>I hear, from time to time, about people who seem to always set themselves up for failure. My struggle this week to balance self-care in dealing with depression and anxiety while sticking to my goals got me thinking. What does setting ourselves up for Success look like?

Thinking about weight loss, and health goals that I’ve been working on. I fail when I snack or eat fast food. Seeing myself shoot up to 415 lbs this week was a huge shock. So how can I set myself up for success, putting healthy drinks handy to access is a simple thing I did last week to set myself up for success.

This works for me because I happen to strongly prefer lemon water to plain water. It’s a small thing that takes advantage of my natural laziness. I would rather have lemon water and not make a trip over just to get soda. However I do prefer soda over plain water enough to walk. So my preference in almost all cases will be the healthier lemon water over soda. It’s a way to keep my short term goals in line with my long term ones.

I’ve taken piece of advice I read a few months ago to heart, “Working hurts less than procrastinating.” This kind of hack is about solving the problem pointed out in that article. It isn’t fun to change gears. There are many mental steps to shifting from doing one thing to another, and often there are physical steps as well. 

My experience with exercise today is a great example of this kind of thing. I woke up pretty miserable, for no apparent reason, I blame the head-meats for being chemically imbalanced.  I was unable to properly focus on school work, or even on a TV show or video game. None of those things were fun, or fulfilling. I was made even grumpier at seeing that I had gained almost 8 lbs overnight, and generally had sat down with my computer to sit on facebook complain and stew. Something a little bit different happened today, I was practicing mindfulness, even in my self-inflicted misery, and I noticed that I was depressed. I reminded myself that it does not take much focus to stay on the treadmill, and that I would likely feel better after getting some exercise. Those were the mental steps to getting over to the gym. 

To actually get to the gym I had to find my shoes and clothing. 30 min later and much grumpier I went over and started walking. I felt better for it, I got more done today than I have all week, and generally feel much better. While I was walking I did some mental math and formulated a really simple goal. I will walk for 30 min every day at a pace which will grow gradually until I can walk 15 min mile(which requires me to walk at about 4mph) It’s a slow goal that will take me about two months to do if I walk .2 mph faster every week(that’s adding .1 to my speed every Monday and Thursday).



As I was winding down tonight I observed something interesting. I put my shoes and workout clothes next to my bath towel. When I get up tomorrow morning there is a reminder for me, go and walk. I just eliminated all of the Passive Barriers to getting out to the gym tomorrow. The physical steps are all but taken care of. It is easy to imagine just getting dressed in these tomorrow instead of jeans, and walking first and then coming home showering and starting my day. All of that hard “but walking would mean I have to change, and find my shoes” is gone. I just have to notice and remember that I feel better after exercise. This isn’t a guarantee, but I’ll take the chances that I walk tomorrow over the odds I had this morning.

 

>As a part of my attempts at self-improvement I’ve been working though Ariel’s wonderful “A Witches Primer” available Here or from Ariel’s site here. one of the major points for me has been an exercise about journaling my beliefs. As I worked on that journal I made an important realization, one of my central beliefs is that a thought alone is worth nothing. It must be expressed or acted upon. Therefore This is a statement of some things I believe.

This world, no matter how hard life in it might be, is a good place. At the very worst it is uncaring and mechanical, but still wonderful and amazing in it’s complexity. There are spiritual worlds which affect this one, and are affected by it. In these worlds are spirits, each with their own goals, some which help humanity and some which harm humanity. These worlds are all bound by a metaphysical balance, which I call by the name of Wyrd, and others have different names and understandings of. Wyrd is at its most basic, cause and effect multiplied a thousand times and across all the worlds and possibilities. It is the chaos and order that binds the universe together, the conservation of matter, energy, and power which are the unbreakable laws of the cosmos.

The gods are the most powerful beings, forces greater than the greatest spirit, unknowable, fundamental and primal. The being I call Thor is not literally a red bearded man who carries a hammer and drinks too much, but rather is a symbol or shorthand for the real Thor. It is like a sign post pointing to him. To be called a god and be worthy of worship a being must care for and have compassion for mankind, and desire to help us grow and progress. There are other godlike beings who dislike us or are simply disinterested. I have little to know knowledge of them, and trust that the gods remain on our side and defend us.

Good and Evil are ideas, not metaphysical truths. For a tiger to kill is not evil, but for a man to do the same is. I do not pretend to know all the answers on that are, but I feel the golden rule, and being true to your nature is the beginning of an honest moral code. Empathy, compassion and communication are humanities greatest gifts and using them is our best chance at real peace. We should keep our word and doubly so our oaths and promises.

This understanding of morality means that I find myself questioning what the correct action is. I support gay marriage and the idea the any two consenting adults can do whatever they want. I support abortion rights as a practical matter, I cannot, and neither can most of us, support the children who would be born if it were illegal. I feel that it is wrong, but that I should convince a woman to not abort, not get the government to ban the practice. I think that from selfishness in competition a reasonable balance often occurs, and that natural balance, even if somewhat unfair is probably preferable than one enforced externally.

I am a political moderate who believes that the government should leave me the hell alone as long as I pay my taxes, and we’re not at war and needing warm bodies to shoot at bad guys. I am grateful to live in a civilization that is able to provide me with a government funded education and acutely conscious that this clashes with some of my other political ideals.

Love is work, and pain and it is still better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

These are things I believe strongly and deeply, but I’m not so sure about the rest.

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