Monday, 27 January 2014

Self-improvement, self-induced guilt, and what really matters

I suck at self-improvement.

I can't stick to things when the only reason I do them is to 'be better'. Be a better blogger and post more often? Exercise daily? Roll on Janathon! Except, I didn't roll with it for long.

Just sitting around being good enough today.
Clearly, commitment isn't a problem. There are lots of commitments in my life which I regularly keep: I'm holding down a job, walking the dog daily, keeping my home clean. Loving my husband, of course. Eating vegan.

I do none of these things just for myself, though: and that is the difference. After thinking long and hard about why I failed at Janathon - and I will point out that the exercise was mostly a daily thing and I've even started running a bit! It's the blogging that didn't work out because I didn't have enough to say... - and the answer is, I did that to 'be better'.

A drive to be better [thinner, fitter, ...] = self-induced guilt.

This drive comes from an assumption: I'm not good enough. Why do I have to be better, in the first place? And, if I commit to something and I become [better, thinner, fitter] then will I be good enough?

And who is the judge of good enough, anyway?

  • I'm already good enough for my husband. He is delighted with me. 
  • I'll never be good enough for God, that's why he sent Jesus and because of him, I am completely acceptable to God. A delight, even.
  • My dog thinks I'm the best thing ever, I'm his favourite person.
  • Those I work with assure me they think I'm doing a fine job.

So if those who matter in my life all assure me I'm good enough - a delight, even! - then why do I keep trying to self-improve? What matters: that vague sense of not-good-enough or the true, tested, sincere assurances of those who matter to me?

Of course I'm not saying it's a bad idea to try and be the best you can be. I just know that for myself, I have to carefully examine the motives behind any drive to 'self-improve' - because it's giving in to the not-good-enough assumption, and when I fail at the self-improvement effort of the month, I've signed up for self-induced guilt.

No, thanks!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Janathon Day 10: oh heck, it lasted a week

... the consistent blogging, that is. Because on the exercise front I'm not doing so badly!

Day 8: a good long-ish walk - maybe 2 miles - as I was still in pain.

Day 9: 7mi walk!

Day 10: short walk again of about 2 miles.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Janathon Day 7: walking in a world of pain

I have 5 miles walk to report today. Yay!

They were not walked fast, but part was a very steep hill with lots of steps and I'm just glad to have done anything at all - five miles is a major accomplishment with major cramping going on in the belly. [a monthly, debilitating issue]

At one point I was sure I'd just bend over and throw up. But I didn't. My legs somehow continued on autopilot and got me home eventually.

Where I curled up on the sofa and waited for the day to end ;-)


Monday, 6 January 2014

Janathon Day 6: in which I delegate my workout

I had a great workout planned for today. Two great workouts in fact!

One, I was going to do day 1 of Couch to 5k. The weather foiled that plan - and I seriously do blame the weather, I was dressed to the shoes and ready to go. And then the heavens opened and stayed open with only minor interruptions. I make no excuses: fair weather only!

Lots and lots of housework came next, and I did that. Felt great making a dent in the load.

I walked Fred for two miles, at least that much I did: still a Janathon member with that I hope!

But the main workout I had masterminded: shifting 10 25kg sacks of coal! I did that once before and it was a major piece of work. Today our new load arrived and I was going to get it in.

Aaaand then... the cramps arrived! A monthly problem, nuff said. And with that, I was out of commission for the rest of the day and Mr. got the workout when he got home. Grr.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Janathon Day 5: more unintentionality

Because it's the weekend, that's what I say.

I shall plank again this evening when Mr. walks the dog. Yesterday's planks actually didn't go all that badly, they just hurt. like. crazy. I hate those things. Gravity is the worst! That said, today's plan involves them again - front planks, side planks, transitions....

The only other exercise I've had today was running around for about an hour with the dog at Flyball, but even though that gave me a sweat and got me out of breath I don't feel it was really enough.

Mr. has mentioned he'd like to go running with Fred. (he can just run, without any training - because he cycles to work every day) - so I'm thinking of doing the Couch to 5k programme to get some semblance of running ability. Got the app; now all I need is the willingness to get off my arse tomorrow!

Weather better be good...

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Janathon, Day 4: screeching it in at the last minute

...but at least I'm doing it!

No, that's not how I plank.
As the day has gone by without any exercise at all, the only way I'm able to keep to my commitment is to do it now, just before bedtime.

Answer: PLANK!

When Mr goes out for Fred's last walk - which will take about 10 minutes - I will use that time to plank until I fail. And then plank again. Front plank, side plank, superman plank... I won't stop planking until he gets back, even if that means staying up for five seconds at a time. Man, am I hardcore or what??

Friday, 3 January 2014

Janathon Day 3: walks & house work

It's possible to have sore shin muscles. I never knew...

Pic from Bristol Post. This is really close to
our place - yet I never saw it!
But that's from yesterday. I never saw the apocalyptic flood that was expected although later I saw some incredible pictures - really close to where we live as well - yet I never saw any of it! Must have come & gone really quickly. Certainly by midday there was lovely sunshine and hardly any wind! So Fred and I took the opportunity for a walk together.

Admittedly he got more exercise than I did, chasing after the ball, and the walk was somewhat shorter than I'd hoped because it started raining again and I wasn't wearing a coat. Beautiful rainbow on the way back!

Both before and after the walk I tidied and cleaned to my heart's content, and all that work has got to count for something too, doesn't it? Now enjoying a gleaming kitchen and bathroom, hoovered floors, and a generally tidier place - smelling of freshly made banana muffins - I'm quite ready for a last quiet weekend with my beloved. Things will get hectic again of course. But we have the weekend.

Oh, and fish (veggie burger) & chips to start it off!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Day 2: 6mi. walk - for walking's sake...

I thought I was walking to work today. I did walk there but found the place locked up and empty... so walked back again.

It was a pleasant enough walk though, sunny and bright and not too cold. Fred even stayed close by my side when I let him go off lead in the woods - that was a first!

I feel quite worn out though. Starting January with a rest day was a good idea after all - following the Peak District walks I think I needed a day off! Not that I'll get to sit around and chill now I'm back home - laundry needs doing, the place needs a thorough clean...

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Day One: in which nothing happened

Thought I'd put a picture in of us
walking in the Peak District...
So I signed up for Janathon: a month of daily exercise and blogging. Today is Day One... here's what happened.
  • Torrential rain.
  • From 10-3ish, we drove back from Peak District where we spent our holidays.
  • Torrential rain meant that even Fred the dog had no interest in leaving the car for a wee at any of the rest stops. Pulled me back to the car immediately!
  • Arrived to a freezing boat, as expected.
  • Turned on immersion heater - it blew the mains. At time of this writing, we haven't got power back yet.
  • I am not exercising in a January downpour with the prospect of a cold shower (if any) at the end of it!

  • Fire's going nicely.
  • I didn't eat food when I wasn't hungry today. That's another resolution, one I can keep every day as it's not weather dependent!
Tomorrow's plan should go ahead - a minimum of 1.5 hours' walking (45 minutes each way to/from work) and if my new Yoga DVD arrives for strengthening the back, then that as well.

Oh and perhaps I should make plans to find a shower somewhere.