Change of Habit

22: wii-fit

22: wii-fit by zigeunerweisen on Flickr

I’m starting to believe that what was initially conceived as a silly and somewhat indulgent idea, my De-Frumpiness Project, is evolving into something deeper and more significant. When you start to pay attention to yourself every day, there’s a lot to notice. Last month I indulged in lipstick. This month I’m trying to keep my finger and toe nails pretty and healthy– although maybe not as colorful as I’d initially anticipated going into this challenge– nail polish is just too vulnerable to my lifestyle.

But, there are other little things that are going on too. I’m straightening my hair every now and then. I’m wearing my heels at work more often. I’m managing to at least wear my kids’ Square 1 art pendants. And I’m finally completely and totally fed up with the abuse I’ve heaped on my body the past couple of years courtesy of overindulging on food and completely abandoning some sort of exercise.

A lot of people tell me I’m being silly, that I look really great. And I truly appreciate the compliments, I do. But. I feel like crap. I’m not sleeping properly. I have total energy lapses throughout the day. I’m extremely impatient and irritable too many times. And I’m often fighting off the blues one way or another. You can’t convince me the 20 pounds I have gained in the past two and a half years have nothing to do with any of that.

In the past few days, I have read two really well-written and interesting pieces. The first was the New York Times article, How Companies Learn Your Secrets. I know it seems completely unrelated to what I’m talking about, but it turns out the article is written by Charles Duhigg who has a new book coming out next Tuesday called, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. And it turns out the reason companies are able to figure out so much information about us is because we are predictable– creatures of habit.

The article is more fascinating than creepy. I thought it was packed to the gills with some really interesting information and yes, I’m intrigued by Duhigg’s upcoming book.

And then yesterday, the next dot to be connected for me came on Google+ (Are you on there yet? It’s amazing). An article from the Harvard Business review was shared on my stream, Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.  I can relate to every single guy featured in that piece. I took the audit and scored perfectly in the “Full-fledged energy management crisis” section. Of the four categories– Body, Emotions, Mind, and Spirit the hardest hit was Body, but not by much.

And you know what stuck out to me once again? Habits. There were habits everywhere– bad ones that needed to stop and good ones that needed to be created. The two pieces go together exceptionally well.

I hate thinking of myself as a creature of habit. I like to think I’m spontaneous and unpredictable, in a good way. But when I step back and look at myself, I see I am a creature of habit but there are too many bad ones and not enough good ones. And I am spontaneous and unpredictable, but not always in a good way.

Yesterday, it dawned on me that it was Fat Tuesday and today Christians everywhere begin observing Lent. In my Catholic upbringing, this meant sacrificing something for 40 days. And in way, I’m going to go ahead and do just that but I’m not really doing it out of reverence or anything like that. I’m doing it because I need a kick in the (bigger, plushier) booty.

I got up this morning at 5 and worked out on the Wii Fit Plus. I actually upgraded to this from the old school Wii Fit for the purpose of this project. I would like to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes every single day. It doesn’t have to be all out insanity where I tear my muscles to smithereens and then let them recover. I’m not into that. Some days, it’ll be yoga. Some days it’ll be dancing to the Just Sweat mode on Just Dance 3. Other days, it’ll be checking out a new routine on the Wii Fit Plus. After ten days, I’m going to reward myself– either with a new exercise Wii game or a new exercise DVD so I keep it fresh.

I’d also like to get more sleep and eat better, but those are sort of lurker goals right now. I’m happy with this direction I’m moving in. I feel empowered. I go through these phases in my life where I truly feel like my life is in my hands and I am at the wheel and I can get to where I want to go. And it’s not just the physical aspects of my life I feel good about. Everything is behaving properly right now. My money is doing what it’s supposed to. I am enjoying my children and my boyfriend. School continues (no test grade back yet, boo). Work has been flowing beautifully, like a well-navigated ship. So I’m enjoying the ride and taking advantage of the strength as long as I can.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve reached the end of my Ultradian rhythm.

20 thoughts on “Change of Habit

  1. It is so hard as Moms to put our needs on the schedule. And as a single mom, you have it that much harder. I commend you for valuing yourself enough to take these steps.

    I have a Wii Fit….still in the box. Pathetic. And I want to wear this totally cool 50′s Rockabilly dress to a wedding in 3 months. HAHAHA.

    • OMG I have a wedding too– in July! It was trying on the bridesmaid dress that pushed me over the edge. I had a hard time coming to terms with it but if I keep telling myself I’ll work out at night– it’s not going to happen. So that’s it. I’m officially a morning person.

  2. Good for you for putting yourself back on your priority list. Keep at it. You will feel fantastic after about 2 weeks so stick with it. That reminds me, I should spend some quality with Jillian Michaels. :)

    • Funny enough I am SO SORE today and everyone keeps telling me– two weeks, just push for two weeks. So I’m trying but man I am FEELING it. Do you have a DVD of hers or the video game?

      • 2 DVDs, 30 Day Shred & Ripped in 30. The workouts on both are about 24 minutes long. They are hard but short. I found the first 4 days of each level to be the worst. Keep going chica, you can do this!!

        • Ooooh I am intrigued!! One of the things I thought of was that I would reward myself– for every ten days of working out I would get myself a new (exercise) dvd or video game. I figure this way it’ll keep things interesting and diverse. I’m going to look at those now!

  3. I think it’s great you are focusing on you. This year has been like that for me. I just took a leap into selfishness, well that’s what I thought it was, but it’s not I think it’s more of not ignoring me anymore. I have been running 3 times a week and eating healthier. I have also been sleeping better than ever too, I think that has a lot to do with the exercise. I have also doing a beauty regimen (washing my face, putting on lotion, conditioning my hair) at night, I know it sounds frivolous, but I never realized that how long I go without actually looking in a mirror sometimes. That’s good for nobody.

    As far as being a creature of habit, I know I am. I wish I was more exciting, but I am also trying to drop the bad and acquire the good.

    • It’s NOT frivolous, not at all. It’s just maintenance. Yes it’s a first world problem but it’s a good one to have. And yeah that’s exactly how I felt– it was a selfish sort of thing but now I’m finding it’s just like you said– not ignoring me.

  4. I hate it when you even slightly mention that you feel overweight or are out of shape, and then someone calls us crazy or tries to dish out the compliments because what they see is different than what we’re preaching. Fact is, we know our bodies better than anyone–including doctors. If we’ve packed on 20-pounds, you may not SEE IT, because some people hold weight differently than others, but it’s definitely there. Example: In my pregnancy in 2010, I gained around 90-pounds. Losing that weight, at the age I am now and with how crazy my life is compared to when I was age 20 and had my first pregnancy, is freaking hard. When I tell others that I’ve now got around 35-pounds left to lose, they think I’m psychotic! I went to the doctor and the nurse literally weighed me three times because she thought the scale was defective (since I weighed over 154 lol–horrible moment, nonetheless). Anyway, no one can understand your weight and fitness goals like you can, so don’t let anything discourage you from achieving them! (Not like you needed anyone to tell you that, though.)

    I’m also a creature of habit; it’s ridiculous. But, I’m trying to change that! 2012 is shaping out to be awesome. ALSO, have you read The Secret yet? Your post today (mainly the final paragraph or so) literally hit several points in that book that you may find quite interesting in terms of outlooks in life, if you haven’t read this already. The book changed my life, and my entire outlook of the same.

    XOXO

    • When the person you are complaining to has a higher BMI than you do… it is impolite to complain about your weight. That people with healthy BMI complaining they need to lose weight thing is also a favorite past-time in Southern California and it is unhealthy and annoying. Also, if you don’t like to be complimented, then don’t do something that is often considered fishing for compliments. You may know your body better than other people do, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell everybody about it, especially if you get upset at their reactions.

    • I did read The Secret a long time ago and while I do believe that we have more control over our lives than we believe, I don’t believe in the core of the book. I believe in thinking about what you want and clearly fleshing it out but I don’t go as far as the book does. I’ve been believing we are the authors of our lives for a long time now. It’s just easy to forget that and slip into victim mode.

  5. I’m glad your project is going well and expanding into unexpected areas – the better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to take care of the people you love.

  6. Ahhh,…I think you have a lot of challenges right now and I think stopping and taking an inventory is very smart. Last fall I went on an eat less, move more challenge and it’s amazing how doing those two things helps my overall attitude and energy level. I’ve gone one more step and stopped weighing myself but continue to track my fat %. It’s much more accurate to my overall goal which is to be more fit (so I sit up straight!).
    I took the test but I took it twice. 1) Since I’m not ‘working’ my time is much more flexible to do the things I love. My overall score: Reasonable energy management skills. 2) Than I took it thinking back to my attitude when I work. Not surprising: Significant energy management deficits

    • That’s pretty interesting you found the two differences. It is hard to maintain a good balance the more burners get turned on. And like you said, I have a lot cooking right now. It’s too easy to get swept into cruise control/survivor mode. So yeah, a pause is necessary.

  7. I think because we have kids that are similar in age, we are going through similar phases. Yes, I also am only very slightly overweight and look pretty normal in clothes, but I feel like a different person with that bit of extra weight. Like everything else in life, you have to schedule in the things that are important to you. Just like scheduling in fun…scheduling in some me time is also important and can’t be put off indefinitely.

    I have this horrible habit of not taking vacation through the year and then having 2-3 weeks in December. Do you know what it’s like in MA in December? Not so good. One of my goals for this year will be to take at least one day off per month for myself. We’ll see how it goes.

    • You could spend ONE of those two weeks somewhere awesome in December (like Florida *ahem*). I feel guilty using vacation as well but I do like to have a good solid week off at the end of December. Plus I’m trying to get into the habit of doing a summer vacation trip as well. And then add a sprinkle of days off intermittently.

  8. Don’t underestimate that sleep – and the quality of what you’re eating. They both matter enormously. The less sleep you get, the more your body needs food. (But meanwhile, enjoy that wii…)

    • I know! I am trying hard to be firm about that. I went to bed at 10 last night. And I am trying very much to be very conscious of what I am eating. I’m trying to eat a lot of fruits and veggies and I’m trying to drink nothing but water.

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