January 2015 Review

Well, like leaves in the wind, my January goals were flying, dipping and soaring all over the place, but the last week or so has seen the new year dust settle a little, as I’ve started to develop a routine. I have to admit, however, that my initial plan pretty much bit it (the dust, that is) and a new plan is spawning in its wake.

As I’m really tired and need to mentally prepare to play responsible parent tomorrow as my only child starts his first day at school, I will provide a quick January update for those playing at home.

Study: Had initially pledged to revise 20min per day. That didn’t happen, however, I have a weekly meet up with a friend where we manage a lazy hour or two of quick revision. Will up the ante on this one for Feb.

Exercise: Thanks to my bestie who bought me the Tapout XT 90 day workout program, I’ve been killing it in these stakes, and enjoying it in the process! I’m a bit new to home workouts, always preferring the gym or the like, but when I got my head past the idea that to my family I must sound like a hippo locked in a crate during mating season (what?), I am counting this one a success. The program involves MMA stylised light resistance/cardio training with a LOT of plyometrics, and I basically haven’t been able to walk properly for a week. I’ve also lost about 3kg (of fat, hopefully) since the start of the year, as well as having done 40% of my workouts early in the morning, so that’s a win. As an added incentive, I went out and bought a pack of 2 DEXA body scans for myself and my bestie each, to monitor our progress. Serious stuff happening in this space. Have also pulled out my old racquets and am in the process of looking for a tennis coach whose schedule fits with mine.

spanish-tennis-star-rafael-nadal

Other health: The meditation I’d planned on starting died after 4 days. I will re-instigate this later on down the track once the rest of my day is sorted. I know people say it’s so important, and I do agree, but I am just so damn impatient. Water intake has been fair to good – I always have a bottle with me and will at the very least take in about 1.5L in a day.

Reading: I originally planned to – as a minimum – read a chapter a day, just to get through the bajillion books I have sitting here (bajillion and four, as of Friday. 4 classics for $15 at QBD? Don’t mind if I do). However, I forgot how addictive it is when you have a good one in your hands, and as a result have finished Jane Eyre and Flowers for Algernon this month (both fantastic reads. Do it). Currently reading Rafael Nadal’s autobiography, which I picked up on a whim when I caught his dark eyes flirting with me from the library bookshelf. Ahh, Rafa ❤ Te quiero!

So that’s it. We’re one twelfth of the way through the year already. How have all of your plans faced up to 2015 so far?

Photo of Rafa sourced from http://images.latinpost.com/data/images/full/31137/spanish-tennis-star-rafael-nadal.jpg?w=600

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What motivates Motivation?

Well, kind, faceless readers, it’s been one week and so far I think you know what I’m going to say. Yes, after the initial 3 days, my motivation and drive fizzled away like my mind was a vacuum, yet again. That’s right, by New Year’s Day, I had already failed on (about 90% of) my 2015 resolutions. It’s disgraceful I know, but I don’t believe I am in unique in this pattern of setting goals and then losing motivation (though perhaps I am an extreme case? Please, reassure me I’m not!), be it over 1, 10 or 100 days! Hell, if I were, these quick-fix weight loss companies and self help gurus would be selling funeral insurance to pensioners. So this week leads me to the question of “what motivates motivation?” (or something equally as faux-lisophical).

In an attempt to address the weaknesses in my self, I looked up the prime motivators as published by Business Insider, who I find to be most forthcoming on issues of self improvement (though whose articles read more like works of fiction when I attempt to relate to these wonderful, self driven people). They have chosen to give us 7 ways to self motivate (which is always a good number). Let’s see how we fare up against this list, shall we?

motivation

Number 1 says to convince myself I want to do it. I’ve always had issues with this. Of course I want all that good stuff that we all want. “But do you REALLY want it?” I hear them say…well, yeah, but I want other stuff too, like to sit and online shop for origami paper and bookends while eating blue cheese on biscuits (crackers, for the non-ozzie folk out there), rather than revising my university texts or doing lunges. But okay, I concede that I need to work on that whole priorities thing. Let’s write that one down.

2 is about taking control. I don’t like controlling myself. I’m much better at trying to control others. That’s why I’m single. Anyway, this is pretty much our whole issue. Next point.

3 is about surrounding yourself with other hard workers. Okay this is something I am all over. I am in the process of obtaining a career mentor through my university, my uni friends are a hardcore, studious bunch and my closest friends are keen to overhaul their health. But what happens when you all fizzle out around the same time…there aren’t many I know who are ‘on’ all the time. I think that there must be only one answer here…..WE – YES US – MUST BE THE MOTIVATORS….though I sense an infinite loop here.

4 is about breaking tasks into smaller pieces and is probably the most helpful advice of the lot and definitely non negotiable when it comes to achieving a target. Things need to become non-negotiable – like showering (well, that’s rather enjoyable), brushing your teeth and washing your clothes (both boring yet we don’t question that they need to be done. Mostly). Even though this week was 90% failure it was still 10% success and I strongly believe that to be due mostly to having written down the daily steps required for achieving my goals (which I’ll eventually post up on here as well).

5 says stay focused. Ergh…

6 is all about remember why we have set the goals in the first place. I really struggle with this one because once my motivation is gone I couldn’t really give a toss about future me. It’s all about instant gratification. That’s why I hate past me. Inconsiderate, lazy bitch.

The final point is initially makes me want to retch, but when I think about it, is probably the most applicable to many of us who, lets face it, get secretly down about our perceived shortcomings. Cliché alert: It is to remember to stay positive. To take each failure, acknowledge it, then send it – and all the associated guilt – packing. Because those goals we keep setting for ourselves? They’re not just superficial wants, are they? If you’re like me, you’re pretty sure that if you were to reach one of these marks, you’d be a different – a better – person. So now these things are no longer ‘wants’….you’ve acknowledged that they’re ‘needs’, because you need them to reach your fullest potential, for yourself and those around you. Don’t you see it there when you imagine yourself in the distant future? Just like we need to change our socks, so we need to change our attitudes, before becoming one of those bitter (and sometimes smelly) old folk who think that the world owes them a favour because their lives never met their own expectations.

So if you ask me what I think drives motivation? Necessity. We have no option but to succeed. Failures are not the end of the world, they are simply stepping stones to a sometimes really, REALLY tall building filled with eternal satisfaction and bragging rights. So fellow failure vets, let’s just get on with it.

References:

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-to-motivate-yourself-to-work-harder-2014-10

Image sourced from: http://img2.etsystatic.com/il_570xN.226792278.jpg

Becoming one of THOSE people…

You know the ones I’m talking about. The perpetually cheerful. The driven. The respected. The morning people. The ones who have all their stuff done by brunch (and to them, brunch is the actual time you have for a meal between breakfast and lunch, not just the time it happens to be when you get up and eat breakfast, provided you actually remembered to buy your breakfast foodstuffs of choice). The ones who seem to have mastered the delicate balancing act of career, health & fitness, family and social life, while still finding the time to bake personalised cupcakes (probably in heels) for everyone’s birthdays, scrapbook their photos and volunteer at the local shelter for abandoned 3 legged puppies.

The only rational explanation is they must not sleep, right? Well, their smiles and fresh complexions suggest otherwise. So what IS this witchcraft? Is this magic available to anyone (I know I’ve seen and read about people transforming their lives, but to be completely honest, I only know of maybe 2 people who have actually succeeded in doing so)? Can I be one of these people? How long does it actually take? Will it get easier or will I keel over and have a heart attack from the stress?

Sourced from http://www.allthingsclipart.com/wonder.woman.02.jpg
Me, in the not too distant future

Well move over….er, Bridget Jones…….2015 is the year I will attempt to answer these questions, and any others that may arise. 2015 also happens to be the year I turn 30, so what better time to make some changes in my life than the beginning of my 4th decade (yikes) on this planet.

So apparently by the time you turn 30 you’re supposed to have all this stuff sorted out. You were supposed to have decided on your career in your early 20s and amassed enough money to convince a bank to loan you more, so that you can purchase your very own house. In this house you will live with the guy (or girl) you’ve been dating for the last 5 (or more) years (happily), and start planning to raise a brood of you-clones (since it seems to have a child in your 20s these days is ‘too young’), who will grow up next to your friends’ children in happy suburbia. Alternatively, you’ve chosen not to have kids and you’re living the dream, travelling the world, living inner city, making promotion after promotion, spending your disposable income on designer paraphernalia.

And you’ve completed one of the above scenarios with minimal cellulite and perky breasts!

Well okay, so most people only play at keeping up appearances and no one is perfect, we all know that (well except for maybe Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Salma Hayek), but my life up until now has been so far removed from the fantasy, that the impending 30s has prompted me to start this war against myself. That sounds a bit harsh, you say? Well, without getting too David Copperfield-y, I grew up a bit of a social outcast. My teachers expressed concern that I did not have many friends and I was very withdrawn. But oh! I was great academically!… Add to that I was always on the chubby side and you get a young girl with no self confidence who didn’t know the value of hard work.

Fast forward to adulthood, past the depression, the failed 2 year marriage and numerous other mistakes (for another day), and we get to the present age of 29. 10 days short of my 30th birthday, where I am currently an overweight, single (separated) mother to a 5 year old boy, living with my parents, in my 3rd year (of which I’m kinda proud) of my 3rd attempt at tertiary education (only counting bachelor’s degrees here, not including the certificates I started and lost interest in). So, somewhat motivated by the fear that I’ll always be unsatisfied with my life (and to be this strong, inspiring woman that I’ve always felt I could be), I have started to make a list of goals, both short term and long term, as well as daily steps towards accomplishing them. I have also decided to start this blog to document my journey because it’s so outside of my comfort zone, that it’s got to be a good thing, right? I also want to know – and to show you, dear reader – if it can be done. Can a night owl whose recent bedtimes has not been a minute before 4am, become a morning person? So, introducing to you, test subject #1, yours truly.

Image credit: http://www.allthingsclipart.com/wonder.woman.02.jpg