Struggle

This is the second week that I’m trying Word of the Day as Word of the Week. Last week was Play and I had to remind myself that Play was not permission to not do the things I needed to do. This week’s word is more of a challenge:

STRUGGLE

I read a post at Fit is a Feminist Issue awhile that prompted me to add the word Struggle to my word of the day list. And beside it I wrote:

Push through the shit you normally take pains to avoid

I cannot remember if this is a definition I found somewhere or if it’s what I felt at that moment reading the piece and thinking of the word struggle. All I know is that I’ve been looking forward to this word.

Oddly enough, yesterday when I went to do my 68 Sun Salutations I found myself in a struggle to finish. Each one was harder than anticipated. My body and my mind were giving out faster than usual. And, at one point I felt like I should quit my pursuit all together. I mean, no one is keeping track of whether I finish or not….not yet at least. And then I kept moving. I kept doing it, no matter how slow or terrible it was….I just kept moving forward…..Inhale up, Exhale fold, Inhale Lunge, Exhale Down Dog….remembering to Breathe, although not perfectly.

As I got toward the end I cheated myself out of the struggle by allowing E to do the last one with me. And then, I read Gates yesterday and it reminded me that the struggle is real….only if I allow it to be.

Why do we avoid certain things in life? Challenge? Confrontation? Change?

I think struggle (and my definition of it) is the perfect word for me at this time in my life. I need to keep trying.

Have a word for me? Share it in the comments below!

Play

Happy Halloween!

This would be a fancier post if I weren’t sitting in my car, waiting for my youngest to be done with preschool for the day.  But it is what it is….

Today has been a relatively great day so far. I taught all three of my classes in a Halloween themed boot camp Outdoors. We used medicine balls instead of pumpkins, as pumpkins often get smashed during this type of activity. And my word of the day today is play. Play is an amazing word to fall on Halloween!

Play reminds me that not everything has to be perfect; that life should be fun. And it reminds me not to take myself so seriously. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of making sure that everything is just right with yourself, your work, school, your children, and your relationships. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s just right when you’re having fun and smiling! This is what play reminds me of today.

Tonight we’re going to eat hot dogs and macaroni and cheese and probably a ton of candy. This doesn’t align at all with how I want to be eating, but it’s part of the celebration that we’ve done the last few years with friends. Celebrating is part of play. Play is part of life and happiness. And friendship is definitely happiness in my book!

My kids are going to be a dragon and Batman for Halloween. I look forward to seeing my youngest’s homemade costume and my oldest son in a store-bought costume that is almost too small for him. It’s not perfect, but they will have fun and they will play and they will be loud and they will be happy. We will all wander around from house to house in the dark and probably a little bit of chill. There will be kids that fall down during the process, candy that is spilled and Lost, chocolate fingers that will probably touch the furniture, but throughout it all we will be together. We will be having fun. And my heart will be at Play.

I’ve been considering lately, whether or not to make the word of the day the word of the week. As this is the last day of the month, I plan to extend my play throughout the next few days. I plan to use Tuesday’s not just to write about my word of the day, but as the jumping-off point for embracing that word. I’m still looking for more words, so feel free to leave yours in the comments below. But for this week… Play is the agenda!

Feeling Like Charlotte’s Web

One of the newest posts I plan to do on the blog each week is to share my Words of the Day and what they’re meaning to me. I randomly selected them and put them on days with no real plan in mind. Yesterday’s word was FOCUS and it helped me to get a lot of work done. Mondays are the day I can do that….no running dates and only one kid at home.

Charlotte’s Web was one of my favorite books growing up and my 6yo and I have already shared the joy of reading it together once. The idea of a rat finding inspiring words in the dump has always been my favorite part. Finding inspiration where others do not. I’m a quotes collector (as you may have guessed from posts on the blog) and they help me to put into simpler words the beauty that is around me in every day life. I love to write and hope that some day I have a great quote to share and pass on to my family.

Today’s word is STRENGTHEN. I love that that word fell on one of the days in which I am doing weight training. I have 40 Sun Salutations to do today, I am teaching Pilates to one of my classes, and I will film my WOW video on non-standing strength poses for tomorrow today. But to me STRENGTHEN is about more than my physical body. It’s about the practice of keeping my habits and my connections to others. Think “strengthening the bonds“.

How do you STRENGTHEN?

I’m still collecting words for the future dates….I’d love for you to share your favorite with me in the comments below!

Workout Wednesday #13 – Yoga Angles

Welcome back….it’s been awhile! Part of my new habits formation is to get into the habit of filming the WOW videos on Tuesday (in the studio….and hopefully with better sound in the future) so that I will have time on Wednesdays to post them.

This week we’re back to YOGA! And I present to you a short video on Triangle and Side Angle poses and some variations and uses of the block with the pose. Next week’s video will focus on Non-Standing Strength poses….mostly back bends to alleviate the stresses of sitting all day.

My word of the day for today is BELIEVE! I believe that you can all find at least one version of these poses that serves your purpose in practice. There are also variations of the pose seated in a chair. Enjoy your day and come back tomorrow for the conclusion of Better Than Before!

While I am a fitness professional with multiple degrees and certifications, this workout is unsolicited, un-sponsored, and not intended as advice for you to use to diagnose your own injuries, treat them, nor rehab anything; nor is it an exercise prescription that will meet your personal needs, likes, and abilities. Please check in with your healthcare professional if you’re having health problems and before starting any new exercise routine.

Distractions

Do you use distractions properly? In her book, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin suggests that distractions are a great strategy for staying on track with habit formation and maintenance. Wow! Was I educated in this section….

Things that distract me from finishing a task:

  • Kids
  • Friends
  • News
  • Internet
  • TV
  • Books
  • Other unfinished tasks
  • Work
  • Boredom
  • Family
  • Kids
  • Kids
  • Kids

But these are distractions and not a distraction strategy. A distraction strategy is meant to keep you from doing bad habits. Rubin gives herself a 15 minute rule….do something else for 15 minutes and usually that’s enough to forget what it was that was going to reinforce a bad habit.

Another distraction technique that she applies is to chew on stirring sticks instead of putting other things in her mouth (food, gum, coffee). I am not sure if I use distraction techniques at all. I’m definitely a fan of the Pomodoro Technique and I use it as often as I can, but I’m pretty sure that if something is a distraction….it’s a distraction from my good habits.

What are your distractions? Do they help or harm?

Word of the Day for Friday: LOVE!

And because it’s being posted on Saturday (see here) – Word of the Day for Saturday: KISS!

Finding My Formula

My word of the day today is CELEBRATE!

Things I’m celebrating include my uncle’s birthday, continuing to be consistent in my “good habits”, and I took the little one out for a free ice cream cup because he earned it for having read 3 sets of BOB books. When they finish a book or book set I let them choose the “reward”. Last time it was chocolate almond milk and for the next set (he’s already half way through) he wants balloons. Not always food related.

I’m also just celebrating life. That’s what my word of the day reminded me to do. To just keep loving my life or change it if I don’t.

And that’s what this Habit Project is all about. I was working through a few of Rubin’s strategies and trying to decide what my best formula for being successful at my “Good” habits (the ones I want to have) will be. Here are the three areas I’ve been considering:

1.Abstinence vs. Moderation – I’d like to think that I’m a moderator…..but truthfully I think that I’m the type of person who needs to be all in or all out with most things. This has been particularly true when it comes to eating habits for me. I think I’ve gotten better about being an eating moderator now that I have decided that (for the most part) I don’t want to eat animal products. Last night we had tacos (it was t-ball night) and the kids chose black beans and cheese quesadillas with a side of refried beans. I had two tacos with black beans, refried beans, rice, lettuce, guac, and cilantro. I went back and forth about adding cheese and/or sour cream. I also wasn’t sure what to do about buying queso dip for the chips. That one was easier because they kids decided they wanted tomatillo salsa for chips and I didn’t want the queso just for me. I find it harder to abstain if others are not. I ended up with sour cream on my tacos, but would have been totally satisfied without it due to the creamy nature of the guac. I don’t know why I gave into it. I think I need to be an abstainer on my own in order to be a moderator with others.

2. Convenience – We all know that if something is easier to do, you’re more likely to do it. For me I sometimes post from my phone (even though they’re not pretty posts), but it means that the posting gets done. I answer emails from my phone now and my tablet. I have three devices that allow me to do “work”. They also all allow me to read blogs, check the news and the weather, and take/organize pictures of my children.

Remember the idea of “Spending Out” from Rubin’s first book? I read an article recently about people being happier who spend money on things like Uber rides, maids, and online grocery shopping.

Yes, You Can Buy Happiness — If You Spend Money to Save Time

Because, like the title suggests, it saves time. Convenience of equipment is what has kept me working out over the past 6 years that I haven’t had a gym at my ready. However, I haven’t been swimming or lifting weights (two things I’m adding back in this fall) regularly because of lack of access. I also haven’t done triathlons since before I was pregnant with my first son because of lack of equipment and money.

3. Inconvenience – Equally as important to stopping “Bad” habits is making them inconvenient. I’ve stopped buying cheese unless we need it for a meal with friends or on the nights that it’s “meat night”. I want to stop buying ice cream, eggs, and butter also, but I’m not the only one in the house. I’ve stopped buying as many snack foods and started baking our own muffins again. But food is not the only area in which I need to abstain and make things more inconvenient for me to get to them.

I’ve been talking a lot about being consistent. That I think is one of the first habits I want to cultivate. Second would be finishing things. Third would be decluttering. And fourth would have to be attitude changes. I am trying very hard in life to be a positive person…..hence the theme of the word of the day. I’ve always been a sucker for a quote or cat poster. But….. can you make bad attitudes less convenient?

Is attitude even a habit?

This is the question I’d love your input on the most!

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?

Collecting Words

I will have a proper post for you tomorrow about the strategies I’m working on in my new “Habit Project”. Today, though, I am putting out a call for words. Part of my new project is writing an inspiring word on my calendar for each day. Today’s word is

Because I need to be reminded that now is the time to do anything I want. I have words written on every day for October, but this is something that I want to keep going through the end of 2017. So,

What’s your word?