exercise

2017 Goals Check In #3

You know that old “glass half full/half empty” argument that determines whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist? Well I was recently thinking about 2017, and the fact that it’s now ¾ of the way over, and I was thinking that we can look at it two ways:

1) We let it fill us: We started with an empty glass and allowed all the lessons we learned and experiences we had to slowly fill our cup.

2) We let it drain us: We started with a full glass and then watched as the stress and anxieties of the year slowly emptied our cup, leaving us with almost nothing left.

But while it’s easy to identify which is optimistic vs. pessimistic on paper, it’s harder to admit, or even more, to correct how we’ve been thinking about our year. For me personally, I set a lofty list of goals this year, and there have been many times when I’ve sat down on my couch exhausted, loathing every single one of them. And while I think it’s perfectly normal and necessary to have those moments once in a while, it would be a shame to let them overshadow all the good ones. That being said, let us focus on the good moments. The badass moments that continue to bring us closer to the goals we’ve set for ourselves. I wish you luck on yours, here’s how I’m doing on mine:

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1) See Star Wars

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 3/8 (37.50%)

Current Progress: 3/8 (37.50%)

In a way I feel like my lack of progress here is a strategy of sorts. With the new Star Wars movie coming out in 2 months, I have the opportunity to walk into the theater having just seen the last few movies. So this excuses me from waiting so long to watch the rest of them, right? RIGHT?

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2) See 5 WLRA’s

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 3/5 (60%)

Current Progress: 4/5 (80%)

At the end of August my family drove up north to drop my brother off at college. And since my eyes are alwaaays open for WRLAs, I quickly figured out that the World’s Largest Monk was only 20 minutes away from his school. Thankfully, my family understands and supports my crazy mind, so after a somewhat emotional weekend, we pulled off the freeway to check this one off the list.

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3) Try this jean rug DIY

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 25%

Current Progress: 75%

I officially have all the pieces cut and they are patiently waiting to be sewed together. In other words, I’ve done everything I can do before all that’s left for me to do is use my sewing machine…

I’m still slightly terrified, and I’m minorly convinced this is where I’ll ruin the rug, but hey, the goal specifically states to try, right? It doesn’t say make an award winning rug sure to be included in the National History Museum upon your death. So I’m going to give it my best shot. Stay tuned.

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4) Run 1,000 miles

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 474.01 miles (47.42%)

Current Progress: 743.23 miles (74.32%)

GUYS. I’M KIND OF TIRED OF RUNNING. Do I love the way it makes me feel? Yes. Am I continually proud of myself for pursuing this goal? Yes. But am I ready for it to be over? YES. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent calculating miles and scheduling routes. And while it’s obviously paid off, as I’m only about 250 miles away from the Promised Land, I’M READY TO BE IN THE FREAKING PROMISED LAND, OKAY? Wish me and my legs luck as we run these last few hundred miles.

5) Complete The Ultimate Fit Bit Week

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%!

This. Was. A. TASK. Read about it here.

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 2/5 (40%)

Current Progress: 5/5 (100%)!

In case anyone is curious, these are the places I volunteered to fulfill this requirement:

While I’m so glad I was able to complete the (minimum) requirement for this goal, I also find it funny that I did so in 5 months. I totally slacked the first half of the year, and I can’t help but think if I had gotten on the ball sooner, I’d have double the volunteer shifts under my belt. This past weekend, as my mom and I were volunteering at Children’s Hunger Fund, I realized how much of a privilege it is to volunteer and I really want to make a better effort to do it as often as I can.

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7) Go to a sporting event of “every” kind (i.e. baseball, football, hockey, basketball, & soccer)

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 1/5 (20%)

Current Progress: 2/5 (40%)

With football officially kicked off, hockey season fully underway, and basketball season only a few weeks out, I have no excuse not to get my butt to a game! If you see a brunette holding a hot dog with way too much ketchup and mustard, animatedly screaming at a group of grown men chasing a ball/puck, there’s probably a 5% chance it’s not me.

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8) Try every class at the gym

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

I know, I know. I’ve given excuse after excuse after excuse on this one, but this is the last one, I promise! For the past few months I’ve been consistently behind on my running goal, making that my #1 priority. As a result, I haven’t had time/energy/will to make it to the gym and have my ass further kicked by physical activity. However, I’m finally gaining some ground and will most likely start showing my (probably panicked) face at the gym again this month.

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9) Do The Princess Diaries painting

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 100%!

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I’m not sure how many 26 year olds would ask to spend their 27th birthday throwing darts at water balloons full of paint, but I’m glad I’m one of them, and I highly recommend you look into it as well, no matter what number awaits you at your next birthday. You can read all about how we did it here.

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10) Find and try the “Best of” restaurants in LA

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 4/5 (80%)

I’d like to officially issue a THANK YOU to my roommates for helping me out with this goal because without them, I have no doubts I’d still be sitting on a goose egg. In the last few months, we’ve tried LA’s best pizza (Pizzeria Mozza), sandwich (Mendocino Farms), ice cream (Salt & Straw) and burger, the quest for the burger probably being the most fun. We went to the first inaugural Battle of the Burgers, which was an event that brought 11 of LA’s best burger vendors to a park downtown and charged $20 for three beers, a burger from each place, and a yellow ticket to vote on your favorite, thus making it the BEST DAY EVER. My roommates voted for Grill ‘Em All, I voted for Everson Royce Bar, and the winner—who we had all counted as our 2nd place choice—was Beacon Echo Park. If you’re in the LA area, check them out!

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11) Watch every film that has ever won Best Picture

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 11/89 (12.36%)

Current Progress: 28 (31.46%)

This is a slowly but surely, turtle and hare type situation. The turtle being me and the hare being time. I fully realize that my needing to watch 60 movies in 3 months, all of which are riddled with holidays, seems like kind of a shot in the dark, but I have a feeling my competitive spirit will find a way to get this thing done. In the meantime, I’m receiving a mean movie education (or movie-cation for all my Pitch Perfect peeps), and have been talking everyone’s ear off in the process. My top 5 favorite movies that I’ve watched so far (not including the handful I’d seen prior to this year) are: Gentleman’s Agreement, Annie Hall, Rain Man, Driving Miss Daisy, and Slumdog Millionaire.

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12) Learn to Longboard

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

The only excuse I have for not making progress on this one is I’m a little scared I’ll more or less break my body. (You know, casual fears.) However, just as my DIY rug doesn’t have to be worthy of museum display, my skateboarding skills don’t have to resemble those you might find on Tony Hawk Pro-Skater. SO, I’m going to suck it up and do it. Stay tuned.

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13) Learn to do a headband braid

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 20%

Current Progress: 40%

To be honest, I’m not even sure how I’m gaging my progress on this one. At the end of the year, it’s either a can or can’t do it type of situation. Sure, I know more about it than when I started, but is that exactly 40% more? Who knows? What I do know is I could use a few alternative hairstyles, especially with all of the holiday family pictures headed my way, so hopefully I’ll find that missing 60% in the next few months.

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14) Reach the 100,000-mile mark on my car

COMPLETED

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Read all about Jeffrey’s (my car) big milestone here.

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15) Do a bar/pub crawl

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 0%

Yeahhhhhhh, about this one. I kind of keep forgetting about it. Good news is, the upcoming months should feature a handful of themed bar crawls I can check out. Look for me in a tacky sweater tavern or a pumpkin spiced lounge or a ghoul-ful pub. Or, if none of those exist, look for me opening a tacky sweater tavern, a pumpkin spiced lounge or a ghoul-ful pub.

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16) Sing Karaoke

COMPLETED

Much to the surprise of my pre-2017 self, I’ve actually done karaoke 4 separate times now, all of which have been about 100 times more fun than I ever thought karaoke could be. That being said, while I’d never pressure anyone into doing something they didn’t want to do, I highly recommend you give karaoke a shot. There are few things more freeing than belting out a Backstreet Boys song, knowing you’re hitting exactly zero notes, and yet not caring one bit.

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17) Complete Project Lightbulb

1st & 2nd Quarter Progress: 0%

Current Progress: 25%

After it became clear that this goal would be impossible to complete this year, I decided that as long as we made steps towards planning and booking it for next year, I’d call it a win. That being said, we finally made our first step in that direction, as we opened a savings account where we can slowly save up enough money to make this thing happen! Iceland here we come!

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As a whole, I’m just under 58% finished, which again, I’m deciding to take on a half-full mindset about. There’s no use in letting what I haven’t done take the focus away from what I have. I will continue to work my butt off and hopefully come the end of December, I’ll be sitting behind this computer writing up the 4th and final update, feeling filled up with pride for the crazy, hard, and amazing year that was 2017. See you then!

I Completed Every Daily Fitbit Challenge for a Week & This is What Happened

About a year ago I got a Fitbit for my birthday, and like most people I spent the first few months OBSESSED with getting 10,000 steps each day. It was all very exciting. Once you hit it, your Fitbit vibrates and puts up a graphic of fireworks and congratulates you and you basically feel like the most athletic person ever.

But then, at about 4 months in, I kind of stopped caring. Sure, I still checked in with the weekly reports sent to your email, and when a friend checked their steps, I checked mine, but the initial allure wore off.

After that I went through spurts of achiever/non-achiever mind set.

“I will hit 10,000 steps EVERY DAY THIS WEEK!”

“I got two out of seven, that’s good enough for me.”

And from there, I went completely nuts and decided I needed to achieve everything for no apparent reason. Enter The Ultimate Fit Bit Week, a challenge I—to the best of my knowledge—invented essentially just to torture myself. Allow me to explain.

This is the home screen of the Fitbit mobile app:

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As you can see it’s broken into 4* main categories: steps, miles, calories burned, and active minutes, followed by weekly exercise and steps per hour. There is also sleep and weight change, but since those are on the more unpredictable side, for this challenge I decided to ignore them.

(*Note: I’m using an Alta, if you have a newer Fitbit, there’s a 5th main category for floors)

When you buy a Fitbit, you create a profile that determines a good target goal for each of the categories, and when you reach it, the section lights up green.

My target goals for each day are: 10,000 steps, 5 miles, 2184 calories, and 30 active minutes.

I’ve hit all of these before and seen all the circles turn green, especially in those first few months. I’ve also achieved 5 of 5 days in the “weekly exercise” category, which I fondly refer to as “pentagon-ing,”and gotten 9 of 9 hours with 250+ steps, which I call “making a step rainbow.” (I’m very adult.) However, I’ve never hit every single one of these, every day of the week.  So, similar to Mirror Mode—shout out to all my fellow Mario Kart junkies out there—I wanted to know if anything happened if you completed them all for an entire week. This is how it went:

Day 1

At 9:50 Monday morning, my Fitbit vibrated on my wrist, indicating I had 10 minutes left to get 250 steps in the 9 o’clock hour. I work in an office and spend most of my day sitting at my desk, so usually when I get this hourly reminder I just look at it, shrug, then go back to typing. Today however, I knew that even one missed hour would result in a failed attempt at this challenge, so I dragged my butt out of my seat and up the stairs to inventory.

Working in a very small, family owned company, the boss of which is my dad, I have somewhat of an advantage when it comes to workday mobility. So when I got up without warning and paced around the upstairs storage room until my Fitbit vibrated again with a “you did it!” notification, no one in the office blinked an eye. Regardless, when the 10:50 and 11:50 reminders came around, I still felt a little self-conscious, so I tip-toed up the stairs and treaded lightly on the second story, hopeful I didn’t bother anyone using the last 10 minutes of their hour to, you know, work.

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At 2:50, I did my final upstairs lap of the day because I leave at 3 o’clock to make my daily 3:30 delivery to a customer downtown. I worried about my commute home. It always took me a solid 20-30 minutes, which would mean that the 3:50 reminder would most likely come while I was still in the car. One hour later, when my theory proved to be correct, I flipped through the radio, found Taylor Swift’s new single “Look What You Made Me Do” and I danced a little harder than usual. We’re talking intense hand gestures. I assume surrounding patrons probably thought I was either lecturing someone on a hands-free device or certifiably insane. You can call this cheating if you want, I call it working with what I had.

One thing I wasn’t worried about each day was the total steps and miles. Since I’m currently in training for an entirely different goal I set for myself, I run about 5 miles each day, making those two milestones easy to reach. The calories were another story. Sure, I’d burn a lot while running, but 2,184 is a strange number, and exercise is a stingy bitch, so when I still had 300 calories left to burn and 0 plans of anymore physical activity Monday night, I was a little worried. As a result, when a few friends came over, I made sure to talk with a subtle increase in animation. I also took longer routes to the refrigerator and the bathroom, and danced while I was brushing my teeth.

When I lay down in bed, I opened my Fitbit app and was excited to find 5 green circles, a fully formed step rainbow, and the first notch in my pentagon. Soon after, I fell hard asleep, but not before groaning that I had to do all of this again, for six more days. What the hell was I thinking?

Day 2

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You know those Snapchats you take on a night out that seem like a great idea at the time, but then the next day you rewatch them and curse yourself for ever hitting record? That’s kind of how I felt when the 9:50 reminder vibrated on my wrist Tuesday morning. I was already over being a slave to my Fitbit and was completely annoyed with myself for setting this goal in the first place. Who cared if I did this anyway? I could give up, no one would know the difference. Before I could commit to the quit however, I was upstairs, pacing.

After work, I was at my parents’ house, visiting with my mom. We were slouched in recliners, cursing the 107° heat, when my 4:50 reminder went off. In an instant I was out of my chair, walking frantically around the living room. “Don’t mind me,” I said, “just trying to get my steps in.” I’d told her what I was trying to do, so after a blink or two, she continued our conversation, completely unfazed, unlike the two dogs, who watched with palpable concern.

Day 3

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Since I was already growing tired of the storage room, I decided I’d try a few new routes on Wednesday. At 11:50, when my just-before-lunch reminder went off on my Fitbit, I decided to walk to the bathroom, pee, wash my hands, and then pace around until I got my victory notification.

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This would prove to be a terrible idea, as our bathroom is probably about 6ft x 6ft, which leaves absolutely no space to pace. I felt like I was in a prison cell trying to walk off a mental breakdown. I also got self-conscious that I was in the bathroom too long, which might lead my coworkers to think I was working through some other issues. This led my mind on a fictitious tangent where I reasoned with them, saying hey, everyone poops and there shouldn’t be any shame in that, but upon realizing where my brain had wandered as I continued to pace, I laughed out loud which in turn made me realize, maybe I really was working through some issues, just not the second kind, if you catch my drift.

Day 4

IMG_2515At 10:56 I looked down at my wrist and realized that I hadn’t received a step reminder. I was sitting at my desk sorting through bills, knee deep in removed staples and residual pen ink, and I jumped up and started pacing. Had I missed it? Had I subconsciously ignored it? How many steps did I need?  WAS I GOING TO FAIL THIS DAMN CHALLENGE BECAUSE OF A $15 INVOICE FROM UPS?!? I frantically opened the Fitbit app on my phone and swiped down to make it sync with the Alta on my wrist. 10:57. COME ON DAMNIT. I calculated how fast I could run up the stairs and do suicide sprints up and back on the inventory floor. 10:58. I stared hard at the step rainbow which, being only one hour into the day, was merely a dot. The 9 o’clock dot glowed pink, while 10 o’clock blinked gray. 10:59. The page shifted up, signaling a successful sync, and suddenly the dot turned pink. I put my head down on the desk and exhaled hard and long. Then I scooted my rolling chair back into place, and continued working through my stack of bills with an abnormally elevated heart rate.

Day 5

IMG_2516This morning I woke up with a baby headache behind my eye which, for me, is not a good sign. My body has a way of turning baby headaches into full grown adult with a Ph. D and a husband headaches in no time at all. As a result, I took my morning pretty slow, calculating whether the Excedrin I took with my breakfast was going to be enough for me to make it into work rather than use one of my sick days. A day off sounds nice, I thought. I pictured myself bathing in a constant flow of movies and A/C. I could stay in my pajamas and nap off and on all day long. The image had me all but convinced and my fingers hovering above an iMessage draft.  But then the other part of my brain kicked in. The determined part. The part that didn’t want to forfeit this stupid challenge and have to start again—because let’s be honest, I would. So, I told myself the headache wasn’t that bad. It would pass. I just had to give it time. Then I had to get back to business, and by business I meant aimless pacing on the second floor until the slave driver attached to my wrist cleared me for another hour of service. Thankfully, the headache did pass around 10, giving me enough brain capacity to count the number of laps needed to get those 250 steps. (FYI to my fellow Fitbit-ted coworkers: it’s 13.)

Day 6

You’d think a member of my family’s life hung on the completion of this challenge the way I slept Friday night. I woke up again and again, sure I’d slept past the 9:50 step reminder, even though I set not one, not two, but THREE separate alarms to ensure that I didn’t. When I finally did get up—at 9:00 am—I quickly got a text from my mom asking if I wanted to go to breakfast. This ended up being a set up for my brother—who just recently went away to college—to surprise me for my upcoming birthday. It was all great fun, until the 10:50 reminder vibrated on my wrist and I had to briefly check out of conversation and wiggle my wrist under the table until I got the follow up “way to go!” notification. Again, you can call this cheating if you want, I call it not making a (big) scene at the restaurant that your brother lurked the perimeter of to find the right angle to surprise you in.

IMG_2517The rest of the day went pretty smoothly. It was my first day of the challenge spent at home rather than work, but I was still diligent in getting up and getting my steps in every hour. That night, I went out to dinner with my family and arrived home around 9:45 feeling about as fat and happy as one can get. Then I remembered I hadn’t run that day, meaning I didn’t automatically have my 5 miles logged, my 10,000 steps clocked, or my 2184 calories burned. I opened the app in a panic and found that I needed 1,500 steps, 1.2 miles, and 300 calories. So, I got to work. I kicked off the boots I wore to dinner and started running, yes running around my living room. It was quite the upgrade from my inventory pace, not only because I got to do it barefoot while watching Prison Break, but also because I realized if you were to look at the quasi jogging path—a.k.a the trail that started at the living room TV, wrapped around the coffee table and the couch then went through the dining room to the front door—from an aerial view, I was pretty sure it resembled a T-rex, and so I was all for it.

Day 7

As irreverent as this may seem, I was partially relieved to have church on my agenda for Sunday morning because it guaranteed I’d be up in time for the 9:50 reminder. I did my best not to think about it too much during service however, for I feared that would be too clear a sign that I really had become a slave to this thing. After service, as I was saying my usual hellos, how are yous and have a good Sundays, I felt the 11:50 reminder vibrate and my entire mood shifted. I subconsciously started to lean towards the door, something I wouldn’t notice until a conversation ended and I would nearly lose my footing as I carried on towards the parking lot. I also walked at an alarming pace. “I have to keep moving!” I said in a panicked whisper to my sister as she slowed to say hello to a friend holding a newborn. “Very cute baby,” I said in passing, something I knew I’d be ashamed of later when I realized my tone resembled that of an acquaintance commenting on your new curtains rather than a longtime friend complimenting your living, breathing infant son.

IMG_2518After I got my run in for the day, I sat down to eat lunch and looked longingly at the clock. It was 2:30, meaning I only had 3 hours left of this thing. I turned on Food Network and settled into the recliner, relieved I’d already met the step requirement for the 2 o’clock hour. As I continued to sit however, I felt my eyes get heavy. My body had sunk deep into the soft fabric of the chair and the sun had moved behind a cloud, making my living room darker than usual. A nap sounds good, I thought. Just a tiny one. But just as my eyes began to submit to sleep, my brain screamed itself awake. WE CAN NAP LATER, BITCH. I opened one eye and looked up at the clock on the wall. Somehow it was already 3:15, a mere 35 minutes from the 3:50 step reminder. With the way I nap, I have no doubts I would have slept right through it, leaving the challenge a mere 98% completed and requiring me to start over. Thankfully, I’m a neurotic crazy person whose dreams consisted of little else than this damn challenge for 7 straight days. So, I got up, I made myself busy, and when, at 5:54, I got the “way to go!” notification that officially marked this challenge complete, I cheersed myself with a beer and took a nice long swig, vowing I’d never do this again.

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fun fact: when you get your active minutes for all seven days, you *heptagon* which is far superior to pentagon-ing, if I do say so myself. 

All in all, I think I’d file this experience in the “glad I did it, but don’t need to do it again” category. Putting aside the aforementioned cons, one of the biggest pros was how much better I felt at the end of the work day because I forced myself to get up and move around every hour. While I know we all don’t have an inventory room to pace around, I would recommend finding a balance between sitting and moving during the work day. Just take a few moments to remind your legs that they’re legs, you know?

Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, nothing actually happens when you complete this challenge. There’s no mirror mode. There’s no Fitbit executive waiting in the wings to congratulate you for being the best Fitbit-er EVER. No, there’s just you, a beer, an overwhelming sense of relief, and the freedom to take the best damn nap of your life.