2016: The Halfway Point

Tomorrow, it's July. You know what that means. It's hot. It's time for cookouts and watermelon. And 2016 is 50% complete. Remember those New Year's goals? Guuuulp. Yeah, it's time for a midway reality check.

First off, can you believe this year is halfway over?!? We are getting freakishly close to PSL-time and Christmas shopping. By this point, are you crushing your goals for this year? Or have you completely forsaken them and decided to do better in 2017? If the latter is you, don't wait until next year. You have six solid months left to get stuff done. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway, because I've gotten so intensely, narrowly focused on our debt progress that I've basically forgotten the other goals on my list. So, here's my chance to remember. Feel free to join the fun! Here's how things have been going since the first quarterly review in April:

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

I'm ashamed to admit, once again, that I've been slacking here. What have I become when I can't even find FIVE tiny minutes a day to devote to God? I'm tempted to justify myself here (I'm always too tired to read, I don't have a focused reading plan to follow, yada yada yada), but I don't have any legitimate excuses. 

I must do better here. 

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

Still doing this faithfully every Sunday I have off, but I'm gonna be honest and say that I'm growing more and more embittered about having to work every other Sunday. I hate it. Aside from the obvious issue of breaking the Sabbath law, I feel like I cannot truly connect to church when my attendance is interrupted every week. For instance, I've really been enjoying a series on the armor of God that the pastor has been doing. But when you miss every other week, you miss every other sermon, and the serial is all messed up. Excuse the borderline irreverent simile, but it's like missing an episode of Downton Abbey and skipping on to the next one; you just can't do it. 

So. I'm upset about this, I'm still looking for a new job, and I'm trying my best to be optimistic. 

3. Read at least one Christian living classic.

In January, I read Mere Christianity. Nothing else since.

4. Clean up all input, from music and radio to TV and movies. Really think about what you're putting into your mind and spirit.

This one is a struggle because Matt and I don't always see eye-to-eye here, but I'm doing much better, at least when I'm alone. I went through my iTunes library and deleted everything except blatantly Christian music and positive, uplifting songs from clean, secular bands. I also downloaded lots of new songs from bands like The Afters, Switchfoot, and For King and Country. 

The hardest part is still standing up and saying no when my husband wants to watch a movie I don't feel right viewing or asking him to turn off a song in the car. This is mainly because I don't want to sound self-righteous and make him feel bad about his own choices, but also because I'm still too timid and uncomfortable speaking up for myself.  

And again, I don't mean to pick on him. But he's my best friend, of course; the one with whom I spend my free time. I'd have the same issues speaking up to anyone else watching/listening to something that I found inappropriate or distasteful.

5. Write out and post a verse each month.

I did this in June, but that was it. I don't know why I keep failing at this; it should be so simple.

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

Wellllllllll, this went out the window at the end of May. Two things happened then that threw everything off: 1) I stopped coaching for Beachbody, and 2) I started working as charge nurse full-time. I know I'm making excuses, but the immense stress from an increased workload, seriously increased responsibility, and no increase in my pay rate, got to me. Big time. I started coming home from work more exhausted and more depressed and often in tears, and suddenly, our solution became: "Let's go get a steak" or "How about cheeseburgers?" or "Let's order Chinese." Then we started making homemade desserts. Pina Colada Cake. Berry cobblers. Ice cream. Pie. 

I want to throw something as I type this. Last September, I was told I'm prediabetic. PREDIABETIC. What am I doing to myself?!?!? I haven't had my Hgb A1C rechecked, but my bad decisions are already showing up on the scale:

AT LEAST I'm still 5.8 lbs less than where I began the year. I haven't undone everything. And I'm not giving up. If anything, I'm more fired up now and ready to refocus on my health.

2. Bike, run, walk, do yoga, dance, just move three times each week. Keep working out 5-7 days weekBike, run, walk, do yoga, dance, do a Beachbody on Demand video, just move five times each week.

See above. Thanks to this new low point, I'm basically going back to my original goal here. I got so burned out on workout videos with Beachbody. Yes, they work, but I don't enjoy them. You're probably thinking who enjoys working out?!? But I do actually enjoy yoga and running. I just didn't have fun rising to the challenges that the Beachbody videos set. At first they were fine, but when you have to do the exact same video over and over and over again for weeks...it gets old fast. 

So. I gotta try something else. I recently downloaded a free pedometer app for my iPhone so I can at least work on getting in more steps each day. I've thought that maybe I should just start with walking again. Plus, since I'm on my feet all day at work, running around the facility constantly, I thought that physical activity should count for something! I found that in a typical eight-hour shift at the nursing home, I get in about three miles of walking. Pretty crazy. 

That said, I long to get back into running. I long for it. I just haven't been able to do this with my work schedule, but surely I can figure something out. I must, because running is the best antidepressant I've found so far. 

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

I stopped for a few weeks because I was bitterly writing the same hate-filled things: "Made it through another work day", "Didn't walk out on my job", "Paid another bill." I've picked it up again recently though and have been making a genuine effort to have a good attitude about it, and it's helped. 

2. Light candles, do yoga, do facial masks, take lavender-infused showers as needed. Make time for myself. Do one small thing each day I enjoy to keep my sanity, whether it's lighting a candle, writing something, buying something I want, or eating a tiny piece of dark chocolate. 

....haven't done anything like this at all, and it's wearing me down. All I do is stress about work and paying off debts, and I'm tired, frustrated, bitter, and moody all the time because of it. I'm becoming a giant pain in the butt to be around, and I know it. So, I think I'm going to try doing one little thing each day that I actually like doing and see if that helps my mood. 

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

The only area in life in which I am sort of succeeding. We just paid off our last credit card, and that felt pretty amazing! 

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

Welp. Beachbody fell through, as you know, if you've been following me. My outgoing funds to Beachbody continually and drastically exceeded my incoming ones, so I had to put an end to it. At this point, I'm so tired and bummed about my current full-time job that I'm not thinking about a second job right now, but at the same time, I can't help but feel that it might be good for me if I were to find a a part-time job doing something I enjoy. Not sure what the heck that would be, but it's a nice thought. 

So. I don't really know about this one right now. I'll keep an eye out, but I'm not actively pursuing anything.

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

Yay, we did this! The trip is done, it's paid for, and we had a completely wonderful time. 

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

We can't stop talking about Disney and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but we don't see any feasible way to get there at this time. Still, we're putting a few dollars in savings each month for this purpose. We've also been kinda talking about doing a camping trip this fall. Camping is super cheap and fun and it's on my 101 Things list, so I think it needs to happen. 

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

I stink at this. I really do. I hate how depressing this post has been so far, but truly, I haven't done this because it makes me sadder to talk to people back home. It just makes me miss them more. But that's a bunch of poo. I need to get over it and make time for people who still want to be in my life despite the miles. 

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

I can't even address this one. It's too touchy of a subject.  

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

My goal was to stay at the nursing home for six months. I'm going on ten now. Kind of aiming to make it a year, but I check job postings almost daily, so not really.

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



Man, I am ITCHING to write! I haven't been too interested in it since my NaNoWriMo failure, but lately, I have been feeling an intense, overwhelming urge to lose myself in a new creation. But when I open up a blank MS Word document and that blinking cursor starts staring me down, I get panicky and bail.

I've also tried to revisit some old stories with the intent of editing and rewriting, but whoooo, a couple of chapters into a re-read, the vomit rises. This is garbage! These lousy attempts at stories are downright embarrassing. How can I even think of writing?!? I need to grow up and leave that dream with my seventeen-year-old fanfic-penning self. Yes, I must simply suck it up and focus on becoming a better nurse.  

Yeah... It's a struggle. I know my writing would improve if I read more, but I haven't picked up a book that has really gripped me in a long while. Any suggestions? And on that note, any inspirational advice for this wannabe writer?

Man. I apologize. This post has been way gloomier than I expected. But I guess that's why I do these little assessments. To figure out where I am in life and what the heck I'm doing with my time. To refocus on my goals and try to improve. 

Because hey, that's the whole point of this blog. I seem to have forgotten that lately, given the history of my most recent updates. One would think this had become a personal finance blog. But I only write about finance because getting out of debt is one of my many, many goals. There are others, and I can't neglect them while I let money take over my life. 

So yes. I have a lot to work on and a lot of growing to do, but six months is plenty of time for improvements. Let's commit now to making the second half of 2016 even better than the first!

1 comment

Jessica said...

Well, definitely the first step to improvement is acknowledgement. I tend to think "I'm doing so pitifully, I'll just pick it up again next month." And then next month comes along and I've never addressed my issues, so I just remain off track. Making some pit stops along the way to Lazytown and Fatbootyville.

It's not too late to turn the year around!

Although, admittedly, I'm absolutely ready for a PSL.