My Weekly Goals Project

Hi friends!

Okay, let’s get real for a minute: things are a bit of a mess right now. Whatever side of the political/social wall you are on (see what I did there?), I think we can all agree that the general climate in the United States has been a bit topsy-turvy for the past few months, and doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon. Deep rifts have ruptured in some of the closest of families. The Unfriend button on Facebook has seen more action than all of the Spiderman reboots combined. And my general mentality has been, “Well, we’re all gonna die, so I might as well finish the bottle/eat the whole bag/adopt all the puppies.”

With all of this, I’ve had a bit of a hard time writing lately. At first I was angry and sad, and I wasn’t inspired to put any of my negative feelings or thoughts down on paper (internet?). Then when I started to collect myself and things began to settle a bit, I tried to write a blog about all of the things we still have that make humans happy, but after puppies and Beyoncé I ran out of ideas. Blergh.

So I turned inward, and I began to actively seek out new ways to better myself, educate myself, and basically live life a little more mindfully. My #Today2017 project has been really incredible for that (read up on it here https://pattimurin.blog/2016/12/31/please-make-it-2017-already/), and between that calendar and coffee, waking up each morning is borderline joyous.

When January 1st came around, New Year’s resolutions were on my mind. But since they’re borderline impossible to keep for an entire 365 days (seriously if you’ve kept one, you are literally a superhero), I decided to go about it a different way.

Each Sunday evening, I sit down with my planner (yes, I still use a paper agenda, thank you), and I write a list of Weekly Goals, with a very simple set of guidelines.

It can be as short or as long as I want.
I write this list with the intention and idea that there is absolutely no pressure or punishment if I don’t achieve all of them. There will be no self loathing involved in Weekly Goals.
The list can change weekly, or stay the same.
And at the end of each week, I reflect back on what came up that wasn’t included in my goals, and I make sure that I commend myself for those things as well.

What is a Weekly Goal, you ask? Well for example, this week’s list is:
Exercise 5 times
Publish a blog (check!)
Finish half of a non-fiction book
Finish 2 fiction books (I read A LOT)
Eat well!
Try a new class
Don’t flake on any plans

And that’s that! It’s all about simple health and happiness at the core. Previous and future weeks have and will include Goals such as: volunteer, disconnect for 24 hours from all technology, donate to Goodwill, make chili, etc. Make sense?

The reason that I’ve found it so easy to keep this up, week after week, is because once I decide what I want to do and write it down on the Weekly Goals list, I become responsible for myself. The only person I’m hurting by not doing these things is myself. But on the flipside, the more Goals I complete, the more people I will be helping. If I don’t publish this blog, fine. But if I do? The chance that I could inspire even one other human being makes it worth it. As soon as I physically write down “exercise 5 times,” I become my own guide. I become my own teacher. And I become my own biggest cheerleader.

As I said, if I get to the end of the week and I’ve only worked out two or three times instead of four or five, IT IS OKAY. Things happen, roadblocks come up, and we have to be flexible and forgiving with ourselves. But by writing it down on my Weekly Goals list, the probability that I will complete these things raises exponentially.

Singling out each week, one chunk of the year at a time, has made it much easier to live in the present, and to take life day by day. I find myself worrying less, my anxiety level has dropped from a 9 to about a 3, and every single day I have the ability to feel accomplished, should I so choose. I’m happier, healthier, and my self worth has grown. This is better than any New Years’ resolution I’ve ever made.

So give it a shot if you want! Do exactly what I do, or tweak the concept as much as you would like. Your Weekly Goals, your decision. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work out.

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This One’s For the Girls (And Guys Too, I Don’t Discriminate)

I work out. Yes, I do. And I don’t love it, but I’ve learned not to hate it. It’s hell when I’m actually in class, feeling like a failing stripper-in-training as I pulse my hips to the sky until my muscles literally give out. But I can’t deny that I always feel better afterwards, and if I do it early enough in the morning, I can forget it ever happened until I have to do it again.

At Physique 57 the other day, frustrated with myself once again for glancing over at the woman next to me once every thirty seconds to make sure I was keeping up, I had a major epiphany. As much as we want to be “skinny” and “in great shape” and “healthy,” I don’t know that we ever give ourselves the opportunities to be truly satisfied with how we look and feel.

Think about it. Remember the last time you left the house while your hair was miraculously behaving itself, and how great your curves felt in the new dress you decided to debut that day? You felt on top of the world, like no one could stop you, like those construction workers on the corner would have too much respect for you to whistle, but would be forced to bow down and revere the goddess that is you. NOTHING could burst your bubble.

Now remember what burst your bubble. What was it that knocked you off your cloud of hotness? I will bet that 85% of the time (that’s definitely a scientific statistic), it was merely seeing another woman who you thought looked better than you. You saw her coming down the block, with her perfectly effortless style and her chic heels (who can wear heels all day??), and you instantly curse yourself for not wearing the wedges that give you blisters but make your calves look great instead of the flats that are more comfortable yet have seen way better days. In an instant, all of your confidence disappears like a guy in my 20s after a one night stand, and you deflate like a sad balloon.

I mean, I defined “competitive” in high school. If there was a musical, I auditioned for the lead. If there was a cheerleading squad, I wanted to be captain. If there was a student government, I wanted to be secretary (I’ve always loved office supplies). I graduated 30th in my class of 425 mainly because I couldn’t stand when my intensely smart boyfriend got better grades than me. High school offers endless opportunity to exercise the competitive streak that we are born with.

A proud moment for me.

A proud moment for me.

But as we get older, those opportunities dwindle. So we naturally start to compete with each other and compare ourselves to the other women at the gym, and strangers on the street, and even our own best friends. Without a field hockey game to throw your competitive energy into, it has to go somewhere, and unfortunately, our self esteem can take a major hit because of it. Being the best at being skinny is not the same as being the star of the Debate Team.

I have a friend who has been unhappy with her weight for years now. It always pains me to see how frustrated she gets with her body, because when I look at her, all I see is beauty and grace and loyalty. She is an exceptional mother, in fantastic shape because she loves running, and one of the most thoughtful friends I have. She is sexy and funny and smart, and her boss would have a very difficult time running his charity without her. She is an inspiration to me and to everyone else who meets her. But when she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t always see those tremendous qualities.

But think of it this way: There will always be someone skinnier than you. Always. BUT there will also always be someone wishing they had your body instead of their own. So why not just remove ourselves from the equation and (gasp) put all of that energy into appreciating our own bodies? Our small boobs, our big butts, our freckles, our thin hair, our huge boobs, our flat butts, our wildly uncontrollable hair. Keep working out and making healthy decisions, but do it because it feels good, not because you want to look like the girl on the spin bike next to you. Because she probably wants to look like the girl in front of her.

We are more than our body types. We are brains, and kindness, and creativity, and positivity, and wisdom, and mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends. We are extraordinary beings, no matter what shape we are.

So next time you realize that you’re comparing yourself to another woman, smile at her instead. Acknowledge her beauty and her health. And then, compliment yourself on being a bad ass in so many ways, and continue on your confident way as if the sidewalk is a catwalk. And make those construction workers speechless with your gorgeous glow and your fearlessness.

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