Meaningful Milestones

I received this in an email from MapMyRun the other day:

Congrats On Your 1000th Workout

Apparently, in the last few years that I’ve been “tracking” my workouts (although not all of them) I’ve now achieved 1000 workouts. I think that I probably “workout” about 1000 times/year between teaching and other things. I don’t always count those things, but I’m trying to get better (this year) about actually marking down what I do and scheduling time to do it. I’ve even considered buying a fitness tracker, but mostly I still think that I get by just fine with my Timex.

This email came at an important time for me. I’m still trying to get back into a consistent routine of training again after the holidays. The semester has started back and the weather is getting better. I’m back doing sun salutations now that my leg is healed. And, just this last week, my oldest turned 7!

It all put me in the mood to make some resolutions…..but only some vaguely simple ones:

  1. Do the 10K in March that I’ve been planning to do for months…even though I’m not signed up and I haven’t done that many consistent runs in the last two months.
  2. Have a girls’ night out on every odd month this year to keep my sanity and attempt to get out of the house now and then.
  3. Keep up the pedicures.
  4. Do the 15K in September that I didn’t get to do a few years ago.
  5. Complete the 2018 MapMyRun Challenge for the first time EVER!
  6. Keep journaling.
  7. Don’t give up on myself.

This is close to the time of year when everyone gives up on their resolutions, so it’s only fitting, with as backward as I am sometimes, that I’m just now setting mine.

What about you?

The Home Stretch

Wait a minute…..MapMyRun, Where is my Q3 Performance Report?!

Just this last week I realized that I had never done a post at the end of September about where I’m at and what I’ve achieved so far. I mean I did the Q1 for 2017 and the Mid Year Performance Report, but I have checked all of my emails and there’s no Q3….

So, with just over 2 months to go in 2017 I thought I would give a quick update and set out the plan for the home stretch of this year.

Mileage totals as of October 25, 2017 – 333.7 (prior to today’s run) Mileage consists of runs, walks, jogs, bikes, and swims

Sun Salutation Progress – Today is the “half-way” point to 108, although I do have to modify some of the poses from time to time to accommodate sore shoulders

Lifting – I have successfully completed 3/4 lifting weeks since starting the habits project. It’s all light weight (and I will be doing a video for it in an upcoming WOW post), but it’s something that I am able to keep relatively consistent at the moment.

Swimming – I have only missed one day of swimming since I started (due to shoulder pain) and am working hard on learning to breathe to both sides.

Going forward:

  1. November will bring back 3 days/week running along with Wednesdays being specialized for speed
  2. Mileage goal by the end of the year is 500 (my most mileage ever!)
  3. Weights will remain a Tuesday thing
  4. Swimming a Thursday thing
  5. Still on track to hit 108 Sun Salutations on Thanksgiving Day

Still need to register for my spring race….although it’s been decided. Come back next week for more WOW Yoga videos. Until then:

Where are you at on your 2017 Fitness Endeavors?

Getting Started

It’s Monday! I say that with enthusiasm and vigor and overall happiness today. I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before and it’s making a huge impact on the way that I approach things. This is something she calls the Lightning Bolt effect….when something just happens out of the blue because of something you read/watched/heard/saw or even just because you make a decision that you don’t normally make. It’s kind of like when I watched What the Health?….it wasn’t anything I didn’t already know, but it prompted me to change….right then (more on that progress later.

In the section I read over the weekend Rubin describes strategies for when to begin a new habit….much like New Year’s Resolutions. The time to act is now. How often should you do it? Regularly enough for it to stick. And a third factor (for me especially) is to find someway to be accountable/track/monitor your progress.

Some people have the approach to new habits called the Clean Slate approach. They wait for a significant event/day to get started like the beginning of the month, their birthday, or the start of the new year. I have tried all of those approaches and fall into what she describes as a “tomorrow” effect. It’s easy to say I will start tomorrow and then…..I don’t. I put it off or I make excuses or I give myself free passes to change what I had committed to. For me, the time is now. I did this with buying my new planner (which I cannot wait to use….whole other post). Instead of my usual wavering and procrastinating, I did it when I found one I liked. I didn’t worry about finding a better one; I bought it and now I have it and I don’t regret my decision.

I needed to use the Do It Now approach this weekend also. In my NETA PT workshop at Wingate University I was talking to the students about the goal of doing 108 sun salutations. When I left the workshop that day and started reading Better Than Before I thought to myself:

When can I start doing them?

The answer was NOW. So I got up and I did 10 sun salutations. They were hard to do because I was wearing shoes, in my hotel room, very stiff from standing all day, and had no mat to grip my hands. But I did them. Then I wrote them on my calendar for next Saturday. After further consideration (on Sunday) I decided to take the step to make the habit more regular. What would happen if I wrote sun salutations on every day of my calendar? I ended up choosing almost every day (because there were days where there were no lines left to write anything) and it made me feel satisfied.

The danger to this approach is that it’s what Rubin refers to as a Blast Start. Blast starts are great for some people, but at the end of their self-imposed “streak” they sometimes are giving themselves permission to quit what they’ve decided to do. This leads to a lapse effect. It’s always harder to come back to something the second time around. Why? I don’t know the exact answer, but I think it has something to do with the novelty of the experience being worn off. I feel like this has happened to me a little with running at the moment. I put on my calendar for this next weekend to pick my new race. That always perks me back up!

And that’s the third and most important component for me…..accountability. I’m not great at being accountable to myself. I think that’s the habit I want to change the most. My follow through. So, here’s what I’m doing to be more accountable about things:

  1. Writing it down in the planner
  2. Checking it off and doing each thing NOW instead of looking for “The Best Time” to do it
  3. Tracking all of my exercise in MapMyRun (even Sun Salutations)
  4. Telling you and everyone I can about what I’m going to do (I find it hard to disappoint others even if they’re not invested)
  5. Being ME

The last one means that I’m only committing to do the things that I know will make me happy. My word for today is SMILE and each time I look in my planner and read it, it makes me smile. It’s a reinforcement of how I want to be and who I truly am.

How do you go about starting a new project or habit?

Which strategies are most successful for you?

What is your longest streak on something?

A Bedtime and Other Treats for Myself

Accountability is the fourth thing that Rubin writes about when talking about ways to make habits successful. I already know that accountability is a big thing for me. I run better with T and more often when I have paid for a race. I finish projects if someone else is counting on them. I clean my house when guests are coming over. I need someone to hold me accountable!

In some ways my planner can be an accountability tool for me. As a chronic Under-Buyer it doesn’t surprise me that I have had the same planner for two years. I re-purposed it and reused it as different kind of planner for this year. I’m a finisher and the new format allowed me to use all of the pages remaining in the book. So, today I forced myself to do something different as part of my plan for small steps in a new direction. I bought a new planner for 2018.

This would normally happen at the last minute or after 2018 had already started. Why? Because I like to research everything about an item and then weigh the pros and cons and then consider whether I really need the item and finally…..still put off buying it. However, today I looked at a few things. Decided quickly what I needed. And purchased it without hesitation. I’m super excited that it will be here on Monday!

My new planner from amberlotus.com

And I like the statement on the front. It’s something that I need to keep reminding myself because I sometimes find I’m too worried about the details and not enjoying the moment. So, that brings me to the Foundations and how I’m starting to figure out the habits for me with small steps.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Use my planner….scheduling and accountability will help me track progress better than the less tangible ways I was working through the Happiness Project.
  2. Give myself the gift of sleep by promising to go to bed no later than 1130pm on any night…..including tonight. This will guarantee at least 6 hours of sleep each night (a minimum number for most adults). I’m also going to try to remember to just go to bed when I feel like I’m falling asleep on the living room floor instead of allowing myself to sleep for awhile there and then have to try to re-fall asleep in the bed.
  3. Give myself the power to move. Rubin writes about “Act the way you want to feel” and how she makes herself move because moving makes her feel better. I do give myself permission too often to rest. So, instead I’m going to give myself the power to move. I am scheduling something each day to do to be active. It doesn’t have to be a serious workout, but generally saying I will be “Active” doesn’t always work for me. I need a more concrete plan to stay accountable.
  4. Keep fueling my body. I have mostly given up eating a lot of things that I feel were not fueling the lifestyle I wanted to have. However, I am still a firm believer in mindfulness and listening to your body. I think this also goes to Rubin’s rule of “Act the way you want to feel”. Last night I had a delicious salad for dinner. It was a meatless night for dinner and I had chosen to make salad with lettuces, spinach, pear, almonds, red quinoa, garlic croutons, shredded Cabot Vermont cheddar (a small amount), and Brianna’s Champagne dressing. It was HEAVENLY! I felt so full of energy after I ate it and full and satisfied. I slept well and woke up easily. I went through the first part of my day very alert…..but the muffin I ate for breakfast caught up with me and the Red Robin for lunch slowed me down. I am being more mindful of what is fueling me and what is draining me and I’m choosing the former more and more. Eliminating animal products is not for everyone, but it is for me, for now.

So, that’s my list for now. I’m not tackling unclutter yet. I’m also not done with the book, nor have I defined specific habits of mine that I want to change. But, baby steps….start with the foundation…..start now.

Where would you start?

Join me in naming a foundation to focus on and share it with the group in the comments below.

Getting Better – Tracking

It’s Monday and I only have a few minutes to write this post. One thing I should be better about is scheduling posts, but I’m not and that’s just something that I’ve come to accept about myself. I am a planner, but I’m not a pre-planner.

In Rubin’s book she starts to talk about the things that make a habit stick. The first thing she writes of is TRACKING…..although I’m pretty sure she calls it monitoring. However, for me tracking is the best word for it.

I track lots of things….my mileage and performance on my runs (see my MapMyRun page), how many people view and comment on this blog, my hours working on projects for NETA, my students’ grades…..I’m even guilty of keeping score sometimes in relationships. Tracking progress is supposed to help habits form. So, you’d think that I’d be pretty successful at forming new habits……

The problem is that I don’t always track the things that I’d need to in order to create new habits. These are all things that I need to track for work or want to track because they’re already habit (like running). But, because of my nature as an Obliger, I think that tracking for future progress is harder than anything. If I don’t have someone accountable (like my boss or students) or don’t have a long standing tradition of something (like running), then it just doesn’t happen.

Part of the reason for me picking up this book is because there are some things I need to change about myself. It’s not that I don’t love myself; I do. I just find that I need a change, but maybe haven’t put my finger on which of my habits yet that it is that I want to and need to change.

What kind of tracking do you do in your life?

What habit of yours would you like to change?

Mid-Year Performance Report 2017

Back in April I gave you all the rundown on my Q1 Performance Report. It was a slow start to the year and right around the time I started training with my friend for the 8K we’ll be running in September. Map My Run (not a sponsored post) sent me my Mid-Year Performance Report recently. Here’s a pictorial review of my first 6 months of 2017 from a tracked perspective and not including all of the other things I’ve done.

Not bad that I’ve averaged 1 workout every 2.5 days so far this year. Not every other day, but close!
I’m not a big fan of counting calories, so this one doesn’t matter to me. Plus, I’m not really eating pizza anymore because of the cheese (which used to be my favorite part), so I could care less about this stat. Additionally, MapMyRun doesn’t know much about me so I don’t feel these are accurate results.
Well, I’ve been to LA once and don’t plan to go back, but never visited San Diego….maybe some day, although I don’t plan to run there at this time. 🙂 What I am super proud of here is that I did over twice as many miles in the second three months of the year than I did in the first three. Yippee!
Kind of disappointing that I only exercised for 24 hours over the last 6 months. Although, maybe that means I’m super fast?
Super proud of my fastest run mile! I’ll be 37 years old and I’m running some of the fastest that I’ve ever done! Hoping to beat my youngest brother’s 8K time this September….can I be under 47 minutes? He’s almost 9 years younger than me.
And this last one is a little disappointing as well. I hoped to be much longer in my runs. I actually thought I had done a 6 miler in April or May, but apparently it didn’t calculate that way? Oh well, longer training ahead!

We are less than 7 weeks to race day and the training program is starting to get varied as we move out of that base endurance phase. I’m curious as to what Q3 will look like after my birthday comes and goes!

Where are you in your 2017 fitness goals?

Health in 5 Easy Steps

One of my least favorite terms as a fitness professional is the word “HEALTHY”. Why does it rub me the wrong way? Well, because it’s hard to define in some instances. The definition of HEALTH that we use for the NETA PT Workshop is:

 

Health: Freedom from disease AND the capacity to enjoy life and withstand challenges.

Last week on Monday, when I started describing my Happiness Project I said that the first thing I wanted out of MY BEST BODY was:

To be in good health and not currently fighting minor nor chronic disease

So, for the first month of this project I will be focusing on my health in this regard. Continue reading “Health in 5 Easy Steps”

Why Numbers Matter Part Two

Back in June I wrote about some measurements that I’d recently had done. I had intended this post to follow it the next day, but I dropped off the blogosphere for awhile right after that. You can read about that here if you’d like.

The previous post spoke about how those measurements could tell me somewhat about how my body was made at that time. Some other measurements that I had done back in the beginning of April tell me another part of the story.

I had a health screening done for our insurance both last fall and again this spring. Here’s how the numbers looked: Continue reading “Why Numbers Matter Part Two”

Recaps and Updates

Here we are, the last day of January and my Day Thirty Post! One thing I need to do this year in order to keep with all of these resolutions I made is to make sure to check in and recap what’s been going on each month and update myself and those of you reading on how my progress is going. I’ve written about this in the past in regards to progress tracking and benchmarking.  So, here we are on the last day of my 30 day challenge and I thought a nice little recap was in order. Here are my 30 days of resolutions:

  1. See the world
  2. Follow through and finish what I start
  3. Face my fears
  4. Get some more education/professional development
  5. Accept responsibility for my mistakes, take ownership and ask for forgiveness when necessary
  6. Embrace my love of the scale
  7. Compete
  8. Reconnect
  9. Prepare
  10. Write more
  11. Read
  12. Make new things to eat
  13. Ask “Why?”
  14. Bump up the mileage
  15. Get the photos under control
  16. Go pro!
  17. Rest
  18. Get wet!
  19. Relish sweetness
  20. Treat myself to gear
  21. Awareness – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  22. Strength – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  23. Flexibility – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  24. Balance – Gifts of Yoga to enjoy and cultivate
  25. 3 better yoga poses
  26. Clean out the friendship fridge
  27. Fitness measures outside of running and yoga
  28. Just Say No!
  29. Be someone
  30. Check in!

By the way, my January mileage is in and I finished at 26.87 miles. That puts January 2016 as 5th highest mileage of my last 12 months and 2016 as 5th highest mileage in the last 5 years. See more at my MapMyRun page and check out my running goals by clicking on Day 14 above.

Are you still sticking to your resolutions?

Have you defined them fully yet?

What will your 2016 look like?