Week 32 and 33. {52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life}

Back at the start of the year I joined in Deb’s 52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life. Each week Deb gave us challenges to think and write about. The first 12 weeks I did really well at keeping up with the exercise, and I learned so much about myself, my attitude changed, my outlook on life changed, and I got so busy doing the things I’d thought and written about, that I let the whole exercise drop by the wayside, even though completing it was one of my goals I’d laid out.

There were a few weeks I didn’t feel like I needed working on (my house is almost always tidy, a place for everything and everything in it’s place), but recently there was a block of challenges that I really feel I need to work on. It covered health and wellness, something that has in so many ways improved for me, while also taken a back seat. How is that possible? Read on my friend.

In week 32, Deb asked us to revisit our Wheel of Life activity from week 4. At the time, I listed the 8 areas of my life (and their rating in brackets) as Home (4), Family (3), Balance (4), Gratitude (4), Happiness (3), Health (2), Finance (3), Relationship (3).

Reading back, I feel like I probably could have given Home a 5. We love it here, the unit, the city, the location, we have everything at our finger tips. It is perfect for us.

My balance back then was a 4, because the only things I was balancing was work and home life. I wasn’t entirely happy with my work hours, but I felt I was heading in the right direction. Now, I’d probably say balance is down to a 3 at best.

Ironically, the balance is down because the health is up. Health would easily have moved to a 4 over the last 6 months. I’ve lost about 7kgs, I’m fitter than I’ve possibly ever been, I am a runner! I never dreamed I would be a runner, but I am and I can run about 7kms on a good day without walking.

Finance I’d now give a 4. We have managed to pay off a couple of loans and with my permanent position at work we are now saving money every week. A far cry from the start of the year where it seemed to go out faster than it came in.

Gratitude. This is a tough one. I’m still very grateful. I’m still thankful every day for the important things – my family, our health, the roof over our heads. But I always feel like there’s a “but…” at the end of it. Like, “I’m thankful for my son….but I wish I had another one as well.” And I am not sure that is true gratitude. I find myself a bit spiteful, and that is not even clos to gratitude. So what was a 4, is probably now at most a 3, maybe even a 2. This needs some work.

Happiness, Family and Relationship all ranked 3 back then. There were definitely things that needed to be worked on and in our own ways, I think we’ve improved them slightly. I know my running and fitness has in general made me a happier person (I think). Every week we go to the beach, I run, they play, we get coffee, we search for shells. It’s become our weekend ritual and I love it. I love the time on my own, to run, and the time with my 2 favourite boys at the end of my run. I think we are all quite happy, and feel like the amount of crankiness in the house has toned way down (am I imagining this husband, or do you think the same?). I think all of these could be upgraded to at least a 4!

It is really interesting to read back on all this. Back in January I hadn’t even thought about my fitness, and certainly hadn’t decided to start running again. To see where I am now is really quite amazing, and I’m glad I did this. I’ve come a long way!

In Week 33, Deb talked about getting our bodies moving. As I just mentioned, this is something I’ve actually managed to do, and have been doing for about 6 months now. I finally just got fed up with my clothes being tight, hating the way I looked in pictures, and I resolved NOT to go and buy bigger clothes. It started around March 24 (benefit of using Runkeeper, I can see my whole history!) with a few runs averaging about 3k. I would walk/run/walk/run and was averaging between 8:15/km and 9:15/km. Gradually I could run further before having to walk. Then I tried to focus on getting faster, until finally I broke the 7m/km barrier on June 22nd. I also play tennis, go to personal training, and do things I never thought I’d be able to, like run 7km straight! But it has been a long and hard road. It didn’t happen easily or overnight. I’m also now trying to incorporate some pilates at home thanks to youtube. If you can do it consistently for long enough, it will soon be hard to live without it.

Things that help me keep going:
Scenery/A View : To keep motivated with running I started getting up ridiculously early and driving to the beach to go for a run. It was the only way to keep going, watching the sun rise, the water sparkle and all the other fitness freaks surrounding me.

Group Personal Training: I pay a month in advance, I have set times to go, so I am not only held accountable, but I can’t slack off or just not show up.


Taking Measurements: I try to ignore the scale, it isn’t as accurate a representation of how much your hard work is paying off as taking measurements or judging by the fit of your clothes.


My Online Support Group: There are some awesome women/bloggers/twitterers online that will offer great support if you put yourself out there. Never judgment, just support and encouragement. It’s also motivating to see their activities and results and helps to keep you going.

Posted in SYL

Weeks 16-20. {52 Weeks To Simplify Your Life}.

Oops. Big, huge, mothereffing oops! I was going so well, but my SYL posts fell off the wagon, along with my gratitude journal. I was torn between catching up, or just joining back in, but I feel like Deb has every week planned to follow on from the last, a method to all the madness, so in an effort to catch up, this will be a collaboration of weeks 16-20. It most likely will be boring to read, but for my sake, for the sake of the exercise, and the sake of trying to figure my life out, I have to get this all down.

Week 16 Challenge : Identify 2 or 3 things that must be done each day. Build breathing room into your day, every day. Focus.

Off the top of my head, 2 or 3 things that have to be done each day would include work (on work days), caring for Nick’s needs, doing a quick pick-up around the house. Some days this doesn’t happen, and I can tell the difference. The hairs on my neck practically stand up. I’m not sure when I became obsessed with tidiness (not to be confused with cleanliness), but I am. It’s undoubtedly a good thing that I didn’t have those 5 children I thought I wanted. I’m sure “tidiness” and “5 children” do not belong in the same sentence together.

I’m in the process of trying to develop a weekly routine that involves chores, work, downtime, family time, me time and it will come together, I know it will. But getting there is quite the battle. Work currently seems to take up most of my time. I’m working on it and making sure that my time is managed well enough that no area will feel lacking. As I type this I am sitting at work trying not to fall asleep at the computer, so clearly I still have some work to do, and am currently making a mental note to ensure 8 hours sleep each night! I am clearly also not yet focused, as I currently have twitter, Woogsworld, Home Life Simplified and Facebook all open in other windows.

And just to show how unfocused I really am, I’ve already blogged about week 16, but forgot to categorize it so it didn’t come up in my search.

Week 17 Challenge : Decision Making.

I almost laughed out loud when I read, “Dealing with the problem of over-thinking” on Deb’s post for week 17. Um, have my family and friends contacted you? This is speaking directly to me. I do tend to over think everything. And I mean everything – from avocados to what to wear, to what school to send my son to. I can see things from many angles, I can argue many sides of an argument. That makes decision making torturous, some most times. I can’t even decide what to talk about for this. I have been known to make split-second decisions, some which work out well, others not so much, and I have also been known to stew over decisions. Where to send our son to school is one that I have been chewing on for quite some time. I though I had it all figured out, until our plan was foiled by the Catholic school we applied to being full of it’s own parishioners. Now it is all up in the air, and I have no clue what to do. Public? A different Catholic? Montessori? All very different choices. And then there’s the decision on WHEN to send him! He’s a June 30th baby, so right on the cut off date. We could hold him back a year, wait til he’s more mature, before sending him to prep. I wish I had a crystal ball. I don’t feel the pressure of this decision just yet, but soon enough, push is going to come to shove. And then what? Most likely stress, tears, and a lot of asking others’ opinions! I’ll keep you posted, and refer back to Deb’s advice on decision making in the months to come!

Week 18 Challenge : Be aware when you start procrastinating, figure out why, and how to tackle it.

Oh boy. I’d like to say that I procrastinate because my degree/background is in journalism. There is nothing like a tight deadline to get the juices flowing, to make things happen. However, I think my procrastination comes from pure laziness. Some things I have put off for too long – like my fitness. Really, I should have started when I was 18 and left home, unfortunately it took me another 16 years, and about 30kgs (up and down over those 16 years) to figure out sitting around on Facebook or watching TV was not going to make me fit or healthy. I also am not keen on making phone calls. In all honesty, I hate calling people! So I put it off as long as I can because I don’t want to do it, but always end up having to anyway! One day I might learn if I just do it, then it is over with! I’ll keep this one in mind this week, and see what happens. I’m planning to tidy the house tomorrow, let’s see what I can do to put off doing that as long as possible!

Week 19 Challenge : Routines. Reflect on areas of your life where routines can help reduce stress.

This is quite a timely one. I just sat down with a notepad last night, to try and figure out how work, tennis, running, personal training, family time, me time, chores, rest/sleep were all going to fit into 168 hours! This is how my ideal week looks:

Work 6:30-2:30.
Run 3-3:45.
Pick up Nick 4:00.
Night time routine (dinner/Nick/TV/bed).

Drop Nick off 8:00.
Housework 8:15.
Shower, get ready for work 9:15.
Work 10-6.
Night time routine.

Tennis 9:00.
Afternoon with Nick. 1:30 on.
Personal training 6:00-7:00.
Night time routine.

Work 6:30-2:30.
Run 3-3:45.
Pick up Nick 4:00.
Night time routine (dinner/Nick/TV/bed).

Drop Nick off 8:00.
Housework/other chores 8:15.
Shower, get ready for work 9:15.
Work 10-6.
Night time routine.

Run 7:00.
Family time.
Tennis 2:00-4:00.

Grocery shopping.
Family/free day.

I’m hoping this kind of week isn’t too far away from being a reality. It leaves time for everything – work, family, me, tennis, exercise, chores.

Week 20 Challenge : Revisit your goals and catch up.

I talked a lot about my health goals in this recent post. I’ve been so focused on this goal, that I’ve let the others slide.

Here are the others:

Financial Goals

  • Save min. $100 per week
  • Don’t withdraw from savings account
  • Starting adding to Nick’s account again, even if only $10 or $20 here and there
  • Save min. $11,000 by the end of 2013.
  • Before spending money, ask, “Do I/we really NEED this?” (this might be pointless, because I am the Queen of Justification. Time to get honest with myself!)

We have been doing fairly well at this. However, the $11,000 by the end of 2013 is not looking very realistic.

Emotional Goals

  • Show affection daily
  • Give thanks and gratitude daily
  • Have at least 1 fun family outing each week
  • Have at least 1 date night every 2 weeks
  • Eat dinner together (we already do this most of the time but I think it is important and needs to be remembered)
  • Turn the TV off and have a drink on the balcony
  • Cut back on computer/phone time during the evening (I was going to say NO phone/computer of an evening, but then remembered goals should be realistic and attainable. I don’t have the willpower yet to go cold turkey. I will have to do it slowly).
  • Be spontaneous!
  • Complete 52 weeks of 52 Weeks To Simplify Your Life!

I feel like I am failing at every single one of these, though I know I’m not. I am not overly affectionate with my husband, I am thankful, but have stopped actually giving thanks daily, we haven’t been having many date nights or big family outings, our evenings are full of TV (and I can’t seem to separate my phone from my hand), we did spontaneously book 2 holidays, but they were so far in the future, they’re still not here yet (can that still be considered spontaneous?!), and I’ve fallen way behind on my 52 Weeks!

I think catching up on my 52 Weeks has shown me exactly what areas I need to work on now. So long as my running doesn’t suffer in the meantime! I actually am feeling incredibly tired today, and have woken up the last 2 mornings with a sore throat. I don’t need to be told twice, I’ll go to bed early tonight and get some rest. The next 6 weeks are going to be quite hectic, there’s no time for getting sick!

Linking up with Deb for her 52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life Challenge:

Unblocking Bloggers Block

I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve been suffering from what I believe to be bloggers block. So what am I going to do? I’m going to sit down and try to hammer out a post in 20 minutes, because I have to be at work in less than an hour. Maybe it will clear the cobwebs?

At the start of the year, I joined in with Deb’s 52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life. We talked about what went right last year, what our priorities are, what goals we have for this year, and so much other stuff. And then somewhere around the 4 month mark, I fell off the blogosphere.

Thinking about my priorities, my goals, what made me happy, what the GUTS of life is really about, made me realise how much time I was wasting. I was sick of myself – sick of being a misery guts, of complaining about everything, of not being happy with my self confidence, self image, my body. I was sick of sitting around waiting for either a magical fairy to wave her wand and fix everything, or for the bottom to just completely fall out. I was coasting.

Deb has made it clear, that we don’t have to achieve all our goals at once. That we can chip away at each, or we can really work on the ones most important to us, or the ones that need the most work first. My fitness/health/body image was dire. My clothes were all getting tight, and when I tried on the three pairs of jeans I lived in last winter and they looked disgusting (honestly, no other word for it, and this was not me being self-deprecating, they could not be seen in public), I knew what had to change.

One of my health goals was to exercise 30-60 minutes, 3 times per week. I’m happy to say I have not only achieved this, I’ve absolutely smashed it out of the park. And yesterday, I ran 4.98kms in just under 37 minutes. My personal best ever. I haven’t lost a ton of weight, but I do feel more confident, my clothes fit better, I can tell how much fitter I am (and quicker on the tennis court!) and overall it makes me feel great.

Here’s the activities I’ve recorded with runkeeper (a fantastic app for bikers, runners, walkers alike, check it out!) since the middle of March:

I used to come home from work, eat, watch TV, blog/Facebook/Tweet, now I leave work, go for a run, come home and by the time I’m showered it’s time to get Nick, come home and make dinner. I used to drop Nick off at kindy, come home and blog/Facebook/Tweet, now I drop him off, go for a run, shower and go to work. Running is slowing becoming ingrained in me. I still have to make myself go sometimes, it is not always a thrilling thought to get geared up and take those first steps. But during and afterwards, it feels so good. It feels good to work, to push myself, to sweat, to see the numbers. Oh the numbers. I never knew running could be such a numbers game!

I’m hoping in the next couple of weeks there will be some changes at work, too. I haven’t been overly happy, sometimes having to work 6 days a week. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending how you look at it) they’re all half days. Which means I still get some time to myself, but also means that every day is interrupted by having to go to work. Watch this space to see how that may change soon.

I have my mum’s birthday, a trip to Melbourne, my son’s birthday all coming up in the next 6 weeks, so there’s no sign of slowing down just yet. But that’s ok, because while slow times are necessary and good, it’s also nice to be busy and to have things to look forward to. I’m just not sure where that leaves my blog. But I’m sure it will still fit in around everything else.

I feel like I’ve done a lot of soul searching this year, and it is mostly in part to Deb’s challenge. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already done so. Even if you just work at away at the exercises on your own, you will be surprised what you learn about yourself, if you are completely honest and give it 100%.