New Year, Same Suggestions

After the lukewarm success of last year’s new year suggestion categories, I decided to retain the format and keep the same list (for the most part). I’m calling it a lukewarm success because I didn’t really feel any huge sense of accomplishment, but I did feel like it provided a gentle reinforcement for the habits that I wanted to cultivate.  So even though it’s a new year, I’m mostly sticking with the same suggestions because most of what I want to do this year are all the same things that I wanted to do last year.

I still like the keep doing, do more, do better, do less/don’t do paradigm. I think that it works well for continuing productive habits. One category that I think that I have underutilized is do less/don’t do.  There are a few things that have sort of naturally fallen into this category – things like shopping and drinking that don’t necessarily need to go on a new year suggestions list. But I do feel like I need to think about how I can utilize this category better (do better: utilize don’t do category).

I was pleasantly surprised to notice the do better category. I think that I completely forgot about it.  That is a motivating way to keep a lot of my keep doing things in the mix.

2019 Suggestion 2020 Version
Keep getting to the gym 5+ times a week Keep doing – getting to the gym 5+ times a week (it’s not like I’m in good shape, but enough is enough)
Keep working on my writing Keep doing/do more/do better – writing; specifically: blog 2x/week, write 6+ short stories/flash fiction, continue daily morning pages, find new writing exercises and challenges
Do more – get my steps in Do better – meet 10k daily step goal
Do more – call people Keep doing – call people
Do better – use my time more effectively Do better – use my time more effectively (I wish I could move this to keep doing, but I’m not there yet)

New for 2020

Do better: thinking about what I eat.  Before I eat it. Not in that obsessive, what’s for lunch as soon as breakfast is finished way, but in a thoughtful, is this really what I want to put in my body right now way.

Do less: keeping things that I don’t need.  I’m talking to you, collection of espadrilles that I haven’t worn since 2018.  Sometimes it is just hard to get rid of something nice, that you like, that is in perfectly good condition, just because it no longer serves you. I don’t think I’m ready for a complete don’t do in terms of keeping things, but if I can let go of a few of these types of things throughout the course of the year, it will feel like a win.

And then, just to be contrary, since everyone is on the intention train, I do have a one silly arbitrary resolution that I want to throw in the mix:

I would like to be able to fold in half again (face to shins with my legs straight out in front of me).

Anything new for your keep doing, do more, do better, do less/don’t do list?  Any old-fashioned arbitrary resolutions?

Indoor Cycling, Summer Edition

I have recently made some changes to my indoor cycling schedule. I’ve traded in my Saturday morning class for Sunday.  I know, I’m surprised at myself too!

I’m happy that I am managing to still get in at least two classes a week, even without having an overwhelming amount of grrrr to get out on a daily basis like I used to.  But every time I go to the gym on Sunday morning, I crack myself up.  Here’s the thing:

Yesterday was a beautiful summer day in southern California.  Around 9am I got in my car, drove one mile to the gym, and spent 45 minutes in a dark room taking an indoor cycling class.  There is nothing about doing that which isn’t at least a little ridiculous. It felt like I was living in a scene from LA Story.

First, it’s barely a mile.  And I don’t think that it is too much to expect that I can comfortably and safely walk there during daylight hours (I give myself a pass to drive when it is still dark out).   Also, after 8am parking enforcement is in full effect.  Either drive around for 10-15 minutes looking for a spot or pay to use the metered parking.  If you’re going to spend 10-15 minutes driving around looking for a free parking spot (like I did), you may as well have walked. 

Second, it was a beautiful day but here I was choosing to do my exercising inside.  Not just inside, but in a dark room.  I really can’t get over my own ridiculousness.  If I had decided to go to the 8:30 class instead, I wouldn’t give myself such a hard time because that still counts as first thing in the morning on a Sunday.  By 9:30, you should have already started your day (unless you had a big Saturday night, which I did not).

One important component for getting habits to stick is to make them automatic.  There aren’t options, it is just what you do.  I don’t spend any time thinking about how I’m going to get to the gym on any other day.  But on Sundays I keep considering all the options.  I should walk…maybe I could take my bike…then I have to dig it out of the garage…do I need air in my tires?  And by the time I’ve run through the whole monologue, it’s late.  I need to either decide ahead of time that I’m going to bike and make sure that everything is ready, or I need to take that option off of the table and just know that I’m going to walk.

The bottom line is that I still make it to indoor cycling at least twice a week and that is what really matters.  But I can’t help but laugh at myself about how I get there. 

Flabdominals Follow-up

Flabdominals (noun): flabby abdominals, particularly the kind that jiggle when participating in high-impact exercises and/or solicit congratulations on a person’s non-existent pregnancy.

A month ago, I wrote about my quest to vanquish my flabdominals. My daily exercise plan was not overly ambitious but potentially effective.  I’m sure that you are on pins and needles for a flabdominals follow-up. So, how did I do?

I have a six-pack of course!

Or not.  Sigh.

The blame doesn’t lie with the plan or the exercises.  It falls squarely on the execution.

What?  Am I telling you that I didn’t go from never doing ab work outside of exercise classes to doing it on my own, at home, on a daily basis?

Yes, that is exactly what I am telling you.  Sad, but true.

Things started off well.  The series that I had prescribed for myself was challenging but not overly strenuous.  It was quick but I felt like I had accomplished something when I was done.  All good things. 

One bonus benefit that I hadn’t expected was that it required more articulation in my spine than I was in the habit of doing.  Of course I had to engage my abs to do that.

The first five days were a piece of cake!  I was going to be un-flabdominal-ified in no time.  I was adding reps an feeling the exercises more deeply.  I felt like I was standing taller.  My shoulders were more relaxed because my core was more solid and they could relax on top of that.  This was going to be great!

And then…

I don’t know.

The bottom line is that I didn’t accomplish my goal.  All told, out of 28 days, I’m going to say that I did eleven days of abs.  Not even half. 

What now?  I could decide to tell myself that I’m a failure and give up on my quest to vanquish my flabdominals.  Why even bother?  I didn’t do it perfectly the first time.

Or, I could give myself credit for trying and acknowledge the difference that I noticed from just doing a little bit.  Something is not everything but it is more than nothing after all.  I didn’t do everything that I wanted to, but I did something and I noticed the difference.

This next month, I’m going to see if I can double that number.  I know that eleven days of ab exercises make a difference, let’s see what happens.