With every year that motors on, I take time to reflect on the highs, lows, and lessons learned along the way.
Goals for 2019
Each year I set only a few goals I want to achieve. I find the more goals I plan for, the less I achieve. This year I set 3 for myself:
- Writing: Editing and publishing Sydney’s Boxer, my 1st novel
- Lose weight
- Taking control of my finances
Goal 1: Writing
2018 was a bumper writing year for me where my first novel, Sydney’s Boxer was 2nd runner-up in the Strelitzia competition for unpublished Authors. Off the back of that, I decided to send my manuscript to a publishing house with hopes of publishing success. Instead, I received my 1st rejection letter. It stung, I’m not gonna lie, but I didn’t take it too badly. It became clear to me that traditional publishing may not be the route for me just yet. Instead, I contacted editors to have my book professionally edited together with finding out what their requirements were. I was told to send my manuscript to beta readers to read and provide feedback. This process frustrated me greatly as people messed me around and I started doubting my novel. I decided to re-write Sydney’s Boxer from scratch, considering I hadn’t had much time to edit it properly in the competition. After a few months, I lost interest in the process as I wasn’t creating anything new. Instead, I focused on my branding as an Author, setting up my Business Page on Facebook, redesigned my website and wrote blog posts to keep the creative juices flowing. I’m close to finishing the re-write and I haven’t given up on it.
High or Low for 2019: A low point as I didn’t achieve my goal. I felt I wasted a lot of time on the re-write that could have been spent elsewhere.
Lesson learned: Sometimes I need to go down the wrong path to find the right one. It serves no purpose crying over wasted time. I shall salvage what I can and soldier into 2020 with my head held high with renewed hope for editing and publishing success!
Goal 2: Lose weight
9 years ago I lost 9kgs on the Weigh-Less eating program. This was the time when I stopped drinking and smoking, turned my life around and adopted a healthy lifestyle. My weight loss was super-slow, taking 1 year and 1 month to reach my goal. I followed a balanced eating plan and had a weigh-in once a week to track my weight-loss. I had to become accountable for what went into my body and not sabotage myself by cheating all the time. I learned to shrink my eating habits, I became disciplined in planning my meals and I exercised consistently. Running helped to maintain my weight through the years, but I found when I wrote a lot, my weight increased as I snacked on unhealthy treats. I wasn’t happy with my weight this year and decided to re-join Weigh-Less. So far I’ve lost 3kgs and have 2kgs to drop before I reach my goal weight.
High or Low point for 2019: Definitely a high. I like to challenge myself when it comes to healthy living. I enjoy the discipline of it and I love watching my body change through weight-loss, the confidence I get when I look and feel great.
Lesson learned: In order to achieve a goal I need to keep the focus on it. Even if I fell off the wagon, I got back on, straightened my big girl panties and tried again. I’m dropping those 2kg’s in 2020, that’s for sure!
Goal 3: Stop spending and save
I was inspired by Cait Flanders’s book “The year of less” to get my finances in check as I embark on becoming a full-time writer. So began a year of becoming conscious of my spending patterns. I started budgeting for the first time in my life, paid off all my debt and took control of my finances. Saving has become second nature to me. I enjoy the financial freedom of saying no to things I don’t need. I’m finding ways of making money, cashing in on discounts, stashing money away for treats like holidays or spoiling myself guilt-free.
High or Low-point for 2019: 100% high. I thought it would be difficult to cut back on my spending ways. Surprisingly it was so easy as I love to plan my day-to-day activities and budgeting became something I enjoyed.
Lessons learned: I don’t need to be an expert to be the financial manager of my money. Reading books on finances helped me see that I could become financially savvy in money affairs. Knowledge is power and I look forward to learning more where this is concerned.
My running improved greatly this year. It wasn’t planned, it was more like a natural progression of where I needed to be. For so many years I’ve been holding myself back due to injuries, recovering from operations, then developing osteoarthritis in my knees. This led me to focus on short distances of running up to 10kms. 2019 saw me taking on half-marathons after a 5-year hiatus. Because I lost interest in the re-writing process of my novel, I took up the challenge of training for my 1st marathon. The training was grueling, resulting in a number of injuries. I was forced to listen to my body and train when it allowed me to. I was seriously undertrained going into the marathon, but it didn’t matter as I had a plan of action and I stuck to it. Running Cape Town Marathon was the highlight of my year and an absolute blessing. I even hit sub 60 on my 10k races and PB’s on other distances. 2019 turned into a phenomenal running year and for that, I am grateful.
Losing a loved one
My family lost our beloved Rambo, our fur baby. Our second dog in two years. Rambo’s death was unexpected. We had to put him down due to repeated seizures. It was the hardest decision we had to make as a family. Rambo was our child, our joy, our protector. We grieved deeply for him. But as much as we miss him, we’ve accepted his death and know we made the right decision. Those we lose are always in our hearts. And no matter where he is, I know he’s looking out for us.
Love and Family
Neil and I celebrated our 24th Wedding anniversary this year. It seems like yesterday when we met, fell in love, married in Pretoria and started our family life in Cape Town. It’s been a beautiful journey of raising our daughters, buying homes, sharing responsibilities with all the high and low moments tied together. I have deep love and respect for him. Our children are the cornerstones of our relationship. They are opinionated, wise, kind-hearted and respectful. We did something right with them! My family means everything to me. They are my safe-haven, the place I call home. No matter what happens in this world, or how many challenges we face as a family, we sail through the waves of uncertainty together.
I’m a hard worker in my day-job, at home, in my running pursuits or moonlighting as a writer. 24 hours in a day never seems enough for everything I want to do. I strive to improve myself and in turn, this leads to disappointment when things don’t work out as planned. I try not to be too hard on myself when this happens. Self-care is vital and I do this in the form of an afternoon nap that revitalizes me to perform at my best. Everything is more manageable after a good nap and a prayer to my Maker.
2019 in all respects was a mixed bag of moments. By the grace of God I made it, my family made it through our grief, with the knowledge we are stronger together. I look forward to welcoming 2020. I’ve got a feeling new possibilities are on the horizon!