Setting Goals: Healthy Lifestyle

At the end of September, I sat down with my journal and wrote down two goals for myself. I'm not talking about New Year's resolutions type goals - that would be setting myself up for inevitable failure. I've tried those resolution types before. They always follow the same trajectory. In January, I am all excited about my newly established goals, just itching to get started. By February, I am congratulating myself on keeping up with my goals thus far, while a small but definite thought begins to gestate in my subconscious that tells me this won't last much longer. By mid-March, I am already dragging my feet, dreading the hour of the day, the day of the week that I have to spend on pursuing this never-ending goal. By April, I pretty much quit and by May, even the guilt quietly subsides. Basically, I feel like this. (I know that link has been going around the internet forever now, but it's totally relevant and you should check it out if you haven't seen it yet and want a good laugh.)

No, goals I wrote down in my journal in September were the long-term kind. The kind that might take a lifetime to achieve, and really are just ongoing. The nice thing about a long-term goal is that it doesn't have to be achieved right this minute, or even by the end of the year. So if you accomplish only part of the goal in the first year, or even none at all, you don't feel like a failure because there is no deadline. At least, in my head there is no deadline. It's less stressful that way, and surprisingly, also more motivating.

One of the long-term goals that I set for myself was to lead a healthy lifestyle. Having had much experience with setting vague, grandiose goals for myself and then failing to go through with them precisely because they were so... imprecise, I started a list of the specific things I want to accomplish in order to maintain and improve my health. You know I love me a good list, so here is what it included:

  • Incorporate regular exercise into my routine
    • Schedule exercise
    • Start with 20 minutes of 30 Day Shred video on Tuesdays and Thursdays, right after work
  • Make time to cook healthy food in bulk so that there are leftovers available on days I don't feel like cooking or have little time
    • Schedule cooking time on Sundays
    • Get a microwave to enable quick reheating of leftovers
  • Take vitamins on a regular basis
    • Buy a weekly pill box
  • Maintain healthy teeth
    • Buy a fancy, pulsating toothbrush
    • Consider flossing

As you see, not only did I break down my healthy lifestyle goal into subcategories, but I also wrote out specific action items to help me accomplish those subcategories. And now I sound like a total nerd, but this is how my mind works.

A month later, I can say that I've accomplished some of those things, and this is a great start to achieving my long term goal. Although I have scheduled my 20 (or more like 30) minutes of exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work, I've actually only been exercising once a week on most weeks. And it's ok, it does not mean I failed. It means I am getting more exercise now than I had been getting in the past several months, and that feels great! I completely neglected the cooking time on Sundays and we still don't have a microwave. Yes, it is the twenty first century and we don't have a microwave. I used to own one, but it was sacrificed for the sake of my relationship with D. Around the time we were moving in together, we had a major battle about my TV and microwave. I only had it in me to win the TV battle (yay for Netflix). The microwave moved on to greener pastures in the land of Goodwill. But now, I want it back.

I'm not a big fan of taking medicine if it's not completely necessary, and so I have conflicting ideas on taking multivitamins. On one hand, it's another pill to take for no particularly good reason. On the other hand, it can't really hurt (well, it can if you are allergic to it or have other bad reactions, but otherwise I think it's pretty harmless). On the third hand, blood tests show that I am low on some vitamins, so maybe there is a good reason to take them. But even so, I never remember to do that. To help me remember, I wanted to get one of those weekly pill boxes with daily slots I can pre-fill with vitamins to help me remember to take them in the mornings. The other day, D was going to the pharmacy, and I asked him to pick me up one of those pill boxes. Despite making fun of me for being an old lady, he obliged. But instead of getting me the adult version with the letters on them ("They were too boring," he claimed), D got me this:

Ironically, he bought this "old lady" a children's pill box. And it was so cute with its little ladybugs and bright green color, that I did a happy dance when I saw it. And yes, it has been helping remember to take the vitamins in the mornings, so one more thing on my list that's getting accomplished.

Finally, I did buy myself one of those expensive pulsating toothbrushes. It seems to me that it's doing a better job at cleaning my teeth than a regular toothbrush (and I hate flossing, which my dentist is quite aware of), but I guess we'll see what my dentist says.

Overall, not a bad month to start off my lifetime goal of staying healthy!


  1. "We had a major battle", "I only had it in me to win the TV battle"...

    It sounds to me like you guys battle a lot? What's going on there? D seemed like such a nice guy! And why did you only have it in you to win the TV battle? You could have won both, right? I mean, if you just put your foot down! Keep battling that boy into submission! Hope you win both next time!!! =) =) =)

  2. Oh hahaha, no we don't battle a lot. Moving in together requires a lot of compromising, especially since we had such different tastes in decorating (but since then, our tastes have merged considerably). D had some pretty strong opinions about not having the TV in the living room, so we put it in the second bedroom instead. Works for me, and I actually like it that way. With the microwave, it was a bit of a different story. He basically proposed that we keep the microwave for one month, and if I don't use it even once during that time, we get rid of it. I agreed, and in the end the microwave left the house. So I guess it wasn't much of a battle. :)

  3. I loved how you decomposed general goals into specific actions. Way to go, for taking steps in the direction that you want. Oh and I love those old lady pill boxes. I already carry a tin box with ibuprofen and the sort in my bag, and I am considering taking a supplement because according to a book I am reading apparently no matter how healthy you eat some nutrients (micro minerals) are just very hard to absorb. At the same time I know for a fact that nutrients "compete" or "cancel each other out" in the gut if you take a multivitamin with EVERYTHING, so I guess I will just go for a simple one like B complex with Zinc or something like that. Also, eating lots of nuts and fish helps and I am trying on that. Congrats on working towards a healthier lifestyle,.

  4. I had no idea that some nutrients compete with each other if you take a multivitamin. Hmm.. But also, in the past I tried just taking separate vitamins that I was lacking, and that made me really nauseous. At least multivitamins don't do that to me. I guess whatever works for each person is fine, right?


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