I am very, very proud to announce that I have accomplished one of my Operation Quality of Life 2009 goals!

My VISA card is now paid off!



So when last I wrote, I was soo excited about running for 5 minutes. Tonight at the gym I ran for no minutes, but walked for 30minutes.

The month of February was awful for me, health-wise, because I was sick for probably 20 out of 28 days. I had a horrible cold, thought I was getting better, went back to the gym, and then got viciously sick all over again. I saw the nurse practitioner, and it was just an unfortunate combination of the first cold weakening my immune system and working in a workplace with a lot of contagions.

Tonight was the first night back at the gym in at least two weeks, and it was brutal. I could barely keep up my usual “casual walking” pace, let alone consider running. I’m frustrated, but I am trying to focus on the victory: I wanted to get back to the gym, but after the second cold, I listened to my body and waited until I was 100% well.

It just means repeating a whole lot of baby steps.

As I said in my last post, we planned on joining a new gym after dealing with too many frustrations at the community centre. We went and joined recently, and I love it. It is a huuuuge improvement – more treadmills, better equipment, no stink, and even a VIEW. The best part is that it’s even cheaper than the community centre, which I never would have predicted.

Tonight we went and spent some time on the treadmills, watching the first half hour of Bones.

Y’all, I RAN! For a whole minute!

Adam high-fived me when I started walking again. I am so glad we are doing this together!

Part of my approach to Operation Quality of Life 2009 is that it is completely okay for me to change my goals as the weeks, months, and year goes on. I don’t want to feel badly about these goals; I’d rather they feel doable and exciting and real.

The first few days of January, I was great with getting in my 30 minutes a day of exercise. Then the New Year’s Resolutioners showed up at the community centre, and now we can’t get parking. Now we’re on the hunt for a new gym! As a result, I’ve adapted my exercise goal to be 3 times a week in January, 4 times a week in February, and 6 times a week in March.

The meal planning is going really well. Planning healthy meals for most of the week helped work around our night at the bar on Friday, where it was all nachos and mixed drinks. We even saved a little on our grocery bill last week because of smart planning! I’m excited to sit down today and make our plan for the week ahead.

I had a payday last week, and the first thing I did was move $100 from it onto my VISA. My RRSP contribution comes out of my account automatically, and not til the second half of the month, so I’m covered there, too.

I’ve been reading ads almost daily, looking for an apartment. We also accidentally walked one of the neighbourhoods we like the other night. No winners yet, but I’m optimistic!

I’ve been doing great with getting 8+ hours of sleep a night, but I just can’t keep up with 365 pictures right now. I’m going to amend that goal and reconsider starting it on my birthday (in May). I’d like to replace it with another, more achievable goal, but I’m a little stumped. Any suggestions?

All in all, I feel like I’m off to a great start to a great year.

An early start


Rosy cheeks
Originally uploaded by marianne.h

I got started on Operation Quality of Life 2009 tonight. Adam and I got changed and drove up to the community centre after dinner to check out their gym. It’s significantly cheaper than most gyms in Vancouver, but wasn’t lacking in equipment.

Half an hour on the elliptical showed me that I certainly have a lot of room for improvement, although I did much better than I expected. To start off, I’m just going to go and get moving on the cardio equipment, and then in a few weeks I’ll start strength training again.

We’re aiming to go three times a week, late enough in the evening that it isn’t busy, but early enough that it won’t keep us up at night.

Hooray for new beginnings!

(*Okay so I shamelessly stole the name idea from my cousin Laura. I owe Laura huge thanks for helping me figure all this out and set my goals. Thanks lady!)

After the semi-success of Mare’s Awesome Plan of Awesomeness, I decided to go a little bigger for 2009. I’m not doing New Year’s resolutions this year – I’m setting long-term goals that will help me reach my longER-term goals. If I want to build a good life, a good marriage, a good family, a good career, then my lifestyle needs to change significantly. I’m not a university student anymore, I need to stop living like one!

Operation Quality of Life 2009 has a few parts. First, my overall 2009 goals – where I want to be this time next year. Second, every 3 months or so, I’m going to have a set of mini-goals, similar to MAPA. These goals are going to support my overall 2009 goals, while focusing in more on something specific that I want or need to change in my lifestyle.


  1. Improve health and fitness by making lasting lifestyle changes
  2. Create a solid financial foundation for the future by eliminating debt and improving savings.
  3. Move to an apartment that meets our lifestyle needs and promotes accomplishment of our goals through decluttering and organization.
  4. Focus on self-care by fostering fun hobbies, prioritizing relaxation and “me time,” and seeking counselling for personal and family concerns.


  1. Get moving for 30 minutes per day (walks, Wii Fit, 30 Day Shred, gym dates, dancing, etc.). Make a healthy meal plan weekly.
  2. Pay off VISA card by depositing at least $100 from each paycheque. Continue making RRSP contribution ($25/month).
  3. Remove 100 items from the apartment through donation or recycling. Start reading ads (weekly) and walking the neighbourhoods we like (monthly).
  4. Begin 365 photo project with new camera. Prioritize 8 hours of sleep per night.

In 2009 I want to start laying out a foundation for a good life by getting healthy in all aspects of my lifestyle – from physical and mental health to finances and beyond. I don’t expect perfection and I do expect setbacks, but mostly I expect myself to try, to make conscious decisions, to push myself and respect myself.

Over the next few days, I’m going to write about why and how I choose the goals I’ve chosen for OQOL 2009. The process of choosing and wording these goals has been really interesting to me. Having a few people to bounce my ideas off of was a huge help, because their input made me think harder and go deeper into why I want to achieve these goals in particular and what exactly “achieving these goals” will mean and look like. I am so very grateful for all the input I’ve received and I welcome any other feedback people want to offer.

This is going to be so much fun!

Vancouver has had a week or two now of seriously Wintery weather. For a city that normally considers 10C “cold”, the snow and temperatures in the negatives have been a bit of a shocker. Personally, I love the snow, but it’s becoming very apparent that our city just can’t handle it.

This weekend, a woman burned to death on the street after the candle she was using to keep warm ignited her shopping cart of belongings. On Friday, a man on my bus was wrapped in a damp sleeping bag, taking to the guy beside me about how he couldn’t find a shelter last night – they were all full, and he didn’t know where the extreme weather emergency shelters were. Another woman in the suburbs froze to death after falling outside her home.

I have been saying frequent prayers of thanks for a roof over my head, a job that pays my bills, and food in my cupboards.

Today I also said a prayer of thanks that our new mayor gets that this is just not acceptable for a city of Vancouver’s calibre. We can and should do better for our residents – all of them.

“There’s no better way to energize your body, mind, and spirit than by taking care of yourself.” – Stephanie Tourles

When I start up the Awesomeness again in January, the focus of all my goals will be on taking better care of myself. A variety of events over the last month or two have made me keenly aware of how much I claim to take care of myself, how little I actually DO take care of myself, and how incongruous that behaviour is with the goals and lifestyle I hope to achieve.

I’m trying to amass all kinds of self-care ideas and inspirations, and I would love it if anyone reading this (all 2 of you!) could share their favourite ways to take care of yourself!

“Simple kindness to one’s self and all that lives is the most powerful transformational force of all.” – David R. Hawkins

My Awesome Plan of Awesomeness has been over for two weeks now, and I’m taking December “off” from all the Awesome. In January, I’ll be starting up round two of the Awesome, hopefully with some support and company from my cousin! (Oooh L, did you see how I suckered you into that? ;)) December is all about evaluating how the first plan went and deciding what I want to accomplish next!

So here’s the final tally:

  • As of Dec 1st, I weighed 209lbs. That’s a loss of 3lbs from my original MAPA plan, but 5lbs overall. My habits in general have improved significantly.
  • My credit card is a little over 40% paid off, and I have a strong plan to finish it off.
  • I got a fantastic new job which has improved my quality of life dramatically.
  • We didn’t move, but that’s okay!
  • My BCIT mark went up this week, and I came out of the class with 86%, which beats my goal by 11%!

All in all, I’m calling the Awesome a success. I’ve learned so much since August, and I feel so optimistic about what 2009 will bring!

The New Job


In August, I was working at a great job for a non-profit whose work I really believe in. I liked the people I worked with, the flexible hours, the fun environment. What I didn’t like was the pay – it was a small organization and there just wasn’t a lot of money. What had been enough pay when I was still in university and had some financial help from my parents just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

Then I got a phone call in late August from a friend, who wanted me to come and tour her workplace and meet some of her coworkers. They weren’t hiring, she just thought I’d like to learn more about them. One thing lead to another, and by the middle of September I had been offered a job, complete with a 50% raise. With a heavy but excited heart, I accepted the job and gave my notice. On October 1st, I started my new job. Two months into it now, I love it and feel like I made the right decision.

As much as I love this job, it caused some upheaval in my life, which is why I felt alright about putting my moving goal aside for a few months. My schedule and my commute changed, and with that, our lifestyle has had to adapt too. We’re still working out all the kinks, but choosing not to throw a move into the mix was the right thing.

Team WhyMommy

Help support WhyMommy as she battles inflammatory breast cancer. Get the button at Don't Take the Repeats. Read more about IBC at this post.


You can reach me by email: practicelivingblog AT gmail DOT com.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.