At the beginning of the year I shared with you my aspirations for 2014 to define the best me (my equivalent to a New Years Resolution).
As we’ve reached (or actually crossed) the half way point for the year I thought I’d take a moment to share with you my progress with these aspirations.
Although I didn’t have set goals, I had three key areas of my life I was going to focus on:
For the first few months my 3 weekly posts focused in on each of these topics through Mental Mondays, Wisdom Wednesdays, and Physical Fridays. Although I’ve stopped dividing my posts up into these categories I’m still considering these areas in my day to day and long term planning.
So, where have I gotten to so far in Defining the Best Me?
I started the year off without any clear idea of where I was heading with my mental activities. My job, before becoming ill, provided lots of mental stimulation as did the study I was doing at the same time. Since becoming ill though I hadn’t even read a book, let alone done anything that required strenuous thinking.
My Mental Activity end of June 2014
- I began the Foggy Frog Campaign and ran a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the funds necessary to publish the picture book ‘Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang’. This was a brand new experience for me and used a lot of my mental capacity at the time of the campaign. I’m still working towards delivering the picture book and I’m now almost half way through the basic hand-drawn pictures that are forming the basis of the illustrations for the book (another new experience!).
- I have begun reading daily again. I got new glasses which allowed me to read more than a few sentences without my eyes going blurry. I’m reading some fiction but mainly books on building a business, being the best I can be personally and professionally, environmental and sustainable activities, and simple living.
- I’ve started working on a business model around the Foggy Frog campaign. LiveKen has been developed as a face for all our information, education and empowerment work assisting individuals to live simple, sustainable, meaningful lives with or without chronic illness.
- I’ve started studying again. I’m working on one unit towards my Bachelor of Education (Primary), although I’m having to assess whether I’m going to be able to complete this degree due to my health issues and the university not being flexible about delivery of the practical units. I’m working towards a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. I’m participating in a few short courses around starting my own business and illustrating the picture book.
- I’ve joined a writers group. I went to my first meeting last night. I really enjoyed it and will attend again, although I think I’ll need to leave early as I’m struggling today mainly due to how late the course went. It’s a group where we read and critique each others writing and participate in writing challenges each month.
At the beginning of the year I wasn’t really doing much at all in terms of physical exercises or activities around the house. When I did do anything I found that I was paying for it for days or even weeks afterwards with increased symptoms.
My Physical Activity by end of June 2014
- I’m walking or riding daily. Either a 15 minute walk or a 4 minute ride on my stationary bike every day.
- I can do around 10 minutes of Yoga daily. Just basic stretches, it forms part of my morning routine along with feeding the fish, changing the cats’ litter tray and meditation.
- 3 days a week I include some body weight exercises from the Exercise Physiologist. Although I had built up to doing 2 sets of these on the days I was doing them, I’ve had to cut back in the last month due to increased symptoms and extreme fatigue (I think this may be partly due to winter and partly due to an increase in my incidental daily activity levels).
- I’m doing some cleaning every day. I started with a small amount of dishes every day and a load of washing twice a week, now I’m adding some sweeping every day (how much depends on my energy levels).
- I try to get out of the house at least every 2nd day. This may be just going to sit in the park up the road. Once a week it’s a trip to town for appointments followed by some time at my mum’s house.
This is an area that I’ve found to be more and more important to me as I move through this journey. I have done a lot of reading around this area and have incorporated many new skills in my daily life.
My Spiritual Activity by end of June 2014
- I meditate daily. At least once a day (in the mornings), and some days many more times, I sit with my eyes closed and just focus on my breath or on the sensations in my body.
- Mindfulness. I try to incorporate mindfulness into everything I do. For every activity I’m doing I try to be single-minded and focused on that one task for a set time and then take a break. While doing an activity, I’m attempting to be mindful of my thoughts, urges, and the messages my body tries to send me.
- Simplify. This is key to where I am now in my journey. I’m doing everything I can to simplify my life, simplify my possessions, and identify exactly what is important to me. I will be sharing my journey through this process mainly over on the LiveKen blog but occasionally I’ll write about it here as well.
Defining the Best Me
I’ve listed a lot of things that have changed over the last 6 months above in each of the categories I’ve been focusing on but I haven’t yet stated what this all means in terms of defining the best me I can be. That’s mainly because I’m still experimenting and exploring.
I can say that the best me, with or without my chronic illnesses, is someone who lives true to her values. I’ve shared my thoughts on values before and will share more in the future but I believe my core values are:
- Community is essential (Family and Friends, and the wider community)
- Simple and Sustainable
- Mindful and Meaningful
- Authentic, Genuine and Respectful
As you’ll probably notice, these values also line up with the LiveKen values as well.
How are you going with your New Year resolutions or aspirations?
Have you been working on defining who you are this year as well?