End of January – the results are in…

Okay, so the resolutions are underway, but how am I doing?

Resolution 1 – Get fitter: I will do at least two exercise sessions a week

Absolutely cracked this. Just gotta keep it up. Week is pretty much made up of Monday lunchtime – swimming (40 lengths in about 30 minutes), Monday evening – Zumba, Tuesday lunchtime – spinning, Wednesday lunchtime – spinning, Thursday lunchtime – Abs, Thursday evening – Zumba, Friday lunchtime – spinning, Sunday – walk.

I’m not beating myself up too much if I miss one or two of these as I think I’ve got a lot going on. I would like to swap out a Zumba or a spin for a combat-type class but have yet to find one.

I’ve lost 2 inches off my waist and 1 inch from my bust. Need to do more in this area as I bought a dress for a hen night that’s about two dress sizes smaller than I am. I have until March 24th.

Resolution revisited: Get fitter: I will do at least four exercise sessions a week.

Resolution 2 – Lose weight: I will lose three stone by the end of June 2012 *edit by the end of September

So I revisited this resolution within 24 hours of setting it! I think 5lbs a month as an average is very sensible – so aiming for September (and a likely trip to Greece) seemed like a good idea. Though this month I’ve lost:  10.5lbs. 

I can already fit into smaller clothes 🙂

Resolution 3 – Blog more: I resolve to blog at least eight times a month

In the words of Glee’s version of Don’t Stop Believin’….. “Ta-Da”!!!

I have to admit to not being great at sourcing blog entries or having them ready to go: I’m sure I could achieve more than eight per month.

Resolution 4 – Read more: I will read at least one book every two months

Examining John Taylor under the table was an eighties hobby of mine.

I actually finished a book of short stories called End of the Line edited by Jonathan Oliver. The book was free with a horror/haunted magazine. The stories are a mixed bag, but there’s a Christopher Fowler in there which is always good value. They are all set around underground/subway systems. Siding 13 by James Lovegrove was particularly creepy.

I have also finished another book: Talking to Girls about Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield.

Thrifty Gal picked this up when we were last in New York and pressed it into my hand as she finished it telling me I’d love it. And I did. Each chapter has an eighties song as its title which acts as a great device for Sheffield introducing a memory. I particularly enjoyed the Morrissey chapter where Rob uses lines from songs to provide an ongoing discussion with his idol.

Of course, the fact that the book is peppered with eighties references means that you’ll find yourself veering alarmingly from New Kids on the Block to Paul McCartney. Yes, I did post ‘No More Lonely Nights’ on Facebook the other night. It’s all Rob Sheffield’s fault.

When travelling home from a gig the other night (the remarkable Cornshed Sisters) I ended up eavesdropping on the conversation happening beside me. A man was having a conversation with a woman about the relative merits of Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf. Talking to girls about Duran Duran is the past, present, and undoubtedly, the future. Buy it now 🙂

So that’s like two books in one month – go me!!

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Fitter, slimmer, blogger who enjoys a good book: my resolutions for 2012!

Okay, so I’ve faffed about not making resolutions and instead creating blogs on what I did last year, so now, time to bite the bullet and actually decide what the hell I’m going to do in 2012.

I’ve read and been thinking about Richard Wiseman’s Blog Guide to keeping your New Year’s Resolutions; it’s no secret to friends that I think his approach to, well everything, is amazing.

I’m currently reading Luck Factor, his book on changing and improving opportunities in your life. Don’t worry though, I’m not putting ‘must talk to more people in bus queues’ down as a resolution, but please don’t run away if I do speak to you.

In his blog, he suggests that you should go with one resolution and try not to repeat resolutions from previous years. I’m going to go against this. But what I am doing is reducing the number of resolutions (four instead of last year’s 10 – find out how I did) and taking on board his suggestions that you should:

  1. Break your goal into steps
  2. Tell people what you plan to do (that’s what this blog is about!)
  3. Remind yourself of the benefits of what you’re doing
  4. Reward yourself as you reach each step (I like this part)
  5. Keep a progress map of how you’re doing

So, in the interests of keeping Richard Wiseman partially happy…

Resolution 1 – Get fitter: I will do at least two exercise sessions a week

Carrying on from last years’ vague ‘get fit’ resolution, I’m specifically planning to do at least two pieces of  exercise a week (this might be swimming, spinning, zumba, abs, or simply more walking).

Each Monday I will plan in my exercise sessions to ensure work/nights out don’t ruin my plans.

Resolution 2 – Lose weight: I will lose three stone by the end of June 2012 *edit by the end of September

This is averaging at about half a stone a month, so difficult, but not completely impossible. Healthy salads, soup and an aim to cut alcohol down from ‘yes, please’ to a couple of nights a week. The exercise will help.

*After properly thinking about this, I fear the three stone by June might be a tad optimistic. I have a social life. I am not doing some stupid faddy diet. I need more time. So, on that basis, aiming for an average of 5lbs per month which takes me to mid September.  If I get there quicker, then great, if not, at least I’m not starving myself. 

Each Monday I will weigh in and measure recording the details in my diary. I will record my food in the same way, planning my week so as not to be scuppered by pesky socialising!

Benefits of both these resolutions are happier, healthier, slimmer Linda and the opportunity to wear all the clothes currently hidden in a case under the bed. New wardrobe – no cost!

Resolution 3 – Blog more: I resolve to blog at least eight times a month

Look, I’m doing it!

Step 1 – Develop a blog plan for the year. All too often I go to see a show or read a book and I think “I should review that or comment on it”, then life gets in the way. If I plan when key events are coming up and plan to blog about them, the idea is that blogs will happen.  Part of the plan will take into account seasonal messages – I missed a whole range of opportunities to blog about grammatically inspiring Christmas gifts.

Step 2 – Have some blog entries ready to go – if it’s a slow week or I’m really too busy, I’ll be prepared!

Benefits of this will be to increase my blog readership, increase my writing skills and prepare me for being lead blogger for the Live Theatre for a month this year. Eek!

You, dear readers, can assess my progress!

Resolution 4 – Read more: I will read at least one book every two months

I probably read about 15 books last year. That’s not a total failure. But I can sense Thrifty Gal over at E for Envelope shuddering as she reached 100 in October.  I tend to read in concentrated bursts: five books in a week long holiday, one book on a transatlantic flight. I feel like I should be a bit more consistent in my reading and not have huge gaps between each book.

Step 1 – Reduce the amount of TV watching, Facebooking and faffing I do. This time could be better spent with a book in my hand.

Step 2 – Make sure I have a book with me at all times and choose to read that rather than a magazine, newspaper or facebook on my phone.

Hey if I read all the books I have in my pending pile – I can then buy myself more as a reward!!!

So there it is…

There’s a whole raft of other things I could include in this. But things like improving love life, moving house, moving job etc I haven’t had a chance to think about yet.

The things I’ve chosen, I believe, will make me fundamentally happier, more organised, and thus more likely to tackle those other things along the way.

Happy 2012 everyone – what are you going to do?

Review of the year: how many resolutions did I keep?

So back at the start of the year I set myself some top 10 ‘plans’ for 2011… I rather prematurely did an update about two weeks later. The real test is now, a year on.

1. Improve my beauty regime – I must say I think I’ve done pretty well on this front. I’ve had some lapses but generally have followed a moisturise (if nothing else) regime fairly regularly. Origins have had a further £100 (or more) out of me, but I am using the products now instead of just admiring them as they languish under dust in my bathroom.

I also discovered primer. On a trip to New York the lovely Sephora store gave us freebies galore (however I guess they weren’t technically freebies when you’ve spent hundreds of dollars already) – one of the freebies was a make up primer. I’m a convert. My make up even stays on after spinning (more on that later)!

As an add on to this plan/resolution I also upped my work wardrobe (hey everyone has off days, you guys sniggering at the back). Generally my attempts to wear heels, funky trousers, and ‘festive’ jumpers have been greeted positively. However, by far the most successful (and in fact unintentional) change has been my intensified hair colour. Going that deeper shade of red/ginger has paid for itself in compliments. The non-reactions of those who clearly don’t know how to deal with change have also kept me amused.

2. Get Fit. I said in January that this appears every year, and so it goes. It will appear in January next year too. It took ’til around June to get really going with this, but then it clicked into place. I went spinning and swimming a few times a week, every week, until October. I also tried zumba! Spinning has since continued but with less intensity. The result? Dress size down and a stone and a half lost.

I have also spread the fitness joy by encouraging KD to join me at zumba and Emma B to embrace the joy that is spinning. I think Emma B only comes spinning to giggle with me at Jane’s attempts at handing in the tickets to the hot instructor (I’ll just say “headboard”).

Result of resolution 2: astonishing thighs in the web team.

3. Write more. Hmn. Not great. I completed the ‘Start Writing Fiction’ course from the Open University with flying colours. However it didn’t have the required result, that of making me write more fiction.

I have got more involved in writing theatre reviews for a London-based website. Again, though, after a flurry of blog activity in March, Postcard of a Painting was pushed to one side.

4. Travel more, travel differently, travel alone. Not sure I was entirely successful with this.

Travel more. I actually probably had fewer holidays this year, but then 2010 was a bit of a mad flurry.

Travel differently. I can’t actually remember what I meant by this. But if I meant destinations, I failed. I went to lots of places that I’ve already been to: Zakynthos, Rhodes, New York, Glasgow, York, London, but nowhere new.

Travel alone. I went to Zakynthos, Rhodes, Glasgow and York alone. And if I’m honest, I realised that I don’t like it as much as I make out. I mean I do enjoy some solo travel and I’m quite independant when I do travel with others. Generally though, I’d like to travel with someone else, someone to share the experience with – just don’t interrupt my book reading on the flight. 

5. Cook more. Over the summer in my health kick, cooking more, meant ‘make soup’. I haven’t done very well on this resolution otherwise.

6. Phone the people I don’t make time to travel to visit. Major fail. I can’t even claim that I visited them instead of phoning. Sorry people. 😦

7. Be open to dating. Again, this hasn’t gone spectacularly well. I’m not sure I count picking a random stranger up on the corner of my street as a successful dating strategy. He was very sweet,  until he starting talking about God, then he was a bit scary.

8. Be nice. There are many instances where I’ve done this, from friends and colleagues, to the girl at the Post Office with the funky red nails dotted with white polish – just like snow I tell you 🙂 and what happens? Either the recipient thinks you’re taking the piss, tells you that the item you like was cheap/free/old, or smiles (and keeps smiling). Take a hint people – accept and embrace the compliments! Be the smiley one.

9. Be nice to myself. After a year of feeling pretty shit, 2011 was the year I started to turn this around. All the stuff above is part of this. Everything that Richard Wiseman has written is part of this. I’ve started being and thus feeling more positive. And if people give me a compliment, I take it, thank you very much 🙂

10. Be timely. Hey I’ve done better here. At least this review of the year is out there before the year ends. Just have to make sure that next year’s plans, if I do any – just managing expectations – are posted in the first week of January (again making sure your hopes aren’t too high for a blog on January 1st)…

But nevertheless, see you some time in 2012 folks.