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Mottos and visuals and blazing my own trail

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Having decided to just make do with the attempt at a motivational image ... but not having printed it or posted it anywhere but in my blog ... I felt like I was leaving yet another step along the stage incomplete. Then I look at the next step and find myself even more flummoxed. I need to pick out a quote I can use as a motto.

So, I went back to the page itself - not the steps. And had an epiphany of sorts. The person or people who wrote this are VERY visual. All three steps have a visual aspect. Hang up a Main Motivation Worksheet where you can SEE it, use PICTURES to make a VISUAL. Find a quote and hang it in places where you will SEE it. WATCH an inspiring movie.

I'm trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I am decidedly NOT visual.

Reminds me of spelling in something like 7th grade. Every week we had a new list of spelling words. The teacher explained that people learn different ways. Some can learn more than one way, but most have a favored way that works best for them.

1) Visual - see the word written correctly
2) Written - write the word spelled correctly
3) Auditory - hear the word spelled correctly
4) Oral - spell the word out loud correctly

If we only ever did one sort of assignment to learn the words, some in the class would have more difficulty than others. So we did all four every week.

Coming back to motivation. I'm fighting and struggling to meet a standard that doesn't work for me.

Looking at my "visual", I blew the picture up in it to make there be a picture. Otherwise, it is words - or more importantly to me, concepts, ideas. I don't see myself slim and in some cute outfit. I feel myself slim, how I take less space to go through a door or slip between chairs. I sense the difference in how much space I take up, how my body moves and adjusts. That isn't something I can properly put down on a piece of paper and hang. But it motivates me all the same.

I want to hike the hills with a minimum of getting out of breath; maybe even gear up and do a multi-day hike and camping trip eventually. But a picture of someone with a hiking pack and a camping tent just feels flat. Instead, in my head, I can feel the snug confines of the tent, the work to get it built, the fresh cool air, the warm sleeping bag, the stretching as I ease the muscles after a long day on the trail. THAT is my kind of motivation.

I like quotes in the immediate moment - they are interesting, some give new insights, some give a moment of humour. But I don't live by a motto. I exist as part of a whole, a deep desire to thrive rather than scrabble to survive. Thought exists before word, and it is thought without language that drives me.

I far prefer a good book and my own imagination to a movie. A movie is such a passive experience most of the time - which is probably why I lean toward action/adventure in which it is possible to get caught up in events that I don't feel eh about characters who don't exist beyond their screen-time. I can think of a couple of books that have been hugely inspirational to me, but I have no idea if I have a ghost of a chance to find them.

One, for example, is called "Sidetracked Home Executive". It's about a system for those who just can't seem to manage keeping a home clean because they're constantly getting sidetracked - written by a pair of sisters who broke free of that. They're an inspiration in how they did so.

All in all, I think I've got motivation to spare. It's just not in the form that would necessarily work for anyone but me. But that's the most important point. I'm not doing this for someone else. I'm doing it for ME. If it works for me, it is the right form.

Hehe, editing it to make the title a bit more in line with my ultimate realization.

And then I look at the next step. Oy, I think I'm finding the whole diet stages and actions more challenging than I'm finding eating in range and being physically active every day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/10/2011 10:58AM

    Glad to see you decided to blaze your own trail!!

I love your conclusion!: "All in all, I think I've got motivation to spare. It's just not in the form that would necessarily work for anyone but me. But that's the most important point. I'm not doing this for someone else. I'm doing it for ME. If it works for me, it is the right form."

Way to Go!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/10/2011 10:16AM

    Glad you are finding what works for you. emoticon

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Am I just making excuses or is this real?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Reality is a funny thing. For all that science can measure things with exactitude, we retain an ability to alter how we perceive reality. Some of it is odd quirks in our brain.

Optical illusions are built around those - such as the one of a checkerboard floor, a cylinder casting a shadow and what we see as a dark square and a light square that are actually the same shade of grey. (For an example of the illusion I mean, see
). That particular illusion is so strong that even KNOWING beyond a shadow of a doubt, we can't seem to force our eyes to perceive it that way.

A similar ability to distort reality occurs when we make excuses.

We don't call them excuses. We call them reasons. Very logical, rational, unassailable reasons. In fact, if someone challenges our reasons, we may become offended.

= I can't _A_ because _B_. =

So how can we tell when we're just using _B_ as an excuse versus when _B_ is a very legitimate reason we can't _A_?

One question I tend to ask myself - Am I even trying to look for alternatives?

= I can't exercise because I sprained my ankle. =
Yeah, but I can sit in a chair and do any number of upper body exercises. In fact, someone paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair can remain quite physically fit.

= I can't pack a lunch for work because there's no refrigerator available. =
Yeah, but I've done peanut butter and honey sandwiches, sometimes with banana. Seriously, kids take lunches to school with no refrigerator. Construction workers might have a cooler, but that's about it. There are options.

= I can't do my cardio because I have an upper respiratory infection and can hardly breathe. =
Okay, now that one would be reasonable. In fact, it could be looked up and verified on numerous medical sites.

That points out another difference to me which is the direct correlation of the reason/excuse to the thing that can't be done.

Cardio = working heart and lungs. Can't properly work the lungs if we are struggling to breathe. Direct. There are exercises that don't require standing or ankles, so exercise isn't directly related to ankle. Indirect. There are foods that don't require refrigeration, so ability to pack a lunch isn't contingent on a refrigerator. Indirect.

Of course, just like that optical illusion, we may STILL find ways to convince ourselves the reasons are completely rational and reasonable.

What else do you think distinguishes real legitimate reasons from excuses?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIMMICA 12/9/2011 12:53PM

    Freaky illusion.

I know I've come up with some pretty good excuses from time to time. (I'm not sure that's something I should be proud of, though.)

Excellent blog.

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TABBYJO88 12/8/2011 11:45PM

    Thank you for sharing this blog. It has a great point and I think everyone should read it and learn from it. Again thank you for sharing this I will surely have to come back and look at this blog. emoticon emoticon

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_JODI404 12/8/2011 10:10PM

    Such a good topic for close examination!! When I started SparkPeople, that is what I wrote on my profile, No More Excuses!!

The more you don't want to do something, the craftier you can become at making a good excuse disguised as a good reason not to do it!! You do really need to break it down and think about what results you want, and will your decision to not do something get you those results.

I like the suggestions of looking at alternatives and direct/indirect relationships.
I have knee pain, and I am very focused on making sure I do not let it become an excuse for me to not work out. The Spark 10 minute daily exercise streak has cured that for me. On day 38 - woo hoo!!

As always, another great blog Blue!

emoticon need an emoticon for face with thought bubbles... thinking about it!! emoticon

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/8/2011 9:37AM

    Great blog.

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Not all bad choices are about weight

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

... and my ex has certainly made more than a few doozies.

So, anyone who saw my last couple of statuses, I was a bit vague. Last night I didn't have enough facts to be sure, today I still only have just enough.

It started with an IM from my daughter (DDa - Darling Daughter the younger). At first, it was simply that my son (DS - Darling Son) had lost his bank card, called and had it cancelled and was waiting on a new one. Being new to this whole adulthood thing, she wanted to know what happens. Simple enough, so I explained that to her.

Then she asked about a letter DS got from the bank. Separate item entirely from the lost card. State tax board for outstanding debt had everything in his account on hold and would be sent by the 13th unless other notice was given (total amount was over 10x what he had in the account). Except DS is only 20, has been a college student two years, only got his first ever job a few weeks ago, and has no debts that he is aware of.

Into the picture comes the EX. See, DS got the joyous luck of sharing his father's name with a nice II at the end. Not all that long ago the EX asked DS and DDa what they thought of him using DS's SS# to get a job so he could avoid having child-support payments automatically yoinked. They both said "No way. Illegal and stupid." in about as many words. He dithered and tried to make off that it wasn't that bad. A little bit later (days / weeks) he had made a comment to DDa that he got a job and that he had used it anyway, in spite of their reservations.

So first call DS makes is to EX to find out if he did so and what this debt might be. EX denies using the SS# at all and makes no offer to try to figure out what the debt is or accept any responsibility. Right off the bat, DDa is faced with either her father lied before or is lying now about that. I convinced her last night to let it wait until DS could call the tax board and get facts. Guesses weren't going to help us, nor would hasty judgments.

Moving on to this morning, DS calls the tax board. It's a debt from ... 1994. DS was three years old. This isn't even a recent situation at all. -_- This goes back to when EX and I were fighting, sometimes living together, sometimes separated. So, DS has to send in something (probably birth cert / ID) and then they can go after EX for the money.

So last night I said pissed because there was no doubt in my mind the EX was squarely involved in some way. But not stressed because other than advice on who to call, what to ask, and how to attempt to handle, my "empty nest" means my DS has to do this for himself as an adult rather than dumping the worry and work on me. In fact, it's these little problems that keep cropping up for him and DDa that are making them start taking adulthood seriously - even if they're living with their uncle for now. EXACTLY why they had to stop living with me.

Today, I'm mostly done being pissed at the EX. I'm pissed that he did this with no consideration of the effects on his son - only the immediate benefit to himself at the time. But, really, the consequences for his bad choices keep rearing up and slapping him around.

This one may destroy something I made sure he's had for the past 18-20 years ... a relationship with his son and daughter. It's not that they respected him. He lost that years and years ago. They respect his youngest brother, who at only 10 years older than them, stepped in as the father figure they needed in addition to one of my brothers. But they do love him in that "can't avoid loving your parent" sense.

They may still, but this was, in my DDa's words, "the straw that broke the camel's back". She even said she hoped it proved true because then she could stop talking to him completely and not feel as guilty about it.

He's made a lot of bad choices in his life. At only 3 years older than me, he's not working again (quit recently, but I don't know if he's ever worked anywhere a full year, let alone more. He's living out of his car, which doesn't work, because he got legally evicted (losing all my DS and DDa's stuff they had at his place) over a year ago. He can't get an apartment because of domestic violence issues (not me, apparently the last gf from stuff I had to comfort my DDa after.) He's gone to AA meetings after a court order from DUIs and gone right back to drinking nightly. He has at least two other younger kids besides DS and DDa, one with court-enforced child support and the other refuses to go for it so she can deny him visitation by claiming there's a paternity dispute. It just goes on and on.

And back when I wrote the title for this blog, I originally was thinking that his kinds of bad choices were somehow different from the bad choices we might make about our health, our fitness, our eating.

But they're not really.

Life is full of choices about just about everything. Sometimes we don't think there is a choice. We don't choose to get laid off or have our wages garnished, but we still have choices - what we do after and/or what led to the situation in which we had no choice. Many times, one choice builds on another until a situation is created where we can see no easy or good choices.

One person chooses to drop out of high school, quit jobs, and complains that he has no choice in the jobs he can get. He did have those choices, once upon a time. And really, if he's willing to work for it, he can make new choices available.

Ditto for gaining weight and losing it.

There's millions (heck, probably billions) of choices that went into where we are today, whether we're at our highest weight ever or maintaining at our idea weight, or anywhere in-between.

Some of the choices may not have been ours. There's points as children where we may have had only partial control over what and how much we ate or how active we were. But at some point we continue the pattern of bad choices, reinforced through bad habits built from some of those choices.

Every minute of every day, we have the ability to make choices. Sometimes we feel like we have no choice. We're at work, no healthy food around, starving, someone offers to grab a burger. We had no choice. Or did we? Did we choose to buy healthy food we could take to work for lunch? Did we choose to pack lunch that morning? Did we choose to skip a snack? Did we choose to even ask if they could get us a side salad instead?

Choice after choice after choice, many that we make without thinking.

It may not feel like it, but we choose whether to wake up with the first time the alarm goes off - or hit snooze. I should know. I'm a night owl. I will snooze until I'm late. But give me something where I ~MUST~ be up earlier, say a 5k, and guess who is out of bed without snoozing once? It is a choice, and one I've made well before that alarm has gone off that morning.

Eeeps, this has gotten a lot longer than planned. And I'm somewhat rambling.

Deep inside here is a point. Maybe several points.

We must NOT beat up on ourselves for the bad choices we have made, are making, and will make. The universe and natural consequences will do that just fine without us adding to it with guilt or agonizing.

We MUST recognize our part in having made that choice. We can learn from it. We can examine how we got to that point of having to make that choice, why we made that choice, and what new choices we can make for the better.

Not all our bad choices are about weight, but if we're here, they are probably a significant number. Losing weight and becoming fit, gaining a long-term healthy lifestyle is all about learning to make good choices and creating through earlier choices the situations that make good choices easier.

Not really part of the above, but important. There is no option to "not make a choice" - because that, in and of itself, is a choice. Handing someone else the ability to choose for us starts with our choice to surrender that to them. Don't use others choices as an excuse for not making our own.

We have the POWER to make each choice that directs our life.

Use the power to lose the weight; use the power to live long and prosper.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/8/2011 10:00PM

    I could not agree more...many quotes I love are to the effect that: it's not what happens to you in life, it's how you CHOOSE to react that really matters.

"Life is full of choices about just about everything. Sometimes we don't think there is a choice.... but we still have choices - what we do after and/or what led to the situation in which we had no choice. Many times, one choice builds on another until a situation is created where we can see no easy or good choices." Very well said.

Years ago I remember discussing weight loss with my boss at that time and saying that it really could not be any simpler than just making good choices... we all KNOW if what we are putting in our mouth is a good choice or a bad choice. Most of us know the fat and calorie counts of food like we are an encylopedia.. Series of good decisions are what it takes, and you can avoid contributing your hard earned money to the multi billion dollar weight loss industry and crazy gimmicks.

And I love this point too: "We MUST recognize our part in having made that choice. We can learn from it. We can examine how we got to that point of having to make that choice, why we made that choice, and what new choices we can make for the better." Especially the WHY part... good learning there.

The power does lie within us!

Oh -- the snooze button -- right there with you on that!! Sooo not a morning person.

What a MESS with that EX. So glad it is not on You.. guidance is a lot better than ownership for sure.


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TABBYJO88 12/7/2011 5:32PM

    You are very right in this blog everyday we face many choices that may or may not have anything to do with weight. And what you said about us having the power to make each choice that directs our lifes that is very true and for some people it takes just opening their eyes to realize this. I am very sorry for what you ex has done to your son that is pretty messed up. It isn't my business to say but might I suggest that you tell you son to looking towards the SS office to get a new number when this stuff is over. And I hope all goes well with that. emoticon

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Gonna just live with my Motivation Sheet

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A thanks to _JODI404 for the wisdom that my idea works for me - or I might still feel stuck on that first step. I'm going to work with the Visual Motivation Sheet I made, because to me what is important isn't some idea of what I might look like or want to look like, but the reality of where I am and where I'd like to make changes.

So with that, I'm going to go find out what the next step is. (I seem to remember a motto being involved - and my current signature might well work for that. It's not a quote. It's something I made up myself.)

Funny how much I will resist some things and then spend too much time on something else because I don't resist. In fact, that ties into another blog I want to write soon. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving completely valid reasoning and other times I feel like I'm just making excuses. Sometimes the easy comfort and support we can offer just gives someone the okay to slack off, because we aren't perfect. How do we find that point of discomfort where we can push ourselves harder without going too far? Another day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/8/2011 9:34PM

    Cool! So glad you decided to use your original version!!

emoticon emoticon

Also: excellent ? there at the end.......

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Walking to Edmonton - first week

Monday, December 05, 2011

The first week of my virtual walk from San Jose, CA to Edmonton, AB. I walked a total of 13.36 miles. I've decided to do a little windy route rather than "as the crow flies" so I can check out the places I pass.

Leaving San Jose this first week and entering Milpitas, CA. There's a few fun bits of history there. Milpitas was at one time inhabited by a subgroup of the Ohlone people - a variant on their name now the name of a street (Tamien) on which one of the valley's light rail travels. Milpitas almost got swallowed up by San Jose, but quickly incorporated and even went so far as to organize "Milpitas Minutemen" to oppose that and keep Milpitas independent. In more recent years, the large Ford assembly plant in Milpitas was converted to the "Great Mall" - a single-story flat shopping center with a large oval to wander and many outlet stores.

Quickly leaving the city area of Milpitas, I headed out toward Calaveras Reservoir and am working my way through low hills, weaving to and fro. A couple pictures of the area (public domain images per Wikipedia):

The road is windy, so it may take up a good portion of this coming week's walking. I haven't actually measured yet to see. But it does keep me generally moving north until I can reconnect with the major freeways and decide the next scenic byway to visit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/5/2011 10:55AM

    SO cool!!!! emoticon emoticon

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