Kind.

My blog yesterday, though it seemed motivating, it seemed determined, was actually kind of self-aggressive. I was beating myself up for my failures. When has that ever worked?

Never. At least not for me. I just finished reading this article, and also reading a few comments on a post I made on a motivational subreddit. I started reading the article and it immediately felt like me, like it was speaking directly to me:

“A common response to identifying lifestyle changes that might make a depressed person feel better is, “Easier said than done.” Someone coping with depression may get what she’s supposed to do, but the question is how? After all, depression kills motivation, energy, interest, and focus.”

It then lays out 6 steps or tools to help you get motivated despite feeling a serious lack of motivation or interest. First is to set the bar low. That is one thing I haven’t been doing. I’ve been shoving everything into an all or nothing scenario. That I need to change everything about myself in an instant, and never look back. I suppose that might work for some people, but I don’t think it will work for me.

Instead I think I need to focus on a few small goals.

I did come out with one good thing from my blog yesterday and it does incorporate these goals. I said that each thing I do I will ask myself “does this help any of my goals?” or “does this hinder any of my goals?” and do, or not do them based on the answers to those questions. Those goals are losing weight, building a house, and writing a novel. Those are the things I want more than anything.

But those are very lofty goals, much higher than the the low bar the article suggests. So how can I break those goals into smaller more manageable bits?

I am going to set daily and weekly goals for myself. And I am going to start them off small. I am also going to track them, and I will do it with this:

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This is a calendar whiteboard found on amazon for $15. Along with colored dry erase markers for a total of $20s. I am allowing this expense despite my goal of saving money, because this purchase will hopefully aid all 3 of my goals. And this whiteboard calendar is going to help me track my goals and reward myself for them.

It seems childish, something a kindergarten teacher might do to get her students to do their class chores. But I am hoping that walking past it every day will be a constant reminder, and that the simple act of being able to cross off a day complete will be a small reward in itself.

So, what goals will I set myself? The article suggest starting very low. So here is what I’ve come up with:

Stay under my calorie count every day
Put $250 to my credit card every week
Write something related to my novel 5 days a week
Do something active 5 days a week for 10 minutes

Alright, lets talk about each one a bit.

Stay under my calorie count every day
If I can take this one day at a time, and if at the end of each day I write how many calories I am under or over on the calendar, it will be more impactful than just seeing the number on MyFitnessPal app. Then at the end of the week I can add it up and see if I’ve gone over or under my weekly calorie goal (which is a little less than $11k a week). I can write it in green when I am under, in red when I am over, and have a bit of pride walking past and seeing the good I am doing. It also allows me to just think about it one day at a time.

Put $250 to my credit card every week
I will need to do a little math on this one. I know I make over $1000 more than my bills each month, and I make almost $600 a week. My biggest bill week is the second one when I need to put $400 to my student loan. On that week I will need to have carried over money from the previous week to be able to afford to put $250 on my credit card on top of $400 for my student loan. I think the way to go will be to start moving everything except the money for bills into my savings each week. Knowing always what bills will be paid between this pay day and the next, and everything I don’t need goes into savings. Then on one day every week I put $250 into my credit card.

The first step of this goal will be to pin down exactly when each bill is paid (they are all auto deducted) and keep a list of that on my phone or something so I can always refer to it. Honestly the first step in saving money is to start being more aware of what money I have. I’ve never bothered to pay close attention, because I’ve always been able to afford my bills and so I never really think about them in terms of when they will be deducted.

Write something related to my novel 5 days a week
I didn’t specify much on this one, but I am thinking that I will start off writing 1 hour a day 5 days a week. And this doesn’t have to be actual writing of the novel, it can be brainstorming, world building, it can even be drawing if I am designing something like fashion or racial appearances. Though I am sticking by yesterdays blog when I stated that I am relegating art to a pastime hobby and not a life goal.

I will set a timer on my phone, and I will go somewhere with my ipad so I can be distracted by facebook or youtube, and I will write. I can use my pencil and write by hand in my notes app, or I can use the keyboard and type into my writing app. I don’t want to include writing in this blog as part of that, because though this is me writing it is not me working on my novel.

Do something active 5 days a week for 10 minutes
This is a very very small start, and I am not entirely sure what I will do. I could use the treadmill, I could just go for a 10 minute walk. I could do some of the exercises and stretches I remember from doing Daily Burn. 10 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time and in truth it’s not. But the article said to start very low. I think it will be much easier to make myself do something for 10 minutes than for 30 or 40. I will of course eventually step it up, but for now I will start with something so very easy it will be hard to justify not doing it.

I have also been reconsidering the Y. I do love to swim, and they have a pool, and while they have classes I believe they have one or two lanes that are always open swim. I am a little hesitant due to self-consciousness to go to a public pool. I am also unsure if $60 is worth it as it may have to come out of my credit card money.

I am also thinking that once I build my house I could get a pool of my own. That will be a great way to maintain my weight, because hopefully by then I will already be at my goal.

So, the first step is to start with these smaller daily goals. Each day I will fill in the circles showing that I stayed under my calories, I did my 10 minutes of exercise, I worked for 1 hour on my novel, and each week I put $250 towards my credit card. All of those things together won’t take up much time, I’ll still have several hours in the evenings on weekdays to play video games or to watch my shows, or to read or draw if I want. And I wont need to feel pressure that spending three hours watching youtube videos is a waste of time, because I will know I’ve made good progress on my goals.

This feels much better. This feels far more positive than the aggressive anger and frustration of yesterday.

My white board will get here Monday, so after work I will get to filling it in with my goals and hanging it up, and Monday will be the first day of this new goal keeping lifestyle.

I’m excited 🙂

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