Posted in exercise, food, mental health, mindset, motivation, physical health, tips

Goal-setting, goal-pursuing, and real life

With most things, there’s a fine line between “not hardcore” and “too many excuses.”

Setting a reasonable, realistic goal is critical in walking this line.

For most people most of the time, “hardcore” is not the way to go. It’s not sustainable. If you’re in a situation where it’s critical to be all in and right now, then do it. But that’s not most of us (psychologically) most of the time.

For most people most of the time, setting small goals—goals that maybe even seem like not goals at all because they’re so small—is the way to go.

Set a small goal. One small goal.

Relentlessly stick to it. No outs. No excuses.

Once that’s a habit, repeat the process.

In time, you have a whole new set of habits. It takes time, but it’s doable and it’s worth it.

Imagine you started that process a year ago. You’d have three or four or six small changed habits. You’d be so grateful to yourself for starting.

Imagine yourself in a year. Do what you need to do to make one-year-from-now you as grateful as you would be now to one-year-ago you if you had started then.

 

Posted in cancer, know better do better, mindset, motivation, physical health

Rock the Pink?

The Climbing Daddy, The Kid, and I went to a Phoenix Mercury game over the weekend. It so happened that it was “Rock the Pink” night. I was not excited.

They honored breast cancer survivors, which was nice, and every seat had a pink Rock the Pink rally towel on it. Pre-recorded interviews with some of the players were aired during halftime and, much like the overwhelming majority of breast cancer-related PR, it made me angry.

I’ve said this a bazillion times and I’ll say it a bazillion more: early detection is not prevention.

Repeat after me: early detection is not prevention.

Early detection is not prevention.

Getting a scan doesn’t prevent breast cancer. It begins a diagnosis.

There are a few cancers that will give you some benign heads ups before turning cancerous. Breast cancer isn’t one of them (as far as we know).

With early detection, you have cancer. You’ll have one or more of: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation; you’ll acquire all of the accompanying baggage.

If you’re lucky, you’ll only have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. (I had really good insurance when I went through mine, but the totals were around $250,000.)

You might lose your memory, your mobility, your fertility, your friends, your spouse, your job, your energy, your hair (and other facets of your appearance, some of which don’t recover). And, since early detection isn’t a guarantee, at the end of all that, you might still lose your life.

You’ll lose peace of mind.

Weigh that against prevention.

Prevention is inconvenient because carcinogenic things are cheap, easy, convenient, tasty. Preventative habits are not the norm in the US, so they’re cumbersome and require solid planning to maintain.

But there’s no surgery, chemo, radiation; few potential negative short- or long-term side effects, and I’m stretching for the examples I can think of.

It’s worth it.

(And it applies to all the cancers, not just breast cancer.)

Posted in about me, differences, ebb & flow, meandering, physical health

I used to be a night owl; now I’m just tired

I was always a night owl.

As a kid, I would sleep until 15 minutes before I needed to leave for school. Clothes on, breakfast in, out the door. Saturdays, I would sleep until 10 or 11. (Marching band at Saturday morning football games killed that.)

Nights were always my best time. Best for thinking, for writing, for talking, for pretty much anything (except maybe sleeping…).

But then I became a teacher. And for decades now, I’ve gotten up way earlier than I would like.

(And yes, I became a mom, but The Kid is also a night owl and has been since Day 1. That has been much less an issue than the gig.)

Regardless, I don’t sleep in any more. I don’t do late nights well any more. I don’t consider it a function of aging, as many people do. I consider it a function of repetition. I think if I’d had a job all these years where I could go to bed at 1 and get up at 9, I’d be much better at sleeping later than 6. (And I’d be sadder than I already am that The Kid reports to school at 7:05.)

I’m getting better at going to bed earlier so I can wake up at 6 and feel decent. But it’s hard, because the late evenings have always been My Time, and now they’re sleep time. But they’re sleep time because I need to go to work, not because My Time is at another time.

Adulting would be less hard if my work schedule and my Me schedule were more closely aligned. (I’ve thought for a long time that life in some ways must be simpler for morning people, since life is structured on their schedule much more often.)

It’s also hard, because night used to be when I could focus well and work on things that required a lot of brain power.

Now, I can sometimes get in good evening work, if I’ve gotten enough sleep and the day hasn’t been too arduous, but mostly, I’m just tired. I do the majority of my writing now in the early afternoons, after I’m home from work but before I pick up The Kid at school. It’s not ideal—that’s definitely an energy dip time for me—but it’s pretty consistently available, and I’m grateful to have it.

I do much better writing on Sunday mornings. The Kid is usually with The Tall Daddy, and I’ll often wake up an hour or two before The Climbing Daddy, and I can use that time to write.

But most of the week, I get up and go to work. I can’t hang out and write. (I don’t even get up and exercise in the mornings. I’m not an early-morning exerciser. Or an early-morning anythinger.) I’m not getting up earlier than I already do, because I can’t (won’t?) get to bed earlier than I already do.

So now, I’m not a night owl, and I’m not a morning person. I’m just trying to get to bed early enough to be a well-functioning teacher/mom/wife/friend/writer/exerciser everythinger.

Posted in audience participation, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, parenting, physical health, socializing, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Why it’s hard

We have too much physical stuff, too much emotional stuff, too much junk to eat, not enough exercise or sleep or meaningful connections with people.

Because—

Society values and promotes

  • being busy
  • being stressed
  • being underslept
  • fast food
  • large portions
  • cheap everything
  • convenient (to accommodate busy)
  • sitting
  • reactive medicine over preventative
  • pills over natural
  • social isolation

But we are society. It’s not an “other” thing. It is us.

We can push back. We can vote with our dollars (and with our votes). We can choose to swim upstream. We can choose what we buy and what we eat and how we spend time and with whom we spend time. We can choose what we say yes to and what we reject.

Our current path is not sustainable.

Who’s in?

Posted in physical health

Veganism, motivation, and real food

Veganism has benefits, and I don’t think there’s anything bad about being vegan, as long as you know what you need to know for getting all of your nutrients. (Protein is not the issue, typically.)

So when I was given a magazine promoting veganism, I flipped through it, mainly looking to see if they had any good recipes. (The magazine was not about a vegan diet as much as a vegan lifestyle, so it wasn’t rooted in health.)

There were eight recipes along with a suggested meal plan for a week.

Most of it was crap.

Only two of the recipes didn’t include soy products, and most of the suggested products were fake meat. Many fake meat products nowadays have good texture and flavor—they’ve come a long way—but they’re full of garbage.

An excess of soy can fairly quickly cause health issues. Soy mimics estrogen in our bodies, so eating a lot of soy has the hormonal effect of extra estrogen. It can cause short- and long-term problems. I have seen it first-hand.

Additionally, soy is genetically modified to be Round-Up ready. This means it’s resistant to excessive application of glyphosate. The glyphosate is absorbed by the plant and consumed by whatever critter eats the soy—including us. That’s problematic.

While I support animal rights and while we as a people eat way too much meat (on health, environmental, and overpopulation sustenance measures), I don’t think that replacing meat with garbage food is the way to go on a regular basis.

Going vegan? Cool. Eat real food. (The same applies to not-vegans.)