Tag Archives: goals

What I learned from a Carrot

8 Apr

There’s an app you can get called Carrot.  Its a to do list organiser, but a to do list with attitude.  And a grudge.  If you don’t complete a task for a few hours it’s mood turns to wrathful and it thinks up punishments for you.  I resorted to putting in fairly simple tasks that I knew I had to do (get up, shower, drink water) just so I could cross things off the list and keep Carrot happy, or at least placated and not have it drop a house on me.  So if I’m so willing to keep an app on my phone happy through achieving simple things in life – why do I give myself such a hard time for things I perceive as ‘failure’?

I’ve been off work a few weeks now, stress related, so have had lots of time to think.  Sometimes for me that isn’t good as generally my thinking will start off very positive and with lots of goals and aims but then I’ll hit a set back and I’ll see that as a reflection of how crap I am so it reinforces my initial opinion and the spiral of self-hate starts back up.  So why set myself up for failure in the first place?  If I’ll let Carrot have simple tasks to be pleased with, why not do the same for myself?

Take marathon training.  At the beginning of the year I set myself a half marathon and marathon goal.  Things were going great, I was running regularly and had completed an 11 mile run in a couple of hours.  Half marathon was well within my grasp.  But then I picked up an injury – hip feels like its been beaten with an iron bar and has a constant ache in the bone like pressing on a bruise.  Resting hasn’t particularly helped and when I tried to run again, I couldn’t even manage a mile before hobbling home.  So what do I do:  I tell myself I’m a failure, that I can’t even run – even toddlers can run!  I’ve failed on the half marathon and I’m not likely to get the marathon.  But why am I looking at it like this?  Who have I ‘failed’?  No-one else particularly cares.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, as there has been some fantastic support from people both that I know and through Twitter (which is great for keeping you going but can also cause you to judge yourself harshly and unnecessarily when you see what amazing goals others achieve – but for a different blog!).  But in terms of will other people care to an extent where it changes their opinion of me?  I doubt it!  They have their own goals and aspirations and worries.  They’d have been happy for me if I’d succeeded but I doubt they’ll be turning up on my doorstep to chastise and berate me for not doing it!  So why am I not telling myself “well done, you ran 11 miles!  that’s the furthest you’ve run in a long, long time, that’s amazing!”  If I was Carrot I’d have given me a kitten for that!

In similar way, I’ve been looking at my ‘failure’ of a second marriage going down the pan and being on my own, again.  But is that really a failure?  Did I take nothing positive from the experiences?  Did I learn nothing?  Surely there are some positives in there that could be ticked off the list?   I need to relook at those relationships and figure out which bits could be ticked off the list (that’s going to be for another blog, too!)

The stress from work – maybe I need to stop trying to get everything to be perfect?  Nobody else seems to be bothered if things aren’t done absolutely correctly or if things aren’t black and white, so why am I the one putting my head over the parapet to question why things are being done as they are or trying to change it?  I suppose a coaching book would talk about circles of responsibility and circles of concern:  I’m going to look at it like an old pair of knickers instead.  The edges may be a bit frayed, the elastic might be getting worn and the colour is more grey than black or white – but they are keeping my arse covered and so why bother trying to change them!!

So for now, no more setting myself challenges or aims which may just serve to reinforce a negative self-image.  If someone doesn’t want to talk to me or be friends, then so be it; if I don’t eat healthily or lose weight then fine; if I stay single a bit longer, ok; if work doesn’t get done but I’ve done all I can, that’s all I can do.  Maybe at the moment its more important that my head is healthy and fit rather than being a size 12, marathon running Inspector.

carrot2
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Hope Stomps on Toads

9 Dec

There’s been a bit of a gap in my write ups, even though I’ve written a dozen in my head as I ran or walked the dog or just couldn’t sleep at night.  I was very conscious that I didn’t want to write a mopey, complaining blog (having just unfollowed a couple of people on Twitter for being a real life version of @uokhun, I felt it would be a bit hypocritical!).   A little while ago I did an informal update about how well things had gone this year, and they had – I’d left a marriage because husband was cheating, I’d moved out of the marital home and bought my own house, I’d taken and passed promotion exam, lost stone and a half and recovered sufficiently well from two lots of stomach surgery to be able to consider training for a marathon, all no mean feat.

Then I went into a bit of a slump and turned into an all round pity party for myself.  The toads were leaping around in my head, spraying their poison and croaking evil (am I misquoting Shakespeare there, not sure, I’ll google later).  But you know, after a couple of weeks of that it hasn’t actually made any difference.  Who knew? feeling sorry for yourself, crying pitifully, moping around and eating crap actually doesn’t result in life getting better – big shocker there, huh?   Hmm, note to self – that may be good title for a self-help book along the boot camp, tough love line.

Anyway, back to the point …. I have been dwelling on the things I haven’t got, but actually – what does that achieve?  Don’t worry, its not a test question, I’ll give you the answer …. It achieves precisely nothing, zilch, nada.  It doesn’t move you forward.   It just makes you feel like you’re sitting in a pit of treacle, and not in a good way.

So what if my 2nd marriage has gone tits up.  At least I know for next time what I will and won’t be prepared to live with and what I want.  There are plenty of people out there in relationships they don’t want to be in, but which they feel they have to be in for a variety of reasons.  All of those reasons may be valid to them, and that is fine.  But it doesn’t mean I have to dive into a relationship that isn’t right or what I want.  At least being single I’m ready and able to grab an opportunity if someone comes along that is right for me, who likes me exactly as I am  – bit bolshy, bit gobby, odd sense of humour, bit of a feeder, crewed up with an insane dog.  If that person doesn’t come along, then I’ll be fine on my own.

So what if work has been a bit frustrating lately.  If I don’t like it – do something about it.  There are plenty of people out there that don’t have a job.  Who are struggling to know how they’ll meet their bills or support their kids.  I’m in a secure job, I’m well paid.  I should be bloody grateful for that.  Passing the exam is first step towards moving on, so what if there might not be boards for a while.  It doesn’t mean I have to sit back and do nothing.  I can either stop moaning or deal with what is frustrating me or look for alternative roles.  I can even, if I really wanted, save up enough to take a career break, rent the house out and go travelling for a year or go and run a bed and breakfast/cake shop in Spain.  Those options are all there, sitting around moping isn’t going to change things.  Getting off my arse and doing something will.

So what if it turned out some people I thought were friends turned out not to be – I still have some amazing friends round me now.  I won’t do a shout out as it’ll embarrass those I name and turn into a bit of an Oscar acceptance speech.  But suffice to say, I’m astoundingly lucky to have people who will listen to me, drink vast quantities of coffee with me, talk random crap with me, laugh with me (at me?) and just generally be there for me (and I hope I’m there for them, too).   If I’m totally honest about things, I’d rather have those people in my life as friends than be stuck in a bad relationship.  I know those aren’t exclusive, but in my head I know what I mean and I hope it makes sense.  So thank you to my friends (again!) and I give you permission that if I start to go into a pity party again you are allowed to slap me, quite hard.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve got a whole load of positive things in my life and most of all, I have hope and whilst it would be a strange game of ‘rock, paper, scissors’, I’m fairly certain that Hope kills Toads.

Baron+Von+Greenback

Your time is up, toad, mwhah hah hahhahhah!!

Edinburgh and beyond

29 Sep

I’m supposed to be revising, especially as the exam is in just over 2 days time.  Even sent the dog off to spend the weekend with the ex so that I could focus on cramming.  Which means I’ve been to the hairdressers, watched Poirot, been for a run and am now updating blog.   My ability to distract myself from what I actually should be focussing on is fairly astounding.  I even washed the floors in the week (admittedly between mock exams, but still).

So where am I right now?  Well – clearly as I mentioned the exam and revision, I am taking steps to achieve forward movement in my career.  However, I’m not totally confident that I’ve done enough.  I can make all the excuses about not having time:  get home from work, walk dog, make dinner, realise its gone 8 o’clock, hardly time to get the books out.  Weekends have to clean the house, shop etc etc etc, blah, blah, blah.  Ultimately though, I could have found time.  I could have got up earlier.  But I didn’t.  I chose not to, whether consciously or subconsciously.  On Tuesday I’ll know how that works out.  However, I’m not stressing on it.  It will be what it will be.  If I don’t pass, so be it, I enjoy the job I do now, I work with a great team and I’m looking forward to starting work with a new boss from next week so lots of challenges and opportunities coming up.  If I do pass, fantastic stuff …. just got to then wait for a board and who knows when that will be.  So really, no change on what I’d be doing anyway.

Weight wise – Dukan has been a success.  Slow, but successful.  I didn’t get the massive weight loss that some people have reported.  But, again, I’m not stressing on it.  I can only run my own race.  I’ve been losing around 1-2lb a week and since 21 July have lost 17lb.  More importantly, I feel more comfortable in my clothes.  I can throw on jeans and tshirt and feel like I look ok.  I’ve dropped a trouser size in my work trousers and will soon need to order a smaller size again.  I’ve got 21lb to go, but I feel like I can do it.  I’ve got used to the way of eating and I have the cravings under control. I won’t say I’ve mastered them, more like I’ve shoved them into the back of the attic like a mad old aunty (to clarify, I think I read that in a book or saw it in a film, I have never locked an aunty or any other family member in an attic).

Running – hmmm, since the 10k Race for Life some time back I haven’t run.  In fact I ended up with such a bad back I resorted to going to the doctors (I hate going to the doctors) who then referred me to a physio.  Physio’s advice was no running until my back had been sorted out.   A few weeks of stretching exercises (ably assisted by the dog, who thinks the moment you lie on the floor its play time.  Have you tried to do back stretches and core strengthening with a 29kg dog trying to climb on you and lick your face, it ain’t easy.  You never see that in a celeb dvd do you, no you don’t.) and a bit of massaging from the physio (brought to a rapid halt on one session when whatever it was she was doing made me throw up!) and I’ve been given clearance to run again.  This was on the proviso of  ‘Taking It Easy’ and ‘Building Up Slowly’.  That was on Monday.  On Thursday I entered Edinburgh marathon.  Ok, I know that doesn’t sound like Taking It Easy and Building Up Slowly.  But in my defence, the run isn’t until May, so that’s loads of time to Build Up Slowly.  I’d been waiting for VLM results (Virgin London Marathon for the non-runners, its not some new underwear malfunction like a worse form of VPL).  Part of me was thinking I hope I don’t get it as I really don’t want to run a marathon.  But something weird happened as I waited for the letter or the pack and I started to make back up plans.  By the time the postman knocked at the door and Elvis delivered the news, I’d already looked Edinburgh up online.  That there was a code included in the rejection pack to get a guaranteed place seemed sort of like fate.  Next thing I knew, the application was in.  So 26 May, I will be doing my 26.2 in Scotland.  That in itself is fine, but somehow my mind which really doesn’t understand how to not go over the top and stick to a balance level, decided that isn’t enough.  So my aims for the next two years now include:

short term : back up to 10k fitness by end of November (Reindeer run!)

medium term : Edinburgh marathon

long term : a 30 mile run

then that’s it.  I can tick them off my list, know that I’ve achieved it and then just stick to running nothing further than 10 miles BUT and this is the big thing, sustaining that running, so that each week I’m running at least 4 times a week.  Forever.

In the interests of Taking It Easy and Building Up Slowly, I went out for a trial run tonight.  Plan was one mile of 2 minutes run/30 seconds walk all at a very low pace.  Somehow  I ended up doing 1.72 miles, as I was so busy counting that I couldn’t hear the micoach telling me the distances.  The micoach updates on 2 minute points, so after the first 2 min check point I had to keep counting and doing maths in my head, which meant talking out loud to myself because I can’t do maths in my head.  Either I’m going to have to build up fairly quickly or go back to remedial maths classes.  I averaged 12.05 minute miles, so managed the  fairly slow bit.  Legs felt fine, but I’ve realised that I do tense my back up as I run and I can feel a tight band across it even though I’ve stretched out when I got back.  I’m telling myself that isn’t an excuse to book a massage on the alternate days to running and that instead I should find out what it is about my running style that’s making me do that and build my core up properly.  The massage bit sounds nicer though.

In other news – still not dating, coming up for one year since found out husband was cheating and kicked him out.  Part of me thinks I should be back out there and looking for someone new.  Other bit of me really can’t face the whole idea of trying to meet someone new, risking being rejected, risking being hurt again.  Safer to just stay in my own little bubble.  But who knows, friends coming to stay next weekend and we’re hitting the town.  Ok, we’re hitting Bedford and that really isn’t all that great.  BUT a new pub has opened up, its supposed to be good and I’ve been assured there were men there who looked like they were single, so who knows, maybe next week things will change.

For now, though:  I’ve an exam to take and a marathon to prepare for, so lets get out there and get on with it!

This photo has nothing at all to do with the blog, I just really liked it – its my dog when he met up with some other Slovakian Rough Haired Pointers and then they bumped into a Weimaraner puppy!

New and Improved: Week One Review

6 Jun

Regarding Project Proposal: Sharon 1.2, Review

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Last week we set you some goals for getting your life back on track, looking at a few different areas although some of those areas were linked. I think its important that we review those to consider progress, barriers to progress and make sure you keep on track. In a moment we’ll go over those, but first of all could you give an overview of how you think the week went.

In general it was a positive week, with the good outweighing the bad.  There was a wobble when I climbed on the pity train, but I only stayed on it for a short while before jumping off and deciding to go for a run instead.  I had a lovely day on Saturday, with afternoon tea at local pub and several hours wandering round the kite festival and drinking coffee with friends.  (In fairness, the wandering took about 20 minutes, the drinking coffee much longer.)

If we consider the goals that were set:  firstly exercise and food.

I did get out for a couple of runs and did two yoga classes.  The yoga made me realise quite how unstretchy I am.   The lesson didn’t seem particularly challenging, but the next day when I realised I was struggling with standing up without sounding like a Wimbledon champion in the middle of a rally, I concluded that perhaps it was tougher than I thought.  On the positive side, at least I didn’t fart through the class!!  I also persevered with my gym induction despite a dodgy start.  While booking in for programme setting, I asked the personal trainer who’d been explaining the machines to me whether I’d be able to have a programme that focussed on my core.  He took a moment to look me up and down and fully take in the muffin tops and overstretched lycra, before telling me that if I wanted to lose weight I couldn’t spot reduce through exercise.  I refrained from smacking him in the mouth and instead pointed out that I did know that, but having undergone two lots of abdominal surgery in a year, I wanted to focus on rebuilding my core.   I didn’t point out that as a motivational technique, highlighting my need to lose weight wasn’t particularly helpful and that I was fully aware I wasn’t a tiny little gym bunny!! Fortunately the trainer who gave me my programme was more tactful and very helpful and on return from holiday I’ll be tackling the exercise ball-based plan he’s put together for me.  The fact that the trainer demonstrated the exercises and I could watch his rippling abs (through his t-shirt, he didn’t go topless, its not that sort of gym) did make the whole process rather fun.  The lie down in the yoga class immediately afterwards was quite a relief!!

Food wise – I’ve kept off the take aways (apologies to Dominoes if profits are down), however, I’ve developed an addiction to salt and vinegar rice cakes.  That’s wrong on a number of levels:  the main one being that who the hell develops an addiction to rice cakes, freak!  Second – just because its ‘healthy’ doesn’t mean you can eat unlimited quantities.   Must work on keeping amount of food down (not physically, I haven’t developed a bulimia habit).  

Ok, that sounds quite positive, what about feeling comfortable with your body?

Hmmm, I’m going to link that one with the ‘be ready to start a new relationship’.  I kind of realised something that I might be doing and I’m not sure how to tackle it or whether at the moment I want to.   I don’t feel ready to start dating and part of that is that I realise that if I start dating there will come a point where I have to be naked in front of someone, possibly with lights on, even if dim lights and/or with him putting dark glasses on.  I really don’t feel comfortable with the idea of someone seeing all my cellulite and gunt in all its glory!   However, I could be doing more to get that weight off (see above and the overeating – healthyish food, but still overeating).  So maybe, I’m keeping the weight on as a protection – if I’m worried about how I look, I won’t feel ready to date, I won’t be looking and therefore I won’t get hurt or be betrayed.   Not sure yet on that, at least I’m admitting it to myself so maybe that is first step in addressing it.  As I sit and type the chip shop is calling, but I’m telling myself to go for quorn and veggies instead.  

I could tell you that you are being silly, and that a bloke won’t care about the cellulite and gunt, instead he’ll just be glad there is a naked woman, but I’m pretty sure you won’t listen.  So instead lets move on to finance side of things.

I’ve put in the paperwork to do my promotion exam, so first step towards bringing in extra cash has been taken.  That said, that’s the easiest bit, now I’ve got to start revising.  I have bought a pad of paper and some post-its, but admittedly that’s still a fairly easy bit and I’ve yet to open a book.  However, I am taking one of the books on holiday with me and will aim to do at least two hours a day while I’m away.  Haven’t sorted out a budget yet as just seemed too depressing to do… promise I’ll do that when I get back …. but I did sell my moped and put the money straight into building society rather than go shopping.

Well done, I’m impressed with your restraint on the shopping, but you do need to get your head down and get some revision started.  How are you managing when things don’t go as planned?

I’m running!  When I had my blip I didn’t sit around and cry, I stuck my trainers on and headed out into the rain to run four miles.  Pounding the pavements means there isn’t the opportunity to dwell, instead I focus on the next point on the run, lifting my knees to get up a hill (I threw in a challenging hill at the start just for the hell of it), not throwing up, dodging puddles and avoiding drunks/glass/dog poo.  All that leaves little room for self-pity and by the time I was back home and relaxing in the bath, I felt much better.

All sounds very positive, what are the plans for the next week?

It has the potential to be a difficult week – I’m heading over to Spain to sort out the house to make it ready for holiday lets.  That bit is good.  The not-so-good:  ex=husband is going too as he needs to help with things.   He’s not staying at the house (at my request) but we are travelling there together.  It all just feels very weird.  However, I’m staying positive, packing my trainers and planning to work on house, revise and run – all in sunshine!  

Thank you, I think that concludes our review, I wish you luck for the coming week and we’ll get together at the end of next week to consider progress.