Today marks the third-way point of my 18 week self-given challenge to focus on and improve aspects of my life as I approach 30.
So I figured it might be a good time to check-in so I can analyze my progress and hold myself accountable going into the next 6 weeks.
♥ Become a better blogger
Well, I’ve posted one other time over on my spiritual/life journey blog and I’ve started at least three or four other blog posts for this one, but every single time I start, I ask myself ‘what’s the point?’ and close the tab. Even if I overcome outside factors such as energy levels, general lack of interest, difficulty with putting my thoughts into words (brain fog, essentially), time constraints, etc. I still end up with the question of what’s the point?
Anything that I could write about has been written by someone else far better. I don’t have a niche, I don’t even lead a very interesting life – it’s essentially the same routine day in and day out with a little variance once in a blue moon; even that variance is usually mundane.
So I wonder why waste the little bit of time and energy I have on waxing philosophical about favorite characters, movies, and similar things? Again, when others out there are offering so much more than I can to any potential audience (not that writing is always about an audience, of course). Just because I could probably sit down and write post after post on Kathleen Kelly (You’ve Got Mail heroine) or The Lord of the Rings or any of my other eclectic (but basic) interests doesn’t mean I should.
I suppose this is the pessimistic attitude a lot of writers feel from time to time. Regardless if it’s blogging or writing a novel or anything else. I just happen to wonder frequently if my pessimism and lack of focus when it comes to blogging means I need to stop trying to fit a square block into a triangular hole.
♥ Improve my handwriting
Thanks to muscle pain – potentially repetitive stress or carpal tunnel from my job – this one has been on the back burner. I’ve mostly been experimenting, trying to find my favorite ways of forming letters in a way that I can keep consistent. I’ve also worked on paying better attention to trying to keep my arm loose and letting it come naturally. Lastly, I’ve been making myself write in a planner and make lists as a way for daily practice without overtaxing my already stressed limbs. I can honestly say I have seen an improvement (on the days I’m trying; some days I’m still like ‘forget this I’m going with shorthand chicken scratch’).
♥ Improve my fitness
My health and fitness has been my main focus over the past 6 weeks (well, a little longer than that of course!) since I figured that if there is only one thing to focus on in this challenge, it’s that. I got very complacent during the first half of this year when it comes to fitness and if there’s anything I’ve learned about my body it’s that the whole ‘you can eat at a deficit and lose weight without exercise’ thing doesn’t work for me.
Consistently in my life if I only eat at a deficit (tracking calories religiously), I can still gain – and not just a little but a lot as if I were overeating. But if I track my calories religiously (even on days I go over or my compulsive need to eat everything in sight rears its ugly head) AND work out at least an hour a day, I start to see the scale go down and other physical changes.
It’s exhausting that I have to do both. It sucks that I can’t do the average recommended 30 minutes a day. It sucks that I can’t be like my coworkers that can eat all the junk food and stay thin while if I eat at the minimum suggested 1200 calories (which I don’t because I feel like I’ll eat my own face when I do that regularly) I still gain.
It sucks, but when I started this challenge and started thinking about my future, turning 30, etc. I had to be honest with myself and realize no amount of pitying the poor hand I feel I was given is going to make things better. Either I have to accept that an hour minimum of exercise a day and treating caloric intake the same way I treat my bank account is the lifestyle I have to commit to and make room for in order to be fit* or else I need to stop whining about what isn’t going to change just because I don’t think it’s fair I have to put in a little (or a lot, depending on each person) more effort than others.
* I say fit because I also have to work on getting out of a shallow mindset of the number on the scale or the composition of my body on the outside being the sole determination of if I’m strong, eating right, etc. Obviously, when I workout that much each day, I may not look like a person who works out at all to those who can only see my weight, but I know that I feel better, walk faster, sleep better (okay marginally better lol), fill full faster, etc. Just because the science of calorie in, calorie out dictates I should be losing approximately X pounds a week doesn’t mean it’ll happen. Recently, it took ten weeks of effort before my scale showed my weight loss, going up and down 2-4 pounds at a time before dropping 12 seemingly overnight. That was a good reminder to me that persistence even when nothing seems to be changing is what matters (this is true of other areas of my life!).
I won’t go into detail, but I also took the gallon of water a day challenge in July and I am ecstatic to say I’m never going back to drinking less than 100 oz of water a day (outside of extenuating circumstances of course). While a gallon is a little too much for my body on most days, I learned over the course of the challenge that averaging around 100 oz does wonders for my body. I just feel better in ways that are hard to explain, and this is speaking as someone who regularly drank the recommended 64 oz a day, sometimes getting closer to 75. In fact, the days that I only drank 64-75 oz I was just a little more blah and I retained water really bad.
♥ Pay extra on my student loan principal
So, I guess it counts on extra on my student loan principal that I paid off one loan entirely, right? Since $1200 of an almost $1300 balance was the principal rather than interest on it ahaha. I was lucky to get a on the spot type bonus that allowed me to pay it off. Otherwise I haven’t paid any extra on any of my other student loans yet, but I have been saving money back extra per paycheck with the aggressive goals of paying off one more loan before my birthday (happy birthday to me – y/n?) and then another one after that by the end of the year/beginning of January in order to have my minimum payment down by over a hundred dollars from what it was at the start of this year. So that’s sort of what this specific goal has shifted to instead (and if I have an extra five-ten dollars laying around at the end of each pay check, I may still put it on the principal of my largest sum/interest rate loan).
While it’s depressing laying down literally grands at a time instead of being able to use that same money for other things, I keep telling myself the more aggressive I am now, the faster my minimum payment will go down and the less of a hassle this will be in the future. A little discipline and sacrifice now, while I’m in a position where I can do this (since I don’t deny that privilege whatsoever!) without as many worries as there might be in the future, will give me breathing room in the future – e.g. lower minimum payment to budget for in addition to other bills.
Of the other goals: improve my Spanish, write a novella, practice better skin care, deal with my name issues, and develop better sleep habits, there’s nothing of much interest to report. I’m working on them, but my focus hasn’t quite been there as much.