Allow me to put my cards on the table. I never signed up for the Get It Done in 30 challenge. I thought I did, so it wasn’t a complete lie, but it didn’t happen. I was under the impression that I had signed up for their trial run and that I would be part of an experimental group. Well, that was not the case. I realized that I had signed up for notifications and that trials had already happened. I decided that I did not want to pay the $97 or however many dollars it was to participate for August. “Go it alone!” I said. Again. I can tell you right now, I am failing miserably. I doubt I have lost a single pound (probably gained a few after the drinking this weekend), but the lack of a scale and benchmarks are clear signs that I’m not managing or measuring anything! I’ve had several intense conversations about weight and the psychology behind our bodies, but we all know that talk doesn’t make shit happen. I told myself that I would be strict Paleo this month. Can you hear me laughing? If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how much I love to quote Stevo: “We are all Paleo, BUT…” I’m a big butt. I have had my Paleo days this month, but it’s been a pretty weak attempt. The Get It Done in 30 is a great idea because it sets you up with one focus and a support buddy. Trying to accomplish a goal motivated largely by guilt and shame, and accomplish it alone, seems foolish. Fail. Epic fail.
So far, I’ve been unsuccessful because I lied, I didn’t do what I said I would, I didn’t ask for support, and I didn’t measure anything.
This weekend, I watched a video on Marie Farleo’s blog. It is an interview with Steven Pressfield of Turning Pro. The take away is fairly simple, if you are passionate about something, treat it as though you are a professional. If you are serious about something and are committed to improving yourself in that arena then treat it with the same amount of respect and dedication you would your career. The example the author uses is a friend who was determined to become a better golf player. Apparently, she was truly awful. Instead of giving up, she bought herself a nice golf outfit, fancy shoes, some golf clubs and scheduled regular lessons. Dedicated to the cause, she announced that she was going to treat golf as though she were a professional. With consistent practice she worked her way to becoming a skilled golfer.
I would like to start applying this mindset more thoroughly to areas in my own life. It’s a process and I like the idea of growing into this attitude. Specifically, I feel that this has been happening naturally in regards to my writing. Since last September, I have become more dedicated to writing posts at specific times and have treated it as homework and a scheduled activity rather than something that will happen whenever. I even invested in a new computer earlier this year. I have spent many mornings getting up at 5:30am to make sure that I have at least 20 minutes of writing time before going to work. I’ve experimented with posting to this blog once or twice a week. I’ve researched different blog planning tools and have organized writing files on Google Drive. I am learning about social media and blog management tools. On top of that, I am receiving regular emails from some of my favorite blogs and podcasts to keep me in the loop of what is happening in the blogging world. I am hoping that by writing regularly and creating a consistent posting schedule, I will step more into the professional mindset of being a writer.
I tend to see the glass half full, however, I am using this post to illustrate how to recognize failure or where you are falling short and not give up entirely. I have been unsuccessful in behaving like a pro in regards to my blog by not posting yesterday (Monday). For August I told myself I would post twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. Yesterday came and went. My excuse? I am exhausted. I spent Sunday in Ukiah with some friends after their wedding. This involved going to bed at 1am followed by a 5am wake up time and a 3 hour drive. After work I could barely think straight, so I crawled into bed and passed out at 8. Then I woke up at 2am to pee and haven’t been able to fall back asleep since. FAIL. So here I am, trying to catch up on writing and post some shit before another day passes and I feel even worse. Perhaps the early wake up is a blessing in disguise? Nothing like the wee hours of the morning to get things done.
If I had of acted like a pro, I would have gotten myself to a cafe with free wifi yesterday evening and posted to the blog, come hell or high water. In my mind, professionals don’t dwell on “I don’t feel like it” for very long. I am honestly OK with all the choices I made this weekend, despite exhaustion and crabbiness. I want to be real with myself and recognize where and when I succeed versus when I don’t. There are several goals now that I am certain will not be accomplished by my birthday. I would like to think that opens up the opportunity to focus on one thing and hopefully that one thing makes me feel awesome. Today, that one thing is writing this and publishing it right here.
A man, famous for creating outrageous and cutting-edge window displays, waxes on about his 10 commandments in life. Climb inside the brain of Simon Doonan with me for a moment and never think the same way about your wardrobe or personal image again.
1. Invent yourself.
Every morning you have the opportunity to make executive decisions about your life. And have fun doing it! I wonder what the world would be like if every time we approached a task or decision, we asked ourselves what would make it more fun? Invent yourself because you can. Invent yourself because it is refreshing and no one else can do it for you.
2. Dressing down is a crime against humanity.
We can’t be too precious with our things. We are all going to die someday. “If you always leave home in the unforgettable ensemble you’d wear to a Lady Gaga concert, your life will always be more fun.” (AOD, 55) I suppose this is one answer to my question above. I hadn’t necessarily considered my wardrobe to be the simple solution. Dress up, get out, and save the world.
3. Go forth and shop.
Doonan prescribes shopping as a quest; retail therapy in a light and refreshing way. Recycle, upcycle, invent, inspire, and see the potential in cloth. This suddenly makes shopping seem appealing. An opportunity to celebrate self-love month! An opportunity to reinvent ourselves! I love having the agenda of being creative and inspired, rather than needing an item. The need for something often creates pressure and anxiety (like the self-hate war of buying jeans), but Doonan reframes daily outfits as an opportunity to bring mystery, thrill, and delight to our senses and therefore, our lives.
4. Be a contrarian.
There are so many ways to be an activist. You can wear an awesomely vulgar outfit, ride your bike, or get involved with your local government council. It may mean speaking your values and standing up for the things you believe in. Indulge in your most outspoken side, which is possible through your wardrobe as well. Doonan suggests that dressing in clothes that are the opposite of what is in fashion at the moment makes you stick out. A bold opportunity! You only live once. Make a statement, leave a mark.
5. Every day is a new photo op.
Doonan frames this in the context of the perfect photo pose. Again, how can we infuse everyday reality with a breath of fresh air? How can you inspire? What is your edge? Are you the guy pulling pranks and starting practical joke wars in the office? Are you the one who channels sunlight into every room? What random acts of kindness can we practice today? If you took a photo at that moment, what would it look like?
6. Vive la vulgarite!
Don’t overthink it. Sometimes you’ve got style, and sometimes you don’t. Celebrate the times things get messy. Be vulgar.
7. Go niche.
Who ever feels like mainstream is the right path for them anyway? I have yet to meet someone who feels like that is where they fit in the best, though I won’t rule it out.
8. Say yes to everything!
I hate this one. Saying yes or no to anything sounds like bullshit to me. I put a “Say Yes Day” on my 27 x 27. I took it off. For some reason the idea really irks me, like life isn’t exciting or filled with enough surprises already. It has the ability to be humorous and tantalizing, but somehow I would rather be more disconcerting. But screw what I think. Doonan says “Say Yes!” It’s like improvisational theater, it’s important you play along. The more you take advantage of the opportunities provided to you, the more likely you’ll be living a life of grand adventure.
9. Grow old ungracefully.
This is incredibly satisfying. Finally someone who is encouraging us to do whatever comes naturally and to indulge in the awkward confines of age that society has created for us. Spend your time, money, and energy on the things that really matter to you and your stunning essence will shine through as strongly as it ever has.
10. Confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Be your most fabulous you. This will create a magnetic force field around you and “serious fan worship” is sure to follow.
Ka-POW! So it came, so it went. So it goes. What a month! How did I do goal-wise? This is when it’s a good time to know what your measure of success is. If I hit my target 1 out of 2 times, do I feel successful? This month, I feel like a failure as far as measuring certain actions: days at Crossfit, mobilization, eating well/paleo, writing, hours at work, reading and counseling.
How do I feel like I failed? I only did “serious” mobilizing 10 out of 30 days this month. In the same way that I feel I need to focus more on diet and nutrition to improve my overall health (versus exercising more), I believe that I need to focus on mobilizing effectively to improve my athletic performance. My knee needs targeted help, so do my shoulders. They aren’t going to magically get better all on their own, so I need to show them some love. More than 10 days of love per month.
I have not been writing everyday. I have barely been writing at all. I wrote 14 out of 30 days. Not terrible, but not good. It sucks, actually. I feel so disappointed. It’s physically more difficult to sit and write. Not writing for 20 minutes a day, letting it slip for multiple days at a time, makes it infinitely more challenging to get ideas out in a way that flows. Writing for smaller chunks of time on a regular basis allows me to review what I have written recently and begin to play with ideas that intrigue me. The process of work and play come out. The editing process begins to unfold, structure and substance begin to arise and that feels awesome. Saying to myself that I will post to It’s All in the Blanket only twice a month is a terrible idea. It is nowhere near enough to motivate me to write everyday. However, maybe what I was posting would be well crafted and “deep” if I did write everyday in between those posts… That being said, I have a huge list of topics I would love to write about, so posting twice a month really doesn’t cut it.
Bottom line: I feel like I’ve failed as far as writing throughout April. SOoooo, I signed up for Leo Babauta’s Sea of Change program this month! May = Writing Month! I’m getting back on the horse. Leo is sending out accountability emails and writing prompts for the month of May. Let’s start fucking shit up! It’s also Bike to Work Month and National Masturbation and Radical Self-Love Month. I have BIG goals surrounding all of these things! May is going to be very exciting! Are you ready!?
Mobilizing and writing are where I can feel the disappointment most acutely. Overall, I feel like I haven’t measured things as much as I was aiming to. It makes me feel like a failure, not being able to fill out my measurable goals sheet for April. My conclusion is that I took on too much. I bit off more than I could chew. I have more specific measurements, I can get numbers for almost every category, but I’m not particularly impressed in my level of involvement in any of them.
The way I am trying to change my attitude towards jeans is similar to how I want to rephrase my attitude towards goals this month. In the last month, I have found every single pair of pants that I own are ripped. I have had most of them for over 3 years. Finding new jeans is hardly ever an enjoyable experience. Since beginning CrossFit, my body has changed a lot and I am still adjusting. I find that most jeans are made for skinny people or people without muscles. Pants tend to be too tight in the thighs and butt. I have endless ideas for making sexy clothes for fit and curvy people, just another business idea kicking around. So during my quest to find new jeans, I realized I would feel really shitty about myself and my brain would get stuck on repeat “What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my body? Why don’t these pants fit perfectly!?” This is bullshit.
I hit the pause button as much as I can. I hit pause, take a breath, and then say to myself “Bitch, please! What the fuck is wrong with these jeans?!” The therapist I have talked to since 2004, Tonja, has told me that I should practice thought-stopping. A practice that I am not very good at. So, here I am, practicing. Notice that son-of-a-bitch thought that makes you feel bad → stop it. Then replace it with positive one. It’s good to have a go-to thought to replace any negative thought with. The Jeans Quest auto-replacement thought is: What is wrong with these jeans?
To bring this analogy full circle, what I am trying to accomplish is the following: instead of asking myself “what is wrong with me? Why did I not accomplish all 54 million goals on my list this month?” I am attempting to reframe my thinking with thoughts such as “What stopped me from accomplishing my goals this month? What’s wrong with the goal? How can I take a step back and set myself up for success next time? What’s wrong with this system?” This is the only way I can stay motivated for the coming month. I can approach new goals today because I know the weakness was lack of focus and making goals that were too big. How will I do better in May? I am going to focus on writing.
And guess what? I found AWESOME jeans. They don’t only fit, they feel and look amazing. People tell me so. I love them. Here’s a major plug: CrossFit girls, drop the $$$, Lucky Brand has jeans that are bangin’! They fit and flatter my curvy muscles and are delicious feeling. Try on a pair of these pants and then celebrate your bad self with a mimosa. Jeans aren’t worth crying over (which I have done). Thank You Lucky Brand, Thank You Tonja – cheers to living boldly! Love, Strength, and Vigor, Baby Cakes.
Goal: Read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Achieved! October 29th, 2012.
I love this book. Since beginning my 26 x 26 goals last year, I have been on the look out for inspiration. My housemate and co-worker, Angie, share and review our goals and resolutions together, which has been a major source of motivation. I like talking about my goals and hearing about what others would like to accomplish in their life times. However, I have found it difficult to find formats that get me out of my typical way of thinking. As in – discovering new ideas that I never would have thought of or even just something that I have wanted to add to my list.
I love The Happiness Project because it’s straight-forward. It breaks down a year into 12 sections, each month gets a theme and each theme has a number of resolutions attached to it. This is a GREAT format. I recently read an article (no link! bummer) about how powerful a 30 day challenge can be because it has the ability to change your habits. Rubin talks about research that suggests that habits can be changed in 21 days, so adding another week solidifies habit changes. Anyway, not only does Rubin have a great format, but she has interesting resolutions that can easily be tailored and modified to individuals. I have recently started printing out resolution charts for my own project. Definitely inspiring.
I am so HAPPY and proud to have finished reading this book. I’m celebrating this small victory!
Goal: Create a book list; books you have read, are reading, and want to read. Achieved! September 2012.
They say that you can manage what you measure and I suppose that is the main point of all these goal setting projects. I would like to keep track of the books I’ve read so that I can start paying more attention to the trends in my life. This way, I can also see if I am taking the time to read, which is an activity that I really enjoy, but rarely take the time for. Notice how most of the books I have read are psychology or business related, while I have a bunch of fiction on my “to-read” list. Hm. Here is what I have so far!
Books I read during my 26×26
- The Start Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Customer Service by Ari Weinzweig
- The Responsible Business by Carol Sanford
- The Most Successful Small Business in the World by Michael Gerber
- Companies We Keep by John Abrams
- Why Him? Why Her? by Helen Fisher
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- Ethical Slut by Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton
Books I have read since September 30th, 2012
- Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
Books I would like to read
Red Hot Touch by Jaiya and Jon Hanauer
Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The $100 Start Up by Chris Guillebeau
Interchange Reading List… to be added later.
Books I am currently reading
- The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin
- The Gift of Therapy by Irvin D. Yalom
Love, Stength and Vigor!