Monday, December 7, 2009

Lists: Love or Lust?

Is it just me, or do Monday’s always feel like a fresh start of the week?
I know that on the calendar Sunday is the first day of the week, but I can’t help but consider Sunday the last day of the weekend (soaking up every last bit of relaxation, productivity or both!) and Monday the “kick start” kind of day.

I’ve been journaling a lot lately about my need to make goals. I’ve been wondering what the purpose is, to all the lists I make each year. It’s something that lives deep down under my bones- lining my soul, really. I have this addiction to “to-do” type lists; Not just tasks to complete- although those lists definitely exist in many facets of my life- but other to-do lists. Things to avoid for the week, Goals to accomplish for the month, Progress to be made in a plethora of areas. When I become self-aware of an extreme in my life, I either battle or support it with a list.

For example- when I notice I haven’t been doing much cardio lately- I create a list of 10 cardio work outs to complete in the next two weeks. When I realize my last three meals have involved a veggie burger patty- I make a list of other protein-filled meals to eat for lunch and dinner this week. Each morning I make a list at the office of what I hope to accomplish and what REALLY needs to be accomplished. Most Friday evenings I sit cross-legged in front of the TV with my giant whiteboard and make a “Weekend Fun-do” list; things that I should consider doing and things I really should celebrate doing- ranging from “fold the laundry while watching The West Wing” and “Drink wine”. And you’ve seen my become a better runner list, my fitness bucket list, my 101 in 1001 list, and a new list of sorts every Tuesday. And this weekend, when I took notice I’ve been slacking on my running since Thanksgiving and that the times for my first three 5K increased by over a minute each- I wanted to make a list of what I need to do to stop being so silly and get my butt outside to run in the cold.

Clearly, I love lists.

But I wonder about the list making. Is it good for me? I mean, of course, it's healthy and good to line out your goals and determine where progress should be made- but maybe I need to take a step back and remember that everything in moderation is the key to a healthy life.

It sounds a bit silly, doesn't it? Evaluating my list making because it may not be "good for me." But look at it this way- a lot of the time, at least in the last few months, I have made lists for the sake of making lists- I'm not making much progress on the lists I have been writing out.

For example- that Ten Steps to a Becoming a Better Runner list I wrote a month or so ago- I discussed my need to do ten things:

1. take the time to track my nutrition
2. get more sleep
3. cross train
4. evaluate/journal about my workouts
5. add yoga training 3 times a week
6. implement core work
7. run out doors
8. stay hydrated
9. properly warm up & cool down with each run
10. stay motivated to run

If I take the time to review the last month, I realized that I'm only doing a few of these things. I am definitely not tracking my food or spending more time sleeping. And I haven't been doing much working out at all- let alone specific cross training and yoga that I had planned on. I must say, I've done much better putting the core work in- thanks to Ange, staying hydrated, and the few times I have run in the past month I have made sure to warm up and cool down properly and do the running outside- but I haven't been running much at all lately.

This isn't the only list I've made this season that gets overlooked and a majority of items gets ignored. The lack of determination in sticking with a plan, following goals, and completing a to do list seems to have become a bit of a habit lately- and I don't like that. I don't like that I keep making the lists, but not making any progress. I don't like that I'm falling backwards- starting to resemble the girl with the good intentions that never moves forward. It seems that my love for lists, has become more of a lust for lists. I'm interested with the list making, with the beginning- but I haven't cared too much for a long-term relationship with the lists. I just write the lists, turn the page, and carry on with my life, until the idea for another list waltzes into my life and the cycle starts again.

I'm not trying to be hard on myself. I know that I am doing a lot more now that I would have been doing last year at this time- I have definitely made progress and am living a much healthier lifestyle than I was, even six months ago- and that is a wonderful, rewarding thing I should take pride in. But I also know I need to get a grip and realize that I am happiest with myself when I am making the healthiest of choices.

I am happiest with myself when I feel strong after finishing a run in the brisk air, rather than making 27 excuses of why I can't go outside today to get some speed work in . I am happiest with myself when I take the 10 minutes to do core work in the evenings, rather than just sit in my v. comfy recliner. I am happiest with myself when I feel full off of fresh veggies and whole foods, rather than stuffing my face with food that does not sit well in my stomach. Of course, as I continue on a weight loss journey- I am happiest when the numbers on the scale move downward, and not just sit still for three weeks. I am happiest when I can wake up after a full nights of rest and be ready to face my day, rather than hit snooze three times and stop for a sugar free red bull on my way into the office.

It's not that I don't enjoy occasional treats and indulgences, days of rest, and days of curling up under a cozy blanket and drinking wine while NOT DOING A THING. These times of "spoiling of myself" are special times I continue to enjoy- but I want to make them the exception, not the rule.

Of course, being Heather, I want to make a list of how to do these things- a plan of how to accomplish feeling the happiest. But this time, I refuse.

Instead I am going to face each day, one at a time- choice by choice- determined to make the healthy choices, because they truly make me the happiest.

Lots of follow up questions for you to answer today, my friends! I want to hear your experiences and opinions.
What is your relationship with lists? Do you find that they are a motivational tool for you and what you want to accomplish? Have you ever found yourself listing out of habit? How do you suggest I go about making healthy choices? What have you used to help yourself get back into good habits that make you happy?


  1. I think lately I keep making my to do lists and then misplacing them. But I still think it helps me remember. The lists that have come in super handy for me lately are lists I make of things I need to remember to do Monday morning at work. I leave them on my keyboard when I leave Friday afternoon.

  2. I love to make lists, and I usually make them for everything. But sometimes, I make so many that I get overwhelmed and end up getting nothing on any done. It can be a vicious cycle!

  3. I would forget to do many, many things if I didn't make multiple lists. Love them.

    As for making healthy changes, set mini-goals for yourself, and just try to change one or two habits at a time. That way, it will be easier to remember what you're trying to change.

    And if you slip up? Don't worry about it, and just get back to it!


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