School Year Resolutions

standard August 12, 2010 13 responses

I’ve never stopped feeling like the start of the school year was the “real” start of the year. When the crayons and binders go on sale at Target I start to unconsciously take stock of my life.

This year I’m coming up short. Really, really short.

– I haven’t run once since April 13th.

– For the last two months I’ve worked every night until midnight if not 1am.

– I’ve been working weekends.

– I’ve been dropping the ball on deadlines, promises, friends, family.
 – And worst of all, I haven’t touched my novel since June 30th.

I’m disappointed in myself. I’m losing focus and allowing myself to get sidetracked from my true goals, from the things that really matter to me. I’m fulfilling other people’s goals to the detriment of my health and my family.

It’s not really working for me any more.

I’m a big believer in the adage “Live your passion and the money will follow.” It’s the path of true happiness. All too often though we get confused and reverse the phrase. But you know what? Following the money never leads to passion. At best it leads to more money in the bank.

I love writing fiction. Nothing else makes me feel more fulfilled or content. It’s my passion. Sadly it’s not a lucrative one. At least it’s not a quickly or guaranteed lucrative one. But it is my passion and deep in my heart I know that if I pursued it properly it might lead somewhere. And yet, I can’t seem to allow myself the time to do what needs to be done so I can succeed as a novelist.

The school year is looming. Bright Back-to-School posters have bloomed in every store window. Supplies and cute clothes are on sale. Kids are getting hair cuts and buying new shoes. Everything smells like fresh start and possibilities. I’m going to ride that wave.

Once again I’m going to attempt to take control of my life and my future. Happiness is a choice and I’m choosing happy.

I’m going to lighten my work load and I’m going to resist filling it right back up. I’m going to start running again. I’m going to pick a race to train for. I’m going eat better, sleep more, and generally take better care of myself. And last, but most definitely not least, I’m going to take the time to finish the edits on my novel so I can finally send it out.

As a friend said this weekend, this is going to be the year of awesome. I’m determined to make it so.

Trying on a new fitness craze and finding it somewhat lacking

standard February 18, 2010 1 response

I am the queen of starting exercise routines and letting them drop. I’ve taken up running a dozen times. I’ve tried a weight lifting routine that promised to give me Michelle Obama’s arms. I routinely start ab routines. For months weeks a while back I even woke up daily to work out to Denise Austin’s TV show.

Inevitably I get bored with the routine. Or I get sick and get off track. Or one of the kids gets sick and stops sleeping and all of a sudden that extra 20 minutes in bed in the morning is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. I skip a day. Skip another. The dumbbells gather dust. I misplace my sports bra. One sneaker gets stuck behind the dryer, the other is hidden by a pile of shoes. And my muscles go back to their usual soft, toneless state.

Then, months, or sometimes years, later I get tired of being winded after running around the house after the kids. I get sick of having to suck in my gut tighter and tighter to pull on my favorite jeans. I start to avert my eyes from the mirror after getting out of the shower. So I start looking for some new form of exercise to help me get back into shape.

This month I’m trying something called The Dailey Method, a mix of yoga, pilates, and barre work that aims to strengthen the core, blah, blah, blah. The details don’t matter. What matters is that I paid for a month of unlimited classes and by golly I’m going to use up as many of those classes as physically possible.

I’m not in love with the classes. They don’t give me the same high that yoga used to give me. But they are tough and even after three days I’m starting to feel more toned and slightly more fit. Plus, the gym has a shower, which is the only reason I was able to fit it into my insane schedule. 

So yes, even though I was barely able to roll over in bed last night, let alone lean down to grab a tissue from the box on the floor, even though every sneeze, sniffle, and cough sends my abs into agonizing spasms, and even though I am hating spending an hour watching myself huff and puff in the floor length mirror that covers an entire wall of the room we exercise in, I have gone every day this week so far and my goal is to go again every day possible until my unlimited plan runs out.

I’m pig headed that way.

I don’t doubt that something at some point this month will happen to make me rue my goal. I’m sure that some mornings I’m not going to want to jump out of bed, pull on my work out clothes, dress the kids, pack clothes for myself, prepare a breakfast I can take with me, hustle the kids to daycare, and go work out for an hour. But I’m hoping that I’ll have it in me to either push myself past that reluctance or at the very least get up the next day and try again.

And when my trial month is up I’m hoping that I’ll have it in me to move on to the next thing without taking a long hiatus.

My goal after this is to attempt Couch to 5k and maybe get back to going to yoga once a week. Because of all those exercise routines, classes, and everything else I’ve ever taken up on my quest for relative health and fitness, there’s no doubt that running and yoga have always been my favorite and most fulfilling ventures. They make me happy. Which is much more than I can say for Denise Austin, early morning ab crunches, or this latest fitness craze.

Resolving not to resolve but to make goals

standard December 31, 2009 8 responses

So I had this whole big plan to resolve not to make resolutions this year, but then someone on Twitter pointed out that that was a conundrum in and of itself because clearly you can’t resolve not to resolve as that defeats the purpose.

The reason I didn’t want to make resolutions is that they bug me. On January 1st you wake up all bushy tailed and happy to get the year started right. And then by noonish you’ve given up on the diet resolution, by the third day you’ve stopped exercising, and by the fifth you’re back exactly where you started.

And really if something is worth making resolutions over, why would you wait until January 1st to do it? Why not do it right away?

Instead it seems like January first should be a day for setting goals for the coming year. Goals, not resolutions. It’s a fine distinction, granted, but it just seems more manageable. And less time sensitive. At least I won’t have to get them all done Friday while fighting a hangover.

My goals for 2010 are simple really. Simple in character, challenging in execution. Lofty to say the least. But I’ve chosen to aim for the stars so that I might land on the moon.

1) I want to sell an article to a national magazine. You know, before they all fold. I’m not picky, I’ll take a national parenting magazine or a women’s magazine. It could be short or long, whichever, again, I’m not picky.

2) I want to sell my novel. First I need to finish editing and find an agent. But I really want to get moving on  the next part of this particular journey.

3) I want to start on the next novel. I have two in mind and I’m leaning more towards one than the other, but I need to toy with both a bit before committing myself to either. That said, I can’t wait to get cracking.

4) I want to take better care of myself – physically, mentally, and possibly even spiritually. Which might sound like a resolution, but I refuse to consider it as one. Let’s just consider this another step in the right direction.

5) I want to play more with the girls and with M. Or at least have more meaningful moments with them, both as a family and individually. Sometimes it seems insurmountable to take five minutes for a heart to heart or a simple cuddle, but the effects can be felt for days and I just need to make the time. It needs to become a priority rather than something that fills the downtime.

Simple, right?

I better get started.

Happy New Year my friends. May this year see all of your most precious goals realized. 

Major novel progress

standard July 8, 2009 6 responses

It’s not quite June 30th, but today I hit 80 000 words (82 002 if we’re being specific) and I’m exactly one partially written scene away from being done writing the first draft of my first novel.

Yes, the one I keep whining about.

It might be a hair premature, but tonight we’re celebrating my accomplishment. Cuz I said so. With this:

It just seemed rather appropriate…

I’ll be back tomorrow. After I finish that last scene.