I’m not much for setting New Year’s resolutions, because most of them get set aside by February or March for other priorities that come along.
However, at the beginning of 2016, I read an article by Anne Ditmeyer, another expat blogger living in Paris, who explained that she sets a theme for the year, rather than identifying specific achievements linked to her resolutions.
I loved her idea, and chose Wellness as my theme for 2016. As I am a petite person you might think, “but you are already healthy!”
Sorry to disappoint you, but my small frame hides many ills.
While my total calorie intake is a healthy number, my diet has been terrible: a meal of corn chips and salsa with some Italian ham has been my idea of a starch, vegetable and protein – which we can all agree is not a balanced meal. To make matters worse, I also almost never exercise, so my body is not strong, including my heart.
My ultimate goals are first to be strong enough that I don’t somehow fall and hurt myself when I’m older, and second to live until I’m 100 or 120. Why not!?
To achieve all of this, my wellness theme last year meant:
- get fit (be stronger, and have great muscle tone),
- eat right (less of the food that makes my irritable bowel syndrome go nuts, and more of the food that calms my guts down), and
- strengthening my heart (because omg, I never exercise, and it will be impossible to live to 120 with a weak heart!).
Well, I didn’t succeed with my goals for 2016.
It’s not that I gave up after February 1st, it’s just that I didn’t set myself up for success, and then unexpected issues popped up that made the goals even harder to reach.
First of all, I wasn’t sleeping enough. I worked like a crazy person from February through June, plus coordinated a very stressful move into our Paris apartment, and continued the immigration paperwork nightmare through until the end of June. Not sleeping enough led me to not feel rested enough to exercise, and it also made me more likely to buy easy foods that were not healthy, instead of taking the time to cook or prepare a salad.
Also, my definition of “success” for eating right meant that I could continue to eat a dinner of chicken and basmati rice!
And then, I didn’t account for an unexpected drop in my body’s Vitamin D level or for my thyroid to suddenly work well below the “normal” threshold. At the beginning of the summer, I found myself literally out of breath after two flights of stairs.
This fall a few doctor’s visits, blood tests and a heavy-duty multi-vitamin got my body’s chemistry back on track, but the continued lack of sleep kept the rest of my goals at bay.
On the plus side, having a theme really helped me keep the goal in mind all year. I never forgot it through the entire year and it kept inspiring me to see doctors about fixing my fatigue issue.