Who I Am Now: Back to Square One?

Ever since I quit the gym, I haven’t weighed myself since the Biggest Loser challenge that ended last spring. Although weight isn’t everything, it’s at least an indicator. I’m now back at my original weight minus 5, as opposed to 10+ after Biggest Loser.

 What Does Weighing More Tell Me?

Almost nothing. After all, it’s one data point in almost a year’s worth. What I do feel is healthier. Healthier in the sense that I have more energy and feel less hungry. At the same time, I’m reminded that I’ve lost muscle mass. 100 pushups a day can only go so far. I used to do maybe at least 40 in BodyCombat at the gym and there were 50+ burpees to boot with HIIT — along with other exercises all in an hour. I also miss BodyPump, so hopefully I’ll find a place as a substitute to strengthen my current training for the Boston Marathon.

Maybe I’m starting to feel what runners feel.

My focus has been on running these past several weeks. I’ve been using the same muscles, and I’ve probably plateaued a bit. Guess it’s time to fit in some cross-training— to be continued!

It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time.
— Margery Williams


How to Avoid an Autopilot Life

Lately I’ve been feeling blah. Life is meh. Translation: I’m settling for mediocre.

How many of us are guilty of setting life to autopilot? 

Recognize Your Current State

I know I’m of defaulting to running on autopilot. So when I came across a book by Chris Barez-Brown called Wake Up! A Handbook to LIving in the Here and Now, I grabbed it. This might also help explain why I enjoy listening to Evanescence’s Wake Me Up Inside.

Be Proactive

If I hadn’t come across the book at the library, I wouldn’t be here writing now. While that was reactive on my part, at least I recognized that my subconscious was in control and decided to do something about it. When you’re on autopilot, you just go with the flow. You’ll do whatever takes the least amount of effort thinking-wise, and doing nothing sounds wonderful — NOT. Or if you do decide to do nothing, at least be intentional about it like for avoiding burnout, etc.

Take a Deep Breath

When we’re stressed or alarmed, we start taking shallow breaths. That is, we’re breathing with one-third of our lungs, and that’s not optimal. Instead, we should look to do what babies do, breathe so that our bellies rise and fall. It’ll leave us having more engery and feeling less stressed.

Why is this important? Well, change is difficult. While facing a difficult task whose parameters have yet to be defined, we need to step back and relax in order to think clearly about how we’re going to tackle it.

I’ll write more about what I’ve leraned in subsequent posts — how about Bookish Wednesdays?

Our purpose is hidden in our joy, our inspiration, our excitement. As we act on what shows up in our life our purpose shows up.
— James King


No Buts, No Excuses — Adopting a New Motto

Imagine a world where there are no buts. No excuses. For some people, this isn’t a vision — rather, it’s a way of life.

Can I adopt that as my motto?  Surely I can. Or I should say, I will.

This line of thought is inspired by Ragnar’s hosted No Buts Night Run. It wasn’t hard to complete, plus I’m running more to train for the marathon. What’s lovely is that by completing my pledge REI will donate $1 to the American Hiking Society. Hurrah!

Where else do we make excuses in our lives, whether consciously or unconsciously?

Normal is not something to aspire to, it is something to get away from.
—Jodie Foster


Why I Don’t Blog — a Revelation in Past Weeks

I’ve been absent for the past weeks because I fell off the habit wagon. The organizing, the running, the learning — all of that was off and on these past few weeks, and I didn’t know what to make of it.

And I froze—

When Lacking Direction, Begin With One Small Step

I’m not perfect. Nobody is either. What matters is that we rebound, that we hold onto our reason to persist.

What I’ve learned is that lacking direction because of a minor slip up and lacking direction because there are so many options to choose from are one in the same. Either way, I’m lacking direction. So with this blog post, this one small step, I’m heading somewhere — slowly but surely.

Perfect happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
— Chuang-Tse


Self Image vs. Self Awareness: Why The Distinction Matters

Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! Or, in the words of the national service movement, MLK Day is “a day on, not a day off.”

What does “a day on” mean anyway?

Generally, for those of us who have the day off from work, MLK Day is touted as a day to volunteer and be engaged. While metrics is what drives the service movement (or any movement for that matter) to up the numbers, metrics don’t take account into true value. If an organization hosts volunteers to paint their walls and the walls need to be repainted, that’s a loss of both time and money. But if an organization organizes volunteers to pick up trash and repaint the fences to beautify a park, there’s now a park that more people can enjoy.

A lot of organizations and individuals are doing the right thing. But there are also those who aren’t. Participating in this day when you haven’t figured out what you or your community needs is catering to your self image. When you fill a need, that speaks to your own self awareness.

But it feels good…

Only in your head.

It’s like resolving to not eat sweets in order to maintain healthy teeth, and not brushing your teeth. It’s an impressive commitment to stick to and tell yourself and others, but you’re not doing the actual work of achieving your real goal.

Or like posting a selfie of yourself working out, but you were only exercising for 5 minutes.

So what do I do about it?

Let’s get this straight — self image is not all bad. If there’s no self awareness behind what you do for self image, however,  it’s not going to last and you’re not going to get any better.

Be like a kid and keep on asking yourself why. When you can answer that, you’ll be stepping up.

Don’t ever let anyone build your world for you. They always build it too small.
—Holly Dean


New Year, New Temptations — What to Do About Them

The new year has come with new cravings — both good and bad:

  • 100 pushups in the morning – a small victory under my belt for the day (the equivalent of making the bed for some)
  • join in on the 100 days of code challenge
  • resize and hem pants because I now know how to do so
  • write two pieces for poetry slam competition in December
  • buying the 2018 BAA Boston Marathon jacket

The pushups are what I’ve committed to. Everything else can be on the back burner quite honestly. But they’re all so tempting!

When Establishing a Habit, Focus

In reading No Limits by John Maxwell, John mentioned that we all drive down the highway of life and excuses are us exiting off the ramp until we get back on the highway. Driving down the highway can be the same for establishing habits. Lacking focus means taking an exit and maybe even heading back the way we came. You could argue, however, that it means you need to have two cars — one of each highway of habit. I believe it, but you’ll have to work harder to have two cars.

If there’s anything I can get away with doing now, it’d be to resize and hem my pants and maybe even write. That’s because in a way, they’re one time events or can be done at leisure. The 100 days of code requires commitment, and I’m already trying to establish a morning habit and staying on track with training for the Boston Marathon.

Prioritize and Value the End Game

What should you focus on? Goals and results that give you the most happiness for your time and effort.

Now you could say that buying a new item (clothes, gadgets, what have you) is your end game. Here’s a question: Do items or experiences bring you more joy? Perhaps even more lasting joy?

With me, for example, I could either have a jacket now for saying that I’m training for the marathon. Or I can train now, run the marathon, and can now proudly answer people asking me about any marathon (volunteer) jacket I wear. There’s always been a debate about whether you should be able to wear the jacket even though you’ve never run it. I’ll at least have a succinct answer in a few months.

Reason Through Temptation

Wanting a Boston Marathon jacket is quite honestly selfish. I’ve never run a marathon before, and fierce marketing from the sellers has made owning a jacket the thing to do. What made me feel it’s possible in the first place is that I can earn gift certificates from running with Marathon Sports. By the end of this year, technically the jacket would be free. That would also mean betting that the jacket won’t run out by the time I can obtain it.

At the same time, I’m a maximizer. Why buy it at full price when it’s possible for sales to cut the price down by half? That way, I can buy other items to help with winter running.

Additionally, it does say that entrants receive a “long sleeved t-shirt,” meaning I will have a shirt from the event. I also have two Boston Marathon volunteer jackets and will likely have many more to come.

The more I think it through, the more I see why I don’t need this jacket — now or ever.  

All said and done, if I can obtain this jacket for free at a discounted rate, I’ll pull the trigger. And if it’s not available, I won’t mind. It’s always a risk to wait until the circumstances change. So until then—

Learn to say ‘no’ to the good so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.
— John Maxwell


Resolution Thursdays: Begin It Now

I didn’t wait until Jan 1st to start training for the Boston marathon or to do the 100 daily push up’s. One day I just decided to do it.

The more I do it, the more it becomes a habit. 

When it becomes a habit, I don’t even have to think about it. Until then, I’m told it takes at least 30 days before a habit forms.

Cheers to keeping it up!

Are you on track with your resolution? If not, are you going to start today?

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe