Inspirational Pessimism

I consider myself an inspirational pessimist. That’s because I like to aim for the best even though I’m pretty certain the odds are against me and I’m prepared for things to end badly. I can also give a darn good pep talk even when I know you’ll most likely fail too.

So here’s to today. Whatever you hope to accomplish, the most important thing is to just get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to know every step. Just do something and start working toward that goal.

It’s the only way and you’ll feel better for knowing you tried.

Do You Believe In Resolutions?

What’s your stance on New Year’s Resolutions?

Studies show that about sixty percent of us make resolutions but only about eight percent of us follow through on them.

I’m a planner and a goal setter so I usually have two or three of varying size.

One of my 2020 resolutions was to read 100 books. Check!

Another was to travel as much as possible with a couple of big trips in mind along with some weekend getaways. That clearly didn’t work out.

And there were some smaller ones that fell to the wayside but others came to light as the year progressed. For example, I log the miles that I hike and intentionally walk every day and am very close to reaching 500 miles.

Planning is in my nature and one of my stronger skills. I’m good at breaking down a large project into small pieces that can be completed in phases. Sadly, 2020 sort of beat the desire to plan right out of me.

And yet, here I am, contemplating goals for the new year. It isn’t productive to wait for the flip of a calendar page to start but a new year feels like a fresh start and an irresistible opportunity to take a run at planning again.

The picture above is from a Denver sidewalk. Most of us will never make it to the moon. But what’s the phrase? Shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Reading, walking and traveling may not get me to the moon or the stars but these things will give me opportunity to improve myself and that’s pretty good too.

Sunrise Over A New Day

Just a pretty sunrise to remind us that we are starting a new day and a new week. It’s a clean slate of sorts.

Want to start a new habit or start working toward a goal? No need to wait for January 1.

Today will do just fine.

One Month Down

January is typically a quieter time for me but this month has been extremely low key. I’ve been home a lot – stress has played a big role along with weather which has made it difficult to get outdoors for hikes.

This has actually made my No Spend Month a little easier. If you stay home (and away from your favorite online retailers), there’s little temptation to buy stuff you don’t need. Even still, I did have some unplanned purchases – a work function took me to a cute vintage shop which I wanted to support. So I spent $21 on two cute hats.

I ate out more than I wanted because of work travel and ended up exceeding my grocery budget as well. This was mainly because I found some deals that will save money in the long run. Even still, I ate well and came in under what I would normally spend on groceries.

There were a number of opportunities to shop for entertainment, to pick up clearance deals or seek out vintage treasures. However, I was so busy doing other things that I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.

I did buy tickets for a couple of upcoming local shows that I really want to see and I’m ok with that.

Perfection isn’t nearly as important to me as “good enough.” And I did good enough.

My little cat is happy having me home more and I’m better read, having plowed through a big stack of books in January.

I didn’t focus on exercise nearly as much as I wanted, opting instead for more rest. The treadmill isn’t nearly so inviting as the open trail.

In all, January feels like a success. It has been pleasant enough that I’m planning to continue through February with some new exceptions to the rules.

So, there you go. One twelfth of the year is now complete. One twelfth! How quickly did that pass?

Adapt, Revise, Change, Repeat

“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.”

Richard Branson

If there’s something you really want, you don’t get to just announce that you want it and then attain your goal without working for it. That means following Mr Branson’s plan to constantly adapt, revise and change.

I’ve somehow gotten off the road toward my goal of being healthy and strong. That was the focus of 2018 – to challenge myself, to stretch and grow and to be as strong and healthy as I can be.

It took about a week of convalescing with a dumb sinus infection to realize how far off mark I have been for the last few months. I’ve lost my drive and am grasping at straws seeking meaning.

So, here I am, regrouping again and trying to determine if I need new goals. I think I’ll stick with healthy and strong and see where it takes me for the remainder of this year.

Here’s hoping I can regain some of the excitement and genuine interest in the world that I used to have.

Make it a good day, my friends.

Recommitting To Myself

new years 2019I’m not a huge fan of the New Year’s Resolution. Maybe it’s because I believe every day is a perfect time to commit to doing something that’s necessary or good. Maybe it’s because I see how quickly most people fail with their resolutions. It takes at least a month of commitment to form a new habit. Sadly it takes one bad decision and about five minutes to revert back to our old ways. Then discouragement sets in and before we know it, we’re waiting for next January 1 to repeat the process.

Last spring, my beautiful friend Sarah introduced me to the Whole 30. It’s designed to help kick a sugar addiction and it’s an elimination diet to help folks with health issues figure out their allergies or other food related problems. For me, it became more of a lifestyle to stave off sugar cravings, lose weight, have increased energy and greater mental focus. I even found that food was causing some mild Rosacea like symptoms.

I quickly learned that I am happier when I eat whole foods and avoid heavily processed stuff. 

It’s a real commitment to be a Whole 30 Pescaterian. It’s a lot of cooking and most convenience food is off the table because it’s packed with sugar and all sorts of nasties you can’t pronounce and probably shouldn’t digest. For most Whole 30’ers, the prospect of eating in a restaurant is enough to incite panic. In other words, it’s a commitment and a challenge. And unlike most diets, if you make a mistake today, you don’t just pick up and go on tomorrow. You go back to day one with every slip up. So if your goal is to just get through the thirty days, it’s stressful when you’re new or when you’re trying to eat on the go.

Like I said, I have achieved a place of lifestyle where I try to stick with it as much as possible but am not bound so tightly by the rules of being on a thirty day round. This healthier diet gave me more energy for hiking, working out and going on adventures. After a few months of being really strict, I gave myself a season of leniency – more or less to see what my tendencies are, what my weaknesses are and what I do if given some leeway.

Turns out, my weaknesses and natural tendencies are appalling.

So today I start a new Whole 30 round and recommit to some of the lifestyle choices that made me so happy last year – drink lots of water, fuel my body with good food, get outdoors when possible, hike a lot, read good books, listen to amazing music, write daily, and surround myself with people and things that make me happy.

I’m also doing a reset on my budget. The holidays and poor self control on this last road trip tell me that I simply cannot be trusted with food, money or anything else. Ha, ha… ahem.

So, I’m not making a resolution. Instead, I’m making conscious decisions to recommit to what’s good for me and to what’s really important.

If you are among the many today who are committing to a resolution, here’s my advice – PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! Write out your strategies, write down what you’re doing, study your choices and reward yourself for good performance.

If your goal is to cut spending so you can pay off a credit card, you would need to make a budget, write down every penny you spend, study your spending habits and chart your progress as the credit card balance decreases. Then periodically reward yourself with something special but not necessarily something that costs money. Maybe you invite a friend over for coffee or take a long, hot bubble bath. If you have kiddos, plan a picnic at a local park.

You get the idea.

Whatever you do, remember that the thing you want – the slimmer body, the fatter bank account, the life without cigarettes, or whatever it is – you can work toward every day of the year. You don’t need a calendar or a silly annual tradition to make it happen. You WILL need some elbow grease and a commitment to make it reality.

I have my plan together and I have a goal to be good to myself. And really, my friends, what’s better than committing to being kind to yourself?

Best wishes with your resolutions or goals or whatever it is you call them. Go forth and conquer every day this year! Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!