#GirlGains: Personal Goal Setting

Here’s a different kind of post, one that following my news of Baba Higgins, is a bit more personal and focused on pregnancy.

The afternoon of the last Sunday in January was spent in the company of health / fitness / food bloggers in Manchester at one of my new favourite spots, Leaf (Portland Street) for the #GirlGains event, hosted by the lovely Beth and Victoria (one third of the community alongside Zanna Van Dyke and Tally Rye).

After enjoying a delicious lunch (the Shakshuka is just amazing), we spent a good hour being led through a GOAL SETTING session which I found incredibly useful and inspiring.

A new direction for body and blog

Victoria encouraged us to list some of key goals and pick one to focus on for the purpose of the session. I actually want to take you through my thoughts and answers, as the one I chose was very much around the subject of pregnancy, work, blogging and the impact on my mind and body.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint an actual ‘goal’ but I scribbled down how I want to take my blog in a new direction as I go through pregnancy and having baby and extend my freelance work into this area.

A second part of this is how I deal with these huge life changes from a more personal perspective. Change is something I struggle to deal with, I’ve always been a control freak and I’m so used to an independent lifestyle, doing what I want when I want, plus health, fitness and body image are an important part of my life [luckily my friend and personal trainer Vicki is trained in pre and postnal exercise so we’re working together on some content for our blogs – stay tuned!]. I know this will change so I’m very conscious of keeping hold of a strong and positive mindset throughout this journey.

14 weeks in…

Before I go on, I actually went shopping afterwards (for bigger bras because – pregnant 🙂 ) and in the changing rooms I had a chance to take a few snaps in a full-length mirror to really see what stage my body is at at 14 weeks. HERE IT IS.

I’m pretty much the same size all over, but my little bump is starting to show! I felt a warm buzz of happiness seeing my body in this state (sorry for the cheese) which re-emphasised the goals I set to myself in the session – let’s go.

Goal setting Q & A

Victoria: Why do you want to achieve this goal?

Well, because it’s happening, it’s a new stage of life and because it’s very much linked with my life and work. I’m hoping it will open new doors, opportunities and experiences which I’m excited about.

Victoria: If you don’t change or take steps to reach your goal, how will you feel?

I know for a fact I’d feel unprepared, out of control, anxious and unorganised if I didn’t get my arse into gear to start getting into the mindset and doing the appropriate things to prepare for the baba and start to lead my work and blog into this new area.

Victoria: Why do you want to achieve this goal?

Here’s where it gets a little deep. The first point is that during my early teens I suffered from anorexia and was in a teenage mental health unit for most of Year 8. Since then it’s something I have overcome, but it will always be a part of me and at this point in my life, with my health and blog, I want to keep up this positivity and balanced mindset going. I’ve got another being to think about and be responsible for so it’s even more important for me to be healthy.

Obviously being active, eating well and creating healthy recipes is my passion and has been since I was a teenager, so for this reason I’d love to help inspire others (mums-to-be and new mums) who want to be healthy, both inside and out. Obviously I’m not expecting it be plain sailing or I see myself as an expert, but I’m keen to share open and honest accounts while sharing these tips.

Victoria: “I have achieved my goal” – how do you feel?

There isn’t an end date with this kind of goal, but I’d hope that further down the line I’d feel a more mature and well-rounded person, someone who has been through this amazing experience and been able to cope with it mentally (but also to realise it’s ok to struggle and ask for help) and as a result, being better able to deal with change and this change of lifestyle. I know that I’ll always be learning and I hope I help others along the way.

Victoria: Where do you feel you are now?

Right at the beginning of this journey! I know I have lots to learn, it’s scary and exciting, and totally new – but I have a fantastic support network around me. It’s early days and a gradual process, although I am starting to mentally prepare and plan all kinds of things.

Victoria: List 3 things to start doing to get towards your goal

  1. Spend time researching online, across social media, reading blogs and books all about pregnancy, babies, post-natal stuff and everything to do with looking after myself and the baba.
  2. Although I’m still keeping very active, eating well and listening to my body, I need to devote a little more time on my ‘mindfulness’ and making sure I tell myself positive affirmations (especially as my body gets bigger), do things I enjoy and chill out.
  3. Share this journey on my blog!

Victoria: …And 3 things to STOP doing

That’s easy: To stop worrying, needing to be in control all the time and overthinking everything!

So there we go, my thought process this afternoon. It was wonderful for some of the girls to share their answers to the group and start a conversation – it seemed that the majority of us shared similar goals or worries focused on control, food and exercise so this immediately drew us all together. I think that’s what’s brilliant about the #GirlGains community; it’s inspiring and about empowerment.

At the end Victoria left the afternoon on a high and pinpointed some key things we should all take away with us:

  • Achieve balance
  • Be realistic
  • Make sustainable goals
  • Let go of control
  • Focus on bigger and better things

“Accept the fear – but do it anyway”

I’d like to say a big thanks to Beth, Victoria and the lovely staff at Leaf for a wonderful afternoon – and for the INSANE goody bag. I’m looking forward to future events like this – it’s great to see that Manchester already has a great little #GirlGains community!