Hey, All! It’s Monday and what that means for most is the start of a new week after a hopefully awesome weekend. For me, today is the start of my weekend after finishing a 5 day stretch on the road. I know, I know – most people work 5 days in a row!! And having done it before I sympathize, I do. But for us Flygal’s it is a looooong time to be away from home particularly when you factor in the 12 flights, 3 different beds in 3 different cities, all while maintaining a perma smile that I now associate with giving me wrinkles. 🙂 Haha – it’s funny no matter how much we love our jobs we still find something to gripe about! Moving on…
Are you guys reading Four Pillar Freedom? If not, you should be. Not only because JD Roth is reading it…
But also because the writing is on point. A few days back, Zach started the month with a powerful post about shifting perspective from the things we should stop doing in favor of the ones we should start doing. It’s a great list and I implore you to pop over now and check it out. I’ll wait…
Fabulous, right?? If you didn’t make it down to read all the comments, here is what I wrote:
Zach’s post really touched me. Lately I have felt a bit overwhelmed by…well, life. I started a new position at work while still maintaining the same amount of flying. The other job is in Dallas which means I have to commute there and back adding a new level of stress and preparation I wasn’t quite prepared for. I now have to book my own flights and hotels (in the most complicated manner) and somehow get reimbursed for meals (I have yet to figure that part out and have already lost one receipt!!). It’s a lot to take on and the learning curve is killing me!! 🙂 More time away from home is also taking its toll as I originally took this position thinking it would take place in Chicago and I’d be home more often…#Fail. Regardless, I am still VERY GRATEFUL to have my job, including this new position, and am honored that they chose me over many other applicants…see, always a silver lining!
All that being said, during this time I have let my writing fall by the wayside. Well, not exactly true – I have been writing, but I just can’t seem to find a good block of time to pull it all together and post. It seems with so many things floating in my head, the writing gets long and hairy. I need time to trim it all down and be more succinct but with my mind run amok on LIFE I just haven’t been able to get there. In hopes of smoothing the bumps in my road, this January I began to implement a new system based on one of the ideas mentioned in Zach’s post:
Stop Looking For Motivation & Start Building Habits
So simple and so right!!
Winter in Chicago is grey and gloomy and the lack of sun can really get you down. In an effort to guard myself from the winter time blues, I set some lofty health goals and have added a new one each month. Oh, and when I say lofty – do not laugh! January started with 10k steps a day as well as taking vitamins each day (FYI I was sick for 3 weeks in January – hmmm). February I added 20 lunges, sit ups, and push-ups to my daily routine (I have never worked out consistently). And March, I have instilled flossing (my dentist will be so proud!) and stretching everyday (remember when stretching was an issue??). I also cut back on alcohol to see if that would help with my energy level (as far as I can tell it hasn’t…).
For those of you looking to do something similar, might I suggest an app (no, I’m not getting paid) that has helped me? The Productive Habits and Daily Goals Tracker is the best I have found and I’ve been using it since February. You are allowed up to 5 habits a day (in the free version) and can swipe them once you finish. If you’re like me, you can’t stand seeing a notification on your apps…like messages, emails, comments. I hate it! Seeing this glaring reminder is a great way to motivate me to drop and do 20 (I’m still on baby push ups but I hope to graduate soon!). I have tried to instill many of these habits before but this time is the first that I have been successful. Yeah me!!
Due to the Productivity app I have walked at least 10k steps almost EVERY DAY (I missed 3!) since the start of the year despite the sometimes shitty weather in Chicago. In fact, on one occasion I worked a crappy paying trip to Florida with a short 10 hour overnight just to be able to walk in weather above the freezing point…that’s dedication, folks.
Here is a look at what I see on my screen. Pay special attention to the chain at the bottom…
Again, I only started using this app at the end of January so it is missing some data but the chain is what really makes this work. I love it! Each of those solid color days are when I accomplished every goal. Last Sunday you’ll notice the dot is clear – I had a glass of wine with our paella dinner causing me to break the chain. Why am I including alcohol?? I am trying to pinpoint my lethargy triggers (I thought it might be wine) but I have started to realize that 15 years on the road with crazy hours and different beds each night is taking more of a cumulative toll than anything else.
On top of all these new habits, my mom (Hi mom!) gifted me a FitBit. My watch broke last month and I needed a new one for work. I took mom’s gift hesitantly as I was certain these things are completely overrated…I was wrong. FitBit has changed my life! I am completely OBSESSED with the goals I’ve set and reaching them daily:
- 13k steps (I wear it all day so it picks up more than my phone)
- 10 flights of stairs
- 5 miles walking
- 2000 calories burned (they calculate that based on my weight, height, and exercise)
- 60 minutes of active minutes (doing something for more than 10 minutes at a time)
- 7 hours sleep
- Moving 250 steps per hour from 9-6pm
- Exercising daily (walking = 30 min, biking = 15 min)
I tell ya, nothing makes me more proud of myself than when I see the screen light up green at the end of the day! Here is Fridays tally compared with the start of Saturday:
Looks like someone has some walking to do!! 😉 Oh, and I was in Vegas Friday night which accounts for all the extra steps.
“They” say it takes 3 weeks on average to build a habit (possibly debunked according to Forbes). According to this weird post on Reddit, it also takes 90 days to break one. I have been doing some of my new habits for 21+ days which, in theory, now makes them a part of my lifestyle but I’m not convinced. I think I may be more stubborn than most and without the help of my app and FitBit I would easily fall back into a slump. For now I am hopeful. 🙂
What does all this have to do with money?? I’m glad you asked. The habits that I am building for myself are all about living intentionally. They are about not letting the day get away from me causing me to make excuses for why I can’t work out or be healthy (which I am famous for doing). With each new health, I build a healthier foundation for future me which leads to better health and less medical expenses. But the rewards are two-fold. Being intentional with your day and your time is as important as being intentional with your money. Since I have been tracking my expenses, I tend not to overspend in the problem areas that I recognized the first few months. Going out to eat, paying ridiculous amounts for groceries, and hitting the bar to catch up with friends are no longer an issue as they once were. When I realized saving that money (and all the lovely compound interest that it attracts) would get me to my FI goals sooner, I was easily able to cut out much of my discretionary spending. Bonus!! 🙂
So, with the 3rd month of 2017 nicely on its way, what have you changed this year? Are you still keeping up with your resolutions? Have you formed any new habits?? I plan to add a new habit/goal to post once a week now that things are starting to calm down. First week of March and I am on my way! What about you??
Until next time…