THE BASICS | BODY: UPDATE #3

TL; DR:  Are those abs? Or just indents from where my jeans dig into my stomach?

-----

I've been travelling again for work, and basing myself on last month's trip, I knew there was a great possibility that I fall off the workout wagon again. Lately, I've been getting into the groove of working out 5-6 times a week. This routine leaves me feeling energized and more able to take on stresses and challenges.

I can see the tangible 1% improvements since starting this workout challenge at the beginning of the year. To fathom how far those changes have taken me is a little surreal looking back. Not only am I working out more consistently, I'm pushing myself harder every time. Whether that's walking into a full weight room, or trying a new cardio class, I'm more willing to push my personal boundaries.

Today that meant squeezing in a quick workout in the strangest gym yet... a converted room in the hotel I'm staying at, decked out with a couple of cardio machines, a TV, and one multi-use weight machine. Although it wasn't my ideal workout environment, it made me feel good to exercise some degree of discipline beyond my daily routine.

Now to apply that to other habits...

THE BASICS | MIND UPDATE #3

TL; DR: I like reading again, and my goal of one book every two weeks seems much more sustainable moving forward.

----------

When I outlined what this first 100 Day Challenge would look like, I envisioned a linear increase in how much time to allot for each habit, culminating in 30 minutes/day per habit by the end of the 100 days. But as the days tick past, I realize that not only is that too regimented for implementation for these habits, it's also unrealistic. Who hasn't been captivated by the theme or storyline of a book, only to have read for far longer than the intended timeframe?

As the weeks progress, I find myself reaching for my Kindle more often instead of scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat quite as much. I've kept to roughly getting through one book every two weeks, mostly in the self-development space. Hang tight for a more detailed book post soon! As a result of this habit, I feel better equipped to speak on different topics, and that I have more to offer in conversations with varied audiences.

THE BASICS | SOUL: UPDATE #2

TL; DR: Why do we always find it so hard to work on our weak spots? Oh right, because it's not fun at all to do so, no matter how necessary.

----------

At the beginning of this challenge, I spoke about how I previously dabbled in each of the habits undertaken during the first third of 2018. While reading and sports were second nature to me, regardless of how rocky said relationship was over time, meditation remained the newest of the three habits. This meant that with meditation, there was still the most unexplored territory.

In practice however, this meant that this habit was the most difficult for me to undertake. Boredom, drowsiness, lack of discipline... all factors contributing to the fact that my meditation habit has been as ragged as my disjointed breathing pattern during meditation.

Much like with any skill or habit, we are most inclined to work on the items that first give us the most immediate satisfaction. Don't believe me? Let me know how hard it is to break up with your UberEATS or Seamless love affair after even just the first meal. Hyperbolic discounting is everywhere; none of us are immune to it. 

But if we follow the logic in economics of what we stand to gain long-term, rather than keeping our blinders on, focusing on the short-term satisfaction, we should understand that hyperbolic discounting gets us nowhere at the end of the day.

Keeping this sentiment in mind, I am actively still pushing forward with this habit - at a minimum, seeing this habit through to the full 100 days. Catch you in the next update, where hopefully I'll have found a little bit more zen!

THE BASICS | BODY: UPDATE #2

TL; DR: Workin' on my fitness; who's my witness?

----------

I've had a rocky relationship with exercise - from spending hours on cardio machines,  running a half-marathon, to being a stagnant couch potato, I've been all of these people.

Recently, however, I noticed some changes to my body that I was not happy about. While I am actively working on self-acceptance and self-love, I am also working on my confidence, which to me, includes loving and respecting my body so that I feel my absolute best. At the height of my work craziness, I felt drained and defeated.

It didn't start off this way - beyond a slow start in January, the month overall was a great one for me in terms of fitness. I got back into a schedule wherein I challenged myself on a daily basis in the gym, or at a spin class (thanks for the rides, SpinCo <3), and my mental clarity grew. Every morning leaving the gym, I let the cold winter air hit my face, and despite the frosty welcome, I couldn't help but smile. Work frustrations rolled off my back, without any terse exchanges. Funny how much a sweat session can affect your mood and outlook for hours to come.

However, the first day I missed a workout coincided with missed connections and lost luggage. After spending 48 hours in the same set of clothes, I stepped on another plane, having consumed my weight in free muffins, courtesy of an airline food voucher. To say I didn't feel like myself would be an understatement. Part of me wanted to wallow, to perpetuate the situation by comforting myself with delicious treats or unhealthy meal choices. But as I've worked my way through this first 100 day challenge, I've slowly been able to make better choices for myself. This includes indulging appropriately, but also putting my foot down and doing what's best for future me, even if current me is pouting over skipping dessert.

I haven't quite made it out the other side, but I'm looking forward to a sweaty workout after the madness of my trip. It's a reminder that there will be better days than others, and that ultimately it's the long-term goals that really count in the grand scheme of things.

THE BASICS | MIND: UPDATE #2

TL; DR: To say I still have all my wits about me would be a stretch. How reading is keeping me sane.

----------

This past month has been a whirlwind. Why so crazy in January? The start of the year makes everyone chomp at the bit, as we know. When that sentiment gets brought into the workplace, there are effects for oneself, and likely reverberates throughout the environment too. I really needed an outlet that would turn my mind off from the flurry of thoughts and worries that plagued me late into the night.

I've read two books so far in 2018, one that I featured in my first update, and The Year of Less by Cait Flanders. I've followed Cait's blog for many years, back when she was still Blonde on a Budget. To read her journey throughout her debt payoff and beyond, in book form, was helpful to my own sanity. 

As an avid reader, I relish the nights where I would stay up all night to read a book cover to cover. While I certainly don't have that stamina quite as much today, I still enjoy reading for long periods of time. This was achievable with a book like The Year of Less - I was able to read for chunks of time; even though there was a focus on Cait's financial journey, the book read as fluidly as any fiction novel I've feverishly read in the past.

What I realized after so much time away, not reading, was that reading will always be a priority for me, and one that provides an educational outlet away from the details of day-to-day.