2015 – learning to follow a routine

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I decided to recenter in 2015.  I have been putting a lot of focus onto my monthly projects, which has been fun, but it’s been taking time away from a lot of the things I really care about.  It was important for me last year to expand and not feel like I was only thinking about work all the time. Now I feel I need to focus on creating and maintaining a better routine before I continue to branch out in my free time.  I also feel like I a lot of my projects were for naught – I wasn’t able to add it into my daily life in anyway.

I’ve also really started to examine the simple truth that I can not learn everything and I need to let go of that impulse.

In December I created a daily schedule.  I have been tweaking it for the last several weeks and I will probably have to continue to tweak it over time.  I really do overestimate the amount I can do in a day, but underestimate what I can accomplish in a month or more.  I think the hardest part so far for me it slowing down my expectations and just committing to the knowledge that it’s a long process.

My focuses are: stretching, training, more time spent on the business side of work, and improving my spoken french.  I also have a couple minor focuses that I want to do everyday, but are more mindless: recording my business expenses daily and doing my rehab exercises.

To spend more time on these areas means creating habits for them in my everyday routine. It also means working on my largest undoing- procrastination by research.  I get fearful when I don’t see instant progress, which feed into my need to research, to find the perfect training method before beginning. I need to break that cycle. I am beginning to really realize that beginning is more important than perfection.

Area #1: Stretching

When I say stretching, most people probably think of this:

Stretching

However, I am definitely thinking more like this:

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I have an on-again, off-again relationship with stretching, but I’m in for the long haul… for a year.  I want to truly see what stretching 3-5 times a week for a year will change.  I’ve had high expectations for a long time, always telling myself “if I only trained a little harder”.  However, I might have to face the reality that I will never been as flexible as I want.  Before I can tell anything though I need to test it.  So here’s my goal:  I will aim to stretch 5 days a week, with 3 as an absolute minimum.

So, in the spirit of beginnings, here is a video of my starting off point for consistent stretching:

Excepting February alone…

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Oh yeah, February is a really short month.  It feels like time is flying by faster and faster all the time.  Why do all these cliched sayings keep coming true!

Regardless February was an interesting month.  My project was to continue with studying French and add in Stretching everyday.  I would say the month was definitely a learning experience.  The French part went pretty well.  I read my first 6 French books,

livre en francais plus four other kid’s books I forgot to take pictures of, doh!

I completed my beginner’s French textbook and I began to memorize a ton of French songs.  Finding all the Disney songs that have been translated into French may have helped push that along 🙂

This one’s my favorite so far:

Most importantly I feel pretty confident going about basic errand-like tasks.  I can read a menu, I can order food and drink, I can answer the typical questions when shopping and I can take and give directions.  I can still get caught completely off guard by a random question I wasn’t expecting though,and that’s when I tend to crumble and revert to English and apologize… a lot.  Overall it’s continued to be really fun and I am going to try to take a more structured class when I return home.

As for stretching …

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I was able to increase the number of days I was stretching, but I didn’t stretch as much as I wanted to.  Which brought me to a realization.  I am here in Montreal with nothing to do but train and I still was unable to train as much as I planned.  Finally I think I have to accept that there is a physical limit on what my body can do in a day and what I’ve planned may be too much.  Instead of beating myself up for not being able to stick to a schedule that is unreasonable, I think I will just have to plan ahead with that fact in mind.  I can’t practice everything, everyday.  I can’t be good at everything.  I think instead of fighting that, I need to embrace it.  Otherwise I am just annoyed at myself all the time, and so far that hasn’t helped either.   I always thought I just wasn’t trying hard enough, but I am beginning to think I need to work within my limits and not just be exasperated that I have them.  SO while I don’t feel like I succeeded in stretching as much as I initally wanted, if I can make more accurate training schedules then I did succeed in the long run.

I also wanted to make a stretching routine.  In my mind it would be like a long stretching set with interesting transitions.  Turns out after many many trials, this just isn’t a good idea.  It makes me more tired, less focused on the stretching and didn’t make anything better.  Which is annoying because I’ve wanted it to work for a long time now and the answer seems to just be… It doesn’t.

disappointment

It looks like I will have to adjust my expectations a little.

I know that failing doesn’t mean you are a failure, and the other million + inspirational quote surrounding failure will tell me that this is a learning experience and you don’t get anywhere without failing a lot… but it still sucks for a little while to fail at something.

Oh well another month and another project is around the corner!  It’s like a restart button 🙂

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January Stretching

I have officially hit the 6 month mark of when I started stretching more consistently!

There is no question in my mind that it has made a difference. My base flexibility is higher as is my flexibility when warmed up. It also takes me less and less time to get warmed up safely. So huge win all around. The only mistruth I feel I have been told was that if I missed a week it would be like starting over. I was sick in the beginning of the month and didn’t stretch for a about a week and while I didn’t improve (wouldn’t that be awesome), I didn’t lose everything I had gained. Adding to my pile of evidence showing that slow and steady do win the race after all 🙂

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Flying through December

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Oh my gosh it’s December 18th already, how did that happen? It appears I glossed over a topic this month 😦  It wasn’t on purpose sadly… I just had so much catching up to do and then disease stuck me down. Since it’s gotten so far into December and the holidays will be here before you know it, I am going to use the rest of this month as a catch up month because I have big plans for projects in the New Year and I want a cleanish slate to get started with. I made a small video to highlight my stretching progress and it starts with a Christmas wish 🙂

 

Stretching it out

So my first challenge to myself was to stretch everyday for 30 days.  That 30 days changed not only my flexibility, but also my resistance to starting to stretch.  I used to stretch for hours, pushing myself way past my limits, then be so sore that after a few days I wouldn’t put much effort into it for weeks.  Now I try to get in 45 mins- 1 hour everyday, in a more relaxed way knowing that I will be doing it constantly so no need to push too hard.  After that initial 30 days, it just became part of my day, not something I was forcing anymore.  So while I probably stretch 5/6 days a week in place of a strict 7… I’m still improving 🙂  And better yet, it’s way easier for me to start and more comfortable all the way through.

Here’s a video I took at the End of August:

 

 

Sunbeams, Stretching and Music OH MY!

Coming back home felt like walking into a sauna, what’s with this crazy heat wave?!?  I feel like my skin may be sweating off.  However it does make for some nice backyard sunbeam stretching.  I did a complete 180 on how I feel about stretching outside once I tried it in the privacy of my backyard instead of the public beaches of Vancouver.  The sun warms you right up and I swear it made everything easier.  I finally got my feet on the ground on chinstand, Horray!  Here’s a picture:

 

Also a variation:

I was pretty excited, and amazed at the difference I really have seen so far from this month of non-stop stretching.  I definitely warm up quicker to my flexibility level and also have managed to get further in this month then I ever have before.  There have also been some days though where I didn’t feel flexible at all and it took me  along time to get through .  I still wonder if I would have been better off not stretching those days instead of powering through it.

One of the best things I have learned so far though is the power of music.  I always want to put on TV on a movie whenever I have to do anything, stretching, training, paperwork, computer work, doesn’t matter I have some urge to turn on the TV, even if it is just background.  But it works horribly and I can’t focus on either the TV or the task at hand.  It takes me twice as long to get through anything and I’ve missed most of the important parts of whatever I am watching.  Music on the other hand has the opposite effect on me.  Music gets my into a great work zone.  I know I get focused and into any project better with music, however I still have that urge to put on TV.  This past week I have decided to only stretch to music, no choice allowed.  And it has been bliss!  I still don’t understand why I resist it as first, but it is the best way to stretch that I have found, bar none!  I think I’ll have to force myself to just start music from now on, I’ll get so much done 🙂