Overall Wellness: Checking-In

I skipped last month’s check in because I was slammed with work stuff and my goals kind of took a back seat to everything else. Just getting through the month with all my hair (sans a major haircut) was more important to me. Some months are crazy and it’s just about getting through the month. Other months I can really concentrate on bettering my self.

So to recap, my goals for this year are:

1.) Drink more water – got a little off track on this but reeling it back in to concentrate on this. I somehow keep forgetting that we have one of those water fountains that you can use to fill your water bottle upstairs and I just finish off my bottle of water that I brink (reusable) and just suffer being thirsty for the rest of the day. I don’t know why it just escapes my mind. Perhaps I should put a post-it note up in my office…

2.) Focus on form – I”m really excited about this because I have been working on this quite a bit and I am seeing results. I made a decision not to race at all this year and just concentrate on my form with running and also with lifting. My running has leveled off quite a bit (but now with the nicer weather, I’m more likely to go for an impromptu run) and my times have gone waaaaay up. But taking the time to concentrate on my running form I can tell is going to pay off in the long run (cheesy pun intended!)

3.) Budget and get credit cards paid off – I kind of forgot about this. The budgeting part. And then this morning, I knocked over my drink all over my pile of receipts that I needed to enter into my spreadsheet … so that happened. But I have definitely switched over to a cash based … life? I just have found that using cash works best for me. It really keeps my spending in check and I have been able to cut my spending from about $100/week to $70/week.

4.) Read for fun and research – I have been doing a lot of reading for work and as soon as I finish up some blog posts, I”m going to grab a book and read outside for a bit. I’m really enjoying drinking some coffee and sitting on my balcony and reading with the nicer weather that we have now. I’m still way behind on my goal to read a book per month. I’m almost finished with my second book (one for work) and then I’m thinking I’m going to re-read Harry Potter. Mainly because I have been listening to a Muggle Net podcast that analyzes the books from various academic perspectives and now that I have heard these, I want to go through and analyze the books a bit more.

5.) Laugh, love, and accomplish something everyday – yup. I am. And it helps. Some days, I am accomplishing something big, other mornings I”m happy that I was able to get out of bed.

How are your goals going so far? A quarter of the way through the year, how are you feeling about your goals? Any changes that you have made? Have you added more? Let me know!

Overall Wellness: Does Location Really Dictate Wellness?

A little bit of info on me, I am originally from Iowa and moved to Kentucky for grad school and then moved to Kansas for my job. I tell you this because when I lived in Kentucky, my roommates got be hooked on a certain news station pretty much just for the morning weather guy. No lie. Anyway, I liked their page on Facebook back then and I never un-liked them and continue to keep up with the new (er robberies and murders) of that area. This is actually pertinent because recently, Gallup published a study about the top 10 worst places to live (aka places that have the lowest scores on their well-being finder). Kentucky, was ranked the 2nd worst place to live in the US. The local news station posted this and asked viewers to weigh in on how they felt about this ranking. Honestly, I just scrolled through some of the 300+ comments and there are massive mixed reviews.

But also interestingly enough, I was discussing with a co-worker yesterday at an event about how people feel being labeled the best worst thing. Some people see being told this as an opportunity to change while others will fight against the label. Is there really a right way to change this? I mean, a lot of Kentuckians are proud to be Kentuckians and believe that it is the greatest place on earth. Others still feel that way but can see where the state is lacking in some areas. Others still think the state is complete crap and can only rag on it at every chance they get. And there are a million different shades of grey between just those three categories.

It’s just interesting to think about if you state can have an effect on your well-being. Iowa is consistently in the top 10 of best places to live so I have lived in “the best” and “the worst”. And the only thing that I can tell you is that while there are somethings you can’t change, you still dictate how happy you are and how high your wellbeing is. There are different factors that are associated with wellbeing and if you can’t control and do anything to improve one aspect…think about concentrating on some of the others.

Overall Wellness: Where Have I Been?

I took the last week off as my work life got more chaotic. I work for a university and A.) as anyone who works for a university can tell you, the beginning of semesters is crazy and B.) as anyone with a job can tell you, there are always busy crazy hectic times. The nature of what I do combined with working with a university made the past couple weeks incredibly busy. On top of that, I have made some changes to my life and figuring out how the rest of the pieces of my life fit in with these changes has been a process.

One of the biggest changes I have made is doing the majority of my workouts in the morning vs. at night like I have been. My usual posting schedule had me posting in the mornings, but fitting that in along with working out in the morning has posed a bit of a challenge. Until this week really. The other big change that I made is that I finally decided to go ahead and get internet in my place. Say whaaaat? Yup. I have lived without true internet since I moved out to Kansas about 18 months ago. I had a nice Android phone with an unlimited data package when I moved out here so it really wasn’t that big of a deal for me to not have internet. When I moved to my new apartment back in September, within two weeks my phone completely broke down and I had to resort to going back to my old Blackberry which made doing everything online on my phone much harder. So I waited out for my contract to end (end of November) and went to a prepaid phone which dropped my phone bill from $100/month to $40/month. I have always said that I refused to pay more that $100/month for phone and internet. So once i moved to the prepaid plan, I had freed up enough of my budget to go ahead and justify purchasing internet.

So in short, there won’t be too many changes to my blog, I will continue having posts queued up to publish in the morning M-F, but I just needed a week to get everything planned out plus getting my internet set up was also needed.

Overall Wellness: 2014 Goals

Now it’s all good and well to set goals, but it is important to outline how you are going to achieve said goals or to specify more than just a quick sentence (which is easy to remember and glance at daily).

1.) Drink more water. With working out, I should be downing about 70 ounces of water/day. I have a 20 ounce water bottle that I bring to work everyday. So I should be drinking 3 of those plus some.

2.) Focus on form is both for lifting and running. This year I wanted to hit some numbers and PR…but at the same time, in the long run (cheesy pun intended), it is really important to take the time to focus on form. I want to concentrate on form this year. The entire year. The year of form.

3.) Budget. Now I have mentioned that I set up a spreadsheet to track expenses and I am going to use this as my baseline for having actual, real numbers to base my budget off of. I will be tracking every penny that leaves my possession. The plan is that every month with have a new sheet in my excel document and then I will have an overall document at the end of the year.

4.) Read more. I used to be an avid, avid reader. I used to get myself grounded so I could read without interruption. In college and grad school, I began  to resent reading and stopped free reading all together. Prior to college, setting a goal to read 52 book in a year would be easy. But for now I’m going to set a goal to read 12 books this year for fun. And I need to keep up on wellness research to keep this blog relevant and to make sure it has substance to it.

5.) I really hate not knowing what is going on in the world, not just the States. I have gotten into a pretty good habit of reading the Daily Skimm every morning and I sometimes will listen to news podcasts at work. I just want to know what is happening in the world and not be oblivious.

6.) Laugh, love, and accomplish something. This one is a goal that is entirely for me (I mean really all of these are). But no matter what, when I close my eyes to go to bed at night, I want to have laughed at least once, expressed love, and go to bed knowing I accomplished something.

These are the 6 goals that I am going to concentrate on this year. What are your goals/resolutions?

Overall Wellness: Checking In

Today is going to be my check-in post since tomorrow I will set my goals for 2014.

Let’s review December’s goals, shall we?

  • Water! You know, I did do a better job at consuming more water but I still rely on soda/pop/diet coke a bit too much. 
  • Continue to make progress on my consulting project. I had big plans to work on this a lot while I was home for the holidays…those plans did not work out. So now I’m scrambling a bit. 
  • Budget! I actually created some excel spreadsheets to use for 2014 to track my spending so I have actual data and numbers to base my budget off of! 
  • And finally, breathe and relax. I took a few “me” days off around the holidays so I got to spend some time doing nothing, which was nice. But now it is time to kick back into high gear. 

Since I will be setting overall 2014 goals tomorrow, I won’t set monthly check-in goals like I usually do in these posts.

Stay safe this New Year’s Eve!!

Overall Wellness: Check-In

Ah yes, tis the time to set a few goals and revisit the previous months goals. Let’s look at November, shall we?

  • Get Christmas shopping done this month. Well, I got my mom and sister done…I had a plan and I ended up straying from that a bit…
  • Fitness challenge. Ah yes, as we start getting into the cooler months, my desire to just curl up and do nothing is increased. So a nice little 30 day fitness challenge is just what I could use. This won’t be like my 50 days of running challenge but rather will be 30 days of “beasting” of killing my workouts. I tracked each day on my personal blog and it was pretty interesting. Up until I left for home, I only missed one day and I hit it hard most days. It was pretty cool to see myself pushing myself again. I will continue to keep pushing. I know it is hard to get motivated to work out in the winter/colder months. 
  • Budget. Go ahead and prepare for this one to probably always be in the mix b/c it is something that I continue to need to work on. Still need more work on this but I did go into Black Friday shopping wanting to spend x amount of dollars and only went over that limit a little bit.
  • Don’t stress. I did … not so well with this. I got really stressed out when I was driving back because I missed a merge onto a different interstate and ended up in a bad part of town and my GPS kept trying to make me turn on a street that didn’t exist. I finally just had to choose a direction and start driving that way and make my GPS recalculate a bunch until it got me where I needed to go. Luckily, I chose the right direction. It was stressful. I missed my merge too b/c my GPS was busy trying to tell me about a traffic incident ahead that didn’t even exist. Annoying. 

Ok! How about some December goals!

  • Water! I do not drink near enough water and I discovered last month that my building installed on the water bottle water fountains up on the ground floor. So this gives me a great excuse to go upstairs and get water. I will get a tiny bit of extra movement into my day plus I will get to see outside…weird! Well, it is for me since I work in a basement.
  • Continue to make progress on my consulting project. A couple months ago I announced that I was going to be working on a consulting project. Well, I took the project on right when work got crazy for me and I was working early and through lunch…sometimes late. Then I went to Kentucky…so the project didn’t start off great but I have steadily been plowing through it. I even had a blog post published on their site! I’d like to complete the first section and get the other section done as well. Especially since I am taking some time off during the holidays. Which will include some time that I am not at work, not at home, and not with das boy. Just some time when I am at my home.
  • Budget! I’m getting better and making improvements. I’d like to get into a good routine so I can start the new year off with strong budgeting skills. Because (I am thinking of my SMART New Year’s goals already) I’d like to get myself out of credit card debt by the end of 2014. So then the only debt I would have is my student loans.
  • And finally, breathe and relax. Work will get crazy again soon and January – March is basically just…crazy. Without getting into too much detail, this is really the last bit of time I get to relax before things get busy again so I need to make sure I take advantage of that. Also making sure that I breathe and relax through the holidays. Does anyone else find that the holidays just stress them out more than not? Just me? Can’t be!

What are your goals for December? Are you starting to plan out 2014 goals? I like to start the planning process in December so I can work on making sure I operationalize my goals and so I can get some clear measures of them!

Overall Wellness: Why Do Dreams Matter?

Hi. This is a post that has no research to back it up, just personal opinions. So…yup. Sometimes I do these types of posts…

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an article from Thought Catalog that just made me think back on my dreams. My goals and my ambitions for myself, both professionally and personally. And it got me to thinking, why do dreams matter? I get that they matter in a sense of direction that you take your life and setting goals (or that could just be the analytical side in me), but why do they matter in your life? How many people really achieve their dreams? We hear stories about so and so overcoming all the odds and making their dreams happen, but what about the others? What about the people who are still chasing their dreams but will probably never catch them? What propels them to keep chasing? What makes dreams so powerful? Is it because it gives you that internal motivation to do something/be something/be somewhere/etc that you love to your core?

I mean really, how many people just in your life have you known that have said all they want to do is live in New York City? I see this quote pop up all the time on tumblr about just give me a small apartment, just enough to live off of and insert dream here (usually it is to live in NYC or to be a writer). What is it about a dream that makes a person believe that they will be inherently happy once the dream is achieved and they can throw everything else out the window. They just need the basics, the necessities and they will be fine. But the problem with that is there is no definition of the necessities. No definition of just enough money to get by. Do you mean just enough money to pay the bills and that’s it? Because research definitely suggests otherwise that having more than “just enough to get by” actually does increase happiness. (Just to be clear, money does not equal happiness but stability and more specifically financially stability does.)

Do we live in a too whimsical world that believes that magical things can just happen? When does having a healthy does of reality help out? Or should be keep our dreams alive and keep chasing them relentlessly?

Or should I stop asking a million questions 🙂