May 2012

How To Beat Getting Off Your Routine

When I moved to China, I thought I was going to change everything about myself. Come back to America as a woman. Everybody at home is anticipating what this new found woman will be like. Poised? Articulate? Responsible? Level-headed?

So one of the first things I did when I arrived was make a list. I wrote down everything that I wanted to work on in China. Faults, weakness, and even strengths that I wanted to gain and grow a better knowledge of.

For the first half of this trip, I was flying by, and getting ahead of things. I was keeping up with every homework assignment and student evaluation at the end of the day. I never had to worry if my lesson was planned or not, because it was ready to go be dropped off in the classroom every morning on my way to lunch. I worked out every night, kept up in my diary, faithfully took care of washing my face, and reading my books as fast as I could. I was learning Chinese and utilizing it anywhere I could, even if I ended up saying “Wo ting bu dong”.

I felt on top. I felt confident. I felt secure and strong and happy as well.

A sense of overwhelming anxiety starting coming to me the second I heard I was going to teach Shop Class. Me? Building things and taking them apart?  I COULD BARELY MAKE A KEYCHAIN! From that instant, I became worried. After that, I stopped working out everyday. After I stopped working out, I stopped turning in my lesson plans on time and then *gasp!* I came to two meetings late. I started neglecting my student evaluation sheets and all the important things I had to do. I still did them, but not to the full extent at which they righteously deserved. I was seeing my friends more instead of preparing for my lessons.

I JUST COULDN’T GET IT TOGETHER! I almost didn’t complain. Admittedly, for the short time, I didn’t mind neglecting certain things. I cauht up on my sleep schedule and finally finished the The Hunger Games series. I knew what I was doing and didn’t feel much remorse on the outside. However, on the inside, I was beating myself up.
Why are you letting yourself get away with this attitude? How long are you going to do this until you bury yourself under last minute stress and procrastination?”
I knew I had to change something. I couldn’t keep pretending I was giving my best effort.

I spent an entire afternoon in silence. Listening to the thoughts in my head come and go. I didn’t move until I felt I could focus and write out an action plan of what to do and how to do it. I needed to get my priorities straight and realize some things are much more important than others. Although I have made many friends and have the time of my life in this school, I came here to teach. To find myself. To learn. To grow.
What I was doing the past 3 weeks was anything but that.

So after my meditation ended, I got up and wrote my action plan. I turned my music up loud and deep cleaned my room. They say having less clutter around gives you a much clearer mind – and they are right. I packed away everything I didn’t need anymore. I took out all the trash, swept the room, made my bed, and organized everything I could.
I wrote five lesson plans for the week coming up. I washed my face and did ten push ups. I caught up in my diary. I replied to all 13 emails that had the word “draftnext to it from the previous weeks. I skyped my mother to prove to her I wasn’t dead. I washed my hair. I wrote a new chapter in my book. I uploaded pictures to this very site and updated captions.

That day, I got things done. And I didn’t stop until I was satisfied enough to take myself out on the field that night to dance for an hour, as my form of cardio.

LESSON LEARNED:
IT’S ALL ABOUT BABY STEPS.

You can’t expect to do everything in one day. We are not Superman or the Flash. We cannot possibly finish our life’s accomplishments in one week. Just like the yin and yang, once something is done with, something new will need to be tackled. The ever-going To-Do lists of our lives will be with us wherever we go and slacking will only make things harder.

Remembering to take baby steps is a great way to accomplish a goal or to continue on a steady and stable path towards your life’s work. Sometimes we will get distracted. Sometimes emergencies happen. And other times, we realize half way through, “this isn’t what I want at all.” And that’s OKAY.
But that is no excuse to let ourselves fly off the handle into a disarray of stress and worries. Taking tasks one by one, and giving each our full focus will help out in the long run.

WHY DID YOU DO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?
What motivated you to start a new goal or task in the first place? For me, I wanted to stay on top of eating healthy and working out regularly. In my family, it’s easy for weight to bounce around. We make big meals. Fattening desserts. Treats, drinks, and pastries that make your mouth water. The best I can do is demonstrate self-control. It’s a new skill I have been working on for the past six months, and let me tell you firsthand…. this is easier said than done. If I was one of the lucky people who could devour the world and not gain a pound; never having to worry about cardio or strength training, I would definitely take the opportunity.
But it’s not just my family genes that motivate me to workout. I love being healthy. I love finding new recipes that boost my energy and clear my head. I love drinking my water and running until I want to fall on my face. I love the feeling of being sore the next three days because I challenged my body to new heights of strength I didn’t know I had before.
It’s then, when I remind myself “this is why I love this,” that I can allow myself to re-evaluate my wants and needs and get back to my routine of staying active and healthy.

If you are not one who has the ability to handle dramatic changes (and I applaud those of you who are), weaning yourself back into your routine is the best way to not lose your hair, so to speak. Living in another country for me is challenging at times. There are changes everyday to my routine, but this time, instead of being neglectful of my hobbies, passions, and important alone time, I find a way to keep my routine as recognizable as possible. I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, but yet accept it as it comes and find a way to deal with the changes without dealing with regretful thoughts and actions.

So just remember a few things:

-breathe.
-take some baby steps.
-clear your head.
-remember your passions and activities, and why you started doing them.

Sometimes life gets hard. It is always changing. But it is up to us and only us to deal with it in a way that keeps us sane. Don’t lose your head over one small fear and stress. Work with it. Challenge yourself. And make it into something new and creative. You never know what you can come up.

PS- Now that I no longer am teaching shop (I will begin Arts & Crafts tomorrow) I have realized, it was my favorite subject to teach so far.
Funny how things work out, right?

 

My place is here.

I was writing in my diary this morning while everybody was at Church.
Usually I will go with them and sit in the corner of the couch and listen quietly.
I mainly go on the circumstance that I am invited. They know I would not go otherwise, however, if they are giving a talk or speaking to the rest of the online branch, I like to show my support.
I have grown up around the religion my whole life, so I know my boundaries.

The more I started going, I picked up on some of the talks and took away many inspiring thoughts and quotes. I thought, “how interesting if I applied outside the church and into life.” But it was not meant for that.
And they made sure I knew that. The more comments I gave during discussions and ideas I expressed, I realized something.

MY PLACE IS HERE

Here, by the water, where life is kept open.
Here, under the trees, where the right words are spoken.
Here, in the sun, that reminds me never to stray.
Here in my sanctuary, here for another day.

Here, where I can show my shoulders, knowing they will be kissed.
Here, where I can stretch and glisten, with no audience.
Here with the statue, here with the beads, here with my own prayer; my own meaning.

In a life with no judgements, no slander, no gawks.
Why do I feel the pressure to be somebody I know I never could?
They have their place together. Although the invites are wonderful,
I am the one subjecting myself to the situation.
I must stop lying to myself and others. Making false promises I am a different way. I am just not. I cannot change for the wrong reasons.

I am a blogger. I am a writer. I am an adventurer. I dream to inspire. I’m inspired by dreamers. Writing is my everything. I meditate and keep a close list of profanities in my vocabulary. I live my life by the stars. I’m too sarcastic for this country – for this group. I make bad decisions and live with the consequences. I do many things society would question is right or wrong. I am too blunt for my own good and too outspoken to be silent when given word without proof.

No, no, they can stay in their church. I no longer need to go for support and come back to my room feeling guilty over something so small, when I feel in my heart it is right. My place is here. With my spiritual need. My universe. I am okay with the things I cannot answer. I am okay with the dreams that give me signs. I am okay with the Déjà vu and the things that make me the way I am.

I need to let them have their full spiritual high, while I give myself the respect to have mine.


I did it!

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I did it! I reached 5/8’s by my birthday. I started stretching my ears around last August. One drunken night and I went from a regular earring size to a size 8. I started out with wood gauges. I didn’t think I wanted to go any bigger. And then I kept finding styles I liked in bigger sizes. Whoever said the hobby is addicting is right. It’s fun. I picked a size that I would be content with staying at for good and I decided I would be there by my birthday.
Well, my tomorrow is tomorrow and five minutes ago, I reached that goal!

This blog is not about my ears. This blog is about reaching goals and how great it makes you feel.

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Reaching goals is the one thing that will heighten your spirits in a time of need. It’s easy to give up and tell yourself you can’t do something. It’s easy to throw it all away because of the fear of the unknown. But being able to push throw obstacles and negative outsiders is one thing that is sure to not only build your confidence, but give you the boost you need to get the rest of your goal list crossed off with!

Recently, I have been slacking a little bit on my lesson planning. I have been allowing myself to get distracted and have been going to sleep two hours later than my body is used to. I haven’t been drinking as much water. Glad to say, I am still staying active though!

I have been caught up in my new life in China. The friends, the late night chats, the movie nights on school nights. Hanging out when I know I need to get ready for lessons and classes. Just because I have managed to do it, doesn’t mean I needed the stress that follows. That’s one thing I have learned: When you don’t listen to your body or figure out where the stress is coming up, it’s a great way to steer clear of any goal you had in mind.

Not that stretching my ears is comparable to publishing a book after years of dedication of thought and writing and research; however, it is something I have been dedicated at doing. It shows you that no matter what your goal is, BE PERSISTENT.

 

I am not the kind of blogger who can give you a step by step instruction on how to beat getting off routine. Sometimes, in my last posts you may have read, you need to indulge. Sometimes, instead of doing errands and work all day, you NEED that day in bed. Pamper yourself and by all means, never over work yourself into an unhappy situation.

 

The main thing you need to remember and ask yourself constantly is:
“What is the reason I fell in love with doing this in the first place?”
Did it help your morning run smoothly? Did it center your chi? How do you feel when you do this activity that you have been putting off? Instead of the normal activity, what have you replaced it with? Something better? Something worse? How much sleep are you getting over this?

 

If some are yes and some are no, try taking out a piece of paper. Write down all your goals. From when you decided on doing it and the finish date you want it completed by. What has happened in the time since then? What situations have come up that can be ignored? What priorities became undeniably more important for the time being?

AND THEN ASK YOURSELF ONE MORE QUESTION:
Do you like yourself more when you accomplish goals and have less stress on your shoulders? Or are you okay with letting the small things slide and the lack of sleep you are getting?

It is much better to do it as it comes, gaining more freedom; rather to wait and never have a moment to relax.