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Halfway There

May 30, 2011

I cannot believe that tomorrow is the last day of May. Does anyone else feel that, as we get older, the years go by faster? I mentioned to Nick this past weekend that these last two years have felt like the fastest two years of my life. Is it because I’ve kept myself busy? (Working full time, going back to get your master’s degree, and being in a long-distance relationship will all definitely keep you on your toes, in case you were wondering).

Regardless of what seems to be making the time fly, I was looking back at a journal post I wrote on New Year’s Day, where I listed a rough outline of “resolutions” I would like to keep in 2011. Now that we’re halfway through 2011 (really, that’s just insanity), I thought it might be fun to see what I wrote and determine whether or not I’ve been successful thus far. Here’s the original journal entry in its entirety; my current assessments are in italics:

January 1, 2011

I don’t know that I believe in resolutions in the traditional sense of the word, or maybe I don’t believe in resolutions as other people tend to view them: grand, sweeping declarations of dramatic change that must occur within a narrow window of time, only to be forgotten within a few months (at best). Nor do I think resolutions must be things that you want to change about yourself, or make better, or any of that. I only want to make resolutions for the upcoming year that are going to enrich my life, make it better and more enjoyable—not ones that are going to limit me, deprive me, and generally make me feel bad about myself. That being said, here are some things I’d like to see happen for myself in 2011:

1. Write more. Specifically, find time to write more in any capacity that is not for work or school. Whether it be reflective journal writing, creative writing, poetry (what?!), letters, whatever—I feel like writing was an interest of mine that I simply let fall by the wayside, only because I “lost” time to do it. I could probably stand to watch one less rerun of the Real Housewives and spend the time writing instead. I’ll probably get more out of it to boot.

Verdict: Well, I spent the first few months of 2011 halfheartedly writing journal entries. I started out writing daily, then tapered to once or twice a week, then became REALLY spotty—once or twice a month. I had toyed with the thought of starting a blog for a while, but I was afraid to bite the bullet and get it done. Then, with the push of some friends, I finally decided to just DO IT. Now that I’ve started this here project, I hope to keep up with my writing much more consistently. So far, so good!

2. Eat more real foods, or eat less processed foods (same thing?). I want to feel good about what I put in my body, I want to start treating my body with more respect, and I feel like this is a good place to start. It’s not about dieting or numbers or even body image, per se. It’s about feeling my best, and I think this is an essential part of that.

(Feasting at Jenna’s house)

Verdict: Pretty darn successful. I’ve started paying WAY more attention to what I put in my body. Kath‘s blog and Michael Pollan’s books have been good influences on me, and I’ve made a concerted effort to eat “real” foods and not “foodlike substances.” I’ve cut down on my soda intake, unintentionally started eating a high vegetarian diet, and upped my water consumption. I even take Pollan’s rule about junk food into consideration: if you’re going to eat dessert or treats, fine. Just make sure you were the one who made them. I don’t take this literally all the time (although I do bake a LOT), but I think his general idea is that, if you’re going to splurge on a treat, make sure it’s worth it—REAL baking ingredients (butter, sugar, etc.) may not be healthfood, but they are significantly better than processed crap found in the cookie aisle.

3. Be less negative, find the good in the simple things, focus on what is great instead of what is shitty and totally out of my control. I find that I spend a LOT of downtime ruminating on how I’m not in “the place” I want to be, wherever that is.  Instead of focusing on how much some thins suck, I’d like to start focusing on what is GOOD: I have a job that I honestly love, I am successfully supporting myself financially, I am in excellent health, I have good family and good friends, and, even if we can’t be together as much as I’d prefer, I have a wonderful boyfriend who is in love with me and who I am in love with. Things are more than ok, and I’d like to start appreciating that more.

Verdict: Mildly successful. Being more positive is something that I’ve been working REALLY hard at and that I think could be the most beneficial thing I could ever do for myself. Being happy is just so much better for you than being negative (although I like to think of my “negativity” as “realism” a lot of the time. Nick would tend to disagree with me!). It’s also hard to be positive if people around you are negative. Last week, I had to tell people at work that I needed a break from venting. I was just so tense all the time, and venting was making it worse…not better. I also read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project which put some things into perspective for me, and also gave me some tools to make me more aware of my mood and how I’m affecting myself and the people around me. Do I still get frustrated and angry? Of course. I’m human. But I’d like to think I’m improving.

4. Travel. Question mark? I have no idea where I’ll get the time or money to do this, but I’d like to get a few travels in. Obviously nothing on the level of 2010’s trip to Israel, but even something small. Traveling stresses me out, but the rewards far outweigh anything else.

(In Israel last July)

Verdict: FAIL. And it looks like this may be a consistent fail this year. The only traveling I have planned is to Florida to visit family, Connecticut for a friend’s wedding, and Rhode Island to visit my friends from home. It’s hard to travel when all of my time and money is going to grad school, but I hope to find time for even a short trip somewhere!

5. Meet new people. I’ve been doing a good job of that lately. I’d like to keep it up.

Verdict: Pretty successful. I love meeting new people, and I’ve been trying to expand my circle here in B-More as much as possible. So far, so good.

6. Buy a bikini. Wear it. Feel confident. I cannot remember a single time in my life that this has happened. I don’t think I need to lose a dramatic amount of weight for this to happen, but I’d like for it to happen. I think it would be a good step for me, and it would be a huge feeling of accomplishment. I also think I can easily do it, if I just have a little bit of determination and focus.

Verdict: Eh. This is a “resolution” I feel weirdly conflicted about. What I wrote is true: I’ve only worn a bikini maybe once or twice in my life, and have never felt confident when I’ve done so (the last time, I was probably 11?). While I am getting more and more comfortable with my body, and I’m focusing more on what it can DO rather than how it looks in minimal swim material, I don’t know if I’m quite “there” yet, or if I even care if I am. I rocked a cute black one piece at the pool today and felt great. Is that a step in the right direction?

7. Challenge myself athletically. I ran a half marathon in 2010. I know I don’t want to run a full marathon, but I would like to continue pushing myself past what I thought my limits were. More races? A 10k or another half? Not sure, but I know I want to do something.

(Nick and me post-Baltimore Half Marathon)

Verdict: Hmm. Not sure where to go with this one. I don’t think I’m physically or mentally up for training for another half marathon, but I could definitely train for a 10K. And I’d love to start a real weightlifting plan—I’ve been looking at the New Rules of Lifting for Women, so we’ll see if anything comes of that!

Overall: I think I’ve done pretty well for myself so far! The last six months have been an absolute blur. I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, and I feel good about where I am right now. Let’s see where the next six months take me!

What about you guys? Do you make resolutions? If so, do you keep them? Do you track your progress throughout the year? This is new to me!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2011 1:23 am

    I really love this post! People usually aren’t thinking about their goals a week after New Years, but half way through? Good reminder Hillary. Side note, I love your tag line in the top left corner.

    • May 31, 2011 6:57 am

      Thanks! To be honest, these things have all been in the back of my mind the last two months, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I was like, “HOLY CRAP. It’s almost JUNE.” Feels good to check in with myself, even if I’m not totally successful just yet!

  2. May 31, 2011 11:06 am

    Hi there!
    I really liked your blog post. It was interesting, energizing, and really thought provoking. You sound as if you are really making some solid progress towards your resolutions, or goals as I like to call them. Some honest reactions I had were the following. With regards to your eating healthy plan- BRAVO! I love the idea of eating foods you prepare, eating foods you know where they came from, and doing this for better feeling inside your body and a feeling of health rather than diet or restriction. Adding healthy foods is always a good way to create a sort of crowding out of the bad stuff. I love it! As far as your thoughts about being less negative I would have to say that state of mind, feelings, emotions all come from within ourselves. I started out working on my own positivity and found I was having trouble with negative family members or negative co-workers. But I have found out, with over a year of working on these issues, is people are not going to change just because you are. People will continue to complain, be negative, be stuck. If you really want to be positive the peace of mind has to come from within. I started reading a lot of books by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He writes about mindful based meditation. And in practicing what I have learned from his books and now in many, many more ways I have come to find that the peace of mind and positivity comes from myself. You can take this or leave this; just wanted to share my journey. As far as your writing and traveling and doing things you want to do but do not see time for- you can! Like you mentioned in your post, maybe watching less reruns will be a way to do this. But if you really want to do things you can make the time for it. Surround yourself with the things that make you happy and you will see that the positivity goal also gets a side effect benefit from this!! Finally- congratulations on the half marathon and looking into the weight lifting training program! I find that a well rounded and balanced work out plan keeps it fun, interesting, energizing, and exciting! I am so happy for you that you are doing all these great things. I think that wearing a little black one piece and rocking it is just as good, if not better, than feeling uncomfortable in a two piece. Whatever you feel confident and comfortable in is what is right for you. Listen to your gut. You are doing great girl! I do not even know you and just got introduced from Jenna, but I loved, loved, loved reading about your progress. You have done phenomenal since January 1. I love it.

    • May 31, 2011 6:12 pm

      Thanks so much for all the positive feedback and recommendations, Elizabeth! I look forward to keeping this dialogue open—it seems like we have a TON in common!


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