Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Something has kept me off this blog. I don't know exactly what it is, but I haven't felt like I have had much to write. It's not that things are going badly, per se. It's not that they're going amazingly either, though. They're just kind of humming along at a reasonable clip. I feel like much of what I'm dealing with has become a part of the routine, and that I know better how to manage the ebbs and flows of life, temptations, and motivation as they relate to living a healthy lifestyle. Not a bad place to be, overall.

It is worth mentioning that I have a requisite "What I learned in 2010" retrospective post that I've been thinking about for awhile, and even have a draft of. I can't seem to finish it or coalesce my thoughts into something nice, neat, and concise. Hence, it hasn't hit the blogosphere.

It's also worth mentioning that I don't really believe in "resolutions", per se. I believe in goals and in setting them and working toward them. Perhaps the difference between a resolution and a goal is really just in the semantics, but it seems to me that a resolution is kind of a pipe dream whereas a goal is measurable and has a plan behind it. I, obviously, believe the latter is more likely to be successful. It's also worth mentioning that I believe that if something is worth doing, you should do it the moment that you are ready and that it makes sense to do it. There's no sense waiting for an arbitrary date like a Monday or like January 1. This is why I don't believe in resolutions.

That having been said, I have recently undertaken two new initiatives on my never-ending quest to improve myself. First, I have decided that, in order to help to improve my spiritual health, I will read through the Bible in a year. I am doing it with my mom, which has been interesting, and I am following this plan to do it. Second, I have a new yoga DVD that is amazing at helping me to manage my back and SI pain. With the increasing frequency (and if I'm not careful, severity) of my back pain, it is critical that I manage this condition. I am only 31 and I honestly believe that if I am not very proactive in how I take care of myself that I could end up in chronic pain and perhaps even immobile. For this reason, it is critical that I do this yoga DVD several times a week; I am aiming for about 5x/week. It is really helping me so far.

Both of these initiatives take time and have caused me to have a new routine in the morning. Together, the yoga and Bible reading take about an hour in the morning. I have to say, though, they really set my day off right. I feel physically better (having a stable hip joint and minimal to no back pain is amazing!) and mentally clearer.

Today at lunch I was eating and reflecting on life in general (and the new morning routine in particular) and I had (what to me seems like) a huge revelation. All that I am trying to do in my life -- getting physically healthy (working out, managing the back/SI pain, making a concerted effort to eat more healthily and with more self control), staying mentally healthy (therapy, antidepressants, and reflection), becoming more socially engaged (making new friends, enhancing and strengthening existing friendships), and working on my spiritual health (Bible reading, participating actively in community group, praying) -- is all integrated. Sure, I recognized that there were synergies and that these things were interdependent and didn't exist in a vacuum. However, I did not ever realize until today at lunch how they tied together.

They tie together like this: All are different ways to help me to maximize my quality of life.

This informs so much of how I think about and relate to choices that I make. For example, although I have given into this thinking occasionally, I am not really one to bemoan bad choices if I am convinced they serve a purpose. For example, the fact is that food and certain holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are inextricably linked in American culture. For better or worse, that is just true. While I do not think that these holidays provide carte blanche to go wild with respect to eating, I am not going to beat myself up for not sticking to WW to the letter during these times.

Could I have done better than I did this year? Without a doubt. Is it over? Yep. Did I learn from it? For sure. Therefore, it is water under the bridge. It's not worth beating myself up over: the physical/weight damage is done and so adding a dose of mental baggage would not serve to advance my quality of life. I have learned from it and moved on.

Much of my thinking has already (subconsciously) conformed to this framework of thinking of choices and their net impact on my quality of life. However now that I have really realized how all of my life initiatives tie together, I will be much more intentional about reflecting on whether or not something (a choice, an opportunity, a decision) advances my quality of life. If so, it's worth doing; if not, it's not.

For example, yesterday I had a day of sloppy eating. The day didn't start off right, and I was very tempted not to track my food for WW. As I thought about it though, I realized
a) The damage had been done. It was better to track and learn from it than to ignore that it happened by not recording it.
b) I was only lying to myself if I chose not to track it.
Not tracking was not only the dishonest thing to do, it would only hurt my progress. A huge step in increasing one's quality of life is cutting the BS and being real. I am going to work harder at doing both.

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