2016: A Time for Change
2015 was a really big year for me. I started my second AmeriCorps VISTA term, fell in love with a wonderful man, completed my first half-marathon, moved in with my new love, went on some wonderful trips, took some great hikes, and adopted three beautiful kitty-cats. All-in-all, it was an incredible year, full of love and exciting experiences.
But some not-so-wonderful things happened in 2015 as well. About halfway through the year, I stopped running, giving my time to new adventures and lazy afternoons with the cats. I became much more of a social person, spending time out with friends more often than I had ever before. I began to eat out more often with them, paying less attention to any sort of healthy diet. And the result of working out less and eating unhealthily? This ginger gained about thirty pounds within the last half of 2015.
But, it is a new year, and with that, comes new opportunities. I, like many others, do not believe in the power of “New Years resolutions.” They are often too vague, too general, and created without direction. I wouldn’t be satisfied just saying “this year, I’m going to lose weight,” “this year, I’m going to exercise more,” etc. I’ve set resolutions before, and they never stick. This year, I know why: they haven’t been concrete enough.
So, in planning my 2016 goals, I kept a few things in mind. First, I needed goals that were specific, measurable, realistic, and attainable. Otherwise, they would be easy to lose track of. Second, I needed a very visible and reliable way to track my progress with my goals and hold myself accountable. Third, I needed to take my broad “wants” (lose weight, run more, read more, etc.) and assign concrete, specific goals working towards these broad generalizations.
I then had an epiphany: what if I had year-long goals, a list of things that I will finish by the end of 2016? So, based on my general “want-to’s,” I created my list of 2016 “to-do’s:”
- Run 200 times.
- Workout 100 times.
- Eat 300 healthy meals.
- Complete 2 5K races.
- Finish 50 books.
- Spend 100 days electronic-free.
- Talk to friends and family 100 times.
- Save $50 for each of the 12 months.
I have specific outcomes for these goals. The first four will help me get back into shape and become healthier again. The fifth and sixth will help break my addiction to video games, my cell phone, and social media, allowing me to re-prioritize how I spend my free time. The seventh will help me reconnect with old friends, stay in touch with new friends, and keep close with my family. The last one will help me save up for the ultimate reward for completing all of these tasks by December 31st: a trip to Washington, D.C., with my man and our friends to celebrate New Years! And all of these goals will help me redefine who I am in a positive, healthy way that rebuilds my confidence and self-esteem.
So how will I keep track of these accomplishments? Via this awesome poster chart that I made! Take a look:
Every time I take a run, eat a salad, finish a book, workout, or talk to family or friends on the phone, I get to color in a block on my chart. I get instant, visual gratification for my accomplishment. It might seem juvenile, but for someone like me who is very bad with maintaining goals, having immediate rewards (coloring in blocks) is motivating.
I have never felt so confident about starting a new year, thanks to the goals I’ve set for myself, and the support of my friends and family. 2016 has a lot in store for me, and all of these exciting goals will help it to be a big year, one that’s already off to a great start.
Until next time, VISTA readers!