19 for 19: week 6 update

Week of 4 February 2019

20190210 Sunrise Taroona Beach 1 edit

Happy Sunday

This was a big week. Not only was it back to school week but it was Kramstable’s first week of high school. Yes, I am the parent of a high school student! Where has that time gone? It doesn’t seem like eight years ago I was fretting over him starting Kinder and preparing him (and me) for his first day in the education system.

And now, here we were starting a whole new chapter. Only in this chapter, he will be on his own. Where at primary school I had heaps of opportunities to be involved with Kramstable’s class, from parent help in his classroom in the early years, talking to his teachers in the mornings when I dropped him off (before he put a stop to me taking him in to school) and going on excursions to places I would never have otherwise had the chance to go to, high school is different. I don’t imagine there’s anything like that, no chance to be directly involved and to see what he’s doing at school. (Though I do believe there is an online classroom that his teacher is setting up so that we will be able to see what his class is doing so I’m looking forward to that.)

He didn’t want me to walk with him to school at all. That time has long gone. I convinced him to let me come with him on the first day so I could take a photo of him outside the school, and then I’d leave him alone for the rest of the year. The rest of his high school life. That was the deal.

I ended up getting better than that because his friends’ mother wanted to take a picture of the three of them on their first day at school because we’d missed getting a photo of them on their last day of primary school. He agreed, we got our photos on the school grounds, and then, with very little in the way of goodbye, they wandered off into the throng of students to find the teacher who was pointing the grade 7s in the right direction, with not even a glance behind them.

That was my first, and last, high school drop off. I actually felt okay about it. I think I got all the emotions I was feeling out when he finished primary school and once that was out of the way, starting high school was just the next step in a process I had already come to terms with.

I think Kramstable treating it as nothing more than another school day helped too. If he’d been nervous or worried I’m sure that would have rubbed off on me. But he was very cool about it all. I left the school, confident that he’d be fine.

As I was waiting for the bus to go to work, I scanned my facebook feed. It brought up this photo from 2011. Eight years ago.

20190206 Snail IG

Eight years ago

Eight years ago, the owner of this hand started kindergarten. Today, he started high school.

So it was a big week, which ended with me coming down with a very unpleasant head cold that put me out of action most of Saturday. As a result, I didn’t get a lot done to progress my 19 for 2019 list. But that’s okay. I have a year to do it and I know some weeks will be good and others won’t be. Life happens.

This week’s baby step in taking better care of me (thing 6) so that I can do the things I want to do this year is to continue to focus on staying hydrated and doing my deep breathing. I picked up one of these klean kanteen water bottles this week, which I really like because it has the sippy top rather than a lid. I’m finding I’m reaching for it more often to take a drink, whereas with the screw top, just having to unscrew the lid was an extra step that sometimes I couldn’t be bothered to take.

20190210 New water bottle edit

Bright orange makes me smile

In Atomic Habits, James Clear describes this as the Law of Least Effort, and he says that we naturally gravitate to the option that requires the least amount of work. He says to create a habit you need to make doing the right thing as easy as possible and reduce the friction associated with good behaviours. Taking off a bottle top is a tiny thing, but it’s still something else I have to do before I can drink my water. (Yes, I could probably just leave the lid off, or use a glass, but that’s not so practical for carrying the water around with me.)

I’ve also been reviewing my breakfast options to see what works best for me. A couple of the things I’ve tried this week have been the Chocolate Coco-nutty Granola from the I Quit Sugar for Life cookbook and avocado on toast. The avocado is definitely the winner out of those two; though the granola is yummy, it’s not overly filling.

I haven’t done anything on the photo course this week (thing 1) and haven’t put any more photos into my folio (thing 2). I ordered an ND filter (thing 7).

I finished reading the book The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyce, which Kramstable got for Christmas. He wanted to watch the movie on Friday so I read the book in advance so I’d know what I was getting into. I’ve now completed six out of the 12 books I wanted to read this year (thing 5).20190207 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas cover

I printed three photo collages for my 2018 photo journal and made two more weekly collages (thing 11). I entered another 33 beers in my beer book spreadsheet (thing 12) and I’m continuing to get more familiar with Lightroom as I use it (thing 19).

Status for week 6:

  • Things completed: 3 (8, 19, 15)
  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things I progressed this week: 6 (5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 19)
  • Things I’ve started but didn’t progress this week: 3 (1, 2, 16)
  • Things not started: 7 (3, 4, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18)

 

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19 for 2019: update week 3

It’s week 3 of my 19 for 2019 plan (week of 14 January 2019). I didn’t make a lot of progress this week.

I finished reading two books (thing 5). One of them was this one, Exhausted to Energised by Dr Libby Weaver. (Reading list here if you want to know what the other one was.)20190115 exhausted to energtised edit I found the Exhausted to Energised journal that I got from kikki.K ages ago in a pile of unread books. (Note I said “a pile of unread books”. Because I have more than one.) I decided there was no point having it if I didn’t actually use it, so I borrowed the accompanying book from the library and made a start. I found so much information relevant to me that I ordered my own copy to keep referring to as I work through the journal.

I did two writing lessons (thing 8) and I completed one assignment for the photography course (thing 1).20190115 flower exerciseMy photo library has very kindly gone and messed itself completely up so I’ve spent a lot of time yesterday and today trying to sort it out. I’m wondering if this is a sign to bite the bullet and move everything into Lightroom. I followed some instructions to do something I wanted to know how to do in there (thing 19).

Status at the end of week 3

  • Things completed: 1
  • Things I have taken action on this week: 4
  • Things in progress but no action this week: 3
  • Things not started: 11

Here are some photos from my morning walk on Saturday before my photo library started causing me grief. 20190119 morning walk flowers 2 edit

20190119 morning meditation edit

19 for 2019: update week 1

We’re almost one week into 2019 and I’ve printed my 19 for 2019 list and stuck it on my wall so I’ll see it rather than make it and forget about it.

I’m going to try and keep myself accountable by posting my progress over the year, so, welcome to update number 1.

Have I achieved anything? Well, yes and no. I have done some things, but I haven’t checked anything off the list.

I finished one book (thing 5), which I wasn’t sure whether to count or not, as I started reading it in 2018. I’m keeping track of my reading here and I decided to count it because I did read some of it in 2019.

20190106 sunrise edit

Happy Sunday

I took some of the coins to the bank (thing 9).

I think that what held me back from even doing this was the fact that “take the coins to the bank” is not actually a task that I could check off.

If you listen to the productivity gurus, they will tell you that anything that has more than one step is not a task. It’s a project. A project is made up of tasks (or actions). You can’t “do” a project, you can only do a task. Therefore, the thing you need to consider is what is the very next action you need to take to enable you to complete the project.

“Take the coins to the bank” has more than one task that I need to do before I can say it’s done. First, I have to get the coins from the basket they’ve been sitting in, bagged up, for three years or more and I have to put them in my bag. Only then can I actually take them to the bank. That’s step two. Once I’m at the bank I need to do two things: run the coins through the coin machine and take the receipt to the teller to register the deposit in my account. Actually, Kramstable’s account because he’s the only one with an account at that bank.

Realistically, if I’m at the bank I’m going to do both of those things, so the tasks that I identified are

1. Put the coins in my bag
2. Go to the bank

I did this for one set of coins. There was over $40 in there that is now in Kramstable’s account. Lucky him. The other, I had left at home because they would have made my bag too heavy. They are now in my bag ready for me to go back to the bank tomorrow.

The lesson here is that I often put things on my to-do list that look like tasks but, because they involve more than one step, they are actually “projects” or, at the very least, mini-projects. Book skin check (thing 4) is another example. To complete this, I need to do the following

1. Decide which skin clinic to go to
2. Get their phone number
3. Identify some times it will be convenient for me to have an appointment
4. Call them and book the appointment
5. Put the appointment on my calendar

All those years I’ve thought to myself I need to book a skin check when what I’ve really needed to do is decide which clinic to go to. The way I’ll do this is to ask my GP next time I’m there which one she recommends. So the actual thing on my to-do list is “ask GP for skin clinic recommendation”.

Most of the things on my 19 for 2019 are like this. Some are quite obviously large projects but others have only two or three associated actions. You might say they really are tasks, with sub-tasks associated, which is an equally valid way of looking at it. The terminology doesn’t really matter. The challenge is to work out what those actions or sub-tasks are, put the next actions on my to-do list and get to work actually doing them.

As well as the reading and the coins, this week I have made progress on the photo course (thing 1), making my folio (thing 2), my 2018 photojournal (thing 11), the photo project (thing 16) and learning Lightroom (thing 19).

Week 1 summary

Things completed: 0

Things I have taken action on this week: 7

Things not started: 12

19 for 2019

I’ve been mulling over my 19 for 2019 list that I posted about on Wednesday and I reckon I’ve settled on a doable list that includes a few easy wins (though some of them have been on the list since 2013 . . . so that may be debatable ), a couple of long-term projects and some things I would do if I just made the time to sit down and do them.

I tried to avoid putting things on there that are more like habits I want to adopt or improve, so that I have a list of things that, with a couple of exceptions, have a clear endpoint that I can cross off and say they’re done.

So, what is this list, you may wonder. Wonder no more.

19 for 2019

  1. Complete the 31-day photography course
  2. Make a folio of my best/favourite photos throughout the year
  3. Walk from Taroona to Moonah (just because it rhymes!)
  4. Book my skin check
  5. Read 12 books, at least six of which are fiction (I will keep my reading list updated)

    20181230 2019 reading list edit

    Some of the books I will probably read in 2019

  6. Do a 12-week fitness program
  7. Get an ND filter
  8. Complete the online writing course at work
  9. Take the coins to the bank
  10. Get my sewing machine fixed
  11. Complete my 2018 photojournal and stay up to date with the 2019 journal
  12. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of the beers in my 33 Books Co beer tasting journals and add in the beers I have tried from all of the books (I have completed ten of them)

    20181230 Beer journal edit

    Beer tasting journal number 11

  13. Go alcohol-free for a month (I can write up the beer journals in the month I’m not drinking beer. That seems fair.)
  14. Make one photo that I am really proud of and print it big, frame it and put it on the wall
  15. Explore a track on kunanyi
  16. Complete a photo project I started last year
  17. Get a manicure
  18. Put at least 50 things in the Bucket List notebook (This is a planner by Mi Goals for you to “dream, plan and document 100 things you want to do before you kick the bucket”. I know, make a list about making a list . . . I have had had this book for years and it’s sat on the shelf unopened. It’s either use it or get rid of it.)

    20181230 Bucket list book edit

    Use it or get rid of it

  19. Learn to use Lightroom

And that’s it. 19 things to absolutely, positively do in 2019.

The plan is for me to be able to look back at this list in 12 months time and have done everything on it. In her end of year wrap-up of 18 for 2018, Gretchen Rubin says that she was sure she accomplished much more in 2018 with the list than she otherwise would have. She says, “putting  items on the list, reviewing the list, talking it over with [my sister], seeing the list on the cork-board next to my desk, the desire to score a perfect 18 by December 31—all these mean I’m much more likely to get these things done.”

And, she says, it’s fun and she got a tremendous kick out of doing it.

So that’s my aim for this challenge. To have fun while getting things done.

Feel free to drop me a comment if you’re thinking of doing something similar this year. It would be fun to see what other people are doing along the same lines.

100 things in 2018

In 2013, inspired by another blogger, I made a list of 100 things I wanted to do that year. I posted the list on a page on my blog and periodically updated it and crossed things off I’d achieved. By the end of 2013, there were a lot of things I’d got nowhere near doing, so I left the list there for 2014. And 2015 . . . And 2016 . . . And never mind . . .

I eventually took it down because, instead of making plans to go out and do those things, it just reminded me of all the things I hadn’t done. (It still exists on my old blogging platform, however.)

This year, with renewed enthusiasm, I made a new list of 100 things to do. Some of them, like book a skin check, were still hanging round from the 2013 list. Some were quite simple. Make a donation, get yellow sunglasses and update my phone’s software. Some were books I wanted to read (I made a list of those on the blog and have been updating it here). Some were long-term. Finish a couple of courses I had signed up for, walk to the top of kunanyi. Some were daily habits. Walk 12,000 steps. Make a black and white photo every day and post it on Instagram.

Rather than announce this to the world and put it back on my blog, I made a spreadsheet to keep track of everything (this shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me) and started checking things off the list. That lasted a while until life got in the way and I kind of forgot about the list. I mean, 12 months later, the bag of coins I wanted to put in the bank is still sitting on top of my dresser and I have not made an appointment for a skin check. However, while the book on fermenting has sat on my bookshelf untouched all year and my sewing machine is still in its cupboard unrepaired, I do have a new computer, a camera bag and a tripod, and I joined a yoga class, have regular lunches with my mum and my sister, and went to a mixed media class.

20180324 Mixed media 2 IG

I did the class . . . I may not have finished the project

Overall, excluding the daily habits I had included on the list, which I can’t check off until I have completed the final task on 31 December, I finished 37 of the 100 things.

In hindsight, 100 things is too many things to keep track of. There are way too many big projects on the list for me to reasonably have had a chance of completing within 12 months and some of them are ongoing things that don’t really have a point at which I can say I’ve completed it. So I’m not surprised at the low number.

On the other hand, I did 37 things I might not have done if I hadn’t thought about them and written them down. So it’s not a complete disaster!

It was around about this time last year I heard Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft talk about their 18 for 2018 lists in the Happier podcast.  This is a much shorter, snappier list. Eighteen things they wanted to get done in 2018. I’ve pretty much stopped listening to podcasts now so I don’t know how they went with their lists (a quick search of Gretchen’s website tells me she did, indeed complete her list), but I’ve decided to adopt this idea for 2019 for myself. I don’t know if Gretchen and Liz are revisiting the idea for 2019, but I’m going to make a list of 19 things I absolutely want to complete next year. Nineteen seems like a realistic target (especially since I completed 37 things this year) because some of those will be projects that will require a large commitment.

I will put this list somewhere I can see it and review it regularly.

I’ll think about what I want to put on the list over the next few days. I have some ideas already but I want to make sure I only include things I definitely want to do in 2019 and that I can commit to doing, so it will take a while to get that right. I don’t want to include anything that’s a daily habit I want to adopt or anything that might start to look like a new year’s resolution. I want actual things I want to do and that have a definite point at which they are completed. Definitely nothing like “get more sleep” or “drink less beer” (ha). Perhaps I’ll share it on here when I’m done as another way of staying accountable.

So, while I’m doing that, I’d love you tell me whether you have ever done a list like this and, if so, how you went?

Point to Pinnacle part 1

A backlog of posts about my Point to Pinnacle experience, being a not overly fit, desk-bound, not-getting-any-younger casual walker. 

27 July 2018

I like to walk. I go for a 20-minute walk every morning and aim to walk at least 12,000 steps every day.

Occasionally, I sign up for organised walks like the City to Casino Fun Run (and Walk) and have participated in CARE Australia’s Walk in Her Shoes challenge, which is a walking challenge to raise funds for CARE’s work with women in developing countries.

These have all been reasonably gentle events that haven’t been overly physically challenging for me.

However, there is one event that I’ve thought about participating in for several years and never made the commitment to because it’s beyond the next level for me.

The Point to Pinnacle is described as:

the toughest half-marathon in the world, and for good reason, with just over 1270m of ascending, gradients above 10% and extreme changes in climate and weather conditions. The event is a challenge of the human spirit and allows people of all ages and abilities to be involved through our walk or run. It is now one of Tasmania’s iconic events that draws many people from interstate and internationally each year. (2018 Point to Pinnacle Event Book)

The course starts at Wrest Point Car Park and goes for 21.1 km to the pinnacle of kunanyi/Mount Wellington.

I was walking with a friend in the City to Casino earlier this year and mentioned I was considering entering this event. I said that I’d thought about it but never done it. She said something along the lines of, you don’t do it by thinking about it. She had a point, and I thought maybe this would be the year I’d do it. But I wasn’t sure.

Fast forward to today and I had to see the HR guy who had coordinated my work’s participation in the City to Casino. I had to return a shirt that my sister had refused to wear. (I don’t blame her; they were most unflattering). I handed the shirt back, he thanked me and I wondered for a brief second if I should go back to my desk or if I should say something about how much I had enjoyed participating in the race and how good it was for work to be supporting things like this.

I did neither.

“I’m going to do the Point to Pinnacle,” I blurted out.

Brain-mouth disconnect. Why would I tell anyone that?

He looked at me in what I can only describe as horror*.

“I could never do that,” he said. This from a guy who is, I imagine, because he ran the City to Casino, fairly fit.

Instant fear struck my heart. If a fit, young(er than me) guy said he wouldn’t attempt it, what in hell made me think I could do it? Up until then, I’d imagined it would be difficult (because hills) but not overly impossible for someone with my level of fitness to do. I know people who have done it and haven’t died, so I know it’s possible. I semi-regularly do 10 km walks so I know I’m not entirely unfit. However, this is double that distance and involves a mountain. It’s not exactly the same thing.

“I’m walking it,” I said.

I don’t think that needed to be said. A quick glance at my physique would tell anyone I’m not a runner, let alone a runner who runs 20 km up mountains.

“Yes,” he said.

“Well I look at it like this,” I continued because I’d got myself into this conversation and now I had to end it. “It’s in about three months, so if I sign up, I’ve committed and I have to do it so I’ll have to train for it. There won’t be any getting out of it.”

“Yeah,” he said, looking less than convinced.

I am now doubting myself bigtime. Is it going to be a hell of a lot harder than I had thought? Am I completely crazy to think I can do this?

Registrations open next week. I have set a reminder to sign up. Am I going to do this? Am I going to let someone else’s reaction stop me?

No, I am not. I’ll never know if I can do it unless I try. I have enough time to prepare. I’m committed and I’m doing it.

 

*HR guy’s reaction may be slightly overstated for dramatic effect.

12 commandments

I got a bit lost on Challenge 6, 30 days clarity.

The idea for this challenge came from Stephen Covey’s Second Habit: Begin with the end in mind. That is, to start with a clear understanding of your destination; to know where you’re going so that the steps you take are steps in the right direction.

I imagined that I might do some activities in this sphere that appealed to me including writing a personal mission statement, identifying my personal values and setting some goals.

I made some progress on the values idea, which actually came about through another exercise rather than this challenge, and I’ve been tinkering with this document for quite a while.

At the same time I’ve been re-familiarising myself with Gretchen Rubin’s work. One of the things she did in her Happiness Project, which I really liked, was to develop her 12 Personal Commandments. These are overarching principles on how she wants to live her life

She describes it as “a creative way to distill core values”.

While I love the idea of having this sort of list, it also terrifies me a little to think about setting down my own rules for my own life. You know, because once you have rules set down like this you can never ever ever change them because they are set in stone . . .

Right?

I know this isn’t true, but it’s one of the mental barriers that I think was preventing me from taking action on this challenge: the mistaken belief that once I’ve written down my life goals, I’m wedded to them FOREVER.

It’s why I could never decide what I wanted to be when I grew up because I didn’t want to make a decision that would bind me to a career path for my entire working life. (So I’ve ended up in a career I chose because there was nothing else going at the time. I’ve been here for 20 years. And on reflection, I seem to have decided my fate by not deciding. Wrap your head around that. Ha.)

I’m thinking about getting back into the clarity exercise and, to kick it off, a few days ago I decided to make my own list of 12 commandments – not for my life forever, but for the way I want to live my life this year. That seems a whole lot less daunting than committing myself to something forever (even though, as we know, it wouldn’t have necessarily been a forever commitment).

Here’s my work-in-progress list. I wanted to put something together now and see how it sits, and make adjustments as I work my way through the other exercises I’m going to do. I think something to start with will be better than nothing.

My 12 (draft) Personal Commandments for 2017

  1. Be kind to everyone I meet.
  2. Nourish myself. (Take care of myself.)
  3. Express gratitude.
  4. Pause before responding, rather than reacting instantly.
  5. Be the change I want to see in the world.
  6. Focus on cultivating positive habits rather than eliminating negative ones.
  7. Be present. Feel my feelings. Fully immerse myself in my experiences.
  8. Fix what bugs me if I can change it. Don’t complain about it if I can’t influence it.
  9. Start where I am; Use what I have; Do what I can. (Know that I am enough.)
  10. I am what I am.
  11. Know what’s important and focus on that.
  12. Simplify. (Don’t take on anything new unless I have identified something to give up. One in, one out.)
  13. Consolidate. (Reflect on what I’ve learned and put it into practice instead of collecting more shiny new objects.)

Yeah, I know. There are 13. The Arthur Ashe quote (number 9) wasn’t in the draft list of 12, but it came into my head while I was writing this post. I love this quote and it needs to be there, but I don’t know which one has to go to make way for it. Maybe none of them do. Who says it has to be 12 anyway? Make your own rules.

I think I want to re-read The Happiness Project now, but I already have three books on the go, so in the spirit of “one in, one out”, I’ll wait.

The three words in bold are the three words I picked out at the end of last year to try to guide me through this year. This is a thing. Three words or one word. It sounded like a good idea, but I’m not really sure what to do with them, so I incorporated them into my commandments. Now I’m not sure if I need big ticket ones and subordinate ones, or if they all belong together . . .

See! This is why I never get anything done. I overthink things.

Just put the damn list out there, refer to it regularly and do it.

I’m going to print this list out and stick it up where I can see it, so I don’t forget. I hope that this will be the restart I need to get me back into the #steppingonthecracks project.