Week 4: A Vari-8-y of Changes

Week 4 challenge:

  • Write down 3 things I'm grateful for.

  • Write down 3 things I accomplished.

  • Mark 2 "must-do" items for the next day

Each. And. Every. Day.

My weapons of choice:

  • My gratitude journal, courtesy of Chantelle at Prana Yoga & Wellness, which I keep next to my bed.

  • The Evernote app on my iPhone, which I keep next to my everything. I created a separate notebook called "Accomplishments," and I made the date the title each day. For particularly noteworthy accomplishments, I can tag the post for future reference if I wanted to fill out a sweet resume or something (just kidding, boss people).

  • My nifty Evernote-integrated Moleskine notebook, which basically holds my life. What makes it nifty? Honestly, the most valuable part is the short-term Evernote Pro subscription. Otherwise, it's a nice-looking notebook with cute stickers...I don't use the integration nearly as much as I thought I would. I like writing in it enough that I am keeping my running to-do list in it, starring my 2 "must-do" items for the next day...usually even before I leave the office!

In addition to all of my task-specific recording spots, I've started using Strides to track my progress on these and all of my previous challenges, so I can see how I'm keeping up overall. I set reminders to record my pass/fail result for each challenge at a time that makes sense, and that reminder is usually enough to get my ass in gear if I haven't already completed my task(s) for the day.

How'd I do?
I was pretty consistent, and that was great. More importantly, though, I really found myself starting to think differently.

I started my days thinking about how to look for the wonderful things in my life. I found myself being present when I truly was experiencing gratitude. I was patting myself on the back for what I'd accomplished more than flagellating myself for what I hadn't. I was noticeably more productive—and energized to do more, rather than feeling paralyzed by what was still on the list and not knowing where to start.

Because most of you probably don't care about what I actually do throughout the day, I'll spare you those details, but I did want to share some of my fave gratitude entries to spread some positive vibes. I'm grateful for so many things in my charmed life, but especially:

  • The unconditional love of a family that I don't call and don't see nearly as much as I'd like...and their understanding of my ability/inability to be available on any given day.

  • The patience my husband has with me when I need extra support and am feeling low.

  • That I get to listen to the sprummer storm and marvel at Mother Nature before drifting off to sleep.

  • That I work with great people who make me laugh every day.

  • That I had an evening to myself to bring some control to the chaos around my house.

  • That I had the opportunity to experience true grace and gratitude in the face of difficulty and pain as I served the unbelievably strong families at Ronald McDonald House Toronto.

  • The beautiful evening that led to the unearthing of our patio set and an outdoor dinner that allowed me to connect with my kid and husband in a way I'd really missed.

What's Next?
I'm calling it the rule of eight, and it's something I've used various times when I've trained for races (though ten was usually my number). It's the thing that gets me out the door for my run, bike, swim, whatever. It's the idea that something's better than nothing, so if I can at least do eight minutes of my workout, I'll have done something and I can be okay with that even if I'm still not feeling it. The funny thing about my body, though, is that when it comes to exercise, right is almost never enough. It's the warmup that makes me start to feel more alive, and to crave more.

Do you use any tricks to get yourself moving?