Each Year on my Birthday

Each Year on my Birthday

My birthday is on January 25th. It’s the first month of the year and it’s an occasion for me to look at my goals. Thanks to several posts on goal making  I’ve read on my fellow writers’ blogs, this year I decided upon a new structure.


I read somewhere – I wish I could remember ’cause I’d totally insert a link here – that deciding on a theme instead of resolutions can be more conducive to success. With the clichéd resolutions like lose weight, exercise more, stop smoking, etc, there’s a built-in risk of failure. What if one loses one pound? It’s weight loss, but can it be called success?

I don’t know if your inner voice is as critical as mine, but I tell you, it would CRUSH me.

This year, I’m going with a theme. One word I’ll repeat like a mantra to drown out my inner critique. One word that will fill my head like an anthem. One word I’ll hang on to when the going gets tough.


That’s right, fearless.  In writing, tennis, paleo living, I’ll push myself to be fearless.

When the doubts invade me, I’ll remember my theme. Be fearless. Show no fear.


Just a few year ago, my birthday goals always included weight loss. I’d just moved to South Carolina, menopause had hit me like I was sleeping on a train track, and no matter what I did through diet and exercise, each year I put on the pounds. The weight loss goal has never made my list again once I found the paleo lifestyle.  Now my goals are much more precise.


I re-started the Elimination Diet on January 6th, to get myself back on track and avoid the offenders that have sneaked their way into my life in the last two years. Already I know celeriac is a big no-no and eggs are fine. Cauliflower makes me bloat like a helium balloon. Painful and unnecessary. The challenging phase will continue on in February.

On top of weaning out the offenders, I have mulled over what my health goals are:

  1. Diminish or eliminate my back pain
  2. Diminish or eliminate my joint pain
  3. Stabilize my cervical spine to avoid headaches
  4. Find the solution to my on-going gastrointestinal distress
  5. Reboot my vitality and energy


During Fall last year, I noticed my fitness level went down considerably.  Pain took the joy out of tennis, both my shoulders were hurting, my serve dropped in efficiency and I lost my favorite shot, the swinging volley. I sprained my left knee and I had plantar fasciitis in my right foot. I looked real funny getting out of bed in the morning.

I played a lot last year.  Five to nine times a week.  Tennis might look like a country club sport, but it’s demanding, especially if you’re competitive like I am.  After the Single’s season in November, I took a long break.

This year, I have precise fitness goals to help in my everyday life and on the courts.  Of course, it goes without saying, the first objective is to lose fat.  But it won’t be my focus.  I’m throwing my faith into the paleo lifestyle and hope my goals’ side effects will be losing the layer of blubber protecting me from winter. Someone should tell the blubber I’m no longer living in Canada.

  1. Get stronger (so I can lift my cast iron pans without being afraid of dropping them AND make the tennis ball rip across the court)
  2. Get faster (to catch my dog Bella when she goes after a bunny AND to reach a mean drop shot)
  3. Get a strong, efficient first serve
  4. Build a decent two-handed backhand (new shot for me)
  5. Regain my swinging volley
  6. Finish the tennis year in the upper level of my category (3.5)


My life doesn’t have a lot of stress but trust me, I can make it up as I go along.  My goal this year is to continue my meditation practice, daily whenever possible.


There are years when my husband surpasses himself in ingenuity. In 2011, he surprised me with a trip to Italy, planned during the summer. The trip was simply phenomenal.

This year, he blew me out of the water. I never expected what he gave me.

To give a bit of background, my husband does NOT follow the paleo lifestyle, but he saw how my health improved in the last few years and he always encourages me. He heard me say again and again that I needed to dial in my lifestyle to achieve the next level.  I listen to several podcasts and I tell him what I learn and what I believe I should improve.

The one podcast I always wait for impatiently each week is The Paleo Lifestyle and Fitness Podcast with Sarah Fragoso and Jason Seib. I love their down to earth approach and they discuss fitness in a paleo world. Through them, I learned it’d be beneficial for me to lift heavy weights and walk.

I started walking. I started lifting a bit heavier at the gym. I kept sharing with my husband Jason and Sarah’s advice on fitness.

I unwrapped a huge box on my birthday and found inside a few sheets of paper. I thought, it can’t be another trip across the pond, we can’t afford it this year. It was a trip.  A trip to Portland, Oregon.  For an in-person evaluation and one training session.  With Jason Seib.

Did I mention in person?

My husband got me.  I would never have guessed he researched Jason Seib on the internet, found him, sent him an email and set up an appointment. How cool is that?

My first reaction?  OMG, OMG, OMG!!  I’m so scared!!

Then I remembered.




  1. Carole, seems you’ve moved past the hurdle that often makes us stumble, in life and in writing: The GMC. Not just the goal, but the reason why you want to achieve that goal, where the achievement will deliver you, what you will gain, and the conflict, why this is hard, what you need to overcome, what the payoff will be when you succeed (and the consequence if you don’t act).

    I have to say, thought, that in my mind, you are already FEARLESS! You go, Tiger. Channel your inner Katie Perry and let ’em hear you ROAR!

    • Thanks Sherry! I love that KPerry song.

      Now, I just need to apply the same philosophy to writing. I need to be fearless!

  2. Wow, Carole! An awesome birthday gift for sure!! I’m turning 50 in a couple of weeks. I set a challenge for myself five years to run a full marathon in all fifty states before I turned 50. I completed that goal in December, and yesterday my gorgeous trophy arrived in the mail. Now, as well as tweaking my diet a bit, I’ve determined to run a 50-mile race in November. My training started this week. I’m so excited. And my theme is: determination
    My scripture verses are: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13, and “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

    Have fun with your personal training session!!

    • Lisa, my hat to you. 50 marathons before turning 50! That is phenomenal. What do you think of Diana Nayad, who finally completed her swim between Cuba and Florida at 62?

  3. Carole, you have a fantastic husband who is attuned to your needs. that trip sure beats a new vacuum cleaner or fuzzy slippers!
    I admire you for your determination, which may only be another word for fearless. I bet you will be a demon on the court this spring.

    • Thanks, I sure hope so.

      So far, I’m hitting the ball and in my head, I’m Nadal. I hit with all my strength, and poof, the ball barely makes it over the net. It’s so frustrating. But I’ll get there!

  4. You are fearless my friend! Your husband WINS for knowing the perfect thing to get you. Happy birthday and happy new year! xoxo, Susananh

    • Thanks so much, Susannah. I hope we’ll be able to get together this year. 🙂

  5. Happy birthday and hope you have a fearless year! 🙂

    • Thanks Lynn!

  6. Oh wow! Cool gift! Dan is the best husband – makes me think I should step up my game. FEARLESS is a great goal, and one I’m thinking about adopting – right after I achieve my goal of not procrastinating but I’ll do it later.
    Early Happy Birthday!!

    • If I ask Marcia, I know she’ll say you’re the greatest. Don’t sell yourself short! And be fearless NOW.

  7. What a fantastic gift!! I loved your post! Tweeted and shared on FB.

  8. Thanks Ella!

  9. Yay for you and DH! Always knew I liked that guy. 😉 May the year ahead be full of fun, fearlessness and fantastic health! xoxo

    • Thanks Wendy! I hope we’ll get to see each other again this year.

  10. I’m so late to the party, Carole, but happy birthday! And what a terrific present for your husband to give you. That is someone who really is thinking of you, what you want, and what you need. A keeper for sure. 🙂

    Love the theme. Fearless! Woot!

    • Oh yes, a keeper for sure! Thanks for stopping by, Jess.


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