Friday, June 24, 2011
Discussing Support Systems is kind of like coming in to the middle of a movie. The first question about support systems is "what is this system supporting?" Which returns one to the start of the movie: values and goals.
Given that you have done the first part: examined your values and articulated them to yourself, and set some goals, it is time to take a look at the systems in your life that support those goals. The systems may be physical (how you stock your kitchen, pantry, etc., where you place your exercise equipment, food and exercise trackers), psychological (motivational images in strategic spots, a personal journal), social (friends and family, Spark people). These all support your goals and your goals support your values.
The other side of support systems is to think about the things one does each day, each week, each month... look at the systems in our lives that make up that routine, and determine: are they working? Do they support our goals? Is there anything, any part of those systems that is "broken" or hindering goals or contrary to values? Then you have a bug in your system and you might want to think about what it will take to fix it.
I work in computers. Sometimes a conscious decision is made to leave a bug in a system because it would be too costly to remove it, and fixing it would not give a benefit big enough to justify the cost. We have to make those kinds of decisions in our choices about life systems, too.
As I am going through my "do one thing" initiative, it is taking me down the pathway of examining my systems. Each time I do that "one thing", I am trying to think about what the area of the house (or yard) is supporting... is my "one thing" today maintaining a system? Is it pointing out a bug in the system?
This morning's "one thing" involved clearing clutter from my vanity. The system that little area supports is the getting ready for the day and the getting ready for the night system. It is part of a personal hygiene system. The clutter I cleared off represented holding on to things that I was done with, or failing to finish the job of deciding what to do with a given piece of paper. My vanity was a flat surface in the area when that decision making process failed to complete.
To keep it clear, I have to learn to put my toys away, even if it means filing "decisions to be made". It is an extension of the "handle today's mail today"... a little further.
This thing is working much like the Spark for nutrition and exercise did... a Spark for a dignified life. Which we all are worthy of. We just have to build the support systems for this, same as for the healthy habits that nourish our bodies.
This can work. This can be long-term, too. With small steps and changed attitudes, avoiding perfectionism... I can have the life I am beginning to envision. The whole life. Not just the goal weight.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
it's about the attitude! It's all about the attitude.
"Do one thing" is a philosophy my older sister read about somewhere and mentioned to me in conversation a few years ago. "When you are feeling overwhelmed... just do one thing." It doesn't matter much what that one thing is, as long as it contributes to establishing order. It should not be a huge thing... as if it was huge you might not start in on it... it should be small.
"Do one thing"... then after you do that one thing you can decide whether or not to do another. And most important, you point to it and say to yourself, "You have done this one thing... you have done well."
I've observed with the Spark exercise logging that it doesn't take much to fulfill one small promise to myself... and that makes me feel good, empowered, and able to continue.
Some examples of my "one thing":
* I pulled five weeds from patio cracks before work. The patio looked better. I felt good.
* I poured eight gallons of saved "gray water" onto dry spots in my yard where I'm trying to encourage the baby grass to expand. I felt virtuous, as I'm being a conservationist of my state's water resources. AND taking care of my yard economically at the same time.
* I cleaned my vacuum cleaner's filters.
* I replaced the light in my range hood and went on to clean the surface of the hood.
* I cleaned the top of the 'fridge.
* I washed my stovetop drip pans.
All of these small things, not as part of "Spring cleaning"... but as individual "one thing" efforts done before work or between work and bedtime. Some days one has more energy to put into a "one thing" than others.
Oh, and I am indeed getting the mail handled each day, so far.
So, it's not just one day at a time... it's "one thing" at a time.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
It's only taken me 15 weeks to give away the leftover dog treats and food. My "one thing" after work tonight was to drop by the Humane Society and let some other animals have the benefit of her no longer needing them.
I carefully avoided going in and seeing said animals. When I explained to a departing employee that this was because I'd lost my companion of 15 years, she expressed sympathy for my loss and I acquired a catch in my voice.
Rest in peace, run in freedom, Diamond!
Monday, June 20, 2011
That's what my son proposed we do on Sunday at 1 p.m. Meet him at the trailhead and we shall go on a long, slow jog. Well, knowing his fitness level, height, age and gender, I figured HIS long slow jog might just be a race pace for his mom.
WRONG. He is working on conditioning. He had not been doing a lot of impact running the past two years. Although he is working on speed, he is mostly working on impact and environment: learning to deal with outdoors and heat and impact. And he's early in the program (first week).
Since I was along for the "ride", essentially, (and because he wanted to show off his technology) he started up his Smart Phone App that tracks your speed via GPS and gives vocal prompts in a voice of your choice. He told me we were targeting 12 to 9 minute miles, and I warned him if it were closer to 9, I'd be in trouble.
However, he also said it was to be an hour, and most of my jogs so far have been intervals (at least since last November), and shorter in duration. It was sunny and warm. You'd be proud of me, I remembered the sunscreen! And the billed cap. I was prepared.
That silly voice kept telling us to "slow down" in the first portion of the course. We went a half hour out, then turned around and came back. Most of the coming back was at a walk, and it nagged us in the other direction to "speed up" but we were having none of it. Phone apps be hanged, listen to your bodies! We stopped two or three times to stretch, remove gravel from his shoes, etc.
Momly conclusion: Son, you have to invest in better shoes. After our run, we both went to our respective homes to shower, then I took him out to eat and to shop for his birthday present. We got him a good pair of stabilizing running shoes. Hope this helps.
And we may just do this again next week.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Happy Father's Day to all the Spark Dads out there!
A life with dignity has to include days of rest and relaxation. That's why this effort to "clean up my act" has to avoid becoming marathon / binge cleaning. A life of dignity includes good night's sleep, nutritious meals, healthy levels of activity... and a home that is a refuge, supporting the ability to welcome in people I care about. I'm going to get that home the same way I got to goal weight... one day at a time, with small improvements in daily behavior.
So, all that said, day 7 (yesterday) began with staying up all night. It was my turn to monitor some computer work overnight for work. It went very smoothly... all finished by 7 a.m. Saturday.
This is relevant because sleep is vital to health. I caught a short nap before the phone started ringing. First, my brother. YES! He's coming. In about 3 weeks. And YES, I will be the sleep-over house this trip. So this effort that I started before finding out about this visit is charmingly well-timed.
Second, my niece... she and her mom are returning something to me, will I be home? I have something to give them, too. So, as I was sweeping my front steps (my morning "one thing" for yesterday), they dropped over and we visited for a few minutes, then they went on their errand run, and I finished the steps and went back in for another nap.
I walked to the mailbox to mail in my commitment to join the National Weight Control Registry. Yes, I finally decided that I would take this step. After that, I managed to get yet another nap, and went to bed early. I slept a full nine hours, people... I felt *wonderful* this morning.
This led to today's one thing: I cleared out and vacuumed the guest room. I know, that sounds menacingly like a the start of a marathon, but it really wasn't. The guest room was already relatively clear. But all rooms left unused do tend to gather dust. I bagged up some old video tapes for the trash. So, today's "one thing" has been handled. At least the before church one.
Here's to those small, every day changes, made with consistency, and appreciated, daily. We can do this, and we're worth it.
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