Wednesday, November 18, 2015

:: clearing the clutter ::

With so many different areas to focus on and a million items sitting on my to-do list, I decided that it would be best to clear out some physical and mental clutter to level my playing field.

Cut out the sugar
It only took me nearly 28 years to realize the correlation between sugar/alcohol and my mood/energy. Sugar and wine are my go-to stress relievers. I love grabbing a huge glass of sweet red, some mixture of chocolate and peanut butter, and snuggling up on the couch with my husband to watch our shows. When I started getting a lot of headaches I decided to take a look at my diet and figure out the cause. Sure enough... not only does refined sugar make me gain weight, break out, give me mood swings, feel sluggish and unproductive, but it also started giving me headaches. I realized how crazy it was to be saying to myself  "well, I know it gives me tons of horrible side effects but I like the temporary feeling it gives me."
I decided to be a grown-up and cut out the sugar and limit the wine and jeeeeeez I feel so much better already. After a few days the cravings wore off and I'm definitely sticking with this choice (although I do plan on having some apple pie at Thanksgiving- it's kinda healthy because it's fruit! Plus a girl's gotta live). ;)

Stop the negative stream of information
This one is hard. I do my best to stay away from news sites and useless gossip sites, but bad news is everywhere. Friends and family share links to devastating stories; radio DJ's mention horrible accidents before commercial breaks; Facebook trending topics display the worst of the worst; and with this extra political season it seems like everyone is arguing and putting each other down.  It's not that I want to be uninformed or that I don't care about important events. It's just that I am an extremely emotional person and when I read a news story it cuts to my heart. I internalize it. I imagine it being my family, my friends, or me. How would I feel? What would I do? Would I even be able to go on? I'll think about it for days. I had to make a decision for myself that it's not healthy for me to read such horrible stories. It's very tough with social media to fully block those things, so I need to cut back on social media. When I actually look up from my screen filled with endless links to the darkest parts of our world, I am able to see the beautiful things in front of me in my own life. And that definitely makes a difference for me.

Clear the clutter
I'm great at tidying up the house, but I tend to make piles that I plan to sort out "later". After a while, every closet, cabinet, and drawer in the house is a total mess. The irony is that I LOVE organizing. I always have. When I was a kid, instead of just cleaning my room the normal way by shoving things under my bed, I would literally dump out every drawer and bin that I had, sweep it into one huge pile in the middle of my room and spend the rest of the day organizing every single toy perfectly how I wanted them.
Yesterday I made an effort to just start checking off those areas. My bedside table drawers were full of receipts and my blank notebook collection. My desk was overflowing with completed Kindergarten worksheets, artwork by both children, and about 3 months of mail. I finally purged the broken crayons and the used up coloring books, and I even stacked up the tupperware so it's easier to find. I still have a few big areas to get to, but it's amazing how good it feels to just have those things finally straightened up.

My next small goals are going to be a) start using my gratitude journal, b) set a time to wake up instead of letting the kids wake me up and c) start exercising! 

Monday, November 16, 2015

:: what is my "stuff"? ::

So I've acknowledged I need to figure some stuff out. I want to fix a lot of things so I can feel happier, healthier, and contribute to the happiness of others around me. I need to make some new habits and drop some old ones. I want to improve my role as a wife and mother and make time for myself.
But what exactly do I mean? What exactly is the "stuff" I need to get together and figure out?

Here is my first attempt at navigating exactly what areas I want to work on:

Productivity & Motivation
If I can figure this one out... My whole life is set. Haha sort of... I need to set some routines, make some daily habits, and get organized so that everything else in my life will run a bit smoother. At least that's the plan.

Here is where I need a huge overhaul. I have to have the house clean before I can start anything else, but that means I mostly spend my time cleaning and putting everything else off. I would like to have a better system for staying organized, meal planning/prepping, and keeping the house tidy (most of the time) so that I can spend time doing more important things like playing with the kids or sleeping. ;)

Weight-Loss & Health
I usually refer to the 45 pounds I want to lose as "baby weight" because I gained most of it while pregnant with my daughter. Well, she turned 2 in September... so, I'm not sure if it can still be classified as baby weight or if that term expires after a while and it just becomes regular weight. Either way, it's there, and it's time for me to make some healthy changes. This comes down to forming new habits and breaking a bunch of old ones.

This one covers my marriage, my family (Kids will have their own category), and my friendships. I want to make an effort to have more quality time with my husband, stay in touch better with friends and family, and start sending cards and gifts again (without breaking the bank!).

Momma Duties & My Babies
I have a major case of Mom-Guilt all the time. Even when rationally I know things are just fine. I need to let go of that, plus make an effort to play more and yell less. I also have ideas for involving the kids in giving back to the community that will be fun for all of us.

This is the biggie. Stop putting myself on the back burner; take the time to read the books I want to read; schedule in some me time; do things that I know make me happier like writing and listening to music; and pay attention to taking care of myself as much as I take care of my family.

I am a total list maker. Sometimes I have a list of the lists I want to make. It's just how my brain works. This time I went overboard and made an Excel spreadsheet for my "stuff". It seems excessive, but I wanted to be able to separate the different areas I am focusing on and have a clear way to see everything I ideally would like to see happen so that I can start mapping out what the heck to do first.

I think the next step will be to decide what small things I can start immediately working on from each category. But first, it's noon and I haven't showered yet. I'll start there.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

:: my first Aha Moment ::

I keep telling myself that "once I get my crap together, then I will start blogging". The house has to be perfect; I need to get started with that super productive morning routine; I have to be caught up with projects, work, laundry, dishes, DVR shows, grocery lists, and have all the closets organized. Then I will start writing.
After telling myself that for months years, I figured it would probably never happen. I felt like the stars needed to align and pigs needed to learn how to fly before I would be able to sit down at this computer and type my thoughts.

A couple weeks ago, after the kids were in bed I began Pinteresting my little heart out. Pinning the healthiest recipes, picking out my wardrobe for when I finally lose the baby weight, and of course, planning out the perfect decor and organization techniques I will (eventually) use for every nook and cranny of our home. I stopped for a second, switched to Google, and found myself typing "How to get your sh*t together". Not even kidding.
Unfortunately, the results didn't really answer my question. There were a bunch of sarcastic slideshows aimed at young college students with study tips and lame motivational quotes. Nothing for a wife/mom of two that feels like she is treading water while simultaneously being pulled in every direction and can't quite figure out how to balance her time and energy to make everything flow so she mostly drinks wine and looks at Pinterest.
I can't be alone. There must be other moms that feel like me. Moms that have the best intentions and are doing a pretty good job at things, but who feels like there's got to be a way to make things smoother? Less stressful? And maybe, just maybe, accomplish some personal goals and dreams for myself without waiting until the kids turn 18...
I went to bed pondering that silly question "how to get your sh*t together".

The next morning I had what Oprah calls an "Aha Moment". 

What if I blog about my process of getting my life in order? 

I don't know what the heck I'm doing, but if I journal my way through it, then I'll have an awesome record of where I started, what works and doesn't work for me, and the feeling of accountability because I'm putting it out there into the world. Maybe another mom will stumble across this and find some inspiration for her own journey. Who knows?

So here I am.
My two year old is sleeping a few feet away from me so I typing as quiet as possible, but I'm starting. The kitchen looks like a hungry tornado crashed through it, but I'm starting. My nails aren't painted, my legs aren't shaved, and the dryer is fluffing for the 4th time, but I'm starting.

Monday, November 9, 2015

:: just. start. ::

It sounds so simple, doesn't it?

"Just start working out"

"Just start writing."

"Just start."

I am a huge procrastinator. I've figured out it's about half laziness and half perfectionism. "I don't want to get off the couch, but if I do, then everything has to be exactly perfect and pretty." My bottom is glued to that couch a lot. It's not something I am proud of, but it's the truth. I find myself doing the bare minimum a lot of the day. I'll fix the kids a snack, but wipe up the counters later on. I'll do a load of laundry, but you can bet I dry it 37 times before I fold it. I play with the kids if it involves me sitting, or better yet, laying down.

How did I get here? This is not the behavior I want to be modeling for my kids. I have a long list of goals to accomplish and dreams I would like to see come true. Yet day in and day out, I tell myself "tomorrow". Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

I want to lose the baby weight for good. I want to create beautiful things with my hands. I want to read things other than Buzzfeed articles and write things other than status updates.

So what's the trick? I pinned a bunch of tips on beating procrastination, achieving your goals. and time management. Took me a few weeks to get around to actually reading them (insert procrastination pun here), but tonight I sat down with a notebook ready to learn the secret, the trick, the quick fix. And here's what they all boiled down to... Just start.

Yeah yeah okay whatever. But REALLY? What's the secret? Where does that motivation come from and more importantly how do you make it last?

Just start.

I'm still digesting that. I obviously started writing, so that's something. Although, I'm wondering how to stop starting over. I start diets, workout plans, morning routines, resolutions, habits,etc. I'd consider myself a decent "Starter". Where it hits me is about day 3. That's when I forget, or I don't feel like it so I start with the Tomorrow Talk in my head. When tomorrow rolls around, pshh. It's already over. Time to start again. Tomorrow...

I know I can't be alone in this. Yet when I'm scrolling through any social media platform I am bombarded by pictures of people doing things. Losing weight, making money, going on vacations, and seemingly having their sh*t together.

So, let this be another start. A new chapter, a better me, or any other super corny cliche you want to assign it.

Maybe along the way I will learn how to keep it going, how to actually finish some of the dozens of things I have started. It's not about being perfect, just being happy with my life and what I am choosing to do with it.