How I’m Tracking My 2015 ‘Move More’ Goal

up24-onyx-angled-hiI received an activity tracker for Christmas, having forgotten than I’d even asked for one. I hoped the little wrist-band gizmo was going to do the walking for me and give me all the credit.

It’s a pretty cool gadget, really. I can set an idle alert to remind me to get up and move and a reminder when it’s time to get ready for bed. Then it tracks how well I sleep.

The Power Nap feature lets me set a nap length myself or will set an optimal length based on my previous night’s sleep. This feature will be my favorite if ever I get the time to take a nap.

I’ve learned two important things in the four weeks of wearing this thing 23 ½ hours a day.  First, if I want to get eight hours of sleep, I have to be in bed for at least nine. I wake up if the air so much as moves outside much less if there’s actual wind, so sleeping a solid eight hours is impossible.

Secondly, setting my daily step goal at 10,000 was very optimistic. Reaching that goal means intentionally stepping most of my waking hours. Since I am calling myself a writer, and that means not stepping even out of my desk chair for hours on end, there’s no way I’m getting that many steps every day. In fact, my average on good days is just under 5,000.

A couple of days ago, I logged 9,377 steps by 10p.m. It was dark but there was NO WAY I was not going for the full 10,000 since there was a good chance I wouldn’t be that close any time soon. So before bed I walked around the house until I had reached it.

By the time I crawled into bed I had logged 10,318 steps, 4.6 miles, 103% of my goal. The next morning I learned a third very-important something: I am out of shape.

Just In Case – Confessions of a “Collector”

I had what I’ll call a moment with my husband this weekend. It wasn’t an argument; I agreed with what he was saying.

Our laundry room needed cleaned and I was the reason. I have a really hard time throwing things away and our laundry room has lots of drawers and cupboards, meaning many places to stuff my “collections.” Things like plastic bags – the really big ones – from Target and T.J. Maxx. Pens, pencils, highlighters, and markers that I’ve had for years. Candles and shoelaces and empty cardboard boxes.

And then there were the towels. Oh my.

My husband wasn’t critical at first. He just wanted to know why one entire two-door cupboard and two deep drawers were full of towels. But, I instantly go on the defensive, because that’s what I do when he asks about my “collections.”

He kindly offered to clean the laundry room for me. At least that’s what he’d tell you. But both of us knew (this comes from being married for nearly twenty-six years) that this was more like an ultimatum – either I clean it or he’ll come in with a big trash bag and “clean” it for me.

I think he might have even said the word hoarder at one point, but I can’t be certain.

It was probably at this point (it’s hard to recall exactly because I was busy at the time scrambling to find a way to save my stuff!) that I nearly yelled, “I know I have a problem and, if you’ll just give me five minutes to swallow that, I’ll be able to accept it and clean this room.”

I say nearly yelled, because I don’t yell at my husband when I know I’m wrong. I save the yelling for the times I know I’m right. And for the kids. (Except not this year, which is an entirely different post.)

A couple of hours later I had filled the big trash bag myself. And cleaned off the counters, swept the floor, and dusted many many days of lint off the washer and dryer. (Hey, I’m the first one to admit that I am NOT Mrs. Housekeeper.)

I later admitted to my husband that it felt good to have the laundry room clean again. Because, really, it hasn’t been since the day before we moved in almost a year ago. Goodness.

What I didn’t admit to him was how many towels I cleared out. Of course, he will know now if he reads my blog posts. Fifty-two. No, that’s not a typo. Fifty-two towels of varying size, color, and length of use. Only fourteen of those went into the Goodwill donation bag because most of them were so threadbare or stained they had exceeded the point where anyone would pay money for them.

Why was I keeping them? In case I needed them, duh! You just never know when you’ll need a towel you won’t care ends up in the trash because you won’t put it in your washing machine. Like to wash the car, wipe the dog’s feet, clean up puke that missed the intended receptacle. There are so many reasons to have throw-away towels. I just happen to have a decade-old collection of them. Or maybe more like two decades.

I kept eight. Just in case.

Someday I will have to address my fetish for, and overwhelming collection of, writing utensils. But that’s a struggle for another day.

Resolutions Feed Garage Sales

Treadmill for SaleA few years ago, I wrote a newspaper column about the flawed thinking in making New Year’s resolutions. January resolutions feed self-contempt and June garage sales. I suggested that, rather than putting our lives and habits under the microscope at the top of every year to find the things we don’t like about ourselves in order to form a plan for improvement, we instead find those things that make us happy and keep doing those.

It was a tongue-in-cheek piece in which I admitted to drinking too much coffee (still do) and not washing my hair every day (still don’t.)  But having turned forty-something this week, I’m faced with the reality that my body and my mind are aging quicker than I’d like and it might benefit me in the long run to at least make some goals for 2015. I guess that’s what “mature” people do.

Note that I am calling these GOALS and not resolutions. According to a statistic I read recently, only eight percent of people that make resolutions actually keep them. I know myself well enough to know that I am not likely to be in that percentage.

Resolutions are too finite. All or nothing. Pass or fail. Gold star or frownie face. I just don’t need that kind of stress, especially self-induced.

Goals can be measured more like a grade where even fifty percent doesn’t mean failure, it just means lack of effort. Seventy-five percent says I didn’t get there, but I tried.

As an act of accountability, I am recruiting some friends and family to hold my feet to the fire. This might be really dumb on my part because I’m putting those I love the most in the target zone of fiery darts when I slip up and they call me on it. But, in the event that I do reach that elusive one hundred percent, I want someone to celebrate with.

This year I’m writing more, reading more, moving more, connecting more.

At least that’s my GOAL.

Looking Back To Look Forward

Today is the last day of our Christmas break. Tonight we head to bed at a reasonable time. Tomorrow morning we wake early to our alarms – which we haven’t done since the middle of December.

Tomorrow I will finish up my list of goals for 2015. Today, I reflect back on this first year in our new home state.

I search my calendars – electronic and paper – to see what we did all year. There were a few highlights, such as our first Savannah St. Patrick’s Day, a trip to Jacksonville for a US Soccer match, visits from friends and family – all of which were great times.

Looking back, I can clearly see what needs to happen in this new year: more great times, more highlights, and more effort to have them. In an entire year in a new place, I can come up with only a handful of highlights, and I know there needs to be more of them because this life is so very short – just a breath of our entire existence – and there are things to see, places to go, experiences to be had.

I have the worst habit of procrastinating, even with the fun stuff. I put off memory-making, relationship-building opportunities until everything is just right, which it never seems to be.

For today, I am not going to worry about the Christmas decoration tubs that still need hauled up to the attic, or the sticky, glittery floors. Today is the last day before the boys’ semester two, with all its homework and deadlines and test prep.

No one is guaranteed tomorrow. So, today we live this day.