A year ago I was on top of my game. I was working out 5-6 days per week and tracking my meals. I was also juggling three freelance writing jobs on top of a full-time career, and a family. I was losing weight and paying down debt at a rapid rate. I felt like I could handle anything life threw my way.
But I lost it. I went from being in the groove to stuck in a rut.
How could I go from an intentional, goal-oriented, go-getter to an overwhelmed and out of control slacker in only a few short months?
The Slippery Slope from Determined to Distracted
The unraveling started when I had surgery late this spring. I spent 6 weeks in recovery, not exercising, then shifted immediately into 6 more weeks of intense training for a 150 mile bike ride. The kids were off of school for the summer which meant our days were a free-for-all. And a couple of people left my team due to some restructuring at work which required me to spin several more plates in the same amount of time.
Too much change in too short of a time-frame caused this working mom of three to fall right back into her old habits. I’ve plateaued in my weight loss and debt reduction. More often than not, I’m playing catch-up. I’ve become one of “those moms” who forgets the permission slip is due until we’re running out the door or it’s too late. I am no longer living life intentionally. I’m in reaction mode most of the time.
Don’t try to overhaul your life overnight. Instead, focus on making one small change at a time. Over time, those small changes will add up to big transformation. Don’t give up!
I’ve been desperate to get back on track, trying to set goals and make promises to myself. I like the idea of setting a theme for the month to help me stay focused. A month is enough time to see results in many goals. It gives you enough time to develop a new habit. It is also short enough that you can see light at the end of the tunnel.
In an attempt to reign myself back in to healthier eating, I gave myself a challenge to not eat sweets last month. “No Sweets September” was my theme. The temptations were plentiful and it was much harder than I thought. I had a few small slips throughout the month, but I did pretty well for the most part.
Unfortunately there are no significant results to report. I am still hovering around the same weight on the scale, feeling over-tired, out of time, and overwhelmed.
Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart. – Sarah Ban Breathnach
I caught a glimpse of the “Heather” I want to be, while walking into a beautiful, uncluttered hotel room in New Orleans. I had a small cary-on bag full of clothing and shoes I felt great in, and a backpack with my laptop, business cards, and makeup. My co-worker and I had arrived early, so I had some time to chill before we were to meet up again to get some food and explore the French Quarter.
My schedule for the conference was already planned out. I had a checklist of people I wanted to meet. I also had the addresses of restaurants friends told me I had to be sure to visit while I was there.
I called the kids to check in, and then wondered what to do with myself. When was the last time I had time to relax, read, or daydream out the window?
I had my shit together and it felt great to have a moment to breathe!
It wasn’t just an inner peace I felt. My calmness was apparent to others.
A blogger I’ve seen at this same conference several years in a row, stop me in the lobby of the hotel to comment on how relaxed and happy I seemed. He teased me, asking if I’d been napping in my room instead of attending the sessions and networking events.
Throughout the conference, I picked up lots of tips on how to optimize my writing, blog, and marketing plan to get the best results.
“Optimization (noun) an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible”
On the flight home, it hit me like a V-8 juice smack in the forehead…
I need to optimize my life!
As much as I like to think of myself as a creative free spirit who hates the confinement of schedules, in reality I am better when I have a plan.
When I don’t have a plan there is no food in the house, we end up eating out, spending more money, and killing progress I’ve made on the scale. When I don’t have a plan, I forget things like permission slips and library book due dates. When I don’t have a plan I reach the end of the day not having exercised.
I was fully optimized when I left for New Orleans.
- I had my favorite outfits, the ones I felt good in
- I planned my schedule with wiggle-room for networking and spontaneous meetings
- I knew who I needed to meet and when I planned on connecting with them
The result of my optimization:
- I ate relatively healthy (if you ignore one bignet–a planned splurge, and a couple of cocktails each evening)
- I got lots of exercise walking around NOLA
- I felt relaxed
- I had time to enjoy myself
- I could be in the moment as I met new people and rekindled old friendships
Since I’ve been home I’ve spent more time thinking about it. It’s time to get my shit together again! Time to cut the crap out of my life and optimize my schedule, my closets, my budget, and my eating.
I want more of that relaxed, living in the moment, live is in control feeling! (Who doesn’t, right?)
Even my husband was on board with my “pick a theme for the month” idea and offered to help me to Optimize October. He’s totally getting into the spirit suggesting we theme next month, “Naughty November!”
If you need to get your shit together too, let me be the first to welcome you to Optimize October! Let’s take control together and streamline, organize, prioritize, and systematize our lives! Enter the holidays with more time to relax and enjoy your family…and maybe even some fun naughty time with your honey! ;)