Yes, WE TRAVELED!

2021: Intentions and Goals Check-In

You know me — it’s time to check in on the intention and the goals I set for myself in January. It’s a mid-mortem, of sorts. I live in-line with my values — it’s important to me to keep my commitments to myself, and it helps me speak from an honest place when I work with my clients in their goal-setting.

There are many methodologies available for goal-setting (and I have no favorites) — but most of them recommend check-ins to see if you are on-track. Given that this past year was difficult given the pandemic, my goals have primarily been continuations of existing goals rather than directionally-different goals. Thus less-regular check-ins are okay for me because I have a good pattern of behavior in my favor.

I am looking at something new for the second half of the year, so I’ll share below a bit more about how I want to approach this differently.

But with no further ado…

I love this nerd.

2021 Intention: Gratitude.

I have found that single-word intentions have been useful for me to keep my mindset focused, and gratitude has been helpful for 2021. I tend to live my life in the past (analyzing) or in the future (worrying), and choosing gratitude was to help me center in the present. Whether it’s been an engaging meeting with a teammate, running my hands through Astrix’s bunny-soft fur, or that new-summer smell in the air during an evening walk, I’m noticing these little moments much more and feeling the joy in the moment. Is that to say that I haven’t analyzed or worried? Of course not! In those moments, I have found it useful to notice something around me that might make bring gratitude. If there isn’t something that inspires gratitude, I won’t force it; instead, perhaps the gratitude emerges after that difficult moment.

L: Buttery-soft BollyX legigngs; R: My best anxiety cure.

Goal: Maintain physical, mental, and emotional health.

I feel healthy and strong! I’ve stayed committed to my “exercise every day” goal, even though my first day back in the office at The Company was yesterday, July 7th — so, technically, I could scrap that goal. But… I don’t think that I will. I feel centered when I move and I feel free to exercise in any way that I choose (check out those AMAZING new leggings!).

Mentally I feel centered and calm, though there are moments when I have “reentered” the world that I feel a little breathless, like my first trip to grocery store without a mask. I would like to return to some of my anxiety exercises in the second half of this year to re-examine some of my mistaken beliefs and to come up with a plan for when re-entry causes me some anxiety.

I am also allowing myself to feel all the feels as we head towards this new version of normal. Last weekend I was able to catch up with two friends in-person, and though I was a little nervous (because me, not because them!) they were both fulfilling experiences. I appreciate that I’m able to be my full-self, sharing the highs and lows of this pandemic. I am excited by the possibility that interactions can be more centered around real talk instead of just pleasantries. Those are the friendships I’d like to prioritize!

Goal: Settle into my new job.

Yes, I finally finished that book. It only took five months.

I’m not sure one ever fully settles into a job at The Company. I haven’t. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing environment, and that is what keeps me engaged. As I came into this new job I wasn’t sure how much of it would be similar and how much would be different, and now eight months in I have found it to be more similar than I expected. We’re still integrating as a team and into our broader team, and my hope is that as this continues that I’m able to challenge myself in some of the HR domains that are less familiar to me. But, fundamentally, I love what I do, and as long as I get to consult with and coach my clients, I’ll be fulfilling my life purpose.

This fall will mark 15 years with The Company. I’m also a pragmatist, friends. I have to pace myself because I can’t retire anytime soon, for the good of myself, my husband, and humanity.

L: Easter; R: Best Fur Friend

Goal: Focus on family.

This goal has continued to shift and change a bit. One of my original intentions with this goal was for us to restart our adoption journey this year. Sergio and I were on a walk last week and near the end it came to me.

“Why am I just crapping out on this adoption training?” I asked him. “I haven’t made any progress. My desire hasn’t changed, but my behavior isn’t moving!”

“Maybe it’s not our time yet,” he said, and we walked in silence for a moment and thought about it.

After some consideration, I thought he was right. So we’ll going to revisit this before the holidays and talk about where we want our adoption journey to proceed. This is a common topic between us, and we have come together a bit more about the number of children and ages we’re interested in; we discuss parenting columns and trade books on the topic.

This might be the first time in my life that I’m not forcing myself into a big goal based on my logic. For that reason alone I’m proud.

We have had the chance to spend time as our little family of three (including cat) and with my parents. My mom is recovering from a knee replacement surgery and my parents just adopted kittens, so we’ve had the chance to spend more time with them. Due to border restrictions we still haven’t seen my in-laws, but my mother-in-law (who is an American citizen) will visit us in August! We’re hopeful that we can visit Sergio’s family for Navidad 2021.

L: Dining INDOORS; R: We always read at breakfast

Goal: Safely travel again.

CHECK CHECK AND CHECK! Y’all, we went to Hawai’i, but you knew that (if you read my summary). I still can plan a trip like nobody’s business, thankyouverymuch.

We enjoyed the trip so much that we (okay, mainly I) decided to start trip-researching. It seems everyone has decided this is a summer for roadtrips and National Parks, so we were bummed to see the limited availability.

But we do have two upcoming trips — one long weekend to Chicago and then 12 days in Iceland! We’re still ironing out details for Iceland (but yes, we’re driving the Ring Road!) so we will accept any of your Icelandic tips.

We’re hoping that options and open borders will increase as the year carries on — so we will continue to find safe(r) places for our visits this year. You know I have fire under my feet and I’m grateful for the trips past and future.

Goal: Deepen my barre practice (or pick up a new discipline).

I think this photo sums up this goal! I took BarreAmped Fire training at the end of June and I’m scheduled for BarreAmped Bootcamp training this Sunday. These are related to the methodology I’ve been studying for a few years now, but as the name probably suggests to you, these are more intense manifestations!

Admittedly I ran out of steam for Barre With Sarah a few months ago, namely because of my microscopic colitis recurrence. But sometimes a new class spurs new creativity — and Fire did exactly that. I’m excited to incorporate those new exercises and some challenging combos to my upcoming courses. And I’m also hopeful to be back in a physical studio before the end of the year. I’d love to start by teaching a Barre Basics class with the hope of welcoming a whole host of new students to my barre classes. Let’s hope for continued progress so that it’s a healthy option for my students and me.

Goal: Grow the mind through mental pursuits.

Can we just say that if there were any of these goals that were a surefire win during a pandemic it would be keeping my mind alive and active? I’m back into puzzles again and I’ve started watching Deutschland 83 (and now 86!) as I puzzle. My German is much improved thanks to my DuoLingo practice and my German with Anja videos, so much so that I can pick up on the show without always reading the subtitle (but I leave them on for safety!). It’s also been a great year for reading — I’ve been posting my monthly book blogs and digging back into some global reads again. It was not at all intentional to read at this pace, but I’m currently at 92/100 completed, so it’s pretty clear I’m going to blow that 100 out of the water.

This pandemic has been 10/10 for my introversion.

This is the coziest thing in our house!

Goal: Make our home cozier

Yeah, this hasn’t happened. No new shelves, no small human rooms, no new shelf items. To be honest, I love our home as it is… so this has started to feel like a nice to have. And that’s okay — sometimes we don’t get all of the goals right!

L: When your skin matches the bread; C: Buy the flowers!; R: Snowmageddon in February

Goal: Make room for the unexpected.

Since the anxiety crash (“spiritual awakening”) of 2014 I’ve worked on building my resilience. Part of that resilience is coming up with ways to better cope when things go wrong, but in the last year or so I’ve worked to make space for new things. In 2021 this has been a lot of silliness (see me matching the bread, above) but also adjusting to the unexpected (like my recent calf/foot injury), letting go of my very tightly-held expectations. This will likely be a lifelong journey of both unlearning and learning.

And speaking of unlearning…

L: This poor cat; R: Me “catting” on the couch

New Goal: Better understand my body image and move towards a more neutral view of myself.

It took all of my willpower to not post a before and after photo of myself for this section because that’s how I see myself these days — I’m living the after of what would have been my nightmare a few years ago.

Simply put, I’m talking about the weight gain and changes in my body composition due to now two courses of antibiotics.

These antibiotics? They have been wildly successful in healing my intestines. And as Sergio reminds me, this disease can get much, much worse.

The “On This Day” reminders from Google Photos trigger me every morning. I come across pictures of my thin face from two or three years ago — back when I felt too big. Stupid, I’ll mutter under my breath. Why didn’t you appreciate it then?

And thus we come to what I believe is a difficult and necessary goal for the rest of this year and beyond — better understanding my view of my body and moving toward a more neutral view of myself. That means addressing the mistaken beliefs I have learned about bodies (from family, from culture, from media, from everywhere), naming my anti-fat bias, learning about different perspectives I could take, and most of all, viewing myself with more empathy and kindness.

I can’t tell you how hard these words are to write and how uncomfortable this goal makes me feel right now.

And I’m going to run right at it. Because I want to look at those photos and remember all of the things, and one day I want to look back on today’s photos and see more than my rounded cheeks.

So, there you have it! Because I perceive this new goal might be more difficult I hope to share more about it in a dedicated post soon. In an odd way, putting my words out into the void helps me speak them with more confidence and conviction, and, as one does in coaching or therapy, saying them out loud can also bring clarity.

I hope you are finding joy on your 2021 journey!

Xo, Sarah

P.S. How I feel after writing a long blog post:

NW native blogging about life’s struggles and triumphs. Balancing career, family, hobbies, and health. Fierce advocate for mental health. And chocolate lover.