2021-03-07 Checking It and (Mostly) Not Wrecking It ❤️💤☯️ ✔️✔️✔️

It’s Sunday again and I’m up early and checking my stats. I changed things up for the month of March so this is my first week evaluating new measures. 

For exercise I’m still keeping tabs on my step count but also trying to improve my heart function by making sure I get some good cardio in. I had no idea what to expect for my heart rate with certain activities so I set my goal for this first week at 15 minutes a day in the “cardio” zone. 

Cardio zone for a woman my age starts at 121 beats per minute and apparently that’s not as easy to achieve with my normal routine. I can’t seem to walk fast enough on the treadmill to get there (no surprising I suppose) and I’d have to kick it up to a jog. Gross! 

I went to a few weight training classes this week and that doesn’t do it either. Again, not surprising as that’s not a cardio activity, Then on Friday I went to a “Turbo Kick” class and it literally kicked my ass. Yes, I got 44 minutes of cardio that day but I also almost died. Good gravy! 

I also achieved 1 minute in the “peak” zone during that class which is anything above 147. There’s got to be a happy medium. I just need to find an activity that gets me right to 125 and doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to puke or pass out. 

Another discovery this with addition of cardio this week is that all the sports bras I used to use for Jazzercise no longer fit my body. They are all too tight and I think that between being less active during the pandemic and stress eating and also just enjoying life as a married woman, I’ve gained some pounds. Sadly it’s not my cup size that has gone up but my circumference. I mean.. you don’t put weight on in your boobs. It’s underarms and back fat I’m talking about. And one might say it could be muscle but I’m 100% certain it’s not. The conclusion of that little tangent is that I’ve got to shop for a few new articles of clothing. 

Anyway so that’s the cardio story this week and now I’m determine what I need to do or adjust to improve. I did hit my target 3 of 7 days so I think just sticking with 15 minutes and aiming for like 5 of 7 would be good. I think it will be easier now that I know what activities work. 

This week I also changed my sleep measurement to include going to bed (sleep) before 10:00. The FitBit records when I fall asleep. So I’m banking on the fact that when I go to bed I’ll fall asleep right away which is almost always true for me. I achieved that goal 4 nights out of 7 but for overall sleep goal only 3 of 7. The check and balance is seeing if going to bed earlier actually improves my overall sleep score. 

I’d like to adjust the goals a little differently for the weekends because I’d actually like to get to a place I can stay up late and sleep in more, so figuring out a way I can factor in later bed times for Friday and Saturday and still hit a certain goal. As it is with most things I’m like.. it’s a work in progress. 

I still haven’t been meditating like I’d like. I even set a timer to remind me every day to stop what I’m doing and meditate. That was an absolute fail as I just dismissed the alarm EVERY SINGLE TIME. I’d say.. “I just have to finish this task and then I’ll meditate.” Then I finish and forget and rush off to do something else. I’m gonna try to do better this week. I really am. 🤞 

The other thing I added this week was screen time including duration on “social networking.” I set the goal at less than 2.5 hours of screen time and less than 30 minutes of social. For screen time I achieved my goal 5 of 7 days and for social 3 of 7. 

“Social networking” is in quotes because Apple includes text messaging in this stat. I don’t necessarily agree with this because texting is mostly just communication with my loved ones. Last Sunday for example, I didn’t meet my goal because I logged 1 hour of social time yet 56 minutes of that was texting and 4 was Facebook. So to really set a true measure I’d have to look at each day and set a different goal for messaging versus everything else. 

Frankly that’s too much work and I’m going to just try to stretch my goal this week to under 25 minutes and then just not text as much. I’m also stretching my overall daily screen time goal to less than 2 hours and 15 minutes. We’ll see. 

Today is going to be tough because I’ve already been looking at stats and typing for almost 2 hours. I’m going to wrap soon and then hopefully put my phone away for most of the day. Again, we’ll see.

I think that really is it for today. That’s enough right?! 

Cheers to the Change Up,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-03-01 Welcome to New Beginnings…

Where was I at again? A new week? A new month? A fresh start? Oh yeah.. that. 

So far so good and pretty soon now both my kids will be home and all will be right with the world again. 

It was 2:45PM before I looked at what I was supposed to do today according to the almighty to-do list and no surprise that not a single one of those things has been done. I’m still working on my Sunday list and progress is slow. 

I also forgot about all my new metrics for the day.. sort of on purpose to see how I do naturally. I did go to bed “on time” last night so if all else fails, at least I have that. 

My whole day today has been a fast moving train of dirty dishes, grocery shopping, and really just putting away all the random things that end up all over the house in the wrong places. How can all that take 4 hours? Well.. let’s just say it can. But I’m not complaining, just saying that’s my job now. 

Something inside of me is still defending my decision to quit my “career” job to take care of my family and myself. Something inside me feels inadequate because I’m not making any money. I’ve been conditioned by society to equate my self worth with how much money I make and I’m here today to say that it’s a hard feeling to shake. 

It doesn’t matter how much I am able to help my kids, how much blood I donate to the Red Cross, how much time I spend “volunteering” for the lit mag, or how much I’m able to get done at the house. It just doesn’t. I still feel like I’m not doing enough.. and that’s fucked up. 

***

Well.. I did get my walking in but darling daughter came home from work and most of my treadmill time was spent catching up with her. 

I’ve got more to say, but there’s always tomorrow. 

Beginning at the Beginning Again and Again,

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-02-28 Looking Back to Improve the Future… 🗓 ✅🚫⏰

It’s the last day of the month and the last day of the week AND the last day of my little experiment to untether myself from my phone. You know what that means? It’s time for the ultimate Sunday status. 

First off.. I’ve already been analyzing “stats” for about 50 minutes of today’s walk so either I’m gonna keep walking and get a huge boost on my steps today or this post is going to be super short. 

My update is also going to be a little skewed this week cuz I did try to disconnect from my phone and normal routine to see what affect that would have on my mood and outlook on life. 

This means I did not check my steps or sleep or anything else all week and did not keep track of meditation or eating habits. I just let it all go for a week. I didn’t have a FitBit in 2006 so I treated this past week as if I still didn’t. However, I still wore the FitBit so it could collect the stats anyhow. Why? Just cuz. 😜

Syncing this morning it appears that there are no surprises. Aside from the addition of exercise classes this week, my steps remained about the same and my sleep did not deviate from the norm. 

Those are the only two categories I have definitive results on. As I said the others weren’t tracked and are largely subjective anyhow. 

Moving on to the the results of my little experiment to bring 2006 back…. all things considered I would say it was kind of an epic fail. I suppose I did a fine job leaving my phone alone for the most part and embraced limiting my checking of email like a champ. I’m already a minimalist when it comes to Facebook and twitter and insta so it was easy to not open those apps all week.

In short, all things that are naturally easy were easy. The more challenging areas are responding to text messages and I came to conclude that I wasn’t going to be able to give up this daily blog. It’s the main activity that boosts my screen time each day. And that didn’t change this past week. 

My daily average screen time last week was 2 hours and 27 minutes (down 32% from the previous week). The previous week was about an hour longer. The devil, of course, is in the details. I can look at the apps and categories (productivity, social networking, and creativity) and see where my time is being spent. Very useful.

It looks like the reporting of data collected only goes back 4 weeks so I don’t have long term analytics like I do with FitBit, but it’s enough to analyze my week last week and perhaps set new goals. I’m not inclined to try and limit my productivity (this) but can definitely set a goal around “social networking.” 

I find it interesting that the messaging app is categorized as social networking along with Facebook and Twitter. I dig digging into this data and am already developing a new set of metrics and goals. I just can’t help myself. 🤣

***

Tomorrow is the start of a new month and new week which means an opportunity to start fresh and redefine the goals. Considering my attempts in February (and January too for that matter) fell short, I’m going to try and take a look at things from the new perspectives gained these past few weeks. I’m no longer going to be measuring “success” according to the same scale. Here are the new-new targets:

For sleep, instead of going according to the sleep score or duration, I’m going to be hyper-focused on whe time I go to bed. The goal will be to be in bed by 10pm with about half an hour of wind-down time beforehand. If I’m able to do that, the other stats should validate that it is working. 

I’m removing food and healthy eating from the set list of goals. Instead I’m going to try not to think about it as much. I’m putting the scale away and not imposing any restrictions or trying any fad behaviors. The ultimate objective is to put the focus elsewhere. I spend too much time struggling with the healthy eating puzzle and always seem to fail. Maybe if I let that shit go, I will have more time to work on other mental puzzles. We’ll see.

I’m keeping mood and meditation for now, but added an daily alarm on my phone to stop what I’m doing immediately and meditate. We’ll see how that goes too. 

As for the screen time and dependency on technology.. my new goals are to keep daily screen time down under 2.5 hours a day AND not more than 30 minutes on social stuff (remember that includes messaging). To support this I’m going to continue to keep my phone at a distance, both overnight and during the day. At least that part of what I did last week seems as though it would be easy to adopt more permanently. 

I’m not really changing my expectations for steps but adding 20 minutes of cardio as another check. The classes will help and I’m going to look into what cardio classes my gym offers. The strength training I started this week is great, but I’m really missing Jazzercise or some other form of cardio. If all else fails, I could always just bike here at home. 

I’ve actually switched to the bike now. I’ve perfected walking and typing at the same time and so this is a test of biking and typing. 

I think that’s the end of the changes for this week. Am I ready for a new week? Am I ready for March? Yes and no. 

Ready or not though.. time waits for no one.

Cheers to Healthy Living (and Analytics),

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-14 Day of Reckoning 🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽

So far so good this week. It’s the second week of January and I’m doing OK sticking to “the plan.” The plan being to NOT take on too much and make micro moves to improve my health and well being. The target is currently getting better/more sleep and trying some things that might help with my daytime fatigue. 

I changed “productivity” on the list of goals I’m tracking each day to “mood” and added meditation. I’ve committed myself to not becoming over committed so I set the goal for meditation to 15 minutes a day. I can do that. It’s achievable and that’s important. Yesterday was day 3 using the Waking Up app. I’m digging it. 

As far as swapping productivity for mood, the way I figure it’s all the same in my brain. If I’m productive, I’m usually in a better mood and both categories are subjective. I never really had a solid daily goal. No “if I do X, Y, and Z, then I can check that box” so This mood thing makes more sense. 

Probably one of the biggest challenges with “the plan” for this year is the thoughts that creep in about what else I can do. Like today, I’m doing good. I see my stats are banging and all the boxes are being checked and my brain naturally urges me to add something else. 

Brain says “you’re doing great so why not do better by adding another goal? You want to do better right? You’re awesome and you can do it!” 

Yes, my brain tells me I’m awesome all the time. Now aren’t you jealous? 

I try to be humble most of the time but sometimes it slips out. We all have our weak moments but I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with self esteem. I mean, not in the pure sense of the concept. I’ve suffered from a lack of being loved properly before and wondered what was wrong with me, but even through that, I still felt good about myself. I’ve suffered also from body image issues, but deep down still know I’m doing ok. That I’m healthy and doing the best I can. 

I digress. 

So far this week my brain has urged me to do the following:

  1. Increase my daily step count goal (more than once). 
  2. Set a new goal to increase my submissions to publications. 
  3. Add additional chores into the daily rotation. 
  4. Donate blood. 
  5. Add another New Years resolution to keep my closet clean every day. 
  6. Commit to writing a new poem each week. 
  7. Try to start a new writing workshop with friends. 

These thoughts just pop into my head randomly and I acknowledge them. I remember what my friend M says about these busy thoughts. She said just watch them go by like a movie and let go of the need to take action. I’m trying.

They pop, and I watch, and then they subside. I’m learning more about how to be better at this and beginning to practice with the meditation instruction I’m receiving. Like I said, so far so good.

***

Today I have one and only one weekly house chore on my list. That’s to clean toilets. I’ve put this on my list in past weeks and have never actually made an effort to go around the house and clean all the toilets. I hate cleaning toilets. This is a stupid statement. Who likes cleaning toilets? When I got married last year I almost put in my vows something like “I vow not to let you domesticate me, and I vow never to do your laundry or vacuum.” Call it the anti-vow. 

A few weeks ago Jim and I had our first real argument. We’ve had disagreements before but this was a heated, trite conversation that was triggered by the fact that his teenage son does not separate his recycling from his trash. I was sick and tired of digging through dirty trash bags to separate the recycling and it just came out, and it came out exasperated and angry.

Jim countered this with how upset he was that the toilets are dire. Instead of talking more about it, it was swept away till “later” when we were both calm and away from the edge. We never revisited these issues so I’m sure it will rear its ugly head at some point.

However, IF I’ve made an effort to clean, he’ll have no choice but to help with my “trashy” issue right??!! 

Today is the day. Toilets, here I come! 🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽

I’m also driving to CB to visit my dad and having a rare coffee meetup with my friend Josh. The last umpteen times Josh and I have made a plan, I’ve dipped out day-of. We used to hang out a lot when I lived in Papillion. We went to the same gym and we used to walk and talk and sometimes go for coffee too. Of course it was way more than just that but the friendship waned when I met Jim and when I moved it became rare to hang out.

I think I saw him once last year with the pandemic. Maybe twice. I definitely have to be in the right mood for a meetup with the guy. He can be intense. He can also be a broken record. He also sometimes says things with a motive of insighting conflict. A good example is telling me I’m with the wrong person. Even after I got married he still says it. Obviously since I have not seen him, his only opportunity to get digs in is over text. My standard response is “cool story bro.” What I should say is “at least I’m with someone.” He hasn’t had a real girlfriend for years. He’s very stuck and broken and can’t face his own issues (or just doesn’t make moves to fix them) but very good at pointing out other people’s issues. Not my problem.

Wow. It seems like I really don’t like this guy. It’s probably why I haven’t met up with him in a while (besides the Covid). Why then would I meet up with him now? That’s a good question. I think that would be a good topic for a future blog post. Maybe tomorrow after I’ve met with him. 

Anyway, so that’s my day today and perhaps it will all play out like I envision in my head. Perhaps. 

Sometimes I think my steps are not being recorded accurately. I mean, I feel as though I’ve been walking and typing for a while now and I still only have 7K steps. How can that be? No matter, I’ve got to get to scrubbing. 

🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽🚽, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-10 Sunday Status New Year Style

Yesterday was another well balanced day that began with a lovely walk and several hours spent playing catch-up on all the GLR stuff that’s overdue to be completed. There’s still more to do but I can sail through the rest of the weekend feeling satisfied with my progress. 

The day rolled along and I spent some good QT with Z and with Jim. Z is actively selling some of the extra furniture from our craft room and so I’m helping her with that. Any funds she collects will go toward her latest project which just happens to be starting a new business on Etcy. She’s got big plans, motivation, and time. I mean. At the moment she has all these. We’ll see once she goes back to school. 

In any case, the gutting and reorg of the craft room is for that endeavor too. She needs a well ventilated space to work on her latest passion.. resin. At Christmas we all got gifts that were made out of resin and she’s learning a lot about how to produce good quality items that don’t have flaws like bubbles and unfinished edges. One thing is true.. when she decides to do something she’s thorough and determined. 

All of the furniture we are parting with is mine from my old house and life. When we first moved in we decided to keep the furniture so that when the kids move out to their own places they would have some things that they would not need to buy. But honestly, that seems to be quite a bit into the future and it will be better just to get rid of it now.

She’s using Facebook marketplace to sell and these items are priced to move so as soon as she posted, she immediately had to field dozens of inquiries about availability, dimensions, etc. I suspect a large part of our day today will be more of the same. That’s ok. 

Last night I powered through almost falling asleep at 8PM and demanded we do something else besides sit and talk. Talking, while lovely, is sometimes not very stimulating. I basically said, let’s watch an action movie. So we did. 

Jim selected ‘Bourne Ultamatum’ which he had seen and I didn’t remember ever watching before and it was good. Some parts felt familiar but that could be because I’ve seen other Bourne movies. It’s a pretty good movie. I’d recommend it. We’ll I’d recommend it if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone has probably already seen it. That’s how it is with me. I haven’t seen much. 

Anyway.. we watched the entire thing and I stayed awake for all of it. Hooray! After that I was like, peace out, and went straight to bed. FitBit recorded 11pm as the time my body went inactive. I guess one thing I can be grateful for is the fact that I don’t have trouble falling asleep at bedtime. I can’t recall ever having that problem in the last 10 years. It’s just all the waking in the middle of the night nonsense that’s my peoblem. 

Today / this week, I’m introducing meditation into my regular routine. Normally when starting something new like this would involve research but in this case the heavy lifting has basically already been done for me. I’ve got a few good starter apps that were recommended to me by my friend Vis who I didn’t even know did meditation until we were texting about it this week. 

I previously mentioned backing off some other goals/measures and making that official today. My step goal has been reduced to 10K steps a day. My sleep goal is now 7 hours a night -or- a sleep score > 75. I’m changing the productivity measure to “mood” and backing off the requirement for meeting that each day (which is kind of nebulous), and adding meditation to the list. Starting small.. 15 minutes a day learning and experimenting. 

What about food and healthy eating? Well I’m going to try backing off paying too much attention to that actually. Which is tough. I wanted to declare that I was going to stop weighing myself but I can’t right now. Believe it or not, it’s counter to my new approach. It really would be taking on too much and causing my brain to think about it too much and that’s not my objective. So I’m truth, it’s better to maintain the status quo than try and make a change. 

I want to spend less time thinking about it and not more. Checking this box each day becomes somewhat nebulous too since there is no measure. I’ve always hated the idea of using weight as the measure, but it’s just easy. 

Yes.. I just tried to make a case for why I’m going to continue to weigh myself everyday in support of not thinking about healthy eating. Kind of ridiculous. But whatever. 

I also resolved to be a better accountability buddy. This means reporting to T each week and seeing how she’s doing too. It’s first up on my list today when I finish my walk. 

Then we’ll do that Sunday thing we do. 

So without further ado, 

I bid thee farewell. 

Later gaters, 

~Miss SugarCookie

2021-01-08 Vivre la Résolution! 🗓

I’m satisfactorily rested and caffeinated. I’m in good spirits and so far feeling on top of the “sitch” today. It’s certainly still a very volatile status, kinda like that cliche about weather in Nebraska. Wait a day…. 

Case in point is that yesterday felt dire. I mean like “holy-hell-will-I-ever-get-my-act-together?” dire. Exhausted by a few chores and the “UN-Christmasing” of the house, I basically felt like a limp lump by 3 in the afternoon.

At some point I reached out to my friend M to see what her thoughts were and then later initiated a conversation with Jim about it. “Something has to change” I said. 

I’m now several months past getting over withdrawal from cutting the Benzos out of my life. My body should be back to normal, or at least baseline. A place ready to start fresh to try a new approach. Of ALL the things I want to resolve for 2021, this issue is at the tippy-top of my list. 

Sleep, daytime fatigue, and having more energy in the evenings when it matters most to my peeps. Last night I basically started falling asleep on the couch at 8:30 and was useless to anyone or for anything. Enough is enough. 

It’s January 2021.. It’s time! Let’s go!!

As I often do at the start of a new year, I’ve got big plans. Big ideas and dreams about what I’m going to accomplish or how I’ll finally figure out the balance equation of life. I’m working actively to resist this line of thinking now. Like meditation, my mind wanders away so easily and I have to refocus. I always feel like I fail at meditation because I can’t get my mind to behave. 

Yesterday my friend M offered some sage advice. About meditation. She said that it’s impossible to keep the mind from wandering and the trick is to let it play but be an “inactive” participant. Don’t feel like you have to take action on every thought. Just watch it play out like a movie. I think this is fantastic! I’m excited to try meditation again.

I’m letting that thought simmer as I determine the best course of action to take on my prime directive. The fatigue conundrum. 

I’m actively letting go of other potential objectives: eating healthy, exercise, productivity, cultivating relationships. But when I say I’m letting go, I’m not saying I don’t want to do those things. I’m saying I’m taking pressure off myself to have such high standards. I believe that if I can fix this one BIG problem in my life, the others will improve naturally. 

In support of this concept, instead of upping my goals, which is my typical New Year move, I’m actually backing off. I’m giving myself more room to breathe. Call it the anti-resolution, but a resolution none the less. 

It starts like this: 

  1. Backing down to 10k steps a day as an exercise goal (as opposed to 15k). And not adding any other requirements to check that box each day. 
  2. Back the sleep goal to 7 hours or 75 as a sleep score. 
  3. Not weighing myself every morning. This one is BIG. 
  4. Easing up on the self imposed daily productivity goals. Checking that box more based on mood and feeling than actual tasks accomplished. Trusting my instincts instead of relying on concrete proof. 

These are the real, measurable goals I use to gauge how I’m doing. It’s also what I use to report to my accountability buddy, T. I’ve mentioned this falling off the radar and we both agree we need to pick it back up again. In short, I’m still measuring but giving myself more ability to feel like a success. It also means I’ll have more time to focus on the prime directive. 

Again, talking about daytime fatigue, not prohibiting interference with the internal and natural development of alien civilizations (clarification for all you Trekkies our there). 

It involves meditation, getting quality sleep at night, and potentially naps during the day. And so far doesn’t include taking any sleep aid but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I gave up on CBD oil, but Jim said I may look to a different manufacturer or type. Possibly. I also have Trazadone but the one and only time I took that I felt like crap most of the day after. Not looking to get hooked on another prescription drug either. 

What else? I suppose just thinking more not just about what but how. How to approach making steps toward this goal. It’s one thing to say you are going to try meditation but another entirely on how to start, and what measure indicates success? As with a lot of things, it begins with education. I’m going to spend some time with this and maybe include as a part of my “mood” goal each day.

You see how this anti-resolution can be a tricky-pickle? It really is. How do you stop thinking about something you are so conditioned to think about all the time. I think the answer is to do as my friend M says and let the thoughts happen but not necessarily act on them. 

An interesting experiment indeed. 

That’s it for today. Finally feeling that 2021 thing that’s happening.

Ready or not….

~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-27 My Days are Like the Weather in Nebraska

Being gung-ho one day is no problem. Having big plans and Ideas and goals is easy to do for a day or two but sticking with a plan, day in and day out, is not as easy. This is why taking on bite-sized improvements is important. I can count on my 10 fingers the things I committed to yesterday. And somehow I had energy and was inspired.

I also had all these other non-goal related thoughts about past relationships and memories and poems I wanted to write. A variable fever parade of ideas. Today, however, it’s all gone.

Rewind to last night when I was riding a wave of unusually high evening energy. I was attributing that to a boost in the protein I had to eat during the day. Like one day would make that much difference. But I was still awake at 10:30 which is super rare. Then when I did get to bed I began to have a headache. And a stomach ache. Both persisted through the night and that’s exactly how I woke up.

6:30am with an aching head and nausea. The light sensitivity made me conclude it was probably a migraine. My sleep was so poor the FitBit didn’t even calculate a score. Good grief.

It’s definitely not the way I wanted to start day 2 with all my new goals. And it’s not like I could have slept in to try and extend my night. Nope.

I had to get up and make breakfast and get my son Up too as he forgot to set his alarm clock. I drove him to school and when I got home I had to grab our new little kitten who had a vet appointment for the rest of his shots at 8:30.

I briefly considered canceling that because of my headache but powered through to get it over with. The good news is that Gus-Gus is doing great. He’s 9.4 pounds and very well adjusted for a 5 month old. The women at the clinic just love our little purrrr machine. They clipped his claws and say he did great. When it’s all said and done, I’m glad I went and can check that off my list.

When I got home, I gave myself like an hour to lay on the couch with my eyes closed. The ghost of my migraine still loitering about with Luigi on the right side of my head. But I knew I would feel worse if I lay around too long so I got up and took a caffeine and did the dishes.

Now I’m on the treadmill trying to get my steps. Yesterday I got 17K which is way above goal and also rare. Of the measures agreed upon I did good on 3 out of 4 yesterday. Sleep is the only one I didn’t hit goal on, but as I said yesterday the answer to that is mostly getting to bed at a descent time.

So now that I’m in a more “typical” state of mind, I can think clearly about what bite size goals looks like. Doing “everything” now is not realistic. I can reposition the needle, point at moderation in most cases.

Still, I wish I could get back the energy and all those ideas I had yesterday. I’d like to do some of that creative writing.. something new, anything. The amount of viable writing I have done this year is kind of pathetic, but it’s a pandemic so I can’t be too hard on myself.

I wish I had something more today. I think this is it though. Time to try and be productive. That trash is not going to take itself out. The litter boxes aren’t going to scoop themselves. My life is so exciting. 🙄

Wait a Day and It Will Change (again),
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-26 Goals and Accountability

Making progress is sometimes tough. But what IS progress anyway and who decides what success looks like? Like most things it’s not one size fits all. Each person has to decide for themselves what success means to them. Regardless, there has to be some measure and to measure something there has to be a value associated. Some way to set one instance next to another and say “that’s an improvement”, closer to a goal or farther away.

After talking with my friend Tre yesterday, I’m thinking more about not just my goals but the measurements I use to determine if I’m doing good (or slacking). I used to do accounting of my “stats” on a weekly basis. Comparing my sleep, steps, healthy eating (via weight—as flawed as that is) to what I had recorded in previous weeks, months, and yes, even years.

Then my life changed and I stopped doing that. I’d still look daily at the things recorded in my Fitbit app but wasn’t really paying that much attention or comparing one week to the next with some goal in mind.

Perhaps I felt it was futile or maybe that I had achieved what I wanted and was in a maintenance mode where goals were no longer necessary. Either way.. it seems as though I’m no longer hitting those original targets and in need of a reboot.

For sure there’s no better time to start again than today. Because .. why wait?! 

The first step is to look at my measures and redefine what realistic goals are. I struggle figuring out which things are the most important for helping me feel better (and I’ve felt like crap long enough now that it’s become the new normal).

I always think getting better sleep will have the biggest impact in how I feel each day. Not sure why that is. And my goal in Fitbit, has been 7.5 hours a night. How often do I hit that? Almost never. Vacations, weekends sometimes. I think I dismissed this stat / goal when I got my Alta HR which provided the ability for the device to collect heart rate and calculate my sleep score. The sleep score became the new measure, but what’s the goal?

When I talked to Tre I told her that anything below 70 is no good, 70-80 is fair, And anything above 80 is good. I didn’t say anything about above 90 cuz that feels like an unachievable target. One I’ve only had a few times and never without some sleep aid.

So if I’m going to start paying attention again and be accountable for reporting out my “stats” do I revert to duration? Reevaluate the goal? Or do I use the sleep score. Say anything above 75 is a star for the day.  That feels reasonable.

I also have to recognize that I’m never gonna hit my goal without actually making a change. I need to get to bed at good time. 10pm?? I need to try to do that. Which does not really mesh with Jim’s schedule. But I gotta try.

The other things under consideration are exercise, healthy eating, and general productivity/wellness.

I think I have ways to determine how I’m doing with exercise but how about productivity and general wellness? What’s the measure and the goal?

I told Tre that I feel very motivated in the mornings but the more the day drags on, the more I start to waiver. Make excuses why I can’t get stuff done and then just flat out give up. So what if I set myself like 2 or 3 tasks each day and if I do them, I get a star that day? This might require some planning.

Tre talked about meal planning on Sundays and then all you have to do is grocery shop for that and roughly follow the plan. Maybe I can do the same with my tasks? Write them out on Sunday and then just make sure that week, 2 get done each day. That could work.

Not sure about meal planning but I might start tracking my macronutrients again. After a conversation with Jim’s sister this weekend, I think I might not be getting enough protein in my diet. But you know I have no idea how much I should be getting. Time to do some research!

So that’s it. 4 measures, 4 goals and evaluating/reporting it out weekly. I can do this.

The accountability to another person will help I think. I’ve never had that before. Sort of an accountability partner. Someone to check in with who also has goals and cares. We all need more people in our lives that care like that. I’m excited to get started actually.

Today’s “tasks” aren’t well defined but I’m gonna try to get my GLR subs distributed AND hopefully make some progress on getting our Org established as a real entity in the eyes of the state so we can finally have that non-profit status. I’ve been procrastinating that and ain’t nobody gonna do it but me.

Of course there’s also my house chores and ain’t nobody got time for hearing more about that.

I think that’s enough for today. I still need more steps but I’m gonna do a bit of reading to pass the time.

Cheers to Rebooting my Health And Wellness!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-04-12 Hoppy Sunday Status 💜🐰🌷

It’s Easter. I rarely went to church as a kid (as in almost never) and so for me the holiday is all about bunnies, and baskets, and egg hunts. I actually collected stuffed bunnies when I was a kid and so each Easter, another member was added to my little family. I never owned a Barbie. My “playing House” was done with bunnies.

I had a momma bunny and daddy bunny and all the little ones had cute names like jelly bean and candy cane and cotton candy. I might have had a sweet tooth. I might still. 😜

The bunny collecting wasn’t limited to a Easter though. I had Christmas bunnies and anytime some other fad came around, like beanie babies. I received those bunnies too. Even as I became too old for stuffed animals, people still gave them to me as gifts. It’s a tradition I tried hard not to pass down to my kids, but people love to give stuffed animals as gifts. They ended up with giant piles of them also. Whatever.

Easter around here is kind of a non-event this year. Jim put together little baskets for his kids (and me) and left them for us to find when we woke up. It’s funny because yesterday I mentioned that the first gift he ever gave me was an Easter basket.

We had just started dating and he picked me up on Easter Sunday from the airport where I was arriving home from a trip to visit friends in Austin. The basket included candy and a few eggs for me to open. One of the eggs was a key to his house, which was a very sweet symbolic gesture considering where our relationship was at at the time.. like 6 weeks in. Yeah, it moved that fast.

The other egg had a paper in it that said “look under your seat”. When I did I found a carbon monoxide detector for my house (which we previously discussed my not having one). He said “that’s for you and the kids. I’d feel better knowing you’re safe from that threat”. It was thoughtful and practical.

Yesterday on our walk I made a joke about how now that we’re not “courting” he doesn’t do stuff like that anymore. Low and behold, there was the basket this morning by my closet door. Did he plan on doing that or did he scramble to get it together after that comment yesterday? Who knows,

My kids aren’t here this weekend so our egg hunt will have to wait until they return. So today instead of celebrating Easter, I’ll be going about my business and using the time to catch up on other stuff and check in with myself with regard to goals.

For the purpose of this Sunday Status I’m gonna start with school. I’m so happy to report that the Thesis I’m working on for my MFA has been packaged up and shipped off to my second reader. I’ve toiled over revision after revision and am frankly sick of looking at it. There’s always more tweaking I could do, but I just want to be done with it.

The Covid has not really affected the schedule and deadlines for this final term of school as it’s a low-Res program to begin with. But it does have an affect on that “Res” part that is in person. Normally, the students and faculty would gather in July for ten days of intensive collaboration. This year, however, that’s all being moved online. It won’t be the same.

They are giving the graduating students the option to do their final graduating requirements as a part of the remote residency or waiting and doing it in person next December/January. Hopefully all this Covid crap will be behind us by then. The Universe help us all if it’s still going on!!

In any case.. I’ve sent that thesis off and I’m going to spend the next week ignoring everything that has anything to do with school.

I could use the time to focus on work, but I was told late last week to reduce my hours to 15 a week.

With no school and minimum hours at work, I have no excuses left not to focus on exercise, healthy eating, sleep, and, of course, home schooling my kids!

All of these things have suffered recently. Last week I logged less steps than I have in a long time. I haven’t been able to hit my sleep goal In a while. And both my kids currently have Ds in classes. No time like the present to make some adjustments and improvements.

The question is.. will I immediately get distracted by something else that feels more important. Cuz that’s a real thing too. Like now.

I’m thinking of getting all my bunnies out for a family reunion. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!?! 🐰 💕 More fun than doing taxes or cleaning my house!! 😉

Hoppy Easter Everyone!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-02-28 Goals and Accountability

I kinda want to get my goals down on paper, as if that has some psychological influence of accountability. It feels like everyday is a struggle to get going and I think that comes from not having hard and fast responsibilities and deadlines.

I wonder what will happen when my kids grow up and move out. I mean, I’m still getting up every m-f to make breakfasts and facilitate the morning routine for them and for Jim too. And he can do that for himself if he wants, but I’m up anyway and I like being a provider.

Sometimes, though, when everyone is out the door and I’m left alone with the cats and I haven’t gotten good sleep, the bed calls to me “come back please.”

I have to fight it. A week ago I wondered if going back to bed at 7:30am would be considered “wasting time.” I kinda still wonder that right now.

Today I made it to the treadmill and plan to have a short session and then get my ass out the door to a Jazzercise class. I’ve been keeping track mentally of the way I feel. I would say 9.5 out of 10 times I totally feel better as my body gets moving and feel really great when I’m done. I just have to remember that when the bed tries to talk to me.

Beds don’t talk. It’s in my head.

Goals are only in my head too. I have to try and make them official. Given that, here’s what I’ve decided:

For the physical: 3 classes a week and an average of 12k steps over time. Some days that’s just not possible, but I need to put more focus on the physical. Hopefully that will help with sleep too though I’ve elected to not set a specific sleep goal for now.

For the writing career: Submit at least once a week to a publication. I started this week by submitting to a lit mag hosted by the University of Minnesota.

right now i have a queue of possibilities in my in-box from my MFA program coordinator, but I could also gravitate toward submittable for other options.

I also have a goal that has to do with launching a new online publication, which is slower going than interested parties would like it to be. /shrug— It is what it is. Having lots of balls in the air means that each only gets a little attention at a time and I’m treating this one kinda like the safety/oxygen mask on the airplane— securing my own first.

I should have goals for reading and writing new work, but I’m not pulling the trigger on that until I feel like my thesis manuscript is in a solid place. I’m a little behind schedule due to all the life events recently and have to get back on track. Therefore my short term goal is to finish my second round of edits by next Friday.

The current plan is to send the edits in thirds (which is about 25 pages each). Today that second third is due. The edits are done (as far as I’m concerned). I just need to put it in a document and write my comments/questions and that will be good to go. However, I recognize some of the newer and less refined (and also tougher) poems live in that last third so the next week I really need a kick in the butt to do it.

What else? I need to try and be more social. This week I went to a reading and it was super great to see so many familiar faces. I just need to follow through with scheduling meetups. There’s no defined goal behind that one. There shouldn’t need to be but my default MO is definitely sticking close to my sanctuary.

I think that’s the current brain dump. I really want to commit to first draft Friday but that might be too many balls in the air. I still also have to get my daughter graduated and on track for college and that’s a big deal too. Gah!!

Happy Friday Ya’ll

~Miss SugarCookie

PS. Today’s featured image is from a spot in Koloa on our hike to see the Makauahi Cave.