First Quarter – State of the Union

Evening walk with the Dogfather.

In 2012 I did regular progress reports each month outlining my goals for the current month and my accomplishments for the previous. While that was somewhat useful for me, something about the format wasn’t exactly what I wanted and rather than fix it in 2013, I just sort of skipped it altogether. Good thing too, because I’m sure I didn’t have time to accomplish much outside of work and probably would have felt super de-motivated. In the end, skipping it was a win.

But I miss doing a bit of regular life inventory around here, so I’ve racked my brain for some kind of solution and decided that maybe a Quarterly State of the Union could be helpful. I’m going to pick a few areas (the ones that are the biggest pieces of my life), discuss what’s going well, what could be going better, give you some links to people or resources that are influencing me in those areas, and then list my short term quarterly goals if I have any. (And hell, I may not!) I’m going to try this format this year and see what happens. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Business + Career

What’s Going Well: With respect to the day job, I’m about 3 weeks out from my 1 year anniversary of this new role I took on at work. Upside? I’ve sort of been through everything once. Does that make sense? Last year in addition to just learning a new job I had some serious extra curricular assignments on my desk that were temporary. Most of those are wrapping up at the beginning of this year. TIME TO EXHALE….WOOO HOOO!! Downside: Last Friday at 4pm I was assigned a new little project that may or may not be a big commitment since I had some “extra capacity.” haha

I can’t talk about business + career without talking about blogging. 2013 was the first year that I made a legit part time income off of this blog. It’s not an income that will support our household, but it was enough to have me fretting about taxes this year. (Hi, I am financially unorganized when it comes to blogging. WHOOPS.) And it was also enough for me to want to figure out an actual plan for that in 2014. I feel enormously grateful to everyone who has supported this site by reading, commenting, and allowing me to figure out this “Business of Blogging” as I go.

What Could Be Going Better: For fun, I printed out this free time tracking worksheet from Nicole over at Life Less Bullshit. Her suggestion was to track your time for 72 hours to see where you are really spending it, obviously in the hopes of finding places to maximize your efficiency. I went into it thinking “You know, there is probably some dicking around time that I could be using better. This will illuminate where I have some pockets of free time that I could use more effectively.”

Um, wrong.

It became very clear, very quick that I am currently operating at max efficiency, which includes only about 3.5 hours each weekday evening of “free time.” (No wonder I’m so damn excited for the weekends!) So yes, I could be scheduling those 3.5 hours of time more productively, for sure. But sometimes I like to use them to do extravagant things like showering after hot yoga, washing dinner dishes, doing a load or two of laundry, and singing Kanye West to my dog in a very obnoxious voice. (All things I like to do but don’t have a set schedule for. I need a little spontaneity in my life!)

And here’s the other kicker, sometimes I need to have an unscheduled minute to not talking to anyone, or be working on something. Frankly that’s allowed. And that’s no bullshit. Soooooooo. That whole exercise sort of depressed me because I’m past the point of small, smart fixes. But could be useful if you wonder where all your time is going. What it helped me realize was that at this point in my life juggling act, if I need more time (AND I DO), I’m going to have to make some largeR scale changes that are frankly a bit murky and scary.

Short term goals: Figure out some of the bigger needle movers in this time management situation. Get comfortable saying no at work. 2014 Blog Business Plan! Pay your taxes. OUCH. Make sure that doesn’t happen again in 2014. Open a bank account or something. :)

Health + Fitness

What’s going well: Well, I am still alive. SCORE. I have reduced my caffeine intake by a large amount and it has been really helpful. Apparently all I had to do was stock my work stash with DECAF K-Cups and then I wouldn’t feel like I was going to have a heart attack everyday at 2pm. NOVEL IDEA! :) My skin is looking better than it has in at least a decade and I am consistently getting 7+ hours of sleep every night. (If I want to get 9 hours of sleep every night then I would only have 1.5 hours OF unscheduled time to myself on weekdays. So right now I’m good with 7.)

What Could Be Going Better: Just about everything. When I visualize my immune system it looks like a piece of swiss cheese. (mmmm…cheese.) I have been sick so much of the last 2 months (and it’s still lingering!) that I only logged 10 days in the gym total. TEN DAYS. This is a problem on so many levels for me. I mean you guys, the amount of work it takes to squeeze my ass into my VERY TIGHT pants in the morning should probably count as a workout. I have gotten woefully out of shape, and while it is completely understandable (use it or lose it) that doesn’t make it less frustrating.

I am also dealing with a back injury that has been going on (off and on, which is super irritating) since I did a wonky back bend in a Bikram class in November. I finally made an appointment with a chiropractor last week when I got up from my desk to walk to the bathroom and couldn’t stand up straight. Not normal. (Love this Myth Busters: Chiropractic Edition. A good read if you don’t have a lot of experience with Chiropractors.)

Of course when I feel frustrated about my inability to workout, or when the cabin fever insanity of no gym time gets to me — I begin to hallucinate that kettle cooked potato chips at the grocery store are calling my name. Tell me this happens to you too. It’s not that I’m eating terribly, but I’m just not really eating to support my goals, ya know? I don’t feel any sort of good/bad moral judgment about it but it’s just dumb. And I’m starting to feel a sort of low grade depression about it.

Short Term Goals: Walk More. It’s easy to do, even in my current sick/injured/depressed state and it’s so important. I loved Mark’s Daily Apple’s list of 17 Reasons To Walk More This Year. It was like a beacon of light when I was feeling really bad about my ability to workout. Get to the chiropractor and get to healing. Ease back into your workouts when the time is right. And stop eating chips every time you feel like it.

Family + Relationships

What’s going well: I saw a lot of my family in the last month! My mom and I have had a lot of quality time together recently. I love Garrett to pieces and our relationship right now is in such a good flow. I’ve already been good about birthday cards, thank you notes, and email correspondence so far this year (I know, it’s only been 2 weeks, but there have been quite a few things to send!) and that has been a very purposeful effort. I’m happy with that.

What Could Be Going Better: If you are a friend of mine and you have tried to make plans with me in the last, ooooh — 6 months — I have been super hesitant to commit. I’m guarding my “free time” like a lunatic because I’m never sure if when I have *time* I will also have *energy*. You know how this goes right? (See above about sometimes just wanting to singing Kanye to Buster/not talk to anyone.) So, what I’m saying is, this could be better. I haven’t thought of a great solution to this, but hey, that’s what the next section is for.

Short Term Goals: Go easy on yourself. Make spontaneous plans when the mood strikes. Get rid of the guilt, but also don’t be an inconsiderate dick.


And that’s where I’m at at the beginning of the first quarter of the year, and also where I want to go. Any wild and crazy goals on your list? Give me a little update on YOUR State of the Union? Come on! It’ll be fun! :)

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9 comments to First Quarter – State of the Union

  • AndreAnna
    January 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    You. Me. DSM. Lulu. Pedis.


    (Plus, it’s like totes work-related)

  • mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry
    January 14, 2014 at 6:29 am

    Hey Holly! Ugh, sounds like we are once again in synch on some of our life situations! Not enough time in the day/week? Check. Clothes tight, eating habits degenerated? Check. Though I’m back on the wagon (not Whole 30, but back on Keto,)and feeling more in control (and 7 lbs down!) so that’s good – still mad at myself for letting myself backslide though. :/ Back injury slowing me down? Check. Relationships at home – great! Everywhere else? Feeling horribly guilty for not having time to keep up with phone calls, emails, face time etc. So I can definitely relate to what you’re going through – but you are super strong and motivated so I’m sure you’ll get it under control! For me the list writing was getting ridiculous and taking up time I didn’t have. I finally stopped (ok not completely) obsessing about what I wanted to accomplish long term, and just started doing and living in the moment more. That’s helped my head be in a better place and my anxiety is much less overall. Though if I was smart like you and drank less coffee it would probably help a lot. Let’s be clear, THAT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, but it would definitely help! ha ha! *takes another sip* Anyhoo, came here to say don’t beat yourself up too much – you rock regardless!! :)

    • Holly
      January 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Oh I gave up coffee kicking and screaming, and honestly even still I’m drinking decaf so I’m not *really* giving it up. It is so hard! I’m glad to hear you are enjoying keto. I did a keto experiment in Oct/Nov of last year and totally failed at it. I’ve been meaning to blog about it, but it just seems like so many words to basically say “Dairy doesn’t work well for me, and doing keto without dairy is soooooooo haaaaaaaaaaaaaard so I quit.” Yep, that’s basically the gist of it. :) Though I’ve been enjoying reading your updates about it. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Maureen
    January 14, 2014 at 11:54 am

    “I begin to hallucinate that kettle cooked potato chips at the grocery store are calling my name. Tell me this happens to you too. It’s not that I’m eating terribly, but I’m just not really eating to support my goals, ya know?”

    Oh, yes-this happens to me too! I wish I knew why, and it is something I have spent some time thinking about. I really love what you said about not eating to support your goals, I feel like that is such a healthy way to express this.

    My sister was at the gym after the New Year, when she would ask people how their holidays were, she said almost every single woman responded “I ate way too much, I was so bad!”. She said it got to be a downer-no one actually mentioned how the holidays went, just the eating. With the moral judgment along with it-I think that is sad, so I love your way of looking at it :)

    • Holly
      January 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Oh man, I could rant for DAYS about how upsetting I find it when people talk about being good or bad with respect to food. I just hate hearing even the hint of someone making a moral judgment about themselves based on what they have just eaten. NO NO NO!!! Don’t do it! You are good whether or not you are eating kale or potato chips. Shout it from the rooftops! haha. I mean I did that for years, of course, so I certainly *understand* it, but I am damn happy to be liberated from that line of thinking. Guilt over food is so overrated! :)

  • Meg
    January 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Love your state of the union update and I’m happy to hear that you’re going easy on yourself. That totally resonates with me this year – self-compassion! I’ve launched full-force into Intuitive Eating (where do I begin, but I’ll start with FINALLY and THANK GOD) and all the crunchy love-your-inner-child-stuff that comes with it and so far… AMAZING. There’s definitely something to be said for taking care of yourself, whatever that looks like for you.

    • Holly
      January 14, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      I had the most interesting conversation about compassion recently and how so many people mistake compassion for pity. That compassion isn’t about interacting with someone and then feeling bad for them, but taking the time to understand how they are feeling and where they are coming from and interacting with them where they are. I thought that definition was kind of enlightening and the other addendum was the idea that we need to show compassion to ourselves be having our expectations be realistic for where WE are, not where we WANT to be. Anyway, hippie dippie love your inner child, rock on kudos to you from me. Taking care of yourself can sometimes be so unintuitive, but also so NECESSARY!

  • Meg
    January 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    LOVE that definition of compassion, Holly! Good food for thought.





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