many things RIGHT NOW, forgetting I have a whole life ahead of me in which to accomplish these dreams. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I want to complete an Ironman. I want to travel to so many places. But it doesn’t all have to happen this year, or even next. I’ve written down my goals, I’ve realized my passions, I’m learning to assert my strength. Every day is a step towards accomplishing many things, but not every day marks the achievement of a goal. And that is okay. Slow down. Relax. Take a day to paint your nails and watch bad tv without feeling guilty about not touching the “to-do” list.  Take a morning to snuggle in bed instead of braving the dark and the cold to get in a few more miles or finish that assignment.

This year I’ve learned a lot, and it hasn’t been an easy year. It’s been a year of hurt and mistrust and depression, but growing can cause a lot of aches. I haven’t figured everything out yet and I’m still trying to inch myself out of my cocoon, to truly come out from the shadows into a blinding light. I’m still learning how to navigate being a part of a marriage and what it means to merge and share your life with someone else. I’m still learning to go after what I want, to challenge and question myself.  I’m still learning what it takes to be a really good friend and a really strong family member, the lines between when you’re being supportive and when you’re not helping someone even if it might feel like you are. I’m still learning to advocate for myself, to speak up when I have something to say. I’m still learning, as we all are, but I can feel myself growing stronger and gaining momentum and that is both a terrifying and exhilarating thing. Keep going.

I love you and happy birthday.

Rachel

Bucket Lists

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A couple years ago, I decided to start writing down all of the things I wanted to do during my lifetime and then reviewing that list each October around my birthday to see what I’ve accomplished and what I want to update or change.  I try to keep the list to 50 items, or it seems to get unwieldy and a little fantastical.

It’s fun to see what you’ve done with yourself over the course of a year, what you’ve worked towards and haven’t yet achieved, and what you may have changed your mind about. Sometimes things make it on the list because of a phase you’re going through, or the particular group of people you’re hanging out with a lot at the time, and you look at it a year later and go “huh? Who wrote that down?”
In any case, here is the list, in all it’s glory. The crossed out items are things I’ve actually managed to do!

My Life List

  1. run a Boston Qualifying marathon (and then, run Boston)
  2. own my own wellness-related business
  3. learn to play the guitar
  4. visit all 50 states
  5. write a book
  6. be conversational in 2 or 3 languages (Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Greek…)
  7. live in a house with a fireplace
  8. go on an adventure abroad with my brother
  9. live in another country for 6 months or more
  10. have an inspiring and functional space devoted to creation and meditation
  11. take a photography class
  12. learn to bake with the same instinct with which I cook
  13. Travel to at least: Thailand, Hong Kong, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Scotland France, the Maldives, Spain, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Australia, India and Germany.
  14. plant and maintain a vegetable, herb and flower garden
  15. ski a double black diamond with confidence and know-how
  16. get in the habit of baking my own bread and making my own pasta
  17. Dinner at the French Laundry
  18. learn to really dance (swing, tap,belly, hip hop, ballroom)
  19. skydive
  20. have my picture in a magazine
  21. establish a yearly vacation tradition with my best friends — WORKING ON THIS!
  22. become a yoga teacher and/or personal trainer
  23. be the keynote speaker at a conference
  24. learn to sew and actually make things for people
  25. have a job that excites me and challenges me almost every single day
  26. see the Northern Lights
  27. have a yearly party that all of our friends and family get excited to attend
  28. learn to be more confident and work on my self-image
  29. officiate a wedding ceremony
  30. practice random acts of kindness whenever possible
  31. swim with dolphins, preferably in the wild
  32. memorize 3 or 4 really good dishes so I don’t have to use the recipes anymore
  33. do some sort of work with animals (for example, help baby sea turtles get to the ocean, wash ducks and otters with DAWN after an oil spill, raise seeing eye dogs)
  34. fly in a helicopter (not for medical reasons)
  35. taste 100 different kinds of cheese
  36. have a wine cellar
  37. send cards to all the people I love for every birthday, anniversary and special event in their lives
  38. take a hot air balloon ride
  39. learn how to do mosaic tiling and make a mosaic fireplace or outdoor oven
  40. host Thanksgiving
  41. learn to play Bridge
  42. Publish an article in a big magazine (Bon Appetit, Self, Vogue)
  43. Create a signature cocktail
  44. Teach myself to do 10 pull-ups
  45. make scrapbooks for each year and special ones for special events — ONGOING PROJECT, BUT SO FAR, SO GOOD
  46. learn to parallel park for real (yes, this is really on here) and learn to drive stick
  47. own a beach house
  48. learn to draw and/or paint
  49. take some graphic design/web design classes
  50. learn to ride the Vespa
  51. Run a sub-20 minute 5k
  52. Get better at saving money
  53. Get a Master’s degree or PhD (or both)
  54. Write something every day for a year (then, hopefully, it will be such a habit, you’ll continue)
  55. Learn how to do some basic “handy” stuff around the house and for my car
  56. Complete an Ironman (and all the associated training)
  57.  Hug a penguin

What’s on your “bucket list?” What wonderful things have you already accomplished?