the old woman and the c

Earnest Hemingway captured my imagination as I navigated the winding roads of teenage-dom with his literary depiction of an old man and a fish. I recall leaning into the book as Santiago struggled with the monster fish like I was being dragged myself by a huge force. Certainly there was no fish on the floor of my bedroom. Just two or six chocolate wrappers. Maybe my fish- or force- came packaged quite differently than Santiago’s marlin.

but a fight is a fight.


So the c that dragged me into its waves to be carried by its ebbs and flows was not the salty variety but the sweeter kind. And ever since I have wrestled with the ups and downs of life with some sort of sweet companion. Vachon Flakies became the force for most of my marriage, and recently during my hemorrhoid/cancer scare I resorted to the old faithful chocolate Turtles.

Yup. I’m gonna’ talk about goals!!! After all, it’s a new year-isn’t that what we all do?! A few years ago, I went through a stage where I decided to reject making new year’s goals because, let’s face it, by March probably sooner most of us don’t remember what said goals even were! Howeverrrrrrr, I study psychology which keeps me on track a lot, and science definitely supports the idea that goals are a very important part of achievement

Regardless, HUGE goals don’t work for me. And probably a lot of you.

Now, lest you misunderstand, I’m pretty decent at achievement. After all, I’ve run four marathons, and I’m going to graduate with a psychology degree in the very near future. THAT requires some serious goal-setting! Here’s the thing. The process can be pretty unpleasant at times because the big goal LIKE RUNNING 42 KM STRAIGHT or LOSING TEN POUNDS or HITTING THE DEAN’S LIST can be overwhelming. Also, it doesn’t help when you’re one of those people who wants to run every kilometre very fastttttttttt!

So I’m doing it a little differently this year. I’m concentrating on steps toward the goal….baby steps. It was my brother’s idea the one who qualified for the Boston Marathon this past September. Show-off.

He suggested building habits rather than setting goals. And I think it’s brilliant! I’m sure it’s an old idea but hey it finally resonated with me!

So, how does this look? Okay, I want to lose 10 pounds so I can run very fastttttt but I’m not fixed on that goal. Instead, I’ll focus on establishing some new habits that will likely result in a 10 pound deficit. Number one habit is to stop medicating myself with the c. Chocolate is my go-to when I’m stressed, half the time I don’t even crave it, it’s just a habit! A BAD HABIT! I know I can handle managing chocolate intake much easier than the greater LOSE TEN POUNDS! So, I’ve broken down my goals into habits. Here are some new habits I’m aiming toward:

  1. Chocolate once a week.
  2. Run first thing in the morning at least 3 out of my 5 weekly runs.
  3. Bread twice a week.
  4. Do the scientific research for papers before the actual writing. I usually do this all at once and O.M.G.
  5. Practice handstand.
  6. Shower first thing in the morning. No I’m not a slob! It’s just that I plan my showers around my runs which sometimes don’t happen till 4 in the afternoon…but a shower in the morning tends to energize me. so shower I shall.
  7. Meditate for 10 minutes every morning before my shower! And I can do this lying on my back in bed if I want, no restrictions…..just meditate.
  8. 3 push-ups on my toes not knees in a row, after I meditate before I shower.
  9. Plan two very easy meals a week it’s tough to cook gourmet meals every night but it’s also tough to eat very healthy and not put in a lot of work! 
  10. Chocolate once a week.

My full list has 50 items, just little things that will promote healthier habits and make the journey to the big goals more enjoyable hopefully. You can probably read between these lines and figure out a few of the end goals. But my focus is on the habits.

I’m not trying to land Santiago’s marlin. I’m good with a salmon or a trout. There are days I’ll settle for a minnow. Other days just being in the boat with my line in the water will be the perfect catch.

And in case you haven’t read the Hemingway classic, by the time Santiago got his huge fish to shore the sharks had eaten all its flesh and he had nothing left to show but a skeleton!!! How many times have I crossed a finish line, completed a uni course, tried on that goal outfit with just a skeleton of the original dream?! Countless.

Here’s to a year full of trout and tilapia and salmon and cod and sardines if there’s nothing else in the cupboard. Yup. Sardines will do.

Okay, I need to take a shower. Happy New Year!

Enjoy Day 4.

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