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.

2020-02-23 Today is a Good Day to Start

That’s one of my oldest mottos. And indeed still one my favorites. It’s good right? A nice reminder not to put off starting something until tomorrow and also good for the case where making the most of everyday. Well, it’s slightly contrary to my previous post which was all about wasting time. Unless, of course, the thing you intend to start has to do with carving out time to waste time doing nothing but letting your mind wander in whatever direction it pleases.

Hey, I kinda do that already but it always feels so goal oriented. I’m walking and getting some exercise and producing some words and making little micro-contributions to the vastness of what is now the collective consciousness of humanity. Set that aside though.

I typically don’t make New Years resolutions, but I have in the past. The end of last year moved so fast into 2020 and literally has not paused for breath. Until today. Today is the first day I’ve felt an inkling of time slowing down. The other significant thing that occurred was that I finally broke down and threw out the last of the cake we had in our refrigerator from the wedding.

Last night I got out the last remaining Tupperware and had a few bites of each flavor. That’s it folks. The official end of the big event. It’s a shame nobody in this house eats cake (and I’m really the only one who likes leftovers). So the wedding is over and I’m not trying to be punny but the honeymoon is over top. So what now?

Well, how about some resolutions. I guess you could say my official resolutions for this year were to get hitched, to get my darling daughter graduated and successfully off to college, and to also finish my masters degree. I also want to get my son his learners permit and start teaching him to drive, and support Jim as he opens a new location for his business. That’s all very textbook, and will probably happen naturally with the things I’m doing already. So what can I resolve to do to challenge myself? To elevate my life to the next level? To kick-start my writing or other interests?

The elusive, goal-oriented list would probably be this:

1. submit to publications at some regular interval, perhaps once a week.

2. Write a new poem every week.

3. Read a book a week (fat chance).

4. Do some work on a new website.

5. Participate in more community programs. Which would require some quantifiable definition.

6. Up my step count/exercise regimen.

7. Up my sleep goal (to help with my chronic exhaustion and evening brain fog).

But I can’t stop thinking about the value in wasting time.

I had lunch with my friend Margret and told her about that discussion I went to and I asked her if she did anything like that. She went ahead and told me a little something about her daily prayer practice. She makes a list of people to pray for and then does that. Her list changes every day. I’m not sure that qualifies for wasting time as she has a goal in mind, to help those in need. But it’s very subjective. I don’t believe in what she believes in and some people might see that practice as a waste of time. See how hard it is to define??!!

Anyway, so daily meditation or sending good vibes out in the universe directed at your loved ones feels like a very worthy resolution.

Perhaps I should pick some underutilized space around my house and yard everyday and just sit, and appreciate it for what it is. And perhaps try to gain a different perspective. I always am in the same spaces, kitchen, living room, bedroom, office, workout room. I should try just being somewhere different. The same probably goes to places around town. Now, now— I don’t want to get too crazy.

For real though, I think there is value in just exploring different angles. I need to do that and incorporate that in whatever resolutions I come up with.

Fun fact: Twice before in this blog I have used that motto as my title. The first was right after the inception of the blog on January 14, 2017. The second was about a year later on January 8th, 2018. Since then, the phrase has made numerous appearances in posts but non save those as the title—until today.

I’m gonna wrap now. I’ll see if I can waste some time this evening and come up with a good strategy for whatever resolutions materialize as something tangible. Beyond that… it’s just relaxing and enjoying what is left of the weekend.

Cheers to Starting Something,

~Miss SugarCookie

 

2019-01-08 I’ll Get it Together, Just Not Today

This morning I’m back to my “home” routine, which I have not had for a week. No. For a week I’ve been in my alternate reality with a foot in a life I’m about to have. Not only did I not have my morning routine but it was also a “holiday” week which I took quite literally and used it as an excuse to NOT do work. All week my fear of being reprimanded for not getting my 20 hours in for my current contract was being overruled by my desire to attend lectures at the Residency my presence was not required at because I’m taking a semester off. Still that “work ethic” inspired worry lingers into this week and I make plans in my head to make it right this week by really beating down and get a ton accomplished on that front. Truth is, I probably just need to let it go.

Now that I’m here, back at my gym on my beloved elliptical machine, there’s no place I’d rather be. I’m thinking and writing and scheming about the future and that’s just what I need. In another month, I will be living in a different part of town and one might think this will put a serious damper on my morning gym time. It will and it won’t.

I’m still planning on driving the kids to school which is right across the street from the gym. So after I drop them I can still get my set in before getting back to the new house for whatever the rest of my days will hold. For a little while longer that will be work. After that, I’m going to spend a fair bit of time trying to “engineer definitions of love”, because that’s what poets do. Yeah, putting one foot in that reality and my soul aches to dive in. Total immersion like that time I went to the athletic department to get my true body fat measurement in a giant tank of water.

I got my vo2 max that day too and that’s pushing the heart and lungs, physically, to the point of total exhaustion. I’m planning to do that too, metaphoricaly with my words. It takes total dedication to the task and a focus and a drive that leaves no room for anything else. I could get on a soapbox about how multitasking kills productivity, but I won’t. I’ll just say that doing things well requires concentration and if your thoughts are split, then you are shortchanging something. Anyway, there are goals for 2019 in there somewhere, specifics and timing are pending.

As predicted I’m behind on evaluating 2018 and defining objectives for this year. I give myself slack in that regard in light of all my limbs being pulled in different directions. Feet over here and arms up in the air and head just smiling and nodding. I’ll get it together, just not today.

Speaking of New Years and goals I’m surprised to not see more people at the gym. I guess this time of day is still for regulars and the Surg of revolutionaries probably happens in the evening, after the typical work day is through. I’m glad I don’t come to the gym in the evenings anymore.

Doing a little “member” accounting from this time last year until now…

The man in black is still here on a regular basis though he’s not here today. He seems to have loosened a bit on his attachment to the treadmill at the end of the row and now runs on other machines (still in the back row though).

Bird-girl disappeared in March, or at least there have been no sightings of her in a long time. Perhaps she’s taking her fancy gym attire elsewhere it maybe she works out at a different time of day.

Two of three Steves are still here. One is my exes ex boss who is as reliable at the gym as a ticking clock. The other is UPS Steve who just today made a special trip across the gym just to say hi to me. That’s rare! BBQ Steve has been missing for several months now. He’s probably the most bold of the three in approaching me and starting a conversation. Of course none of that started until after I was dating Jim. Strange and amazing fact that I have been going to the gym for like 15 years and have rarely been approached by anyone, male or otherwise, and then this past year there have been several occurrences.

There are a handful of other people I recognize but don’t know their names. Yoga girl, three sets of couples of various ages – young, old, and older, and a father son duo that does side by side treadmill every day. Old is relative, by the way. I would consider myself between young and old so as I get older, the old people get older. That probably makes no sense.

About half the gym staff is static. The manager, Troy, now wearing glasses and most of the personal trainers never change. The front desk staff changes all the time. That’s what you get when you pay minimum wage for a job.

I’ve overstayed my welcome today, says the voice inside my head telling me I need to get to work. No rest for the wicked, or those who crave routine.

Later Gaterz, ❤️

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-11-15 Pulse Check on My November Diet Goals

We are halfway through November and I at the beginning of the month I had challenged myself to make some changes this month. I might spin this as a healthy Eating thing, but in actuality it’s a healthy drinking thing. My two goals were to not drink coffee and not drink alcohol. Now that it’s been two solid weeks it’s time to check myself.

It’s definitely been a mixed bag of results. As far as alcohol is concerned, I caved in the first week probably because of some social situation. That’s the toughest part, abstaining in some situation that you would normally indulge a little in. I’m trying to minimize those instances this month, partially because I’ve got a lot to get through and partially to support my “healthy drinking” goals.

My fallback position with regards to alcohol has been to continue to minimize. Normally I would have a glass of wine with dinner (or two or three) and I’ve been successful cutting that out so far. I want to say that’s been easy, but it has been a challenge at times. After Long days working and trying to get it all done, I just want that glass to help unwind. There have been a few times that I really wanted to reach for a glass, but I resisted. I’m going to consider that a success. I’ve also been able to minimize in the aforementioned social situations, keeping my intake to one serving. So not too bad

I think my overarching goal is to just cut needless calories, since I don’t have a drinking “problem”, there’s really no other reason to challenge myself in this way. The same is true with coffee. Hell, j don’t even like coffee, I just like the caffeine and cream and sugar.

Getting Coffee has become less of a social “event” since I stopped hanging out with Joshua so much. Instead I found myself substituting my usual mid morning snack, a serving of oatmeal, with coffee. My rational was the extra boost of caffeine and less calories. But I think that with the added cream and sugar, the calorie count was pretty much a wash.

I’ve switched back to oatmeal now and it’s been good. I have also been wanting, literally for years, to cut out caffeine and so this is a step in the right direction. In fact, I’m doing better than I anticipated on this front. A while back I cut a bunch of my caffeine tablets in half and had rolled into the month only talking a half a pill in the mornings.

Today marks day 3 of not having any at all. One morning I just forgot to take my morning “meds”(which is just the circumin, allergy pill, vitamins, and typically caffeine) and then I got busy. Later in the day I realized it and was sort of shocked. I felt ok, and didn’t have any more or less energy and also didn’t have a headache. I think the tapering off was what kept me from having a withdrawal headache. Bonus plan!

After that I just decided to nix the caffeine altogether and see how that was. I do miss that boost of energy, mentally and physically, but I’m going to continue on this path and see how it goes.

As for the rest of my aspirations for healthy eating, I’m really not trying to do too much at once. My main struggle is snacking in the evenings and that has been very hit and miss. Though, as I thought about it this morning, if I can do just the few things I’ve talked about in this post, I’m doing good. Every time I try to do too much, that ends badly. It’s baby steps, and then see how it goes.

There are about two more weeks left in November. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and try and guage at that point whether it’s made a positive impact. It could all be just crazy nonsense for no reason, but that attitude does not help. I have to believe these changes are for good or I will definitely fail. The mind is our own worst enemy.

Cheers to Staying the Course,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-11-03 Accountability is Key

If the only person you are accountable to is yourself, then you are more likely to cave on a goal you have set. There’s success in numbers, in partners, and a solid support system. It doesn’t matter if it’s a career goal or health goal or some other personal goal. If you have people in your corner rooting for you or sharing in trying to achieve some objective it makes things easier. Ok, maybe not easier but certainly more achievable.

Why? Because accountability matters. I would not have been able to get through 30 days of eating only Whole Foods without the support of my beautiful sister and lovely friend Becky. I probably would have quit in the first week. It’s also evident in my attempts to change my bad habits by myself.

Left on my own, I tend to not make great choices. I’m my own worst enemy. It’s day 3 of my personal challenge and let me tell you, it’s a struggle. Yesterday I didn’t have a problem resisting temptation for the new things I’m restricting in my diet, but I ended up substituting those cravings with indulgence in something I’m not restricting. That’s not going to work.

My kids and I went to a trampoline/adventure park last night and after we were done they convinced me to take them for ice-cream. Normally I don’t eat ice-cream and normally I’m not really tempted, but last night I was all like “I’ve been good all day so what’s the harm”. There was nobody around to encourage me in the right direction.

In doing that I broke two of my personal rules. 1. Ice cream 🍨 is on my top 5 no list unless it’s a special occasion, which it wasn’t. 2. Don’t eat in the 3 hours before bed. In other words, give the digestive system 3 hours to process what is in the stomach before bed.

There’s a few other “rules” I always try to live by to maintain, but those two are near the top. So while I stayed within the parameters of my new rules, breaking old ones equates to a failed day. But I’m not throwing in the towel on November. I’m going to call it a “learning opportunity” and the lesson is that sugar IS truly the real enemy and my addiction is real. Ok, so that’s not new news, but it just goes to show that if I say I’m not having coffee with sugar and cream, my mind will look for other ways to get the fix.

What I should be restricting is sugar. I know from the Whole 30 that when push comes to shove, I’ll eat a lot of sweet fruits to try and tame that beast. Including eating those stupid RX bars that are full of sugar from dates. It’s supposed to be an emergency/last resort snack and I was eating them every day. So what’s a girl to do? Cut added sugars again. Can I do that? I don’t know. I’m not sure I can without help.

I need a support system. I need someone to be accountable to besides myself. I need someone who is going to cheer me on and hold me to my word. The first half of the day is always easy for me but as each day drags on, the later it gets, the more my resolve starts to slip away. When that happens, I need someone to remind me what the goal is. My kids are NOT going to help. They are the opposite. It would be nice if I had someone to do this with.

Perhaps I should hit my sister up again on this one. Jim already eats a no sugar diet, but I have a feeling he will disagree with my plan. 🤔 I’ll talk with him on Monday about it and see what he thinks. That gives me the weekend to think about it too. See.. another trick of the mind already looking for loopholes to let me off for the weekend. Ugh! The struggle is real.

In any case, I think that accountability is one of the fundamental components required to meet with success on any goal. If that accountability is external, it’s even more effective. We don’t want to let others down. Also, it’s more enjoyable to do things with other people and share in the experience.

What will happen on day 3? Hopefully it will be better than day 2. It’s time to go find out…

Let’s Do This Saturday Thing We Do,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-09-02 Time for Something New

It’s 8:15 AM on a random Sunday and I’m doing that typical morning routine thing I do. I don’t particularly have anything to write about. I mean, nobody is going to care that I had to switch elliptical machines cuz the one I usually use now has a rough bump in the forward motion on one side. That’s no news.

I’ve ranted twice this week already about things that were irritating me and though I never promised anyone that this would be upbeat and positive, I also don’t want it to spiral into a daily negative, “here’s what’s irritating me today”, thing.

I’ve thought a little bit about this and I think I’m ready to try something new. Ine thing I’ve done in the past is sort of reserve Sunday’s for recording stats. It’s been a way for me to pulse check where I’m at with my goals. If I notice something going in the wrong direction, I can take action to course correct. It’s served me well. I intend to keep doing that but am also thinking I’m going to also commit to another weekly post dedicated to a topic, something that’s not all about me. I mean, let’s face it, my furnace going out, or what music I’m listening to isn’t really that interesting either. Not that being interesting is what I’m aiming at. It’s never been my goal.

My goal has always been to use this space to record my life and times in my struggle to become a healthier, happier human being. The Universe knows that’s been a glorious success, and also that it’s not a status that one can maintain without a fair amount of nurturing. It’s time to add on. I need to press myself a little harder in regards to my writing life and that means including a little more informed, hopefully helpful content on a regular basis.

Believe me, this idea is only half baked and as I type this I’m having lots of thoughts of what it could be. It could be a thing where once a week I take some current event and research a little bit and formulate an opinion on it. Or it could be something immensely more satisfying for me like doing a more regular review of an album or book or movie or restaurant. Those are all things I’ve done before, just not very regularly.

I might even try to double dip and somehow use content for my critical essays for school. We’ll see.

Whatever it is, I think I’ll try to start this week and make the frequency once a week. I already have a few ideas about potential posts. It will require a little more time, especially if there’s research involved. Obviously I won’t be able to do everything needed from an elliptical machine.

It’s also definitely an add-on. I’m not gonna stop recording my Sunday stats cuz that’s still a necessary step in my week. And on that note, without further ado, here’s the update for today…

Exercise.. 11,444 average steps in the past week. I might back my goal up to 10k a day cuz 15k seems unobtainable lately. I at least want my goals to be realistic. In an effort for more balance and to not be in a rut, I’m gonna start doing classes at the gym, like yoga and Zumba. Neither of these will yield as many steps at an hour on the elliptical but step count means nothing if I’m not working on strength, coordination, and balance.

Sleep.. 6 hours and 37 minutes average per night. Not as great as it has been, but not terrible either. I had one night that was 3 hours and 40 minutes and that really skews the numbers. My goal is still 7 hours a night.

Healthy eating.. Still just trying the portion control thing and not restricting myself in any way. I’ve also not been able to kick the caffeine but whatever.

Work.. Last week I pulled in 34 hours, Sunday to Friday and didn’t work at all yesterday. That means I had several days with 8 full hours. Feels so much like full time, yet there’s still strain on my bank account because my expenses seem to have gone up considerably.

School.. I’m still trying to get by doing this “part time”. I’ve established a bad pattern of behavior where I ignore it for two weeks and then freak out trying to get a months worth of work in the other two weeks. I don’t know if I should just accept the reality of this or continue to fret over trying to change it. /shrug

Relationship status.. Tomorrow will be our six month anniversary. ❤️😊🌹 That pretty incredible. I have a high level of confidence in the future. More on that later this week.

What else? Feels like I’m forgetting something but I think that’s it. The time is now 10AM and it’s time to get a move on with this Sunday (I did take a break in the middle of writing to do a 1 hour yoga class). I’m sure when I get home my kids will stilll be sleeping. 😜

Living the Dream,

~Miss SugarCookie

2018-06-10 Mind the Gaps (or Don’t)

The first half of this week I totally kicked ass at getting things done and sticking to my master plan. This second half.. maybe not as much. I probably could have predicted that. One area that has suffered is my gym time and consequently my blogging so there are gaps. I can’t be too concerned about those gaps because it was not my area of focus for the week and I have to learn to “let it go”.

My areas of focus for the week were diet and getting things crossed of my monthly to-do list. Revisiting what I wrote on Monday for these goals, I’m actually not doing that bad. I got 5 out of 5 done ✅ on the to-do list I set for myself and last time I checked, that was 💯 percent! The other area -diet- wasn’t as stellar. 3 of 5. 60% is a D grade. 😕

What I failed at was having no added sugar and the whole nightly fasting thing. No surprise there. Sugar is my best frenemy. Here’s the bright side.. I get another opportunity next week to try again AND hitting success with 3 isn’t nothing. I should celebrate my success staying gluten free and drinking alll that water. The minimizing dairy is no biggie because I basically do that already. I probably only had the equivalent of six slices of cheese all week. I think that’s one area I could cut completely and not be too torn up about it. The sugar thing, however, is no joke.

So for my Sunday stats that’s probably enough about diet already. Here’s the best of the rest…

Sleep: 7 hours and 37 minutes average sleep a night. Yowza.. that’s amazing. Better than last week and I wasn’t even trying. I also slept through a few bad-ass storms apparently which means my sleep was also better quality. Now that I have this fancy new Fitbit that does heart rate, I get more detailed reports. That’s cool. For averages it still only calculates weekly overall sleep but now I can see 30 day and whole year averages for time spent awake, in REM, light, and deep sleep. 😎

My exercise wasn’t in focus and there’s definitely a gap and general decline in this area. 13 K steps a day on average and only 2 Jazzercise classes. I’m still trying to get my moneys worth before my membership is up at the end of June, but it’s tough when it doesn’t reLly fit in my routine anymore. I probably won’t try to kick this up a notch until after all this travel nonsense is over, which will be just about July.

The relationship is still amazing. The kids are great. Work is great too. School is far from my thoughts at this point, and I’m really still just riding this wave of awesome I’ve found myself on.

Now.. if I only had some sushi today, the week would be complete. 🍣 If I don’t close that gap either, it’s still all good. 😊

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie