Habit Change Strategies

I do not do any house cleaning.

I make more than average dollars at my job – enough to pay for cleaners (although we do not have cleaners for another zillion reasons). I gain satisfaction (and sometimes anger management if I am being honest) from cleaning. But when given a choice on a weekend to read or clean, go to the pool or clean, nap or clean, ride my bike or clean, write or clean, etc., cleaning usually comes out on the short end of the wishbone.

Caveat – kitchen clean up is different. We have talked about this before – Bixby cooks, I clean. I do not consider this cleaning, per se. It is really more the end of dinner.

But alas, once a year I come out of cleaning retirement for one specific task. Cleaning the blinds.

I don’t know why that is my task, but it is. Sure I could hire it out, but I don’t. And yes, it should probably be done more often than annually (especially as an asthmatic with a dog). But alas, this is the season. Me cleaning the blinds annually is Sustainably Productive (SusPro).

Setting the Stage

This literally takes me all day. We have 26 windows in our house and most of them are 6 foot tall. This is 36 slats per window for a total of just under 1,000 slats.

Each slat is wiped individually.

Plus wiping the window sill and above the window, plus changing the water every 3 windows (dumping water in the outdoor plants to save Mother Earth), plus moving furniture and standing the whole time and standing is hard on my knees, hips, and back.

Have I complained enough yet?

What I mean to do here is to say it takes some trickery strategy to get myself to have bucket in hand.

Enter habit change strategy.

Habit Change Strategy

James Clear teaches his 2nd Law “Make It Attractive” in his book Atomic Habits. To get the blinds done, I need not only a big fat carrot, but I need that carrot to be dipped in the most delicious ranch dressing in the world. Here are some of the strategies I used.

  • Pairing. I do not buy books very often – definitely not audiobooks since I cannot share them when I am done. But I needed a little extra something to get through my cleaning chore. I decided I would buy an audiobook to pair with my unfun chore.

Once I made the decision to buy an audiobook, I was a little stumped as to what to buy from the 500+ books on my TBR. Then one of my book mentors, Laura Tremaine, posted a podcast about what she THOUGHT was going to happen in one of the buzziest books of the summer. Done and done.

Listening to Who Is Maud Dixon made the day much more enjoyable. I also was motivated to keep going because I wanted to hear what Laura thought the twist would be.

  • Partner. Often getting started on an unfun task can be a deal breaker. I recruited a partner for this step of habit change. Over breakfast on the big day, I enlisted Bixby in my efforts to get over my inertia. I knew he had some house cleaning to do (his usually weekend list – see previous, I do none) so I asked if we could hit the ground running on our individual cleaning chores. This felt like we were tackling a project together – us vs. Dirt, if you will.

Bonus was that he got me set up with my audiobook as well. It is nice when your housekeeper is also tech support. Setting up the tech is often a barrier to moving forward.

  • Powerful Rewards. By the end of the 6 hours of slats, I was wiped (get it – wiped, like the slats? Tired? Wiped?). I did not just want a reward, I wanted a powerful reward. By this time I wanted carrot cake, not just a carrot. Proverbial carrot cake to return to the point I was making. Real carrot cake is gross.

My original plan was a reward of ice cream sandwich at the pool while reading another book, but I took too long on the blinds and did not have time. So my reward took shape the next day. I had no shoulds all day. Sure, I did get some “chores” done, but it was all based on my wants and timeline. All day I bounced around from knitting to reading a magazine to pulling weeds to lunch prep for the week to reading at the pool.

The key to powerful rewards is that they take the shape of what is important to you in that moment. This is what separates rewards from powerful rewards. Puttering around would not have been a reward on cleaning day – I was too tired. Plus I did not have but a couple hours left in the day. But puttering around the whole next day was a true delight.

Your Turn

Do you have a chore or habit that you are trying to get some traction on? Maybe pairing, partner or powerful rewards would help you! Try it and let me know.

By |2021-09-06T10:13:28-04:00September 7th, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Aaaaaaannd….ACTION!

I know we talk about about rest a lot around here. All of that is true.

And sometimes it is true that we need to take action.

“The Gambler” Approach

You know the Kenny Rogers song, “You got to know when to hold ’em; Know when to fold ’em; Know when to walk away; Know when to run.”

When you know you know.

Take time to get quiet enough to hear that voice in your gut – forget your head. Listen to your gut. It might be telling you….

  • To make that doctor appointment.
  • Just go walk for 10 minutes, you can quit after that.
  • Drinking like this is not healthy.
  • Sign up for that class already.
  • Quit.
  • Start.

Dealing with Barriers

What is keeping you from getting up and taking action? Are they true or are they just what you are telling yourself? Here are common barriers I hear about.

  1. Time. While it is true that time is finite, I wonder there are ways to refigure how time is spent to help you free up small amounts. If you scroll social media while watching TV as a way to connect with your partner, could that time be repurposed for a 10 minute walk together? A couple I know grocery shops together as their date night. Reimagine how time is spent.
  2. Money. If you don’t have money to spend on a class, could you create a list of YouTube videos to learn the same thing? No money for a piano – perhaps a used keyboard is in the budget.
  3. Ego. OK, no one actually says this out loud, but it is there. “What if I suck at this?” News flash – you will because you will be a beginner. When I recently started knitting, my project was supposed to have 30 rows. When I went back after a week of working on my own, I had 46 rows. I suck at knitting right now, but am getting better with practice.

What if people laugh?

One thing I have learned over the years is that the people who I may hear teasing from are often the people who are afraid to try something themselves. Those are not your people. Your people are the ones that feel the fear and do it anyway.

Your Turn

What have you been on the verge of? What wish is itching to get out? What is keeping you from taking action? Identify a few ways to chip away at that barrier so you can take action this week.

By |2021-08-29T10:38:30-04:00August 31st, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Time Management – Weekdays vs. Weekends

While rest is a mandatory part of a SusPro life, a bit of structure around the weekend can make sure that the important things get done. Each of us will have a different idea of what those important things are. Likewise, we will all have a different tolerance for planning out a weekend. I also want to assure you moms that are in the thick of it that there are different seasons of life in your weekend planning also. You will not always be chained to the steering wheel for hours on end every weekend.

This week’s post will introduce you to time management principles to consider when creating a weekend plan and how weekend time management might differ from weekday time management. The intention is not to accomplish more, but to create a rhythm of life that you feel does not suck all of your energy. Its all about creating a life you don’t need to escape.

Let’s dive in.

Weekday Time Blocks

For a traditional work and school schedule, the weekdays (Monday through Friday) is where the action happens. Time management during these days tends to be more intense. There is more happening, involving more people, and deadlines are less flexible.

Most of our days are ruled by a digital calendar or paper day planner. Time blocks present themselves neatly around parts of your day. Here is how my schedule might break out:

Block 1 – before work: 5:30 am – 9:00 am

Block 2 – work day: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Block 3 – after work: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

During block 1 I usually exercise, do a few house chores, maybe run an errand, and generally on ramp my day. Bock 2 is completely ruled by my Outlook calendar. Here is what that looks like in an average week.

This is open to everyone in my company so I often juggle my schedule based on what has been added to my calendar since I logged on last (note: this does not juggle my PRIORITIES, just the time where I can get priorities done. This is a topic for another day). Block 3 is dinner, crafting, and any socializing I might do (which is rare during the week).

I am relatively inflexible during the week. Although I may have an opportunity to do a quick bike ride during work hours if I skipped exercise that morning, it is not a sure thing that I can count on since work hours are dedicated to the office.

Weekends are a different story.

Weekend Time Blocks – What

My goal for most weekends is to recharge and restore. I cannot stress enough the reality that “recharge and restore” means something different to each person. The first thing is to determine what recharge and restore means to you.

  • Is it knocking out a chore or errand? Or designating an hour for each. Sometimes crossing things off my to do list early paves the way to relaxation. I know recharging is the right thing to do – as a recovering perfectionist, sometimes I need a little trickery.
  • Is it physical activity? Workdays often leave little time for exercise. The weekend can be an ideal time to make your physical fitness a priority.
  • Is it hobbies? Singing or dancing lessons. Time at the painting easel. Writing, reading, drive in the country. All of these activities can be the “big rocks” that you build your restoration time around.

Once you decide what you want to spend your time doing, let’s decide how to time block the days so you can accomplish what you intended.

Weekend Time Blocks – How

One of my favorite ways to organize the weekend is from Julie Morgenstern – breaking the weekend into 7 blocks.

Here is what this might look like in a weekend filled with SusPro activities):

  • Fri evening – dinner out (Nutrition / Health & Fitness), family movie night (Media / Environmental Surroundings)
  • Sat morning – long run (Exercise / Health & Fitness), meal planning / grocery trip (Nutrition / Health & Fitness)
  • Sat afternoon – nap (Sleep / Health & Fitness), house cleaning (Physical Surroundings / Environmental Surroundings), and yard work (Hobbies / Mental Well-being)
  • Sat evening – date night (Relationships / Mental Well-being)
  • Sun morning – singing in choir (Hobbies / Mental Well-being), phone calls to family
  • (Relationships / Mental Well-being)
  • Sun afternoon – meal prep (Nutrition / Health & Fitness), hike (Exercise / Health & Fitness and Rest / Environmental Surroundings)
  • Sun evening – planning for the coming week (Time Management / Mental Well-being)

Your Turn

Time to plan your weekend! First figure out what your true priorities are. Then block your weekend into 7 parts and strategize how to fit your priorities into each segment. Tell me how it goes!

By |2021-08-23T19:41:04-04:00August 24th, 2021|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Is Sleep Self-Care?

Wow – so many of you reached out to me after last week’s post about deep feelings around Simone Biles. Thank you so much. I am slowly working on peeling the layers of the onion when it comes to writing about vulnerable topics, especially when they might be controversial.

Today’s peeling is less controversial, but still on the personal side.

I am 47 years old and only recently started staying up until 9:00 pm.

Source: Photo by Lux Graves on Unsplash

Sleep is a foundational component for me to live a life I don’t need to escape. I wonder if it might be for you too. We have talked in previous posts about the changes to your body when you are sleep deprived. In the past I have given you tips to making adjustments to your SusPro components to improve sleep.

Have you done it yet?

Why Not?

What is keeping you from getting the sleep you need? Be honest.

Is it the expectation that fun only happens after midnight?

Mindless numbing out to TV shows is more appealing than boring going to bed early?

Do you tell yourself post kids’ bedtime routine is the only grown up time or alone time you have?

Now I want to suggest you throw these reasons up against this framework to see if they stick. Byron Katie has a set of 4 questions that can help us truly inquire into our motives, thoughts and feelings.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know this is true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

Let’s look at an example related to sleep. If you ask yourself what is keeping you from getting the sleep you need, you may come back with an answer along these lines: After the kids go to bed is the only time I have for myself.

Is it true? Is it really true that this is the only “free time” you have? Have you tried moving things around your weekend schedule to make time to be alone? If you look at your workday are there pockets of time that could be dedicated to what you want to do?

Can you absolutely know this is true? Have you tried to do a time study to see where your time goes? It may feel like you don’t have any time for yourself, but once you see it objectively in a time tracker, you may find out this is not actually true.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? What if it is true that this is the only free time you have for yourself? Notice what happens in your body when you realize that you spend 18 hours every day serving everyone else and leaving only crumbs for yourself? Do you feel sad? Anxious?

Who would you be without that thought? Katie coaches us to, “Take a moment to reflect, observe, and experience the situation again, this time without the thought. Who or what you would be without the thought?” In this example, what would you be if you were not a person who only had time for self-care by cutting into sleep/recovery time?

Why Not!

Let’s step away from the buzzword use of self-care for a second. Being rested is simply the right thing to do for your mental and physical health. You don’t have to frame it in a certain way to get what you need. I love what Marc Randolph had to say about this in his book about his founding of Netflix, That Will Never Work.

“But when I needed a morning off, to mountain bike and clear my head, I took it. Nowadays they call that ‘self-care.’ Back then, we just called it common sense. If we were going to try to fundamentally change an entire industry, we needed to have our wits about us,” Marc Randolph, Netflix founder.

What do you have to lose by at least trying to get more sleep? I am not saying you have have an 8 year old’s bed time like I do, but you will be surprised what 30-90 more minutes of sleep can do. Even lying in bed reading, doing deep breathing exercises, or meditating can help. Perhaps increasing your rest leading up to sleep can be a gateway of sorts to improving your sleep habits.

“Nowadays they call that ‘self-care.’ Back then, we just called it common sense.” Mark Randolph, Netflix Founder

Your Turn

What is one small adjustment you can make to improve your sleep habits? Maybe you want to consider why you stay up late even though you drag through half the morning. It might be starting to track your time to consider why you think you don’t have more time for yourself. Maybe adjustments to your environmental surroundings to give yourself a better chance at a good night’s sleep is the right next step.

Whatever it might be for you, let me know how it goes and what it brings up for you!

By |2021-08-16T20:05:11-04:00August 17th, 2021|Health & Fitness|0 Comments

I have Big Feelings about Simone Biles

I have put up a new post every week 73 times in a row.

Until last week.

See, I chickened out. I had been drafting a piece in my head, but could not get it down on paper screen. I procrastinated until it was 10 minutes before posting time on posting day and I chickened out.

Even as I sit here 5 days later I am procrastinating with these vague intro paragraphs while I take deep breaths to really be honest here…

https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6vXJZlfNfAYysryo/giphy.gif

I have big feelings about Simone Biles and the twisties.

Initial Reaction

When I first read the headline, I was disappointed in her. You train for FIVE YEARS, truly are one of the greatest athletes ever, and can’t pull out of your tail spin to compete for your teammates?

This is less about patriotism and more about TEAM.

I was raised in team sports, and it was drilled into my head that team was EVERYTHING. The people you “were in the trenches” with. Those you literally shed blood, sweat, and tears with. Cue all the training montages.

In college I had a season where I was pressing too hard and making blunders all over the court. Today I would absolutely say it was neither productive nor sustainable. I was pulled from the starting lineup and had a miraculous recovery of mind. It was nothing physical – all mental.

I talked to my coach about continuing to come off the bench. It worked wonders for my game, and I got more confidence over the next several weeks. Then I ended up back in the starting lineup. I asked to come off the bench instead and was summarily told that what I thought didn’t matter, to go play – this is what was best for the team. I never did play as well as I did off the bench and my confidence went back into the dumper.

This is just one of the NUMEROUS times I was told that what I thought and felt did not matter, I needed to shove it down and perform for the greater good. It was often suggested (although on occasions like this stated directly) that my mental and physical individual well-being did not matter if it was a detriment – or even just inconvenienced – the others around me.

My mental and physical individual well-being did not matter if it was a detriment or even just inconvenienced the others around me.

As athletes we are to perform, not think. To achieve, not feel. If I could do that as a mid-major collegian, shouldn’t Simone Biles have to do that as an Olympian? This just did not sit right with me. I did not know enough about rules of Olympic gymnastics to know if she could have pulled out sooner and given a teammate a chance to compete. I just had a bitter feeling about all of it.

And yet.

Second Thoughts

Then came the abuse Biles received in the media. She is not a true American because she would not compete? Then of course comes the racist, sexist hate speech. All of that is totally out of line no matter what. Additionally, it was completely out of proportion to the “infraction” of not competing in a sport.

I had bitter feelings about this too. All of these strangers out there completely disconnected from Biles and her sport were making these sweeping, drastic judgements and dragging this young woman’s name and character over the coals. It was painful to me and they weren’t even talking about me.

But it felt like they were.

It felt like they were talking about me. Simone Biles had the courage to do what I was never able to do. She stood up for her own mental and physical safety even when it was not popular. Even when it probably went against every natural fiber of what has been drilled into her brain for the last 3 Olympiads – or longer. Even when there is no path of how to navigate, no lesson plan to follow.

She just knew that competing with the mental state she was in was not productive. Literally – she could not produce the skills she normally could. Calling it “the twisties” sure makes it seem trivial and silly – we need a name that truly reflects its  seriousness. Continuing to try to “push through” was not sustainable, potentially literally unsustainable. The stories of gymnasts critically injured by pushing through are horrifying.

Because it really is just a sport. Sport is not life – no matter what we are told or what Dani Rojas declares in “Ted Lasso.” In all of my years as an athlete, I only had 1 coach tell me that my performance was separate from worth. Coach Ken Witt, my high school track coach, told me once in a midst of a total meltdown, “Your worth as a person is not dependent on how far you throw a lead ball.”

What If

Which leads me back to my original bitterness about Biles pulling out of competition. What if I would have listened more to Coach Witt and less to other coaches who told me to suck it up and get out there, to not let the team down. What if I had admitted more about mental and physical struggles I was having to trainers who were there to advocate for me and other athletes.

I think this is why I had my original negative response to Simone Biles – she stood up for herself when I didn’t. Although I am not sure what the emotion is, I know that I had a visceral feeling of, “I pushed through so why can’t you?”

But here I am today trying to undo those feelings because shoving it all down and pushing through is neither productive nor sustainable. This avoiding and pretending and putting your worth into things outside of you is what causes the need to numb out in life.

Admitting you are human and have feelings and limitations is how you can define your worth as a person.

Being proud of how you respond and not how you perform is how you can define your worth as a person.

I hope that Simone Biles will be more proud of the example she has set for others by stepping off the competition floor than what she ever could have on the medal podium.

By |2021-08-08T10:13:33-04:00August 10th, 2021|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Quit Again!

This week I am going back in the archives to bring you one of the posts I get the most comments on – QUITTING. If you were around for the “original airing” of this post, I would love to hear if your stance on quitting has changed in the last couple years. If this is new for you – let’s hear your words about quitting.

 


 

I often have people talk to me about abandoning books. I have no shame in my DNF (Did Not Finish) game. I am not afraid to abandon a book and encourage you to look at why you would not stop doing something that was not lighting you up. Life is too short to read books that do not put wind in your sails just as life is too short to stay friends with energy vampires and life is too short to wear jeans that are too tight.

Quit Abandoned Books

It is not that it is a bad book. Despite what James Joyce said, I do not believe there are bad books. I can appreciate how hard an author works on a book and to call it bad just seems like a big kick in the pants. I hope anyone reading what I write will give me grace when something I write doesn’t land with them.

It is hard to abandon books that critics and the public RAVE about. Sometimes I think it is the chapter of life I am in vs. where the author was when he was writing. More often I just decide I am different than everyone else and move onto the next book in the stack.

Let’s talk numbers though. I do believe in skipping the rating if I have not finished a book. I would not want to bring down the average rating for an author if I have not finished a book. I have a specific shelf in Goodreads for DNF books so that I can make sure they do not count in my annual book statistics.

Tell me all your thoughts and opinions about DNFing!

By |2021-08-03T07:58:36-04:00August 3rd, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Finding Happiness in Hobbies

I attended a wedding this weekend and during the reception I watched 2 sisters dance together. One was 18 and the other 12, and the PURE JOY they had dancing was so fun to watch. I felt happy watching them be happy.

I want to talk to you more about this idea of “happy.” What is it, what does it feel like, how do you get it, and better yet – how do you KEEP it?

First, What It Is Not

Media makes it seem like happiness is something everyone should strive to feel on a regular, consistent basis. I have found this to not be realistic nor sustainable. I only know a few people whose neutral state is effusive happiness. And even then, I wonder if I know them well enough to see their true self.

Please don’t hear that when I encourage you to find things that make you happy, that means that you should fake happiness to be palatable to society.

Not. At. All. You deserve more. You deserve a life you don’t need to escape.

Redefining Happiness

Instead of trying to eliminate unpleasant feelings and situations, a more Sustainably Productive (SusPro) way of living is to identify situations, activities, and people who bring that happiness. This is where the Mental Well-being pillar of Sustainable Productivity comes in: Hobbies.

The Pittsburgh Mind Body Center study about how leisure activities impact mental and physical health demonstrates the value of hobbies for sustainable productivity.

Higher participant score on leisure time activity showed the following improvements:

  • Lowered levels of blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, body mass index, and levels of depression
  • Additionally, it showed raised levels of positive psychosocial states, life satisfaction, life engagement, quality of sleep, exercise outcomes, and perceptions of better physical function {even when they factored out sports as hobbies)

Getting Started

What if you don’t know what makes you happy? What if you don’t even know what hobby you might want to try? I would like to suggest you begin by simply noticing what you notice.

  1. Identify the feeling of happiness, what does that literally feel like? When I was watching the sisters joy at dancing, my heart felt full, my stomach and mind were both calm, my face was smiling, and I just felt present.
  2. Once you know what happy might feel like, start to notice when those feelings are present at other times in your day. Does your stomach unclench when you left your phone at home and had silence in the car ride to the grocery store? Does the smile come back with internet cat videos? What smells, tastes or feelings are around you when your monkey mind finally settles?
  3. Now find out what activities can help you find more of these moments. If it is a certain smell, could you take up a hobby making bath and body products. If music makes you smile, maybe a dance class, singing lessons, or just making play lists is the hobby to make time for.
  4. Quit if it isn’t working. It does not mean it was wrong, it just means you have data points to try something new. I thought I wanted to learn to sing and did a few duets with Bixby on acoustic guitar. Turns out I don’t want to learn to sing, I want to do more karaoke. Subtle shift, but I never would have figured that out if I had not tried.

Your Turn

Each of us will have different feelings that indicate happiness. I would love to hear what yours are and what hobbies bring that out in your life!

By |2021-07-26T20:39:19-04:00July 27th, 2021|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Burnout of Busyness

Are you drowning under the weight of your to do list? When people ask how you have been, is your default response, “Busy!”

Have you stopped to ask yourself why you are filling every nook and cranny of your days – of your kids’ days?

I hear your defensive exclamations: “There is no time in the schedule for asking nonsense questions like that?!”

Let me float another one by you – how does it feel to be so on the run that you cannot check in with yourself.

Or is it the inverse – you stay so busy on purpose so you don’t have to consider those feelings.

To consider the voice in your head nudging you to slow down…

..to wait…

..to breathe.

By |2021-07-18T14:13:26-04:00July 20th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Birth of Fitness Without a Finish Line

Once upon a time, the only thing people knew to ask me about was what race I was training for. Between running and triathlon, there was always something on the calendar. No matter the weather or the state of my body and mind, I NEVER forfeited an entry fee. Even if it meant literally or proverbially limping across the finish line.

This was not sustainable, nor productive.

So in my early 40’s I set out to define Sustainably Productive fitness for myself. This is how the idea of Fitness without a Finish Line was born.

Step One – Identify What Isn’t Working

The first step was to identify what was not working for me. This fell into two main areas.

How I exercised. I was always trying to go faster or longer. When I finished an Olympic distance tri, I had to go for half Ironman distance. I knew I would never win so I had to try to impress people with the distances I was able to go. Even if “able” meant nerve pain sending streaks of pain through my foot or chronic headaches after every swim.

I also stuck to the schedule NO MATTER WHAT. I biked in storms, barely able to find old barns for shelter from lightning. I ran across icy roads barely able to keep from sliding. I swam in lakes in early morning dark hours when I could only hear (not see) the nearest person to me (I keep telling myself it was a person I was hearing).

I am lucky to have come out the other side of such poor choices as unscathed as I have.

Why I exercised. The short story is I needed approval (the long story is for my therapist). Whether it was wows over the distances or societal approval over my appearance, I exercised hard to bring in all the gold stars.

Running burns lots of calories quickly so I stuck to races that incorporated some kind of running. Even though I have exercised-induced asthma, I would run through colds, often pushing them over the edge into bronchitis – just so I could maximize the energy expenditure.

There were several tipping points to bring about my need for change. Once I identified that I needed to make some changes, I started with small adjustments.

Step Two – Make Small Adjustments

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. SusPro methodology identifies value in what you are doing and encourages doing more of what works while you make adjustments in what is not working. Here are a few adjustments that I made.

  1. Racing sabbatical – no race entries for 6 months to see how it felt. The weirdest thing was that I did not have any quick conversation topics. Needless to say, this felt like a whole different problem that what we are talking about today. By calling it a sabbatical, I did not have to dramatically declare that I was never going to race again. I was just trying on this non-racing identity to see how it felt. Spoiler: I have not entered a race in about 5 years.
  2. Increased emphasis on pre-hab. Instead of waiting for injury to strike and cause another round of physical therapy rehab, I now have a pre-hab PT routine that helps to prevent those injuries. I added in some body weight exercises to boost my bone density where I can. Over the course of about 6 months I have gradually increased my pushups and can now do 100 military pushups in a day’s worth of strength training / pre-hab.
  3. Challenging yoga. My yoga studio closed during COVID forcing me to find another hot home for yoga. Never in a million years did I think I would land in power yoga classes in a hot studio. This is power yoga in 95-100 degree rooms. And I love it. This is for sure a COVID silver lining.

Step Three – Evaluate Progress

I track various fitness components in a spreadsheet. Here is a sneak peek from yesteryear (2018 I had knee surgery so the whole year was a bit of an outlier). Some days it feels useless to mark that I walked 1 mile, but over several months, it sure adds up.

And to be able to look back over YEARS is also pretty cool! Don’t try to recreate the past – just start today. You can download the Sustainable You Habit Tracker here for free!

As you are evaluating this progress, you just return to step 1 and evaluate what is not working and make more adjustments. You might have different seasons where schedules, weather, and interests impact your exercise routine. That is ok as long as you keep going. Be heartened that there is no finish line. You are never last, you can never fail as long as you keep trying.

Your Turn

Tell me about your exercise routine, choices, fears, and habits!

By |2021-07-12T13:36:15-04:00July 13th, 2021|Health & Fitness|0 Comments

Home.

When is the last time you felt at home?

At home in your body?

At home in your environmental surroundings?

At home in your relationships?

What does “at home” even mean or feel like for you? Here is what the internet says home means:

“Home” can mean so many things and is a base of creating a life you don’t need to escape. It is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, unable to exhale, have no safe place to fall that we are desperate to numb the discomfort to avoid feeling un-homed.

The concept of home certainly apply to all three pillars of Sustainable Productivity. Let’s take a look at each in turn.

Environmental Surroundings

Your environment is the easy definition of home. What you surround yourself with. The furniture, art, music, clothes, images, colors and everything else that you take in  directly and indirectly.

Sometimes it is easier to define what is not making your surroundings feel like home. If something is not serving your surroundings in a way that makes you exhale when you enter the space, get rid of it.

  1. Friends or groups in your social media draining you – block, mute, unfriend and delete.
  2. Beige walls make you feel like you are institutionalized? Paint is an easy fix. If you don’t like the color, try again. Wall paper is even making a comeback – although after removing as much wallpaper as I have in my day I cannot in good conscience recommend THAT!
  3. Do you have outdated knickknacks, photos, and accessories around that just feel cluttered? Refreshing small things can transform your space quickly and inexpensively.

If you want to explore what is out there to try to find out how to make your home a Home, try making boards on Pinterest or combing through magazines, or even browsing furniture stores to see what strikes you. What fabrics, colors, shapes, and overall aesthetics are you drawn to? Start small, but start somewhere.

Health & Fitness

There can be may reasons you don’t feel at home in your body. Usually acceptance is at the core of whatever is blocking that feeling of home. As we age it can be hard to embrace the body you are in, instead of wanting the body you used to have.

  • What if you focused on stats related to your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar instead of stats related to the scale and calorie intake?
  • Could you be more accepting of the body you are in if you embraced intuitive eating instead of restricting calories?
  • Would you feel at home in your body pursuing physical activity that felt good – even if you were not part of the “norm”?

Mental Well-being

The component I most want to talk about here is relationships. There have been lots of discussions about friendships among adult women lately. You can find a few of my favorites here and here and here. I sometimes think as an introvert I don’t need friends or are somehow exempt from this section of Maslow’s hierarchy. Oh, how wrong that is. I was reminded of that this weekend when I spent a couple days with my long-time friend and her family at the beach.

I think I laughed more with her and her family that I have all of 2021 combined. We talked for hours as we sat on the beach watching her 4 kids play in the ocean. There is something about someone who has known you for 35 years who can cut through questions to ask QUESTIONS and understands the unspoken things in the answers. I felt seen and understood. I felt at home.

By |2021-07-05T15:06:21-04:00July 6th, 2021|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

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