Progress Report IV

I have to start all over again. With the events of the past week, I have gotten completely off track. It’s been a week since I’ve gone on a run. I’ve been taking time off work for appointments and shock. I also have not been keeping track of what I’ve been eating…plus there was birthday cake. At least I’ve been walking.

I hate starting over again. It’s discouraging. If I don’t want to have to start over in the first place, then I should stop quitting right? I KNOW! Life happens though. You have health problems, your friends need you, there’s birthday cake, and people die. How do you keep going with your plan when all these things come up…never mind when they all happen in the same week?!

So here’s the plan again.

Exercise: Run every other day.

Food: Eat healthy, get the right amount of calories.

Work: Find my mojo.

Psych also gave me homework. What is important to you? This is the question my he wants me to answer. He gave me conditions though. It has to be independent of other people. He says my self-worth is based too much on external things, like my performance at work or other people’s opinions of me. He also told me not to pick the question apart, to just answer it. What immediately comes to mind is does he want me to say what IS important to me, or what I WANT to be important to me? Those are two very different things. For example, what IS important to me is pleasing other people, making them happy. This is dependent on other people though, so I’m not allowed to answer with that. I don’t know what else I would answer with. If the question is what do I WANT to be important to me, that’s easy. I want to my career to be important. I want learning more and being challenged to be important. That’s not the way it is though. I find myself caring less about the things I want to matter every day. Plus, I’m picking apart the question, just like he asked me not to.

What is important to you? How would you answer this question? I need some ideas.

fell and rose again

 

Motivation Progress Report III

Week three of me trying to boost my motivation.

Exercise. I am still running at 5 am during the week. I’ve been going later in the day on the weekends though. Who wants to get up at 5am when they don’t have to?! I ran my whole route without stopping this week. I suppose that’s a milestone. I used to be able to do it no problem without stopping, so I’m not really that proud of myself. I suppose I should celebrate a little if I want to stay motivated. I’m also tempted to weigh myself. It’ll probably be upsetting, but it would be easy to monitor changes. My clothes still feel the same. I think it’s going to a while before I can feel a difference.

Food. I haven’t been doing so well with counting my calories. It’s annoying. I have been eating the same things, so I know I am within my limit. When I get bored of eating the same things everyday I’ll have to pay more attention to counting. I mentioned in a post the other day that I was thinking about cake a lot. Do you think having a cheat meal once a week is ok? It might give me something to look forward to and make it easier to turn down cake during the week. Not a whole cheat day, just a meal…

Work. It was a decent week. I found a few participants for the studies I m working on. The problem is they are mostly French and I can’t speak French. This means I have to chase the research assistant and get him to book appointments. I really don’t like chasing people. It makes me feel like a nag. I wish he would just do it on his own.

Overall, I feel like I should be getting somewhere, but I’m not. I feel healthier, but then I look in the mirror and the image doesn’t match how I feel. It’s disappointing. I’m also annoyed with myself for letting the way I look matter more than work. Work should matter more.

medusa

Medusa

Easy Ways to Increase Happiness

I found an article circulating on Facebook that lists “easy” things to make you happier. Normally I’d skip it, thinking it’s a bunch of hooey, but it claimed this list was backed by science (plus I have no better post ideas). Being an uninspired scientist, I liked the sound of this. So here is a summary, if you want more details on the studies in the article, the original can be found here.

  1. Exercise. I know, I know, you’ve heard it before and hate having people tell you, I do too. What I didn’t know is that you could do it in 7 minutes. It’s a tough workout, but it’s over in only 7 minutes. Check it out here.
  2. Sleep. Apparently not sleeping enough makes you more prone to negative emotions and memories. Positive and negative memories are processed by different parts of the brain. The amygdala processes negative memories while the hippocampus processes the positive ones. Lack of sleep affects the hippocampus more than the amygdala making it more difficult for you to recall positive memories than negative ones.
  3. Live close to work. I don’t know about you but it can take me up to two hours to come home from work depending on the traffic. It’s pretty miserable, so I was glad to see someone actually did a study on it. Unlike other unpleasant tasks, one doesn’t acclimate to the commute. The commute is always different; volume of traffic, idiots on the road, accidents, etc.
  4. Stay in touch. Not staying in touch with friends or family is one of the top five regrets people have on their death bed. The longevity project found that those who have generous relationships live longer and happier.
  5. Go outside. Did you know happiness is maximized at 13.9 degrees centigrade? Really? I think I’d be happier at 20 degrees.
  6. Help others. Studies recommend spending 100 hours every year (or 2 hours per week) helping people. If you want more information, read my post on giving.
  7. Smile. Make yourself smile by remembering funny moments or thinking positive thoughts. Smiling can alleviate pain, improve attention and help us perform cognitive tasks. Don’t bother faking it. One study showed that those faking their smile through their work day had worse moods as the day progressed while those whose smiles were reinforced with positive thoughts had a better day.
  8. Plan a trip and don’t take it. Studies have show that people are happiest during the planning stage of a trip rather than during or after. I’m assuming the anticipation of vacation helps them feel happier. This actually works! I planned my 30th birthday trip to a snorkeling resort in Jamaica. I had a lot of fun and was generally in better mood while planning, despite knowing that we wont be able to do a 30th birthday trip. 😦
  9. Meditate. I had a feeling this would be on the list. I’m rubbish at it. Neuroimaging studies have shown that brain activity is actually calmed after meditation. Regular meditation can even alter brain structure.
  10. Practice gratitude. Being thankful, even for just three little things a day can improve happiness and life satisfaction.

The article ended by saying that people get happier as they get older. Apparently, past middle age we grow happier naturally. I’m skeptical, but at least it takes the edge off getting older.

Since today was a bit of a fluffy post, here’s a fluffy drawing to go with 🙂

stardust girl

 

Motivation Progress Report II

It has been two weeks since I started working on getting motivated. I am being good and going through the motions, but the motivated feeling isn’t what’s driving me, it’s the “should”s. It’s not ideal, but I am getting things done. Is that what matters most?

Exercise. I’m still doing a 5am run every other day. It is becoming a routine and getting easier to do. My cardiovascular health has already improved significantly. I wish my legs would improve as fast. My shins and hips are complaining a bit. I think I may need new shoes. I’ve been trying to make the running a pleasure. I run for 30 min and then walk for 30 min. The walking is the part I can look forward to. I can enjoy being outside and enjoy being done with my exercise for another 48 hours. It is nice to have this time to wind down instead of running and then heading straight to the shower and then off to work. Overall, the running does make me feel better and hate my body less. I don’t think I have lost any weight yet, but I am not weighing myself. I am using the fit of my clothes to measure any loss. Hubby says I would see more results with the numbers, but I can’t make myself get on the scale.

Food. Counting calories is hard. Some things are easy, like baby carrots. I can scan the bar code on the bag with my phone and enter the number of carrots I ate and it calculates the calories for me…easy. What’s hard is when you have a meal without a bar code and there are a bunch of ingredients. You either have to put in the whole recipe (tedious) or estimate based on meals that are already in the Fitness Pal database. I try to over estimate the calories when I do this…it’s better than under estimating. I’ve been doing alright, not great. A friend came over the other day and brought tim bits (doughnut holes). She left them on my coffee table when she left. I should have thrown them out, but I ate them.

Work. I’m totally frustrated and uninspired. I have had a few small successes this week though, so I’m trying to focus on those. I got a program I needed fixed, so I can continue writing a paper I was working on. Yesterday I spent the whole day at the hospital trying to recruit people for the studies I am working on. No one was qualifying, so it was quite boring, but then at the end of the day three people qualified and they all said they were interested. This is excellent as most people say no. Hopefully this will give me the boost I need to get more into it.

flowers vs weeds scan

Trying to focus on the positive

Motivation Progress Report

It has been almost a week since I looked in to new motivation strategies. I have tried a few of the strategies that I mentioned and so far, I’m doing alright, a week is not a long time, but I thought I’d give you a progress report anyway.progress or excuses

Exercise. I’ve changed my after work exercise time to 5am. Yes, that’s really early, but you know what? It’s easier. When I leave it for later in the day I spend the whole day dreading it and making excuses not to do it. I think that just makes my anxiety over it worse making it really difficult to actually be successful. If it’s the first thing I do when I get up, there is no thinking about it, I just get started. I’ve also been holding myself back a bit. Instead of going full throttle, I’m running every other day. I’m hoping this will give my mind and body time to adjust and I’ll be less likely to get tired and give up. I’m also trying to enjoy it. No, I don’t want to be up that early and I don’t want to run, but I do like being out in the fresh air. I do like being out when there are no people and no cars and everything is quiet. I like seeing how calm the lake is in the morning and smelling the blossoms on the trees. I try to walk for a bit after my run so I can comfortably enjoy my surroundings. It makes the hard parts worth it. This is working well so far, I wonder what it’ll be like when the snow comes back though.

Food. I want to eat healthier, but I never see any changes so I end up figuring what the hell, I might as well have that second piece of cake. With eating and exercising, I feel like I’ve worked hard and therefore should get results. This is why I fall off the wagon all the time. I have to be more patient. I’m going to try using the Fitness Pal app to track my calories again. This is what my husband did to lose weight and he has kept it all off. He says calorie counting has become natural for him now. So I’m giving it a try. I get a certain number of calories per day and I can eat whatever I want as long as I stay at the limit. Fitness Pal also tracks micro/macronutrients, fats, protein, carbs, vitamins, etc. if you want to be really healthy. Having someone to do this with makes it easier, but maybe I’ve picked the wrong buddy….I only get to eat a third of the calories he gets! So I end up getting to my limit and he is looking through the fridge saying he needs to eat more…argh!! We’ll see how this goes.

Work. This one hasn’t been working so well. I’ve been trying to break up my tasks into smaller more manageable pieces, but I’m still not motivated to do the little things. Maybe I need to try a different strategy. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

progress not perfection

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