2016


We've arrived in another new year. Another fresh start, 366 blank pages to fill in. For many of us, that means it's goal-setting time.

2015 was the year goals went out the window for me. I was newly engaged and celebrating New Year's at Disney World. Resolution-list-making wasn't exactly on the agenda. Having fun was. And then, when I came home, finding a dress was. Planning a wedding was. Finishing my last semester at Ashford was. All the crazy, exciting events of 2015 caused me to lose sight of many things, very important things, that I had previously been focused on.

2016 is the perfect opportunity to revisit these areas, to explore the damage my neglect has caused, to pick up the pieces, and create some new goals for myself.

Starting with my faith.

This is the lowest slump I've been in spiritually for a long while. I feel cut-off from God. I'm finding it hard to see Him from day to day. My work environment is filled with people who mock Christianity, curse regularly, and live all-around unclean lives. I work every other Sunday morning. I have basically zero contact with other believers. And I have no chances to get out into nature, which is one of my favorite ways to connect with the Lord.

When I make time to read the Bible lately, it just seems...lifeless. Words on a page. Difficult and confusing words on a page, at that. Even if I pray first. And on that note, my prayers are repetitive and dull, and honestly, I often fall asleep in the middle of them.

I just feel detached. So, in hopes of rekindling my relationship with the Lord, I made the following pathetically simple goals for 2016:

1. Make time for daily prayer and Bible reading, even if it's only 5 minutes.

The prayer has to be intentional, and I can't wait until I'm lying in bed at night to get started.

2. Make a real effort to visit and attend church as regularly as work allows, 
with or without my husband.

This is so hard. I was raised Baptist, but as an adult, I align with no particular denomination. I just want a real, honest group of believers who use the Bible as their guide, not the Southern Baptist Association or the "General Overseer." Matt, however, remains strongly rooted in the Church of God, and the differences there are becoming a real problem. I've been noticing myself subtly blaming Matt for my spiritual problems when I know I am responsible for myself. I have to do what I feel I should do. Further, I can't make him do anything he doesn't feel that he should do. I am responsible only for myself. 

3. Read at least one Christian living classic.

From C.S. Lewis to Max Lucado, there are so many books out there that I know will re-energize me spiritually. "Mere Christianity" has been on my to-read list for about five years now, but I still haven't gotten around to it. It's on my shelf. 2016 is the year.

4. Increase exposure to worship music, Christian radio, and sermon videos/podcasts.

If I don't go to church, I can still watch or listen to a sermon somewhere online. As far as music goes, I know what goes in comes out. I lost my giant case of CDs at our wedding (something happened to them at the reception; IDK). My entire music library, gone forever. As devastated as I was to lose my Coldplay collection and The Essential Johnny Cash, it was a disguised blessing to rid myself of AC/DC and the like. I want to begin rebuilding my music with not only clean music, but Christian music. Real, simple, worship music, like Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin. (Suggestions?) And of course, dcTalk. 

5. Write out and post a verse each week.

I'm not getting as complicated as verse memorization. All I'm aiming for here is to write a verse that speaks to me on an index card and stick it on the fridge.

Pretty basic, right? So is my next area to work on.

*sigh*

I haven't touched on this subject here in a long time because I pretty much threw in the towel when I started working at the nursing home. The stress just got to me. Oh, did it get to me.

My weight as of January 1, 2016?


I've gained 15 pounds since our wedding day. I haven't been in the 180's since 2013.

But there is so much more to this issue than my increased body fat.

*siiiiiigh*

I've been having a lot of health issues the last few months.Nausea, fatigue, weakness, dizziness. Skin issues. Chronic infections. I've ended up seeing three doctors since we moved to Missouri. THREE. And it turns out, some of my lab tests revealed problems. I had low hematocrit, low red blood cells and low vitamin B-12. Due to my vegetarian diet, the doctor said.

But then. My new OB-GYN gave me a huge shock. (It's not what you're thinking.)

My Hemoglobin A1C was high. Really high. (Hemoglobin A1C shows your blood glucose levels for the past three months; it is far more revealing than a one-time glucose test which only shows blood sugar at the time of the drawing.) How high?

I'm prediabetic.

If I don't act drastically right now, I will develop Type II Diabetes in the future. If I become pregnant in the next couple of years, I will quite likely develop Gestational Diabetes during my pregnancy.

When I heard this news, I almost fell out. I felt like I had been making such good choices. No high fructose corn syrup. No preservatives or shady hard-to-pronounce ingredients. No meat.

Ooooh...no meat. What had I been eating that is super easy to turn meatless? Pasta. Pizza. Stir-fried rice or lo mein. Beans and cheese in flour tortillas. Beans and cheese over corn tortilla chips. Grilled cheese sandwiches on homemade artisan bread. CARBS. CARBS. CARBS!!!

You can't really understand where this put me. I felt like I was doing the right thing by going meatless, but apparently, I screwed up. I got my body all out of whack. I gorged myself on carbohydrates- fresh, homemade, non-GMO, organic carbohydrates- and put my health, and consequently, my future kids' health, in serious danger.

The solution? Basically, the Paleo diet: no sugar, no breads, no pastas, no rice. Just lots of vegetables, meat, fish, and eggs. I don't like it. But I suppose I like it more than pricking my finger and giving myself insulin injections multiple times a day for the rest of my life, all because I like bread so much.

So. Goals.

1. Eliminate sugar, breads, and pasta. Severely restrict rice and beans. 

Technically, the Paleo diet does not allow any grains, not even rice or beans. I don't see anything wrong with having one or the other from time to time; they at least provide more nutrition than breads/pastas. And um, consuming as much meat as Paleo requires is not only a challenge for me, it is outrageously expensive. I think going "Almost Paleo" is a decent balance, at least for now.

2. Don't eat (or drink) anything I wouldn't if I were pregnant.

This occurred to me after the whole Gestational Diabetes talk, and it seems like a pretty good rule to follow. If something isn't good for a human fetus (like, say, deli meat), there's a good chance it's not all that great for a human adult. Plus, if there are any unplanned pregnancies, I won't feel guilty about what I had to eat three weeks ago when I thought I was only eating for myself. (After a pregnancy "scare" with all the nausea, dizziness, and fatigue, this means a lot more than it used to.)

3. Bike, run, walk, do yoga, dance, just move three times each week.

Seemingly impossible after working the floor on my feet without a break for several hours, but I've gotta figure out how to get in some exercise again. 

So yeah. Obviously, I'm bummed about weighing in 188.8. But this goes far beyond my weight struggles. I have to get my diet straightened out. 

Next. 

As you may have noticed (Matt sure has!), this job has wrecked my positivity and optimism. I've become a whiny, stressed, sardonic pessimist who dreads going to work every day, and I do not want to be that person. The journal I had on my wish list for Christmas? I have plans for it.

1. Write down three things I'm thankful for daily.

Time to Pollyanna it up. I kept a gratitude journal for a while once before, and it completely changed my attitude. Definitely need to go there again.

2. Light candles, do yoga, do facial masks, take lavender-infused showers as needed.

Pretty self-explanatory. These are all self-indulgent sorts of things that I rarely do, but I'm going to allow myself to for the sake of my sanity/attitude.

I've talked about this one a lot lately, so it's no surprise. I won't spend much time here, because you've probably already figured out my goals for this one.

1. Continue preparing a monthly cash budget and planning for all spending.

2. Find some kind of "side gig" to really ramp up the debt snowball.

3. Save up and pay cash for an anniversary weekend getaway.

4. Save up and pay cash for another trip for just the two of us.


1. Call/write/text/mail a card to someone back home every week. 
Make a true effort to stay in touch with family/friends.

When work scheduling is as it has been, this gets so stinking hard. But I really want to let people I love know I miss them, care about them, and think about them. If I don't make an effort to contact them, they'll assume the opposite.

1. Pursue a job opportunity that will make use of my bachelor's in English.

2. Stick it out in this position until at least March 2016.

March will be six months. I've seen a few nursing positions that looked more promising that require "at least six months experience in a skilled nursing facility." Boom. 

3. Post monthly blog updates about debt, diet/fitness, and weigh-ins.

This feels weird under the "work" category, but as an aspiring writer, it counts. On a related note,

4. WRITE SOMETHING.

In addition to blog posts, that is.

There you have it. A somewhat brief summary of my goals so far for 2016. I feel like it's still a work in progress, though. I'm so dissatisfied with who I am and where I am in life right now, I have the urge to make so many changes. It's just too early to tell which other changes I can make, specifically. And this list is already kind of long. I don't need to go overboard and overwhelm myself. 

What are your goals for 2016? Can you identify with any of these? What are your plans and strategies for making it happen?

3 comments

Regine Karpel said...

You can do it!

Anonymous said...

Oh, goodness! So much to talk about that I don't feel a comment is sufficient; let me know when you have a day off where we could chat for a while. I'm sorry to hear about the diabetes scare. You can turn things around, though. I know you're capable of doing that.

I think this year my goals are going to be simple "starter goals." Then every three months I'll revisit the goals and hopefully make adjustments and add on new goals as I make the first ones into habits. Also, if I've gotten off track, that will give me the chance to make a fresh start without waiting until January 2017.

We'll see how it goes; you know I tend to lose steam rather quickly, which is one of the things I really need to work on. I have to wait until I'm back home to do my first weigh-in of the year, but I intend to share that cringe-worthy number with you. I'll send you my goals soon also.

Happy New Year!
AMPS

Lacey said...

Wow, this was the most inspiring post ever! Haha. I had a couple of goals set for 2016 but after reading this I want to fine-tune them more and add more!

I love the simple idea of posting a verse on your fridge each week. Since we love food so much that's a clever location too, lol. Gosh, the church situation sounds tough. I think it's brave of you to be resolved to go anyway.

Oh WOW, I am soooo sorry to hear about your health struggles as of late, that sounds so difficult :( :( :( But you know what? You can TOTALLY overcome this. You have proven yourself good at overcoming your goals (think of your weight loss, financial hurdles, and education!), you can so do this! I'm cheering you on from Cali! (lol).

I want to cut way back on my sugar, too. I've stopped adding it to my coffee, which is a huge deal for me! I think I'm going to set up a system where I only allow myself sweets (such as cookies or ice cream... I can't stop baking) on weekends, or maybe only Saturdays. My sister and her husband cut out sugar last year for their New Years resolutions and they stuck with it all year (they had sugar for special occasions... birthdays or holidays). I think that's so great!

Gratitude journaling changed my life. I used to do it consistently for about a year (I think we've talked about that?) and it TOTALLY changed my attitude. I'd like to pick that up again.

I love all of your goals and am totally inspired to work on mine! Can't wait to read some updates.

Happy New Year! Miss writing to you!