My ongoing challenge with AT & T had an interesting twist this morning.  The gentleman who arrived fairly close to the 4:00 start time for the window I was given determined that the problem was the wires going into my garage, and down into the ground.  They appeared to have been chewed (I guess the rat problem of a couple of years ago will continue to leave me little gifts that take awhile to manifest!) so he scheduled yet another technician to come out to determine how they were going to fix it.

I got a call just as I was about to leave for work asking if the wires were accessible.  As I headed up the street, I saw an AT & T van turning towards my house.  As I looked into my rear view mirror, I saw him stop in front of my house and thought
    “Wow!  He must have been, quite literally, around the corner, when he called!”

Continuing on my merry way, I rolled down the car window to let the cooler air  and the delicious smell of rain from last night’s cleansing rain fill my car.  A few minutes later, my phone rang again and I rolled up the window to answer, just before driving into a very short but very heavy deluge!  Talk about good timing!!!

At any rate, AT & T will now be sending out a fourth technician who is supposed to be able to determine whether the wires can be fixed by splicing them or if they’ll need to bring a digging crew to dig up the old wire and replace it with a new one.  In the meantime, (knocking on wood, jumping into the air and spinning three times and anything else which might help my cause) the darn thing seems to be staying connected now!  Go figure!!

So, day 1 of using my fitness tracker is complete and, with my net goal of food and exercise set at 1200 calories, I was under by 269 calories (of course, starting the tracker on a dance night makes it easier!) so I’m off to a good start!  Tomorrow is a gym night, Saturday is dancing and Sunday, I move my Saturday gym day because of a massage on Saturday morning, then Monday is gym again.  I may find myself doing more gym to keep those calories down!!!    The tracker says if I keep up this pace, I could lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks!  I can deal with that!!! 

For 11 months now, I’ve been setting myself almost monthly goals to set a new habit.  One thing I’ve learned from the process is that you have to find creative ways to encourage yourself so you’ll keep with the program until it does become a habit.  I’ve also found that if you don’t quite measure up to the standard you’ve set, it is important that, while you shouldn’t beat yourself up over a miss, you also can’t allow yourself to get away with it either.  It’s really easy to tell yourself “oh, it’s ok if you missed your mark.  You can make it up tomorrow or maybe the next day…”  

The fact is, it’s not ok, especially if you keep giving yourself breaks.  This is how habits do not get established.  Admittedly, I am a bit lax on my gym regimen, but not so lax that I go less than twice a week!  I also know that, as I work more closely with the fitness tracker, the gym visits will increase because I’m seeing the history and the results right before my eyes, and that, my friends, is the ultimate reward.

Just as I have spoiled myself by having healthy breakfasts and lunches in the fridge for the taking every day, I will also be spoiling myself by having more stamina and being able to get rid of more larger sized clothes! 

And speaking of the made ahead meals, I was getting annoyed by the fact that I had to make 2 meals 2 nights a week and 1 meal one night a week because there are 5 days which need meals.  The only thing really keeping me from making 3 meals one night was the fact that I didn’t have 3 of the right sized containers for my salad.  I finally rectified the problem a couple of weeks ago and am really enjoying the fact that I can now make my meals on Sunday night and Wednesday night instead of Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.  This may seem like a small thing to some, but it just annoyed me that I had to take the time an extra night of the week to make half the meals.  It was incredibly inefficient and tied up an extra night! 

OK, maybe that’s an aspect of my anal retentive personality, but the numbers didn’t add up right and it was really sticking in my craw!

At any rate, as we set habits, we continue to refine them until they fit the lifestyle we want to establish.   Part of the refining process has to do with the fact that the lifestyle we envision when we start the habit may not end up being what we really want once the habit is in place.  Thus, we modify and adjust both the habit and the expectation until we get what feels comfortable for us.

It’s a lot like buying a pair of shoes.  When we first get them, they’re comfortable enough, but after wearing them all day, they get a little snug and might pinch here and there.  But after wearing them for awhile, twisting our feet around in them, wearing them in to the way we walk, they reach the level of comfort we desire.

What I’m doing now is walking around in my habits.  Finding where they pinch and deciding whether I want to wiggle my feet around so the pinch stops, or walk a little differently to increase my comfort.

With my writing, I’ve learned to start a post as soon as something pops into my head that I want to talk about that day.  With my meals, I’ve figured out a way to make 3 on Sunday so I only have to make 2 on Wednesday to finish out the week.  With my gym workouts, I’m cutting myself some slack so that if I only make it 2 days, it’s not the end of the world, but in the meantime, I’m adding other things to the mix so Ill be more likely to make it 3 days and even increase it to 4 or 5.

Life is an evolution, even the short time we are here in this human form.  We learn, we grow, we mold ourselves, and when we finish one sculpture, we admire it for a little while, then start pushing the clay this way and that, following a new vision.  We are malleable beings and the more we’re worked, the more flexible we become, and the easier it is to redirect our efforts when we discover something we like better!

I was talking to someone today about going back to using the fitness tracker.  She looked at me and said “but you look fine!”    I thanked her, but pointed out that we all have our own idea of what is the best weight, fitness level and such for ourselves and although we may well look “fine”, until we achieve our goals, we won’t be completely satisfied with that outside packaging, nor the inside level of health.

This continuous improvement process is not a bad thing, so long as it doesn’t become extreme.  Dieting until you’re nothing but skin and bones (and, in so many cases, developing eating disorders) is, in my opinion, extreme.  Doing 5 hours of cardio a day in an effort to have a tiny waist is, again, in my opinion, extreme.  Having endless plastic surgeries, liposuction and other non-health related procedures is both dangerous and a treadmill of disappointment because perfection will never be achieved.

The litmus test I use is, if you can look yourself in the mirror and see past your flaws to that beautiful person you are. the self-improvements you pursue are likely to make you healthier and you will, ultimately, find that point where you are satisfied with the whole picture.  If, however, you look in the mirror and notice every wrinkle, are horrified by a slight rounding of the thigh or a little belly bulge, you are probably on the road to extremism and should put some effort into self-love before doing anything else!

Self-love.  What a concept!  Without it, there is really no hope of finding the perfectly lovely person you are.  With it, you are limited by nothing.  You have an inner glow which radiates from you, wherever you go and whatever you do.  People are attracted to that glow and want to be near you, want to help you achieve your goals.  From where I sit, there is really only one way to be, one thing to do.  But Self-love is probably one of the most difficult human concepts to grasp and even harder to implement.

We all have days when we don’t love ourselves quite as much, but for many, what they have our days when they despise themselves, and days when they despise themselves more.  I cannot even imagine being in prison of loathing from which there is no escape!

My thought, then, for today, is, what can I do to help people learn to love themselves?  What can I do to reduce the amount of self-loathing, of disappointment in oneself?  Finding the answer to this will certainly open up possibilities for my purpose.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful that I’ve learned to love and accept myself, while still realizing that there’s room for improvement.
2. I am grateful for opportunities to widen my scope to find my true purpose.
3. I am grateful for the setting and improving of habits.
4. I am grateful for a successful first day back on the Fitness tracker.
5. I am grateful for friends to share life’s ups, downs and sidewayses with.

Love and light.

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