Well hello there!
Welcome to my annual post all about vision boarding, goals, great ambitions and what’s to come for the year ahead.
I’m not sure about you, but over the holidays I was thinking a LOT about all of this. It’s not that January is particularly magical or anything – it’s just a month, and really, any day could be ‘that day’ you decide to make impactful life changes.
So why am I feeling especially motivated about setting some fresh new goals? I think it’s because all those hours spent traveling over the holidays, launching the new Gorgeous Guide to Goal Conquering, all the rest and relaxation, and all the time away from work and proper commitments finally gave my head enough space to get all deep, and introspective and all that. Did anyone else do the same?
Doing my annual goal setting and vision boarding exercise this year felt different than it has in the past. For one thing, I wasn’t sitting at the kitchen table with my bestie Jess talking about anything and everything while tearing apart magazines in search of inspirational images and quotes. Don’t get me wrong though – as you’re about to see, I still did plenty of cutting and pasting. It was just on my own and with so many inspiring thoughts in my head that I’m sure they would have all sounded like complete jibberish had there been someone listening next to me.
2015 was a big year that included a big cross-country move and a big job change. Funnily enough, I actually took moving to Vancouver off my 2015 vision board because I decided I was going to stick it out in Waterloo for another solid year, then resume my “quest for the west”. But of course, timing is never perfect and I have zero regrets about jumping at the chance.
There were some super high-stress times and some super fun times. Thanks to all the changes and training for my first half Ironman, I learned that I’m more physically and emotionally strong than I once thought. More than anything, I learned the value of being patient and that’s definitely something at the front of my mind going in to 2016.
After much thought, scribbling down pages of ideas, and thinking about what did and didn’t work in 2015, I came up with my list of goals that truly matter for this year. And to go along with them, here’s my 2016 vision board to serve as a daily reminder of where my focus should be.
In the past I’ve explicitly stated most of my goals on my vision boards. This year I decided to do things a bit differently for two reasons. The first is to allow flexibility, something I think I could do with a bit more of in many ways. I’ve talked about my type-A tendencies and love of routines in the past, but as you’ll see if you look closely at the bit in the middle of the board, I’m planning to leave more room for fun, adventure and creativity this year. That means less black and white, less rigidity, and perhaps some goal adjustments along the way.
The second reason for being a bit more vague than usual on this year’s vision board is because I’m a real person, and to be perfectly honest, some things are a little too scary to be proclaiming on the internet for all the world to see. Don’t you worry though… tucked away in my journal are the big goals and tactical specifics I plan to do to get me there.
With that said, it’s not all secrets (because that would make this a really boring post!) and part of my strategy for reaching my goals is talking about them with you in order to stay accountable.
More connection, less isolation
I’ve chosen an overall theme of connectedness, something I felt I lacked a lot of in 2015 as I focused so intensely on half Ironman preparation and proving myself in my job. Neither of these two things are disappearing this year – there’s another half Ironman on the cards in June, and I’m far from being a non-working millionaire! The difference is that I plan to approach both training and work in different ways this year. You’ll hear more about the specifics of my goals as I work through them and go into detail in my monthly goal check-ins, but in no particular order, here’s where things are headed:
Set a sub-6 hour PR at Ironman Victoria 70.3 in June
Last year I hired a coach because I had NO idea how to train for 70.3 miles of swimming, biking and running. Left to my own devices I would have likely trained harder than I should have, resulting in injury and burn out well before the race actually happened in August.
My coach taught me tons, and as is the case in many coach-athlete relationships, often had to pull me back and tell me to chill out, rather than push me to go harder. I put total trust in him to get me to get me physically prepared to successfully meet my goal, and part of me was fearful that if I didn’t do every workout exactly as prescribed, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I was also a beginner when it came to cycling (as in, on a real bike, not a spin bike), so I was definitely looking for my coach’s expertise there. It sounds a bit silly now, but the fear was very much real at the time.
With one half Ironman behind me, I’m by no means an expert. I am however, a lot more confident in my own abilities, physical and mental strength. I’ve done research, talked to several experienced triathletes who I trust and admire, and have decided to self-coach for Ironman Victoria 70.3 on June 12th. Part of my approach will involve having more FUN and making it a social experience by training with friends, and I’m excited to see if I can get myself to a sub 6-hour PR. Some of you may remember my training check-ins from last year, and you can expect many more to come!
Do 3 half marathons
The specific races are still to be confirmed, with the exception of the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon, which will be on August 13th this year. Unlike previous years where I’ve focused hard on PRing, my #1 goal this time around is to do these for fun with friends. The half marathon is my best distance and running will always be my favourite of the 3 triathlon disciplines. Fun will be the priority, but doesn’t mean I won’t be trying to run fast. 😉
Eat to perform
A general goal, yes, but what it means is using nutrition to my advantage when it comes to training and racing, fueling properly before, during and after workouts and races. The middle bit – consuming energy during training – is where I tend to get lazy but I know it’ll hinder performance if neglected. Outside of sports nutrition, I’ll also be focusing on whole foods that help speed recovery, helping to make every session a great one.
Make meals beautiful
You know how food presented in restaurants just looks and tastes better? Recipes that make the blog look pretty, but not all the dishes I make myself are that way! Part of mindful eating is putting care into the preparation and presentation of food, which then helps us to enjoy it more. It’s easy to slack on this when I’m just cooking for myself, but I’d like to spend some time working on getting better here.
Expand my personal and professional networks
Part of me dislikes the word ‘networks’ because it sounds business-y and self-serving. What I really mean is the circles of genuine relationships and the people I choose to spend time with. Carrying on with the theme of connectedness, meaningful relationships are something that matter to me, but last year wasn’t really reflective of that. That’s changing this year in a number of ways, including professional development events, meet ups, sweat dates, and plenty of other fun stuff!
Learn from mentors
One of the awesome things about technology is that we have access to knowledgeable leaders, world-famous role models and totally brilliant people who, without the internet, we’d probably only see on TV and hear about in magazines. And even if we could access these people in person for coaching and mentoring, it would probably cost time and a lot of money.
There are plenty of people that I love learning from through podcasts, reading blogs, watching Youtube and following on social media. There’s also some really great books out there, written by really great people, several of which I’ve already loaded into my Kindle app. But I’ve also been really lucky to meet some very wise minds since moving to Vancouver and I know there’s a ton of insight to be gleaned from them too.
Make room for more creative projects
I talked a bit about creativity in November, and after having found myself getting completely immersed in a couple of creative pursuits over the holidays, I’ve decided that the creative muscle is one I need to flex more often. As this video from Brit + Co shows, creativity exists in all forms. As a kid I LOVED crafts and adulthood somehow managed to make me forget about that. Recipe development, photography and writing this blog are all types of creative expression, but I’m feeling really excited by the prospect of doing more. I’ve started a new Pinterest board for crafty projects and if they go well, you’ll hear about it as I tackle them! The plan is to try one every 1-2 months.
Make home feel like a sanctuary
You know those days when you have to grab a super fast breakfast in order to be at work early for all-morning meetings, end up working through lunch in attempt to catch up, then end up putting out unexpected fires in the afternoon? You arrive at 5pm with your head spinning, wondering where the day went and how there could possibly still be so much on your to do list? Let’s face it – that situation happens in all sorts of jobs, not just mine, and it’s on those days when I want to come home afterwards, switch off my head and chill out.
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time relaxing when my surroundings are cluttered and messy. Therefore, I’m planning to make a few tweaks to make my space a little more feng shui, including making daily tidying a habit. But more importantly, all year long, I’ll be seriously questioning purchases of new things before bringing them into my little home. After all, life is more about experiences, not things, and I want my home experience to have a super relaxed, soothing type of vibe.
Express gratitude daily
This one doesn’t need much explanation. Plenty of studies have found evidence to support the fact that expressing gratitude has a positive effect on our individual perceptions of well-being and happiness. I’ve got endless things to be thankful for, and when something so easy can have such a profound effect on how we feel about ourselves, why wouldn’t you do it?
I’m going to be keeping a daily gratitude journal using the super simple app Gratitude Journal 365 which I just downloaded and already love. If that doesn’t work so well I’ll switch to a paper one. Anyone else care to join?
Do work that truly matters
In addition to connectedness, this is one of the general all-encompassing themes of my year. In my personal life, I want to nurture relationships because people matter. Professionally, I want to have a positive impact on the world. When it comes to the blog, I want to inspire you to live a fulfilling life by sweating regularly, enjoying delicious whole foods, and constantly evolving into your best self. I have some more specific sub-goals under this theme for my full time job and the work I do as a blogger (for example, growing my audience by 40% by the end of the year). To do all this, the things that don’t matter – or don’t matter as much – can’t be higher priorities.
Alright, that’s enough about me. What I’d really love to know is…