Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shifting Focus

I'm shifting the focus of this blog. Originally, I blogged only about my 1/2 Ironman training. I thought it would be interesting to look back on what was sure to be a huge learning curve once I became a seasoned triathlete. But that didn't happen. Yeah, I finished 69.1 miles of the full 70.3 that day in late April, and then successfully completed my first Olympic distance tri., but triathlons are going to continue to be a learning experience for me for years to come. So after that, I returned to what I knew best: running, and blogged about training for my 14th marathon, in Missoula Montana. 


But what happens to my blog when I'm in between training periods? Or, not training at all? I mean, I do enjoy writing it...and I feel that self-reflection is important. And, there is more to life than running!


So, I'm shifting the focus of this blog to chronicle my own path toward life improvement! Sounds a bit lofty and pretentious I know, but I'm simply hoping to share some of the things I'm doing in my life to improve it, and become even happier. Mostly, I am writing it for myself so I can look back on progress I've made. But if that were the only reason, it would, of course, be a private blog. When we're learning something new, improving our lives, or making progress, it's exciting to share that with others. Along the way, if I also happen to motivate or inspire someone else, that's an added bonus. 


We're creatures of habit, and I wouldn't get ideas to change or even know where to begin without being inspired by others, and reading about how they did it. My current source of inspiration comes from reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I also like to read a blog by my friend Shari, Running Upward
"The words of the writer Colette had haunted me for years: 'What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner.' I didn't want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe, and think, 'How happy I used to be then, if only I'd realized it.' I needed to think about this: How could I discipline myself to feel grateful for my ordinary day? How could I set a higher standard for myself as a wife, mother, writer, a friend? How could I let go of everyday annoyances to keep a larger, more transcendent perspective?" (from The Happiness Project)
Working on improving my life, and becoming the best person for this world has long been a goal of mine. But, I want to play a more active role in doing it. I want to appreciate my life more. In order to accomplish this, I need to break it down into smaller, more manageable goals, similar to training for a marathon. In marathon training, goals have to be set and along the way there are small victories to celebrate and sometimes, huge set-backs. But pushing through is the key. Running marathons has taught me that we are all capable of more. The majority of limitations to creating the type of life we want, to becoming the type of person we want to be, are self-imposed! They aren't really limitations at all. Rather, they are perceived limitations and usually, 98% mental!


As I wrote back in December in this blog entry: Cognitive Dissonance is the discomfort we feel when we know we should be doing something (or shouldn't be doing it!), but we don't do it (or do it!) anyway, even in spite of the knowledge that what we are doing is wrong, unhealthy or immoral. It is much easier, for example, for us to say "I'm too busy!" than to make time, and actually change our behavior. When we realize we're doing this, it becomes easier to remove our excuses and really begin working toward change...work toward becoming the person we want to be!
Goal #1: Become organized! Toss, restore, organize
SO, here goes. My first goal is to become organized, and always keep my apartment clean. For years, I've told myself I'm just not an orderly, organized person. It just doesn't come naturally, or easily for me. Sure, I clean up when people come over and my place looks nice...but inevitably, it is a slow slide back toward organized chaos. I keep up on the dishes, and I do my laundry but my place never seems to stay clean! And, if someone is coming over, I almost always need several hours to clean first, staying up late or getting up early to do it before, rushed until the last minute before they arrive. I have walked by my downstairs neighbor's perfectly-ordered place countless times and thought "I'm sure her bedroom is a mess" or "Well, everyone can look into her apartment, so she has to keep it clean" or "I bet she doesn't exercise as much as me, so of course she has time!" Telling myself (and, believing!) these things reduces my cognitive dissonance, and the need to change my behavior! 


Now, if I liked living this way, there would be no need to change it! But, as fun as it may sound, it is not a good feeling to rush around tidying before a friend comes over for coffee, or to require one day's notice before I can have someone over! So, it stops today. Just as I have trained myself for marathons, I'm going to train myself to be more organized and tidy. Because I like coming home to a clean place, and can enjoy relaxing more when everything around me is clean. It started today with a massive re-organizing of my closet, which I'm almost done with. In my next blog entry, I will detail just how I'm planning to do this, and the progress I've made so far. 

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