September is the New January

Reading Gretchen Rubin, I first encountered a name for this concept, but it’s one I’ve felt for a long time— there’s something about the rhythm of back-to-school that inspires me to start new projects and revisit old projects. This year’s timing with the move has only reinforced that desire to start new patterns. Here are some I know I’ll be trying:

  1. I need to start proactively addressing my health. A few years ago, I got serious about my health. I got everything brought up to date in terms of physicals and dental appointments, but first I started tracking calories in and activities using the fitness app LoseIt. And over the course of the next several months, I lost 35 pounds. It’s hard to tell because my scale seems broken after the move (it took a guess at my weight within a 50-pound range, Friday— the low end looks about right for my weight (within 5 pounds of the last time I weighed myself, late last month or early this month) but if I moved my center of gravity at all, it gave me a reading up to 50 pounds higher) but I can tell from the way my clothes are fitting that I’m moving in the wrong direction. If the low end of my scale is right, I’m still 7–10 pounds lighter than I was when I began this journey the last time, which is within a couple of pounds of where I’ve found myself for each of the last three autumns. I’ve fought my way down up to 10 pounds lighter before I get distracted, but the lifestyle I lived to get me down 25 pounds or so from where I am is more in my long-term interest. As I age, these pounds will be harder to lose, and I’m not really interested in high blood pressure and diabetes, up to both of which my family history opens me.Toward that end, tomorrow, I’m going to start restricting refined carbohydrates, tracking calories, and being more intentional about exercise. I had my “last hurrah” this weekend (pasta and fried things! Dessert!) worked with mom to build a store of cut up veggies. I gave her advanced warning that I’ll be eating differently starting tomorrow, so that she’s not surprised when my behavior changes. She can be pretty supportive of that kind of change, so I’m hoping that will be the case.I need to figure out a workout routine that will go with my new life. I kind of thought that all the physical work of moving and cleaning and mowing that I’ve added to my lifestyle would buy me some time, on the weight front, but it doesn’t seem to have done that. Walking the pup is no longer sufficient for helping me address my weight, so it’s probably back to the gym for me, and I have to figure out how that fits in my life. There’s a gym at work and I could start spending lunch hours there, or visiting my regular gym during or immediately before/after work hours, but I need to find a rhythm to it. While the weather’s good, I might prefer to bike to and from work, or something. I don’t want my exercise to mean that the pup doesn’t get walked during the daylight or that we’re eating dinner at 10 p.m. every night, so it’s just a bit of scheduling I need to plan for. I’ve also enjoyed working out on the Wii, so I can do that at home after dinner, theoretically.
  2. I find myself thinking about upping the ante, creatively. I haven’t optimized this blog (though I suspect that there’s more business than creativity there, and I’m not sure that’s the answer to the specific problem I’m trying to solve. I’m not looking to build my blog into a business to administer, I’m using it as a foundation to get and keep me writing. I could be adding more photos to my posts and following more formulas (not more than x words! Use lists! Click-bait!), but if I’m still not writing the ideas that I want to chase, is that the best, highest use of my time?Given that the time I have to give to that is limited, what one thing can I do? Seems like the answer to that is dedicated writing time away from work (I often write here on breaks at work or over my lunch hour.) If I could get back to my hour in the morning or an hour at night, or 30 minutes of morning pages in the morning and some other writing at night, I’m interested to see what that would be. A couple of years ago at the very last possible moment, I made a half-assed attempt at NANOWRIMO. Not all bad— in some ways, this blog and its 270-odd posts are a pretty direct result of applying more serious effort to my craft and that was an early example— what if I could set myself up in the next month or two to mount a more serious challenge? Whether the end result was a novel or memoir or series of children’s books or anything— having a finished product seems like a worthy foundation to start laying.
  3. I want to go back to Toastmasters. That community, that discipline was bearing good fruit in my life. I’d like to make that happen, again.
  4. Dating. I almost hate to include this here, because my feelings are decidedly mixed. But the truth is that I would love to be in a relationship, just want to find a way to skip over the awkward first date extravaganza that is online dating. I’m proactively feeding a lot of relationships in my life right now— dinners with friends, theater with bloody everybody who’ll look me in the eye— if the man for me is out there, I’d love to feed that relationship, too. And if finding him could not forcibly separate me from my will to live, even better.
  5. Career planning. There are courses and certifications I’ve looked at— this would probably be later in the year, but I might start a course of action in that direction, as well. I’m going to start conversations with my boss and looking at my career more broadly to figure out what makes the most sense.

What about you? Are you starting something new with that back-to-school energy? Tell me about it in the comments!

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