A couple of years ago, now, I stumbled across a video on YouTube about this day planner, an old-style pen-to-paper style planner that isn’t attached to Google or iCalendar, doesn’t fit in your pocket, nothing like that! But it’s a planner that’s meant to make you THINK, and make you improve…on whatever it is you want to!
So I got myself one. And I used the calendar and loved the layout, but totally ignored the cheesy, hippy-dippy self-reflection crap because, honestly, I’m just not into that emotional stuff. Emotions are for saps! hahaha
LOVED my planner.
I got another one, the next year, and somewhere along the process, began to understand its creator’s intended purpose for the hippy-dippy garbage and how one could possibly USE the planner to actually set and accomplish goals; WHAT?!
So I did the exercises at the beginning of the book and planned out my year.
Then we hit some MAJOR health issues in our family. And life got seriously derailed. And I didn’t even crack open the CALENDAR part of the planner, let alone the goal-setting – I honestly don’t know how I functioned at ALL, forget trying to better myself in that time – until…I don’t know? October? Pretty late in the game for the calendar-year.
But 2017, I was ready. I got another planner. I sat with the exercise pages ready. I set my timer and let my brain storm out all of my hopes and dreams and wishes for my life.
And then, picked one.
Now, I wasn’t PERFECT with my planner last year, so it took me THE ENTIRE YEAR. But I have to tell you, I DID IT.
Because so much of my mental health issues come from some serious body dysmorphia and self-loathing I pinpointed that, in January 2017, as my #1 focus. I gave myself a deadline of April 2017 to crush my goals – GET THE WEIGHT OFF, and get “better” at kickboxing! hahaha (What I have actually written is a bit more specific, but you get the gist).
So my planner and I went to work. If training is my #1 priority (outside of my actual responsibilities in life, like, you know, keeping my children alive and well, etc.) then….eeeeeverything that doesn’t help get to that end game HAS to go.
I let go of choir. I LOVE singing. I let go of one of my favourite things because I couldn’t get in the training I needed to get to my goals. Fitting choir in hindered me getting to my end-game goal. It was a stupidly hard decision.
I let go of guilt for missing things like book club – I love book clubs! I’ve only been to ONE meeting of the club I’m “part” of, currently. But missing training to go to book club…doesn’t help with the goal! When the goal is socially motivated, or gabbing about books with people helps me get to the next stage of the better me, then I can do it again, consistently. But when work, family, and training are scheduled, and there’s not time for book club, there’s no room for guilt, because it’s not my priority.
I didn’t go to ANY extracurricular church activities during the year. I don’t often enjoy them – I’m surprisingly introverted, so even when I have fun with people it’s physically and emotionally draining like mad.
I learned to say NO to things that didn’t NEED my attention.
I wasn’t PERFECT – as I said, I had originally scheduled myself a deadline of April, and I didn’t feel like I was finished until mid-December… so, there was a lot of wiggling!
But I learned A LOT.
I learned to delegate. I learned to let go. I learned to let my house be a mess and have my parents over, my friends over, without being embarassed. I learned to ask for help when I needed it. Because as stupid as it might sound to someone whose priority ISN’T training, it was a priority to me, and it had to happen.
I learned to let go. I let go of my fear of people and people’s opinions. I stopped worrying what other people thought about my priorities, stopped worrying about offending people by saying ‘no,’ stopped panicking over love handles peaking over the top of my pants or bulging through my favourite dresses.
It’s incredibly freeing to ACTUALLY not care. I’ve been saying it for decades, but it’s been a lie every. Single. Time. But not anymore!
I missed MOVIES this year! I LOVE movies!! But trying to get them all in, when I could also get a sitter or go with Mr Man and NOT miss training? Yeah, that’s star-aligning-type stuff, and it just did NOT happen often.
For the first time in my life, I have worked myself harder than I thought I could and I have actually DONE what I set out to do, ALL for me, ALL because I wanted to. I achieved something, purely because I can. And it’s AMAZING.
My brain is wired differently than the average person’s. Although, mental health problems have come so far from the back corners where we used to shove them that it’s hard to tell if “normal” is even a thing anymore as more and more and more people tell their despairing stories. But I digress. My brain, is weird hahaha!
My BRAIN needs exercise, not my body. I don’t think my body cares all that much, to be honest. It’d be fat and happy in a heartbeat! But my brain…that’s another story all together. It CRAVES movement. And not a jaunty-walk around the block. I NEED to KILL IT. And kill it often!
So when I take a year and FOCUS on my training? Do you know what happens?
I spend the whole year HAPPY. And focused. And on task. And KILLING IT.
Do you know what I did?
- I took a big leap in my business, and stayed afloat.
- I increased my part-time job to full-time.
- In only 3.5 months I became a Registered Reflexologist with the RRCO.
- I paid off debt! I worked my tail off and finally got a grip on my finances.
- I LOST 30LBS (I only put FIVE back on hahaha)!
- I ran the Grapes of Wrath for the second time, running the course solo, and getting through the obstacles without falling. The obstacles I needed help with before were a breeze. And I did NOT collapse at the end.
- I kicked the heavy bag 10,000 times in 38 days.
- I learned how to spar, and GOT OVER IT. I am SO good at taking punches and not flinching that my team has jokingly called me The Terminator on occasion.
And then, in December, I won the gym’s female Kickboxing award for the year. Cited specifically was my growth in confidence and hard work put into helping some other team members prepare for the biggest, swankiest event I’ve ever attended in my life, Pearl Gloves, a charity boxing competition that raised over $100,000 for the Niagara Region’s fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Pretty sure Coach said “Pearl Gloves MVP,” which was humbling and awesome all rolled together.
It was an incredible year.
As I write this I’m sitting here with 2017’s old “road map” open. I cannot BELIEVE that I actually did it. I ACTUALLY did it!! Now I’m well into my 2018 goals and focusing on the next stage of my life to get myself moving further forwards. I have big plans for training this year, but bigger plans for incorporating some more of the “old” me back into the game, now that this part of me seems to be pretty under control.
Setting and achieving goals has led me to a place where for the first time I can think of as an adult I am not waging a debilitating war inside my head. And that feels pretty damned awesome.