This weekend was really an excellent weekend all around. I got to relax and enjoy time with friends on top of working, etc.
However, the very best part of the weekend was booking my flight ✈️🔜🗾to Japan 🇯🇵in March to see my BFF for two weeks!!! 👏🏽 I am beyond excited and thrilled that I could get the ticket using miles; 👍🏽thus only having to pay about $100 for the ticket! 🙌🏽🙌🏽
We are already planning our visit to Kyoto 🏯 🚅 since it will be E’s spring break time as well. It’s gonna be so much fun!!!!
M has noted that I am noticeably in a better mood with more energy and it is true that having something to look forward to along with the prospect of leaving the country after 15 months thrills me!😄
Of course, we are hoping that he will be able to join as well so that both of us can have a holiday together. It would be his first time to see Japan; but if he cannot make it then there will always be another chance. 😜 I will definitely make sure I go to enjoy anyway!!😆
So, that is one of my 2017 NYRs coming to fruition as I had hoped. It is setting a good tone for everything in life to pick up and start to bring us some relief from our stresses the past year has brought to us….
Anyway, that is my good news for the moment!
Surprisingly, I am amazed that it is now the last day of the month.
Looking back it was definitely a full month and lots of ups and downs financially, emotionally and even physically.
As I reflect on how things have been, I have to say that at the moment I am fairly happy with the past month in terms of the NYRs.
*Health – I am going steady with the gym, though some weeks have been a bit more challenging given my schedule changes; however, I am happy with progress. Just need to get my abs a bit more in shape! 😉
*Work – As expected, work is picking up with lessons. I have three regular yoga clients with one just finishing, though he may continue. 😀 I will be starting some foundation classes where I live and the new 200hr YTTC course is giving me more work to do. I am currently taking a nutrition course through Coursera and have decided to start a side business that promotes healthy diet and life – more on that soon. I have not yet had enough time to sit down to do more writing, but am hoping that February will allow me to have a more settled routine in which I can carve out more writing time. Still, not bad for the first month.
*Finances – well, these are coming along. Little by little more money is coming in, but with the increase work, the money will come. M is also making some progress in this area, so….
*Relationships – my closest friends have been just that and the rest have been quiet as expected. I do have some plans in the works for travel and seeing those I love most. However, for the most part I am content with my relationships. <3
*Family – I have to admit that I have been a bit quiet and slow on this aspect of my life. I have spoken to my parents a few times, but now they are in warmer environments, so hopefully having too much fun! 😀 I did reach out to my bro, but need to try again or harder to connect better.
*Personal – Again, this month has seemed to have focused more on work and finances than anything else. I have started a blanket while I am watching TV, but have not yet been back to pottery this year. I will try to start again this next month. The rest is definitely in progress.
So, when reflecting I could stay in a dark space looking just at the negatives; however, the reality is that we still have a lovely roof over our heads and food to fill our bellies. We have loved ones near and far who are all fairly healthy and well. We have each other each day to help get through any struggles. Thus, on this last day of the month, I want to be positive and grateful for all that has been provided looking forward to what the next month promises to bring!
We have come to the last of the major areas of life that affect our happiness – personal. Although it could be said that most or all of my goals shared so far are personal, what I mean here are other areas such as entertainment, hobbies, achievements, etc. The things I want and plan to do in the next year solely for myself as an individual human, woman and person on this great earth.
At the moment, I have not yet put these into time-chunks because we are not yet quite settled as to how long we are staying in the country or where we are going. Therefore, I have to limit some of the goals to things I can do anywhere and maybe anytime. 😀
*Continue with my pottery. I know I have not shared for quite some time my pieces, but I want to return to some consistency in my attendance (money permitted) and improve my skills. I am not sure if I will be able to continue this hobby once we leave, so I want to have a good base when I do go so that I can pick up again easily once we are settled again.
*Write, write, write. So, I put my major writing goals under the work post because I now consider some writing as a job (one that I love, of course), but I do have some other writing projects in mind. These include starting a couple more blogs – I know, how many does one person need?!
*I would like to crochet at least four or five blankets with my yarn scraps this year to get rid of the yarn that I have and then donate them to orphanages or hospitals for premies or something like this. Along with this, I would like to keep knitting and crocheting hats for cancer patients or maybe even figure out how to knit/crochet the boobs for breast cancer patients. Again, I can use up my yarn and keep myself productive whilst watching TV since I feel as if I have been wasting away my life a bit these days by just sitting…. 😛
*Travel – sadly I have not traveled properly since our Christmas holiday 2015….:( I did do a quick trip to Egypt, but it was for work and I did not stay to see anything. Therefore, in 2017, I hope to have one trip per financial quarter. So, I really want to see my BFF in Japan – ideally in the spring. Then, I am hoping for a nice summer holiday with the BDs (British Daughters) and hubby. By then, we should be planned to move, moved or nearly moved to somewhere new which will count as a trip! Then, in the fall/winter I would like to do a yoga retreat somewhere. Fingers crossed that we can also spend the winter holidays with both or one set of our families. 😀
*200-hr Yoga certification – I know I just finished by 300-hr one, but I have already agreed to do a 200-hr course starting in a couple of weeks here in Abu Dhabi. I shall be helping to teach it too, which is going to be wonderful experience. So, with the 200 on top of the 300, I will be able to register as a 500-hr teacher and then train to register my own school doing teacher trainings of my own, hopefully in southern France. So, these are important steps to building my long-term business vision.
*Try at least one thing new this year – whether this is SkyDive Dubai or kitesurfing or dancing or painting or whatever it may be, I really want to stretch my mind to try something I have not yet done but contemplated doing. M seems to think I need to take up painting, so maybe that will be it. Or, we both want to try kitesurfing, so who knows, but stay tuned!!! 😉
So, that rounds out the week of looking deeply into my New Year’s Resolutions for this year. I hope it was not too boring or over the top. God only knows if I will be able to maintain this focus or for how long, but I really believe every one of these goals is achievable. I will try to check in throughout the year to see how I am progressing. 😀
Thanks for joining me on this part of the year’s journey.
Some might find it strange to have goals about family, but the truth is that family is often who we take for granted the most. Yet, they play such a vital role in ensuring that we feel supported, loved, encouraged and safe every day. So, I believe it is important to also create goals around how to foster our family connections.
Therefore, here are my goals for my family – some I mentioned yesterday as they also overlap with Relationships.
*Make sure I get to see my parents at least once this year – hopefully twice with a mother-daughter trip in there as it is my mama’s year. (As a side, I try to alternate years with a mother-daughter or father-daughter trip or outing to spend that QT I love with my parents. 😀 )
*Make a stronger effort to keep in touch with my brother – we message now and then on FB or text, but I would like to focus more and work harder at having regular contact with him because I feel we have drifted a bit in the last few years.
*Continue to be there for my new step-daughters in whatever form they may need me to be – a listening ear, a presence and support for their father, whatever is needed. 😉
*Spoil my godson more somehow…. 😀 He’s already 11!!! WTF?! So, he’s at the age now where he’ll remember doing things together or finding value in shared activities. Being so far away makes this a challenge, but I am sure there is a way.
*Connect better/more with my step-niece. She joined our family when she was 8 and then 8/9 years later moved away when my brother and her mother divorced. We have kept in touch, but as time has passed I have kept to myself, so I would like to make more effort.
*Stay up with my cousins – Thank goodness for FB!! If it weren’t for that, I would hardly ever know what was going on with my cuzes. Now, I can keep up more.
*Last but not least – my husband – we have agreed to have fortnightly (every two weeks) date nights to stick to. We are focusing on eating our meals at the dinner table without electronics to catch up with one another at the end of the day. I will continue to do all I can to love and support him in all areas of our life together. 😀
So…I think I have hit everything here. Not much more to say – I love my family!!! 😀
These goals are getting a bit easier in topics now – at least for me. Phew! 😅
2016 presented a number of challenges regarding friendships and tested my introverted nature regarding relationships.
One of the best ways to weed out your friends is to have an expensive wedding 👰🏽😜. All kidding aside, many of our “friends” were proven not to be so by not bothering to show up even when they RSVPd or never RSVPing at all. Some even shared that they couldn’t attend but for reasons that we felt were not good enough to warrant not making an effort to attend our special day when we were supposedly good friends. So that was one way of defining friendships.
I lost two friends this year to drama and overreactions. One is the spouse of the other so by default we are no longer friends. Both of these people I let into my heart and inner circle, which is a big deal for me. Losing them was a painful process and there are times when I still ache for their friendships. However, truth hurts and the truth is that we were probably never really friends. Or at least not friends as I define them.
Once someone described me as like a dog. In other words, I am loyal and committed to those I call friends because there are not many that I let in fully. When I do, it is for life and I will defend them with fierceness – which I did many times for these two. Yet, it was clearly not reciprocated nor valued; therefore, it is best that we are no longer in each other’s lives.
What it has done, unfortunately, is to cause a divide and another weeding out of those who were mutual friends. Much like in a divorce – some people take sides, others distance themselves and others continue on being friends as before.
This experience has also been a bit of a blessing because with the thinning out of friends, or so-called ones, I made room for new ones to enter in.
Also, with my change of work, I have been forced to branch out and make new friends through networking and activities.
Now I have golf friends, AWN friends, walking/running friends, etc. Although these friendships are newly forged, I am excited to build upon them.
As I posted a while ago, I am continuing to find my tribe. So, although in an ideal world I would have my BFF, close friends, new friends and family all in one place, the life of an expat is not conducive to this as a reality. Therefore, thanks to blogging, Facebooking, Skyping and any other form of messaging I can stay up with my friends near and far.
So on to the goals – hard to do quarterly goals so will just list.
*Making sure I see my BFF at least once this year somewhere – fingers crossed for in Japan
*Organizing regular meet ups with friends whom I want to maintain a strong relationship with while we are still here.
*Making sure I see my parents at least once or maybe twice this year.
*Trying again to connect better with my brother.
*Really being selective of my time and energy on people who add to my life and positivity without draining me nor taking advantage of me nor taking me for granted.
So these are my relationships goals as it relates to family and friends. I think I do fairly well with my family aside from my brother so I will try more there. 😍
Tomorrow is 5. Family, so may be a bit shorter. Until then!
Okay, so this is a BIG one for me/us as 2016 was a massive financial struggle once I gave up work and the benefit of paid housing. Little did I know what a huge challenge it was going to be to work out housing on our limited income. Now, I am not saying that we/I were not total idiots to move into a crazily priced apartment, but it is a lovely place to live…. 😐
Along with some other challenges with our money that were a ripple effect of M changing his job in February last year, we have hit the lowest point I have ever reached in my adult financial life. Even saying that I do appreciate and feel fortunate that my idea of “low” is still quite high for some in the world.
Still, my bank account was actually closed in the US due to insufficient funds and negative balance – this account I have had since I was 12…. My US credit cards are in back pay and my school loan payments are also due. We also owe my parents money since they helped us out to pay for my work visa…. :/ On top of this, we barely make our local payments each month sometimes missing them only to have to catch up the following month.
Since I only make enough each week to cover our daily expenses, which is still plenty – and we have learned to spend much less daily – it is hard to cover some of the bills unless M gets paid regularly. During some months it is a challenge to have this consistency; therefore we have struggled.
Therefore, our goal for this year is:
*3 months – pay off all current debt and be caught up with at least 2 months payments ahead
*6 months – have enough cash in the bank to leave the UAE and move elsewhere with enough to make a downpayment on property wherever we end up
*9 months – be generating enough income from our various sources to be able to do the 50:10:20:20 rule (50% for living expenses; 10% for fun; 20% for short-term savings 20% for investment/retirement)
*12 months – have at least one property paid for that brings in income to perhaps pay for another property somewhere along with our continued plan above
Now, I do not know yet how this is going to happen as we are basically dependent on M to bring in the money. We will definitely be moving from our current apartment either in the same building but to a much smaller space within our means OR we will move to a completely new space either within country or out of country. More on that to come as we know more.
So, this is my brutal honesty about our financial situation without going into number details. It has not been an easy road and I have come to some major realizations through it all. While there is no point in having regrets, I do see/understand all that financial wisdom my parents tried to impart upon me years ago about saving, etc. It hit me mostly when a few people shared that they were buying houses since they had saved up enough since being here and I am completely on the other side of that…. I do not regret the travel that I did or the fun that I had, but I do kind of wish someone had managed my money for me! 😉
I take full responsibility for my life choices and decisions. I know I am at least half to blame for our current situation and I did not come into our marriage with blind eyes regarding M’s situation. I may have been blinded to or denying reality out of love or whatever, but I have faith and hope that this year will be our year to work ourselves out. Also, it gives me some satisfaction to think that once we are out of the mud, it will be due to both of our efforts and something that we have achieved and overcome together – making us stronger and better. Optimism!!!
So, I am sure I will be writing more about this as the year goes on, but here ends our financial goals for this year. Tomorrow we move on to 4. Relationships.
My next focus for my NYRs is Work. Work is something that the majority of people do for most of their lives and sadly for a lot of people is also an activity that most do not like – yet they continue out of necessity or lack of options (known or unknown).
Luckily for me, 2016 brought about the opportunity for me to quit my full-time work. I admit that while I did not particularly like what I was doing or where I was doing it, I did not hate it and could have continued it. It was naivety, impatience and a dream that pushed me to step away from stability, security and sanity! 😛
However, when I look back over the challenges that resulted from this decision, I do not regret it for a minute. When I hear my friends speak about the environment and situation of staying, I feel so glad and relieved that I stepped away when I did.
With that said, I still do have some ‘work’ goals. I have just paused now as I do not think that I have actually written much at all here on what my new work is. I have spent so much time building the business site that I think I have kept them quite separate…. So, here’s a brief.
I decided to start my own business called The OSH Network in talent development and wellness training. These are fancy buzz words to say it is a business for wellness yoga, mindfulness/meditation training and life coaching. I determined that these elements go together in creating a whole, happy and healthy lifestyle that people desire to achieve. Therefore, the business idea is to work with those who really want to actively improve their lives to reach its greatest potential for themselves, their families and their communities. My belief in the power of humans and humanity with the help of the Lord God and Universe is what drives me to do what I can to help individuals to contribute to a better world.
So, I launched the business in August of 2016 and spent a lot of effort in marketing myself through networking, etc. However, I quickly learned this is not my forte and so I have redefined the yoga aspect slightly to focus more on wellness (therapeutic) yoga in addressing anxiety, stress and depression along with alignment and health. We shall see how this goes.
Therefore, my goals in this area are:
- generate a client base in any of the three service areas to the point of having a 3-month waiting list through online marketing and word-of-mouth (this may mean a few more networking events…;) ).
- develop wellness retreats either here to an external destination or elsewhere depending on our future location (more on this later) for those who need an escape to cope with their wellness needs.
- study more nutrition and psychology to offer the best services I can
- eventually turn the business into a ‘lifestyle’ business (still defining this)
So, I have not broken these down into short, medium or long term goals as I am not yet certain of the how in achieving them yet. When I do, I’ll try to pinpoint more specifically timeframes. 🙂
In addition to the wellness business, I am calling myself a writer. I think now that I have a regular ‘column’ with an online magazine (a bit of a delay in December), I can finally say “Yes” to being a writer. 😉
Therefore, my goal by March (3-months) is to write my first Kindle book to self-publish using the theme of The Universal Asian. I had this blog before but let it go defunct as it was hard to keep up with the stories in an interesting way. However, I think there are enough stories to tell to make a series of short books that will hopefully be entertaining and sell. 😀 Stay tuned for that.
By June (6-months), I am planning on having my first memoir/autobiography completed to either self-publish or send to publishers.
By September (9-months), I hope to have at least three Kindle books published with my first novel in the works for publishing.
By the end of the year (12-months), my dream is to have a signed book contract and perhaps even the beginnings of a book tour option…- this might be a little soon as I am not sure how long these things take.
These are my writing goals. I am trying to get more freelance work doing writing bits and am going to look for another place to get paid for my writing – in my extra time, of course! 😛
So, this is my NYRs regarding work. I really do not think of any of it as work since I enjoy these kinds of activities. I definitely want to make an income, but at the same time I truly want to enjoy what I do. Therefore, if I do not make an income or find that this is not enjoyable, I’ll adjust and forge a new path if needed. 😀
I am sure that I am missing some other bits here regarding ‘work’, but for now, you get the gist!
Tomorrow, we will look at 3. Finances! That should be an interesting one!!! 😀
As promised, here I am with my NYRs for 2017. I am starting with Health because it tends to be the easiest resolution for us to make, break and focus upon.
In general, we are fairly healthy. I keep active, exercise pretty regularly and we eat a decent Paleo-ish diet. Still, it is easy to yo-yo back and forth during down times, holidays or when I think I am doing great and then become lax.
Yesterday, I posted about my workouts for last week and will continue to maintain that as long as I can. As I said, it is a good way for me to keep track for myself as well.
In the Health category, I am breaking it down between exercise and diet. So, let us start with exercise:
*3 month goal = to have a six-pack stomach.
Yes, I know that women are probably healthier with a little bit of roll or pudge to their tummies. I also do not judge anyone in any way regarding bellies. This is a personal goal for myself to see if I can do it and what it would look like. That is all. Once I have achieved the six pack, I will most likely just try to maintain a four-pack, which I think is sufficient. 😉
*6 month goal = to do between 5-10 pull ups.
At the moment, I can do zero. I can barely lift my body from deadweight up a few centimeters. Despite my arm strength in certain muscles, I am severely lacking in triceps and whatever other muscles are used to do a pull-up. Therefore, with a bit of focus, patience and work, I am hoping that within six months I can do 5-10 pull ups. 😛
*9 month goal = to run 10km under an hour.
Now, I think this is probably quite slow of a run, but at the moment I can do around 10-12 minutes of running in one stretch before I get bored. Yes, bored. I am fairly certain that I could probably run longer, but my mind drifts and I would rather enjoy what I am reading or listening to while I exercise so I end up walking. Although I have joined the MRTTAD running group, I mostly walk because it is easier to socialize and well, my competitive nature kicks in so I either feel bad about not being as good or arrogant about being better. Neither of which I desire to foster in my psyche. Therefore, I walk. Still, I have determined to train on the treadmill as it allows me to address my boredom issues and I think that I will be able to build up my stamina better this way. I used to be able to do 45 minutes with about 30 minutes of running. I am not sure that I ever made it to 10km, but in any case, this is my goal.
*12 month goal = 90 minute yoga practice plus 30 minutes meditation every day
I know…it may seem strange to have this goal considering the fact that my current claimed profession is a yoga instructor. I mean, how does one become a yoga instructor and have a year goal to be able to do 90-minutes every day??? 😉 The truth is that I am human! I do not always want to get on the mat. For the past week I have definitely been more disciplined and been on the mat at least four times with meditation included. However, I need to build up my practice stamina. At the moment, I can do about 30 minutes of yoga following my Vijnana Yoga Manual from my training. Probably, I could stretch that out a bit more, but I don’t. I am also building my meditation to now about 20 minutes straight where my legs fall asleep around 15 minutes in. Of course, more practice will make this easier. I was up to a 45 minute sit before, so the meditation should not be difficult. The key here is EVERY DAY! On top of working out at the gym, it is a little difficult to make sure I also have 2 hours set aside to do this. Therefore, to reach this goal, I imagine I shall have to adjust my schedule more and other things will give….But, this is my goal by the end of the year!
As for diet, I do not mean dieting to lose weight. I am sure if you know me, you already knew this. Diet means what I eat each day – just to make it clear. I do not have quarterly goals per se because that might put focus on weight loss or even suggest that these changes cannot be made overnight, but really for me they can since we already are a leg up in how we are eating.
We did decide to make January – Drynuary. This means staying away from alcohol for the month. It was really M who determined this as he initially said to cut back to just once a week. When he asked if I thought I could go the whole month without it, I said “Sure, no problem at all.” To his surprise he said he would try it. 😀 What I have noticed in the eight short days that we have been ‘dry’ is how much thought and activity is centered around drinking. Our culture, especially as expats, is heavily focused on food and drink to satisfy, bring joy/happiness and distract us from the lives that we lead. In a way this is extremely sad to realize and accept.
So, our one month goal is to stay away from alcohol. Beyond that I am not sure for M, but for me, I had already decided to avoid it for the most part as my body just does not react well to it anymore. This is not to say I will not have a glass or two when out and about, but no more binge nights in my future. 😛
Also, I would really like to work out how to have a more alkaline diet for M’s acid reflux issues as well as investigating what a more balanced Ph level in the body does. In fact, I am considering taking an online nutrition course this month or next (need to research it a bit) just to have a better knowledge of these topics.
Well, this turned into a long post, but I believe that these NYRs that we make should have depth and quality to them rather than fleeting claims to improve ourselves only to laughingly fail a week or month later.
We will be moving on to 2. Work goals tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Starting on Sunday, I am going to write about the six major areas of life that affect our well-being, wholeness and happiness.
These six areas are:
For the next week, I will focus on sharing my goals/resolutions in these areas in the next year or even shorter-term depending on the goal itself.
While most of my life I have avoided using the word resolutions because I feel it is a cliche and a bit a minomer since resolve requires a willingness to change or take action, but very few people make realistic goals to achieve long-lasting and true change. However, I have come around a bit for myself as I do intend to have long-lasting and true change to reach the goals that I have set for the next 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.
If I am going to work in an industry that requires healthy life habits, it is imperative that I model them as well, no? So, I begin here on this site. If you follow my business blog, The OSH Network, then you may see some overlap. Hopefully, you will not get too bored. 😀