why I’m setting monthly goals on lockdown | April Goals 2020

2020, creativity, goals

Hello!

These past few weeks have been absolutely mad, haven’t they? I’m now in my third week of isolation (though I’ve been out a few times to go to the shops for food because I don’t have any alternatives) and I was quite peppy at first, looking forward to time at home with my boyfriend and catching up on my mammoth to do list.

Now the motivation to do any uni work is drying up and the fact this is life for a few weeks, maybe months is starting to set in and my mental health is taking a knock, but I’m trying my best to stay positive – not putting any pressure to ‘achieve’ anything and trying to listen to my body and be gentle with myself.

But with that in mind, I’m still trying to maintain a routine of some sort and I’ve been setting monthly mini goals for upwards of two years now (just looked it up – I started in March 2018, so definitely two years!). These goals really help me focus and I love seeing myself making progress, it’s incredibly satisfying, so I’m going to try and uphold that while we’re all safe in lockdown!

With the COVID-19 crisis in mind, I’ve tried to keep these goals as relevant and achievable as I can. What everyone determines as ‘achievable’ is so personal – some people are still working, whether it be from home or as key workers, and these people are saints, some people are finding these times really difficult and getting out of bed and feeding themselves is a challenge, so please don’t compare yourself or what you’re doing to my personal goals because they’re just that – personal goals.

1. Workout once a week – it’s been one of my goals forever to lose weight, eat healthier and find a fitness routine I can maintain and thus far it’s not worked very well. However with all this time at home and so many amazing influencers offering so many workouts for free, now is the prime time for me to give them a go. But I’m not aiming to workout three times a week – although it doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s those kinds of numbers that always pile up on me so for now I’m starting at one. Depending on how the month goes I can adjust the goal from there but for now just one. I started on April 1st with one of Joe Wicks live ‘PE’ classes and it was tough but I did it!

2. No snacking – with health and fitness in mind, being home so much more these past few weeks has meant that all I want to do is snack. Bored? Snack. Thirsty? Snack. Need motivating? Snack. Dehydrated? Body is misinterpreting that as HUNGRY, therefore; snack. Having more time to tune in to my body, I’m going to try and learn what different feelings mean (it sounds pretentious but stick with me) – logically I want to snack because I’m restricting at lunch time, so I’m experimenting with having a more filling lunch to last me through till dinner. Being home and trying to go out as little as possible means I want to make our food last as long as possible so now’s the time to try and figure out for the sake of food efficiency and being a bit healthier!

3. Maintain routine and keep up with uni work schedule – to no one’s surprise, my masters (that was already incredibly unorganised and is in the process of being complained about) is right up in the air. My assignments are all being rewritten, unit’s are completely different and there’s a lot of ‘if the uni is open by X time’ being thrown about so it’s very uncertain and granted, two of my lecturers are absolute stars and are doing so much to try and make it work. For the sake of my mental health, I need to keep up with to do lists and trying to get something done every single day but I can see a future me where that is more challenging, so I want to adapt as I go along to keep up with the work I need to do so I don’t fall into a slump where I become one with the sofa. Little things like making an effort to sit on a chair at a table rather than the sofa (or my bed) make a surprising difference!

4. Work on COVID-19 bucket list with spare time – maybe ‘bucket list’ is the wrong phrase, more like ‘here’s a list of all the thing’s I said I’d do when I had more time and if I don’t write them down I’ll forget’. I’ve already done a couple of things on the list – I sorted out the stuff in the alcove and my tee blanket is very much in progress – but I’m making a big effort to manage my time to include things like these that are just for me and don’t serve a ‘greater purpose’ other than my personal enjoyment.

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Sometimes in a spur of the moment, you've got to get our the coloured pens and write a list ✍️🖍️🌈 ✨ Generally, I'm handling all this fear mongering and isolation better than I thought I would – especially with a master's degree that's now completely up in the air. But yesterday I felt the urge to write a multicoloured list of the things I want to do whilst I don't have to commute to Oxford and I have more time than I've had in years. Granted, I still have other important things to do and I'm not going to tick this list off quickly, but I wanted to make it so I don't forget. If I carry on at this pace, this list will last me the months that the virus is looking like it'll be around for! I'm trying to find the positives in isolation 😖 ✨ I was going to leave it at 'pretty colours' and post like a normal person but I'm a writer, I've always been a writer and writing is what I do – so I'm going to keep writing.

A post shared by Sophie (@sophiecountsclouds) on

5. Use film camera up, take fun photos around the house – I may have jumped the gun on this one and used up all my film at the beginning of the week and now I’ve realised I can’t get it developed anywhere and I don’t want a second film just sitting in my camera for the sake of it, I’m not rushing to put a second one in. But I might use my DSLR more instead! The one thing that’s taking me a long time to get my head around is manual photography – I’m getting there but I’m still learning so solidifying those skills will help my film photography when I get back to it.

Whenever I write long blog posts like this I remember how therapeutic blogging is for me and why it’s something I’ve kept up for over five years. I’m considering working it into my schedule to write two posts a week again but ideas are what I’m lacking in! I want my blog to be meaningful so it’s finding the balance between the two.

Let me know what you think! I hope you’re happy, safe and healthy in these scary times and please tell about all your tips and tricks for this strange time in lockdown, quarantine, isolation, social distancing (and all the other phrases that are being thrown around).

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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top 4 tips for starting a health kick

2017, lifestyle, student

 

Hello!

This is another one from my ‘blog ideas‘ book which suggested ‘Your top 3 _ game changers’ – I’ve recently gone on a full on health kick because I’m really unhappy with my weight and I know I can talk about this topic with a little bit of knowledge behind it.

I’ve just started week 3 of a 28 day health (ish) plan and I thought I’d share the four things that really helped me get started and why I chose to do a 28 day plan.

Number 1 – I hit rock bottom

Obviously I don’t recommend this, but when I hit a certain weight it was the real kick up the bum I needed to actually started looking after my body, learn more about how to look after my body and do something about it. I used some Amazon vouchers I got for Christmas to buy a couple of weight loss books and I downloaded apps and I was ready to start.

Number 2 – Kayla Itsines’ The Bikini Body 28-Day Health Eating & Lifestyle Guide: 200 Recipes, Weekly Menus, 4-Week Workout Plan

I’ll be honest, the title is longer than I remember and the way I’m doing the plan deserves a big ‘ish’ but this book is a god send and I’ve already recommended it to a few people and my wonderful friend Nikki has actually bought it because 1) it’s brilliant and 2) I’m just so persuasive.

I love this book because it’s almost like having a personal trainer or a dietitian but without the price – it gives you guidance on how much of each food group you should be eating and what kind of exercise you should be doing, I just feel so much more informed about how I should be looking after myself.

In terms of the diet plan, I’m not following it day-to-day just because I’m quite a picky eater and I don’t want to make myself eat food I won’t enjoy and I want this diet to be sustainable, so I went through the whole book and wrote down all the recipes I was interested in or knew I’d like, then I drew out a four week plan and spaced out all the healthy recipes and filled in the rest of the days with healthy-ish recipes that I already knew and it’s not hard to follow because on some days I’m doing recipes that I know and love and on other days I get to try cooking a new thing and I love cooking so it’s a win-win.

For me, losing weight was a lot of being told what to do with my body to make it look better than it does now.

Number 3 – Nike+ training app

Again, being told how to work out works well for me. If I could afford the gym membership or the personal trainer I think I would but for now, I’m a student and that’s not going to happen. You can work out as much or as little as you like, you need no equipment and the app is completely free – I found that setting up a ‘Plan’ means that I don’t have to pick the workouts and I’m given the ones suitable for my level and my goal, which is losing weight.

There are for sure hundreds of other apps out there so if this app doesn’t work for you, there might be another that does!

Number 4 – fitbit flex (and fitbit app)

My mum offered to buy me a fitbit and at first I wasn’t sure I’d be interested – why would I care about tracking steps right? But I do now! It motivates you so much to go out and make sure you’re doing as many steps as you can and that’s not even the app, that’s just me being overly competitive with my past self.

I voluntarily walked to a Sainsburys supermarket out of the way from where I live just because it was a nearly-3-mile round walk and it was just for the steps (and to buy this amazing flavoured water that I can’t find anywhere else).

I also track what I’m eating, how much water I’m drinking, how my weight is changing and it apparently knows how much I’m sleeping too, all round useful device and app.

It’s also very useful that you can use the app without the fitbit – in terms of steps, most phones can count steps too so you don’t even need to buy a fitbit itself.

I hope this has been helpful in any way, shape or form! The last thing I will say is that working out, like revision or money management or anything else, is very personal and different things work for different people. Sometimes you have to experiment a lot before you find what works for you and that can be disheartening but it’s okay, because you will find what works for you.

If you’re struggling and feel like you need more guidance, I’d recommend going to your GP and finding a professional to talk to.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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