This year, I ditched the New Year’s Resolutions and instead opted to set myself 18 goals and intentions for 2018 (you can read all about that here). As part of my own accountability and to hopefully help inspire you to stay on track or get on board with your own goals, I will be posting on my progress every month – starting now! I’m not going to talk about each goal – we’ll be here all day – so I’m just going to pick out the ones I’ve been working on this month.
Because I’m a bit of a geek (and inspired by a reader who told me she was tracking her goals in a GoogleSheet), I’ve been keeping track of all my goals in a spreadsheet. This has been a great way to keep myself accountable and has actually made the process more enjoyable!
Run 1,000 miles in 2018.
This means 20 miles a week or 80 miles over a 4-week period (check me out with the maths in public!). I’ve managed 72 miles since 1st January so slightly off-track, mostly due to illness and a very short-notice trip to Cairo. I hit my target in the first two weeks – I had to be disciplined to make it happen but it also felt completely do-able – so I’m confident I’ll be back on track on soon enough.
Do yoga everyday in January
With only a couple of days left in January, I can say that I have done this! Some days that has been an hour long asana (posture) practice; other days, that has been a 10-minute meditation practice. I have been deliberately broad about what I counted as a yoga practice, not to cheat the system, but to prevent perfectionism slipping in and tripping me up. I know that just one pose is better than not doing anything, especially having recently read How to be an Imperfectionist and embracing the idea of micro-habits. I’ve really loved this goal, particularly my new evening routine of a few gentle poses, followed by a meditation and then falling asleep to a yoga nidra (a guided yoga relaxation, known as a yoga sleep). I’ll be continuing with this new habit into February and beyond.
Eat more plants – go vegan for a month
This was one of the goals I thought I might find really hard and I have been pleasantly surprised. I’ve discovered some great vegan recipes (try the minimalist baker) and I haven’t missed dairy or eggs at all. Eating out has been hard; I’ve had to do a lot more planning and I have felt bad when that has affected people around me (apologies to my brother-in-law who had to change his plans when I came round for dinner!). It’s been particularly difficult trying to eat on the run – finding vegan options on the high street wasn’t easy, although kudos to the increasing number of chains that are catering for vegans!
The upside of following a vegan diet has been that I have eaten a lot less processed and junk food, although Leon’s vegan billionaire’s shortbread has become something of a favourite! The downside is that I have had to work much harder at simply eating enough, especially with all the running (I know – a nice problem to have). Overall, I think I’ve got to a balanced place with my eating habits.
I don’t plan to continue being strictly vegan after Veganuary is up and that was never my intention. I will eat predominantly vegan at home and be a little more flexible when I’m out and about.
Have a monthly “interesting people” dinner club
Um, this did not happen. I did have dinner with interesting people but that was not what I was aiming for! The month just kind of slipped by (there has been rather a lot going on) so this is something I want to focus on more in February.
Read at least 24 books
Regular readers of the blog will not be surprised to know that this goal is on track. I read The Geeta translated by Shree Purohit Swami as part of my yoga teacher training. The Geeta (or officially the Bhagavad Gita) means the divine song of god and is thought to have been written in the fourth or fifth century BCE. It is a conversation between the Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna and is metaphorical exploration of good and bad. It’s not the easiest read without someone to help you pull out the key concepts. We had someone from the School of Economic Science explaining it to us; the School do a number of courses including a free course on practical philosophy which I will be taking in April. The other book I read in January was The Body Keeps the Score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk. My interest in psychology and neuroscience keeps growing (I’m even looking at MSc programmes!). I loved this book so much; it’s been influential on my thinking and ideas for The Practical Balance. Van der Kolk explores concepts like resilience, self-awareness and interoception; trauma, for example, literally deactivates the mind’s ability for self-awareness.
Do one new thing/go to one new place every month
So, I actually managed two new things this month, both involving the theatre and the same friend. The first was going to see Julius Caesar performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre, which was amazing – I have never seen any of Shakespeare’s Roman plays or watched a play at the Barbican. I then had my first immersive theatre experience – A Female Power at the Union Chapel in Islington – which really defies explanation. Suffice to say, I was deeply moved by the experience. I’m not sure I’m an immersive theatre convert but I did enjoy it and learnt a lot about female archetypes and mythologies.
Write something every day
Oh dear, I had actually forgotten about this one! For some reason, it didn’t make my tracker….oh yes, I was going to use 750words.com but then realised I had to pay for it and I got all spendthrift. I have been using my Happiness Planner Law of Attraction journal, which has a series of inspiring questions, as part of my evening routine for most of the month; I stopped about a week ago because that day’s question didn’t resonate and I’ve fallen out of the habit again. Another one to make a priority in February.
The Month in Review
I have to say, I am really happy with my progress so far. There are a couple of goals I need to spend more time on and that feels completely fine. I’ve realised the power of tracking my progress and the importance of doing small, daily activities; something is better than nothing, and done is better than perfect. I have become more mindful over the month with my food, my movement and my emotions, which has been particularly useful in a month full of unexpected twists and turns.
So now it’s your turn. Did you set goals for the year? How are you getting on? Do you need to readjust your goals (make them more challenging or more manageable)? How are you keeping yourself accountable? Do you need some support or help? Let me know and let’s keep making 2018 the best year yet!