Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Healthy for the Holidays: Sticking to Your Goals for 2016

I can't believe 2016 is just TWO days from now. That's nuts! Time, please stop moving so quickly!

For the final Healthy for the Holidays post, Alissa and I are talking about creating realistic goals for the new year. With the New Year, we automatically think about a fresh start, a new beginning; something about a brand new, untouched year just renews the spirit. A whole new set of dates to work with, to re-do... I think a brand spanking new year is the closet we can get to a do-over!

Without consulting any articles, I am fairly confident in saying that one of the most popular New Year's Resolutions that people make is to lose weight. Yet... so many people (including myself, and many of you, no doubt) have failed at this resolution time and time again. Sure, we may have lost a little, but probably gained it back (and more) over time. I went several years without making any official resolutions, then last year I decided to actually set some goals for myself--NOT resolutions, mind you, but goals.

These goals are things that I would like to achieve by the end of the year, things to work toward. I think it's important to set realistic, specific, attainable goals for ourselves; it gives us something to strive for, a place to direct our energy. For me, there's a process to coming up with these goals. First, I lay out in broad terms what I'd like to do this year:
  1. Lose weight (duh)
  2. Pay off debt
  3. Get healthier (spiritual, financial, physical, daily life)
Next, I need to figure out how exactly to go about accomplishing these things. Almost immediately, I realize that the first two goals I listed can go under the very broad "Get healthier," and I can break out that goal into 4 sub-goals (the 4 groups in parentheses). 

Spiritually, I'd like to continue to grow in my newfound Catholic faith. Marc and I have been going through an RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults) course, and we will officially be confirmed as members of the Catholic church at Easter. I have learned so much and have never felt God's presence in my life more than in these past few months. I'm so excited to learn and grow, and to do this I need to set aside time each day for prayer and reading the Bible; a half hour each day should be good!

Financially, I'd like us to be smarter with our money. It's no secret that we don't make a ton of money, which means we need to be careful and actually stick to our monthly budget so we can pay off our car loan quickly. I don't want to just say, "pay off our car loan," because I feel like that's just setting us up for failure; there are too many unknowns that can happen in a year, and I don't want to get derailed or feel like a failure if we don't manage to pay off all $9300. Instead, I'm going to say that in general, at least 75% of all "extra" money goes to the car loan; things like bonuses, tax refunds, etc. I say 75% so that way we can have a little fun if we want.

Physically, I'd like to continue improving my running and overall health, and losing weight. Since I am most certainly not at a healthy weight, or a weight that feels good, I'm okay with that terminology. I would like to lose 50 pounds this year--more would be awesome, but I'm being realistic. Again, I'd rather not set myself up for failure, especially with this one. In order to lose these 50 pounds, I will continue to reduce my sugar intake, and track my food with WW and/or MFP. I would also like to strive to average 30 minutes of activity every day--with my sedentary job, I really have to work at this! Marc and I just bought new bikes yesterday, so I'm super excited at the possibilities they will bring! I think that with exercise, and really being honest with myself about the food I'm eating, the weight will come off.

In my daily life, I'd like to be more present with my family. All too often, Marc and I both are staring at our phones after we get home from work--sit the kids in front of the TV with some quickly thrown-together dinner, and zone out while they eat and watch TV. Then we ultimately get nothing done at night, even after they're in bed, because we're so focused on playing games or watching TV. This has got to stop. We see our kids for maybe 3-4 hours each day; we need to make the most of it! I'm not saying no TV at all... but this after-work ritual is becoming far too common. This is a bold goal I'm about to propose (especially since I haven't discussed it with Marc yet), but I'm really feeling like we should have NO screens after work until after the kids are in bed. I think the kids deserve more from us, and this is the only way I can see to make it happen. 

So, to sum it all up, my goals for 2016 are: 
  1. Daily 30-minute quiet devotional time. 
  2. Stick to the budget and pay down debt! Put at least 75% of "extra" money toward car loan.
  3. Lose 50 pounds. Reduce sugar and track food; continue increasing activity, and strive to be active for at least 30 minutes each day.
  4. Be more present with the family. No screens (TV, games) after work until after the kids are in bed! 
What are your goals for 2016? 

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