24 May 2013

< Taking Charge Of Happiness//Accomplishing Goals >

{this is a huge post, deal.}

First, I am in an INCREDIBLE good mood today. Second, I have a lot of thoughts going through my mind right now and I hope I can get it out in writing and it still make sense.

Ironically, if you have one of these journals you know that today's question is, "What motivated you today". This morning I wrote, that so far I don't feel very motivated today since it's pouring down rain and I am feeling a bit crampy, but that I was still motivated to enjoy my day.{not the exact wording} Not too long after I wrote my entry for today, should have waited til later today I guess, the last statement became very true. The rain stopped and what I thought was going to be a hum-bug day has turned out to be a really great day. I decided for myself that I would make this day better.

I wanted to write about a few things that have been on my mind big time the last couple months: 1. being in charge of happiness 2. accomplishing goals. I didn't know when I woke up this morning that I would feel so motivated to share with you these things today. I really had no plans, until my walk this morning, to do so, ever. If you keep reading, you are about to learn some secrets about moi{not very exciting secrets, just to warn you}. Well, mostly just some things really only Jachen knows about, not necessarily "secrets".

While living in Switzerland I have experienced a lot of low moods and high{good} moods. A lot of extremes really...I have never actually hated things and been so angry about things until I moved here. It's a horrible feeling. The last few months I have experienced a lot of good/happy days. Mostly because I am sooooo excited to move back to Seattle. I wake up in the morning just so excited and go to bed daydreaming of it. However, lately the waiting process for Jachen's Visa has become quite stressy. That and also just the lingering stress/worry about the move in general...will Jachen get a job? will he go to school right away if he can't get a job? Just a lot of thoughts that right now are out of our hands, but still remain a worry in the background of life. Also, I cannot remember a time when the weather has effected me soo much. And I am from Seattle! And not necessarily spirit/happiness wise, but literally I need the weather to not rain so I can go out and exercise. But actually, also a little bit of happiness wise...it's amazing how much more I feel pumped for the day when the weather is sunny and how much I feel blah when the weather is gross. I have never noticed this so much. Anyway, so like I said, so many ups and downs in my mood lately. I have been trying to figure out a way to create a happy mood even though there are things going on that don't make me happy. I cannot control future events, but I can control how I feel that day.

A few weeks ago, I re-motivated myself to take charge of my happiness. There was a day, much like today, that started out blah and I was okay at first letting myself feel blah. Sometimes it's just okay to let yourself not feel productive, but mostly I believe...just make your day unblah{i know thats not a real word}! So that day I did just that. I completely changed my "blah" attitude/feeling by throwing on some walking shoes and went out for a walk. Walks ALWAYS make me happy. The rest of the day I felt so good and was so happy I decided to allow myself to be happy that day instead of taking a "blah" day. I realized, I truly was in charge of my happiness. I even vacuumed that day because I knew it was one of my favorite things to do, to help aid in my being happy. I chose happiness. Today, I did likewise.

 photo Untitled-1_zpse8313d10.jpg
{on that first picture/week I realize now there are 4 hearts that I forgot to add next to my walks, annoying!}

One of the ways I have been especially happy lately, is by accomplishing some goals of mine. I cannot explain to you how proud I am of myself for what I have been doing lately. Towards the end of February, I started the small goal of going on walks in the morning and when I say "walks" I don't mean strolls. Like full on exercise, walking as fast as my short legs can, sweating, climbing hills, those kinds of walks. Like you can see in those pics where the hearts are, I started to record in my planner the days I went on those walks. I think it was at the end of March I turned my simple "walking" goal into a full on set of goals...

1. go on a walk for at least an hour
2. do at least 3, 10min cardio sessions {this I do while watching a movie or a show as to have entertainment while I do it} {also, I do it like this so I can do it more hardcore for the 10 min instead of lazy for 30min}
3. go every evening possible with Jachen to the track and do at least 2 miles
4. eat better

Those are my daily goals. Tada! Secret revealed. I have been pretty hardcore about these goals for several weeks now. Hence, the stressing about the rain/weather as of late. Two weeks ago I was sick for a week and man was I bummed about it. Totally through{threw?} off my daily schedule...hate that feeling. But as soon as I felt good enough to start back up, I did just that. Like I said, pretty hardcore and motivated right now. There are a few other personal/spiritual/life goals I have right now that I have been working on too, just a good time right now to work on goals for me I guess.

In these 4 health goals I have set for myself, I have mini goals set. It's incredible how much the outcome of physical goals{and really any goal} is all in your head. I hate running. Hate. I think part of that hatred stems from middle school being forced to run timed miles. And for the most part, I dread the idea of running. But lately on the track, I have pushed myself to run, like full on run. It has been amazing to see what I can do if my mind is in the right frame. For example, the first time I did it the whole time I was thinking about how much I hated it and how bad I was at it...therefore I was pretty slow and sluggish doing it. THEN the next round, I decided to change my attitude and think of a happy outcome if I pushed myself harder...so, that whole time I was thinking positive and totally ran faster and better...AND I realized it wasn't even as hard as I was making it before. It reallly was in my head how bad I was, and because of that I told my body to struggle. {make sense?}. Anyway, so I was enlightened by the fact that I could do more than I thought I could. Ever since then I have pushed myself to do better and not avoid the beastly looking hills and to not avoid running. Learned it's really much easier to accomplish the hard{er} goals when my mind is positive instead of negative.

Going on these walks make me so happy. I start my day out with it which then makes the rest of my day better and more productive. Also, I like the routine I have set, I like routine. ALSO, man doesn't it feel SOOO good to workout in the morning and then know the rest of the day that you did it and you're done? I feel so much happier with myself. Today, I could have let myself feel crummy all day and curl up and read my book...but instead, I didn't let my goal slip. On Tuesday, I think it was, it was raining off and on and I went out anyway...I decided I couldn't let a little rain stop me from my goal. Sure, I got a little wet, but I accomplished my goal, which felt great.

Not only does getting the workout I need make me happy, but actually enjoying the walk and sights around me pushes me and encourages me each day to go out and see what new street I can find. In addition, I have started taking pictures during my morning walks, that I then Instagram while stretching when I get home. This is not only fun to share with those following me, but also I get to now look back on all sorts of things I saw along my past walks. Also, Jachen and I enjoy SOOO much our evening track walks/jogs. We get to spend some great quality time together at the track. We goof off a little, have some great conversations and encourage each other to push ourselves. Cus honestly sometimes it's not the most enjoyable thing to exercise and get sweaty...so I/we have found ways to make the goals I have set enjoyable. Thankfully Jachen is on board with my goals. He is happy that he has more energy during the day because of exercising regularly. {imagine that!}

About the 4th goal. I am generally a pretty healthy eater/cook, but have decided to improve our eating habits. Just to give you some insight as to what that entails...1. cutting down proportions--we don't eat a lot to begin with, but now we eat even less. Instead of each of us getting a soda, we get one and share. Instead of making us each a toasted sandwich, I make one we share and then add veggies on the side to fill our bellies. So that kind of thing. I don't believe, for myself, in necessarily eliminating all tasty things. I think I/we can still eat what I/we want as long as the amount of that thing is very small. It's more realistic, I just don't think it makes sense to cut out all sweets for the rest of my life! 2. better snacks--our snacks are basically veggies, fruit or nuts. {sometimes we get some chips, but then we just have only a little bit instead of devouring them}. I have stopped being lazy about veggies and have been so good about making sure we are eating them at least once a day. 3. less desserts--we had this awful habit of thinking we needed a dessert every night. It almost felt like an addiction. We have dessert maybe once a week now...and if we feeeel like we need a dessert, I make a bowl of fruit for us. If I feel like making cookies, I half the batch and/or give cookies away. 4. water--drink LOTS of it. I drink so much to the point where it's almost getting ridiculous how many times I go to the bathroom during the day...which for me, is always the sign that I am drinking just the right amount of water. :) Also, tip--drinking out of glass makes the water taste sooo much better, so then it's more enjoyable to drink.--So those are some of the better eating goals we have set that work for us.

Of course, it helps that I have no job and I have all this time to accomplish these goals. But these are realistic goals I can do right now, and someday when I have less time I will find good realistic goals for that lifestyle too. I want these goals to become life habits.

Tips for accomplishing any goal {but mostly health goals}/how to turn them into habits

1. Have a really good reason behind the goal because if you don't you will NOT follow through. This reason will fuel your drive. It will be the reason you get up and do.
2. Don't exercise to be "skinny", exercise to be healthy and then of course the weight loss will follow.  I don't think exercising "to be thinner" is a good enough/strong enough reason to get yourself going, at least not always. If you do it to be healthy, to help your body and heart it will be a better motivation. I do it to make my heart happy...after I workout I either say to myself or out loud to Jachen "that made my heart happy". Hence the hearts I use in my planner next to my goal. This thinking will shift your happiness and success. {you will be less depressed if aren't losing weight fast enough and you will focus more on counting each exercise as a success}
3. Keep a planner where you note when you "made your heart happy". This allows you to visualize how much you have done for the week. It's also a great motivation to see all those hearts!
4. Schedule exercise into your day or week/plan your life around being active instead of trying to fit being active into your life--I think some people have a problem finding time to exercise because they don't make it a big enough thing in their life. If you make it part of who you are and your life you will be more likely to have this a habit and not just something you do once a month. Sometimes you just have to say no to other people in order for you to find time in your day to work out.
5. Don't let anything/weather/people stop you from your health goals--like unto the above tip, don't take on too much in life or don't let things hinder you. If it rains, so what. If someone doesn't help you with your goals, so what. Do it anyway. {be flexible when it comes to others, but put yourself first as much as you can. Health is important!}
6. It's in your head--like I previously said, your mind can be a huge asset to how well you accomplish your goals. Be positive. Know your body can actually do and handle more than you think. Don't dread working hard to be healthy.
7. Make realistic goals--do what makes sense in your life. Do workouts you enjoy and that you will want to do again. Otherwise you will just dread working out and then not do it or do it lazy.
8. Make goals accessible--this is different than the above, this means set things in place so that you will be more likely to accomplish your goal, whatever it is. For me, it's keeping out my workout clothes and having different clothes for morning walks/track than my cardio{my morning walks clothes get soo sweaty and I don't want to be wearing those around the house the rest of the day} so I won't have an excuse to not want to do my cardio. I hate feeling/being sweaty and I hate showering after EVERY workout--so I body shower. A compromise. Also, keeping on my running shoes during the day so I am more willing to hop up and be active. Point is, to eliminate your excuses for not working out and make it easy to go and do.
9. Push yourself--set little goals within your goal so that you have moments of pushing yourself further. If your goal is 30min at the gym...do 45min instead. Every morning my goal is an hour, but I always do more. At the track I set little goals around the track. It's a great feeling to do more than you set out to do. Also, when you push yourself you will see that that hard goal, wasn't so bad.
10. Don't let yourself slack--if you let yourself fall short on your goals just once, you will then have it in your head that you can do that more. One morning I was going to let tired self win and sleep more, but then I realized if I did that then I would do that more. I didn't want that to be an option, so I got out of bed and went out.
11. Tell someone about your goals--either so they can be involved or at least motivate you. Yesterday, it was crummy weather and I didn't want to go so I let Jachen tell me if I should or not. Luckily, he said GO, so I did. It's been great having his involvement and support.
12. If you have a family, get them involved--take your kids to the track, go on a hike, play at the park, teach them how to rollerblade, play outside, buy bikes for the family..etc etc. Make it a habit and part of your life to be active.
13. Luckily with exercising it's actually suggested to take a break in between work out days to let your muscles relax, so you can plan on working out every other day. SO you can let yourself have days off, I am not saying you have to be like me and do something BIG everyday. But it doesn't mean you can't set small goals for the days you don't go to the gym.
14. Similar to the above, if there is a day you just legitimately don't feel like working out...do it anyway! Say to yourself, I will at least do something or a little bit...because a. at least you are doing something! and b. most likely you will decide to do more.
15. Make doing your goal an enjoyable experience--I have touched on this a bit, but whatever your goal is figure out how to like it. If your goals are exercise related--treat yourself to new music. If it's reading/studying goals--give yourself a treat you can enjoy while doing the goal so it feels special. If your favorite fruit is cantaloupe{yum} only have it while working on your goal. Either reward yourself during or after. I drink a bit of chocolate milk after my morning walks--I have heard several times chocolate milk is a good thing to have after working out...so win win. {just, only drink a little}.
16. Walk far then you have to walk far to get back home! I love this trick.
17. Pray about goals, not matter how small they are.
18. When you get sick and it puts goals on hold--don't let that break your motivation, instead make it what motivates you to work hard after you are sick.
19. Health is not just about how much you run or walk, it's also about what you put in your body. Don't just eat less, eat right. There are still certain nutrients your body needs and plenty of healthy ways to get it.
20. Don't hesitate to count shopping/walking around the zoo/walking to the grocery store/walking around the city as an exercise for the day. You can add these events into your day to make your heart happy and get your body moving.
21. Stretch a little before and a lot after. I heard once, don't know how accurate it is...that if you don't stretch after a work out, that you might as well not worked out. True or not, it's enough to make sure I don't miss stretching. Also, your body just needs to be stretched daily in general.
22. Remember, it gets easier and better the more you do it.
23. Remember, it takes a little while to see/feel results. Keep going. Jachen and I are pretty happy with the results that have come from all these health goals.

I hope this helps at least one of you to feel pumped and motivated to make some new goals. To make your heart healthy and to take charge in making yourself happy whether it be by exercise, vacuuming or just deciding to think positively. And even if that happiness is just while doing those things.

Chose to accomplish and set goals. Chose to be happy.
ps. I am fully aware how embarrassingly sloppy my planner is.

No comments: