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Pushing back against resistance: building kaizen

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Something I've been working on lately is understanding (and getting around) my own resistance. For me, one telltale sign of resistance is procrastination. But it also shows up in lateness, self-doubt, discouragement... and all of it has the same outcome: keeping me stuck firmly in place and undermining my efforts to grow and change.

Sometimes I feel like I can be entirely different people, at different times. I can be a strong, active, motivated leader and creative writer. But sometimes I can also be disconnected, lost, scared, disorganized, and bad at following through. That second batch of competing issues... well, it is connected to fear. Maybe it is also connected to a misguided internal and sometimes even unconscious desire to stay safe, to stay in my comfort zone, to stick with the status quo (even though the reasonable side of me sees that is not the best decision).

So, I am trying to overcome some of this resistance by taking small steps (in Japanese culture, called kaizen) and little actions that try to get around that fear. If I'm too overwhelmed by working on a particular chapter of my dissertation, for example, I can still work on the footnotes or the bibliography, or the charts. If I feel like I simply can't work on my next lecture, well, at least I can group the research together and start to come up with the visual pieces and structure. If I feel like I can't face the gym or the pool today, well, I have built in more and more walking errands so that at least I am going outside and moving around. This approach is similar to Spark People's stage system. Hey, maybe I'm learning something here!

This sounds simple, but it isn't always easy. If you struggle with resistance, too, you know that those inner voices can be tricky. I do think that by sliding past my resistance in alternate ways, at least I can feel like I am taking some action and building new habits to make progress. Maybe then as I keep taking these small steps they will add up to stronger, bigger habits.

Has this worked for you? Any suggestions?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROCKPORT9 10/20/2014 9:36AM

    I love the word - kaizen. I am prone to procrastination......fighting my own resistance. I use "just do it" or 10 minute rule- do something for 10 minutes. Taking those little bites gets me moving.

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BILL60 10/20/2014 8:47AM

    If it worked for you, "Do It". However, try not to over think the obvious.

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Who has the time?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I've been super duper busy lately, writing and rewriting, grading, teaching, and getting ready to go on the job market.

But I miss my bike. My head clearing space. My walks and jogs. Yoga. Breathing. Swimming. Sleep.

I even just miss time to sit and think about things that are unrelated to work or my professional life. As an exercise in thinking about this, I added up my working time on a spreadsheet for the past few weeks. No days where I worked less than 11 hours, and most were closer to 14. Somehow I was wondering where that workout time went... I need more balance!

So I am going to finish up some projects tomorrow and Friday.Send them out into the world. Polish off the current set of student grading. Shut things down.
And then, believe it or not, I am taking the weekend OFF. No grading, no writing, no research. OFF. In order to enforce that, I think we'll go visit some friends. I need a break and some rejuvenation, stat.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISTA987 10/16/2014 9:28PM

    I totally know what you mean about clearing your head! I'm lucky to have the pup, so I'm kind of forced to go out for a walk every night. Hope you enjoy your weekend off!

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BILL60 10/16/2014 6:27AM

    The word that you used is so important, "BALANCE". While work is important and necessary, fitness is just as important because it sharpens up the latter. Hope you followthrough with the weekend OFF. Hang tough and enjoy.


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Just pack it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I'm happy to say that I have been on a healthy "pack all of my food for the day" streak for weeks now. I haven't bought food during the work day in a long time, and I was reflecting on that just now. I've had a lot more time to think and work without having to plan where/when I am going to get food. I've been eating better, healthier food-- and much cheaper and tastier, too. This is made somewhat easier because I usually work from home 1-2 days/week. But on the days I come to campus, I leave the house by 7am. So I've been packing both breakfast and lunch, as well as snacks and drinks for the day.

Breakfast= I premade my own english muffin sandwiches during the weekend. Whole wheat english muffins, a fried egg, small amount of extra sharp cheddar, and one slice of bacon per sandwich. Freeze wrapped in a sheet of waxed paper, thaw one in fridge overnight before I toss into my bag in the morning to microwave when I get to work.

Snack= 1.5-2 cups of fruit, and some kind of protein. This varies, usually either greek yogurt, handful of almonds, or a lowfat mozzarella stick.

Lunch= flavorful soup/stew/chili with lots of veg. I prefer not to wait for the microwave at lunch, so I heat the soup at home and put in a thermos. Recent soups are a spicy moroccan lentil, or, this week, white bean and turkey chili with lots of veg and spices. Usually I combine this meal with a handful of crackers, but I would like to add some more fiber. Need to think more about it.

Snack= a piece of fruit and some nuts, or a granola bar. Sometimes both, depending on how late I stay at work.

I want to continue to think about this, and will probably keep changing it around. But I feel better, and I like the extra time/money/saved calories.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PINKPANTHERS 10/1/2014 12:17PM

    That is a great way to control what you are eating! I know packing my foods vs eating out directly impacts my waistline. Keep up the great work! emoticon

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ROCKPORT9 9/30/2014 11:20AM

    You've developed a wonderfully, healthy habit! Good for you! emoticon

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Laughter is the best medicine

Thursday, September 04, 2014

I love reading new recipes, and sometimes I read cookbooks. Yes, for fun. Am I going to make all of those recipes in this lifetime? Probably not, and that's ok.

This satirical look at reading recipes online has had me giggling at my desk. So for others that enjoy reading recipes:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMACORY 9/4/2014 1:11PM

    My sister and I both like to look at cookbooks. I even bring some home from the library. emoticon

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July, already?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

This year is flying past. I feel like I say that a lot, and it feels true to me. Time just whizzes by.

I've been back on the bike lately, and it feels good. I've also been slowly going back to yoga/hot yoga, which feels less good, but I feel accomplished after I do it. Mostly I have been craving vegetables and fruit and lean protein, also good. In the professional good news column, I recently published an article in a very highly ranked journal, which is important in my field/for my career.

Now for the bad: I am constantly, constantly stressed out. Too many balls in the air, too many deadlines, and too much latent worry and stress and turmoil. I've had an intermittent medical issue (ovarian cyst) making appearances, which has been keeping me from getting a lot of quality sleep lately. I'm ready to cross stressful things off my list, but first I have to finish them! Big international conference coming up in less than two weeks, and I have three presentations to give-- one is a huge plenary talk. I will be so, so relieved when that's all over!

People keep asking me what's next, professionally. I can't focus on that now, or really anything more than a few weeks out. I am trying to take life at my own pace, to stay steady, and to concentrate on what is in front of me at the moment, as much as possible.

Thanks for letting me dump out my brain! I am hoping to get a bike ride in this morning after this current rain cloud passes, and I've been enjoying my 2-4 rides per week. Hope to get out on the trail and clear my head some more!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROCKPORT9 7/2/2014 12:13PM

    You are doing great exercise that must provide some stress relief. I hope you get some break after your conference.

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NUTRON3 7/2/2014 8:50AM

    Last month flew by, you are right

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