Do it differently!

Doing things differently is one of my daily goals. It was an experiment, to tell you the truth. I started working towards this goal for two reasons:

  1. Most experts on change believe in the old adage that if you keep doing the same things, you’ll get the same results. But WHAT things do I do differently? Where do I start? It was a little overwhelming.
  2. The thought of doing things differently, makes me think of George Costanza–you know, from the old Seinfield series? The episode where George does everything the opposite because his every instinct is wrong, so he figures it’s worth a try. It works! An attractive woman picks him up, he gets a job with the New York Yankees, he stands up to bullies, basically everything he wants. In the end, he can’t keep it up. It just isn’t him! He’s used to being a loser-that’s his comfort zone!

We could talk a lot about getting out of our comfort zones, but that’s for another day. No, let’s stick with the subject of doing things differently. I make a lot of good decisions, so I didn’t want to do the exact opposite of everything I’d normally do, like George.

And since I wasn’t entirely ready to make BIG CHANGE, I decided to do somethinganything differently. Here are some examples from my journal:

  • Hung my work clothes up or put them in the laundry instead of tossing them on a chair or throwing them on the floor.
  • A few times I’ve gotten up early to run.
  • NOT eating a second helping of Pad Thai (which I LOVE), because I was full and didn’t really WANT it.
  • Got up at my usual work time on Saturday and immediately wrote a blog post instead of sleeping in.
  • Starting sing practice with the conscious intention to do it with joy (several other examples of consciously doing things with joy that I don’t normally find joyful, like housework or cooking).
  • Some days I’ve been getting tea instead of coffee at work.

This has been a really eye-opening experiment, which I will continue. I’ve realized that doing things differently “primes the pump” for change, because I’m making minute change every time I do something differently than I normally would. I’m interrupting the pattern. As I grow more comfortable making these small changes every day, the bigger ones, I think, will be easier.

It’s shocking, really, how quickly I can get into a well-worn pattern, a habit, a rut! Like I’ve only been at my new job for three weeks and I already have a morning routine where I get my coffee, go upstairs, turn on my computer, hang up my coat, take off my boots, put on shoes, and put my bags in the bottom drawer.

By interrupted these small habits like tea instead of coffee, makes me more conscious of the choices I make. I’m not on automatic pilot–I’m actually thinking about what I’m thinking, eating, drinking, doing, etc.

Try it out! You don’t have to be your complete opposite, like George, but you can shake up your habits with doing some things just a little bit differently. Pretty soon I think, by doing things differently, we’ll get different results, giving us the confidence we need to embrace those big changes when we’re ready for ’em!

Have fun!

Tracy

Yesterday was not a good day for change.

I’m loving my new job but, at two weeks in, I’m exhausted by the end of the week. This will change, but not yesterday. My body struggles with the new routine and adapting to the ebb and flow of the organization.

Yesterday, the list of goals I check in on daily (I shared it with you in my last post),  evaporated. What list? Daily exercise? What’s that?  Writing a blog post? Who would do such a time-wasting thing? Finding joy in my day? That’s for sissies (no disrespect to sissies)!

In fact, every list item seemed stupid! Why am I going to all this trouble again? I was too tired to think about it.

But today is a new day. I’ve already done probably the most important goal on the list: do something differently. You see, I’m not going to chastise myself for yesterday’s complete and utter “failure”. Yesterday’s failure is today’s opportunity. I just made that up.

It proves itself as I say it. Because I “failed” yesterday, I have been given the opportunity to try again. The Do-Over Project is not about the short haul and it’s not about perfection. It’s about the distance race. It’s about creating new habits and banishing old ones. It’s about creating those habits by trying again and again and again…for 365 days. It’s about doing things differently–including not giving up like I might have done in the past.

What have you failed at lately and what opportunity has it given you? Let wave after wave of failure wash over it. Let it bring new opportunities.

Here’s to your fantastic failure!

Tracy

yesterdays failures todays opportunity.png

 

 

Keepin’ track

Hi All!

It occurred to me that you might be wondering just how I keep track of all the daily goals. I keep a journal of nightly dreams and daily thoughts. At the end of the day, I review my goals to see where I am. Here’s what today’s entry looked like (minus the daily blather!):

Daily Goals

  1. DONE Fitness: 3.22 km run in the a.m. (also fulfills my “do something differently” goal, since I am NOT a morning exerciser)
  2. DONE Healthy eating: I ate 13oo calories, with 50 grams of protein (what I’m most concerned about) and I ate 6 servings of fruits and vegetables. I also did NOT have that treat from Starbuck’s I was eyeing–again, doing something differently!)
  3. DONE Positive Facebook post: “Happiness is all in your mind”
  4. DONE I am great at: finding the positive in ANYTHING!
  5. DONE Do something differently: a.m. run, no treat from Starbuck’s, didn’t procrastinate on a new work project.
  6. DONE Something that brings me joy: while I ate lunch I watched a little boy walking with his dad. He was whirling and clapping and laughing. It made his dad smile and me too!
  7. DONE Write a blog post:YES
  8. DONE Do a drawing prompt: My drawing prompt tonight was “a starry sky”

It feels good to have accomplished ALL my goals today! It doesn’t always happen, so I’ll take it! One more step towards change. Hopefully this helps you keep track of YOUR daily goals too.

Cheers,

Tracy

Just keep swimming!

 

Hi all!

My doctor just told me that a medication she started me on in December has the side effect of “huge weight gain” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Here I was feeling like a complete failure because I was supposed to lose 5 lbs by February 10th and gained 2! She’s taking me off the med, thank goodness, but it will take a few weeks to wean me off.

Ironically, it was a medication for anxiety. I feel wayyyy more anxious just knowing this fat-inducing drug is in my system! Anyway, what that means is that I need to rework my weight goals. My goal the last few days is just to maintain and this week I’ll focus on losing 1 lb–that’s it!

The weight issue has impacted other goals. For example, I wanted to start indoor rock climbing again on February 5th–but I can’t fit into my harness!!  And, I’m sure it’s impacting my knee issue I’ve had. However, despite the weight on it, it is feeling better. I’ve been taking good care of it and it’s slowly getting better. Finally, I was to do my first race yesterday, but my body is not quite there at the moment so I ditched it.

Another goal that’s changed is that I’ve decided against the opportunity to go to Bali. I’ve decided to simply focus on saving money this year.

And one more goal I’ve had to adjust relates to my book. I was hopeful to get the literary agent who was looking at my manuscript. It wasn’t quite right for her so I have to continue looking. Sigh. My new goal is:

  • Send out 100 queries by the end of the year (this past year I sent out 80, so this is doable).

No one said this would be easy!

Image result for just keep swimming photo

How do you eat an elephant?

I started a new contract on Monday as a Communications Advisor at the Canada Revenue Agency and now the fun begins!

It’s hard enough keeping up with goals and blogs and such when you’re unemployed, but it takes a whole other level of gumption with a new job!

I’m doing pretty well. Some goal successes and some failures–all of which I see as par for the course. So far, I’ve been focussed mostly on my daily goals:

  1. Doing something differently
  2. Doing something that brings me joy (I keep a journal of these events)
  3. Posting a positive video on Facebook
  4. Continue doing drawing prompts

And, I’ve added some new ones not on my original list:

  1. Thinking of something great about me
  2. Continuing with my food/exercise journal (I’ve been doing this for a few years, but I thought I should add it to this list)
  3. Continue reading a positive affirmation (the last couple of years I’ve bought one-a-day calendars with positive thoughts. Not new but I thought I should add it here).

How successful have I been in the 9 days since I started my journey to change? It varies:

  1. Doing something differently. I’ve gotten up early to run a few times–not every day, but it’s getting better. I have made a conscious decision to find joy again and keep it front and centre in my mind. I changed a spiralling negative thought into a positive one the other day (if you want to see every positive and negative, just ask me–I keep a daily list).
  2. Finding something that brings me joy and writing it down. As I said, I keep joy front and centre in my mind, so it’s been fairly easy to find things that bring me joy. Stopping to smell the flowers at Costco. Frolicking with a puppy. Chatting with a small child in a store line up. I write them down about 1/2 the time. That hasn’t improved–yet.
  3. Posting a positive video on Facebook. I have posted a positive video 8/9 days. (I’ll share these at a later date.)
  4. Continuing drawing prompts. I’ve done the suggested drawings 4/9 days. Not exactly a rounding success!
  5. Thinking of something great about me. I only started this four days ago and I’m 4/4. I have great skin, I am great at sticking with things, I am a darn good writer (maybe not great, but I’m solid), I am great at choosing presents for people.
  6. Continuing with my food/exercise journal. Most days (7/9), I’ve written down what I ate, calories, protein and carbohydrates as well as the type, duration, time, and intensity of the exercise I did. Today is the first day I skipped my run–I’m near the end of the first week of work and I’m nackered!
  7. Continuing to read a positive affirmation. This is easy to be successful at because all I have to do is flip the page, read and absorb! Still, it feels good to be successful and they are usually a joy to read–I win all the way around!

As I said, some successes, some failures. Good habits take time to form and old habits die hard, so I have to hang in there. When asked, “How do you eat an elephant?” the wise man/woman replied, “One bite at a time!”

Tomorrow is the day I will weigh in for my specific goal of losing 5 lbs by February 10.

Stay tuned!

 

Tracy

Goals: Part Deux

My brain hurts! All this thinking about goals is making me dizzy! I know, if I want things to change, I have to do the thinking, planning, and doing it requires. I also need to do the writing it requires, as in this blog so I keep accountable! Please bear with the long posts, as I work through the pain of goal setting. I promise, not all of my posts will be as long as the first three have been! Seriously, though, I wish I could wave a magic wand!

Anyway, in my last post, I shared my health goals with you. The next set of goals are the really hard ones. They are the ones that are a bit more intangible, harder to maintain and harder to measure. For example, my overall theme this year is:

FUN

I  know I need more fun in my life. But what exactly is that for me? How do I measure whether I’m successful or not? Is it measured by the type of fun activities I do? Is it how many times I laugh or make others laugh during the activity? If I don’t laugh at all, can it still be considered fun? I honestly don’t know, but I have to start somewhere, so here’s what I came up with:

Singing

I’ve sung all my life. I took lessons as a kid and I always loved being on a stage. After university, I kind of got away from it. I took some guitar lessons and dabbled in singing, but nothing serious. I noticed over time that every time I went to see live music that afterwards I would feel sad. Eventually, I saw this pattern and realized that it was because I missed being on the stage, I missed music and most of all I missed singing. So three years ago I began taking lessons again.

At first it was really hard. A lot of years had passed since my last lessons and my voice was out of shape. But I persevered and it improved. The studio where I take my lessons, The Music Factory, does a jam on the last Friday of every month and eventually I got up the courage to go. I loved it immediately!! I was in my element. It was fun and  I felt joy-filled.

Then, about a year and a half ago, a lot of crap started happening in my life (I’ll talk about it at a later date). The joy fell out of my voice. I still went to my lessons, but it wasn’t as much fun. Still, I’ve persisted because even though I know I’m not at my best, I know if I hang in there, singing will bring me joy again. This is how I’m going to make that happen:

  • Go to all lessons and jams, PERIOD. No skipping (unless it’s life or death!)
  • Go to all lessons and jams with the intent of having fun and finding joy in my music.
  • Audition for at least two more things (musical, revue, band, something!)
  • Go to four additional jams around the city (other than The Music Factory)
  • Sing at the jams like I don’t care if I crack or forget lyrics (when I watch kids perform, this is how most of them approach it. Sheer joy!)

Joy Journal

At the end of last year, I started a Joy Journal, finding something every day that brings me joy and keeping it in journal form. It can be anything. A walk as the snow falls around me. Watching a puppy video. Cuddling with one of my cats. Buying fresh flowers. Going on a carnival ride.

  • continue the daily joy journal

Drawing Prompts

I like to draw. I’m not very good, but I enjoy it. My husband, Pierre, does too. But we never seem to find the time to create. In December, I found a book called 500 Drawing Prompts. It gives you something to draw and it takes 5 minutes (ish) to complete. I thought it would be a small thing we could do after dinner to reinvigorate our interest in drawing. Prompts vary from “hot air balloon” to “circus clown” to “what’s under your bed”. Fun & relaxing!

  • continue daily drawing prompts

My Book

I’ve been writing stories since I could put words together. More than a year ago, I finished my first novel, which is something I’ve wanted to do all my life. Writing it was pure joy. It was so much fun to create characters and put them in scenarios. Since then, I’ve been trying to find a literary agent. It’s not fun getting rejected over and over again, but I have to suck it up, if I want to get published.

  • By the end of this year, I want an agent. Someone is looking at my manuscript right now, but if it’s rejected, I’ll send as many queries as it takes to find an agent.
  • Start writing my second book.

Blog

Since I finished my novel, I haven’t been writing as much so I decided to create The Do-Over Project and write this blog about it.

  • My goal is to write a daily post or as often as I can–as long as I keep it up over the next year.

Adventure

I love an adventure! Whether it’s to a small town visit, a staycation, the tropics, anywhere! But in the last couple of years I’ve had a growing yearning to travel around the world.

Because I haven’t had a lot of lucrative contracts in the last few years, money has been tight and thus I’ve not been able to travel. Because I’m starting a pretty good year contract, I went to my financial planner. To me, financial health is important only insofar is that growing my money allows me to do the things I want–like travel.

  • Go to my financial planner  DONE
  • Set up RRSP for stability but also a travel account to start March 15 DONE
  • Save 15-20,000 for a big trip in 2-3 years.
  • I have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to Bali at a reduced rate. On top of the above, tighten my belt so I can save $2000
  • Take a beach vacation in 2018 with my husband
  • Take two local vacations in the next 3 years with my husband
  • Get new passports for husband and myself (spring 2017)
  • Go to bank for a travel rewards card

Other

  • Find 10 things  do that bring more fun/joy to my life.
  • Finish my office. I have a beach theme in my office and I want to finish it this year. It brings me great joy to sit and look at my special shells!!

A synopsis of all my goals

Some of my goals will be accomplished daily, others weekly, still others monthly and even some I don’t care as long as they get done in the next year! So in my next post, I’ll organize them into where they fit into my timeline. Basically, this is what my goal list looks like:

  • Increase fitness level
  • Decrease weight
  • Improve/maintain healthy eating habits
  • Get knee and gut taken care of
  • Maintain supplements (add as required)
  • Continue neurofeedback
  • Increase fun/joy by singing, drawing, continuing my joy journal and this blog, getting a book agent, and taking adventures

Seems doable, doesn’t it? We’ll see…

Cheers,

Tracy

 

 

So much to do, so little time

I’m only 8 days into The Do-Over Project and I’ve already screwed up! At least that’s what I would have said 9 days ago. But one of my goals, as you will see shortly, is to do something differently every day.

So, today, when I didn’t get up early and do my run and work out like I said I was going to, I flogged myself instantly! “You see?!” I said to myself, “You can’t even commit to something for 8 days, without screwing it up”. In the past, after a couple of these failures, I’d give up and BE a failure.

But then I said to myself, “No, you didn’t get up as you promised yourself you would, but that gives us a thing to do differently, as per our other goal of doing things differently!” I stopped the flogging.

Later in the day, I did my work out. It’s amazing what happens when you GET OFF YOUR BACK!! When you stop flogging yourself and give yourself a chance, you might actually succeed! This might be just crazy enough to work! Besides, I committed to giving myself 365 days to change my life. I can’t possibly fail for 365 days! At some point, there’s got to be some success! I still have 357 days.

As promised, I wrote out my goals. They aren’t written in stone. They may shift or change completely. Some aren’t quite specific enough yet. I need some more time with them. But here’s a rough draft and I think I did a pretty good job of making them S.M.A.R.T. goals, which is what experts recommend for succeeded at your goals. S.M.A.R.T. = Specific, Measureable, Attainable/Realistic, Time-based.

I’ve grouped my goals  into the various areas of my life, but many cross goal lines (excuse the pun–I HOPE they cross goal lines!). For example, I like to run, but it isn’t just exercise to me. It’s a time to release tension, think through issues, be creative, breathe deeply, burn calories and so much more.

Exercise

  • Get knee fixed (as a fitness instructor/personal trainer I can use what I know about sports injuries to fix what I THINK is a small meniscus tear). If I can’t fix it by Feb 7, I’ll see my doctor and get some physio. It impacts my running so I better get it fixed!
  • Sign up for Ottawa Race Weekend 10 km (Saturday, May 27, 2017) DONE
  • Start training first week of February
  • Complete Ottawa Race 10km in____:____
  • Sign up for MEC Race Series
  • Go to each MEC RACE:
    • Saturday, February 11, 2017
    • Sunday, April 16, 2017
    • Sunday, June 18, 2017
    • Sunday, July 9, 2017
    • Sunday, August 6, 2017
    • Sunday, October 29, 2017
  • Sign up for Army 1/2 marathon or 10km (Sunday, September 17)
  • Sign up for Fall Colours 10km (Sunday, October 8)
  • Workout: GOAL (need one). We have a gym in our home and I general work out after I run on the tread mill (in winter) or outside (in summer)
  • Rock climbing:
    • I was indoor rock climbing up until December 2016 so I will start again on Sunday, February 5.
    • A GOAL. I have a fear of heights so just getting to the  gym has always been a goal, but perhaps I need to up the ante. An outdoor climbing trip?

Weight

  • 5 lbs off by February 10
  • Another 5 lbs off by February 28
  • Weigh 135 lbs by Ottawa Race Weekend (Saturday, May 27)
  • Answer this: What can I do differently to attain this GOAL?

Food

  • I’m a pretty healthy eater, but I got off track this past Christmas. Too many sweets and other things that don’t feel good in my body. So, go back to my normal eating habits, which mean
  • Little or no white bread (I have Irritable bowel Syndrome so bread doesn’t do well in my tummy)
  • Few or no sweets (with the exception of Stevia in my coffee, which I drink 2 cups per day of, so I’m happy with coffee intake. Sweets + bread is a real no-no for me ie cinnamon buns, pie, cake, all the good stuff!)
  • Limit alcohol (which I do anyway) but maintain
  • Go back to mainly protein and vegetables, which makes me feel good

Supplements

Continue habit of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3-6-9
  • add: Magnesium (500 mg?)
  • Start pro/prebiotics (10 million) DONE

Other Health

  • Continue Neurofeedback once/week, but begin training other areas of the brain
  • DON’T cancel my cardiologist specialist. I had a bit of a scare a couple of weeks into January where I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to the hospital and they found nothing. Healthy as a horse! As a precaution, I have a cardiologist appointment. I want to cancel it, because I feel I’m wasting the doctor’s time. I think there are people who need it far worse than I do, BUT I need to just suck it up and go!
  • I am determined to balance my gut this year! I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and I’m going to find a way to balance it so there’s less bloating, less gas (!), fewer cancelled runs because of tummy troubles.
    •           I’m starting a pro/prebiotic DONE
    •           Nutritionist?
    •           Other?