Friday, April 5, 2013

Goals for April

My birthday falls at the end of April, and each year the beginning of the month gets me thinking of the previous year. What I've accomplished in the last year (or haven't accomplished). What goals I want to accomplish in the year ahead. What I'm happy with in my life and want to continue, and what I'm not happy with and want to eliminate. Basically, the month of April gets me thinking about the passage of time, which I think is a good thing. It's important to reassess every so often. I see far too many people who don't do this, and it's honestly pretty depressing. I see people who are in jobs they don't enjoy, relationships that aren't fulfilling and they complain but don't do a damn thing about it. I don't want to judge, but I think the moment we begin accepting our life as is, even if we aren't happy, is the moment a little part of us dies. Dramatic, maybe? 

Anyway, so I decided to write down three goals I will accomplish for the month of April. One is related to school and the other two are related to health. They are as follows:

1. I will study organic chemistry for at least 1 hour each day. 

2. I will be active for at least 20 minutes a day. 

3. I will not eat meals in front of a screen (TV, laptop, phone etc.). 

Why did I choose these three goals? Well, after a disappointing grade on my organic chemistry midterm, I decided I have plenty of time to do well on the next exam, but only if I study everyday. Of course when I told my dad this goal, he said, 'why only 1 hour?', 'well, because I have a life, dad!'. I wish I were half as ambitious and hard-working as he is. But an hour is doable for me. Maybe on some days it'll be more, but I think if I do this, I should be in good shape for the next exam. 

About being active for 20 minutes a day, that doesn't mean I'll be at the gym everyday, it just means I want to move for at least 20 minutes every day. And in New York City, where we walk a ton, that shouldn't be hard to accomplish at all. 20 minutes is the minimum time necessary for you to reap benefits physically and usually after 20 minutes I want to keep going. I feel best and sleep better when I've moved during the day. With the weather getting better every day this should be easy, but you'd be surprised how often I realize I haven't gotten off the couch all day because I've been reading or watching TV or whatever. 

Put your goals somewhere where you'll see them everyday. 

Finally, this last one is going to be SO tough for me. My sister actually suggested we do this together and it is so important, but so hard for me. My favorite thing in the world is to come home after a long day, make myself a yummy dinner or order take out and watch my DVRed TV shows. Real Housewives always go great with a side of sea scallops and white wine. But as a future registered dietician and one who counsels families every week on health and nutrition, I know that one of the worst things you can do is eat while watching TV or playing on your computer. This 'mindless eating' leads to overeating. Haven't you ever gone to see a movie, purchased a bucket of popcorn thinking you could never finish it, and before you know it, you're scratching at the bottom of the tub, wondering where it all went? Well, that's cause when we are watching something while eating, we are never aware of how much we've eaten and if we are full. So, for the month of April, I promised myself I wouldn't watch TV while eating. 

This would be easy if I didn't live alone! I mean, I love having dinner and talking with friends, but when you live alone, frankly it feels a bit weird. I did it last night- set the table for one, and ate, in silence, without looking at anything. It was boring! But I did enjoy my food a lot more and ate less than I normally would have. Once I was done, I watched my shows and it was fine. 

Anyway, so these are my goals for April. They are doable and by the end of the month I am going to feel great having accomplished them. 

What are some of yours? 

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