Thursday, January 28, 2016

Goals: Review of January/Plan for February


My main goal for January, if you remember, was to go to the gym three times per week.  I think the best phrase to describe my performance is epic fail.  In total, I think I made it five times.  And the fifth only happened because my girlfriend resisted my desperate pleas to stay in the warm bed this morning and dragged me to the gym. 

Part of the failure wasn't my fault.  Soon after recovering from my horrible Christmas cold, at approximately the time when my chapped nostrils were starting to heal and I was getting used to being able to breathe without choking on phlegm, I got another cold.  So for at least 3-4 days I didn't have the respiratory function to run on the treadmill.  The rest of the failure was clearly my fault.  Some of the excuses I used for skipping the gym included not getting enough sleep, feeling groggy from getting too much sleep, the bed is warm, and of course "I don't want to".

I don't know how to do better.  While my resolve is generally good when I'm thinking about going to the gym during the day, it is abysmal at 6:45 in the morning when the room is dark and I am buried under my favourite duvet.  I'm hopeful that my girlfriend will be a positive influence, as she has committed to working out regularly, and she's vastly better at sticking to habits than I am.  (She still wears her retainer at night.  Over a decade after her braces came off.  I think I might have done that for a month, if that.)  I know that it isn't enough to rely on my girlfriend's commitment, but maybe her encouragement will help me in the early stages of developing this habit.

Recycled February goal:  Go to the gym three days a week.

My other January goal was to find a counselor.  Success!  Thanks to a service for physicians, I've actually been able to get an appointment with a psychiatrist for an initial assessment next week.  I'm a bit nervous about it because 1) it's in the hospital where I work and 2) I know some of the psychiatrists who are on the treatment team.  I can't say I like the possibility that someone I know, or worse yet one of my colleagues, could find out about this.  But...I believe very strongly that we shouldn't stigmatize mental illness, particularly in medical professionals, and one of the ways of breaking down the stigma is to show that good, competent physicians can struggle with mental health issues.  So I'm just going to suck it up and do it.

Second February goal:  Don't chicken out and skip the assessment with the psychiatrist.

Because it's rather boring to just recycle old goals, I'm setting one new big goal for the month.  I wrote recently about how much I hate winter, and my hatred just seems to grow as the season continues with no sign of an end.  Despite my plans to embrace winter, I've been doing a spectacular job of staying home on my couch, which isn't doing anything to make me a happier person.  So, I've set myself a goal of making two social plans with friends or family for every week in February.  It doesn't matter what it is, as long as it requires me to change out of my sweatpants and spend time with another person.  And it can't just be my girlfriend or friends of my girlfriend, as I'm way too reliant on her for social interactions (a problem when introverts date extroverts, and something I've been meaning to blog about for a while).  It has to be someone whose primary connection is to me.

It's been kind of fun to brainstorm things that I can do over the next month.  While restaurants and movies will undoubtedly feature heavily in my plans, I'm also thinking about taking my nieces to a play, having friends over for games, and hosting a potluck.  And maybe even going skating with friends in an attempt to get over my hatred of this miserable season.

Any other creative ideas?

Third February goal:  Spend time with people I love.  At least twice a week.  The girlfriend doesn't count.


  1. I love your idea to spend time with YOUR people 1x per week. I honestly think that if I did that, I would be a much happier person. Let us know how that goes!

  2. My comment seems to have disappeared, but what I was trying to say is that five times at the gym is so much better than zero times at the gym. By all means, do better in February, but January wasn't a complete loss!

    1. Yes! Think positive!! Working out five times is a start, so it`s a success! Thinking positive will motivate you much more to continue to work out. Good luck!!!

  3. Kudos on sticking with mental health plan. To better stick to your habits I recommend reading book "Habits" - basically the more automatic you make your routines, the less you think about it, the better compliance rate.

    1. Great book suggestion. I actually read it in the summer. I'm trying to make exercise automatic, but I'm bad at figuring out contingency plans for when something (illness, insomnia, work) gets in the way. That's the next thing for me to work on.