Why this will work in 2013
Monday, January 07, 2013
Okay, here it goes. A new year and a new attempt at healthy living. I am, and always have been, a New Year's person. I love it. I love the feeling of having a clean slate and reveling in the newness and infinite potential of the next 365 days. I love the dressing up and partying the night before to welcome the new year. It's all very exciting and like most people, it's when I start over and try to make this year better than the last.
It's happened most years with varying degrees of success. Some areas get better, some areas get worse, some areas have their peaks and valleys, but in the long run don't change much at all. So, I didn't make any firm resolutions this year. I made one goal: to move out. I still live with my grandma AND my mom and stepdad, and I really, really can't take it anymore. A lot of the things that have held me back are because I still live here. I am lucky, I know, to be able to live here rent-free and with little other financial obligation. That has helped me a lot in the past few years, but I am ready to move on.
Basically, the real reason I am ready to do this now is because I know I have somewhere to go. My best friend has asked me to move in with her in Texas. It would be mutually beneficial and loads more fun. She'd have help paying the mortgage, help with cleaning and other chores. I would have motivation and support from someone who actually cares. I'd have TONS more privacy than I have here, and I also wouldn't necessarily need it quite as much because when you've been best friends since the time you were 13, there's not much you haven't done together. Certainly not nearly as embarrassing shakin' your booty to some exercise DVD when your best friend walks into the room instead of your stepdad. Honestly, she'd probably do it with me.
So that's it, really. Get out. Go to a city where there are more things to do, more people to be friends with, and better weather. I'm aiming for June, but there's no real deadline. So instead of thinking of it as: losing weight, cleaning up, straightening out my finances. It's now "Does this get me closer to moving to Texas, or is it going to set me back? Is it going to be easier moving a ton of boxes weighing what I do now, at my current level of fitness, or if I am lighter and more fit. Is it going to be easier to move a ton of clutter, or an organized and neat room? Do I need to buy this now or can it wait until I moved? Do I even need to buy it at all, or could this money be put to better use?" Those are my considerations now, not numbers on the scale, dress sizes, or specific dollar amounts. I am only focused on how to make this move happen.
In that context it's so much easier to make decisions about everything. Whether it's considering buying a new dress, or considering eating a cookie instead of a carrot, I don't have to frame it as the right or wrong thing to do, just "Does it bring me closer to my goal?" I have been on SparkPeople for a couple of years now, I should know this is a much better way of doing things. I have tried the "take small steps" approach and even that never really stuck because I wasn't really doing it FOR anything. I was after some sort of nebulous ideal and I never actually thought I would get there. This is a real and concrete thing that I know I can do with some planning and dedication.
It's also let me let go of the idea that I have to do everything perfectly all the time. Or that I have to go hard and fast to accomplish a goal by some kind of unrealistic deadline. Yes, I know these are things I should know. But just knowing something is right or true is not really the same as accepting and living it. All I am trying to do, is get a little closer to making this a reality every day. Whether it's cooking something healthy, brown bagging my lunch to cut costs AND calories, sneaking in a short little walk, cleaning out a drawer, or organizing my bookshelf - if it gets me closer, then I am doing well.
I'm certainly not saying that I shouldn't be challenging myself, but if one area improves, it sort of makes it easier to expand my efforts in another. I'm just not starting out pushing any one thing harder than another. I'm taking it slow and steady and seeing how things progress. I can always adjust later once there's a consistent forward momentum.
Using this approach, here is what I've managed to do in 2013.
1) I managed to come up with a meaningful, attainable goal for once. Honestly, this was probably the hardest part.
2) I set up a savings account on http://smartypig.com to keep my Texas monies separate. I set up a recurring contribution of $30/month. It's not much, but it's doable. If I could save $600/month, which is probably about what it'd take to save up for the cost of the move, I'd do it. This is something and it's better than nothing and it's what's manageable now. Not to mention, it's a set it and forget it thing, not something I have to actually *do*, and I can always throw some extra in there, when it's feasible.
3) I've cut out soda from my diet, increased the amount of water I drink. Most days, I actually am getting 8 glasses in.
4) I've cut down on fast food. I won't say that I'm going to cut it out. I probably never will, sometimes a girl just wants some Taco Bell. However, now I can do it once a month, instead of once a week and only when it's what I really WANT. I have decided that convenience (aka laziness) will not be a factor anymore. Or most of the time. I can cook, I can assemble some kind of dinner out of what I've got at home or at the very least, I can manage to microwave something. I have accepted that this is not really too hard for me.
5) I have bought a ton of healthy groceries. I actually want to eat them. It's kind of amazing how, if it's there, you'll eat it. Same way with junk food, it's just a matter of what you bring into the house.
6) I threw out a cake without any remorse. I had two pieces of it. They were delicious. Didn't need the rest of it. I have to admit that, before tossing, I did scrape off the chocolate chips on the rest of the cake and eat those. They were also delicious ;)
7) I actually cooked something! Well, prepped it. I already had dinner, so I froze what I made and plan to eat it throughout the week. Should be 8 meals or so.
8) I packed a healthy lunch for work today.
9) Exercise! I did some! Not a lot, but I'm looking forward to logging it anyway.
10) I did a little bit of cleaning as well. Again, not a lot, but enough to have found evidence that there may be a floor in my room after all. Who knew?
Altogether, these changes have resulted in -7.8lbs and +$25 (at least) so far this year. It's actually going pretty well, I think. I have plans for moving even further along this week. I'm going to work on getting more sleep, fitting in breakfast and maybe a little bit of exercise in the morning, at least a couple of days a week. I've got the opportunity to work some overtime, so sleep especially will be important, and the extra money will definitely help later.
All in all, I'm again refreshed and excited for a new year and this time, a new perspective on the dynamics of change. Here's to a plan that will finally stick!
Lastly, I sincerely wish a wonderful and healthy 2013 to all of my fellow Sparkies. I'd love to hear what you're doing with the brand new year, and wish you all the best in reaching whatever goal you've set your sights on.
Happy New Year! :)