Day 710: Cyclical

Got up at 4:00 (wife has an early shift), drank water, exercised, fed the cats, made coffee. Business as usual, or it should be! 

Those of you who have been along for the ride for a while probably know that I’m happy to be back on track. The interesting question is “…but for how long“. 

I’ve been bad about daily tracking for QUITE A WHILE — yikes, September — and it has NOT GONE WELL in the interim, weight and exercise while. So time to dust that off. 

Paradoxically, while I find doing lots of this stuff tends to make me less keen on doing this stuff, the only answer I can think of is MORE JOURNALING. Really getting into that comment column in the tracking sheet. Here’s what I can see from previous breaks: 

  • Work business/stress
  • Bad diet leads to breakdown
  • Bad sleep (probably from above) leads to breakdown

It’s not very conclusive, though. I feel like something a bit more “diary-ish”, like the one-sentence journal approach, might be helpful. 

Today, though, getting the jump on the new year’s resolution by getting back on the water/exercise/food tracking track. 

Day 709: The Big Why

This has been something I’ve been mulling over since it came up a few days ago — why bother? Not in like a crazy depressed way, but is there some core piece of motivation that I should be looping into here?

My wife has a pretty key thing that she brought up on Saturday: she works in the hospital system, and sees what happens to (a) the destitute and (b) the infirm. So her motivation for exercise and good financial practices is… well, terror. Seeing what happens to people who get older and haven’t taken care of themselves. Seeing what happens to people who don’t have family to tend to them in their old age, especially if they’re effectively destitute. 

And yes, things happen regardless. But putting all the odds in your favour is a good idea. As motivators go, I don’t know how “mortal fear” pans out, but when you have the stark evidence of what can go wrong in front of you, doing better suddenly makes a whole lot of sense. 

It’s not an entirely satisfying answer, but it’s a good start. Mortal terror! That’ll do until the real motivation kicks in. 

Day 691: The Last Six Weeks (Resolution Time)

My wife sent me a neat link yesterday — an article about making a resolution for the last six weeks of the year, as opposed to waiting until January 1. It’s a good idea!

Off the top of my head, and this has been on my mind since I ran through the Perfect Me thing (although I’ve been bad about implementing it), it’s that motivational idea of “make the decisions of a 175-pound man.” It’s a reasonable weight to shoot for, and it’s an easy way to do a quick head check on things. I haven’t been great about it for the last couple of weeks, but there’s been a rough start to the whole enterprise with being sick and all.

It’s served me well the last couple of days in resisting snacks and getting up and exercising. It’s not about huge change, or getting dramatic about stuff; it’s about just asking yourself what that ideal-state version of you would be doing, and then doing what that guy does. Imaginary person behaviour modeling.

So maybe that’s my jam for the next six weeks! Try to live in the skin of the better version of myself. See how that guy exists. Fake it til you make it, is I guess the angle I’m leaning toward here.

Six weeks til the end of the year — let’s give this a shot.

Day 688: Jugglin’

Looking forward to vacation next week, among other things because it would be nice to feel like I’ve got a few days to get my feet back under me.

Short exercise this morning due to late sleep due to cat rampage (Operation Don’t Get Up, originally a cat tactic, doesn’t work if the cats are hell-bent on stomping on you in bed), and gotta run off in a few minutes to make a volunteer appointment happen to get somebody else involved with the station. It’s a race! Everything’s a race!

So I’m, er, racing. A chunk of this is me doing it to myself: I choose to take online courses in the evening; I choose to put this much into volunteering. I choose to take on more than I have to, and do better than I strictly need to, at my job. I can’t really complain too much about struggling to keep up when it’s a completely self-generated situation.

That does not, however, change the feeling of being behind in the race. Today, the trade-off was less exercise for sleep and volunteerism. I’m looking forward to next week and some time off, when the trade equation isn’t nearly as onerous.


Day 670: Implementing…

I have this plan, now I just need to do the plan. I’ve been good about the exercise, pretty good about food (post-Hallowe’en means a lotta loose candy floating around).

Print the thing! Post the thing! Read the thing every morning!

That’s… it, really. Stick to this plan, see results, be motivated to stick to it more.


Day 567: Everything’s A Toy…

We’ve discussed Small Cat Energy, and my wife’s observation based on STRONG TRUTH of Sir Digby Chicken Caesar yesterday:

“Everything’s a toy if you try hard enough.”

And it’s true! Anything can be a toy if you try hard enough!

For the cat it is particularly true; in the last 24 hours he has played with a number of cat toys but also

  • his water dish
  • a receipt
  • several bookmarks
  • a paperback novel
  • our feet
  • the other cat (they’re doing better now)

In the realm of seeking wisdom where you find it, though, everything’s a toy if you try hard enough is not a terrible rule for life.

It’s kind of a good rule for life.


Day 564: Waiting for The Thing

This is, ultimately, what I’m most guilty of when it comes to change… waiting for The Thing.

Not Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed thing (although he’s worth waiting for). You know, the thing. Some sort of transformative idea or moment where it all falls into place and I just start to get it. 

An epiphany. A Road to Damascus moment. A…  I don’t know, bittersweet symphony?

It’s not coming. It’s hard to cop to this — I’d really, really LIKE it to come — but it’s just not going to happen. Change is going to be a slow, grudging, gruelling process that aggravates me every step of the way.

A year and a half in, and this is still a grind! I think partly because I’m still waiting for the thing.

The sooner I can relinquish the idea that it’s all going to “click,” and that I’ll have some sort of time when it all falls into place and stays in place, the sooner I think I’ll do better overall. It’s just hard to accept that it doesn’t ever get easy. It’s just varyingly difficult.

Day 558: I Want Change More (Redux)

I’ve been chipping away at the podcast revamp idea, and looking at some old things on here — there are a lot of ideas I’ve floated, tried, and ultimately dropped (sometimes for good reasons, sometimes just due to distraction and a bad memory).

I’ve been struggling with post-dinner snacking again lately, and I stumbled across “I want X, but I want change more” as a motivational phrase. That was pretty good!

So I’m pulling that one out of the toolbox as worth exploring again. I’m not sure how I let it slip from my personal lexicon, but it’s a good’un.


Day 557: Big Dick Energy (this is a thing now)

This is the big buzzy thing in motivation-talk right now; it’s pretty unavoidable. There’s a rundown on Vox that’s as good as anything I’ve read. It acknowledges that there’s a huge inherent problem with the phrase — it’s just a tiny bit gendered, even if people are insisting that it’s more about attitude than physical attributes.

In a nutshell — if you’re wondering — you can paraphrase it as the less exciting phrase constructive confidence. It was originally coined to describe Anthony Bourdain after he passed, and then later comedian/actor Pete Davison. Then it pretty much blew up.

Confidence, backed by the knowledge that the confidence is well founded, and confidence that lets you elevate yourself without it being at the expense of others. It’s a sense of I’ve got it going on and I can will lift other people up with me.

The opposite of Big Dick Energy is the Gamergate / Jordan Peterson / Incel crowd. It’s the opposite of I feel put-upon and angry and everything that’s wrong is other people’s fault. 

So I’m not crazy about the “dick” thing. But I like the vibe.

Do I have Big Dick Energy? Nah. I’m definitely of the mindset that I think other people, especially marginalized people and minorities, need to be supported, and people in a position to help them do better should do that. But I don’t think I throw off that I’m king of the world! vibe.

But it’s an interesting question to ask myself before meetings, or even before the day starts. I know what I’m good at. I know where my strengths are. Do I feel that deeply enough to give it a little swagger? Maybe I should think about that a bit more.

Day 540: Abrupt Attitude Adjustment

I don’t know where this came from, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Last night my wife and I went out for our fourth anniversary of moving to our city. Came home, watched a bit of TV, then dinner made itself known and I had quite an exciting evening. Slept all night, got up, exorcised some final demons, went for an 8k run. Stretched the 8k to a 10k. Got in and suddenly I’m like it’s all good.

Maybe this is, I don’t know, bowel-related. Maybe two straight days of givin’er with exercise have done something. But I feel good today. I may have just run out the clock on feeling blah.

So yes. Time to roll into the day and maximize this good feeling. Do All The Things. I may well be back here tomorrow saying bwah everything is terrible but make hay while the sun shines, which is an expression that nobody who has actually gone haying would actually use. Make hay while it’s overcast. It’s a brutally hard job in the sun. All machines now anyway.