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Rated: 18+ · Letter/Memo · Personal · #2266020
A letter to myself about my goals for 2022
Dear Me...

Is that you? I mean, me? You've changed so much I barely recognise you! And it's not just the weight loss. There have been some major mindset and lifestyle changes over the past year, huh? And if this much can change in one year, what will 2022 bring? *Crazy*

Your goals for 2021 seemed almost stereotypical in their 'New Year's Resolution'-ness - lose weight, start exercising more, drink more water, read books, blah blah blah....

What's truly nuts is that you actually DID some of that.

*BurstR* You lost 17.3kg (38lb) in 2021. That is amazing, girl! You should be seriously proud of yourself for that. I'm proud of you for that! That's 17.3kg that you don't have to carry around all day. That's a lot of heavy bags of potatoes or a lot of sticks of butter! *Laugh*

*BurstP* You walked 579km (360mi) in 2021. That's an average of 1.5km every day. It's not the 1.5km that's impressive, it's the consistency. You didn't do it once, you did it over and over again. And look at you now! Check out those legs! *Laugh* You're awesome. And you're so fit now. I know you took those Great Walks off your bucket list because you figured you were too old and too unfit, but look at you now! You know you can do them! You've gone from the girl who didn't do any exercise to the girl who walks often and can knock out 10km without any trouble. You rock!

*BurstO* Those *Up* are awesome achievements, but they don't shock me as much as the water. Since when did we drink water? *Shock* I can't believe you actually put the Sprite Zero to the side and started drinking water! And it's not even that you were drinking it, because we both knew that you could probably force yourself to drink it if you were determined enough. The really shocking part is that you like it. *Shock2* I didn't see that coming in a million years!

*BurstB* I'm not surprised that you hit your reading goal of 120 books for the year, although it's quite impressive that you managed it while doing all your walking and everything. But I am surprised that you wrote more than 30,000 words on your family history project and 25,000 words on your autobiography. You also got your 2002 blog book printed and completed. You made some serious progress on those projects! Although your projects were not your major focus in 2021, making progress on them leaves you feeling good, feeling productive, and distracted you from some of the difficulties that 2021 was so filled with. *ThumbsUpR*

But reviewing your goals doesn't really encompass all the changes that have been made. I don't want to say that you've become more selfish, because I don't think that's true. You've been a huge source of support for others during the craziness of lockdown and other assorted dramas. But you have learned to put yourself first, and that is....life changing. You've been living for others for so long that I honestly didn't know there was another way to do it. I certainly didn't know how to effect that change. But you've done it. You decided that your health was important enough for you to say "I don't care if you don't want chicken breasts for dinner, that's what we're having." You decided that your mental health was important enough for you to say "I'm going for a walk, whether you come with me or not." You did what you needed to do, and put other people's petty grumbles aside. And what was the result? You lost weight. Your mental health improved. But not only that, Steve lost 12kg, Caitie lost 9kg and Jayden lost 5kg, and even more importantly, Steve and Caitie followed your lead on the mental health side and there's no understating how much of an advantage that has been for all of you in such a difficult year. The simple fact is that putting yourself first had a major positive flow-on effect to the rest of your household. When you look after yourself, everyone benefits. I just wish we had realised this years ago! Of course, it's much trickier when the kids are little. Much easier to do it as a mid-life crisis. *Pthb*

So. What's the plan for 2022?

1 Continue your weight loss journey. As of 1 January 2022, you have a further 18.8kg (41lb) to lose. And yeah, maybe you can do that in a year, but it's not a race. I repeat, it is NOT a race. We are not putting a deadline on this. It doesn't matter if you lose 5kg, 10kg, 15kg or reach goal this year. The important thing is that you continue to implement positive lifestyle changes that can be maintained long-term. That's your goal. One step at a time. You've made tracking your food a habit, you've made drinking water a habit, now let's figure out what to do next. And it's okay to focus on just the next step, which might be working out realistic week-day options for breakfast and lunches. We don't have to know every step along the way, we can just focus on the next step and once we've nailed that, we can work out the next step. We'll get there. You believe that, I believe that. We can do this.

Here's how we'll do it:
*Bulletp* Track your food every day using the WW app
*Bulletp* Stay in the 'food tracking zone' at least five days per week
*Bulletp* Stay within your weeklies every week
*Bulletp* Weigh in every Monday morning
*Bulletp* Attend at least one WW meeting (by Zoom or in person) every week
*Bulletp* Each week choose one habit to focus on. This habit can be repeated until it is embedded and then a new one can be picked up. Your WW coaches can help you with these, and you know you'll get inspiration for these from the meetings.

2 Increase your fitness in preparation for doing one of New Zealand's Great Walks in autumn 2023. We've settled on autumn because it's cool enough for strenuous exercise during the day, but should remain relatively dry. Perfect for a multi-day hike. That means April/May 2023. You can decide which walk to do closer to the time, although you know your mum and sister want to do the Tongariro one, so that might be the one to aim for. You're not fit enough yet, despite all your walking. That walk is going to average 15km per day over three days. You haven't even walked 15km in one day yet (although yes, I know you came close twice) and you'll have to do it up and down hills, not on the flat, and you'll have to repeat it for three days in a row. So this is tough, and you need to get fitter.

Here's how you'll work on improving your fitness:
*Bulletv* Incorporate some resistance training into your routine. This doesn't mean you have to join a gym. You bought a set of dumbbells, let's use them. Even if it's only 2-3 times per week, that's all good. Let's say a minimum of twice per week. You can do a routine from obé (in the WW app), join a challenge on the WayBetter app or just pick one from Youtube. There are no excuses allowed here. Building muscles will help your overall fitness.
*Bulletv* Do a short walk (or use the cross trainer if the weather is unsuitable) at least three times each week. You're already doing this, so just keep it up. You want to keep moving regularly.
*Bulletv* Do a long walk (more than 1 hour) (or use the cross trainer if the weather is unsuitable) at least once each week. I've said more than an hour, but you'll want to start increasing the length of these as the year goes on.
*Bulletv* Once a month do a new hike. This is where you'll really want to push yourself. Yes, I'm talking about hills. We can't do all our training on the flat. We have to do stairs and hills, regardless of how much Caitie moans about them!

3 Continue to support your mental health. Physical health is vitally important, but so is mental health. We have seen that so much over the past two years, even if we didn't already know it. We don't know what the year ahead will bring. We couldn't have predicted some of the challenges of 2020 and 2021, that's for sure. And it's not just the lockdowns, but also the emotional dramas (probably due to people being overwhelmed by everything else going on around them) and the not-Covid19-related health dramas. We don't know what will happen with your elderly neighbour this year. There are a lot of things to consider and so much that you won't have even thought of, so just doing the best you can to support yourself and those around you is important.
*Bulleto* Be flexible. This might sound like a get-out-of-jail free card, but I know you're not going to use it like that. I trust you. The thing is, if life throws a curveball your way, don't fall into the depths of guilt and despair because you didn't make it to a meeting, or you didn't get three walks done, or whatever. Just pick yourself up and do what you can. Having a plan is important, having structure and routine is important, but being flexible enough to adapt when life sucks is also important. And life has been sucking a lot lately, so flexibility is important. Crucial even. You hear me?
*Bulleto* Do something quiet at least three nights per week. Read. Knit. Colour in. Don't worry about completing a challenge or whether others would approve. You know the happy endings in your romance novels make you happy. You know that knitting and colouring in help you to focus and stop you from snacking. So do it. Do what makes you happy.
*Bulleto* Get outdoors when you can. Aim for a minimum of once a week, weather-dependent. Try to get to the beach, since we've discovered that does wonders for your mental health.
*Bulleto* Since the threat of possible self-isolation if you test positive for Omicron is low-level freaking you out (don't give me that look, I know it is!), be prepared. Don't worry about what others think about it. Make sure you have enough toilet paper, make sure you have enough non-perishable food. Enough for two weeks. The government has been recommending that for years, well before anyone had even heard of Covid19, so don't feel guilty. Don't be a panic buyer either, because they suck, but just keep your stocks topped up so that it keeps that low-level anxiety at bay.
*Bulleto* Work on your projects. Don't stress about finishing one. Just work on whichever one appeals at the time. It's not about doing this for anyone else, it's about doing what works best for your mental health. If you're not enjoying it, don't do it. Let's aim for at least one hour a week spent on a project of your choosing. If that means starting a hundred new projects in 2022, so be it. This is a judgement-free zone. Well, okay, I might think you're nuts, but you do you! *Laugh*

You are so important, Elle. There are loads of eyeroll-worthy metaphors I could use to describe how important you are to the mental and emotional wellbeing of your family, but the important thing is that you don't buckle under the pressure. Oh god, now I've got that song from that stupid Disney movie stuck in my head.

Sorry, as I was saying... You have to take care of yourself, because people need you. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It's crucial. So no excuses. You have proved to yourself that you can do it. You've already done it once. And it made you feel good. Remember that feeling and let's do it again.

Wordcount: 1,982
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