The other day, as I was finally tackling the disaster that my desk had become I came across a bill. A bill due that day that I had tossed onto my desk thinking I would just remember. Of course I did not because I was not organized. The photo up top is not my desk but in terms of messiness it is close to the state it was in.
So I began to straighten up my desk. As I did so, I realized that my desk was not the only thing disorganized in my life. How I have been using my time was in just a bad a state. I have to be more intentional about how I do use my time.
Especially as I seek work freelancing, writing for this blog and my fiction work. Not to mention all the other things in my life. My day job, volunteering, time with family and friends. And of course working out.
To combat this issue I pulled out some construction paper and a permanent marker. On one sheet I wrote out all my monthly bills, the dates they were due and amounts. Then on the other sheet, I wrote out the days of the week. Underneath each is exactly what I intend to do with my time. It is not any different from what I was already halfway doing. But now, seeing it written out helps me. I did not assign any times of day to my tasks, I often feel doing that makes it more stressful. While I do like To Do lists, I do not like them to be rigid. I enjoy flexibility in my life.
My hope in being more intentional and organized with my time, that it will lead to success. Success on the full sense of the word. To not only earn most of my income through writing by the end of this year. To also do all the things well in my life. Being a daughter, sister, friend. Balancing work, writing and ministry as well. Not to mention scheduling time to read, binge on Netflix and exercise. Allowing myself to reboot. Without ensuring that, then nothing can ever be done well.
This isn’t new for me, I have always enjoyed organizing things in my life. It’s the consistency in keeping them organized where I falter.
How do you help keep yourself on track?
Not every type of exercise is for everyone. Maybe you have tried a class and found you just did not like it. Or the gym you tried was just really weird. Do not give up, do not give in to excuses or allow being uncomfortable to hold you back.
You may find yourself restricted by old injuries, limitations or even desire. This is alright. Part of working out is actually enjoying what you are doing. Take into consideration if you do have the above issues. Seek out a personal trainer or consult your doctor before starting a new work out program.
Yes, you read that right. If you are not enjoying what you are doing, then you will not continue to do it.
Now, this does not mean that it will always be easy to do. The challenge in working out should be what drives you to want to do it more. Hence, this is where the enjoyment comes from.
In seeing how your body responds after getting into this habit. Seeing the changes in your body is what will motivate you. To do more reps or finish them faster.
All that will bring you joy as you find what you enjoy doing. To push yourself.
For me it is running. It is what helped me lose weight just over three years ago. It was the most economical as I did not need to join a gym as I took advantage of local parks. I enjoy how running feels, sometimes even during ( hahaha). When I have a bad day, or just need a good quick 20 min workout, I go for a run. All in all, I do enjoy it. This is key.
What types of exercise do you enjoy?
Recently, I read John Krakauer’s , “Into the Wild.” The true story of a young man named Chris McCandless who was found dead in the Alaskan wilderness. I had seen the film based on the book years ago, and I have to say it has never left me. The story of a young man figuring out this world. What it means to be alive and how to go about that in this often sterile world.
This story touched me so deeply because I identified with the struggle. I too ran away from everything and everyone I knew. When I was nineteen, blundering my way through my first semester of community college I decided to move to Phoenix, Az. I had no connections there, no plans. I just wanted to get out of Miami. All I knew was that I felt suffocated and something had to change.
The differences between Chris and I are rather evident. All I wanted was to leave and figure out my life. While Chris seemingly desired to cut all ties to his past. Afterall he did not tell his parents of his plans, burned the cash he had with him, leaving his car behind when he could no longer drive it.My family knew where I was, I was reachable. I had no notion to simply wander as Chris did. We were both wandering though, I was still sleepwalking in my life. Wandering in my own way.
Where we were similar was the search. The desire for an authentic life. The need to get away from it all. I hid from the world by immersing myself with television, Chris immersed himself in nature.
For me, it was a search for God. As if I were challenging Him to follow me out there or to meet me out there in the desert. But what I had not known was that God was with me all along. In the end, it was I who would journey back to the place I had left in the first place.
The thing about running away, is that no matter where I had gone, I could never run from myself. I had to meet God in his terms and not my own. My time in Arizona lead me back to Him. First returning to the church of my childhood, the Catholic church. Then attending services from time to time with my roommate at her familes’ place of worship. Planting seeds for this journey of faith. Seeds that would grow to fruition upon my return to Miami.
Chris’ journey ended in the Alaskan wilderness, dying slowly after unknowingly injesting moldy potato seeds which caused his body to reject any form of nutrition *. An unforseen tragedy. We will never know where Chris was in his spiritual journey. If perhaps he was ready to come out of hiding, to stop running.
I too died, though mine is a spiritual death. As I had to in order to become new. Chris McCandless’ story will always have a place in my heart. A reminder of the cost and reward such journeys can pay out.
*From page 192, ebook version of Into The Wild.
Photo Credit: Erica Rodriguez of Mua Loa Photography Inc. @mualoaphotog on Twitter.
It has been said that it takes twenty one days to develope a new habit. Twenty-one days to make a change in your life. The flip side is while you are creating new habits, at the same time old habits are being broken.
Lifelong, ingrained habits that you are now trying to break. Replacing with those new habits of eating better and exercising.
Remember this as you pursue this new healthy life style.
You will make new not so great choices, or fall back into what is comfortable.
This journey to health is about being uncomfortable. It means being sore from working out. It means choosing the healthy option.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable as you get further into this journey.
In time it will not be as uncomfortable as it is now. Keep pushing yourself to develope those new habits. Find comfort in your new habits.
In other words, keep on keeping on.
What new habits are you developing?
It seems as if my word for this year chose me. I was not thinking about a word or even seriously considering a word when it went and chose me instead. These past few years I have subscribed to the idea of choosing a single word to define my year. Doing this instead of writing out a list of soon forgotten resolutions.
By focusing on one word each of these years, it has been an adventure. Each year I have grown and matured. Often facing hard truths about myself in the process. Each time I have been Stretched. Each time it has been a good, but not always easy thing to get through.
I have moved forward with so many goals and achieved so much more. I can not tell you if it was because by choosing a word instead of placing a list of to do’s on myself the pressure was off. Pressure of not living up to an arbitrary list.
Perhaps that was the key all along. The desire to do better, attempting new things was always there deep in my heart. After all it was the same list year after year. But after focusing on one word and seeing how much more I accomplished.
As I stated above, my word for this year snuck up on me. In fact I did not consider this word until I reread a previous blog post. It stuck up out at me like a beacon.
Stretched. It occurred to me that each word that I had chosen in the past had done just that in their own way.
Stretched. Each word had grown me in so many ways.
Stretched. I look forward to seeing how this will play out in this new year.
Do you choose a word? How do you begin the new year?
Register your word on the One Word 365 website
Photo Credit: Erica Rodriguez (Mua Loa Photography Inc.) @mualoaphotog
It is well into the first week of the new year. Perhaps you have declared this is the year that you will get healthy! Earlier this week I focused on your motivation in doing so. Today, I am going to look at the practical things you will need to do.
1- Invest in a good pair of sneakers. A shoddy pair of shoes can lead to injury.
2-For the ladies, a good jogging bra (or two).
3-Hold off on that gym membership. Yep, you read right. Get into the habit of working out, ask friends about coming in as a guest. Figure out what works for you before putting down a lot of cash.
(Plus let the gyms woo you! There are great deals for memberships so shop around!).
4- Download apps like Nike Running, Couch to 5k etc. Try them out and see what works for you.
1-Clean out your cabinets, fridge and hiding places. Toss out the bad stuff.
2- Replace the thrown out food with the good stuff. Introduce yourself to the vegetable section, try new stuff!
3-Download an app to help you with keeping track of calorie intake. I loved My Fitness Pal.
4- Plan your meals, bring your lunch to work. In this vein, cook at home or ahead for week.
This is not everything, but this will help you get started!
So you have made a vow, a resolution or declaration that THIS is the year that you will get healthy. You are going to eat all the right things and work out every. Single. Day.
You are not alone.
First congrats on this decision. Now take a step back and as yourself these questions. Whether this is the first time you have decided ENOUGH or the hundredth time, you have taken a great step.
How will this be different this time?
Yes this time, because face it there have been attempts before. Perhaps there have been some modicum of success too. At some point though, you stopped. Before you blindly jump into it this time, evaluate what went wrong last time. What did or was working and what did not.
Take a moment to consider these two questions:
Did your attitude towards food change? Did exercising become a habit?
Do I have a support system?
A support system is key. This can come in various forms. Someone who is also embarking on this health journey. Or those in your household eating the same food you are. Find yourself a community for encouragement. Those who will cheer you on and help you through those tough days.
What are my goals?
Going into this without goals is fruitless. You are changing your lifestyle. Goals will change and evolve the further you get into this journey but you need them. My goal at the start of my health journey was to get up a flight of steps without losing my breath. Then as I grew in confidence, I decided to run a half marathon two years later.
This is not an easy journey, but it is entirely worth it. I would love to hear from you! What do you want to achieve by getting healthy ?
Please see a medical professional before making any major changes to your diet and exercise routine. Keep in mind any health issues or old injuries that may flare up as well