Our Purpose

Welcome to our Healthy Habits forum, sponsored by Relishing Motherhood. We are kicking off our New for 2009 Challenge on January 12th. Leave a comment to join us.

And special thanks to our contributing bloggers, whose profiles and links appear in the sidebar.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Goal Setting and Inner Strength

I'm sorry I forgot about posting last week! I got really sick again, and didn't post anywhere at all for quite a while.

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

For Just One Week Update and Challenge Housekeeping

How is it going, girls? If you haven't updated the last two weeks to reflect your exercise and scripture study, please do so right away. I am going to start assessing the fines so that we can stay on top of it (as the last challenge with fines got away from me.) Even if you don't pay your fines right now, let's have them all figured out. Also, you'll notice that on my exercise for last week, there is an orange comment notation in the corner, indicating that I took one of my sick days. If you want to do the same, just right click on your square, then choose "insert comment". You can write in there if you want to take one or more of your sick days so that you won't get fined.

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

It's a journey, not a destination

I enjoy doing yoga. I don't get to do it very often, but I really love it.

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

For Just One Week Update

"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

When the train derails

It's 6:15 am and I have yet to read my scriptures. This is actually a problem for me.

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

Posty Randomness

I'm sitting here feeling like I'm in the Twilight Zone, and no, I don't mean that Twilight.

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

Kickoff Day!

Today was our first day, and as long as you don't live on the east coast it's not too late to meet your goals for the day. I hope that everyone was able to start off strong. If today ended up being your off day, take a few minutes to sit down and plan how you'll fit in your exercise and scripture study for the rest of the week so that you can be successful.

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.

Just One Week -- My Personal Goal

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

Goals. I've got a few.

I am a perfectionist. I have many many many many things that I wish I could do well, or better. And I get rather distracted by each new thing I think of that I want to do and don't accomplish the 3 or 10 or 50 other things I have already put on my listofthingstoworkon.

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

Sick Rules

For full details on our New Year Healthy Habits Challenge, read here. We start on Monday, January 12th! Join us!

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

Brand New Healthy Habits Challenge

Many of you have been raring to go, out there attacking your New Year's Resolutions since January 2nd. I, on the other hand, have been coasting into the New Year. As much as I love a fresh start, I seem to be content to wait another day until that fresh start starts. That is why I need you, dear readers, to join with me.

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!