Now that we are settled in Austin, I’m getting back on track. Not back on track to where I was before we left Seattle, because I honestly felt a little off the rails the whole time we were there, but back on track to a state that actually feels like me. Note that I use the word “settled” loosely–we still have unpacking and organizing to do, and many more things to move into the storage space we’re renting. (Thank God for the storage space, as much as we didn’t want one we are so glad to have it. Now we actually have room to get some baby stuff in here!) Even with lots to do, we’re settled enough that I feel I can start to turn my attention to the things I need to do for myself.
The idea of getting myself back on track encompasses just about every area of my life. Now, I could go overboard and try to focus on every aspect of my life that could use some tuning up, but I’m trying to be realistic and also set myself up for success. I’m focusing on:
- Time Management
It’s probably surprising for some of you to see the first two items on my list, since I know that I’m generally thought of as a fit person with a pretty rock solid diet. That may have been true before pregnancy and Seattle, but it is certainly not true now. The last item on the list probably doesn’t shock anyone, especially Brian! I’m going to break down the improvements I want to make in each area:
- Get at least 70 grams of protein/day. This will be an interesting challenge since I’m not the kind of person who has ever counted calories or paid attention to the fat/protein/carb content of my food. I just eat real, whole foods and call it done. Now I’ll be focusing on more high-protein foods and will be sure to have a little bit of protein each time I eat anything.
- Eat every two hours at least. I have been really bad about this. I let myself go much longer than that–to the point of extreme hunger and beyond because I get busy, or don’t know what to eat, or am too tired to put in the effort to fix myself something (the downside of not having processed foods in our house is that food preparation actually takes time). I made a point of doing this one day last week and I felt so much better in terms of my energy level. I also never got too hungry, and I felt happier because I knew I was taking care of myself and the baby.
- Keep food logs. I did this last week just to get an idea of my baseline (very disappointing!), and will keep doing it until I feel like I have established a good routine that I don’t have to think about. I log the time of day, what I ate, and how much; the log also includes water & vitamins so I can keep track of those as well.
- Plan snacks as well as meals–in writing. We’ve used a weekly menu to plan our dinners (and therefore our grocery shopping) for the past four years or so, but I’m extending it now to include breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. This way, even though it will usually take me some effort to prepare my food, I won’t have to think about what to eat.
- Do something everyday. I have been so inactive since we arrived in Seattle in September, and I am really paying the price with weak muscles, low energy, and aches and pains. I know some of the aches, pains, and low energy are due to pregnancy, but I also know I’d feel a lot better if I were more active. Doing “something” does include walking with Cooper, but I’m extending it to mean that I take at least 30 minutes each day to do something that is just for me, like stretching, yoga, a little CrossFit, etc.
- Go to yoga once a week. I’ve been to one prenatal yoga class since I’ve been pregnant. In lieu of finding a DVD that I like, I need to make it a point to get to a yoga class at least once a week. My midwives keep saying flexibility is key for labor (though I would argue that with my naturally Gumby-like joints I’m already flexible enough), and I think it will be nice to be around other pregnant women.
- Do CrossFit twice a week. I’m trying this out for a month to see how it goes, then I’ll decide if I want to keep up this routine or do less CrossFit and more yoga. This is a big deal, I’m taking money out of my savings account to cover the luxury of personal training since I’m too pregnant to join a group class. My trainer is the amazing Carey Kepler of CrossFit Central. She’s had two kids (both homebirths, yay!) so she totally gets where I’m coming from. We’ve had one meet & greet and one actual training session so far and I can already say that this is great and I love Carey!
- Stop work by 5:00 PM each day. One of the luxuries of working for yourself is that you can work when and where you want. The downside of this is falling off of a decent schedule, or even worse, developing bad habits. We’ve been working too late, which leads to eating dinner too late and staying up too late, which of course leads to sleeping in too late, which means that I often start my days cranky and overwhelmed.
- Avoid working on the weekend. Protecting the weekend is important–even if you only do a couple hours of work it’s a slippery slope. Next thing you know you’re futzing about on the Internet or otherwise wasting time, and your weekend is being eaten alive. I also think it’s essential for emotional and psychological health to have days that are specifically set aside as non-work days, or else you end up being in work mode all the time and your mind never gets a rest.
- Limit Internet time to 60 minutes/day. This one is huge. The Internet is a vast and interesting time-suck, and I frequently fall prey to its siren song. I go online with a specific task I need to accomplish (pay bills, research something, update my calendar or to do list, etc.) and either get distracted before even finishing the task or do the task and then somehow end up doing something completely unrelated. Then I get all frantic because I have things I need to be doing that I no longer have time to do. Internet time is not entirely lacking in value, so I’ll give myself 60 minutes/day maximum to screw around and discover new things, update Facebook, research baby stuff, etc. Over a year ago I made a list in my journal of all the things I could accomplish if I weren’t wasting time online; I’ll have to dig out that list and post it since I’m sure it will be motivating for other people as well.
So, those are my getting back on track focus areas and specific goals. It’s a lot, but it feels manageable. Having everything in writing will make it easier to make these changes–now I can’t trick myself into thinking this stuff isn’t important (I decided on these three things after quite a bit of thought, so I know they are important), and I’ve also put my goals out there in public to help keep me accountable. I’m planning on reviewing this list daily, every morning when I check in with my to do list.
I’m really excited to start tackling these goals! When I imagine my life with all of these goals already accomplished, I feel so good, like that is how I want my life to be. Of course there are other goals I’d like to accomplish and other areas of my life that I want to improve, but starting with the basics will give me a good foundation to build on. What areas of your life do you want to improve? Are there things you’d like to do differently or goals you want to achieve? I challenge you to come up with one thing you really want to change and make a plan to change it. Don’t go overboard, keep it simple. Once you take that first step and make the first small change you’ll already be on a roll and it will only get easier from there!