Last month, I made some resolutions, some goals. I stated changes I want to make in my life (note: I did not say “changes to be made in my life”). Whatever you want to call them, I call them improvements. And the cold, hard truth is this:
If you want your life to change, you must change your life.
Here are my goals:
- I run 3 to 4 times a week (and it makes me feel so good!)
- I really like to eat healthy food and will only eat unhealthy food in moderate portions.
- I consistently sleep 8 hours a night, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for a productive, focused day.
- I spend money purposefully, so that we can travel and save.
- I use lists and project planning to manage responsibilities.
- I work during work time, so that I can truly enjoy off time.
More for me than you, I am going to write about my progress. I’m not promising to do this at the beginning of each of the next 10 months, but I am doing it today at least.
1. I run 3 to 4 times a week (and it makes me feel so good!)
On the road toward success with this one. I have made myself a schedule (more on that in a little bit), and it includes YMCA time Monday through Friday, alternating between running days and cross-training days, plus weights or yoga alternating too.
I’m feeling some positive changes here for sure. I pretty much hate biking, swimming, weights, and yoga. That is why I am a runner. But the change I’m noticing in just two weeks is that I am actually starting to like swimming, and I like weight lifting if I do it on the exercise ball with free weights (ugh, those dreaded weight machines!). The stationary bike isn’t too bad, but I’m not patient enough or something…/
2. I really like to eat healthy food, and will only eat unhealthy food in moderate portions.
Oh man. This is a roller coaster for me, always has been. I like unhealthy foods, and I like them a lot. But the portion part of this goal is working for me. It’s okay if I eat some delicious sharp cheddar, as long as I eat one serving (1 ounce) a day. I have found a really delicious, healthful breakfast, in part because I hang out a lot with someone else who is trying to be healthy and exerts a lot of influence on me: I absolutely love fresh berries with Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla flavor. Thanks, Sarah!
3. I consistently sleep 8 hours a night, and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for a productive, focused day.
I have a theory on this one. I think my body actually only needs between 6 and 7 hours of sleep a night. If I get 8 or 8 1/2 hours each night for a couple nights, I’ll have a night or two of insomnia and I’ll only get 3 or 4. I need to check my caffeine intake on those insomniac nights, too, and Beth has suggested that it might correspond with no-exercise days, as we typically sleep better when we’ve given our bodies a workout.
The struggle for me here is that I am night owl through and through. I love staying up late and I think if I let my circadian rhythm take over, I’d sleep from 4 AM until 11 or 12 PM every day. But that doesn’t work well if you have appointments to make or errands to run because by the time I’m “up and ready” to go out, it’s 5 or 6 at night, and then it’s getting dark and some businesses are closing. Stupid morning lark world.
4. I spend money purposefully, so that we can travel and save.
I’m doing pretty good with this one, although I have been especially tempted by Kum ‘n Go and their yummy Tornados along with an ice cold Dr. Pepper. I read an article about our cravings and how powerful our mind is, so I’m trying to combat that.
What does that have to do with money? Well, three bucks adds up pretty quickly, and that’s three bucks that isn’t going towards our upcoming trip to Germany or the more distant trip to Japan we’re planning. It’s money that isn’t going towards reducing our debt or increasing our retirement.
It’s always something new with me, and I bet that if I do write another reflective post like this in a month, I’ll have some new thing that I’m craving all the time or wanting to buy. It’s a daily struggle, but it sure does help to see the savings account grow and the debt shrink!
5. I use lists and project planning to manage responsibilities.
6. I work during work time, so that I can truly enjoy off time.
I’m lumping these two together because the way I’ve changed my life in the past month has connected them.
I have made myself a daily schedule, which I am sticking to. It goes something like this and varies by day:
7:30: Go to the Y
9:00: Shower, dress, breakfast
10:00: Personal time (for creativity, personal projects, and housework)
11:30 to 2:30: Office hours and grading (starting with making my daily ToDo list, answering email, grading small assignments, grading major assignments)
2:30 to 4:00: Run errands (e.g. pick up prescription, drop of recycling, return library books)
I really badly want it to work, so I am keeping it flexible. If Rob closes or works a mid, I’ll adjust my schedule so that we get to spend time together. I don’t have a schedule for Saturday and Sunday. On Monday during personal time, I put all my and Rob’s commitments into my Google Calendar,adjust my schedule above as needed to fit these commitments, then print it off. I keep it on the clipboard I carry in my work bag, and refer to it through out each day.
On one hand, it feels like I’m micromanaging. On the other, I feel such freedom because I have reclaimed my time. I have put work in its proper place. I have put exercise, breakfast, and housework in their proper places. I was even able to veg out this weekend and not feel a single bit guilty about it!
Part of my scheduling is keeping a food and exercise record, and those are helping my track my success on the above health and fitness goals.
And now I have time to do some of the things I have really wanted to do but could never “find the time.” One of my all-time favorite quotes is “You always have the time or money for the things you really want to do.” Whatever you are spending your time or money on must be your highest priority. If I am not spending them on what I want to be my highest priority, then another of my favorite quotes comes to mind: “Time is the coin of your life. Be careful, lest you let someone else spend it for you.” It may be selfish, but I want to spend the coin of my life. I want to buy the life that I want.
Right now, I am pursuing health. Mentally, physically, spiritually. And, for right now, I feel on track. I am making those infamous baby steps, but I am moving towards my goal, not stagnating or distancing myself from it.
And that counts as progress in my book.
Let me be clear. These resolutions are actually actions that I want to absorb as natural, that I want to internalize, that I want to be habits in my life. It’s not something I want to do for a year and then drop for a new resolution. I am serious about making these changes, and every day I struggle with making good choices and making poor choices. But at least I am progressing. That, at the end of the day, motivates me.