So how did I move more in 2018?
Early this year I did that typical exercise you will see all over the Internet in January in which you chose a phrase or word to guide the year. My word of the year is a personal philosophy and also a goal to aspire to for the 365 days of the year. This is important for me every single January, because it helps give me some focus and provides a challenge as well.
Looking back over these word of the year commitments that I have chosen consistently since 2014 I realized they all have something in common. Each of my words of the year is an active verb. My word of the year always inspires me to act, no matter what that action verb might be.
Active Not Passive
I think that’s fitting. Why? Because action creates and fuels motivation and change. In 2018 my goal was to move more and I documented that for several months at the start of the year and then time ran out to write about it. Why? Well, basically I was too busy moving more and doing things.
This word of the year experience has often been a really positive proactive experience for me. The year I chose Grow, I grew. The year I chose productivity I was productive. And so on. My word of the year is my philosophy or vision. I’ve been doing this exercise for seven years now and each time it has worked to keep me focused. Only one year fell flat. Mindfulness was so much harder than I imagined. Might have to try that one again, but consistently and with purpose. With the exception of that one word of the year this has always been a benefit to me personally and professionally.
So How did 2018 Inspire Me to Move More?
Happy to report this year was probably my most successful of all the challenges I issued to myself, even though I didn’t always share that in a blog post. Ever since becoming parents, we both realized our kids needed to move a lot, especially Ainsley. She is a very active child to this day and she inspired me to start the process of getting fit. In the very beginning when we first adopted Ainsley and were hunting for a diagnosis we started going to the YMCA for short intervals while the kids did swimming lessons. We would each race upstairs at Centre Branch and hop on the machines. You squeeze tiny increments of self care and respite in where you can.
Respite is a funny thing and often not at all what you think it is.
As she got older, and Payton too, their activity led us outside in the winter months too. We skated together and tobogganed and more. In fact I used to hate winter, but with kids who need to be outside or moving and active 12 months of the year, that couldn’t last.
So we skated and learned to ski and walk or hike outdoors all year long. We also travel all year long together and that involves a lot of outdoor exercise and sports. Over the last ten years we have learned to love winter as much or more than summer. Skiing is a massive part of that.
You can read more about how our family learned to ski here in this post about Mont Tremblant.
Enough Already….How Did It Go?
So, here’s my accountability exercise to myself and to you as well.
How did I move more in 2018 and how did I succeed at this?
Moving more is simply crucial for me as someone with Crohn’s Disease. I wrote about that a few months ago here Why My Word of the Year is a Matter of Life or Death.
This past week with Christmas hovering and closing in I took two days in a row off of my Word of the Year physical fitness commitment and simply stayed in to work at night and during the day. I shot more pitches out and finished up client work. And what happened? By the end of each night I was dead exhausted and fell asleep by 9:30 p.m. One evening I curled up with Ainsley and simply fell asleep because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The next night I was fast asleep by ten. Now clearly I needed the sleep, but this to me is a crystal clear example of why I do this.
Yesterday I was explaining to my daughter. I always feel better physically after I go skiing for a couple of hours, or after I have a workout. Even on days when I am exhausted I often force myself out of the office and the house so that I can go skiing, or to the gym to do Yoga, or Group Power or Group Centergy. It is a matter of health and necessity. On days when the coffee is not enough and my shoulders and knees ache I workout. Ainsley looked at me with a puzzled look on her fact and told me Mom that makes no sense. But for me it is the only logical way to be.
Taking the Time to Work Out Makes Me More Productive
So I force myself most days of the week to carve out that one hour lunch break and I head to the YMCA and do a lunchtime fitness class. This year I have discovered an exceptional Yoga class that challenges me with binds and headstands and bizarre poses and I am really enjoying that once a week as well.
In addition I do not schedule appointments during that hour long fitness class ever. Nor do I answer the phone or check emails. I need the break to focus on my body and that benefits my health and my business too. You will never find me checking emails during downward dog (something that makes me cringe when I see others doing that.)
And of course during ski season you can find me many nights and weekends at Boler Mountain, or up north, or in Vermont skiing. That’s so valuable to me and I get better every single time I go out.
Hitting My 2018 Fitness Goals
My goal was to make it to the Y, or the ski hill, or even simply to get back in my pool swimming at least five days a week and I hit that target almost every single week this year. I am proud of that. In total, I missed maybe 3 weeks. On weeks when travel was involved I made sure to also exercise and make fitness a part of the travel blogging experience too. Sometimes that was zip lining. Other times again it was hiking while we went Fall Camping on an RV trip.
In fact our family travel adventures often involve a lot of activity too.
Now I work to maintain that progress and stamina. Right now five days a week is not that hard as I live pretty close to a YMCA and love to change it up and try various group fitness classes throughout the year. And of course right now we are at the start of ski season so I am hitting the slopes every single chance I have. Luckily I can always do a little bit of work when I am out and if I need to I can write in Vermont and run campaigns from a chairlift or a chalet later in the evening. But mostly I take the break and enjoy that time making my body work hard and challenging myself to push my physical boundaries.
This year my skiing confidence has improved because practice makes perfect. My first year skiing I spent hours simply conquering fear of heights and trying not to fall. Truth. I was the girl on the chairlift clutching the bar and trying not to wipe out when I pushed off at the summit.
The first couple of years skiing I literally went down the slopes repeating everything I was taught by prior ski instructors, counts and turns etc. My inner monologue was: “Don’t fall. You got this. One, two, three. Turn. Shave off some speed. Turn.” There is a repetition to that that helped me to make the turns and move on to try black diamonds. Remember I only learned how to ski in my mid 40s!!
Practice makes a dramatic difference. The biggest change for me in that regard this year is that my skiing has become more fluid and confident and that makes me happy because I have worked hard to get there.
From September on, every single time I go to the gym to workout, I tell myself this will help my energy and my stamina while working and while skiing. Also I know it’s vital for my mental health. Core and balance and strength training are goals I work on and the hard work has paid off when I ski or do yoga or tackle a long hike.
This year my core strength and balance have improved and my upper body strength is so much better. Remember I have been doing this and working hard at it five days a week all year. My triceps are able to hold plank and side plank and they are getting to a point where soon I will be able to progress my inversions. Goals for 2019 are: getting closer to headstands and stronger arms always.
Now my challenge will be to maintain that level of effort and to move more throughout 2019 as well.
What else has changed?
In 2013, 2014, or even 2016 when I went to the gym I was motivated by being healthy for my family. Parenting kids with special needs can be exhausting and draining and I needed to put in some hours on my own self care. But, to be honest my self care back then was driven by the need to be there for my family.
As my kids get older, my mindset has changed a bit. Not sure how that happened but it has been organic and evolving this year. My girls are now 14 and 17. Don’t get me wrong I still see a clear need to work out to be fit and healthy for family. But the difference to me now is that self care is truly driven by my need to care for myself. Oh I love our family ski trips and days at the local ski hill too. But, I recognize that yoga is for me and about me. I am improving myself for myself.
With a 17 year old daughter in grade 12 I am fully aware that she’s heading towards increased independence and my youngest will also follow that pattern. Some days I can almost see the empty nest not that far off. How will that look? Well, to be honest I am certain I’ll still be heading to the gym every day I can and working towards improved energy and health for me. Not for anyone else. Self care is actually self care.
What Will 2019 Bring?
There’s no crystal ball that tells me what lies ahead. Many days I wish there was one though. So what’s the goal for 2019 and the word of the year? I am still working on that and have not settled on anything quite yet. When I find my word, rest assured you will be the first to know.
Happy New Year! I wish you a brilliant and healthy 2019!
What was your word of the year in 2018 and how did it go?