Sunday, December 4, 2016

Less is more


Life is crazy, hectic, complicated and running at 100 miles per hour. While that might make life exciting, it also risks you burning out. For those of you who read my last couple of posts, you know that I am going through a little restructuring of my life. Since I'm one of those people who really hate New Year's resolutions so I try to get all my life-changing plans put into affect well before the new year comes knocking.

This year in particular, I am structuring a lot of my goals around what I am thankful for and ways to improve upon my current blessings. Because of that, Thanksgiving seemed like a great time to kick things into gear. I don't want to get into a long, drawn out post on maximizing the probability of goal attainment so I'll just say motivation is key. You need to actually want your goals if you plan to actually hit them. 

I have found the best motivation (for me anyway) is my family. It doesn't matter if it's a career goal, personal goal or health goal. They all affect my family. That's what seals the deal for me. Even though I have known this for quite a while. I realized this year that I hadn't actually structured my goals based on this thinking. Well, I did this year. 

Long story short....I scheduled almost every hour of my week and plotted it on my personal calendar. I covered my working hours, personal/family hours and even my sleeping hours. Of course I left some open times, primarily on the weekends, because life can't be planned 100 percent. 

You may remember a few posts back that I said I would be withdrawing from my online presence a little bit. I figured I would start with Thanksgiving to Christmas and see how it goes. Since I am obviously writing a blog post right now, I haven't completely dropped off the internet. What I did instead was schedule a limited amount of time that I would devote to my online "persona." 

I now only look at my blogging and social media accounts for a few minutes over the lunch hour and between 8-9pm in the evenings. I haven't been perfect about it, but I have been very good about it. The biggest sign of success I've seen with this goal so far is that I haven't had either of my daughters complain about me having my nose buried in my phone or computer in the past couple of weeks. That's the family side of the motivation. More quality time with my girls is a huge motivator. 

One of my health goals is to lose some of my extra weight. Yeah, I know....it's an old story. I've talked about losing weight before, but I never really cared either way before. I really think the thing that pushed me over the edge (ie. to get serious about it) this time was this crazy hour-by-hour scheduling I set up. There's something about having a schedule that let's you get in the mindset of "it's right there on the schedule so I have to do it." This helped out in two ways.

First, the scheduling of my "rack time" is actually helping ensure I am ready and willing to wake up in the morning to get a work-out in. It probably doesn't hurt that I am starting with only three days per week for working out and the rest for "personal development" time. You know what though... personal development time (educational reading, etc) is often boring so the exercise choice is more appealing. Basically, I tell myself I have to wake up at a certain time - what I do with that time is up to me. I've hit my 3 days a week so far, but have to admit that I slept in a few of the other days rather than using the time for personal development. 

The second way this technological scheduling helped out was with the use of an app I never thought I'd use - Weight Watchers. Yep, I signed up for Weight Watchers. I may not be fond of exercise, but my biggest problem with weight gain over the years is my horrible sense of food portions. OK, that's not totally true. I have always known I eat too much - I just didn't care. Well, having an app tell me how many "points" of food I have to eat on a given day has helped me limit my portions. The fact that I have to enter the food into the app slows down my eating and makes me actually feel full before I hit the second or third helping. (FYI - I've lost 10 pounds so far and that makes it even more fun.) 

No matter how I look at it, this whole "less is more" thing is working out well for me. Better scheduling of my time at home and work has made me more productive in the same amount of time. The really obvious one is that eating less food is making me more healthy. (I should emphasize this is because I had horrible portion control. Starving yourself is just as bad - or worse.) We'll see how it goes, but I have to say I'm pretty excited about the progress thus far. Until next time....