Sunday, January 22, 2012

2012 Reboot

OK.  So, I got off track.


This whole past week I was... well I... I sort of blew it.  I guess I was off in another world or something, but I didn’t do my exercises or my shopping trips, my morning routine or my nine cups a day of vegetables. In a word, I failed. But, the important thing is to be resilient and not let this become all about me failing.

I can sit here and blame the snow, the power outage, the injury I had in my hand or anything, but the reality is, in the end, I didn’t do what I set out to do.  Excuses don’t change that, they only maybe help us feel better about it. So instead of excuses, I’m going to reboot and do it right this time.

“You can’t fail if you haven’t given up yet.”

So I'm not going to give up, I’m going to take this opportunity to go over what was and wasn’t working with my program and move forward.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to re-assess my goals. Since I’m always working towards them, my goals will be changing and my priorities shifting. Also, as my circumstances change, my desires might, too.  It’s silly to strive for goals based on old circumstances. Also, revisiting my goals keeps me in touch with my motivation and revitalizes my interest in them.  So they are....

ONE: To follow an exercise program to maintain a physical body that is balanced, symmetrical and proportional.  This is a long-term goal that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. It still motivates me when I think about it, so I’m sticking with this one. I love the workout program I’m using, I just need to remind myself not to push too hard, which is my tendency.

TWO: To eat nine cups of produce a day. I am committed to making a habit of eating in a way that promotes maximum health. I love the feeling of eating lots of vegetables. It was working for me, but I was never sure I was measuring them correctly, and there was a lot of planning involved with eating all the vegetables. I think if I did stick with it, though, it could easily become second nature, just like any eating habit. I’m still a firm believer in the power of natural eating, so I’m keeping this as a goal.

THREE: To spend at least twenty minutes daily in each of the following: movement, breathing reduction and meditation.  I struggled with this one. The breathing reduction work in the morning was incredible; I’m definitely keeping that part. And the meditation was fine, too, although I found myself easily distracted. (I totally get why yoga says to exercise and exhaust the body first, because the meditations that I do after my workouts are usually so easy and deep.)  In any case, I will be keeping the meditation work, but I still need to explore which type of meditation is going to work best for me. And the daily exercise part wasn’t working at all. I was doing a nice simple routine, but the prospect of doing it every day for the rest of my life just wasn’t comforting like the others.  It was daunting, and irritating to my psyche after just the first week. So, I’m going to have to switch that to something else. I think a morning session of Nia Five Stages, without using any timer, but just going through the five stages once, every morning at my own pace, would be delicious daily ritual.  And it is much more on par with the other two things I’m doing in that morning hour, so I feel like that's a good adjustment.

Ok.  So my goals are basically the same as they were at the beginning of the year, with a few minor tweaks.   Now the big thing that contributed to the demise of my program was my negligence around the creating of my habits.

Meaning...

I have been practicing a 21 day rule with my clients for many years.  For the best results, I have found that I have to be there, at their side, for the first 21 days of a new habit we’re creating. Once they’ve repeated it for more than three weeks, they can be unsupervised and the likelihood of them continuing it on their own, long-term is great.

But I didn’t hold myself accountable for that full 21 days. I wasn’t there for myself -- I only made myself accountable for less than 14 days. On Friday of the second week, I “took a break” from keeping diligent account of my new habits, and I never got back on track. They, predictably, all faltered and by the end of week three, were totally gone.

So I’m going to start again, but this time I’ll be sure to keep myself accountable for the full 21 days.

I learned something.  Here’s what really worked about what I was doing:

 I was writing down what I had done each hour of the day. So I couldn’t let an hour go by without ‘doing’ something or I’d have nothing to write. Or, worse yet, I’d have to write "sat and surfed the internet from 9am to 10am." UGH!  So, this Hourly Accounting not only helped prevent me from stagnating and wasting my day, but it helped point out my tendencies. Then I could either use them to my advantage as they were or, being aware of them, I could tweak them in a way that I could then use them to my advantage. I also made notes of what I ate and when I felt hungry, so I ended up working out a schedule for myself that works with my current life and my personal tendencies. This makes it so much easier to stick with, and it keeps me satisfied.

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