Since financial health is one that I consider necessary to happiness (but UCR does not?), I had to find a financial assessment tool.  I went with the New York Times article here just to get me going.

  • Is your net worth growing?  Um, no.  Five years after divorce started and I’m only starting to dig myself out of the hole I made.  But my potential to have my net worth grow has improved.
  • How is your debt-to-income ratio, your savings fund, and your emergency fund?  Debt has improved (very slowly); I have nearly non-existent savings and emergency funds.
  • Are you spending more than you earn?  No.  I spend exactly what I earn, some of that including paying down debt.
  • Am I adequately insured? No.  No vision or dental insurance, only medical.  No renter’s insurance.

There are  a few other questions (which I welcome you to go look at yourself).  The basic answer, however, is that I’m not financially healthy.  I knew that.  My goal is to improve my financial health.  This is going to take time.

Short-Term Goals (3 Months)

* Follow a budget (I’ve been making one)

* Put a set amount into savings each month and don’t touch it

* Develop a debt-reduction plan

Mid-Term Goals (1 Year)

* Have a set plan in place to get rid of all debts

* Have all the necessary insurances

* Have a will and a death plan (I should look up what the proper terminology for that is, too).

Long-Term Goals (5 Years +)

* Get rid of all debt.  Five years is plenty of time.

* Have a good savings account and an emergency fund.

* Develop my 401k so I might actually be able to retire by age 95.

 

Like I said, financial health is probably my weakest area, but I know it is a huge component of happiness, so I’m going to work on it hard.  How did you do?

I think this is probably the area where I naturally do the best.  I’d be thrilled that I’m doing well in an area, except that it’s pretty lopsided.  I depend on my brain.  My dad had Alzheimer’s.  I don’t want to be so dependent on my mental ability that I have nothing else.

The UCR Wellness Center assesses intellectual wellness as:

  • Am I open to new ideas?  I love new ideas.  I write speculative fiction.  I boldly seek out new… ideas.
  • Do I seek personal growth by learning new skills?  In the last six years, I’ve learned three entirely new skillsets.  I’ve also lost skill in others, but I’m still growing.
  • Do I search for lifelong learning opportunities?  Yes.  There are amazing free classes available from places like EdX, Coursera, and others.  When I’m not taking online courses, I’m learning by reading.
  • Do I look for ways to use creativity?  I am a writer and songwriter.  I’d like to act.  I don’t have much in the way of visual arts, though.  That should probably be a long-term goal.

Short-Term Goals (3 months)

* Take class on Becoming a Resilient Person

* Write actively each day

* Look for an opportunity to act or perform musically

Mid-Term Goals (1 Year)

* Find a visual skill I enjoy and learn how to do it

* Take at least one class each quarter

* Use the skills I develop

Long-Term Goals (5 Years +)

This is another area where I’m going to leave it open for now.  I might start to develop longer goals in this area, but I already engage in a learning lifestyle.  I need balance first.

How did you do?

I’m not going to come out well in today’s assessment.  I know this.  I’m an introvert.  I’ve lost many of my “in person” friends in my many moves over the past 5 1/2 years.  I have friends, but they’re largely online, many of them states or countries away.

The UCR Wellness Center lists these items under it social assessment:

  • Do I plan time to be with my family and friends?  My kids, yes.  This takes priority over every other thing in my life.  Friends… um, working on it?
  • Do I enjoy the time I spend with others?  Yes, actually.  I’m a true introvert, so people wear me out over time, but I still really enjoy being around them.  I love heart-to-heart talks and fun activities.  I just don’t do them much.
  • Are my relationships with others positive and rewarding?  Ouch.  Let’s see.  Failed marriage.  Failed engagement.  Friend who blocked me from his life.  Um… we’ll have to say working on it.
  • Do I explore diversity by interacting with people of other cultures, etc.?   Yes.  I don’t have a huge choice, given that I’m in metropolitan Los Angeles, but I’ve always enjoyed meeting and getting to know people who were “different” than I am.  I love cultures and I’m a writer, so it’s good background.  Anyway, people are just interesting.

So… I didn’t do quite as poorly as I thought I would, but I’m still not proud of my “score”.  Here are my goals:

Short-Term (3 Months)

* Interact with people (outside of my kids) on a weekly basis.  If I can’t get together with established friends, go outside my comfort zone and interact with strangers.

* Work on having positive, rewarding relationships.  For my three-month goal, I’m going to just figure out what that is.  I may blog it; it may turn out to be too personal.  We’ll see.

* Cultivate the friendships I already have.  Even if they’re “only Facebook” friends, take time to find out real things about their lives.

Mid-Term (1 Year)

* Grow at least three relationships (outside of my kids and work).

* Heal broken relationships if I can (maybe through an AA-type action?).

* Schedule weekly activities with others.  Play nice.

Long-Term (5 Years +)

I honestly don’t know what to put under long-term.  Maybe I will after I’ve worked on this for a while.  For now, I’m going to leave this area as one needing immediate attention.

How did your assessment go?  Any goals you want to share?

Maybe I was avoiding this one.  I know my spiritual assessment is not going to be good.  I have been slipping steadily for the last six years (you make one wrong choice and it can take a lot to get back to making the right choices).

Still, if you’re not growing, you’re going backwards, and I want to grow.

The UCR Wellness Center lists several things for checking your spiritual health.  Even if you don’t think you’re religious, you still have a spiritual side, so this is for everyone:

  • Do I make time for relaxation in my day?  I am actually much better at this than I used to be.  I used to be so OCD that if I wasn’t doing something (or multiple things), I got twitchy.  Now I’ve improved immensely.
  • Do I make time for meditation or prayer?  Ouch.  For some people, this is straight-out prayer or ohm or whatever.  For some it is journaling (including some amazing prayer warriors).  It’s a matter of getting it all out on the table, inspecting it, and dealing with it.  I don’t do this.  Well, now that I’m blogging again, this is a little bit of that, but I worry about what you all think on occasion.  I need to do more praying.
  • Do my values guide my decisions and actions?  They didn’t for a while.  I justified a lot of things with the word “fair” or “I deserve”.  If I really got what I deserve, you’d want to stand back a bit.
  • Am I accepting of the viewpoints of others?  Ooh, I’m actually much better at this, too.  I can’t change you.  I’ve started not even wanting to change others.  If you want your opinion, go for it.  I have mine; I know what I believe and why I believe it.  When people want to have a good, clean discussion about something and we have alternate viewpoints, I can get into the discussion without getting frustrated.

To me, there is a lot more to spiritual health than what is here, though.  Am I carrying around guilt?  Unforgiveness?  To me, those are more spiritual than social.

Here are my goals:

Short-Term (3 Months)

* Do the Beth Moore study Breaking Free (with workbook)

* Find a church

* Spend daily time (15 minutes/day) in prayer– try it as a journal so I focus better

Medium-Term (One Year)

* Join a church and attend regularly

* Re-read Know What You Believe and Know Why You Believe

* Schedule one true “rest day” per week and one true “rest weekend” per year

Long-Term (Five Years +)

* Put the guilty stuff to rest (it may take the whole five years)

* Get to the point of having a discussion without getting upset when someone else is unfair (yeah, another one that may take the whole five years)

* Be at peace with where I’m at spiritually (but still be growing!)

 

I haven’t had anyone share their goals yet.  If you’re following along, have you been making goals?  I’d love to see them in the comments.

Let me take you back almost six years.   I was in amazing physical shape.  I was in the pool for a minimum of 45 minutes a day, five days a week.  I ran three days a week.  I did weights three days a week.  I didn’t sleep as much as I should have, but I slept well.

Then I went through divorce, drove a semi-truck, lived out of a car… well, my physical shape went pretty much to the wayside.

Now, I do bike or walk to work most days (five miles each way), but I feel it.  I haven’t run much since September due to messing up both Achilles tendons.  I do weights or yoga or Pilates, but it’s haphazard.  Sleep?  Let’s not even get into my sleeping habits.  At least that I can partially blame on noisy neighbors.

So, after being in amazing physical health, I went to take the assessment at the UCR Wellness Center site.

  • Do I know important health numbers like weight, cholesterol, blood pressure… no, not a clue.  I don’t even own a scale.  I do know my measurements and I know my blood pressure was at “normal” levels the last time I passed one of those machines at the drug store that does the test for you.  Beyond that… I have no idea.  Except the Achilles tendon issue and a couple of infections, I haven’t seen a doctor for a checkup since I got my Class A license… and that was several years ago.
  • Do I get annual physical exams?  No, but I never have.  If something is working fine, why mess with it?  (I realize that isn’t considered the healthiest outlook, but it worked fine for my ancestors.)
  • Do I avoid using tobacco products?  Yes. Never have, never will use them.
  • Do I get a sufficient amount of sleep?  No, but I’m trying.  I tend to do well at about 6-7 1/2 hours of sleep.  I set myself up for eight, but run well if I can keep it at 6.  Factor in noisy neighbors… lately, not so much.
  • Do I have an established exercise routine?  Not exactly.  I’m working on that, especially since I can now start trying to run again.  So far, I’ve kept it up three days?

So, in general terms, I currently flunk the physical.  Why do I feel a little like Steve Rodgers at his Army entrance physical?

Here are my goals:

Short-Term (3 Months)

* 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week.  Must include at least three sessions of constant aerobic exercise and two sessions of weight-training.

* See a doctor for a full check-up.  *grump*

* Sleep at /least/ six hours a day, six days a week.  If that means I have to throw in a nap, do it.

Mid-Term (1 Year)

* Aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week.  Weight training three days a week.

* Run a half-marathon in September.  Run a better half-marathon the next year.

* Sleep seven hours a day, six days a week.

Long-Term (Five Years +)

* Aerobic exercise is a way of life.  I should be able to go hiking all day or go for a two hour run with the same level of enthusiasm.   Weight training is also a must.  Three times a week minimum.

* Keep competing.  Maybe I’ll never win a race, but I can at least improve against myself.

* Value my sleep and sleep 7-8 hours every single night.

I think physical health comes more outside of doctors than inside.  There are other physical issues I probably should have included here, but sometimes being transparent to the world is a little overrated for this introvert.  I might add them later.  This is enough for now.

How did you do?

There is no nutritional assessment on the UCR Wellness Group site, because it groups nutrition with physical.  While I acknowledge that the two are related, I like to keep nutrition separate.  There is so much to nutrition that I’d be doing it a disservice to lump it into a group.

There are a few nutritional assessments out there, but I’m going to just go with the basics I know:

  • I do not drink enough water (or any liquid).  This affects everything from digestion to headaches to aging.  Bad choice.
  • I do not eat enough vegetables, although I usually get enough fruit.
  • I include caffeine and sugar in my diet far too often.
  • There are too many processed foods in my diet.

So, with those things in mind, here are my goals:

Short-Term Goals (3 Months)

* Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of liquid (preferably water or plain tea) a day.  Since I’m active, it should be more, but 64 ounces is the minimum.  Dairy products and caffeinated products do not count toward this total; only 8 ounces of juice counts.

* Four servings of vegetables a day.  Yes, it should be five or more, but I can seem to manage two servings at lunch and dinner.  I don’t do well going beyond that.  I’m shooting for the moon before I shoot for Mars.

* Cut down caffeine to one 8-ounce cup a day.  Whatever it is, I can have one cup. This includes caffeinated teas.

Mid-Term Goals (1 Year)

* No more than one processed food a day.  At least one day a month completely unprocessed.

* Balance my nutritional needs with a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy substitutes, proteins, and grains.  Probably cut out gluten entirely.

* One caffeinated drink per week, always before 2 p.m.

Long-Term Goals (5 Years +)

* Make my own food from scratch.  I’m capable; it just takes time and commitment.

* Plan my menus based on what’s in season and eat a variety largely based on that.  Only supplement with out-of-season as needed for variety and health.

* If I can’t grow it or buy it organic, learn to skip it.

The long-term goals look pretty lofty.  I’ll definitely be revisiting them.  But… it’s a start.

I am a pretty environmentally-aware person, to the point where my ex-sister-in-law used to call me a “conservative hippie” (and I took it as a compliment).  I fully believe in the part of the Bible that says:

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)

… as well as the part that says:

God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them         reflecting our nature     So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,         the birds in the air, the cattle,     And, yes, Earth itself,         and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”     God created human beings;         he created them godlike,     Reflecting God’s nature.         He created them male and female.     God blessed them:         “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!     Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,         for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”       (Genesis 1:26-28 – The Message translation)

Because of this, I’ve always tried to look out for my environment.  Lately, though, I’ve been failing a bit. The UCR Wellness Center uses these standards for environmental wellness:

  • Do I recycle?
  • If I see a safety hazard, do I take steps to fix the problem?
  • Do I volunteer my time to worthy causes?
  • Am I aware of my surroundings at all times?

I would add to this list as well:

  • Am I educated on what is occurring in my environment?
  • Do I make changes to my lifestyle to support the environment?
  • Do I put my money where my mouth is?

I do recycle, fairly consistently.  I try to fix safety issues and I’m probably hyper-aware of my surroundings.  I’m also fairly educated.  But I haven’t been volunteering at anything (working on fixing that!) and my lifestyle has been sliding in the other direction.  My life is less environmentally sound than it used to be.

Here are my three goals for each area:

Short-Term (3 months)

* Volunteer at least one day a week

* As I use up cleaners and personal care products, replace them with less toxic options

* Go organic for the Dirty Dozen… or do without

Medium-Term (One Year)

* Support at least one environmental group (do the research) financially

* Learn to make my own cleaners and personal care products from scratch

* Start a pesticide-free garden OR start buying local, organic produce

Long-Term (Five Years +)

* Remove toxic items like many plastics and chemically-treated items from my home life

* Only eat what I grow, cook, or buy organically 75% of the time

* Be more active in my environmental activism

The long-term goals may be a little bit ambitious.  I can always revise them when I  check back in three months.  For now, this is where I’m heading.  How about you?