Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Resolutions for 2009

Here are some resolutions that I might be able to keep:

1. Take care of myself first.
2. Keep my hair short in 2009.
3. Laugh more!
4. Have fun.
5. Spend time with those I care about.

Otherwise when I lose that 20 pounds or write that novel, it's icing on the cake. I can do the five items above, or at least I can try. Make your resolutions fun--it just might change everything. Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve Eve

Have you taken the time to notice the beauty around you this year? I was coming home from a festive 'bad sweater party', and as I turned into my driveway I saw a snow bunny hopping away. If you've never seen a snow bunny, they are pure white to blend in with the snow. Lately, our snow bunny has taken to perching on our covered front porch to check out what's happening and get a 'lay of the land' view.

Last week my elk neighbors showed up in a herd of approximately 40 to rest their laurels on the golf course. I imagine most golf courses aren't much use in the winter. Well the one across from me is a snowshoe and cross-country skiing track and a haven for elk. I would say that this particular golf course has a multitude of uses.

Embrace what you have...so I still wish I was on a beach. However, taking a snow shoe walk and seeing the sunlight glitter on the snow reminds me that life is good.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A year draws to a close

So it's that time to start thinking back on a year. This year has brought me more awareness, which equals the more you know the less you know. That being said I do feel poised to make the changes that I need to make. I have made progress in most areas, but I still need to get more focused on the direction for next year.

Someone told me that he sees great things ahead in 2009. I do, too. I don't know what's in store, but I know that I feel open to the possibilities, and I trust that it will unfold as it should. I guess after a tough year my faith is restored.

Despite the doom and gloom that is all we hear...I can see that in times of difficulty humans thrive with creativity and innovation. How are you going to embrace your creative or innovate side in the year ahead? Please share your thoughts. And Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Magic of Christmas Eve

So even if you aren't into Christmas there is a magic about Christmas Eve. It is all about anticipation. My family's tradition on Christmas Eve is to open one present and save the rest for the next morning (if my nephews are around). When it's just adults I will admit that sometimes we open everything on Christmas Eve so we can sleep in on Christmas morning.

Sleeping in is a gift that's enough. That way you can wake up refreshed. So here in Vail I just saw that we've gotten seven feet of snow in the last two weeks. That's impressive. That means about a 1/2 a foot per day...sounds about right.

After awhile you start to settle into driving in the snow. It becomes a rite of passage. On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning though the beauty of the white stuff is undeniable. And after seeing Happy Christmas everywhere in Australia during the summer, I have to admit that it just makes more sense in the winter.

I was talking to an Australian who has never seen snow. She couldn't understand my attachment to a white Christmas. She heads to the beach for a barbeque. Sounds good, but it just doesn't sound right. Ask me again in late February how I feel about it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

So this year I'm not annoyed by Christmas music, which is weird, because usually it drives me crazy by now. I guess the key is go on holiday every year right before the holidays. That way you're more ready to embrace the season.

So a holiday every November--sounds good to me. So I'm behind on wrapping presents. I haven't sent out my cards, yet. I've got 20 to send...so I'm sending to those who send to me and some other special family and friends.

Even though I'm not ready (I'm behind on everything.) It's okay! No worries. Ah, the beauty of embracing the laid-back Australian lifestyle. How long can I keep up the holiday attitude? Want to take bets? This is almost a month.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back in the states

Everyone has been asking me to sum up my trip. In a word, wonderful. My time in Australia was truly rejuvenating and it made me so happy to get some beach and ocean time. Although, I do love the mountains. (This week loving the mountains is a bit of a debate, but that's another post. ) Even so water has a way of bringing you back. Looking at the waves crash to the shore and hearing the surf just makes you realize that life is happening as it should. There is something elemental about the ocean.

There is also something amazing about a holiday. You have the time to think and to realize that life is in the embracing of all the moments. It is so nice to not know what time it is, what day it is, and to not have every moment planned. I also enjoyed the way that Australians seem to value their personal time. In America, I think personal time is often frowned upon in pursuit of being "productive," but when you really think about it how productive are you when you're completely exhausted?

So my first takeaway is that I am to embrace this more balanced view. I want to feel like I do now, a month from now. So I got some shopping for Christmas done earlier, and the items are on backorder. I tried at least. I am working on working out in the morning, because I'm worth it. What is a lesson that you've learned on holiday that you made a part of your life? Please share.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get out of the country

So next time to design the best life, I'm getting out of the country sooner during a presidential election year. Every year the advertisements get worse. The phone calls are now on my cell phone. After having only a cell phone for the past five years it has finally caught up.

I can vote by mail, and then head out of dodge. That's the plan. So I'm heading to Australia two weeks from Wednesday. Yeah! Can you believe it? I'm really looking forward to disconnecting from my day-to-day existence to experience a new place. To get some time to reflect and to enjoy the sunshine. (It's the beginning of summer there). So I'll head there before winter officially starts in the mountains.

It is slowing down my changing of the guard of my closet. But this week I will do so--leaving out the summer stuff for the trip and packing up the rest of it. It is sort of like getting new stuff, because you sort of forget what you put away. I think I got rid of quite a few clothes, so it might be time to do some fall/winter shopping for a few essential items.

I've realized that we can get caught up in the negativity of our world (political ads, the economic situation). I guess we have to remember to laugh at ourselves and remember this too shall pass. Thanks, Mary Beth.

How's your election fatigue?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Walk & The Four Agreements

Sometimes all it takes to revive is to take a walk on Tuesday afternoon. After a very gray day I noticed the sunshine had fought its way out so the office took our 'daily walk', which lately hasn't been happening each day. A walk, along with the beautiful scenery of the Eagle River and the fall leaves really reminds you to count your blessings.

Autumn gives me a sense of renewal. The reason is that I always think of the fall as a new beginning, a new school year, a chance to reflect on what matters to you. I'm re-reading the book, "The Four Agreements," which seems to be resonating with me even more than the first time I read it.

Basically, "The Four Agreements," are:
1. Be impeccable with your word -- What's interesting about this one is the explanation of what impeccable actually means, "without sin." The author Ruiz says: "a sin is anything that goes against your self. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself."
2. Don't take anything personal -- The point is made that you chose what you believe. If you take something personal, you're buying into someone else's beliefs and opinions. "Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know it is your problem and not my problem."
3. Don't make assumptions -- This one is so true. Ruiz says, "We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing."
4. Always do your best -- This is one that I have always tried to follow, but this passage spoke volumes as well: "Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good...Your best will also change over time. As you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be."

I'm doing my best, one day at a time. What do these agreements say to you?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Building community

What does it take to build community? Last night our Valley Tastings: Food for Youth event truly brought people together. It reminded me of why I love this community. We had a better turnout than last year, even during a down economy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Embracing what you have

Embracing what you have instead of lamenting what you don't...I think times like these make this statement even more relevant. I am really working on expanding my gratitude and recognizing those who truly make the effort in relationships whether it's work or your personal life. I now realize that I have wasted some of my own time trying to make someone else change, when all that was needed was for me to change my attitude and potentially my experience of life.

The truth is we're just all starting to notice that times are tough, but sometimes the hard times create opportunities for growth and innovation. For example, my friend just realized instead of buying Krispy Cremes that she could make them with her daughter. Eating a doughnut turned into a mother and daughter moment, which translates into a new experience.

If you read books or surveys about happiness, it isn't the one with the most toys who is necessarily happy. It's the one with experiences, quality relationships, and a willingness to help others. So this holiday season, as we get closer I am going to focus on handmade gifts, helping other less fortunate than I, and on spending time with family and friends. Buying more stuff isn't going to make anyone happier, but quality time with loved ones just might.

How are you changing your life experiences? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Focus on essentials

It is interesting with the economic slowdown everyone starts talking about what's important. For example, suddenly everyone is taking notice of how they're spending their money. People I know are cutting back on extras and focusing on essentials.

Trying to understand what essentials are is the first step in this process. I am guilty of deciding that certain extras are "essential," when in all reality they just aren't. So I am going to track my spending. I started awhile back, but now I'm really going to decide was this an "extra" or an "essential". And chose more essentials with an occasional splurge.

In dieting one of the biggest success factors is how well you track what you eat. (I'm tracking my food choices, as well). For finances it is the same concept if you have to write the money spent down in your notebook suddenly you start to realize that maybe that money should go elsewhere toward paying off debt or an emergency fund.

To design your best life requires you to put in the time to track your spending, your food choices, and to find ways to enjoy life and all it has to offer without overeating or overspending. This weekend I went to my nephew Luke's birthday party. It was a blast! Then I spent time with my Grandma. It was a fairly inexpensive weekend, but the memories are priceless.

Tell me how you're finding positive ways to deal with the current economic situation. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Friday!

Do any of you ever have those weeks where you are sort of living for Friday? That was the case this week for me. It seemed like whatever would go wrong, did. I'm fairly certain that I've made it for now at least.

I'm thinking about how I experience life a bit. According to a Tibetan monk, happiness is achieved by changing how you experience life. I want to do that so that no matter the circumstances I can be grateful. Instead of focusing on the negative align with the positive.
And start where you are...honor that space.

May I have the courage to do this for the next week.
How do you experience life? Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lighten up

So I feel like I was getting too serious there. So in this entry I am reminding myself to lighten up and embrace the moments. The fun. I actually like to laugh. A lot! However, lately I've been feeling a bit motivated to get my life in order, but not at the cost of my sense of humor.

And with everything going on in the U.S. with the most interesting presidential campaign, ever. With the economy there is lots to discuss. Last night I was watching the late night hosts, and the jokes were flying. So even when things might look a bit scary; you have to remember at least it gives us lots of fodder. It makes life interesting.

I just got a call from a friend who was deciding between class and watching the vice presidential debate. Definitely, something to think about! But you can watch it over and over again. The beauty of a media culture. So find something funny and tell me about it. I need a good laugh.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spirituality in Leadership

After my spirituality in leadership dialogue class last night I left feeling uncomfortable and a bit unsettled, until I sort of clarified what was going on by talking to my friend Curtis after class. For the past two years I've been on a path of self discovery with leadership as my compass. What I've discovered is that during that path of identifying my values and my leadership style I have become more fluidly connected to my spirituality.

I realize that the two concepts for me (spirituality & leadership) or to describe it in another way, leading with love versus fear, are interwoven. Part of this process has been about me being able to share my deepest thoughts with people and trust that they will embrace my perspective and honor my voice. And what we've created and built is a 'tribe' and solid relationships. Someone said that spirituality is what holds this learning circle process together.

For me all of this stresses the interconnectedness of us all, and the inherent goodness of humanity that exists when we can find the common ground. It was a bit challenging as I really took listening to heart, and I tried to stop thinking about my comment and instead enjoyed hearing other people share their stories.

To design your best life you need others to help guide you on this path. You need to connect and to seek to understand.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts to ponder: Listen, Be Consistent

The old adage is that showing up is the half the battle. I would add that the rest of it is choosing your attitude, being consistent to your values, and finally stopping to listen, really listen. Tonight I'm joining a class called Leadership & Spirituality. This class is noncredit, voluntary. All you have to do is read the same reading, then think about prechosen dialogue questions, and finally show up, listen deeply, and respond with your thoughts building upon other people's observations and perspectives.

Dialogue is much more in-depth than discussion. Normally, we talk, but to truly dialogue requires more listening, more thoughtfulness, ability to suspend judgment, and a willingness to stop formulating your answer while someone else is talking.

The Vail Leadership Institute offers this statement about dialogue: "While dialogue is an old process, used by Socrates and by many Native Americans, David Bohm, a theoretical physicist with an interest in consciousness, brought it the attention of thought-leaders more recently as a way of developing coherent shared meaning. Bohm suggested that dialogue is a 'stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us.' When used with groups, it makes possible a flow of conversation 'out of which will emerge some new understanding.'"

Today I really tried to listen as a facilitated a meeting about mission. I tried to stop formulating my answers and responding. I did okay, but now I have something to practice and over time with consistency I will get better and better at leading a dialogue versus a discussion.

To design your best life it does require you to be consistent to your values and goals. How do you maintain consistency in your life?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meetings and working from home

Have you ever really thought about meetings? Many times they are just another listing on your calendar. The most difficult ones are those that you attend where nothing happens. Let's be honest without a solid agenda and a good facilitator most meetings could be skipped.

Today I had a productive meeting that ended a bit early, now that's awesome. I try to ensure that any meeting I facilitate are well-scheduled and to the point. When I know it's successful is when people linger to talk and catch up afterwards. There really is an art to holding a meeting. I have learned from some of the best, so I can't lay claim to having any sort of gift. But I listen, learn, and I get lots of practice holding meetings. Sorry everyone I work with...thanks for showing up.

Yesterday our work email was down. You don't realize how much you rely on email until it's gone. Then suddenly your immobilized, because you don't get that window to interrupt you with read this, now! I always say I'm only going to check it three times a day. Someday I'll master that skill.

Like anything you have to set your priorities and eliminate distractions. Speaking of eliminating distractions working from home is one way to do it. Once in awhile, I work from home, especially when I've got two meetings downvalley. It's so quiet here that I actually get stuff done, and I get to take a break to write in my blog. Nice change of pace, but usually I like to be at the office around a great group of office mates. But once in awhile with gas prices sky high it's nice to see the aspen trees outside the dining room window.

Tonight I'm taking a walk! Then it's time to focus on my needs. I have some finances to look at, some goals to set, and some relaxing to do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One day at a time

So today I'm concentrating on one day at a time. I really want changes to happen quickly, but let's be honest it's about what you commit to today that matters. This morning I went to Pilates. I'm glad that I've already got in an hour of strength, stretching and movement.

I am also going to work on my schedule, and I'm trying to be more realistic about what I can accomplish in a week. Instead of overbooking myself so completely, I am planning my schedule with a more holistic view in mind. For example, work is just one section. I'm also planning in taking care of myself with exercise and with other activities that I enjoy. It seems simple, but often gets out of balance.

The other thing I'm putting in place is that I want what I do to reflect my priorities, which hasn't always been the case. This requires again a daily commitment, and it also requires me to say no. Saying no hasn't always been my forte. So I am practicing, and even when I want to automatically say yes, instead I stop and say that I need to think about it before making the commitment.

How do you keep your life in balance? Or is it possible? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting there

There really isn't anything like a spa retreat weekend. Last Sunday I was so relaxed I truly didn't know what to do with myself. Even the drive to Colorado Springs for a prevention summit didn't faze me. Then I spent three full days at a conference, which brought me back to reality. Then one day in the office. Why bother? Then Friday it was off to the Youth Leaders Council's hut retreat at Francie's Cabin in Breckenridge.

The hike and the opportunity to become a team with the adult leaders and the young adult leaders was awesome. And it is in such a beautiful setting over 11,000 feet. You definitely feel like you're on the top of the world. The moments that you remember, being hailed on and trying to catch it in your hands. Wow!

So Sunday I did have a mini-breakdown, but after recovering it prompted me to get moving. So I finally decided to go ahead and purchase my ticket to Australia. I was thinking of not going, however, I decided to go realizing that I won't see all of it, and I can return. Providence must have been smiling on me as the tickets were a bit cheaper then before, and everything fell into place. So now I'm officially heading to my fourth continent in November. Yeah!

What a difference a spa retreat and a day makes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finding time to relax

I have sort of been like a pinball lately zapping from one thing to another. For example, this week started out with a busy Monday, yesterday I had an early meeting, and I drove to Denver for an eye doctor appointment. Then I drove back, and I went to my part-time job and hung out with 12 kids. It actually was fun!

Today I barely had time to breathe. (Jason from across the hall sort of accused me of talking to myself.) I was part of the full-office cleanup crew in the morning. Next I had a two-hour meeting. I got back to the office and prepared for youth leaders interviews (along with various other tasks). Then I interviewed some awesome youth leaders who are really going to be great, finishing work about 8:15 p.m. Whew! Tomorrow will hold more of the same, however, I'm out by 3:30 (at latest ). I am heading out to relax in private hot springs and stay in a cabin.

Then Friday I am headed to a spa retreat in northern New Mexico for my friend Mary Anne's bachelorette party. I'm not sure that this retreat can get here quick enough. Right now I'm writing in my blog instead of packing, but everyone knows that packing last minute is just the way it works. The truth is that I've had massages, done yoga, and hiked, but never as one full weekend. I think I'll love the combo.

I just talked to my friend Amy, and I told her my cell phone is going be turned off. No work calls, well actually no calls for me. Remember the good ole days when we didn't have cell phones? Wouldn't kids be amazed to know that we did survive without them, happily. (Okay, I admit I do love my cell phone, but taking a time out is also wonderful).

The only other question I'm asking myself is that if you have to pack up your relaxation into three days to make it work, does that still mean you aren't getting it? That you're not running your life, but it's running you? Whatever, I'll take the three days, and maybe this stretch of bliss will inspire me to build in more daily time for me. Can't wait to tell you all about it!

How are you living your best life?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Design your best life

How can you design your best life? First to design mine I am going to embrace my unique talents and gifts. I feel most alive when I'm in flow and when creativity is taking me in new directions. To design my best life I have had to take a moment to recognize where changes are necessary.

For me those changes involve choices that I'm making. It is the small choices that matter. For example, did I chose to exercise today? Did I make good food choices. Did I take time for myself? Did I spend money that I should not have spent? Second I consider whether the choices I'm making are in line with my long-term goals.

It seems simple like common sense, really. What is needed is success along the way to keep you on the right path and a way to deal with setbacks. How to get there? Start again each day and set stretch goals to make it happen. You need to know your direction and where you're headed, otherwise you'll get well, nowhere. This time I want to get more concrete results. I have made progress, but so far not nearly enough.

So this week I am recommiting to my health: physical, financial and mental. With each area I am setting goals and figuring out my plan to reach those goals. Each week I will assess what's worked, what hasn't and make adjustments, accordingly. I know it could happen as I've always naturally done this with my career and finding the right the right place to live, and now I'm ready to apply it to my whole life.

How are you going to design your best life? Please share your thoughts as we can accomplish more together than apart. And remember, (I sometimes forget) have fun along the way! Today I had fun taking a walk after work, reveling in the setting sun.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

You say it's your birthday...

Well it's my birthday, too. Sorry I couldn't resist. So I just realized that I spelled Australia wrong in my blog address. Awesome! But today since it's the day of my birth, I'm not dealing on past mistakes instead I'm moving forward and embracing positive action.

For example Becky and Bethany made my office festive with a disco ball, ribbons and some beautiful flowers. Do I have the best co-workers ever or what. I know a lot of you are jealous. Anyway, did I mention that I have a pool in the back of my office? I guess what I'm trying to say is embrace what you have, instead of lamenting.

It is a lot easier to say on your birthday I admit then when x, y, and z happen on just a regular day. But maybe you could keep the attitude all year. Worth a try! I also love my birthday, because all my family and friends who I love call and reach out. It's awesome.

So today it's all about celebrating. Tomorrow I'll worry about the rest of it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Day in the Life!

Well I just spent a leisurely weekend in a couple other mountain towns, 'Crested Butte and Gunnison'. It was a respite. Even though I live in a mountain town and work in another one when you're visiting and you're on vacation it's just different. I relaxed and walked around an art festival, which always makes me want to get creative.

It does remind me of my belief that when you need a moment to just take a mini-holiday in your own town. So often we get caught up in our patterns, and we just need a break. I've been a bit reflective lately, because my birthday is coming up, actually in about an hour and a half MST. Each birthday I take stock of my past year so I can start my new year with a fresh perspective.

My thought this time is that I want to embrace my gifts and talents. And I want to stop selling myself short. I found this quote again (one of the many that I saved)...it spoke to me. "Power can manipulate, coerce, and destroy. And as long as we are convinced we have none, power will always look negative. In fact, power means simply our capacity to act. From this lens, we each have power--and often, much more power than we think. If we accept ecology's insights that we exist in densely woven networks, then we must also accept that every choice we make sends out ripples, even if we're not consciously choosing. So the choice we have is not whether, but only how, we can change the world." --Frances Moore Lappe, In Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad (Small Planet Media).

So my revelations are starting tomorrow--what better day for a beginning then celebrating a birthday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back to it

One thing that I'm learning over and over is that even when life throws a lot at you--you can't give up what you're striving to make happen. So now instead of giving up when I have a setback, when I haven't had time to get caught up or even remember what all I need to catch up on...I just get back on track. It's a major accomplishment.

I was talking to my friend Ruth about this, and we both realized that what we work on doesn't change, but maybe our progress and our recognition of the steps we've made (often baby steps) needs to be more prominent.

One thing I've focused on in my life is making it more about love versus fear. This is a theme that is repeated in all I've learned about leadership. You can either lead your life with love or with fear.

This expresses it better than I could:
"A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride, and superiority. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside of you and every other person, too." The child thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied: "The one I feed."

I am doing my best to choose love.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back in habit

So my entry today is going to be short and sweet, but I'm trying to get back to an entry per day during the week until I buy a new laptop. Yes, my work laptop is being diagnosed, but I think I've decided to get a new personal one. My other personal one is so so slow.

I'm borrowing my roommate Cheryl's, and new one's are super fast, and well they rock. It's an investment in my writing and probably one of my more wise decisions. I'm over older computer systems that just don't work as well or nearly as quickly.

The new computer is sort of a metaphor for change. I believe in most instances that change is good. It makes you look at things in a new light, and it gives you that energizing boost that sometimes is just what you need. I'm just discovering the truth of how difficult it is to change your long ingrained habits.

The interesting part is that I've always thrived on change in my life whether it's a new job, a new adventure, travel, or a new place to live. It's just that behavior change is different as it doesn't have the pizazz of moving to New York City or even the mountains of Colorado. I guess I need to look at it more like the changes that I've chosen to make for my own happiness and well-being. Then maybe they will stick! What about you? How have you embraced change in your life or your lifestyle? Any tips for the rest of us?

Have a wonderful day! Thursday I will be relaxing at a place that my friend Sondra doesn't want me to mention, but hint: it's in Santa Cruz, CA. I know you can infer where I might be going.

Bootcamp and walking for a total of 1 hr, 20 minutes
Food: Good until dinner (too many chips and salsa) No margarita, but the fast is almost over!
Finances: Out to dinner, but brought lunch, okay
Creativity: Sparked by attending the Philadelphia Philharmonic at the Ford amplitheater, great music and conversation afterward

Monday, July 14, 2008

Catching up...

Let's be honest catching up is difficult. It is much easier to stay on task. I'm catching up on blogging, because my laptop at home isn't functioning properly. You forget what life is like without the Internet. I tried to write an entry on Friday, but no such luck.

Anyway, just to let you my few loyal readers know I have been following my plan. Yesterday, I went swimsuit shopping, which is one of the toughest shopping trips of all--truly torture. I perserved, and I found a suit with the help of my friend Sondra. Thank you! I know that it went so much better, because I've been exercising and putting in the time at boot camp, hiking, walking, and yoga (sometimes). Even so putting a suit on tells you that you've got to keep going. I'm making progress, but it just seems really slow.

The truth is that one of my strongest traits has always been perservence. I am stubborn, which maybe this time will be an asset versus a deterrent. Stubborness is definitely a two-way street. I've been thinking a lot about whether lifestyle change is about willpower. Partly, but that will only take you so far, and then you have to set some solid goals to charge ahead.

My next big goal is to complete the Glenwood Springs Triathlon on Sept. 7th. I am signing up this week, and training for the next month and a half so I can complete the race. An article on getting to your fitness goals states:

1. Name a dream goal that you're passionate about. (Bob would call this a stretch goal). This goal will give you the drive and commitment to stay the course. My current dream goal is to complete the GWS triathlon in 1:45.

2. Set realistic and challenging confidence-builder goals. Each week and month you need goals. This week my goal is to log six hours of exercise. So far two hours have been completed. Also remember to work backwards to determine the steps necessary to reach the goals. My other goal is to bring my lunch each day this week!

3. Focus on the progress. Not only should you focus on the results, but on the progress, too. For example, I haven't drank for 23 days. Though this week the alcohol fast ends with a look to moderation.

4. Know the difference between a setback and derailment. This one is so true. If you miss exercise or eat horribly don't use that as an excuse to abandon all your progress. Just dust yourself off, and get back up.

5. Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. This week is my 7th week of bootcamp. I have made 5 out of 7 classes. And one of the classes I missed I logged an hour in the gym to make it up. I have toned up and lost a couple inches and a couple pounds.

And then repeat. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It's about a lifestyle change, which is the only change that I'm interested in making. And remind me of that when I lose my motivation. Thank you to all of you who are supporting me during this process!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuesday Hot Summer Nights

So tonight I'm going to the free concert in Vail at the Ford Ampitheater. The band sounds good, and I haven't made one this year. I normally go to yoga on Tuesdays, but instead I'm going to workout over lunch instead (this is a new one). I'm trying to make it a priority to work out at least 30 minutes per day. Some days I get in a lot more, which is just a great bonus. But on those days when I've got fun activities after work if I can at least get 30 minutes logged then I feel like a success.

What really matters is whether you are taking care of yourself, which often goes when you need it the most. Recently, I read in an article in the NYT that people with depression often get type II diabetes because when you're down you stop taking care of yourself. It just reminds me that everything is connected holisitically. Our body and mind are a system together.

Well now I'm off to the concert to have some fun this week is a bit stressful, and I don't want to stress anymore about work. Have a great one!

Quick update:
No alcohol
1 and 15 minute hike (walk/jog)
Food: Good.
Creativity: C'mon it was a Monday. Not a whole lot!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back on track

Gotta love a holiday weekend that is arranged around barbecues and fireworks. Last week sort of got me off track from writing in my blog each day, but this week I'm back on track. My home computer is having some issues, so I'm not using it as much. And well not using a computer on the weekend (until I have a new one) is a definite nice break.

So since my meltdown on Tuesday things are looking up. I've lost some more weight, and I wore a shirt that just wasn't fitting before, so I'm starting to see some results. I would love it if it would happen overnight, however, I'm coming to terms with the fact that it just won't.

I'm also working on becoming more accepting of my body. That whole mind/body connection is really important. Thanks for reminding me of that Becky. Also, my roommate Cheryl and I were watching, "What Not to Wear," please nominate me to be on it! And I completely identified with the person getting made over, as it is really difficult to accept yourself and recognize that no one's perfect, and stop the comparisions to others. It's difficult in this 'thin is in' society. What I'm striving for is better health and more acceptance, which is difficult if you've got a skewed body image.

So catching up on the all the days is too hard. So long story short. Food is pretty good. No alcohol for 16 days. And more workouts at the beginning of the week versus the weekends. I'll work on that stat in the coming weekend. Summer is just busy, and it's been really hot. I know, excuses.

Food: Good choices, balanced
Workout: No
No alcohol, and I went to a bbq
Creativity: Cleaned more to make room for creative projects. Sounds crazy, but sometimes we a clear space to get creative, though I did write in my journal this weekend, and I did some reading.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Seeking Sanctuary

So yesterday wasn't my best day ever. I sort of had a mini-breakdown. It seems that my marathon month, work stress, all these changes, and my planning for my trip caught up with me. I guess I was just waiting for July 1, and then I just got upset. I know it's because I haven't sought out sanctuary (and made room for myself) in all of this. So I went home early, took a nap, and I cleaned my room. Getting organized again will really help. You can't take the pressure of being behind the eight ball all of the time. At some point something has to give. In a nutshell that's way I didn't write in my blog yesterday.

So I'm looking at making my trip more manageable. I may not see as much of Australia as I would like, however, unless I have a friend along with me the lodging costs will be too much. So either someone will sign up to go. Hint, hint, or I'm going to figure out what I can handle and just stick with that. I would like to see more of Austraila, but I'm guessing I may get back there. I just don't want the added pressure of spending too much and going more into the hole. I also may need to fit in some part-time hours. Some of you are laughing I know. It would be great to put in time doing something I enjoy like writing/editing, so I am going to seek out some options. I'll make this work! Yesterday I wasn't sure, but today I'm reenergized to move forward.

I guess my other realization is that I need more healthy stress coping mechanisms. Exercise is one, but boot camp being so early in the morning doesn't necessarily decrease my stress. Yoga does, but also I want other options. too. I recently read an article called, "When stress hits, we default to 'coping combos': Our patterns of sleeping/eating (or not) are based in biology, emotion.

Excerpt: "Say hello to the many faces of stress. While health experts urge people to exercise, eat right and get enough sleep in order to keep stress and its harmful effects at bay, many of us tend to fall into all-too-predictable and all-too-unhealthy patterns when life gets out of whack -- we smoke more, we drink more, we ignore the gym and make tracks for the shopping mall. But the place stress seems to hammer us the hardest is right where we live: in our bedrooms and bellies."

This right here proves that I may be a bit crazy...with the addition of all my healthy patterns--I need other healthy coping mechanisms. The expert from the article, Thorn said that when we're feeling out of control we look for the quick fixes such as alcohol, chocolate, carbs (we're genetically wired to do this). I knew it!

"The good news, Thorn says, is that just because there's a really, really old program running in our head that urges us to seize the Danish (or the dirty martini) when the you-know-what hits the fan, it's not a foregone conclusion that we have to pay attention to it."

As for me I'm changing the channel to other programs. Some healthy coping behaviors from the article: listening to music, reading, exercising or walking (maybe not boot camp), spending time with family and friends, and praying/meditation. Any suggestions? Please put in comments if you've got thoughts! Also, does anyone meditate? If so, I would like to talk to you.

Monday/Tuesday stats
Monday workout: 45 min. Boot camp and 35 minutes elliptical, walk to lunch (20 minutes)
Tuesday: none
Food Choices: Good!
Spending: okay...bought expensive comfortable brown sandals. Cheap ones always kill my feet. Still deciding whether to keep them...not a lot of choices around here. Turned in shoes to Green Closet and bought two shirts. (And I'm eco-friendly)!
Creativity: I started looking at my collection of beads I've got some presents to work on, and I want to make a necklace for myself. Reading more...a bit of journaling. Creativity as a stress reliever--I like it!

Want to read the whole article go to www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25200752/

Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Warrior

I have to admit that sometimes that phrase wouldn't stand for healthy choices! But this weekend it does. There really is something about accountability. It started with Friday night, which was pretty easy. I hung out with Jason and Kendra. We went to Flight Days at Eagle to hear live music and sample the food. Funnel cakes were available, but we skipped them and headed to the BBQ tent instead for pulled pork sandwiches. I had cole slaw on the side, and then I got an ice cream cone. (Summer always makes me want ice cream!)

Saturday after waking up with major allergy issues (and getting heavily medicated) I spent some time at flight days...and I admit I had more bbq and ice cream, however, some of my friends drank all day and night, and I didn't. For those who know what the Brush Creek Saloon is like...I managed to be there until 11 p.m. without drinking. That in itself is a true accomplishment! It helped that my favorite local band, The Laughing Bones was playing. After being hit on by the third, scary drunk guy I had to leave. I just couldn't take it, anymore. So I went home and watched the end of a movie and went to bed.

Sunday I was really started to feel rejuvenated. I went to lunch with friends (grilled chicken this time--more healthy), and then I went to get a manicure/pedicure with the money I saved from not drinking. Nice bonus factor! Then I went home to do laundry/clean, and Sunday early evening met Kendra and the dogs for a short hike and catchup. So overall the weekend was fairly successful. I could have exercised more. I could have eaten a little better, but overall I made it through the unstructured weekend! The best part is that I'm feeling good, and I'm getting healthier.

Congrats to Becky, Bethany and Amy for completing their first triathlon this weekend. You're all awesome, and you've set the bar. I'm signing up for the Glenwood Springs triathlon on Sept. 7th to follow your examples.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday stats (sorry I didn't feel like using my computer this weekend--I needed a tech break as well.)
No alcohol! Today is Day 9.
Food: okay, but not as good as I would like
Workouts: hike, walking, (need to push it more on the weekends, but I did make it--albeit late to bootcamp this morning)
Creativity: I think it's coming back. I did some reading, and I thought about some writing projects to start this week, besides the blog. Also, check out the Vail Daily and search for my name if you want to read my column that appeared in Saturday's paper. www.vaildaily.com

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Friday!

Usually I'm happy it's Friday, because I've got a ton of plans stacked up. And this time I'm happy because I don't have plans crowding my weekend. What a shift.

Today I didn't make the morning workout, because my allergies are really kicking. I am going to make an appointment to see an alternative medicine doctor recommended to me yesterday, who has helped others. At this point I need to try something, as I'm tired of feeling this way. The height of allergy season is about a month late this year, which is in par with how long it took to get warm up here in the mountains.

It's strange as I start to make new habits, and I realize where I just haven't been accountable enough in my own life. I can no longer use the excuse that I don't have enough time, instead I now realize that I haven't made enough time, and I've often overextended myself to the deteriment of other areas of my life.

So my big entertainment will probably be a movie this weekend. A nice air-conditioned (great for seasonal allergy suffers) theater sounds about right. Anyone else up for it? Happy weekend. Now the true test of my resolve begins...the unstructured weekend.

Thursday stats:
Workout: No, I took the day off.
Food: okay, not great
No alcohol
Spending: $12 for lunch, $11 for bbq after work...good
Creativity: Yeah, not much.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mid-week lull

Making something a habit is so much more difficult than it looks. Yesterday I met with my mentor and friend to discuss my life plan. It's slowly getting more clear, which is great. It just seems like a lot of work to get there. Don't worry I'm committed to all of this, but today I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed. I'm really excited that tomorrow's Friday, and I get to enjoy my weekend. I cleared the decks, and I'm not saying yes to anything right way. I am planning on a hike. And other than that it's up to me to decide. Ah, freedom!

I think I'm finally realizing that my crazy work/social life schedule has to lessen so I can make room for my health, creativity and life plan priorities, too. And I want some spontaneity in my life as well. It those times when you leave a little room that fun happens. That's why when I travel I don't like too many set plans. I like to leave it a bit open with some plans so I can discover it.

Wednesday stats:
Workout: Bootcamp 45 minutes
No alcohol
Food choices: pretty good
Expenses: Breakfast out at Loaded Joe's after bootcamp
Creativity: Blog time and a meeting about my life plan

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Early Wake-up Call

For those that know me well or even a little bit, they know that I am in general not a morning person. Just ask Mary Beth who once made the mistake of talking to me before a 5K race to support breast cancer prevention/research. I apologize again. I just don't like to talk a lot in the morning.

All of you can understand the sacrifice I'm making. Not only am I doing sprints at 6:30, but this morning a new low, squats with turns down and back (50 ft) each way, as our instructor says this is what the Navy Seals do with rifles over their heads, but also getting up at 5:30, okay 5:45 a.m. This is why I would never join the military, along with many other reasons. I will do something of my own choice, but I hate being forced to do it! It's my independent streak that I just haven't outgrown.

Maybe that's why I like yoga so much. Yoga is a practice that you decide when you're ready to do or at least attempt an arm balance or other cool move. And you let your body tell you hell no, no, maybe, okay, or definitely. Last night my body was telling me that boot camp and yoga complement each other, but ultimately make you work that much harder by focusing on two very different disciplines. Mostly my body told me that focusing on arms two days in a row is really hard.

For me yoga is about taking the time to turn inward to be still and listen and gain awareness. As I've developed with yoga I've realized that each move does lead to the next. A nice life lesson if you think about it. Last night, I really took the time to 'check-in and take stock' as I've been dealing with some work stress. My realization was that our lives are a series of yin and yang. As others can attest I do tend to overdo it sometimes, and then I need to reclaim and find some sort of balance. I'm slowly getting better at this process, and I'm realizing that despite life's roaring currents I need to stay settled and centered within (easier said than done).

Let's face it, the exercise I'm consistent with involves community. The boot camp crew is supportive as we all are in pain together. There's something special about that. And with yoga we now go to Agave afterward for $2 taco tuesday. This strengths the resolve to be there to see people you like and give your body and mind what they need. We all want to be connected and if it involves push-ups or an arm balance at least we're in it together.

Tip to get more steps in your day:
Becky, Bethany and I started a daily 20 to 40 minute walk during work. We go, and it helps energize us, and it gives us a chance to chat. Thanks for the support!

Tuesday stats
Workout: 90 minutes yoga
Food choices: Good!
No alcohol, and trust me the margs at taco tues looked really good. But as a friend mentioned I will be really popular now as the dd.
Expenses: $8 food, library (free), cheap day!
Creativity: 45 minutes spent on exercises for my life entrepreneur plan. Blog time. And dialogue with friends who helped me come up with ideas and reminded me that the changes I'm making though difficult and maddening to implement are worth it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One day at a time

'One day at a time' how true is that statement! I have to keep reminding myself of that fact. I went to dinner with some friends last night. It was awesome as usual--great food and conversation. I am blessed with wonderful friends in my life who share their stories and make the time to catch up on what everyone's doing. My favorite though is to talk about life and the richness of it. Remembering that wealth doesn't always involve money, but is about connection to others. We talked about love versus fear, and how you ultimately have those two options to chose from in your life. I want to lead with love, but I have to remind myself of that fact each day, hour, and minute. We also talked about creating the life you want, and how that encompasses the major areas of your life.

I recently did an exercise called The Circle of Life. And I discovered that some areas are really moving, and others need a definite jumpstart. Create your own by drawing a circle on a piece of paper, and then split the circle into pies/categories such as relationships, family, career, health, fitness, spirituality, friendships, finances. Then take the time to think about each category and really determine those that are working (label them with a positive sign) and those that aren't (label them with a negative sign). Once you do that you should reflect on some action steps that you can take to move the negative categories to positive. Then you should take the steps you've outlined. This blog is one result of completing the exercise for me!

Thought to ponder for the day:
Self mastery is the ability to make the most out of your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
In other words to be the best you can be.

Monday stats:
Workout: 45 minutes boot camp (I was late), 25 eliptical, 15 minute walk at work
No alcohol, mango iced tea at dinner
Food choices: pretty good (3 meals)
Expenses: Great. Thank you to a friend for dinner! $15 at grocery store
Creativity: Blog, reflection time...slowly but surely

Monday, June 23, 2008

Getting to Austraila Week One

My friend Ruth started a blog to stop and cut back on buying lattes. Does that mean she never gets one? No, but now she doesn't buy as many, with the realization that you can pay $1 to $2 versus $4 to $5. As for me coffee remains a staple, but now I sometimes make it instead of buying it. Ruth's experiment worked for her, and it left me inspired to make change happen.

I'm starting this blog to see how I do with making health a priority, spending less and saving money for my trip, and taking the time to be more creative. So this is the week, the week where I am going to officially put into practice all of those good habits. Keep in mind that many are already started. I've been exercising around four times a week. I've started some simple tracking of my finances, and I've started blogging and writing in my journal.

Using the inspiration of the book 'Writing off the weight', I'm adding this blog as my accountability piece. Yesterday I was one of four hosts of a bridal shower with mimosas. I didn't have a mimosa, though being at the shower reminded me that I'm definitely single, which could have thrown me over the edge, if I didn't love the bride so much. One of my first goals is to not drink alcohol for a month, since I'm not seeing the weight loss that I want to, which is going to be a tough one, especially since it is the summertime. So far so good.

I got up this Monday morning for bootcamp. I didn't want to get to up, but it wasn't an option. Bootcamp required running, pushups, abs, arms, you name it. Since I was 20 minutes late to class I added 25 minutes on the elliptical trainer after the initial workout was over. Working out on Monday morning does leave you feeling more energized!

Sunday Stats:
No workout.
No alcohol.
Food choices: okay, but not great.
Expenses: Gas ($65 ouch!) Last minute food for the party ($34 ($20 cash) $15 stop to pick up food for my roommate
Creativity: Zero--too tired.