Habit forming…

In a quest to learn how to make the most of the very limited amount of free time I have, I came across an article on habits.  The article discussed how making very small changes in your daily routine would eventually lead to bigger changes in your life.  The small changes, when done every single day, become a habit.  Once something is already a habit, it’s much easier to expand upon.  The author used the example of flossing.  If you aren’t a person who normally flosses, she said, it’s unrealistic to think you are going to floss every night for ten minutes.  But if you start out small, by flossing just a minute each night, eventually it will become easier and easier.  Once you start to see results, you will want to do it for a longer time, to increase those results.  Eventually,  you will be flossing every night for ten minutes or more.

This was not an unfamiliar concept.  For anyone who has ever been a member of Weight Watchers, they always tell you to start with small changes to make it easier to make a larger overall change.  It’s something I’ve heard my whole life, in fact.  Of course, it’s not something I ever really listened to…so I started to think about why that was.

I came up with a couple of things.  First…I’m kind of lazy and I don’t like to do hard things.  I also really like instant gratification, so I often make the choice that will make me happiest right this minute, instead of the choice that will make me happiest long-term.  And lastly, whenever I try to make changes, I go overboard and try to change every single thing at once.  It’s too much change and it’s too hard to do and I get overwhelmed and I give up.

After all of these realizations, I decided I was going to give it another try, but this time, I was going to start small and change only a few tiny things at a time.  I wasn’t going to add things until I felt like I was ready.  I started with Diet Coke.

As you may know if you’ve been here a while, I love Diet Coke.  Love it.  Seriously…it’s basically an addiction.  I gave it up for a while…when my girlfriend would email me articles daily about how the aspartame was going to give me Alzheimer’s…but in the end, I always go back.  I can drink a lot of Diet Coke in a day.  I don’t drink coffee, so I often drink Diet Coke with breakfast.  And it’s not unusual for me to bring a huge glass of it to bed with me.  When I realized I was drinking an entire bottle in a day, I knew I had to cut down…but quitting completely wasn’t the answer.  I don’t eat sugar and I’ve cut most processed food and fake chemicals out of my diet.  Diet Coke is my favorite thing ever, so I’m going to have some, but I clearly need rules.  So I started with no Diet Coke with breakfast.  Instead, I drank water or tea.  When that became really easy, I stopped having it at night while I watched TV.  I switched to tea, which also helps me fall asleep.  Then I stopped taking the soda out of the kitchen. Which meant I would only drink soda while sitting at the table and eating a meal.  Then I cut it down even further to only about half a glass.  I make that last through the meal or I switch to water once the soda is gone.  I don’t even keep the bottle on the table while we eat anymore.  It took two months to get to this point and now it’s easy.  I don’t crave the soda anymore during the day at all and I still get to enjoy a bit of it.

Now I’m working on water.  I do drink it during the day, but not nearly as much as I should.  I’m lucky if I drink 16 oz in a day, which is not even close to enough.  So I’ve started a new habit…while I’m working, every time I switch what I’m doing, I take a sip.  It works pretty well, because my phone rings at least once every 30 minutes and I get a new email every 5.  It’s been working this past week.  A couple of times, I made it to 32 ounces.

I’m also working on reading while I eat lunch, instead of watching TV.  Daytime TV is awful and I really don’t need to watch The Chew.  It drives me nuts.  So I’m trying to read instead.  It’s harder when J is home because he works at the kitchen table and he keeps the TV going 24/7.  But I’m trying.

Hopefully, by the end of this year I will have a bunch of new, healthier habits.  It only took me 40 years to get here :-)

When life gets in the way…

I was doing great at the beginning of the year.  I had made resolutions and I was sticking to them.  I had a schedule every day and I was sticking to it.  I was getting things done.  Making progress.  It was all going so well.

And then life happened.  A new baby was born and I want to spend every free minute I have with her.  Work got busy, as work always does this time of year.  But several of my co-workers are on maternity leave and I’m covering for them.  So my busy season started earlier and is busier than normal.  J’s busy season has been…I think hellish is the only appropriate word…and when he’s up working late, I don’t sleep well.  Mostly because he’s laying next to me in bed with all the lights on and his computer propped up on a pillow, clicking his mouse every two seconds.  Click-click, click-click.  It doesn’t make for a conducive sleeping environment.  (It does make for excellent torture if you are ever looking for an effective method.)

Life has gotten in the way of all the great stuff that was happening.  My schedule went right out the window as soon as my clients started calling non-stop.  Also, when offered baby snuggling time, the plan to clean out the pantry gets much less appealing. Once I’m done working, I’m too tired to actually do anything but stare at the TV.  I can barely get through a show without falling asleep halfway through.  Reading…what’s that?  I’ve been reading the same book for a month and a half.  And while I have managed to keep up with some of my New Year’s resolutions, all forward progress on the list has come to a screeching halt.

The good news is that I’m actually keeping up with the things I started in January.  I’ve been getting healthy.  I re-joined Weight Watchers and things have been going great.  The new program really goes well with the no sugar plan I was doing before, but it gives me more freedom than the other plan so I can eat an English muffin for breakfast instead of a hemp/chia seed almond butter smoothie.  (God, those were so nasty.)

I’ve been taking care of myself.  I started getting weekly manicures and monthly massages and facials.  I bought anti-aging skin care products because I have come to grips with the fact that I’m no longer 20 and now I have wrinkles.  I stopped spending the entire day in my pajamas.  I mean, I’m only putting on yoga pants and a t-shirt most of the time.  But it’s better than just changing from one set of pajamas to another.

I got my finances back on track.  After months of not updating Quicken, I finally updated everything.  I put myself on a budget.  I restarted auto-savings.  I increased my 401k contribution.  I did my tax return the day my W-2 became available.

It’s definitely a good start, but there are more things on the list.  I have to make a couple of doctor appointments.  I have to start wearing sunscreen.  I have to go back to my morning exercise routine.  I have to finish a couple of books.  There are lots of things left to do.

Last night, as I was driving home from a 1st birthday party that I had almost completely forgotten about, I realized that things were starting to unravel.  While I know that life isn’t perfect, I also know it can’t be a complete disaster.  Complete disasters make me unhappy.  So as soon as I got home I sat down and made a schedule for the week.  I even scheduled out what time I would eat breakfast and when I would take a shower and when I would walk the dogs.  It’s probably overkill, but I thought it best to start with overkill and let it evolve into what works.

The point, I guess, is that life is always going to get in the way somehow.  Instead of letting everything fall apart, I just have to find a way to adapt and stay on course.  Maybe I am getting smarter in my old age.

A very special delivery…

It’s been a little busy here this past week.  We got a very special delivery…

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This is my little baby niece Sofia.  She came into the world a week ago today at 6lbs 13oz. Here she is with her very proud and happy…and tired…Mommy and Daddy.

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Grandma and Grandpa are totally smitten with her.  They spend long stretches of time just sitting and staring at her.  They have rarely left her side.  My dad got sick over the weekend and couldn’t see her.  He had major withdrawal and couldn’t wait to get back to her again.

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Her great-grandfather also got in on the action.  He couldn’t believe how beautiful she was and keeps saying she’s just the most gorgeous baby ever.

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Look at that smile!

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She’s even adorable when she’s screaming her head off!

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Thirty inches of snow kept the new family in the hospital longer than planned, but they finally got to go home on Sunday.

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Today is her one week birthday.  She’s a tiny little peanut and she’s so beautiful.  I am complete in love with her. I half wish she would stay this little for about two years and half can’t wait for her to get bigger so I can play with her and teach her things.  I can’t believe how quickly this little girl has stolen my heart.

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Finding the silver lining…

As I mentioned last week, one of my resolutions is that I’m trying to be more grateful, more appreciated and more in-the-moment than I have been before.  I have been doing pretty well with my gratitude journal…making some time each night to focus on things I’m grateful for and things that made me happy that day.  It’s been easy, really, because things have been going really well.

That is…until this weekend.

I spent a large part of this weekend sick as a dog.  I’m not sure what was up…whether it was food poisoning or a stomach bug or what…but it was ugly.  While I still maintain that I’d take a stomach virus over a head cold any day of the week, this was no picnic and I was forced to cancel some really fun plans that involved me going to DC for the night on Saturday.  I was up most of the night on Saturday night, feeling just too icky to sleep.  When I was finally tired enough, J’s snoring and the dogs laying on me forced me out of bed and onto the couch, where I got a few measly hours.

On Sunday morning, the dogs woke me up because J will do morning poop duty, but not when it’s raining out.  So I dragged myself off the couch and took the dogs out…shooting daggers at J the whole time.  When I opened the door, it was raining so hard that Sofie kind of just looked at me like “You don’t really expect me to go out there, do you?”  Sadly, I did…so she jumped over all the puddles to do her business.  We were all soaked by the time we came in…exactly how I wanted to start the day.

I was still feeling a little off, so it was another day of mostly laying in bed and getting nothing done.  I napped while J watched football and I ate some toast in an effort to calm my stomach.  We checked our Powerball tickets and we didn’t even win a dollar, which was disappointing.  Overall, it was just a boring, gloomy day.

Right before bed, I sat down to write in my gratitude journal.  I didn’t expect much because it had been a lousy weekend and I was in a grumpy mood.  But as soon as I opened the book, things started coming to me.

I was grateful for the delicious turkey burger I had for dinner.  It wasn’t the fanciest dinner, but it stayed down and was quite tasty.

I was grateful that I got to watch the Golden Globes with only minimal bitching from J, who normally hates awards shows, but was oddly content to go along with my viewing choices last night.

I was grateful for my midday nap, because it pushed me over the top towards feeling better.

There were a few others things as well, but the thing I realized while I was writing was that even though my weekend sucked…and oh boy, did it ever…I was still able to find things that were good.  I was still able to find a bright side.  Even though I felt crappy and my plans were ruined and J was a total ass and wouldn’t go out in the rain…there were still things to be grateful for.  Being a cynical person by my nature, it was happy to discover this about myself.  And if I can do it, anyone can.

So when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  Look for something to be happy about and grateful for.  Look for the bright side.  You will be so happy you did!

The benefits of a schedule…

I read an article last week that said people who are really successful schedule out all of their time…including leisure time and family time.  I am a planner and I like to have a general sense of what is going to happen when, but I’m not a scheduler.  I’ve never really been able to schedule my life, because for six years, my job was entirely unpredictable…for example, I would plan to be sleeping while on vacation in Mexico and I would end up having to be on a conference call at 4am.  Or I would plan on having friends visit from Canada for the week and I would end up having to go to the office because my boss’s plane was due to arrive in Geneva at 7am local time, but the wire for the jewelry he was picking up didn’t hit yet.  So I have always made a vague, general plan and then hoped I could stick to it.

That’s not the case anymore.  While my new job certainly has had moments where I’ve had to stay a little late to take a phone call or stop on a weekend to send an email, those moments are few and far between.  I think it’s happened maybe three times in two years.  Therefore, I have decided to become a scheduler.

I bought a planner and sat down at the beginning of the week with my list of resolutions/goals and my brand-spanking-new planner and I got to work making myself a schedule for the week.  I had a lot of appointments…facial, dentist, Weight Watchers meeting…so that really helped in the planning.  I also had a lot of work to do because it was the first week back after a two week vacation.  So I plotted out my work schedule and then added in all of my appointments.

Then came the tricky part…the evenings.  Was I really going to schedule in time for things like taking a bath or watching tv?  And what about more, um, intimate things…I mean, should I schedule that too and send J a Google calendar invite?  (Don’t laugh…I know someone who has done this and she swears it’s a great idea.) Turns out…I was going to schedule things like TV time and time to read.  I stopped short of making a nookie appointment…but I made time for taking down Christmas decorations and cooking chili and reading a magazine and watching Castle re-runs.  I have to admit to being skeptical, but I wrote it all down.

And then…to my surprise…I actually did what was on the schedule.  I would finish one task and go to the schedule to see what was next.  Then I would do the thing that was next.  This was new for me…I’m a procrastinator and I can be super lazy.  But the schedule thing actually worked.

Well…mostly.  Last night, I was really tired so I decided to skip updating my financial info on Quicken.  Instead, I went to bed early.  But the rest of the week I did really well and I got a ton of stuff accomplished.  It was amazing.

So I guess the article was right…schedules lead to success.  I’m going to stick with it and see how I do next week.  Maybe next week I’ll even send J that Google calendar invite.

Turning 40…

40.  For a really long time, I couldn’t quite grasp that I would someday be 40.  After all, that was the age of parents, bosses, college professors, authority figures…you know, adults.  And surely, I wasn’t an adult.  I mean, yes, I had graduated college, gotten a full-time job and my own apartment, bought a car.  Then I bought a condo and I had a mortgage.  Then I met J and eventually we moved in together.  We bought a house and I paid off my college loans.  Then we bought another house and an SUV.  I had 401(k) and an investment account, dental insurance and homeowners insurance and life insurance.  Our friends started to get married…started having kids.  We went on business trips and we sat in the good seats at baseball games instead of in the bleachers.  We would order wine at dinner instead of beer.  We bought season tickets to the Giants.  We wrote wills.  Basically, we did adult things.

But the whole time, I felt like a fraud.  I felt like a kid playing dress up or playing house.  Sometimes I would be at work and I would be in the middle of purchasing a $28 million dollar piece of art and supervising its delivery and I would think “Are these people for real right now?  Don’t they know I’m just a stupid kid who has no idea what I’m doing???” Or I would walk through the house, on my way to bed and I would turn off lights and pick up dog toys and check that the doors were locked…and I would feel like a little girl who was trying to play house and be like her mother.  None of it felt real…it all just felt like pretending.

Everything felt sort of temporary.  I would buy things…like a new set of knives…and I would buy the cheap version, thinking that I didn’t need anything really good.  I’d buy the good knives when I was finally an adult.  I bought generic crap to hang on the walls instead of real art, because real art was for adults.  I never really learned to cook well because there would be plenty of time for that when I was an adult.  At least, that’s the way it worked in my head.

As my birthdays continued to pass and I got closer to 40 than I was to 30, it became apparent that yes, I was going to be 40 soon, and I began to dread it.  When I turned 39, I entered full on denial.  After Thanksgiving, J and my mom started asking me what I wanted to do for my birthday…go to dinner, have a party?  Really, I wanted to stay home and pretend it wasn’t happening.  I wanted the day to pass like any other and I didn’t want to mention it.  I decided that I wasn’t going to turn 40 because 40 was old and I didn’t want to feel old.

Eventually I gave in, we made some plans, went out to dinner with friends, had a family celebration at home.  While I was sitting there, eating and nursing my Diet Coke while wearing very comfy pants, I thought back to my 30th birthday.  We got all dressed up, had a party in the city and I drank waaaaay too many shots.  The night ended with me falling out of a taxi and the room spinning.  As much as I didn’t want to turn 40, going back to 30 didn’t sound that appealing either.

It’s been two weeks of being 40 and I can tell you that I don’t hate it.  Someone asked me today how old I was and I said “Forty” with no hesitation and no dread.  But it definitely feels different.  I no longer feel like that kid playing dress up.  I feel like an adult…and I like it way more than I thought I would.  I feel mature and wise…or at least a hell of a lot smarter than I used to be.  I feel like 40 is going to be a great year…the first of a really great decade.  I honestly believe my best years are ahead.

I also think it’s time to buy the really good knives.

Beginning again…

I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  I feel like I always aim to high, set myself up for failure and then get completely discouraged when I can’t meet my ridiculously high goals.  In the end, instead of making things better, resolutions always make me feel worse.  So many years ago, I simply stopped making them.

This year, however, is different.  Starting a new decade of life has made me stop and think about where I am and where I want to go.  While things are certainly ok, I’m not where I want to be.  So last week, during a few quiet minutes, I started to think about where I want my life to be and the steps I have to take to get there.  I made a list of somewhat vague things that I needed to do…

  1. Get healthy – I hate doctors and dentists and all things medical so I’ve been avoiding it all.  Except, I’m old now and things are starting to fall apart.  This is not the time for me to ignore the fact that I am six months overdue for a routine exam and nine months overdue for a teeth cleaning.  Also…I can no longer read menus in darkened restaurants and sometimes I can’t read what’s on the bedroom TV at night.  A trip to the eye doctor is overdue as well.  So I resolved to take better care of my health.
  2. Take better care of myself in general – I was lucky enough to inherit my grandmother’s smooth, wrinkle-free skin, but lately it hasn’t looked so great.  It’s dry and there are some new creases popping up.  Apparently, my ten year old skin regimen is no longer doing the job.  And it’s finally time to admit that I can’t go 8 weeks between hair colorings anymore…at least, not without a big white stripe down my head.  It’s time to start treating my body like it’s 40 and start doing more maintenance.  I’ve already got an appointment for a facial.
  3. Organize the house – we have so much stuff.  Too much.  It’s starting to make me crazy.  We don’t need this much crap and the stuff we do need has to be easy to find an accessible.  So I have started reading the Marie Kondo book and I have started purging.  I’ve only done the closet so far, but the resolution is to do the whole house.
  4. Get my finances back on track – you know that story about the shoemaker who has holes in his shoes because he’s so busy fixing everyone else’s?  Yeah, that’s me.  I loathe updating my Quicken accounts.  After working on that kind of thing all day, I have zero interest in sitting down to do more of it at night.  I used to be ok about it, but I’ve let it slide.  I’ve also started spending more and saving less, which is completely contrary to all the advice I give my clients every day.  It is time to get the financial house in order and get back on a budget.
  5. Finish my 101 list – my first attempt to tackle the 101 list was only about half successful.  I’ve got about 16 months left on this new list and while I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish everything due to budget and logistics, I want to get close.  So I need a plan to finish.
  6. Start a new business – I love my job and have no plans to quit, but for a while now I’ve thought it would be nice to have a side project.  Just a little something I can use as a creative outlet and that will provide enough funds to support itself.  More on this one later.
  7. Have more Me-time – I’m bad at this…doing things to make myself happy.  I’m much better at worrying about everyone else.  But my friendships are often neglected…as is my sanity.  So I’m resolving to make time for myself to do what is important to me.

That was my initial list, but some of it is pretty vague and I knew I’d have to be a little more specific if I wanted to actually accomplish these things.  The next day, I got more specific.  I sat down with a notebook and I made an action plan.  I broke each of the resolutions down into mini goals and then further into steps that I’d need to complete.  After that, I bought a planner and made a schedule (more on that later too).  I also decided not to start my plan on Jan 1…because that was too much pressure.  I decided to start today.  So far, so good.  I’ve done almost everything on the list for today and it’s only 2:40.

Stay tuned for updates as I accomplish my goals.  At least, I hope.

If you’ve made resolutions of your own, I wish you luck.  May you stick with it and have the best 2016 yet!

Being grateful…

J and I always seem to be concerned with what comes next.  Should we buy a new car?  Get a bigger house?  Find a better job?  And it’s not just about things.  We often discuss how the TV show or movie we are watching could have been better or ways to improve the recipe for the dinner we are eating.  J is a big believer  that we should always be looking for ways to make things better and after 15 years, this attitude seems to have rubbed off on me.

Don’t get me wrong…striving for better is not a bad thing.  But sometimes we focus so much on making things better that we don’t appreciate what we already have.  We end up missing what is happening right in front of us and instead of being happy about what we have accomplished and the life we have built, we end up being unhappy about the things we don’t have.

Lately, I’ve caught us both whining like little kids about things that were so trivial and inconsequential…we sounded like spoiled, jerky brats.  I don’t want to be a spoiled, jerky brat so it ends now.

It’s a new year and we are going to start fresh.  Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, we are going to focus on what we do have and what we are grateful for.  I’m certainly not going to get J to keep a gratitude journal, but I am going to keep one and when I catch either of us complaining about our jobs or trying to figure out a way to make the chicken taste better while we are still eating it, I’m going to make us both stop and re-evaluate what we are complaining about.  Yes, work sucks sometimes which is why they call it work…but we are lucky to have the jobs we have when we could be unemployed.  And no, I’m not the greatest cook, but I’ve come a long way since the days of dry pasta with jar sauce, so let’s enjoy the chicken now and we can discuss ways to make it better next time I cook it.

It’s not going to be easy to break us of this habit we’ve had for so long, but I think if we focus on being grateful, we will end being so much happier.

So to start the year off right, right now I am grateful to be sitting here, writing again.  I’m grateful for the wonderful man and two awesome dogs who are still asleep in the next room.  I’m grateful that Netflix paused the TV show that was playing in the bedroom because the silence is giving me a minute to think.  I’m grateful for the new year and the chance it give me to change things I don’t like.  And most of all, I’m grateful for the nap I’m about to take…apparently, staying up half the night on New Year’s Eve is much harder at 40 than it was at 30.  It’s all about the little things today.

Happy New Year to everyone reading this.  May it be your best year yet and may you all be very grateful for it.

 

My semi-charmed kind of life…

Yesterday I had to go to the New Jersey office for a client meeting.  The New Jersey office of my current company is where I started my career 17 years ago and the commute home is one that is very familiar.  As I was getting on the highway, Third Eye Blind came on the radio and I started singing along.  As I sang along to words I’d sung along to a thousand times, driving on a road I’ve driven on a thousand times, it instantly became 17 years ago.

I was so freaking young then and I had not a single care in the world.  I went to work and went on dates and hung out with my friends.  I was skinny and cute and I drove a sports car.  I always had the top down and the radio loud and the wind blowing my hair.  I didn’t worry or stress.  I was never tired…even when I’d stayed out all night and then gotten up for work early the next day.  I dyed my hair because I got bored with the color, not to hide the gray.

I like to tell myself that age is just a number and for a really long time I did believe it…but it’s get harder and harder to believe.  I cringe a little more with every birthday that passes, resenting the increasing numbers.  This year, I feel really old. Driving along yesterday, I thought about how long it’s been since I was that girl and all the ways my life is different now.  In so many ways, it’s better.  But for a little while, I missed the girl I used to be.  The girl who could do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted.  The girl who could eat ice cream every day and never go to the gym.  The girl who liked having her hair blowing all over with the top down.

I spend too much of my time now living inside my head…thinking and worrying and planning for what is going to come next.  I don’t spend nearly enough time just living my life and being in the moment.  That, right there, is the biggest different between me and the girl I was all those years ago.  That is the biggest thing I have to work on.

To that end, I’m going to blow off work this afternoon and do something fun all by myself, just because I want to.  I’m not going to think about my weekend plans.  I’m not going to figure out what I have to get done next week.  I’m not going to review my calendar or think about all the things I have to talk to J about this weekend and all the things I have to nag him about. I’m just going to put on some Third Eye Blind and have a little fun.

 

 

Finding my motivation…

I established yesterday that making concrete plans is not my thing.  I know I have to do it, but I’m really finding it difficult to start.  I’m having a huge problem finding motivation to do anything lately…including work.  What I want to to do is go lay in a lounge chair in the backyard and read a book.  But with an ever-growing to-do list, laying in the yard is just not an option.

Being so overwhelmed is draining my motivation even further, so last night I sat down and gave it some thought and I came up with a list of very specific goals that I would like to achieve before the end of this year.  After I came up with my list of goals, I planned to take each one and break it down further into smaller, shorter term goals.

Except, what I ended up doing was watching the GOP debates and yelling at the TV.  Because I quickly lost my motivation to keep moving forward.

So this morning, I decided to do a little reading on motivation, why we sometimes lose it and what I can do to get mine back.  Here’s what I found out:

Motivation comes from within and is based on our emotions.  True motivation is not external.  Often, we think our motivation is external, like from a work deadline or an inspirational story.  But the real motivation comes from the emotions these external factors create…like the fear of being fired for missing a deadline.

A lack of motivation can come from a variety of sources including things like depression, anxiety, substance abuse and grief, but also from less serious things like confusion, lack of clarity, boredom, fear, burn-out and being overwhelmed.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my lack of motivation is likely coming from a few of these sources.  First, there is my fear of getting older and of not accomplishing my goals before it’s too late.  There is my sense of being overwhelmed by the size of my to-do list.  There is a lack of challenge…mostly regarding my work…but there is also a vague sense of boredom with my life in general.  I also feel a bit burnt out…it’s been a really long time since we went away on a vacation.

The good news is that there are things I can do to renew my motivation and get things moving in the right direction.

Being positive and grateful are key.  A bad mood kills all momentum.  If you try hard to be in a good mood and you actively remind yourself of the things you are grateful for, it will help.  To me, this is a fake it ’til you make it kind of thing.  When I’m cranky or tired, I’ve got to plaster a smile on my face until I actually feel better.  Switching, even temporarily, to a task I enjoy more might also help, so I’ll try that.  I’m also going to start keeping my gratitude journal again.  Writing down the things I’m grateful for is a good reminder of just how lucky I am.

Good music can be very motivating…mostly because listening to music you like can put you in a good mood.  Interestingly, I was reading this tip as I was sitting on hold with the IRS.  They play the same annoying 20 seconds of music on a loop and it’s maddening.  Total mood killer.  I counteracted the effects of that music by creating a playlist on Spotify called “Afternoon Pep Rally”.  That’s when my motivation is at its lowest and I really need a pick me up.  I filled it with songs that make me want to get up and dance.  I’ll let you know if it works.

I love presents and treats, so I’m going to create a reward system for myself.  At the end of every week, if I can manage to complete my to-do list for the week, I’m going to reward myself with a pedicure or some new shoes or by going to a movie.  I might also use TV time as a daily treat.  For every day that I am actually productive, I get one episode of my current TV obsession.

Apparently, peer pressure helps…which is why I’m putting this all here for the world to read.

One sports writer suggested developing a pre-game routine.  Before he pitches a baseball game, he runs a lap of the outfield to get his head in the game.  I won’t be pitching any baseball games anytime soon, but I think I need a pre-game routine for my day…something I do each morning to get my head right and make sure I’m up for whatever the day throws at me.  I’m going to work on that over the weekend.

And lastly…I have to remember to tackle just one thing at a time.  My personality often makes me want to do all the things RIGHT NOW!!!  I have to keep reminding myself to just take baby steps.  Eventually I will get to where I want to be.

Now…I’m going to put on my playlist and cover some rubber ducks in silver glitter.  Because nothing is better than glittery ducks.

Happy weekend!