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My Anchors

Sunday, October 05, 2014

I've been reading those self-help books again. emoticon This time, I'm reading up on decluttering, so that I only schlep what I want to schlep back home. The local women's shelter is very happy with us, as we've emptied out our linen closet and kitchen. We have been schlepping a giant plastic bag full of new, still individually-wrapped silverware around, and I have NO idea where it came from, when it got into our inventory of crap, and how it got there. I just know it has moved with us at least twice. And that stuff is HEAVY. Jeepers. We had over 30 coffee cups, and I don't even like coffee!

Anyway, in this book that I'm reading, that isn't really about decluttering, but rather, minimalism (which would be a great ideal to live by; however, I don't think I can eschew sentimentality to the point that these guys have), these two guys are talking about how they became minimalists. They were wealthy executives who made a ton of money but were still in debt and unhappy. One step toward getting to where they are now was to identify all their "anchors," things that were keeping them where they were instead of where they wanted to be. They spent one week writing down anything they thought might be an anchor, and at the end of the week, one had 80-something items, and the other had 50-something! Then, they started working on them one-by-one.

I emoticon these kinds of approaches. Not that I'm a scientist--I am SO not--but I love a nice, methodical, step-by-step process. So I started thinking about my anchors.

Now, I'm not just doing this to help me declutter, because that is a bit of a leap. But things that hinder my freedom...this includes my weight. And they're not all earth-shattering or need "dealing with," but if these guys came up with 130+ together, I imagine theirs really weren't, either.

1. My student loan debt
2. My sentimentality
3. My strong sense of nostalgia
4. My dog (hinders traveling)
5. My weight
6. My old clothes that must fit someday
7. My tendency to procrastinate
8. My anxiety
9. My funks
10. My absentmindedness
11. My one-track mind that needs somebody else to point out better ways of doing things
12. My lease
13. My tenants' lease
14. Diet Dr Pepper
15. My "stories" (the TV)
16. My stupid job
17. My income, which is much lower than what I was making before
18. My husband's unemployment
19. My irritability with my husband
20. Keeping grudges - not knowing how to forgive or forget!
21. My inexplicable loathing of my husband's sister-in-law
22. Social media/the Internet (yes, including SP)
23. My lack of momentum and motivation
24. My headaches

And that's all I have at this precise point at which you are reading. One that I thought of, because it is a huge amount of debt, is actually my mortgage, and then I realized that that is the opposite of an anchor. My mortgage is what is giving me a home to go back to in Virginia, and as an extension, hope.

So I'm going to keep adding to this blog for the next week or so until I've identified "all" my anchors. Then, I can go about working on the ones that need working on. Nice. Methodical. Step-by-step. Good stuff.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 10/6/2014 12:21PM

    Oh great blog! i love this. i tried mentally making a list and realized it would take a little more thought to come together.

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AQUAGIRL08 10/6/2014 10:44AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BUTTONPOPPER1 10/6/2014 1:54AM

    BEATLETOT, I counted and discovered that I have ELEVEN of the same "anchors" that you do!

There's too much I want to say in response to this blog (each category is material for multiple blogs, don't you think?), so I'll just comment on the sentimentality and strong sense of nostalgia. Actually, I read this blog last night before I went to sleep, and even though your blog is very positive and I applaud you for wanting to simplify your life, it did bring back a rather sad memory for me, of a time a couple of years ago when my twenty-three-year-old daughter wanted to clean up her LIFE, which she thought necessitated throwing away a lot of things from her childhood. Houses and rooms are extremely small in Japan, and we really do not have enough space to keep much AT ALL for sentimental reasons, so I agreed with her that it was okay to kiss a lot of that stuff goodbye. But there was just one thing that I WISH I had forced her to keep, and that was her collection of pink and purple soft plastic ponies, you know the ones with the nylon-haired tails and manes? I don't remember the name, but maybe they're called My Little Pony? My relatives in America had sent those to her after we had survived the great Kobe earthquake of January 1995, a time when she had been fascinated with the flying horses in the Disney movie Fantasia. It was an extremely important time in our lives, and I just regret so much that I did not intervene a couple of years ago and save those ponies, not so much for my daughter as for myself.

I'm not a very religious person, but I do have a favorite hymn. It's "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," which was written several hundred years ago by Martin Luther. There's a line in it which I remember now whenever I start to feel sad about the ponies: "Let goods and kindred go." Well, as long as I'm living I can't really let kindred go, but I can let GOODS go, as I must. I mean, I have no idea where the treasured toys have gone from my OWN childhood, so I should let my children's things similarly fade into oblivion. (But I'll ALWAYS keep the PURPLE SHOE!)

So sorry to take up so much space, but I can tell from your comments on my blogs and from what you've said here that you will understand.

The silverware of unknown origin you mention here and the big collection of coffee cups are quite different from precious children's toys, especially as you were able to make others happy by giving them away! I wish you continued luck with your efforts to simplify.

Comment edited on: 10/6/2014 1:57:03 AM

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FUNZ81 10/5/2014 10:28PM

    I, like you, like a step by step plan to work from. It keeps me on task until a goal is reached. Keep up the good work, and emoticon for sharing.

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    I agree with Katescape!

I also congratulate you on not putting the mortgage into the anchor category. A well-managed debt (to use a term from, I think, Alexander Hamilton) is important to give you opportunities for purchases and investments and experiences that would otherwise be out of reach. And you very rightly point out that the mortgage is what has you in your home in VA.

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KATESCAPE 10/5/2014 11:48AM

    I like this idea. I breathe easiest when I have no clutter in my home, so I get the idea of purging. Must feel great to get stuff out of your house (especially since your not using it) and at the same time paying it forward. Keep up the great work on becoming the best you possible! emoticon

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

I'm copying and pasting a similar exercise from a couple years ago, but changing it up a little to recognize the changes in my lifestyle at this time (i.e., I don't really eat meat now).

Give 3 or 4 reasons and for each (reason/excuse on why my diets and exercise plans have not been well-executed in the past) write a strategy that will keep me on track for 8 weeks.

I really like this assignment. It is methodical and systematic. It also reminds me of the EX method of quitting smoking, which I think is nice and...dunno, comforting in a way. Familiar and friendly. Anyway, here are my answers.

emoticon DIET emoticon

***Excuse #1
"I am craving sweets."
Strategy: Tell myself I can have the particular "S" on my "S" days.

***Excuse #2
"So-and-so brought cookies/homemade banana bread/baklava/bagels...etc., etc., etc."
Strategy: I can have a non-sweet (i.e., bagel) as part of my lunch if I track it FIRST. Sweets are out, but I can take one home and save it for the weekend if I think it will be at all appetizing at that point (Thursday, maybe...Monday, eh).

***Excuse #3
"Husband made mac and cheese. Holy crap, it's sooooo good. I'm going to eat the bajeezus out of it."
Strategy: I'll have to track it first and eat out a pre-portioned amount. I'm doing okay with that lately, so that's good.

***Excuse #4
Strategy: Put pizza into my tracker BEFORE I eat it.

emoticon FITNESS emoticon

***Excuse #1
"I don't want to go to the gym. It's rainy, hot, late, etc."
Strategy: Fortunately, I have my trampoline, stationary bike and weights at home, so I can do something while watching the TV. Having committed to 11,000 steps a day, I have to do some kind of cardio to get that amount, even walking to and from work.

So there are those. Any tips, suggestions or additional strategies welcome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GETSTRONGRRR 9/5/2014 10:09PM

    Sounds like a good plan.

Chewing gum works for me....when I'm chewing gum, I can't eat a lot of that crap....just keep chewing (i.e., don't swallow or spit the gum out)

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/5/2014 11:06AM

    These are good ways to combat those excuses we all make. You are going to rock the challenge!

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REBECCATKD 9/5/2014 10:48AM

    Great exercise! I may have to steal that one. You are demonstrating excellent discipline and self-awareness. Keep it strong!

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AQUAGIRL08 9/5/2014 4:47AM

    I love the way you address the possible excuses even before they actually happen. Having a good plan in place just in case is a very wise move on your part.

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    GOOD answers!

I don't know how many times that tracker has saved me from eating a whole bunch of goodies at night and waking up the next morning feeling awful.

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Had It Backward...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

So during the Pound-A-Thon Challenge, I decided I would weigh myself if certain conditions were met. They were that I had to stay in my calorie range and stay in my sodium range, among other things.

I didn't weigh very often.

If I stayed in calorie range, I was eating chili or spaghetti sauce (high in sodium). If I stayed in my sodium range, I ate too much.

And then I weighed myself today after my camping trip today. YIKES. I don't even want to tell you!

Well, I'm re-committed now that the 5% is starting back up, and I realized that I had it all wrong. I wanted to weigh myself when I thought I would post a loss, but I should have weighed myself when I thought I would post a GAIN. So now, I will weigh myself if those conditions are NOT met.

Today, I'm in-range, but hey, chili. So I'll weigh myself tomorrow. I hope it is a little better than this morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARUKI52 9/4/2014 5:47AM

    I weigh myself quite often but sometimes I wish I didn't because it gets a bit depressing when the number is going the wrong way. Cheers me up no end when it goes the right way but I'm on a bit of a roller coaster with weight at the moment so it's all over the place.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/4/2014 2:55AM

    That's so true, those are the times you need to weigh! I haven't in a week or two so I'm def due!

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    I weigh myself every day. Good luck with this new challenge!

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COOLRAIN 9/3/2014 8:22PM

    Good luck! Wishing you the best.

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GEORGE815 9/3/2014 7:39PM

    Sounds like its alot of weighing. Good luck!

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Something Old...

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

After over a year hiatus, I'm back on the 5% Challenge. I was very active on the challenge for a couple years, taking on leadership roles and having a blast, but never lost my 5%.

I can do this. I can lose my 5%.

The Pre-Challenge assignments are mostly the same. I am writing out my Nutrition Commitment and Fitness Commitment now and will work through the others in short order. The very committed and hard-working Overall Challenge Leaders have added a couple really good-looking ones. I'm always grateful for all the work they put in.

Okay, Nutrition Commitment, here we go.

I'm going to be strict about this. It's all I can be. Once I start "fudging" or "interpreting" things, I go downhill immediately. So I am continuing to No-S. I do love No-S; that is, "No sweets, no seconds, no snacks, except (sometimes) on days that start with S." It's simple and it makes sense to me. No S. Period. On S-days, I will have only one S, to honor the fourth S--"sometimes." And one serving of the S--no interpreting it as, "I can have as many of this one kind of cookies as I want," or other shenanigans. Whoever said that saw about those who aren't committed finding an excuse was watching me in my kitchen. Shenanigans are my new fifth S, and those do not belong on S-Days, either!

Fitness Commitment:

I will burn 700 calories a week and get 11,000 steps a day. I will do both of these things by continuing to walk to work (weather permitting), elliptical training and trampolining. I reward my 11,000 steps by writing letters and covering them in stickers (SparkMail me your address if you want one). This has been working for me so far. I may want to increase my step counts, but let's actually do what we say we are doing before we decide it isn't working, shall we?

Strength training is a beast I need to take on. I'm having a hard time figuring out a plan, and I need to make one. I'm shy at the gym asking for help with this. I remember some things I learned from my friend's boyfriend-now-husband 10 years ago, as far as sequencing of ST exercises. I need to research "how to create a strength training plan" and create one that will work. If anyone has suggestions, I mean, really, like, concrete suggestions (i.e., start with leg presses, then move on to assisted squats, etc.), throw them at me.

And I need to stretch my hips everyday. My poor hips. They are so tight.

So that's that for now. But one more thing. I will put these things on my Start Page and get in the habit of actually checking it. I tend to get to SP by way of links in emails, and then I don't visit my Start Page. I need to do this daily, because it contains all those good things--goal board, trackers, all that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPESINGH 9/3/2014 6:02AM

    Great start. I'll be following your success! emoticon

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    The Start page has gotten more useful lately, so that's a good S to indulge in.

Your commitments look good. Keep pushing!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/2/2014 3:16PM

    Great goals and commitments!

Your steps/letter one reminded me that I should make a goal that I can ONLY go on other non-work related websites AFTER I do Spark and MFP each day!

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Repost of the Blog I Wrote Earlier

Monday, June 16, 2014

I posted a blog then got all freaked out because I did it from my work computer. So I deleted it. Not that it would matter if they were monitoring it, but I don't know. Do people still do that? I figure there is too much web traffic at even the smallest offices for anyone to actually monitor any more the way they seemed to in the 90s. But still, you can never be too careful.

Since it's still valid, here it is:

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that the Scarecrow was going on the trip I went on last year instead of me. I don't actually think any of us are going. It was an expensive trip, and though I think the business I drummed up easily covered the costs, I think the new guy is looking at alternative, less expensive ways of doing things. Anyway, in my dream, they decided she was going instead of me, and I heard her talking about it, and I said, "Oh, you're going?" And she said yes, and I said, "Good. Then I quit."

This really set the tone for my day.

I was so ANGRY in my dream. They've disrespected me for the last time. But this morning, I'm sitting here thinking, "Geesh, can't she please be going on that trip? And mention it to me? So I can quit and go home and watch the Germany/Portugal game?"

Add to that that she is sending me all kinds of dumb emails asking me to do all kinds of dumb things, and just getting on my nerves. It's stuff that doesn't fall under my purview, that she's supposed to know how to do, and she doesn't, because she doesn't have a brain. I know I need to work on compartmentalizing and not letting what people do/say affect me, but if I were any good at that, I would still be at my last job, never having heard of this horrid place. So telling myself that just serves to further remind me of how dumb I feel for having come here at all, for falling for the grass being greener garbage.

I hate my job. I hate my boss. I hate myself for ever coming here. I get so angry at myself sometimes and feel so hopeless and STUPID about the whole thing. I heard that the lady that hired me was already looking for other positions when she hired me, so I feel really dumb moving out here to work for her, and then to get left alone with these people. It's just hearsay, of course, but I feel so used. And duped. And sad. And trapped.

And I want to stick a bunch of pizza and (veggie) burgers and French fries and junk into my mouth, because no one's around to give me a hug.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRATEFUL_DAWN 8/30/2014 6:05PM


Hope things are going better for you now.

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ZIGGY122 8/6/2014 10:27AM

    emoticon When the world says " give up " Hope whispers " try one more time". Years ago I was in the same position, didn't like my job, or my boss, and being a single Mom I felt trapped. I stuck it out and changed my attitude..did my job to the fullest, said "no" to those co-workers that used me to make themselves look better. Became assertive and confident and got promoted. Now I am retired with a good pension and glad I gave it one more try.
Please don't hate yourself... learn from mistakes.. and stay with your journey with Spark people. emoticon

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    ((hugs)) That pizza and all those other treats are not nearly as interesting as you are. Dreams are so fascinating, don't you think? If you could have that dream again, would you change it? If you could prolong the dream, how would you extend it?

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SEAGLASS1215 6/17/2014 5:25AM

    Yes, they do still monitor what you do on your computer at work - at least, the company I work for does, and they also limit what kind of sites you can visit. I get it, even though I don't like being 'watched' - it is their computer, their risk of viruses, they need to make sure they are paying me to work and not be on Facebook, whatever.
It does sound like you are really miserable in your job...and that's no way to spend the majority of your waking hours. Are you in a financial position to quit until you can find something else? If not, can you hunt for something else during your freetime? I don't know the whole backstory, but being stuck in something you hate is not good for your health! When I was first hired by this company I work for, I hated what I was doing and even though we had no money (hubby is self employed, had no income at the time) I actually quit the job. My friends thought I was nuts. The same company called me back a week later with a different position and I've been there for 9 years now, loving what I do.

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