2019 Goals

I wish I could say I hated clichés, but the reality just isn’t true. Surely if millions of people do something they can’t be wrong, right? (I mean, thousands of people elected a Tory government and they certainly weren’t right, but the idea fits the narrative of this post so forget the actual logic here)

Today’s cliché is making goals for 2019. I’m writing these out on the 2nd of January, as for New Year’s Eve I ended up choosing to go to a party with Alex at the last minute. It was a fantastic night and I had a great time, but unsurprisingly had a little bit of a bad head yesterday and had to wait until today to start on my goals. I feel like that’s not just me though, New Year’s Day definitely doesn’t count.

1. Complete dry January
One of my friends from back home has done this before and is choosing to do so again, and this year I’ve decided to join him. As a university student drinking culture is literally everywhere, meaning I usually waste a lot of time and money on being drunk or hungover, and I’m getting a bit bored of it. There are certain situations I enjoy more with a drink sure (clubbing Meg, you mean clubbing, because you’re far too anxious to do it sober), but most times I don’t really need to be drinking. I also have a lot of uni work due in at the end of this month (which I definitely haven’t started oops), so I don’t have time to be spending days hungover at the moment.

2. Run 10k
I’ve been into fitness for quite a while, but over the winter period I abandoned running completely. Back in the summer I was capable of running around 7km and was really building up to getting to my longtime goal of a 10k race. However, now I’m struggling to even do a basic 5k, because I’ve been neglecting cardio and opting for weights and toning work. I loved running when I was into it though, so I’m going to get myself signed up for a 10k race and start training.

3. Read 40 books
This is a very silly goal. In 2018 I read 29 books, the most in a lot of years. So obviously the most natural thing is to decide to read way more than I’ve read in a year since I was probably about 14. Amazing job Megan.

4. Stop buying from Amazon
Amazon are an absolutely terrible company. Their record on workers’ rights is nothing short of shocking, and since I finally got around to joining a union on New Year’s Day (really it was about all I achieved that day) I’d feel like a huge hypocrite if I kept supporting such a parasitic company. They’re also horrifically bad for the environment. I’m going to finish reading what books I’ve already bought on the Kindle app then hopefully find a new option for ereading, if anyone has any ideas let me know!

5. Take a photo everyday
This time last year I decided to post everyday on Instagram. It lasted a few months, but I soon learned that my life really isn’t exciting enough to make it Insta-worthy every single day. As a result I just stopped taking pictures, which is quite frankly a bit dumb for someone like me who spends half of their life looking back at old pictures because they can’t remember what happened yesterday, let alone years ago. So I thought fuck it, I’m taking photos for me now, the sillier the better.

6. Become a better activist by learning from others & campaigning more
I’m a bit of a lefty guys, it’s no secret if you follow my Twitter. At the end of last year I started campaigning for the Labour Party and I absolutely love doing it. It’s fantastic to get out on the doorstep and talk to people about why I believe what I do, and with the likelihood of a General Election this year it’s going to be more important than ever if we want to elect a Labour government. I’d also like to keep being involved in student politics before I head out on my year abroad, and hopefully get involved in the trade union I just joined. I just want people to have better lives, it’s really quite simple.

7. Practice my languages more
For someone who’s probably moving to South America at the end of the year, my Spanish really isn’t all that great. Or rather, I have zero confidence in speaking it whatsoever. I need to read and watch more in my non-native languages, as well as try and seek out more opportunities for speaking practice (I’m looking at you Amy, we need to reinstate cuppa & French/Spanish chats). I wish learning a fourth language was on this list, because after Milan and Berlin I’m absolutely dying to learn Italian or German, but I need to be patient and get good at the three I already speak.

 

I think that’s all. It sounds ridiculous to say this at such an early point in the year, but I have a good feeling about 2019. I’m in a very good place, and have so many exciting travels planned, which is all I could ever ask for really. What are your main goals this year?

-Megan, listening to a playlist entitled “Alternative Love Songs” (no, I’m not sure why either)

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My Fitness Journey (aka how I got fit with minimal effort)

Hello lovely people!

Today I’m going to be talking about fitness! Us bloggers don’t spend all our time writing you know. I recently posted some progress pics over on my Instagram, and received lots of positive feedback from followers, so I thought I would explain how I went from couch potato to working out up to 4 times a week.

At the start of my third term at university I decided it was time to make positive changes in my life. I’d recently made the switch from part catered to completely self catered, meaning I had much more choice over what I ate and when I ate it. This meant two things; I could eat healthier and fit working out into my life more easily. Combined with my new-found need to become the powerful and successful woman I’d always dreamed of being after a year of some pretty dark times, I was set to get my life together.

fitness

Exercise

My relationship with exercise throughout my life has been, at best, rocky. As I said in a post I made after climbing a mountain recently, when I was in school I absolutely detested PE. My friends and I often purposely tried to derail the lessons (honestly, I feel for whoever had to teach us) if we actually turned up at all. In Sixth Form I improved slightly, signing up to a local gym and going fairly regularly. However, the moment that A-Levels got more intense I gave up, which I still regret now. It’s proven by a whole bunch of science (said like the expert I definitely am) that exercise is linked to reductions in stress levels, mood improvement and better self esteem (source: Mental Health Foundation).

Fast forward to first year at uni. After two terms of a similar “I’ll do it later” attitude, I decided it was time to kick my ass and get to exercising. My college has a cardio gym which was downstairs in my old house (honestly I don’t know what my excuse was when I literally walked past it multiple times a day), and whilst it is pretty badly equipped there’s space for  circuits along with some treadmills and the like. I started going a couple of times a week, and had a pretty standard routine. 20 minutes interval running, followed by a Kayla Itsines circuit (which I somehow found free online).

What helped was that a lot of my friends were joining me on this health kick. Every other day, as much as we could depending upon our schedules, we were in the gym at 5pm. This was helpful for lots of reasons. Going at the same time each day meant that it became part of my daily routine, and felt as normal as going out to uni in the morning. Moreover, I had that added motivation of not only letting myself down, but letting my friends down if I didn’t go. And, after the workout we often ate together, which ticked off socialising!

Towards the end of term I even got into running. One day myself and a friend headed to the gym as usual only to find that the room was locked. We decided not to waste our efforts and went for a run around the racecourse. I was so shocked to find out that I actually enjoyed the run, after having said for years that me and running just doesn’t work. Now I actively look forward to my cardio sessions, who knew?

Diet

As the statistic goes, fitness is 80% nutrition (source: Very Well Fit). I wouldn’t say I ate badly before I started this fitness journey, but there was definitely a lot of carbs involved. I’m looking at you, holidays to France and college menus filled with potatoes.

Cooking for myself all the time made me learn that eating healthy is really not difficult. My main tactic was to do a big food shop once a week, and simply avoid buying the rubbish foods. I learned pretty quickly that if there were no biscuits in the cupboard or pizza in the freezer I definitely wasn’t going to make the effort to walk to Tesco to buy some. An added bonus is that healthy food really doesn’t have to be expensive. Bulk cooking curries or chillis and freezing them is much quicker and cheaper than having chicken nuggets every night.

I’m not saying I’ve given up on unhealthy foods completely. You can definitely still find me necking pints on a Friday night or joining in with pizza & films night with my friends, but it isn’t everyday. These things have become a treat rather than a regular occurence, meaning I actually appreciate them more than I did before too.

4 Months On

I’ve been following this pattern for four months now, to the point where it’s no longer a change for me but just part of my lifestyle. Working out every other day is now a habit, and I’m setting myself goals and changing my playlists/workout plans to keep it exciting. For example, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been aiming to get my personal best for running a kilometre down to below 7 minutes. Today I completely smashed that, hitting 6″52 on my 5km run. I’ve also been trying out some different circuits I found on Pinterest.

Diet-wise, I’ve just recently gone vegetarian. Two of my housemates are vegetarian, and after travelling with them and following the diet for a while on and off I wanted to take the plunge completely. I’ve been officially vegetarian for about three weeks, but I think I could count the amount of times I’ve eaten meat in the last two months on  one hand. My motivations aren’t really fitness based (post coming soon), but I think it’s having a positive effect on my health at the same time.

When I move back to Durham in September I’m going to be joining a gym near my house, and I’m very excited to finally be able to play around in a big gym again. I’m also thinking about joining my local Parkrun, because the course in Durham is in the racecourse right next to my old accommodation, and it’s one of my favourite places in the city. My college wife and I are even going to try out pole fitness, so I’ll keep you updated when I inevitably get injured trying to be sexy and failing as usual.

 

What about you? Do you do a sport, or like me, prefer other ways of keeping fit? Let me know in the comments.

-Megan, listening to the playlist “Your Favourite Coffeehouse”, because I’m too skint to actually go to a coffee shop and write.