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Archive for the ‘healthy habits’ Category

Self-Sabotage and Healthy Habits

Understanding Why We Self-Sabotage

I’m a procrastinator. The more my mind sees a task as disrupting my life, the more likely I’ll do everything in my power to avoid it.

Still, over the last couple of years, I’ve managed to temporarily shut my inner procrastinator down to set some incredible habits which are now non-negotiable:

  • Make the bed every morning
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week
  • Eat healthy meals (most of the time)
  • Write my morning pages every day
  • Clean the kitchen before I go to bed every night

To some, these might seem pretty easy. They’re things a “normal” person would do without thinking twice. But for me, they’ve taken time and tenacity to build into habits I am no longer willing to break, except on rare occasions, and usually with good reason.

Getting Past the Blocks to Completing My Memoir

My biggest obstacle these days is the rewrite of “Forgotten Victims”. I start each day with every intention of picking it back up again, but, until yesterday, hadn’t been able to bring myself to do it. I realize it’s merely another obstacle I must conquer, but to do so, I need to grab hold of the ladder and put my foot on the first rung.

Instead of just sitting my butt down, opening the file, and starting, I used the time, when not contemplating my navel or playing games on the computer to psychoanalyze myself and my lack of motivation.

Getting Out of Our Own Way Towards Setting New Habits

Every new habit we set out to establish was daunting at first. It’s easier to make excuses, or worse, analyze our reasons for avoiding the thing entirely than to dive in and do it.

Years ago, I had an employee who tried my patience excessively. Every time I’d ask her do something a little different from what she was used to, she’d spend two hours whining and complaining about what I was asking her to do, and making excuses for why she couldn’t. Eventually, she’d do what I asked, in about 1/10th of the time she’d spent complaining about it.

I see a little of her in myself when I do everything in my power to avoid something, whether it’s going to the gym (which nowadays I am excited about instead of dreading), cleaning house (I still hate it, but I hate walking barefoot across gritty floors more), marketing my business (still trying to figure that one out, but building relationships in the meantime), or working on one of my five (yes I really do have five going at once) writing projects.

Focusing on Our Accomplishments

So why is it I can conquer the menial, boring, passionless tasks, but when it comes to what I really love, my passion projects, I am continually mired in excuses and, let’s be honest, an Everest-sized mountain of self-doubt? With everything else, I learned long ago to look at what I have accomplished rather than what I have left to accomplish. Where am I losing sight of it with my writing which I truly love?

With that in mind, let’s take stock. What have I already accomplished writing-wise?

  • Consistently writing 3 blog posts a week
  • Completed several writing projects for clients
  • Wrote and revised over 103,000 words for “Sasha’s Journey”
  • Wrote over 90,000 words for “A Dubious Gift”
  • Wrote over 70,000 words for “Hannah’s Chair”
  • Wrote over 70,000 words for “Forgotten Victims”
  • Re-wrote an entirely new first chapter for “Forgotten Victims” which I LOVE!
  • Re-wrote 4 more chapters (as of 6/6/18) for “Forgotten Victims”
  • Wrote 4,500 words for “Frederick the Gentlemouse”

Not to mention what I wrote during my years as an Accountant

  • Wrote volumes of detailed desk instructions
  • Wrote procedures for an ISO 9001 project
  • Wrote Cost Volumes for government RFP’s (Requests for Proposal)
  • Wrote countless responses to management, government agencies, clients, and more

My mind is especially blown when I realize I recently started the 6th 200-page spiral notebook of Morning Pages, and have filled the better part of another with writing prompts. And let’s not forget more than 1,200 blog posts for my website and blog site.

Do More, Think Less

The point I’m making (more for myself than anyone else) is when I didn’t waste time making excuses or talking myself out of moving from the safe, boring place in which I was currently sitting, I did some amazing things. In fact, from the day I swore to my daughter I couldn’t possibly write 50,000 words in a month, and did it with words and time to spare, I have consistently overachieved—as long as I got out of my own way and didn’t over think it.

Therein lies a problem many of us face. We see, not the first step in a journey, but the entire mountain we believe we need to climb. We allow the part of us that hates change (and maybe exercise too!) to fill our heads with negative self-talk, excuses, and fear. And for what? So we can remain in the rut we know we hate forever? How dumb is that? Yet every one of us is an expert in self-sabotage.

That doesn’t mean many aren’t wildly successful. Just because you develop expertise in something doesn’t mean you have to pursue it. Sometimes, we need to learn everything about a particular topic or behavior pattern so we understand what’s needed to overcome it or conquer it.

It Isn’t Always Necessary to Know Why

A few days ago, I was talking to Linda Clay about my lack of motivation to finish “Forgotten Victims” and she started throwing out questions to help me figure out why I was self-sabotaging. When I finally picked it up and started re-reading so I could start re-writing, I realized something really important. The time I was spending trying to figure out why I wasn’t writing was keeping me from writing! (cue light bulbs, fireworks, and neon banners blazing across the sky)

I suddenly realized it isn’t always about understanding why you’re avoiding something. Trying to figure it out is adding to the list of avoidance measures you’re using. Sometimes you have to stop overthinking the reasons behind the problem and get back to the business of doing what you do best. In my case, remembering that I could be the most amazing writer on the planet, but if I never finish and publish anything, none of my lofty dreams will ever bear the fruit I seek.

Our minds will do just about anything to maintain our status quo. It’s safe. It’s known. It requires little effort. But it’s also boring as hell. Our amazing brains atrophy from disuse just as our muscles do when we do nothing but sit in front of the TV all day. We need to scramble those brain cells. Keep them moving and stretch them in new and different ways.

Between you and me, a healthy, challenged body is nothing without a healthy, challenged mind. Is it time to stop asking “why?” and start asking “why not?” Each of us has to answer that question ourselves, but if you’ve been stuck in a rut too long like I was, I can pretty much guarantee it’s time.

A Gratitude a Day…

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for a mind which, despite the odds, thrives on being challenged.
  2. I am grateful for new people and ideas which are coming into my world these days. Whether or not they ever know, they challenge me to strive to be the very best me I can.
  3. I am grateful for finally breaking the writing block that kept “Forgotten Victims” from becoming a reality.
  4. I am grateful for people who continually encourage me even when they don’t know exactly what it is they’re encouraging me to do. They know the what is less important than the why.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; perseverance, motivation, inspiration, encouragement, role models, support, entrepreneurs, friends, family, my cats who are there to encourage and sometimes distract me from myself, peace, harmony, love, happiness, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She specializes in creating content that helps entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Getting Out of the Rut and Making the Life You Deserve

Seeing Changes and Knowing They’re Good

I’ve been in my current human form for the better part of 61 years yet I’m beginning to realize that for the much of that time, I was simply plodding from one day to the next, having little impact on the world around me and accomplishing little. I’d fallen into the societal trap of working at a job which offers a decent living, doing repetitive things, be it work, play or chores and errands.

I’d like to stay I began to wake up over the last 15 or 20 years, and that would certainly be true, but progress, up until the last 2 or 3 has been decidedly slow. Sure, I watched “The Secret” a few times, read “Laws of Attraction” in several of its forms and practiced positivity. I definitely made some improvements to myself but nothing of any real significance. That is, until I started taking a healing class on the recommendation of my massage therapist.

That class may not have launched my career as a healer, but it made me take some good, hard looks at myself and my life, and frankly, I wasn’t exactly pleased with the naked truth. My life was boring and predictable, uncreative and unremarkable. 4 months into the healing course, I decided to trust my gut for a change and quit my boring and soul-sucking 9-5 accounting job to launch my writing career.

Anyone who follows this blog pretty much knows how that’s been going. I’m certainly putting a lot of words on screen, but except for articles I publish on the website of the photographer I’ve begun working with, publication is still an unrequited dream. My inner critic is still stronger than I’d like despite the compliments I do get on some of my pieces. My ability to actually finish something longer than a blog post or article is still shaky at best. But I am making progress.

Yet, in my own way, I was still plodding along in a predictable and boring pattern. I get up, I exercise sometimes, I do my errands on the same day every week and dance on the same nights in the same place. In short, my brain and soul were itching to break out of this self-imposed rut.

Learning to Ride and Thrive with the Changes

A couple things happened over the last 4 months to get me moving again. First, I got tired of chronic pain and went in search of both a diagnosis and a solution. The nearly 3 months of physical therapy has not only given me no small amount of relief but has me exercising more regularly and moving much more freely.

Enter my photographer friend, Jesse. Towards the end of last year, she hired me to write some posts for her website. After attending a couple of events together, she realized she’d rather put her efforts into taking photographs and avoid having to write the accompanying story so she offered the job to me. It’s a perfect match as we both get to do what we love, plus we bring different administrative and marketing skills to the table, creating a very effective synergy.

Body issues also served to remind me that I’m not in the best of physical shape, but in a chicken or the egg kind of scenario, I figured that stressing out over money was a huge factor. After attending one of John Assaraf’s Brain-a-thons, I signed up for Winning the Game of Money and became part of a community of ambitious, supportive people.

It was a no-brainer for me when John offered an 11-day weight loss challenge. I lost a few pounds, improved my eating habits, starting eating more of the veggies from my weekly box and between the two programs, was feeling a whole lot better and more energetic. Better still was the improvement in my sleep and the drastic improvements in my pain levels, strength and flexibility. The icing on the cake was when I won one of the two subscriptions given out for the Winning the Game of Weight Loss program.

I am now starting week 11 of the WTGOM program and week 2 of WTGOWL (technically, I spent about 3 weeks on Level 1 because of the challenge). I’m learning to say “releasing fat” instead of “losing weight” because losing implies that you’ll eventually find it again. As most people who’ve spent years of their lives dieting know, it’s often an endless cycle of losing some and gaining more. I didn’t get to be 233 pounds at my highest by accident, I assure you. Thankfully, the last time I “lost weight” I actually did manage to keep some of it off, but I’m a long ways from my healthy place. The difference is, this time, I’m more confident about getting and staying there.

Finding Someone New and Exciting, and That Someone is Me

But this isn’t really a testimonial for John’s programs, but a picture of my own evolution. The last piece is the afore-mentioned friend and photographer, Jesse. She’s dragged me along, sometimes kicking and screaming on her own quest to work with Food Network. To my surprise, and to the especial surprise of my inner hermit, I’m having a blast. While she runs around with her camera photographing everything, I’m in amongst the people, talking, asking questions and generally having a great time. I don’t know how this happened as I’ve always thought of myself as a loner and someone who just doesn’t do well with people. Maybe on some levels that’s still true, but I know now that it doesn’t have to stay that way.

I’m learning that when people see someone with a notebook taking notes, they’re curious. When they find out you’re a writer/journalist, many are anxious to talk and share.

This weekend, we attended what was publicized as a beer event, but also featured about 20 food trucks. But these weren’t just any food trucks! Each and every one of them was owned and operated by chefs…not cooks, but chefs. One of them was a collaboration of 3 who had recently left the restaurant where they all worked. Their exit took the executive chef, chef de cuisine and pastry chef, and ultimately one of the cooks as well. You know it’s not about the money when three high level chefs turn their skills to running a food truck! They have a passion and a dream.

And that’s where I’m reminded I do too, and that I’m not going to realize them by sitting in my house day after day, maybe pounding away at this keyboard. I’m not going to find it going out on the same nights every week to the same place and seeing the same people who may or may not care whether I’m there or not, and it doesn’t really matter either way.

I’m going to find it by, for now, helping my friend chase her dream because in helping her, I’m giving myself a gift I didn’t even know I wanted or deserved. I’m gaining confidence, learning how to get people to talk about themselves, feeling the passion from those who do have the sense to follow what their heart wants. And I’m stretching those writing chops of mine into unknown directions where I just have to fake it ’til I make it. Except I realized tonight, I’m no longer faking it. I’m really loving the new directions, the places we’re going, the people I’m talking to. This is my new adventure, and the best part of it is that I really don’t know where it’s going to take me, and it doesn’t matter!

GOYA (Get off your Ass)

Though I wouldn’t recommend quitting your 9-5 job like I did, without a real plan or source of income, I’d definitely suggest you take a good, hard look at what you’re doing with your life and how it makes you feel. If you have settled into a life of sameness, make sure that’s what you really want, and if it isn’t, start by making small changes. Most important, find people who align with what you really want, and help them chase their dream until yours comes around and smacks you in the face.

My gratititudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friend, Jesse who drags me out of my comfort zone on a regular basis.
2. I am grateful to John and the NeuroGym team who are helping me improve my health, my outlook, my ambition, my drive and how I’m spending my time these days.
3. I am grateful to the friends and family who cheer me on, egg me on and kick my butt when I need it. Without the encouragement, I would still be existing instead of living.
4. I am grateful for my writing skills and my constant efforts to improve them; sometimes by studying, but more often by just exercising the muscle in a variety of ways.
5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, inspiration, motivation, community, peace, harmony, healthy, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

A Grain-Free Week

Switching it Up

A month or so ago, a friend and I became accountability buddies. We checked in regularly, logged our food and exercise and kept track of the pounds. It went well for a couple of weeks, maybe more, and I did drop about 9 pounds. But lately, that’s changed and I’ve gone back to the old “up three, down two” game. My blog writing pitching took me to some paleo sites so I started looking into what changing to that kind of diet entailed. As previously mentioned, it isn’t for me.

What I did realize was that the last time I dropped a good amount of weight, over 30 pounds to be exact, I not only checked in with MyFitnessPal regularly, but I cut out most grains. For me, that’s doable in the short term or perhaps, in sprints. So for the last week and a half, that’s exactly what I did.

I’d like to say I got immediate results, but I think your body and even your eating habits have to acclimate to the change. So it took about a week before I started seeing a noticeable change; not only in weight but in energy. The protein-rich diet fills me up without bogging me down. I’m sleeping better than I was, too! In just over a week, I’ve dropped about 3 pounds, which thrills the heck out of me.

Making it Work During the Holidays

Spending Christmas with my daughter and son-in-law will be challenging. Her house is redolent with her Christmas baking frenzy this time of year, and now that she’s learned a few more tricks in her culinary arts classes, she’s become even more creative. However, she is also incredibly supportive. Didn’t she start learning how to convert recipes to gluten-free because I found the gluten was irritating my stomach after awhile? She’s already stocked up on plain yogurt so I can enjoy my usual breakfast instead of reaching for something grain laden.

Though she won’t give up grain for her or her hubby, nor would I expect them too, she has come up with alternatives for me. Heck, I may snag one of those pumpkin pancakes with Christmas breakfast, but will fill up on the eggs and fruit or whatever other non-grain alternatives there might be. And she’s making sure dinners can be eaten without pasta or rice if I so desire.

All in all, I deem this experiment a cautious success. I’m also counting on my daughter’s usual pattern in which I accumulate between 16000 and 18000 steps per day during my visit. Even if I only manage to keep the grains at a minimum while I’m there, I suspect I’ll avoid the usual bulking up which usually occurs Christmas week.

Setting up for my Next Sprint

Better still, no matter how good or bad I am this week, I’ll be ready to do another week or two sprint with no grain. If I can do about 2 weeks on and one off, I can see me setting a pattern because the two weeks I’m off of grains will get my body accustomed to doing without. If I eat a moderate amount during my week off, I’ll be able to tell just how much makes me feel sluggish and how much screws with my sleep and meditation patterns. If that amount is small, it will simply make it easier to give it up for longer periods of time.

Not Quite Paleo

Giving up grain of all kinds is a huge step for me. I’ve actually given up starches almost entirely. I’ve had potatoes a couple of times, but aside from that, it’s been protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. Snacks include yogurt dip and veggies, almonds and dried cranberries, though even those have slowed down as my body stays full from the increased protein. I don’t however, see a day when I’ll give up dairy or legumes. I love lentils in my turkey-pumpkin chili and my fat-free yogurt and honey in the morning is a quick, easy, no-brainer to get me going. Yes, I may start pre-making the egg casserole I used to take to work, but it’s not going to be a daily or even weekly change. Too many mornings, all I can stomach is that 1/2 cup of yogurt. It isn’t until after noon, and sometimes 2 or 3 before my stomach is ready for anything heavier. But at least I know myself.

Many of us realize we need to change our eating habits to something healthier, but there’s no point in changing to something which has no appeal. You just won’t stick with it unless you’re some kind of masochist who gets off on torturing yourself. When I was pregnant with my twins, I saw a nutritionist and the first thing she did was to ask me what foods I liked and which ones I didn’t. She wasn’t about to help me design a meal plan containing foods I disliked or omitting everything I liked. Nearly 30 years later, I still take her words to heart.

Living in a Land of Plenty

I am very fortunate in that I love fresh produce, and even luckier still that I live in an area Harvest box 11-18-14 view 2where it is abundantharvest box 11-4-14 12 months a year. You can bring me to tears with a nice bunch of broccoli or cauliflower, a bucket of brussels sprouts or a lovely member of the squash family. My daughter has even taught me new and different ways to enjoy these wondrous treats. That very love and abundance is what makes this new path easier to tread. No rice? No problem. I’ll just eat more of this lovely veggie with a little bit of chicken stir-fry. No bread? Let’s throw a few more veggies in the pan and scramble them into a fluffy pile of eggs. Stir fry nearly done 10-22-14

Do I feel deprived knowing I’ll have to pass on the pizza or sushi? Not really. In fact, many times there are versions of sushi which are riceless anyway. Have you ever tried a hand roll without rice? Very tasty! And if I really want pizza, I’ll just wait for my off week. If I still want it by then, so be it.

Leaving Behind a Life of Constrictions

Two years ago, I left behind a life of waking with an alarm to go do a job which built up someone else’s nest egg. I left a world of someone else’s rules and rush hour and being around people even when I didn’t want to be. I’ve made a lot of changes over the least two years, some good, some not so good. I’ve established some healthy habits which have fallen by the wayside, perhaps to be picked up again in the future…and perhaps not.

But I have learned that if I make changes to my life that don’t make me happy, I’ll find a way to undermine those changes or just wander off in search of something new. And yes, I’ve done both. But eating is really easy. I love to eat, I enjoy cooking and find more of the healthy foods appealing than not. Realizing that I need a specific time frame to go off track was the missing link, though. If I lock myself into a week or a couple of days or whatever, I’m more likely to say during the weeks I’m supposed to be diligent “Nope, that has grain. You can’t have it this week, but give it a few more days and you can indulge if you even want to by then.” And for now, that’s enough.

How do you keep yourself on track with those healthy habits you form? Are you just one of those whose internal motivation is enough, or do you have to make deals with yourself so you’ll do what you know is best anyway? Do you hold the results up like a mirror so you can easily see how following those habits has improved your life? I’d love to hear what works for you.

Tonight’s gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for fresh produce year-round.
2. I am grateful for small successes.
3. I am grateful for the things which motivate me.
4. I am grateful for new opportunities and ideas which help me make necessary changes to my path.
5. I am grateful for abundance: success, motivation, inspiration, support groups, cheerleaders, friends, family, joy, love, dancing, bliss, peace, harmony, health, happiness, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

How We Underestimate Our Daily Movement

How Much do we Really Move in a Day?

About a week ago I realized that if I kept going the way I was, I would gain back everything I’d ever lost and then some, and increase my risk of health issues from diabetes to heart. I know what works but when I get frustrated, I let it slide, and my eating habits suffer. As I have too many reasons to stay healthy, I logged back into my MyFitnessPal account and began measuring and tracking.

The first thing I discovered was that since I switched from buying the single serving cartons of yogurt to buying the 32 ounce cartons of nonfat plain and just adding blueberries and honey, I was eating less than I thought. The first day, I measured out 3/4 of a cup and realized that it was a lot! The next day, I measured out 1/2 a cup and found that was about what I’d been spooning into the bowl anyway. I had been going a little light on the blueberries so now that I measure, I get 1/2 a cup of those too, plus about a teaspoon each of raw honey and l-glutamine powder. That and my Eeyore cup of coffee are more than enough to get my day going.

Today as I sat staring at the exercise log feeling like a bump on one, I thought about how lazy and sedentary I am, especially on days like today which was filled with meetings and appointments. I got up from my desk and starting doing my nightly chores without even thinking about it until I realized how much I really do move during the day, and that’s not including the 97 trips to the bathroom and to fill up my water bottle!

My day begins when I get out of bed, make it and lay on the floor to do some stretches while trying to ignore the pitiful sound of my cats using their “I’m starving half to death here” cries. Sometimes, they even try to get into the act by chewing on my hair, sitting on my feet or just smacking me in the face with their fluffy tails.

Stretching done, I head for the kitchen to prepare the slimy yumminess they all demand. First stop, the garage where their food is stored in a cabinet. Feed the two garage cats who actually work for their keep. Then it’s back to the kitchen to put food into 5 bowls (heaven forbid they share!), add cosequin to my 18-year-old’s food and vitamins to all plus a teaspoon. Dylan doesn’t like wet food but he loves his fish-flavored vitamins. Believe it or not, these bowls go into 4 different rooms and have to be distributed strategically so certain boys don’t try to eat everyone else’s food.

Finally it’s time to fix my own breakfast before sitting down to check email and actually do some work. Throughout the rest of the day, I get up to check mail, fix myself lunch and dinner and a multitude of other tasks, many of which involve walking into a room, wondering why I’m there, walking out and remembering once I’m back where I started. By the time I’ve done all that, scooped the sand boxes, cleaned up the kitchen and prepared coffee for the next morning, I’ve circumnavigated my small house at least 20 times. Add in laundry and errand day and I’m moving a whole lot more than I thought.

MyFitnessPal has an item under Exercise entitled “Cleaning, light, moderate effort”. After careful consideration, I feel quite safe putting 60 minutes a day in that category on my log. Most days it’s probably more especially when I consider having to sweep the bathrooms daily because certain somebodies are incapable of keeping the sand in the specified container.

The good news is, I’ve dropped about 4 pounds this week, I’m eating a lot less starchy foods and more salads and I feel better. Sure, it’s a pain to log everything, but I’ve found some shortcuts which, while perhaps not entirely accurate, get me close enough and allow me to see when I’m consuming too many calories, or rather, when I’m about to. I certainly don’t expect to keep losing 4 pounds a week, but seeing those numbers go down instead of up, even if it’s very slowly, is good enough for me.

How do you insure that you’re sticking with your healthy habits?

We all have things in our life we’d like to improve. Sometimes we make those improvements without thinking about it just because we have the desire to do better. But when you’ve had to put something in place to motivate yourself, what kinds of things work for you? I don’t know about you, but I’m always open to new ideas.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for all of the little things.
2. I am grateful for friendship, for both the give and the take.
3. I am grateful for finding things to motivate myself.
4. I am grateful for stepping outside my comfort zone again.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, health, friendship, motivation, work, kindness, compassion, charity, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

 

September 16, 2015 Hidden Benefits of Healthy Habits

Getting More than Expected

A couple of months ago I started an almost daily regimen of shoulder exercises in response to severe pain, first in my right shoulder, then in my left. A series of stretches I’d found on the net were extremely helpful in limbering up the muscles and allowing them to release, especially when performed right after I got up. When combined with light weight work for shoulders and arms, the improvement has been nothing short of amazing.

One of those exercises is performed on the floor, a place I tended to avoid because age and weight made it difficult to get back up without employing a small crane to heave my bulk to an upright position. In fact, it required a series of shoves and rolls, first to get from my back to a sitting position, then to my knees and finally, to my feet. In the process, I pushed off the floor, the dresser and the bed before arriving at the desired place, often undoing the good I’d done for my shoulders by getting down there in the first place.

Lately, I’ve noticed that getting from my butt to my knees and my knees to my feet has required little to no pushing with my arms and, in fact, I’m almost to the point where I can get there without even using my arms for balance. My body is already appreciating the stretching which has evolved to include time with the Miracle Ball under my neck and some back stretches before I get up, but to be able to get up and down from the floor with more ease (though not exactly easy yet) is a bonus I never thought I’d see again.

The lesson I’ve learned is ridiculously simple. Whatever movement we practice on a regular basis, be it squats or simply getting up from the sofa or toilet using only our legs instead of pushing off with our arms, will, over time, make it easier to do those things, and perhaps a few more we hadn’t realized we’d made difficult for ourselves by either compensating or avoiding. Now if I can just convince my lazy self to get up at least a couple of mornings a week and get back to the gym. I know I felt much better when I did, yet, somehow, I just can’t seem to get myself back into the routine.

One Good Routine Leads to Another

I know I’ve covered this ground before, but different things seem to trigger reminders. It takes a month or so to get a good habit to stick, though that doesn’t mean that it won’t still fall by the wayside if we don’t continually condition ourselves to continue. What I’ve also learned is that setting one good habit often leads to another, and not necessarily one that’s related. For example, I got into the habit of stretching when I get up most days and now, I’m getting a lot better about spending a solid part of my day writing. It may only be a couple of hours spent editing my book, an hour or so working on my website and 30 or 40 minutes on a blog post. Or it may be an hour of research and an hour or so of writing. Regardless of how much time is spent and on which project, the key is that I am spending those hours writing and, in fact, closing in on that 8 or so hour work day I’ve been trying to retrieve after nearly two years of piddling around for long periods of time before buckling down and actually getting things done.

In life, I think everything is a leap of faith of some kind. Taking a first step towards anything that isn’t part of our normal routine is a leap of faith. It doesn’t have to be something big. In fact, the small things train us for the big things. Adding a little thing to your daily or weekly routine every so often can and will broaden your view of what is possible. Those little successes will inspire you to reach higher and farther. And as I’ve demonstrated, one leap can bring benefits you hadn’t even considered.

Where will you leap today?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for painless nights of sleep I’m once again enjoying.
2. I am grateful for side benefits to new habits.
3. I am grateful for the small successes because they inspire me to attempt the larger ones.
4. I am grateful for the rain we’re finally seeing. It may not seem like much, but it’s more than we’ve had in awhile and the plants are getting happy.
5. I am grateful for abundance: new habits, blessings, simple pleasures, friendship, inspiration, motivation, words, music, love, harmony, peace, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

November 6, 2014 Getting serious #shericonaway

Setting goals and not quitting until they’re reached.

Five days in and I was already 1300 words behind. Something had to be done! After dancing tonight and a little unwinding, I told myself that I would continue writing, no matter how long it took, until I reached at least another 2,000 words.

I’m happy to say that a little bit of self-flagellation was wondrously effective. I wrote 2303 words tonight and the same number of words tomorrow will put me back on schedule! The stupid thing is, I know I can knock out 2,000 words a night if I just focus! I have to allow my subconscious to drive the story instead of agonizing over each word with my logical and much less creative brain.

It was tough going for awhile, but once I got past the first 1,000 words, the rest started to come more easily. Yes, I can DO this!!!

Of course, the crazy writing sprees mean shorter blog posts (or in the case of last night, so short they’re non-existent). But I promised to keep you updated on my progress, and even, time permitting write something for the CSA blog about my culinary escapades. But this week, with me arriving home from my daughter’s on Monday and her arriving here last night, about the only program I’m sticking to religiously is going to the gym.

OK, now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, let me assure you that I’m neither joking or on drugs. I really have been to the gym every day this week except Monday (after driving for 2 1/2 hours I gave myself a pass) but I also plan to go tomorrow. For some reason, I’m starting to enjoy the sweating and am further encouraged by my friend, Stacy, who has now joined my gym, is getting me to at least one if not two pilates classes a week, and has designs on getting my ample tushie into a spin class in the near future. Yikes!!! But it’s all good.

Combining regular exercise with healthier eating is making my body very happy and kicking my energy level into overdrive. Not to mention, making my FitBit sing several days a week with glee as I reach the 10,000 step mark (for today, it hit over 11,000 by the time I sat down to write!).

I could easily go off on another tangent here, but if I want to keep my promise to myself, I must get some sleep though 6 hours or so seems to be doing it these days.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the healthy habits which I really seem to be enjoying this time.
2. I am grateful for time spent with my daughter.
3. I am grateful for friends who both encourage and push me.
4. I am grateful for my kitties who keep me company while I reach for the stars.
5. I am grateful for the setting of goals as it gives me something to reach for on my way to the stars.
6. I am grateful for abundance: loving, living, energy, writing, imagination, inspiration, friendship, harmony, peace, acceptance, forgiveness, health and prosperity.

Namaste

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

October 21, 2014 Balancing my inner Hermit. #shericonaway #blogboost

Life is all about balance. The better the balance, the easier it is to take the jumps when they arise.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Everything in life requires balance. Like a tennis player balancing on the balls of her feet while she awaits a serve, we have to be ready to move in any direction, and if we’re unbalanced, that just isn’t going to happen.

I am one of those people who is completely comfortable in her own company. I could easily go for days on end without human contact. But I also know that this isn’t a healthy place for me to be, so, in spite of my chosen profession, I know that I need to make sure I get out into the world on a regular basis. I’m finding that joining CSA which forces me to go out every Tuesday to pick up my box, combined with getting back into my regular gym routine was one of those really smart decisions I didn’t even realize I was making. At this point, I’m getting out of the house at least three times during the week and another two evenings to dance. But the benefits don’t stop at even healthier meals and a body in motion.

And speaking of healthy meals, here is today’s Harvest Box full of some old tried andHarvest box 10-21-14 trues and a couple of new things to try. (the Kabocha squash was yummy, by the way!) I supplemented this week’s goodies with some fresh green beans, bok choy and bell peppers so I can make a colorful and tasty stir fry. I’ll pick up some seafood blend at Trader Joe’s tomorrow for the protein. I’ll also be enjoying more of my wonderful salads thanks to another head of lettuce this week. (Each week it’s a different kind, so I’m not likely to get bored any time soon!

Suddenly, I’m getting more done every day!

Who would have thought that adding at least three hours of workouts plus additional trips to buy food, not to mention the extra hours of food preparation would make me more efficient. But one look at my To Do list shows that is exactly the case. I’m getting more work done on my clients, spending more time getting ready for NaNoWriMo, more time on chores around the house and more work on self-improvement and copywriting efforts.

I’m definitely not caught up to where I should be after all of these months of being home and not having a heavy workload, but I’m making progress, and that’s what counts.

The changes and improvements are a direct result of finding balance between being alone and getting out into the world. Sure, I need a reason to go out, but out is out, right?

Where do you find balance in your life? Or, where do you need to find balance? What improvements can you see happening once you find that point where you’re ready for whatever life tosses your way? I would love to hear your thoughts.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be setting new habits.
2. I am grateful for the added balance in my life.
3. I am grateful that I seem to have forgotten how to rationalize missing a gym day.
4. I am grateful for increased energy, a decrease in the amount of sleep I need and an increased feeling of accomplishment.
5. I am grateful for abundance: happiness, healthiness, balance, self-confidence, motivation, accomplishments, harmony, love, peace, joy and prosperity.

Namaste

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