Watch What You Say…

I HATE giving excuses.  If I am in the situation where I am running late or I forgot to do something, instead of giving an excuse, I would default to making a joke about my inability to keep up with things or declare my exasperation at the 3 freaking tractors that were on the road during my morning commute and OBVIOUSLY not in any hurry because why would a tractor be in a hurry?!  Seriously, shouldn’t there be a law about what hours tractors can be on the roadway?  But I digress.

I often had moments where I felt like the Universe was just out to get me.  Little did I realize the subconscious effect that it was having on me.  I honestly think that it was making things spiral further and further out of control.  While I never like to play the victim card, I realized that I was claiming powerlessness by focusing on all of the things that were happening to get in the way.  I was removing any ownership in the whole situation.  Most things are out of my control but I had to have a little Come to Jesus meeting with myself and get a hold of the things that I CAN control.  The FIRST thing was to be mindful of how I was talking to myself!  I HATE when people put themselves down and I have worked very hard to not talk negatively about myself, or at least so I thought.  Coming to the realization of how I was speaking to myself is actually what made me have the idea to set some goals to work toward for my birthday.  I have set myself straight and I feel much better for it!  Pay attention to what you say to yourself and I hope that you will think about speaking more positively to/about yourself!

Progress vs. Perfection

Apparently the universe didn’t get the memo that I’m trying to get my life in order!  My intention was to do an update on my progress that I’ve made toward my goals for my 40th birthday but then Tuesday happened.  Tuesday was just not the best day.  I don’t even remember what all happened to make it a “bad” day but I was in a mood.  So instead of writing an update that would have just put a negative spin on any progress that had been made, I just took a step back at laid low.

I’m a person that’s comfortable with working through a process.  Unfortunately, there seem to be few people around that are comfortable with processes.  But, when you feel like things need to change majorly for not only your happiness, but your sanity/survival, the daily circumstances that surround you can often feel too daunting to overcome and you might feel like giving up.  The most important thing to remember is DON’T GIVE UP!!!  You can never give up on yourself or what you truly want out of your life.

So instead of giving up, I look at what I’ve been doing and reflect on what’s going well and what I can improve.  Acknowledging what has gone well is a far better motivator than casting a critical eye on everything and magnifying what we deem to be a failure.

With 24 days until my birthday, here’s where I stand:

Goal 1: Simplify-I’ve collected 3 boxes of stuff from our house to donate.  (There’ll be MANY more boxes to come!)  I found an old file box that I’ve had since I first started teaching that was SUPPOSED to be my filing system.  There were bank statements from banks that no longer exist and so many other things that were just completely unnecessary and I can’t even tell you the last time I looked in that box!  I consolidated it down to 2 file folders and the rest was shredded.  And to think that I have carried that box with me for 4 moves!

My goal today is to make sure that our living areas are free of extraneous things and to take the boxes to be donated.  We still have cabinets to go through and purge.  We have an entire extra bedroom that is currently serving as a storage room that needs to be purged, but that is a long term project and I’ll have to break that down into smaller pieces.  The more daunting challenge (and the most needed) is tackling my classroom.  I might have to recruit a team to take care of that!

Goal 2: Schedule-I’ve been consistent with my morning routines and making sure that I have everything ready the night before.  Bedtime for baby has been consistent but I need to move my time to work my business to the morning because my brain does not function after baby goes to bed which effects productivity, but it’s still has be an improvement.

Goal 3: Health- I’m pretty sure that I haven’t hit 120 oz of water a day but I’m consistently hitting the 60-90 oz  a day so that’s progress. Being consistent with my bedtime has certainly NOT been consistent, but I think moving my business time to the morning will help with that as well.

Goal 4: Mental Well-Being- I need to go back to my old school days of marking my activity on a calendar.  This is definitely something that I have to make visible to myself.  I’m going to put my jogger stroller in my car and pack workout clothes to go to the park after work and hit the trails with baby because that would do us both some good, but of course that means I have to leave work before it gets dark!

This week I will make a checklist of my Steps for Success so that I can make it visible to myself and hold myself accountable.  I SEE great things happening this week. 🙂

Goal #4: Mental Well Being

I would say that most weeks start out pretty strong for me but around say Wednesday, the wheels just kind of fall of.  As in like Wednesday morning.  Is this why they call it Hump Day?  I don’t seem to be making it up the incline these days.  Case in point, this post was intended for Wednesday evening, along with my raffle drawing for my business, and I am sure a litany of things that I don’t even remember forgetting to do!  Having the weekend is definitely needed to collect my thoughts and refine my goals or steps that I can take to support my goals, but first, I need to lay out my last goal for my 40 Days to 40 Challenge.  This one is probably the most needed and my intention is for the first 3 goals to contribute to this.

I DESPERATELY need to make some time for some down time.  I need time to do things that I enjoy and have NOTHING to do with my job or the thousands of responsibilities that I have on a daily basis.  I know this will probably be very difficult for me since I have grown quite accustomed to isolating myself and just trying to get it all done.  Of course it seems that it isn’t humanly possible to get done what is required of me, and pushing harder and harder without ever giving myself a break is a whole lot like requiring 5 year olds to sit down and focus on developmentally inappropriate tasks like tests, tests, and more tests while refusing to give them recess or developmental center time to play and interact with each other.  Sounds ludicrous, right?!

There are things that were once a part of me that have fallen by the wayside since having Lucy along with the combination of my career and my husband’s work schedule, that I need to reclaim.  I know they will look differently from what they once were, and I am fine with that.  I don’t want to go back to the way things were before Lucy.  I loved those days but my days with Lucy are even better!

Steps for Success:

-Incorporate more physical activity into my life.  (I pushed a car during carpool this week, so that counts, right?!)

-Spend more time doing a hobby that I enjoy.    I have scheduled in time for reading (NOTHING PROFESSIONAL) at the end of my day, before bed.  Running and working out were hobbies that obviously are the goal for my first step for success.  I really enjoy writing so using my blog as a way to track my challenge gives me the opportunity to do a hobby that I enjoy as well.

So as I have worked my way through this week, I will take some time to do some self reflection of what went well and what I can improve on to make this upcoming week even more successful.  I look forward to sharing that in my next post!

 

 

So Long, 2014!!!

I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am glad to see 2014 go bye-bye!  Not to say that it didn’t have it’s high points.  After all, I did get married and got to enjoy many special moments with some of the most important people in my life.  My husband finished school and we are looking forward to him starting his career.  Many of my close friends gave birth to beautiful babies whom I get to rock, get my baby rocking fix, and return to their proud parents.  (I am a sucker for rocking babies!)  Every year has it’s ups and downs, which I try my best to appreciate both.   However, it seems that this has been a very challenging year for everyone!  Or am I imagining this?

It seems that all of our instant-gratification, social-media, “looks over substance” obsession may be getting the better of our society.  The victim mentality seems to be more commonplace than those heart warming stories where you hear of people overcoming extreme obstacles, and actually appreciating those obstacles.  After all, if you never face adversity, how else do you learn how strong you are?  I had once considered myself a very resilient person, but have lately felt like a big wimp, who is often brought to my knees by the seemingly never-ending obstacles.

You can locate a never ending list of articles stating the importance of expressing gratitude, focusing on the positive, etc.  After running for and visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for the last 5 years, I have often felt very guilty for even thinking that my challenges amounted to a hill of beans.  How quickly we can realign our perspective when we think about children staring cancer in the face on a daily basis, or parents watching their child fight through treatment, or worse, losing their battle.  We berate ourselves thinking how people facing cancer would “be glad to tolerate (insert daily inconvenience here)” so we should just get over it and “be happy.”  Expressing gratitude and appreciating the positives in life is essential but that does not mean the same as allowing ourselves to succumb to negative situations.

After losing two friends to breast cancer, in a little over a year, I feel we must revisit the thought of tolerating any and every circumstance we find ourselves.  I can’t help but feel that we would be cautioned to stop taking life for granted.  Life is too precious to continue in any situation that creates prolonged, unnecessary stress.  Does this mean shying away from every challenge in life?  Nope.  Does this mean just quitting every single time the going gets rough?  Not at all!  I am simply suggesting that while in those challenging circumstances, we step back and analyze the situation.  Notice I never said play the victim and complain endlessly about the situation.  Do your best to learn from the situation (because there is a lesson to be learned in EVERY situation), find a way to contribute to possible solutions, do your part to  maintain your dignity, and if the situation still only contributes more negative than positive, PLAN YOUR ESCAPE!  Some things may be escaped immediately, dead-end relationships, toxic friendships, etc., while other things may require more preparation.  You don’t want to ruin your future by skipping out on a job when you have bills to pay, insurance and retirement to consider, not to mention what that looks like to future employers if you decide to just cut and run.  Plus, it would do little to your self-esteem to bail on something you committed to!

Looking ahead to 2015, I am keeping in mind those things that have challenged me in 2014, and doing an inventory of what needs to be changed or eliminated so that I can make the most of my time here on Earth.  By not taking life for granted, I am honoring those whose time was cut short, and hopefully creating a better me, who is there for all of those important people in my life.