Write 31: March 2nd

It’s day 2 of my Write 31 challenge. So far, so good ๐Ÿ™‚

Yesterday was a productive Sunday. I did an at-home, full body workout, and went for a hilly 45 minute walk. I bought some new running shoes that I’m anxious to try out this morning. I also ran some errands, got my emissions test done, cleaned up from Saturday’s dinner party, and read a lot. I also listened to my tired ass and went to bed at 8:30 (and it was amazing!). On the food front, I was pretty good. Oatmeal for breakfast, leftover mac and cheese (with BBQ) for late lunch/early dinner, and a protein bar. I finished the night with salad, popcorn, cheese, and two glasses of wine.

Now for my February 2015 Resolution Check-in:

  1. Handstand: Meh. One theme you’ll notice here is that being sick for 2+ weeks really set me back. Frustrating, yes, but not much I could do about it. Anyway, I was not able to work out as much as I wanted, and I lost some strength as a result. I need to work back up to one-minute planks and then up to doing them daily.
  2. Debt: As expected, we lost some momentum from January. I didn’t pay anything extra against our debt this month, except for one accidental double payment to one of my student loans. This should be a better month, however, as I find out today what my annual bonus will be. We did file our taxes and are expecting a refund that we can put towards some debt, but we also need a new mattress, so that will eat into the debt payment. I attended a retirement planning workshop and managed to talk my husband into putting money into his 401(k), so that is a win for sure! I am meeting with a financial planner this week as well.
  3. Being anal: This is one that I haven’t been spending a ton of time thinking about. I feel like I have been more accepting and like being thoughtful about that is becoming more of my personality. I think I’m making progress.
  4. Half-marathon: I’m doing pretty well on this. Again, I wasn’t able to run as much as planned due to my cold/double ear infection/bronchitis/worst sore throat of my life. But, I mostly kept up with the long runs and I’m trucking right along. Race date is April 18 and we’re on track.
  5. Downsize: We found out we have to stay in this house until the end of May in order to avoid paying taxes on any capital gains from the sale. We’re taking this time to continue to clean out closets and pare down our stuff. We’re planning a big garage sale for next month. We went to check out a neighborhood of older, smaller townhomes, in an amazing location, so our list of ‘hoods is up to four. We’re also toying with the idea of truly living downtown, which is a bit of a novelty in Atlanta, but which really appeals to us. Just not sure about the dog-friendliness of it.
  6. Meditate: FAIL.
  7. Booze: FAIL.
  8. Counseling: My husband has continued his anger management therapy, which has led to lots of good conversations between us. I can also see he’s making strong efforts to change his behavior during our arguments. I’m slower to come around, but I’m trying to be mindful of it. I know we definitely need counseling together.
  9. Write: Meh. I have not felt inspired. I’m not sure about the direction of this blog, but I’m taking on this challenge to write daily in March. I’m hoping it will give me some focus and restart my creative energy,
  10. Eating: Mixed bag here. I did not very healthfully in February, but I sort of felt like it was what I needed. When I’m sick, I need extra calories, and the same is true for doing longer runs. Unfortunately, I put on a couple of pounds from eating more and exercising less (shocking, I know). But I ended the month with a recommitment to healthy eating and have been doing well for the last week or so. I need to find the balance between nourishment and indulgence.
  11. Minimalism: See #5.
  12. Empathy: I was not very mindful of this in February. I will use this check-in as a reminder of my need to improve my empathy.
  13. Volunteering: I was scheduled to do part two of my orientation at the pet rescue spot down the street, but they cancelled it due to the threat of bad weather. I need to reschedule but the spots are Saturday mornings, when we do our long runs. But no excuses!
  14. Travel: We didn’t take any trips in February. We are currently planning out what to do for Jack’s birthday (end of this month), our anniversary (cabin in Asheville is booked for mid-May), and most importantly, my 40th birthday in June.
  15. Job: Strange progress in February. There were up and downs at my current job (great review/fighting with my boss). I put out some feelers on some other jobs; one never responded after I told them my goal salary, and I’m still talking with a start-up but it probably won’t go anywhere. I’m attending a conference in late April, so I really want to stay in my current role until then. I really do love the company I work for, and I don’t want to leave. I did some internal networking and will continue that for the next few months, and then start looking for new roles this summer. Unless, of course, I change my mind again ๐Ÿ™‚

When I think back on February, I just feel worn out. The combination of being sick, the dark, cold days, and the fading of the New Year excitement — it wore me out. But March is here, and spring is so very close. Time to move on.


Write 31: March 1st

I’ve somehow gone a week without posting. It was an odd week, as I was at a conference for work (which was cancelled early due to the impending snowstorm that of course never happened), and then work-from-home days due to said “snowstorm,” and then, to be honest, I just haven’t felt very inspired to write anyway,. I started this blog with the idea of learning to be a better writer, and then it morphed into all this goal-setting, and then I’ve been trying to think of topics that my followers would find interesting. But that’s taking me away from my original “vision,” because I’m so not ready to be entertaining readers!

For March, I’m going to try #writeandrun31 again. Although, for me, it should be #write31andrun10 since I’m following a half-marathon training plan and generally only running three times a week ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re not reading Matt Frazier’s No Meat Athlete, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re not a runner and/or a vegan, there is just so much good advice, I think you’ll gain from it. Two of his most recent posts felt like he was in my head:

He also included this in one of his newsletters, which I adore:

be curiousI had a dear friend in college who dreaded each February, as she had been very sick with Hodgkin’s lymphoma one February in her youth. She always said she was in the bell jar in February, and that has stuck with me all these years later. It is the dead of winter, and the clean slate feeling of January is gone. It’s too far from spring to even start to look forward to warmer weather. I spent a lot of this February with that bell jar feeling, fighting off the doldrums and trying to maintain the momentum I started the year with. I was sick for about half the month, which certainly didn’t help. Thankfully, February is over, and spring suddenly doesn’t feel so far away.

For March, my goal is to write every day, and to continue to experiment with my diet to find the right balance that will give me energy for running but won’t include half a box of Girl Scout cookies daily!

Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the progress I’ve made towards my 2015 Resolutions.

On Self-Compassion

Over the last month, since starting this blog, I have been thinking a lot about setting goals, about progress, about what is too much and what is just being disciplined. I’m not sure whether failing to meet a goal means failure, or whether I should forgive myself and move on. I’m also not sure I understand the fine line between being gentle with myself and being a slacker. As I discussed in my January Check-In, I made a ton of progress last month but I didn’t do everything I set out to do. So should I feel proud or did I let myself down?

With all of this in mind, I was excited to see this article yesterday about giving yourself a break and practicing self-compassion. “It’s easy to confuse self-compassion with self-pity,ย andย to use it as an excuse for self-indulgence or other not-so-cute behavior.” The article says that rather than think of self-compassion in these negative ways, it actually involves taking responsibility for your own behavior and accepting that we’re not perfect and there’s nothing wrong with that.

When I read the five signs that I may be too self-critical, they nearly all rang true for me:

  1. Nothing is ever good enough.
  2. Your way is always the right way.
  3. You ruminate repeatedly over your missteps.
  4. You see things are black or white but never gray.
  5. You have an intense feel of failure.

Boom. This is pretty much my brain. And I think some of my resolutions are in line with these, like being less uptight and practicing empathy. This also really spoke to me: “People who are able to change their plans or their outlook more easily increase their self-compassion as well as diminish their levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.” I can’t tell you what a foul mood it puts me in if my plans have to change! It’s one of the biggest issues in my marriage.

Practicing self-compassion is going to be a wonderful tool for me to use in finding balance and making the changes I want to make this year.

Addressing Burnout

I wanted to be sure I wrote about this today. I am officially burned out. This was a tough week mentally, as I had committed to being on a panel, discussing 2015 predictions for our industry. The fact that it was for my peers made it even more challenging, since we were speaking to people who are very knowledgeable about the topic. I am not comfortable being the center of attention, and I have little confidence in my speaking skills. My brain has a horrible tendency to completely go blank. Fun times! So I think that, coupled with the challenges I’ve given myself so far this month, is causing me to feel a little bit over all the restriction. Also, my boss gave us free tickets to a basketball game (in a “party suite,” no less) on Friday night, and it just felt really good to let loose for awhile – drinks, bad food, late night out with my husband. And we didn’t have to feel guilty about spending money because it was free!

The good news is, I hated how I felt yesterday, after drinking too much and eating so many salty things and not going to bed on time. We were supposed to run six miles yesterday, but we rescheduled that for today. So I pretty much felt crappy all day, and I know I’ll continue to feel crappy if I don’t get right back on track.

We’ll be heading out for our run shortly, and I’m going to eat well today and limit the booze to a glass of wine or two. I guess I’m just wondering how to maintain balance. If I say no to everything, I’ll become resentful and I’ll be more likely to cheat/fail/get off track/whatever I should call that. I want to be gentle with myself, to nourish myself, and to take pleasure in that. I want to think of exercising, eating well, and getting lots of sleep in the same way I think of shopping sprees, mimosas, and pizza delivery. I suppose a lot of this is just the ongoing process of growing up, maturing, living and learning. A lot of it is retraining my brain and remembering what I want the most. Delayed gratification. But then I know it’s important to also give myself a break now and then. The trick is maybe not too much of a break? Or find a non-self-destructive break?

I don’t have the answer right now, but I’m glad I’m aware of this and can start working towards a solution. I hope that owning my burnout is the right first step. Looking back, I definitely hit a wall when making changes, and I’m pretty sure this isn’t unique to me. Something to think about during my long run today ๐Ÿ™‚