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Sunday, April 7, 2013

2013 Resolutions: March Update and April Goals

Poppies

This year, I am working on new resolutions each month and am using Gretchen Rubin's monthly resolution system to create and track behaviors that I hope will increase my overall happiness.

I have been quite busy this month.  Spring is always an event packed time of year with the nice change in weather and many birthdays, including my own.  This is, naturally, my favorite time of year.  2013 has certainly been an exciting and productive one so far!

March Update
Back at the beginning of March I wrote that my goal for the month was to change jobs and find a teaching position in the town where I live.

This has been my intention for a while, but the time never seemed quite right and the potential risk of change appeared greater than the reward.  So I waited, and in the process learned many invaluable skills and lessons from at my current job.  I also discovered my unique passion and skill for working with teens with emotional challenges.  I gained years of specialized experience working with this population.

So this last month, when I finally put myself out there to find a new job, who would have thought that not only would I find a position listed within a few days but that the position would require all of my unique talents and experience?  And that it would be at one of my top choice schools at which to work?  So I applied, interviewed, interviewed again, and got the position.

Never in my lifetime have I seen the direct result of intention the reach a goal and the subsequent fulfillment of that goal so dramatically as in this situation.  Nothing about this experience would have gone as well (indeed, may not have happened at all) if I had not set clear goals and intentions from the outset.  Having a clear vision of what I wanted enabled me to see the opportunity when it presented itself, so that I could jump on it.

Another insight I gained from this process is that an opportunity will come along that suits a person when the time is right.  I had wanted to change jobs for a while, but didn't.  If I had left sooner, I wouldn't have the skills necessary for the position I will begin next year.  Again and again, things seem to work out when the time is right.  It's just something to consider when trying to trust your intuition about making a decision.  What is right for others or what seems "correct", may or may not be the best course of action for you.  You have to decide for yourself, and setting intentions about what you want is a good way to help make that choice easier.

April Goals
This month, I am focusing on health.  I have two goals in this area, and the first I've already accomplished!

When I first decided to change jobs, I knew I would need a fallback means of income in order to be comfortable enough to leave my current secure, tenured position.  One morning driving to work I had a lightbulb moment. I have been doing Zumba 1-3 times a week for years.  I love it.  I'm a teacher.  I might like to teach Zumba!

Soon afterward I set my intention in motion by sharing it with my mentors and current instructors.  They were amazingly supportive and helped me to the next leg of my journey.  I was introduced to the lovely Mara, who has been dancing in the same Zumba class as me for years although we've never met.  Funny how that goes in group exercise classes.  Mara was also planning to get her instructor's certificate, and so I was encouraged to join her in Fremont and get mine, as well.

So, yesterday, I did it!  I can call myself on official Zumba instructor!

What I do with it now remains to be seen, because I have to think about what I learned in the training and how I might apply what I've learned to developing my own style, etc.  It's a lot to think about.  I have spent a lot of my life as an "intellectual", and success as an "athlete" is somewhat foreign to me.  I don't trust myself as much in this area, although I have no reason to believe I can't be successful.

My second goal is in an area where I know I can be successful because I have done it before.  Over the course of the past 5-6 years, I have lost about 80 pounds.  A year or so ago, I stopped about 10 pounds short of my goal, because there were just too many other changes in my life and I was working on getting healthy in other ways.  I stopped drinking alcohol, and eventually adopted a gluten-free, vegan diet.  Now, over a year after these major changes and with a greater level of overall fitness, I feel ready to make the necessary changes to lose the last 10-15 pounds to have a healthy BMI.  

My main tool for working on my diet and eating habits is the excellent book, The Complete Beck Diet for Life, which uses a combination of cognitive behavior therapy and portion control to help make better eating choices.  I have an exceptionally healthy diet, especially compared to how I ate for most of my life, but I still have many bad habits that are tied to emotional or mindless eating.  I'd like to get a handle on that stuff once and for all and stop having to think so much about it all the time.  Dr. Beck's book gives great tools to help develop healthy eating habits, in which good choices are second nature and automatic instead of a daily battle.

At the end of the month, I'll update on my progress.  Even if I don't lose any weight, I will hopefully not feel so controlled my my cravings and food in general.  It's more about control over how I approach decisions about food, than actually trying to avoid bad food.  I want to be able to say no to tempting things when I really know I don't want them, instead of giving in to habit or some other kind of emotional eating.  Popchips, you are my biggest enemy!  Those things are so darn addicting...

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