week 1 restart

Posted on October 20, 2012

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The problem with my career path right now is that I move around a lot. And as a result, I often have periods of transition in which my primary focus is just survival and I push everything else to the side. My biggest goal for this year was to not allow that to curtail my weight loss efforts, but it’s… difficult. I really don’t want to write a post that makes me beat myself up further than I already have. This journey is about being kind to myself so that I can develop habits that are a part of my life and aren’t something I should ever think of as a “punishment.” 

I moved four weeks ago and since then, I’ve faced many challenges that revolve around moving to a new place, such as finding housing, getting furniture, getting settled, etc. On top of that, I’ve had an exponential increase in the amount of work and stress I have on a daily basis due to being at the next level in my career path. 

I’ve struggled. In many ways. And I found myself slowly going further and further into a dark place. I realized that the only reason this happens is if I a) feel unorganized, b) feel disconnected from things that are important to me, and c) don’t manage my time properly, which leaves me behind on my work and without the things I need to relax, such as social time. There’s an easy solution to this and it goes like this:

1. Manage my time better. I need to start scheduling blocks of time for when I study, for when I do fun things, etc. The problem with studying is that there is no finite stop time for when I consider myself “finished.” What this means is that I could study from 8am to 8pm on a weekend and still not be done, and still feel like I didn’t accomplish anything and still feel like I should put more time towards the books. The problem lies in how productive I am in that twelve hours of sitting at a desk? It varies, but I sure as hell doubt I am productive for the full twelve hours. And it’s because I don’t set deadlines and I don’t have any particular reason to try to finish early. Which leads to this next point:

2. Schedule fun things into my week. I need things besides school, work, and studying, and that can range from anything such as a workout to a quick outing to get frozen yogurt with a friend. This will help give me definitive times for when I need to finish studying certain topics, this will help me feel more connected with the things I enjoy, and it’ll help me feel more at “home” in this new place.

3. Start exercising and counting calories again. Counting calories isn’t a death sentence for me. The only time that I feel limited is if I have to eat out and at this point, eating out is something I should be avoiding due to financial reasons anyway. The good thing about counting calories is that it holds me accountable for the things I put in my mouth. The ONLY thing that messes me up is the lack of organization. I need to start planning my meals ahead of time, even preparing them ahead of time, and get back into the rhythm of managing a balance between being domestic and being a working woman. And as for exercise– The main thing that keeps me from doing it is time; fearing that going to work out for an hour will make me behind on study material by an hour, which leads to a chain reaction of anxiety and it leads me to feeling unproductive and worst of all, bad about myself. So, no more. I’m signing up for a gym this week and I am committing to getting back into the habit again.

It’s one thing to make a plan, but it’s another to make a plan with measurable ways to assess how I’m doing with it. So, this is what I’m going to do:

1. I’m going to start marking my calendar with the days I count my calories and days I work out. My goal is to simply be accountable for every calorie I consume for the time being (limits can be added later when I’m in the habit) and to try to be physically active for three hours this week.

2. I’m going to try to ask people to do one social outing per week. The problem with this is that my “friends” here are flakey as they have this pressure to study just like I do. The difference is they agree to do whatever activity and when the time comes, they bow out because they’re so anxious about their performance and think that the two hours out will put them behind. So, I’ll measure this by attempt, but I’ll still go and do the activities even if I have to go by myself.

3. As for studying, I need to set time goals as opposed to topic goals. Which sounds counterproductive, but I think my problem is more with time management than it is with productivity.

Here we go again. Week 1. For the umpteenth time. But it’s okay.

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