And special thanks to our contributing bloggers, whose profiles and links appear in the sidebar.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
In the exercise category, (drumroll, please) . . . . .
Donna is our big winner! She exercised 63 days in 10 weeks. Most impressive!
In the scripture study category, we have a two-way tie between Katrina and Rebecca. Congratulations, girls! They never missed a day of reading the scriptures during our 10 week challenge.
The overall winner (the person with the most total points) was Donna, as she only missed 2 days of scripture study in the 10 weeks and we already know she rocked the exercise.
So, if everyone sends me their fines, the prizes will be awarded thusly:
The total pot is $259 (assuming that everyone pays up).
We'll divide it in fourths. Donna will get half because she won the exercise prize and the overall prize. Katrina and Rebecca will each get one fourth for the scripture prize. Does that sound fair?
If you have questions or concerns about your fines as calculated by me, please let me know via comments or email. The pot may change if I made a mistake (and a couple of you never put in any points for the last week, which may have been an error.)
Thanks to everyone for participating. I'm so sorry that I wasn't a better coach in this challenge. Anyone interested in taking over this blog and keeping the challenges going? Anyone?:)
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
These last weeks I've spent in the latter half of the book of Alma, the part with all the wars. I love these chapters. They parallel so much in life, and I see them much as parables.
The thing that really stood out to me this time around was the constant need to be aware and keep our fortresses strong. Captain Moroni and his men strengthened the weakest city until it became the strongest, and couldn't be taken by force. The only way they lost their cities was by having strife and problems with their own people.
This so much parallels modern-day life. No matter what we do, it's so important to focus on keeping our strengths strong, and building up those places where we are weak. Be that physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, these all are where we need constant watchtowers. By setting goals we better ourselves and keep better watch over ourselves and our families. It's much easier to repair or begin to repair the weak spots when we are keeping guard and looking out for possible maintenance problems.
I've so much enjoyed this challenge, and building up some of the weak spots in my life. I hope everyone who has done this has gotten a lot out of it. I know I have.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I am sorry that I have been absent. I have been participating in our challenge but have really slacked on the blogging. Thanks to Aubrey for keeping us afloat over the past few weeks.
This is it, ladies! We have one last week to go! For a while it felt like our challenge would never end, but now I can't believe that we're starting week 10 tomorrow. I know that most of us have struggled to meet our goals, but I'm feeling like we have not struggled in vain!
I promise to get fines and points up-t0-date in the next couple of days, so we can know where we stand.
How are you feeling? Did anyone else get their second wind like I did? What changes have you seen in yourself? What do you wish we had done differently? Please leave a comment with some feedback.
And let's go out strong. I'm committing to tougher, longer workouts this week and more time with the scriptures. How about you?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
I found it very insightful and it applies to everyone. It is human nature and what everyone experiences whether we know it or not.
But knowing and understanding the process of changing habits can really help us make those changes and stick with them. So I thought I'd share these steps of change with you.
1. Precontemplation: This is the happy (or not so happy, actually) stage of being unaware of a problem. Or even denial that there is a problem.
2. Contemplation: This is when we are aware that a problem exists and are thinking about doing something to change, but have not yet made that commitment.
3. Preparation: This is where we are ready to take action to change. We've made that commitment. Perhaps we are learning about what we need to do and intend to follow through.
4. Action: This is when we are working to modify our behavior. Working on a habit; going through the motions. It takes considerable time and energy and commitment...as we ALL know!
5. Maintenance: Working to prevent relapse. Sticking to the new habit.
(One thing that I read online about this says that for addictive behaviors this can take from 6 months to an indeterminate amount of time...in other words it takes a long time to break an addiction.)
Of course, relapse can occur and then we need to asses where we are in the cycle and get back to work.
I hope this is helpful to some of you! If you want more info about this you can go here. Or just google it like I did.
Have a great weekend!
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Actually, these pictures do not do justice to breakfast this morning. This kid had smoothie ALL. OVER. HERSELF. She'd drain her little cup and then stick it out begging for a refill. "Please, sir. May I have some more?" (Name that movie.)
1-2 cups of spinach
1-2 cups (or more) frozen fruit
2 Tablespoons honey
optional: a couple of tablespoons of flax meal
Blend it all up in the blender and serve. You can use fresh fruit and and ice if you don't have frozen.
My kids love this stuff. And it gets spinach in them. Spinach! And it's low-cal and refreshing.
Hope this gives you some great energy to keep on truckin' along in your exercise routine!
Monday, February 23, 2009
For more info on For Just One Week, see Ice Cream's blog.
So, I didn't post an update last week because I hadn't achieved my goal of taking care of 5 things that I have been procrastinating. The problem is, I just kept on procrastinating those things, finding that I'd much rather blog, read or pick my toenails than I would file for the AFLAC payment from an injury Kimball had two plus years ago. I guess that's why it's been over 2 years. Sigh.
I do intend to get to the AFLAC thing as well as a tax thingy I've been putting off, but my official goal this week is something entirely different. We had stake conference this past weekend. I'm pretty sure that all of our participants are LDS and know what this means, but just in case I have some lurkers here, it's just a fancy word for a meeting of all of the members of LDS community. On Saturday evening, there is a meeting for the adults, then on Sunday morning there is a meeting for the entire family. Needless to say, as a mother of four young, energetic chidlren, I get a lot more out of the Saturday evening session!
One of the speakers on Saturday night said some things that triggered ideas and thoughts for me. I'm not sure that he actually talked about how prayer can help us become the people whom we want to become, but that's what I took away. And I set a little goal to myself for this week to schedule real, sincere, on-my-knees, prayers several times throughout the day when I know I'll need extra strength. I have been struggling more since I got pregnant with energy levels and shortness of temper, and I really want my children's homeschool experience (and mine) to be a positive one. So I set the goal this week to pray daily at the following times: 6:30 am, 8:45 am (right before we officially start the school day), at Bronwen's naptime, and around 4:30 pm, or just when I'm getting ready to start making dinner. And of course at bedtime. I know that it might be silly to schedule prayers, but I really want to call on the powers of heaven this week to make me stronger than I am by myself (and stronger than I am with a prayer in the morning and night). I want help to not get cross at my children, to see them as Heavenly Father sees them, to not crab at my husband, and to teach my children each day in the way that He would have me teach them. So there's my goal. I will definitely report back to you on how it goes.
Now, regarding the free point (I know that I tricked many of you into reading just to find out about it,) I'm actually talking about last week's. I'm wondering who would rather have an additional point as opposed to having a dollar shaved off their penalty. Leave a comment and let me know, preferably also sharing with us how the week went for you. I hope you were able to think outside the box on your exercise and try something new.
Gotta go--the baby just woke up from her nap.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
So, how's life? Everyone still with us? I am doing pretty well with the excercise--I've gotten into a decent groove with that. But just so-so with the reading. I am getting a little in every day, but not very deep or meaningful. It is hard to have even a few minutes of solitude to study in my very small house. So, many times I have to squeeze it in without much time for pondering it.
We recently had ward conference. Our stake president talked about how sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. I have been thinking that as moms we sacrifice a lot. A. LOT. I know for myself, I wish I could listen more in sacrament meeting. Or study ahead more for the lessons in Sunday school. Or spend a whole lot more quality time on my knees and in the scriptures. But more often then not I spend that time taking care of my children and just squeezing in what little snips of reading and learning I can. But then at ward conference I was reminded that my sacrifice is seen, and it counts for something. And the sacrifices we make for our families and children will bring forth blessings. I have faith that the things I miss out on while wandering the chapel halls with my toddler will be returned to me in greater abundance. Because sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.
And if one of those blessings happened to be a smaller jeans size, I would not complain one bit.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
A few of you posed questions and concerns in your comments that I'd like to address here. First of all , it is $25 per challenge to drop out. I know that's steep, but the point is to stay in the race. Joni, you aren't the only one having a hard time accomplishing this. We are so with you, girl! And I don't want this to cost you a fortune, either. I've been reflecting on this today, as many of you expressed concerns, frustration, or a sense of failure. I suggest that those of us who are struggling to fit in the exercise consider the following:
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of what our exercise must look like. I have gotten into the habit of walking the track with a girlfriend 3 nights a week, which is great. The problem is that when it's raining, we bail. When I lamented this evening at dinner to my husband that it was raining again, he pointed out, "Don't you have a gym membership?" Duh! I was so locked into thinking that my MTW exercise was walking with Mandy that I didn't even think about alternatives. I actually ended up putting in a prenatal pilates DVD, which I had been meaning to try out for weeks, and it felt great to do something different. But it hadn't really occurred to me. In my mind it was walk or skip the exercise.
Our friend, Donna (I think--Donna, are you posting as Garbett Family?), has an issue that others of you might struggle with. She is just too busy for daily 30 minutes of exercise, at least at first glance. Donna, I suggest that you look for little ways to get in 10 minutes at a time during your day. Maybe that's taking a brisk walk during a "coffee break" at work, dancing crazy with your kids (it's amazing how 10 minutes of that will wear you out), or doing situps and pushups before you get in the shower. This doesn't have to be 30 consecutive minutes. Find something that works for you. You mentioned that you love jogging but can't find the time every day-- maybe you can schedule it in for twice in the week as a little treat for yourself, but don't give up on alternative forms of exercise.
I think for all of us it really helps if we think outside the boxes we have made for ourselves--the rules that don't actually exist about what our exercise needs to look like, what time of day it must take place, etc.
Also, I notice (not surprisingly) that everyone who is doing their scripture study is noticing an increase of the Spirit in their lives. Ask Heavenly Father to help you meet the exercise portion of the program. In my case, I need to ask Him to make me want it more, especially on the weekend. Ask Him to help you see ways to fit it into your day, or for the energy to do it when you just feel too tired. This is a righteous desire and He will help us if we ask.
You may have noticed that I haven't posted a report on my personal "For Just One Week" goal. That's because I've been procrastinating because I didn't accomplish it. So I'll give myself the same challenge for this week and report back to you all next Monday.
I hope that some of these ideas help. If anyone else has any thoughts or feedback, PLEASE leave a comment! It is so good to know that you are out there, that we are working on this together.
Monday, February 16, 2009
How is everyone feeling about this? I'm offering a bonus point (added to your total) for each person who leaves a comment telling us how they are doing/feeling/looking etc. Have you seen any changes? What is hard and what has become automatic? (If you aren't a registered blogger, you can still comment as "anonymous". Just sign your name at the bottom of the comment so we know who you are.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Well, it is obvious that one thing I've been procrastinating is this post! You may remember that one of my goals for last week was to take care of one thing I was procrastinating every day. I was excited about the goal, but found that it wasn't realistic for every day--even every day in a week. My Mondays are absolutely swamped, and my list of things I was putting off partly had to do with taking care of things during business hours--thus, things that can't be done after the kids are in bed, after I've done my walk, and before I go to bed early! To make up for it, I tried to do more than one thing on the days when I could actually make time to check things off my list. Here are some things that I had procrastinated and that I accomplished this past week:
- Filled out appropriate labels, packaged up, and dropped off at the UPS store some GapMaternity returns (they have to go back via mail if you bought them online.) If you know me at all, you know that I am postally challenged. These items had been waiting around to be sent back for at least 6 weeks.
- Called Countrywide to check in on my mortgage, which is set to adjust this spring. Breathed a sigh of relief that it isn't changing.
- Renewed my Ensign and Friend magazine subscriptions, which had expired in September. I have been reading them online, but it's not the same. Shocking that I let it go so long, I know.
- Conquered my ironing pile. This may not have been paperwork related, but it was surely procrastinated. Now everything is ironed and hanging in someone's closet.
- Got QuickBooks all caught up and reconciled for my husband's business.
- Submitted a rebate.
- Cleaned out my purse.
- Made sand dough for our Roman Aquaduct project (I'd been planning that for three weeks.) Sadly, I still procrastinated making the archways for another three days and the dough was too crumbly to produce sturdy archways. Sigh.
In this coming week, I will check off five things that I have been procrastinating for way too long. I will not procrastinate doing this until Saturday!:) I will also spend more time in the afternoons and/or Friday doing school things. We have been getting all the basics in, but I want to be sure that we are getting enrichment studies in as well. We will do at least one Valentine's Day craft, we will make those elusive Roman Aquaducts, and we will go birdwatching (weather permitting). And I will get in my five days of exercise--I only hit 4 last week.
How are your goals coming? I am really struggling to get in my exercise on the weekends (Friday-Sunday), even if I only need to exercise one of those days. Any suggestions on what's working for you?
Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I know I've said this before, but I'm so glad I'm doing this challenge. In the last couple of days especially, I'm feeling the blessings. I'm being given the energy to be a better mother, and the results in my children are nothing short of miraculous! These changes didn't happen right away. In fact, I had really been struggling for a long time, as anyone reading my last personal blog post will know. Suddenly doing more of what you should do doesn't always fix everything overnight. But since I've kept at this challenge I'm feeling more of God's inspiration in how to raise my children, and we are becoming a happier home. These last few days have been some of the best we've had together and I know I'm on the right track. My heart is very full and very thankful.
Is anyone else doing the "Just One Week" goal? I had plans to do it but keep forgetting to start. I should probably plan to start on Mondays since that's the day I tend to start everything off new. Gives me something to ponder on for these next few days...
Anyway, how's the exercise, scripture study, weekly goal going? I know we keep track on the clipboard, but feel free to share your thoughts with everyone and keep the support going!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Well, another week has come and gone. Life passes us by so quickly, and if we don't write down our goals and commit to them, it's easy to grow older without growing any better. I, for one, don't mind my advancing age as long as I'm improving along the way, like an expensive wine or aged cheese. It's only when I stop to realize how long it's been since I've been talking about accomplishing something--without making any progress--that I begin to get discouraged.
The Book of Mormon tells us that "the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." In other words, we don't get a do-over in the next life. We need to make this one count.
That's one reason that I am enjoying not only our exercise and scripture study 10-week challenge, but also Ice Cream's For Just One Week challenge. I can accomplish some of my smaller goals, or those that I'm just not ready for a long term commitment with, and try them on for size.
I had two goals for this past week: the first was to stay off the computer for non-school reasons until at least noon on school days. On the weekend, I was to be off the computer until I had exercised and read my scriptures. The second goal was to get more out of my workouts.
Well, I did accomplish my goals on school days, which was the most important to me. As I expected, it made a big difference in my ability to keep our school morning on schedule, to give my children my full attention, and to generally be more productive. On the weekend I did manage to stay off the computer until noon, but as for getting in my workout and scripture study first . . . well, that didn't happen. But I did get them in. The weekends can be pretty crazy around here, and I finally decided to just drop that part. Lame, perhaps, but I feel like I accomplished the PURPOSE of my goal--to spend less of my productive time on the computer.
In terms of getting more out of my exercise, I definitely did that this week. Most days I got in an hour instead of the minimum 30 minutes. I went walking several evenings with a good friend and we cruised around the track at top speed, clocking in over 3 miles each time, while gabbing away without the interruptions of kids. I got to my early morning spin class on Thursday, which is always a fantastic workout. Whatever I did, I pushed myself harder than I have been in previous weeks and it felt great.
This week, I want to adjust my goal for computer use a bit. It is: no computer (except school related) before noon AND before I've done my scripture study. I noticed that last week, I had several days when I was reading at bedtime and I just don't get as much out of it then as I do earlier in the day. I am not going to have exercise be a part of this, as some nights I like to exercise in the evenings and don't want that to penalize my computer time.
Additionally, every day I am going to take care of one paperwork-or-phone-call-related chore that I have been procrastinating. I have a stack of things by my computer, and sadly, at least one of them has been procrastinated for over a year. Yikes!
How are your goals coming along? Care to set an extra one for just one week? Leave a comment here or post about it on your blog and link back to Ice Cream's post. Don't let another week of your life pass you by without doing something to age well!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I'm enjoying reading the other posts, and since I homeschool my children Michal's post last night was inspiring. I've been thinking a lot about Aubrey's post on having joy in the journey, and that led me to some thoughts of my own.
There's so much that requires our attention these days, that I don't know about you, but I feel drained well before the end of each day. I'm doing my best to simplify my life right now, but there are always things we have in our lives that our out of our control and can be a drain on our inner reserves. There are many things we can do to fill up our "gas tanks", so to speak, and some are more lasting than others.
It can take a lot of strength to haul out the exercise equipment or reach for the scriptures when we really would rather curl up in bed with a box of chocolate and a fluffy novel, but which one will help fill our tanks and give us more of that inner strength we so desperately need? Not that there's anything wrong with reading for just pure pleasure, or with chocolate for that matter! But for me, they alone don't build that inner contentedness that I need to handle the stresses of day-to-day life. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to get the reward, and then enjoy a bit of fluffy relaxation.
I have noticed a big difference now that reading my scriptures has become a habit. I find myself drawing a lot of comfort from the words. Every day is different, sometimes I just go through the motions and sometimes I really take a lot from what I've read. Still, it's great to feel the satisfaction of having accomplished at least one thing I've told myself I was going to, and that helps with developing that inner strength.
Have any of you felt these sort of changes in the past weeks? I'm so thankful for all of you and it really helps to know you are out there, striving for the same things. You all get extra brownie points! (Just don't eat too many of them! :D )
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Now, I want to report on my For Just One Week goal. Go on over to My Ice Cream Diary if you'd like to join in the fun of blogging about a personal goal.
Last week, my personal goal was to teach at least 3 math lessons to all three boys. For those of you who don't know, I homeschool our kids. Since Christmas, we had been struggling to have formal math lessons and I knew that I needed to get back into the groove of doing math daily. We took a minimum day on Monday to have a friend over (since everyone else had a holiday) and we didn't do math then. Tuesday we watched the inauguration, then ran from doctor's appointments to karate to the library and didn't do math again. Wednesday and Thursday we had formal math lessons with all three kids. On Friday, I don't usually do math, but I told myself that on Friday or Saturday we needed to in order to meet my goal. Well, Saturday evening rolled around and I realized that we hadn't had our lessons. I had just picked up the kids from a friend's house and had promised them that we'd make cookies and dinner. How was I going to fit in math--three separate lessons usually take at least 90 minutes?
I did some quick thinking and decided to turn the cookies into a math lesson. Henry & I talked all about measurements, fractions, and how to follow a recipe. Kimball got busy figuring out how to double and half the recipe. Ian was only interested in nabbing chocolate chips, so I guess he didn't really have math that day, but I knew that Kimball and Henry got something out of it besides the cookies and I felt good about counting it. And as of today (Tuesday,) we've already had 2 good math lessons with 2 more to go this week.
My goal for this week is to stay off of the computer for non-school reasons until noon each school day. On the weekend, I must stay off the computer until I've exercised and read the scriptures. That means no email, facebook, blogging, shopping, etc. It will be tough, but I also know that it is key to my success if I want to get back into a good routine with my kids. It might sound ridiculously easy, but it will require self-control on my part.
My other goal last week was to get more out of my workouts. I don't felt like I acheived that one, partly because I continued to feel sick and overtired a lot of the time, so I'm going to carry it over again this week.
How are your goals coming? How does it feel to be competing in this challenge?
Friday, January 23, 2009
The great thing about yoga is that really you can't be bad at it. There are poses and you just do the pose to the degree you are able. And that can vary from practice to practice.
Yoga is a practice. It's a journey. You never "arrive" doing yoga. You never get perfect at it. And you learn a little more about your body every time you do it.
Goals are kind of like yoga. While maybe we accomplish and finish a goal the goals are a concentrated practice of better habits. You never "arrive" at reading your scriptures, or eating better, or treating your body well. It is something we have to practice every day.
Today is Friday. (We say Friday Funday at our house.) We have 2 more days in this week to practice your goals!
And don't forget to post up your numbers on the spread sheet!
Monday, January 19, 2009
"Is that the alarm? It can't possibly be time to get up already!"--Michal, every morning last week.
So here I am, reporting on my personal goal. You can participate in this program as well by going to Liz's blog (My Ice Cream Diary) and joining the fun. We set goals for one week at a time, trying to see what is achievable and reasonable in our efforts to self-improve. Liz is blowing me away with the goals she is setting and meeting. I have been less than stellar and am ashamed of myself. I'll try to set more realistic goals this week--and to be less flaky!
My carry-over goal of getting up before 6:00 am Monday through Thursday and by 7:00 on Friday just plain did not happen this week. My cold got worse, my kids got sicker, and I flaked out. On Monday I peeled myself out of bed right at 6:00. On Tuesday, when my alarm went off, I felt like crying. Jared said, "So you got up at 6:00. Now go back to bed." I guiltily did just that. Thursday was the only day I made it, and that was because my ride comes at 5:20 to take me to spin class and I don't have a good way to call her and cancel at such a ridiculous hour.
I've decided that this get up early thing is a great goal for me when I'm not sick, pregnant, and dealing with sick kids who think they need their mother in the middle of the night. Go ahead, call me wimpy. I can take it!
My new goal this week (besides the exercise and scripture study that we're working towards on this blog) was to clean my room every night before bed. I did it Monday-Thursday. Friday I felt like I deserved a medal for getting out of bed, let alone baking bread, wearing makeup to the doctor's office, and doing the grocery shopping after dinner. The two baskets of clean laundry that needed to be folded and put away? They got put on the floor to "take care of tomorrow." But it felt really good to take care of things on a nightly basis and I found that if I did that, it never got to be a big mess. Which is nice, because my room always seems to be the last priority in the house. I'm not going to officially carry this over as a goal next week, but I'll be keeping it in mind.
My goal this week is to get up by 6:00 on mornings when I actually got to sleep the night before AND to teach my kids at least 3 math lessons EACH this week (as we took a semi-holiday today, I'm not aiming for 4). A game of Triominoes does not count as a math lesson. I have been procrastinating and avoiding math like a 3rd grader since Christmas. Perhaps because my 3rd grader procrastinates and avoids math and I don't want to deal with it. But I need to for their sakes. And I think it will help me get my needed groove back when it comes to morning routines and homeschool.
And along with that, I'll be trying to get more out of my daily exercise. I am loving the daily scripture study, but the exercise could use some improvement in terms of effort, output, and sweat.
How are your goals coming along? Leave a comment, be a dear!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Why? you may ask. It's early still!
Yes, well if I don't read them before the troops get up it's really hard to get it in. And the troops will be getting up any minute. Except for the baby. She woke up at 5. And that derailed my morning a bit. She's back to sleep now, but I'm all off schedule this morning.
So I will have to redouble my efforts today and sneak in my scriptures this afternoon.
I know that if I don't get it together quickly, then one slow morning will lead to many slow mornings and then my whole entire train of goals will come completely off the tracks.
How do you keep yourself on track despite minor disruptions?
(Seriously, please leave a comment and let us know! I'd love to hear all wisdom you closeted readers are harboring.)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Princess is in the bathtub just around the corner from me, and she's yelling "Lion, the baloney sandwich is about to start!" I have no idea what this means as she's never even had a baloney sandwich. What kind of play is this? I'm feeling a little foggy-headed.
This week has been highly anticipated for me. The opportunity to start a new goal. My goal is reading my scriptures daily, and I'm glad I signed up for it. I'm already feeling a bit more spiritual because of it, even after only two days. It's amazing what paying attention to what you read does. A lot of the time I wouldn't even remember what I had read two seconds after I read it, but I'm including paying attention with my part of the challenge. I think I've gotten more out of two nights than I've gotten in weeks, and I didn't read a whole lot either.
By the way, all those who are on the scripture challenge may want to check their numbers. When I went to update mine yesterday there was already a point there. Either someone put it in for me, or they accidentally put their point on mine and shorted themselves.
Ugh. I just tried to eat a naturally fruit juice sweetened lemon yogurt and I still have the onion taste in my mouth from lunch so it tastes like Chinese food. I love Chinese food, but not yogurt-flavored. Take that as the diet tip for the day! Although...I'm pregnant so barbecue chips taste like gingerbread and diet lemonade like cedar shavings. I don't have those things often, and now I have a double reason!
I know this post is random, but I'm pretty tired at the moment so I hope you'll all excuse me. I just wanted to cheer all of us on, and share that I've found out that keeping goals--even when you're really tired--feels good. It makes us feel better, stronger, happier. We accomplish something important every day, and that strengthens our character.
How's everyone's week going?
Monday, January 12, 2009
Now, some general housekeeping and tutorials. (Feel free to skim over this if you are already comfortable with the procedures). In the past I have monitored these challenges via email, but since I set up this blog I am planning on having all general business, rules clarification, rah-rah encouragement, etc take place here. I know that some of you are not bloggers, but don't panic. If you click on the button near the bottom right hand side of this page, you can subscribe to posts or even all posts and comments. That means that anytime there is something new here, you'll get an email. It should be pretty straightforward. Additionally, you have to come to this blog in order to report your progress, so I would imagine that you'll be checking in every day or so anyhow.
Now, in terms of recording progress, you'll need to click on the clipboard in the sidebar. It will take you to a spreadsheet. The tabs at the bottom indicate which challenge is tracked there (exercise or scripture study). I used everyone's screen names, but if you'd rather go by your real name, feel free to change it. We'll record one point for each day that we achieve our goals, but there's just one box per week. I'd prefer if you checked in as often as possible to update, rather than updating once a week, but do what works for you AS LONG AS YOU UPDATE IT AT THE END OF THE WEEK. I'm not really comfortable with you recording your points two or three weeks later. Your points will automatically total at the end of the spreadsheet, but I will calculate the fines manually (I'm good at formulas, but that one was getting pretty complex).
If you have questions about this, please leave a comment and I'll get back to you as quickly as possible. And if you have questions on the rules of play, check this post and this one. If you don't find the answer you seek, leave me a comment.
Now get out there and achieve your goals! I know you can do it.
Here is my weekly update on my participation in My Ice Cream Diary's For Just One Week goal program. If you would like to join us and set a personal goal to work on for just one week, go here.
My goal last week was to get out of bed before 6:00 am Monday through Thursday and before 7:00 am on Friday. I have always found that my day is better when I rise early, and yet over the holidays I really got lazy about that and found myself crawling out of bed when my kids did--or later. I knew that coming with the following week would be my exercise and scripture study goals, so I thought that easing in a little by getting up at a more reasonable hour would help. It did.
I made it out of bed before 6:00 Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesday I decided to smother my goals with my pillow-- Ian had been up roughly 37 times in the night and I hadn't gotten more than three or four hours of sleep by 6:00 am. I stayed in bed until Bronwen got up at 8:00, letting my boys trash the house while I slumbered. (Ian had no problem getting up at his usual time, around 6:45. Kids!)
On the days that I did rise early, I was able to use this time to shower, dress, and spend at least 30 minutes with my gospel study in peace and quiet. It was heavenly and I really noticed a difference. In fact, the days that I did this, I found in the evening that I hadn't yelled at my children all day. Thursday I actually got up at 5:00 and made it to the early morning spin class that I'd missed for about 5 weeks in a row. I wanted a nap by 9:30, but it felt great!
Fridays are a little closer to the weekend around here, since my husband's office is closed, so I set my goal for 7:00 am and pulled it off. It gave me plenty of time to do my scripture study, feed the kids breakfast, and get ready for my hair appointment, and to let my husband sleep in a bit longer. Then he returned the favor on Saturday, the sweetie.
Anyway, in spite of not meeting my goal on Wednesday, I feel good about what I accomplished. This week, I am focusing on the same thing, plus adding in the daily exercise as part of our HH challenge. Additionally, I am going to do something that Lizzy at MICD is working on this week--cleaning my room every day. Somehow, it's always the last one to get done, which means it often doesn't. My kids aren't allowed to go to bed with a messy room, so I'm going to hold myself to that for just one week and see how it goes. Now I need to get to work on it before my early bedtime! Goodnight!
Friday, January 9, 2009
For example, take sneaking extra nutrition into meals that we eat. Like the cookbook Deceptively Delicious advocates. I don't have this cookbook. But my wonderful sis-in-law, Lanae, does. And her New Year's resolution is to cook more at home and eat more healthfully with her family. A wonderful goal to have. I was recently at her house and we discussed this and made blue box mac-n-cheese for the kids with added white bean puree to the cheese sauce. Sneaky nutrition. And even her pickiest eater gobbled it up. (She has tried a number of the recipes in the book and her family loves them.)
I came home from her house and thought, "Hey, yeah! That is what I should be doing!"
Another case in point involves a conversation I had with a good friend of mine, Kristie. We were discussing how to fit in exercise and scripture study and time to meditate and still get the kids out the door. Her friend would get up at 4:30 in the AM to do this. She'd read, exercise, make breakfast, etc. And Kristie was doing this for a while, too, when she was a teacher at the gym and taught the 5:15 (in the AM!) Body Pump class. After we discussed this I thought to myself "Hey, yeah! I could totally fit it all in that way!"
Other things that have caught my fancy that I totally want to learn to do include:
making and using homemade laundry soap
ditto with house cleaners
listen to more of and become well versed in classical music
ditto with reading classical literature
teach myself to play the piano
plant a veggie/herb garden (believe it or not, in another month or so it will be time to start this in my neck of the woods.)
There are more, but this will do for now.
Each of these things are good, worthy goals to have. Each of them, when I learn about them, is new and exciting and a challenge. And I love a good challenge. The problem is that I want to do them all NOW. In addition to the very important goals that I am currently, actively working on. And they distract me from the things I am in the middle of doing. Like a shiny new toy that pulls me away from my homework.
Part of the problem is that I want to be good at everything. I am type-A all the way. And I could really nearly drive myself and my family crazy trying to do it ALL. So I have to pull myself back to reality and realize that I can accomplish many things, but not everything all at once.
This is why these Healthy Habits challenges are so good for me. They focus me. And keep me motivated. And give me a little friendly competition to keep things interesting.
I hope you like these challenges as much as I do. And are geared up for the next one!
(Oh, and not to worry. I quickly recovered from the notion of waking up at 4:30 in the morning. That's just crazy!)
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Okay, here's what I think about sick days and the exercise portion of our challenge. As a recent cold was the final straw in breaking my exercise routine, I understand that some days you just might not have the required health to make this goal happen. At the same time, giving blanket sick days any time you want encourages skipping the exercise--at least it does for me. So here's the plan. You can take up to 3 sick days during the 10 week challenge. Since we're only committing to 5 days of workouts in a week, that means you could either take lots of days off one week when you were really sick, or have three weeks with three days off in each week. On your 3 sick days you will not accrue penalty charges, but you will also not accrue points towards our total. So if you are trying to win this game, you'll need to try to push through the sick and do something resembling exercise.
Hopefully, we'll all be so healthy that our immune systems will fight off the nasty flu that is rampant this time of year. That would be a great perk, wouldn't it?
Don't forget to encourage your friends and family to join our challenge.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
After talking to lots of people about what works for them, I have found that most of you would like to have a challenge similar to the one I did back in August-November; one involving a payment of penalties when you don't meet your goal. (I am finally about to pay out to the winners of the last competition--collecting the fines has been a job, let me tell you!) There are many who also are interested in adding daily scripture study to the challenge. Others want a completely individual goal included.
So, here's the plan. This challenge will have 2 parts, with an additional opportunity to set individual goals. You can participate in 1 part or all 3 (or none, but if you're not playing, you've probably stopped reading by now.)
Part 1 is exercise. We will commit to getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week. How strenuous this exercise is is entirely up to you, but I hope that if you play along, you will push yourself beyond your comfort zone. You'll earn 1 point for each day of exercise, and if you do more than 5 days, you can still earn points on the extra days. If you don't get at least 5 days in each week, you'll owe a penalty of $1 per day missed--but you'll have to pay for all of the days in that week that you missed, not just up to 5. So, if you only exercise 4 days, you'll owe $3 for the week. I think that may help us to not rationalize that "it's only a dollar" when we want to skip a day. Clear as mud?
Part 2 is scripture study. I will not put a time limit on this, but I hope that you will use this to establish a good study habit, say at least 15 minutes, but that's just a suggestion. We will commit to scripture study at least 6 times per week. Again, you can earn up to 7 points a week if you read every day, but 6 is all you need to commit to. The penalty will be the same: 1$ for each day missed, up to $7 in a week. If you don't already have this habit established, I promise you that it will effect your life for good even more than the exercise will.
Part 3 is your personal goal. I have wracked my brain trying to figure out how to track this one, and have decided to refer you to My Ice Cream Diary. She is sponsoring a "Just For One Week" event that goes from Saturday to Saturday. The idea is that you commit to doing something for that week. The next week, you can pick a new goal, stick with the same one, or refine it. So we won't really track it here at all, nor will this one contribute to the points or penalties of the other two--it just gives you an opportunity to be accountable if you want to set a goal to have Family Home Evening, get up at a certain time, or do your hair everyday. Whatever you want to work on.
Our challenge will begin on Monday, January 12th and go for 10 weeks, through Sunday, March 22nd. As before, if you join us and then drop out, you will be fined $25. The people who have earned the most points in each category, as well as the person who earns the most points overall will split the pool of fines. I will try to get us some sponsors as well so that we can include some give-aways or bonus prizes along the way.
For now, please just leave a comment to let me know you are in. I'll work on a spreadsheet to track our progress. Feel free to post about this on your blog or FaceBook--the more people who participate, the better.
Also, for those of you who need or want it, we will try to post some encouraging words on this blog from time to time. You can check in and give your own feedback, share what is challenging with us as well as the results that you are experiencing. Aubrey and Rebecca are already contributing bloggers here. If you'd like to help in that area (say posting once a week), mention that in the comments and I'll adore you always.
Let's get these habits well established, so that we can live happier, healthier lives in 2009!