Posted in about me, ebb & flow, exercise, follow-up, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Update: accountability to self

In January, I wrote about a chart I’d made to track behaviors of health and self-care.

I had thought—or, more accurately, hoped—that seeing holes in the list would spur me to do some of the things that simply haven’t been getting done, even if the increase was to once a week, or once every other week.

It did not.

The things that were already getting done are still getting done. The things that weren’t getting done still aren’t getting done.

So now, after two-and-a-half months of using it, I need to decide: should I somehow incentivize it? (Not with things that are counterproductive!) Or let it go? Because right now, it’s not really doing anything. I mean, I’m marking things off as they get done, but I’m affirming things I already knew. No new data, no behavior change.

I haven’t decided yet. Either way, as-is, it’s not working.

Did anyone else make one? (I got a lot of messages from people who were going to.) How’s it going?


Click and scroll to leave a comment! (This will still be there after you click. Don’t click again! Just scroll past.)

Posted in exercise, meandering, motivation

Giant disappointment at the climbing gym

If you’ve been following my story with regards to bouldering, you know that in December, I gained the skill necessary to complete a route and competed in my first competition, and in January, I participated in my second competition.

Both of these were driven by desire to climb in this year’s big competition in April. As I wrote before:

It was a bouldering event (short walls, no ropes) which is not something that I had done at all, but there were all sorts of fun, silly climbing (taller walls, with a rope) stations as well—one-handed, an obstacle course, a route made of old (looking) metal things, a “balance the ball on the spoon” route.

I decided that I would learn to boulder so that I could participate next year.

So…they changed it up a bit and are having a series of mini-competitions—all bouldering—and if you enter three of those (no charge for members), you can automatically enter into the Big Event in April.

So far, not much information has been posted about the finals, but I noticed a new poster on the wall. Upon inspection, it was just the design for the T-shirt.

I asked at the desk.

What I learned: it’s not like last year’s competition. It’s just bouldering.

I’m not especially enjoying bouldering—it’s at the edge of my skill level which makes it extremely challenging. That in itself is OK—very exciting when I can complete something new!—but not every time I go to the gym. Partially because I’m not always looking to work that hard (or in that capacity), partially because usually when I want to work that hard, it’s on a climbing route, and partially because I have a very limited amount of time on the wall before my hands and forearms are done.

When I talked to the guy in charge of the whole thing a while back (more than once), he talked about how fun it was going to be, and how everyone gets a prize (there’s a raffle and all participants have a ticket in it, with enough swag for everyone to get something). And that’s all fine, but my motivation was the fun stuff.

There’s no fun stuff.

That, combined with the sheer volume of emotional energy it takes to show up for a competition at something I’m terrible at—and have people watching but not helping—leads me to decide The Struggle Bus is not for me this time around.

As I become a stronger human being and a stronger climber, I might return to bouldering and try again another year, but for this year, I’m done.

Posted in exercise, mindset

You’re a runner if…

You run.

It doesn’t matter if you run fast or not.

(It doesn’t matter how you define “fast.”)

It doesn’t matter if you run short distances, long distances, or crazy long distances.

It doesn’t matter what your body shape is.

We sometimes have trouble giving ourselves a label when we feel like we’re “less than” in the crowd of people Doing The Thing.

But there are always going to be people running faster, running farther. So what?

I’m a runner. I run between one and three days most weeks.

I’m not a distance runner. My runs around the neighborhood are between two and three miles. I do 5Ks and 10Ks. I confirmed—twice—that half marathons are too long.

I’m not a fast runner. When I’m very consistent with my running, I run between 10:30 and 11-minute miles. Sometimes the weather changes that a bit. (Running in 105 or 110 degrees definitely drains the battery a bit.) I’ve done two sub-30-minute 5Ks, but I trained and have only done that with speed-specific training.

But I’m still a runner.

If you run, so are you.

Using bits that have been thrown around quite a bit:

No matter how slow you go, you’re lapping everyone on the couch.


A 15-minute-mile is just as long as a 6-minute-mile.

You want to do it? Get out there and do it. At your pace.


Posted in exercise, know better do better, physical health


I’ve been a little bit sick—not enough to stay home in bed, but enough to be exhausted, not mentally sharp, and need extra sleep—and so for your Friday, I’m offering you something written but not by me.

I had this saved on my computer. It’s the text of an email several years old. I don’t know who wrote it. (I have a couple of guesses.) I apparently didn’t save the email, or, more likely, it was sent to an account that is no longer active. I loved what it said, copied, pasted, saved … and didn’t consider that I didn’t save the header.

But it’s fantastic. I love it. And I think you will, too. And if you know who wrote it, let me know. If you wrote it, let me know and I can credit you. (And if you don’t want it posted here, I’ll take it down.)

Without further introduction…

This New Year was subdued at our house. My wife’s parents suddenly have a flood of health problems. I’ll spare you the details, but the usual stuff, diabetes, arthritis, hip replacement and, unfortunately, cancer.

They’re in what I call a degenerative cycle. One condition feeds the other. It’s a challenging cycle to break out of.

On the flip side of that, there are regenerative cycles also. You make one positive health change, which triggers another and so on.

Here’s a critical difference between the two. Forgive me for going a little physics geek on you, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says that in a closed system, things move toward higher entropy. In other words, stuff naturally falls apart. It’s a fundamental law of nature.

People too. If you do nothing (i.e. a closed system) you fall apart, no effort required. That’s the driver for the degenerative cycle, entropy.

Regenerative cycles are a fight with entropy. Energy is required and, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says, you can’t do that in a “closed system.”

So, what does all that mean for your health?

Sitting still, doing nothing, is a bad plan. That’s the way of entropy, the path of “falling apart.”

A regenerative cycle is powerful. It’s like a glider catching an updraft, minimal effort, lots of reward. But it requires energy from outside to get it going and maintain it.

In health terms, outside energy can be many things; family and friends, religion, the food we eat or new ideas and information.

I don’t know what your inspiration will be, your “outside energy.” But, watching my in-laws as they struggle with their health, I’m acutely aware right now, the upward spiral is one heck of a lot better than the downward.

Seek your inspiration. Welcome outside energy. Find your upward spiral.

Do it today, old man Entropy never sleeps.


Posted in about me, ebb & flow, exercise, food, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health, thoughtfulness

Accountability to self

Who are you doing it for?

Are you doing it to better yourself? (In what way? Why?)

Are you just trying to impress people?

When you eat junk hiding in the bathroom, or tell your people you went to the gym when you didn’t, or pretend you ran faster than you did… why?

There are a lot of things I’d like to do every day. Even with time off, I’m not doing all (or even most) of these things every day.

So I decided to make a chart. It’s on my dresser and tracks a week at a time. About me. For me.

On it, there are all of the self-care things that I need to do every day and all of the things that in theory I would do every day but realistically don’t have time for. But I could do all of them a couple of times per week.

Exercise. Stretch. Foam roll. Meditate. Work on my book. Spend time with friends. Eat produce every color of the rainbow. Sleep. (Enough.) Put stuff on the stupid plantar wart.

This just helps me to monitor, and to keep things a little more in the forefront of my mind.

There are a lot of things on there. I decided before I made it that it’s not a daily to-do list; that would just be stressful. More of a “how am I doing this week?” list.

Things change when you monitor them, and I believe this will spur change for the better. We’ll see.

I also have sweets and caffeine on there, just to keep track of my intake of those. Many (not all) of the teas I drink in the cold mornings are caffeinated, and I don’t have much issue with that. But if I have too much or drink it too consistently, then I get a withdrawal migraine when I stop. And I don’t want to drink enough caffeine to go into withdrawal.

Sweets is just to make sure that what I think I’m doing and what I’m actually doing match, and it includes all of ’em. Even if I just take a Peppermint Patty out of the candy jar at work. (Oddly, those have been tempting. No other candy is. Though I’m typically only at that school during my fasting period nowadays anyway, so it’s irrelevant.)

Nuts and bolts for copycats: I made the list, organized it, wrote it on a sheet of white-lined paper, and put it in a picture frame. You can write on/wipe off dry erase markers on glass. It’s so much nicer looking and uses less plastic.