New Year’s Goals Check-In: February

Another month in the books for 2014! I can’t believe it’s already March, though I am so ready to be done with this winter. It’s been a killer here in Massachusetts, as it has around much of the country, between the amount of snowfall and the constant bitter cold. It’s the cold more than anything that I’m sick of. And it’s not just me– it’s officially been confirmed that this has been one of the most terrible winters, according to the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, aka the misery index.

Proof of  Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index

Proof of Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index

On the positive side? The days are getting longer and they’ll be even longer next week when we spring forward on Sunday! Also positive? I think I’ve done a bit better this month with some of my goals, and that’s saying something since it’s the shortest month of the year! Let’s see…

Personal Goals

  • Try a new trend/clothing item I wouldn’t normally: C+

My parents knew how desperate I was for new clothes, so they hooked me up with a great birthday gift and went shopping for me. Something new they got me that I wouldn’t normally wear: bright pink pants from Banana Republic! I love pink (I’m actually wearing it today) and have a pink skirt, so why not pink pants? I exchanged some of the items that didn’t fit and walked out with a couple of more items a little outside my comfort zone: a high-necked sweater (I’m usually a large, open or V-neck type of girl so my short neck looks longer) and a silk shirt.

Banana Republic blue sweater and shirt

  • Take more pictures: B

Again, thanks to the blog and joining Instagram, I have been documenting more. WHH and I have sat down and started going through our wedding pictures to pick out a few more to get framed (yes, from our wedding nearly five years ago). We still have need to make our free Shutterfly book. The code runs out on 4/1, so we’re under a deadline! Would love to make a 2013 “yearbook” like Young House Love while we’re in the midst of that.

  • Make a new menu item weekly: B+

Like last month, we have been making at least one new recipe each week, though most of them are variations of recipes we already make or are made-up recipes. We did make a garlicky roasted brussels sprouts recipe from the Bittman book from my brother, and they’re a new favorite in this house!

Garlicky roasted brussel sprouts

I’ve also been especially good about mixing it up on the weekends with my breakfast. You know how much I love my yogurt parfaits, but I have been making smoothies and protein pancakes instead. My best pancake recipe so far was the one I made up this weekend and shared on Instagram:

Gluten free protein pancakes

We could still use improvement in meal planning before going to the grocery store, hence the B+ (so close to the A!).

  • TravelC+

I’m scaling the grading on this one since we’re trying to save money, and travel is obviously one of the first places to pinch some pennies. Still no concrete travel plans. I Skyped with my friends in the Netherlands over the weekend and I want to visit them so badly! My brother is also moving to Colorado in the fall, so we’d love to visit him once he settles in. Price alerts are still out on Kayak and Airfarewatchdog, and I have contacted my travel agent to double-check on her end for flights to the Netherlands.

Amsterdam canals in summer

Amsterdam, c/o Joshua Doubek

  • Read more, especially instead of watching TV: C+

It’s officially National Reading Month and I’ve been reading a ton, but it’s mostly been my A&P textbook. So that pile of books may still be on my nightstand, but I’ll get to them eventually. I’m still in the midst of reading A Clash of Kings (Game of Thrones book #2), but I’m finally nearing the end! I’ll admit that I’ve been bad the past week or so with TV on the weekends. I think my brain just needs an escape from all of the information it’s been absorbing lately. Still, it no excuse. But to reduce the guilt (and keep with simplifying the house goal), I brought the old magazines I hadn’t read yet to work for patients to read. And I feel a bit better knowing the subscription was free from our participation in the CHaD HERO, so I haven’t wasted any money.

A Clash of Kings by R.R. Martin

So, I’m scaling this one as well because we got some things done that weren’t on there, but had been on my “want to do” list in my head. I’m also scaling to give myself a bit of a break given my time is stretched thinly these days with my class (this past week my lab reports alone totaled about 8 hours’ worth of work!). I would like to get to this pin for organizing my KitchenAid stand mixer attachments this month, which seems incredibly simple to do. We’re going to attempt to fix up some of our hardwood floors one once the weather gets nicer. And we’re in the midst of completing these inexpensive industrial-inspired shelves for the kitchen. Can’t wait to share pictures!

  • Organize my life better: ?

Now that I look at this one, it’s quite vague. I should have made it more specific. Since I have some other goals that are related to this one that are specific, I’m striking it off the list. That feels good. 🙂

  • Simplify house further: B+

Though I haven’t gotten to our closet of shame yet…

Closet organization needed

…I quickly went through some bags of clothes my mom had brought over as she’s been cleaning out their attic. Most of the things, as well as some things that were already in our house, quickly went off to be donated.

Clothes donation pile

  • Meet with financial advisor: F

Still haven’t done this yet. We will plan to do this after we file our taxes. I was thinking taxes were due in a week, but we still have another month! Regardless, want to get my money back ASAP. I hate giving the government an interest-free loan!

  • Write reviews, such as for products and travel: D

Same as last month: I need to go back and do reviews from our travel last summer!


  • Take co-requisite courses for nursing school: A+

I’m taking A&P I right now and I’m giving myself an A+ for having a 93% average! I know 93 is technically an A or A-, but whatever. Woot woot! (That’s a picture of our wedding pictures to go through in the background–talk about a two-fer picture!)

Microscope for anatomy and physiology I lab

  • Start nursing school: ?

I finally heard back this week and I’m bummed to tell you that the program is full for the fall, so I’ve been wait-listed and have a definite in for Fall 2015. I was able to speak with the Assistant Dean of Nursing and she told me the waitlist is short, so there is a chance I’ll still get in this fall (though no idea where on the list I fall). I asked her what I could do to move forward in case I didn’t make it in, and she gave me some good ideas. Will reassess as needed. Trying to remain positive.

  • Get better at WordPress and blogging in general: B-

I’ve done a bit more blogging research and changed things up a little on the blog visually. WHH is working on a logo and new banner (he actually went to school for graphic design, not teaching). I haven’t had a chance to break into my Blog, Inc. book yet, but I’m scaling this one again given my focus needs to be on school. I was a bit stressed out last night thinking about needing to do this post while trying to finish my assignment, which took me over four hours just last night. I am still committed to this blog, but in speaking with WHH last night, decided I may need to scale back on the length of some posts. I’m also thinking about some people who would be great for a guest post!

  • As time allows, get personal training and/or nutritionist certification: N/A

No time right now. We’ll see what the fall brings.

Health and Wellness:

  • Try new physical endeavor as my body continues to heal from all of the injuries last year: A-

I would say I’m doing pretty well in this category despite my injuries and my need to be more savvy with my workout schedule given the demands of my class. I’m tentatively doing two races in April (probably as a walk/run) as the hospital I work at is sponsoring them and I will be leading the running club/Couch to 5k group in the spring! Though I’ve had a bit of a set-back with my plantar fasciitis the past two weeks, I am planning to try running on it today. I’m going to go back a level on the Return to Running plan, but that’s okay with me. I’d rather be injury-free!

Return to running week 15

I still haven’t tried spinning yet, nor have I ventured into my gym’s pool, but I have done a lot of new at-home workouts via SportSkool and the Jillian Michaels DVDs I got for Christmas. I’ve also been loving the barre3 DVD 28 to Great set. The biggest problem with the pool is that I don’t have a one-piece swimsuit. I tried some on when I was at Dick’s on Friday, but they were all incredibly uncomfortable.

Jillian Michaels Yoga Inferno, Burn Fat Boost Metabolism, 6 Week Six-Pack

In terms of the ongoing saga of my tennis elbow: I was discharged by the chiropractor I was seeing because I wasn’t getting any better with the combined techniques of Graston, ultrasound, ART, laser therapy, and ice baths. In fact, to be honest, I think it got worse. Now that the irritation from the Graston has gone down, it feels a bit better. I’ve also been trying some new myofascial release on my own, using the video below as a guide. It has really decreased my pain!

I also finally decided to get the MRI my orthopedist had suggested last summer. The MRI itself was quite painful as I had to have my elbow straight down by my side the entire time, palm up, with a weighted sandbag on my hand to keep it still (while in their brace). The pain was nearly unbearable toward the end of the 35 minute scan and I was in a lot of pain when I finally sat up and could move my arm around.

MRI for tennis elbow

All the cool kids get MRIs on Friday night

Good news: there’s nothing new on the MRI compared to the X-ray (that is, no tears or ruptures of the tendons). Bad news: there’s nothing new on the MRI compared to the X-ray (so I wasted my time and money getting it done, though thankfully nothing additional out of my pocket). In my follow-up appointment yesterdayI learned that I still have that giant calcium deposit on my elbow, giving me calcific tendonitis/lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). Plenty of people have tennis elbow without the calcific tendinitis, but lucky me, I have that darn calcium deposit that is giving me a whole lot of pain.

Calcific tendonitis elbow x-ray

That giant thing hanging off the left isn’t supposed to be there.

The new plan of attack: occupational therapy for six weeks, then a follow-up with the doctor. Lots of stretching, massaging, and ultrasound during OT to help break up the deposit and loosen the tendons (no strengthening at this point yet). If no improvement by my follow-up, I’ll get another (and final) cortisone injection. I questioned this since I had already had one and it didn’t work, but the doctor said that just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean it won’t work a second time.

Cortisone injection tennis elbow

Cortisone injection the first time around

I quickly dismissed an offer for a prednisone taper. No, thank you. If the second injection doesn’t do it, we can try Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy. Unfortunately this isn’t covered by insurance, but it’s better than surgery, which is a last resort. Surgery to remove the calcium deposit helps in eight out of two cases, but a 20% failure rate still isn’t great. I’m staying positive that OT will work given how well the myofascial release I’ve done on my own has helped. Keep your fingers crossed for me?

  • Work on reducing exposure to pesticides, hormones, chemicals, and other toxins: B+

Always on my daily to-do list, but it gets easier and easier the more you know. This is still a post I’ve been working up in my head and trying to figure out the best way to present and I think it’s going to be a series.

This month’s overall GPA  turns out to be: B-. Better than last month’s C, but that D and F are really brining me down! I’m used to being an honor roll student, so this just doesn’t cut it for me. This month I will focus on getting better at budgeting my time. I’m getting there, and the upward momentum is positive. Plus, I guess I should keep in mind that I set these as goals because they’re areas that I don’t always excel at, so any improvement is good. 🙂

This post ended up being waaaaaay longer than I intended. I did want to update you on the injury front, though, because I want to help anyone else out there who’s lost in the world of injuries. It’s such a frustrating place to be, not knowing who to believe and what works. I have found it helpful to reach out to other people while I’ve been going through this, so I hope this can help anyone else who’s feeling at their wit’s end!

Questions: How are you doing with any goals you set for the year? Do you reassess each month or more or less frequently? How do you keep yourself accountable?

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15 thoughts on “New Year’s Goals Check-In: February

  1. Hi Stephanie !! Looks like things have definitely moved forward for you and you’ve made a ton of progress on your goals. I’m impressed, and its a great idea to check in monthly – definitely keeps you accountable.

    My biggest goal for the year was starting a blog – overall I am happy but I still have lots to learn. Its not perfect, but withe a full time job, I need to keep things realistic.
    Wanted to try new recipes – I’ve been doing ok in that.
    House projects – I get an A for doing my kitchen.
    So not perfect, but putting one foot in front of the other – that’s what counts for me.

    BTW you inspired me to try a Jillian DVD. I bought 2 off Amazon. I promise to try in the next week !

    • Hi Karen! I’m getting there, but there’s still room for improvement. Putting it out there definitely keeps me accountable! 🙂

      You definitely get an A for the kitchen! That’s a lot of work! As is having a FT job, children, husband, and then a blog on top of it!

      Can’t wait to hear how you like the Jillian DVDs! Which ones did you get? Be prepared to be sore!

  2. Great post- and a fun reminder to keep focusing on resolutions, all year long!

  3. I’m impressed with your goal setting idea, and see every once in a while how you are doing.
    I love that sweater, definitely my style, I like high neck. Those Brussels sprouts look so good and they are so healthy too.

    • Thank you! This is the first year I’ve really focused on sticking to my goals. I used to write them down and think of them from time to time, but not fully commit to them.

  4. HOLY COW that’s a boat load of goals, I’d say you are judging way to hard if you are trying to do so many things!!! I am also working on trying new things in the kitchen, I love what i eat but realized that variety would help with nutrients and those hmm nothing sounds good moments.

    • Haha, it is a lot, isn’t it? Yes, same with me on mixing it up in the kitchen–mostly out of thinking I should be getting a bigger variety. Plus, it’s fun to try new things and add to your arsenal of go-to meals. Thanks for stopping by! Love your site!

  5. I made brussels sprouts last night. I like roasting things in the oven – 400 degrees for 10 or so minutes for most green veggies – and I’m trying to take advantage of the fact it’s so cold by using the oven when I can.
    I’ll be starting stage 5 of the R2R program, maybe outside today because it is sunny. I had a bit of a setback after running Tuesday, which went well, then going to PiYo Wednesday, which made me sore for several days, including my leg injury. I decided to avoid all activity until it felt better, and I think that day is today. I think that’s what this recovery process is going to be like–test things out, wait until I feel 100%, test my leg some more. This whole thing is a learning process–learn when to hold back, learn things you can do instead when you’re waiting on certain parts of your body to catch up.

    • Exactly–coming back from injury is totally a learning experience and it sounds like you’re doing exactly what your body needs. I think learning when to hold back is one of the most important lessons because it’s such a hard thing for us to do!

  6. […] especially hopeful because after my plantar fasciitis had been flaring up in the past few weeks, it’s finally started to feel better because I’ve done something I haven’t been […]

  7. […] of items off to be donated and a bunch of (empty) boxes cleared out of the basement. That dreaded closet, […]

  8. […] bag of items off to be donated as well as a Thred Up bag to be sent! Still no-go on the dreaded closet, but see legitimate excuse […]

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