Challenge 6 – Clarity -it continues

I am really struggling with the “clarity” project.

I think I’m finding it hard to lock things like my values and purpose into writing, because I think once they’re committed in writing they’ll be locked in and I’ll never be able to change them. It’s an issue I’ve struggled with my whole life. If I commit to something, it rules everything else out – so rather than make a conscious choice (because that implies a forever commitment) I’ve gone along with whatever has come up at the time. Because somehow making a not-choice-which-still-commits-you-to-something has less power than an actual choice.

I know.

Looking back, this hasn’t been a good strategy, and is probably the reason I’ve stayed in the same career path for as long as I have.

I’m trying really hard to do this exercise as a “work in progress” activity rather than a “once it’s written it’s set in stone and can never change” thing. But I still have this reluctance to commit anything to writing.

And I have made progress. See!

Listen to the Asian Efficiency Podcast on creating a manifesto  and start to write these 5 documents

  • I listened to it and I made a start on the “perfect day” document
Make a start on the last three “easy peasy” crosswords in my crossword book.
  • I totally did this, and I started three of the more difficult ones.
Write a blog post on where I’m up to with the “clarity” challenge (i.e. actually do it this week).
  • This is it.
Write a blog post on what I learned this week.
  • Done. It’s here.

And I saw the most amazing clouds the other day

Goals for this week:

Finish the “perfect day” document.

Start three more crosswords. Finish at least one.

Write a blog post on what I learned this week.

Challenge 8 – Crosswords Day 15

I’m now half way through the crosswords challenge and have started puzzle 22 today. I completed three puzzles this week, one of them I cried out for help on Twitter because there was a clue I just couldn’t get:

“American runners from Alaksa wearing cruel smiles (8)”.

I got that there would be AK (Alaska) in there somewhere but couldn’t put the rest of it together. The answer is “sneakers” – AK in cruel smiles (sneers) = American runners. I was thinking of runners in the sense of athletes, not in the sense of shoes.

Thank you Annie!

I have a long way to go. But I’m enjoying it. I’m especially enjoying wrestling with a clue and then going back to it a couple of days later and immediately seeing the answer.

I’m finding it a lot easier to pull out the crossword book when I have a spare moment or two than I do to pull out the sketch book and try to draw something. So I’m going to give my morning “learning” time back to drawing and use spare moments that crop up during the day to work on my crosswords.

What I learned this week:

  • I need to get back into my evening routine and 10.00 bedtime.
  • I read a fascinating book called Untrain Your Brain by Mike Weeks. One line that stood out for me in the book was: “Even when we seemingly lose all choice over what life presents it’s crucial to remember that our internal response is and always will be ours to choose.”
  • Adélie is a species of penguin
  • If I sleep in and miss my morning routine yoga/meditate/walk/draw/me-time, my day doesn’t go as smoothly as normal.
  • When I’m cutting bread with a sharp knife, I shouldn’t take my eyes off what I’m doing (ouch).

And to round everything off, here’s my progress against my goals for this week:

Get a new yoga mat

  • I looked but I’m not sure exactly what I want, so this is on hold for now.

Get as far as I can on at least 6 more crossword puzzles

  • I’ve started four new puzzles and completed three (two of which I had already started).
Draw two faces
  • I drew one face and several eyes.
Complete steps 5-7 of Living With Intent
  • Completed and I did step 8 and started step 9.
Write a blog post on where I’m up to with the “clarity” challenge
  • It’s all in my head.
Write a blog post on what I learned this week
  • You’re reading it.

Goals for this week:

  1. Listen to the Asian Efficiency Podcast on creating a manifesto and start to write these 5 documents.
  2. Make a start on the last three “easy peasy” crosswords in my crossword book.
  3. Write a blog post on where I’m up to with the “clarity” challenge (i.e. actually do it this week).
  4. Write a blog post on what I learned this week.

What I learned this week

Way back in June I started to look at the Growth Mindset as one of my 30-day challenges and somewhere along the line I mentioned that I’d been trying to note down something I’d learned every day. Until recently I’d been able to find at least one thing each day, but lately I’m really struggling. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing – learning one amazing thing in a week is surely better than learning seven useless things.

But I thought it might be fun to challenge myself to try and at least note down three things that I didn’t know before each week and write a post each Sunday.

So here is the first of a (possibly) regular feature: What I learned this week.

  1. I learned that Simon Sinek (author of Start with Why, which I am currently reading) defines authenticity as when everything you say and everything you do, you actually believe.
  2. The capital of Latvia is Riga. This came up on two quiz shows I watched, two nights in a row.
  3. If you use a Lush coffee face mask you get coffee grounds all over your shower when you wash it off.

 

Week in review 2-8 March 2015/Walk in her shoes update

Last week’s goals:

  • 21,000 steps per day: 7/7 days (average 22,900 steps a day)
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm: 6/7 days

This week has been another busy training week for Walk in Her Shoes. I’m excited to have reached (and exceeded) my fundraising goal of $500, so a huge thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far.

If you’d like to contribute, my sponsorship page is here.

I’ve ticked off a couple of achievements this week:

  • I did my first sub-30 minute 3 km walk, which was made all the more difficult by it being still dark and the pavement being very uneven in places. When did it get so dark in the morning? When I first started walking in January I’d see the sun rise. Now it’s dark when I get up and still dark when I get home, and I can hardly see where I’m going!
  • I beat my longest walk from last year of 12.21 km on Saturday morning. 12.45 km in 2 hours 13 minutes.
Nailed the record

Nailed the record

I’ve somehow gone from weekend walks being 7-8 km in about 90 minutes to over 10 km in 2 hours. That’s starting to feel normal, which is kind of weird, because I never intended to walk that far. It just started to happen.

View of the River Derwent from walking up the hill on Friday afternoon

View of the River Derwent from walking up the hill on Friday afternoon

There’s only a week to go until the challenge kicks off, so this is my last week of training. After that my unofficial step goal goes up to 25,000 steps a day and I expect I’ll be spending every spare minute of the day (remember those?) walking.

Must remember to stay hydrated!

This week’s goals:

  • 21,000 steps per day
  • Go to bed before 11.30 pm

Walk in Her Shoes Challenge Update – 2 weeks to go

This week I’m combining my weekly review (23 February – 1 March) with my Walk In Her Shoes Challenge update, because it was such an uneventful week except for that.

Last week’s goals:

  • 19,000 steps per day – 7/7 days, weekly total: 153,137 steps, average: 21,877 steps per day
  • [Private goal] – 1/7 days
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm – 3/7 days. I’m finding that going to bed earlier has totally disrupted my sleep and instead of sleeping through until it’s time to get up and go walking, I’m waking up at 3 or 4 am and not able to get back to sleep. So not only am I not getting any more sleep, I’m getting lower quality sleep. I greatly dislike this.

The biggest thing last week was my photo shoot for The Mercury on Tuesday and the story in the paper last Thursday about my walk.

When I signed up for the challenge, one of the questions I was asked was whether I’d be prepared to share my story with any local media that might be interested. I said I was, and CARE sent me a list of questions to answer about why I’m doing the challenge, how I’m going about it and what I hope to achieve, which they could  send out to the media. It was a bit of fun having my photo taken, and the photo they used might well have been titled “Minister for Silly Walks”. It’s been a talking point with people I know over the last week. Here’s some of my Q and As:

How did you find your previous experience when participating in Walk In Her Shoes? (Was it difficult? Did you struggle to complete your chosen distance?)

I only signed up about 2 weeks before the challenge started last year, so I didn’t have as much time to build up to 20,000 steps as I would have liked.

In the 2 weeks leading up to the walking week I increased my daily step goal from 10,000 to 15,000 and then 17,500 steps a day. I started to get up earlier in the mornings to go for a walk. I found this was a fairly easy way to increase my step count from 10,000 to 15,000.

I had a street circuit for my morning walks that took me about 40 minutes and was a bit under 4 km, which worked out at a bit less than 5,000 steps.

To get to 17,500 and then 20,000 (which was secretly 25,000), I started walking as much as I could. This included getting up at 5.00 every morning for a walk of anywhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours – depending on what day it was and what time we had to leave for work.

I fitted in as many extra walks as I could during the day as well – at lunch time, while dinner was cooking and after dinner.

On the Saturday I was going to be busy all day (Tassievore Eat Local Feast Day), with no chance for going out for a walk, so I knew I had to get as much walking done as possible early in the morning. I set myself a target of a 2 hour walk to see how far I could get. I ended up walking 12 km in just over 2 hours. I hadn’t factored in that I’d be busy on my feet most of the day, so I ended up doing over 30,000 steps that day.

I didn’t find reaching my goal difficult, but it was challenging. I had to be organised, commit to getting up when the alarm went off, and take advantage of any windows where I could go out for a 10 or 15 minute walk where I might have otherwise sat down and done nothing.

What do you hope to achieve?

I’m going to try to beat my longest walk from last year (12.21 km) at least once during the week. I also hope I can beat my 2014 step count of 183,214 (so, even though I’ve set an official goal of 20,000 steps a day I guess I really want to get to 25,000 steps per day).

I hope I can raise awareness of CARE’s work through participating in the challenge. I’ll aim to keep my Facebook, Twitter and blog updated leading up to the week and during the week about what I’m doing and about my progress.

When the week is over I want to continue walking more than I had been (maybe 15,000 steps a day) and to build this exercise into my life.

Why have you chosen to walk 100 Kilometres (20,000 steps per day)?

This is a distance that I know is challenging and will require me to walk more than I do normally, but is a target that isn’t unrealistic for me.

How do you plan to cover your chosen distance? (E.g. walk to and from work? Take your children to school?)

I’ll do the same things that I did last year, including walking early in the mornings, walking to and from work and going for a walk at lunch time and after dinner. I have a program on my computer at work that prompts me to take breaks from the computer, so I’ll use that to make sure I go for brief walks around the office, or even outside, during the day.

So there you have it. There’s less than 2 weeks to go now and I’m doing a lot of walking. My blisters are starting to heal and walking is becoming less painful. Hooray!

The only other interesting thing that happened last week was Juniordwarf’s school athletics carnival. This was the first year he was in the big kids’ carnival, and he had to run some serious distances (100 metres and 200 metres), as well as participate in some novelty events.

I can remember him saying to me one day a while ago, “Mum, I can’t run very fast.”

To which I replied, “That doesn’t matter, I can’t run very fast either.”

“Yeah,” he said, “But you’re old.”

Yep.

He tried his best and he ran all the races to the end, which was great. And right at the end in the relays, he was beyond excited that his relay team won their race, and then that his house won the carnival overall. It was a fun day and he really enjoyed it.

Now what did I forget last week? Oh yes, photos. Although there’s only so many photos of my feet walking on different surfaces that one blog post can handle. Here are a couple from some of my walks.

Yes, it's "those" leggings.

Yes, it’s “those” leggings.

New Norfolk Bridge from underneath

New Norfolk Bridge from underneath

My longest walk this year. Closing in on that 12.21 km record.

My longest walk this year. Closing in on that 12.21 km record.

If you want to follow my progress (and complaints about sore feet) on Twitter I’m @realsleepydwarf

This week’s goals:

  • 21,000 steps per day
  • [Private goal]
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm

Week in review: 16-22 February 2015

This week’s goals:

  • 17,000 steps per day – 6/7 days. Weekly total 137,518 (daily average 19,645)
  • [Private Goal] – 0/7 days
  • Go to bed before midnight (baby steps!) – 5/7 days – 3 of which were 11.55, but it all counts!

This week was a quiet week. Still settling back into school routines and trying to get to grips with new arrangements. Library day is different, PE day is different, music day is different – all good fun to try and remember. I’m trying to put my own morning habits and routines into back place as well as trying to get Juniordwarf to do things like get his stuff out the night before instead of racing round in the morning looking for it.

We’ll get there in the end. Probably the end of term, when it will all fall to pieces again at holiday time.

We spent the weekend at Bacchus Marsh with family to celebrate a significant birthday. It’s not a place I ever would have thought to visit otherwise, but it turned out to be a delightful town, with some lovely old buildings and very friendly people.

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

It was a very hot weekend, but we had a great time with Slabs’ family and I think his parents must have been thrilled to have all their kids in one place, as it doesn’t happen very often.

Slabs and I took the opportunity of having 6 babysitters to get away for a couple of hours and have lunch at the Bacchus Hill winery.  I mean seriously, what else would you do at somewhere called Bacchus?

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

Wine!

Wine time back at home!

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

We enjoyed the wine and the food a lot, and Slabs appreciated being somewhere with a bigger range of reds than most Tasmanian wineries produce. Unfortunately, not having any checked baggage with us, taking some home wasn’t an option, so we’ll just have to go back next time we visit the area.

Impresario Theatre

Impresario Theatre

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Lerderderg Library

Lerderderg Library

Werribee River

Werribee River

It was 36 degrees or something equally horrific when we got home, and the house was like a hot box. Sleep proved to be very difficult on Sunday night.

Next week’s goals:

  • 19,000 steps per day.
  • [Private Goal]
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm.

Week in review: 9-15 February 2015

This week’s goals:

  1. 16,000 steps per day – 7/7 days
  2. [Private goal] – 0/7 days
  3. Go to bed before 11.30pm – 1/7 days (close on 3 other nights)

Monday was a public holiday, so no work and no school. Hooray! Juniordwarf and I made a start on cleaning up his bedroom. Not hooray!

Under an 8 year old’s bed. A place no one should ever have to go.

At least I finally managed to get him to start thinking about things he didn’t want or need any more, and start getting rid of some things. This is progress.

I’ve not done this ‘bed before 11.30’ thing very well. I did go to bed before, well let’s say midnight on Monday, but my body decided to compensate for that by waking me up at 4 am on Tuesday. How considerate of it.

On Wednesday I got my 5th strawberry off my plants. $10 for 6 plants, 5 strawberries = $2 per strawberry. Gourmet gardening!

I also learned a valuable lesson. Juniordwarf has a cheap writing pad that was sitting on the dining table. I was sitting at the table after dinner and picked up a pen and started doodling on his writing pad. He saw it a bit later and asked why I’d done that.

I said that I’d just wanted to scribble a bit.

He looked very upset with me and said, ‘But that’s my paper and you didn’t ask permission.’

My first instinct was to think that it was only a cheap writing pad, and why would I need his permission, since I probably gave it to him in the first place. But I somehow managed to think before I spoke, and it occurred to me that he was right. It was his writing pad and I hadn’t asked if I could write on it. I knew I’d be really annoyed if it was one of my notebooks and he’d scribbled in it – so why would his notepad mean any less to him than my notebook means to me?

So I apologised and I really meant it. He accepted that and asked that I not to this again. Then he went and got another sheet of paper from somewhere and put it on top of the pad to replace the sheet I’d used. Then we both moved on.

An important lesson

An important lesson

Speaking of stationery, my favourite stationery store Notemaker tweeted this link about ‘Why grown women really fetish stunning stationery’. The author says that the Midori Travelers Notebook ‘ has space for 3 inserts from a range of handy and practical refills and accessories’. I suggested that with only 3 inserts, she hadn’t tried very hard. Mine has 7 inserts, including 4 books. Yes, you really can fit that many in. It looks like this:
Cult of Midori

Cult of Midori

On Wednesday we got 3 eggs – both of the new chickens are now laying. After their initial reluctance to roost at night, they’re now roosting with the other chooks, but haven’t worked out that the nesting box is the place to lay the eggs. They’ve been laying underneath the perches. This requires something of a contortionist effort both to get the eggs and to put the perches, which they invariably knock off, back into place.
Little eggs

Little eggs

Thursday was 12 of 12, so you know about that already.

On Friday I went to the first scrapbooking class for the year. We usually have a break over December and January and go back when school goes back. I finished one page from 2013. In 3 hours. Yeah I’m good at this (ha). I also started to design a layout for a taste test I did in 2013 of 2 different varieties of Two Metre Tall Forester Ale. Because occasionally I do a page that doesn’t feature Juniordwarf.

Scrapbook layout plan

Scrapbook layout plan

Then it was the weekend. We had some friends come to visit, and Juniordwarf had a great time with another kid in the house.

Next week’s goals:
1.  17,000 steps per day
2.  [Private goal]
3.  Go to bed before midnight (baby steps!)