15 May, 2012

Road Map

I am reaching a quiet turning point right now. I have a three year spread ahead of me of some major priorities. I can either succeed or fail with them, there's not really an in-between. The consequences for failure aren't as extreme now as they would have been a year ago, or even six months ago. There would be emotional and mental consequences, but it isn't striking terror in me.

I have been trying for years to figure out who I am, what I want to do, where I want to go, and now I am pretty sure I know some of it. I'm making little steps toward it. It's a little like tip-toeing, mostly because I am constantly trying to not allow my lack of self-confidence override my need to complete things. I want to succeed, but I don't know where to set a marker of success. Is it moving into a professional field instead of an admin job? Is it just finishing my degree? Is it being able to not work, by way of TGW's success? This is possibly the most complicated decision.

I feel like my life is constantly changing, never staying the same. Sometimes this is good, but it can be pretty exhausting. 

I have been trying to figure out some key goals to continue becoming happier and better at life in general. These are some new ones.

  • Learn to balance habits - I like to drink coffee and Red Bull, but if I drink too much, I risk having too much caffeine in my system and I don't sleep and feel the crash more when it wanes. I did a short break of caffeine over the past 2 weeks - weaning down from a ton to almost none, and I have found a lot of balance in the interim. I know now when I can drink caffeine in order to make it easier to fall asleep, which is really useful. I also am learning slowly that there are legitimately times when I should listen to my body and not exercise or overdo it. It is more damaging. I have to be willing to sacrifice that workout for the ability to do other things comfortably the next day.

  • Listen to my system - As I mentioned, I have to listen to my body to know when too much is too much. I also have to understand what works for me. I did aerobic exercise on an exercise bike on an average of 3 times a week for about 4 months before I finally broke down and just started doing primarily weights, with some aerobics. The difference was incredible. With just the aerobics, I lost no weight or inches, and I didn't feel better at all. With the weights first, then adding the aerobics in small doses, I immediately started feeling better and lost a pound consistently (my weight fluctuation on a whole dropped down by 1 lb.), plus I had some waistline reduction. That made me super happy! I listened to my body, and I felt better for it.

  • Expose myself to healthier habits to enforce them - If I have someone else to go to the gym with, I'm more likely to go. We signed up for a farm share, and having veggies, fruit, and other local farm foods every week has increased our healthy eating quite a bit. It's not perfect, but it's doing better. It was a big up front expense, but I think it is totally worth it. 

  • Show my successes - I am slowly, slowly becoming better at showing that I've done well at something. I still feel like it's bragging, and I'm sure there are plenty of people who do, but without recognizing what I do well or when I succeed or "win", I don't learn to keep doing those things. Knowing I can do it and do it well is necessary to do it better all the time. 

  • Ask for feedback - I am trying to learn to always ask for feedback on everything I do. I preemptively ask for people to tell me what they think of things I want to do or say, just to get a better perspective. I ask for peer checks (a Human Performance tool we use at work, but I'm using it personally too) instead of just doing things without a review. I e-mail or call people after I complete a task for them and say, hey, did I do okay? How can I do better?

I am started on doing these already, but I really, really want to keep up with it. Putting down things like this is a good way for me to keep doing them, to see my successes, and to build the healthy habits that I need to. Hopefully, I can keep doing better.


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