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The Spark Chapter 4: Cornerstone Fire

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I think this chapter was written for me. You see, my biggest hurdle, looking back over the years, has been retaining my motivation. I battle to success, then something happens and I no longer see myself as worth the effort... an injury breaks training, and I have trouble coming back for it... overwork leads me to drop exercise... stress gets swallowed up in overeating... and I find myself back at the beginning of the journey. Or close to it.

And yet...

Building Block: Personal Leadership

Over the years this has grown. By the one step back, two steps forward method. Now, in my 50's, I feel more in control of my destiny, and less afraid. What may be surprising is that each time I have gone through the exercise of getting fitter I have discovered something about the fit me that I like. I may have slipped backwards, given up for weeks, months, even years on end, but never completely... motivation always returned eventually, if I was patient.

Building Block: Consistency and Momentum

During each of my successful periods, this has been the wind beneath my wings. Only when something relatively big got in the way did I lose my focus. Big? Yeah, injury that I'd have trouble coming back from. Job changes adding to stress, subtracting from time. Marriage falling apart... now wait, that was the beginning of a successful program. I did not deal well with the sea changes of life, in general, though.

But each time, I have got a little better at dealing with my own flaws... accepting my humanity makes the lapses shorter, and the restart quicker.

Building Block: Motivation

The older I get the closer the connection between good nutrition and activity and my health becomes. What do I want the quality of my life to be like for the rest of my life? It's an old fashioned concept, perhaps, but I don't want to be a burden on my son and his wife. I don't want them to worry about my health and independence... Oh, I've said that before, haven't I?

But it never hurts to remind ourselves of what motivates us! Why am I going to all this effort? Sure my health, but why do I care about my health? Because my health supports everything I do... from the good I do at work to the good I can do for my family to any good I can do to give back to my community and the world.

Health is more than physical... it's mental and emotional, too. And that's where the fun comes in. Can never let the fun go out of the motivation picture!

What sets your motivation on fire?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 1/27/2010 11:41AM

    As my mother said, "A woman doesn't even come into her own until she's 45" - Here's to growth in health as we age.

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SUNNY332 1/27/2010 7:46AM

    My Motivation is my health. I not only want to look good but feel good too.

Awesome post today and hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday.


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MEDDYPEDDY 1/27/2010 1:38AM

    It is true that even if I īm not succeeding in reching the goals I want, I learn a lot trying!
Thanks for sharing.

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DEBRA_T 1/26/2010 10:47PM

    A good reflection on the chapter, Barb. They used to say that outside motivations don't last, but I think, for some of us, they are more powerful than the internal ones we should have but somehow don't.

My motivation, aside from my own feeling of strength and well being, is to be a role model for my husband who had a mild heart attack a few months ago and perversely is ignoring almost all of the doctor's orders for his recovery. Rather than nag and worry, I decided to be the change I want to see in him.

And, it's working.

Cheers, Debra

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It's fuzzy but it's me...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My kid sis snapped the photo, the fuzzy old lady in the foreground is yours truly, rewarding herself with a fun activity. emoticon

This was one of the things I was going to do in 2010 - find the ice skates and use them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NELLIEC 1/24/2010 11:12PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 1/24/2010 8:12PM

    Good for you! That looks like so much fun!

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RUMBLETIGER 1/24/2010 8:00PM

    Good for you! Enjoy yourself - no one else will do it for you. :)

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DEBRA_T 1/24/2010 6:43PM

    You look like a woman having a lot of fun. Ice skating after a long time away -- did it all come back to you instantly or did the camera fail to catch the first wobbly moments?

Looking good, my friend!

Cheers, Debra

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JGOLFER 1/24/2010 6:36PM

    That looks like so much fun! Way to go! Life is definitely an adventure!

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WALKINGANNIE 1/24/2010 6:23PM

    This looks fun - and you look in good shape! I like your idea of exercise that's social as well as physical.

Thanks so much for your kind comment on my blog, too. I appreciate it.

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SUNNY332 1/24/2010 6:22PM

    Awesome! Glad you found your skates and glad you went skating.


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KALIGIRL 1/24/2010 6:21PM

    Too cool - I love your adventurous spirit!

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LUCKIEST24 1/24/2010 6:04PM

    I love it! You look fierce out there on the ice. Way to go!!!!!

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The Spark Chapter 3: Cornerstone Fitness

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I took a whole week to read and ponder, a bit at a time. My reaction to much in this chapter was "yes, I've learned that... the hard way... over the decades".

The four building blocks to this cornerstone are stated as: exercise, nutrition, stress management, and sleep. It's not ALL about exercise. It's not ALL about diet.

Seriously. It makes sense. The only point on which I might differ from Chris on this is a minor detail. And it is related to "how much sleep is enough". I have learned that sleep is important to my well-being. I know that I need to get adequate sleep to be at my best. I'm convinced (again, over the decades, learning the hard way) that not everybody has the SAME sleep needs.

My own natural need for sleep appears to be somewhere between 7 and 8 hours. If I go to bed and don't put on the alarm, and I'm not super sleep deprived already, I will awaken after seven and feel rested.

Other than that, some nice thoughts to ponder, and my favorite two bits: Never give up. Avoid "stupid" stress. Both things I have internalized through decades of the battle.

Personal observation:

I am happiest when I am working on my life, thus the "never give up". Don't you just feel better when you try? Succeeding is not required. If at first you don't succeed, fail again. Fail better next time! (That's not original, I lifted it from a co-worker's motivational clip.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 1/24/2010 6:23PM

    "Fail Better" - I also have a co-worker who likes "See you tomorrow - we have another chance to get it right"

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SMARTIEBEE 1/24/2010 1:00PM

    I do so agree! People do have different sleep needs, we need to pay attention to our own bodies! And we really need to learn that the important thing is to keep trying and to NEVER stop!

PS, I love the Possum!

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SUNNY332 1/24/2010 11:10AM

    I agree with you and am with you on the sleep time. I too, if not sleep deprived, 7 hours is plenty. I have been sleep deprived lately and last night, slept for 12 & feel very rested this morning.

Hugs, Sunny

I am starting my book today.

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DEBRA_T 1/24/2010 8:07AM

    So true, so true. I am also a 7-8 hour person though occasional insomnia has plagued me a bit in my 50's. As to the rest, I am also happiest when I am really working on it, though, unfortunately, sometimes content (read, oblivious) when not. The one thing I will not do is give up forever; I'm just trying to make sure I don't give up at all this time!

Cheers, Debra

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MSLZZY 1/24/2010 8:04AM

    Lots of good observations! I liked the "Fail better next time"! But here's to success as well!

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Getting to know you... humming the tune, but nicely...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Concept for this blog entry stolen shamelessly from NewDebDawning. Saw this on her blog, and thought I'd play along. Feel free to play too if you want to...

A is for Age: 57. I call myself a "little old lady in training", which can have such lovely double meanings!

B is for Booze: Not at all. I was raised in a tee-totaling faith, and once I left it, I had already spent a half century booze free... why start now? I tried a mouthful of wine, and decided, naw... not my addiction.

C is for Career: lol... telephone operator & professional student, computer programmer, analyst, application developer and team lead... to name the general high points. Workaholic, in recovery, one day at a time.

D is for Dadís name: Kenneth, deceased 1999, R.I.P., at only age 71. That sounds so young to me. I admired and adored him.

E is for Essential items to bring to a party: Not much of a party-er... so for ME to bring... a good attitude.

F is for Favorite song or music: wide variety, from classical to the rock of my youth, to even country western at times. Like the off beat on occasion, like ragtime piano or marching bands.

G is for Goof off thing to do: Silly games on the web... seriously, gaming can be an addiction. I had to take myself off the Nintendo when my kid was in grade school.

H is for Hometown: I'm going to say Lincoln, NE, as it is where I mostly lived during my growing and developing years, and where I moved back to after careering away for about 15 years.

I is for Instrument you play: Recorder, violin. I specify "play at", because I don't practice, but I do love getting them out around the holidays and making music with the more serious musicians in the family.

J is for Jam or Jelly you like: Strawberry, cherry, grape, raspberry, apricot...

K is for Kids: One son, thus the moniker, which I've been wearing around the web for over a decade.

L is for Living arrangement: House in the suburbs, with my 14 year old German shorthaired pointer. She's my son's dog, but she's my baby, and I'm hoping she stays healthy to greet him when he comes home from overseas.

M is for Momís name: Jo, deceased 1996, RIP, at a young age of 66. We had our mom-daughter issues, who doesn't, but all resolved and at peace when she departed. I still miss the ability to call her up and listen to her take on the world.

N is for Name of best friend: This one's tough. I could come up with several names, but the one that stands above the others in my heart of hearts would be Marilyn.

O is for Overnight Stay in a Hospital: Birth of my son. That's the only time.

P is for Phobias: Railroad crossings. Traumatized by a movie they showed us in Kindergarten. It was supposed to get us to not play around the rail yards in the little town we then lived in. It took me to very dark places and my mom couldn't get me to board the train to go visit grandma the next time we went, short of picking me up, kicking and screaming. I was sure we would be killed or have our legs cut off or something.

Q is for Quote you like: Let us not look back in anger, or forward with fear, but around in awareness - James Thurber

R is for Relationship that lasted longest: I suppose with my son, and he is now older than the length of my marriage. Marriage lasted 21 years 11 months.

S is for Siblings: 3 sisters, one older, two younger, and our brother in the middle spot.

T is for Texas, ever been?: Drove to Dallas and stayed for a couple of days once.

U is for Unique trait: Sheesh... I don't think I'm terribly unique. Except when you combine a lot of normal-ish things together, you end up with a unique combination.

V if for vegetable you love: Big veggie fan here... today I'll say cauliflower, because I found it particularly yummy this week.

W is for Worst traits: Obsessive, perfectionist, anxious, think everything is my fault and I don't deserve the good I've got (but not every day or all the time)... that general vein.

X- is for X-rays youíve had: Just the standard screening ones: mammo & bone density.

Y is for Yummy food you make: There's this really decadent baked cheese puff with an olive inside, and my lasagna is pretty decent.

Z is for Zodiac sign: Scorpio. Surprised?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 1/23/2010 5:36PM

    How fun - thanks for sharing!

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DEBRA_T 1/23/2010 9:37AM

    Cool beans! Thank you so much for playing!

I'm sorry to see you lost family young too. Those "necessary losses" as Judith Voirst called them, so difficult to assimilate into one's understanding of life.

And, hey, my dad was born in Alliance, NE, lived there most of his life and moved to Denver when he was in high school. So, I'm part Cornhusker.

I think you're unique, but then, all of us are unique constellations of nature and nuture. Reminds me of a quote from Christopher Lasch in the Culture of Narcissism: "When we grow too old to belief in our uniqueness, we fall in love with our complexity." Is that happening to you? It's happened to me!

This was great!

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The Spark Chapter 2: Resolution for purpose and vision to the goals

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I wrote about values and beliefs, then about purpose and vision... now I'm reviewing my New Year's goals that I wrote in this earlier post:

The long term goals: Goal number 1 was weight maintenance throughout 2010. Goal number 2 was to increase my level of functional fitness, so that I could choose both useful and fun activities without being impeded.

Both of these long term goals support the purpose and vision to free my son and his wife from worrying about me and my health... so that they may make their own guilt-free choices about where to live and what to do to make their way in the world.

Some of the other aspirations of things to do fall more in the category of some of those choices I want to be free to make: specific activities and rewards for myself.

I haven't put down any goals beyond that first vision, of myself as fit. I haven't specified a plan to get to the secure retirement fund, nor specified how I will model extending a helping hand to others. I may not put down a specific plan here... that's a little private, but...

In some ways my working on nutrition has indeed supported both of those purposes. It has led me to buy less from vending machines and eat out less... which supports saving, and thus the "secure retirement"... and also gives me the ability to give to relief efforts in Haiti, for example.

Others have blogged better about the situation down there in Haiti, but in my mind I did a comparison as some of the casualty figures came out... that would be like losing half the population of the city I live in! If you can do something to help, please do.

And tomorrow... back to the more "normal" kinds of blog entries... I think I'm done with my book specific reveries on Chapter 2!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 1/21/2010 6:31PM

    We did donate. The situation in Haiti is dismal to say the least.
My eye doctor was in the process of adopting 3 children and it is at a standstill right now. She has talked to the kids and they are OK. Our local and state government is trying to help bring the kids here soon.

Pray that this does come to fruition soon as these kids need a home.

Hugs, Sunny

Comment edited on: 1/21/2010 6:33:01 PM

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KALIGIRL 1/21/2010 1:15PM

    A great contemplation - amazing how doing things 'right' reverberates in many directions...

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DEBRA_T 1/21/2010 9:53AM

    Sounds really good to me. I think that being fit and eating well supports every other goal we can think of. I used to muse that no matter what the ailment I ever had at the doctor's office, exercise and nutrition were always noted as an aid to recovery. And so it is with healthy life, exercise and nutrition are noted as an aid. Looking forward to your "normal" blogs too!

Cheers, Debra

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