Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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2016 looking forward

As you know, I didn’t do any resolutions in 2015. Whether or not that was intentional or not is up for debate. Along with celebrating my accomplishments in 2015 I’d like to take the time now, at the beginning of this year, to do a retrospective.

I got the idea from Nate Green who runs a fun little blog over here. The idea is to focus on three questions:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What’s not working?
  3. How can I fix what’s not working for a better result?

 

With this in mind I’ll be focusing on my personal life in the following points.

I’ll take another look back over 2015 to figure out what is working:

  • I have a good idea of where I want to be going in 2016 and have laid the ground work in 2015 to get there
  • I’ve taken responsibility for my own health and happiness and work daily at these two things
  • I’ve had the chance to travel, and taken advantage of that chance

Now on to what’s not working. Personally, I choose to focus less on the negative and more on the positive, so I’m going to take this question to be instead what I hope to improve and/or what I’d like to be better at.

  • Strengthen the current relationships in my life
  • Refocus my eating habits
  • Continue to rehab my shoulder mindfully with appropriate increases in difficulty

So, how can I fix what’s not working for a better result?

  • Strengthening the current relationships in my life: My first thought on this one is less phone time. Phone  world is fun and entertaining but also a huge time suck. I’m going to research apps that track phone usage and will give a reminder/alert once I’ve reached a certain amount of phone time for that day.
  • Refocus my eating habits: Though I have yet to write my final posts about PN I’m going to use what I learned there and continue to improve my nutrition. First thoughts on this is more vegetables in my life. Mid PN journey I was eating vegetables at every meal consistently, I want to get back there and beyond.
  • Continue to rehab my shoulder mindfully with appropriate increases in difficulty: I’m going to print out my rehab schedule (up until now I’ve used a version on my phone). After each completed session I’m going to cross off the workout. I did this one summer and saw huge increases in my consistency, and consistency is key for rehab. (And any lasting change).

Nate recommends that you write for 15-30 minutes on the three questions found at the top of this post. I say write for as long as you like, until you feel you are done. Though this exercise probably isn’t meant to take hours on end, so keep that in mind.

I’ve also tried to give concrete actions that I can take in order to work towards my new goals/improve what’s not working as well. If you check out my answers to the third question you’ll notice three things that I can do (basically immediately) to get the ball rolling. To reiterate:

  1. Download phone time tracking app
  2. Buy vegetables for my fridge/freezer
  3. Print rehab schedule


What’s in store for the future? One thing is for sure, more sneak attacks!

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focus

My wife recently suggested that I cut down on my activities. It was really good advice. What she was getting at is that I do a lot of things, activities we’ll call them, though many of these activities are self-imposed “things to do”. I agree, I have a lot on my plate. Many of these “things to do” do not need to get done, or certainly not right now, today.

I’ve decided to prioritize just a few things, and be sure to rock these things.

The title of this post is FOCUS. Both because I am narrowing my FOCUS to just three things: work, play & PN. But also because the name of the PN team I’m in is called team FOCUS. It all fits in nicely.

focus

Thus far I’ve posted three PN posts under that PN tab up top, (one, two and three – if you’re interested). I’m really enjoying the program. If you’ve read the posts you’ll recal that we focus on three things in PN (that’s where I got the magic number three from – no historical mythological connections here). The three PN things we FOCUS on are: lesson, habit & workout.

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I’m extrapolating this tactic to the other areas of my life. Hopefully to find some personal balance and success in my endeavors. What this means for the blog: in the coming months I will be posting less. I post about 7 posts per month, but for at least the next three months I’ll be posting fewer than that. I certainly enjoy writing and posting, so occasionally writing a blog post will fall under the category of “fun”. But I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to post a particular post at a particular time.

See you in the fall! When I’ll be sure to tell you all about how much I’ve rocked my work, play & PN over the summer.

HAGS!

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season’s ending

Not only does it feel like Spring in Sweden, but they hockey season is ending as well. As of my latest hockey update, around half way through our season, I discussed our team’s goals and expectations that we discussed last summer about what our expectations for the upcoming season were.

Looking back, I think we have had a successful season. Concerning the wordclouds I made, I would gladly say that we have found success in all categories…but one. Unfortunately this year we did not make it to AllEttan (take another look at the previous post for an explanation of AllEttan).
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Last year we were one win away from AllEttan. This year we were three wins away from AllEttan. But all was not a disappointment. We play in a tight league, and all the games this season were close competitions. So, really, when you look at the season over all it was certainly a good one.
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Not making it to AllEttan was a let down, but the continuance series was a success this year, as it was last year. As in the regular series we continued to play close games. The continuance series is six games, where the four teams who did not move on to AllEttan play each other twice. Of our six games four of them were taken to shoot outs, where we were able to take an extra point in two of them. Our team fought hard, and lead the continuance play in points throughout the series, unfortunately only up until the last game. The loss of the extra point gave us equal points with AIK, who had one extra point in goal differential and therefore won the series. Still an over all success for the team though.
photo 1 (3)
I’m proud of the work we have accomplished as a team, and look forward to start off ice training. (Accompanied by my marathon training of course.) I’m a little less proud of my personal statistics in the continuance series. photo 3 (3)I’m certainly glad I was able to score 2 shoot out goals, as well as another two goals and an assist in regular play, to land 4th over all in points. (First in decisive goals.) Decisive GoalsHowever, my penalty minutes are embarrassing. Before the game today I had 14 minutes in the box.
Penalty Minutes
Luckily I managed to get my act together for the final match up of the season, but as the most penalized player in the continuance series I can’t really count that as a win. In the off-season, as well as focusing on forward strides in my fitness, I’ll have to focus on clean play. I’ve yet to figure out how to work out for that, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.
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See you in the gym!
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24. save money

Number 24 on my 25 before 25 list is to save money. As you may remember, last January I talked about saving money. I had realized that a lot of people I know had included saving money on their list of resolutions, so I took some helpful hints that intelligent people have shared with me and posted them here.

Now let’s see how good I am at following my own advice. If you recall the three tips, boiled down, are:

  1. Cut up all your credit cards.
  2. Minimize shopping.
  3. Create a budget and stick to it.

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If we take a look at the first one, cut up all your credit cards, since January 2013 I have actually done the opposite. Before 2013 I did not have a credit card. My excuse is that I am trying to build credit. My past experiences with credit cards have taught me to be careful with them, so I try to keep this in mind. It’s one of those reward credit cards that I also try to justify having seeing as it is a great rewards card. We’ll see if I keep the card throughout 2014.

Moving on to number two, minimize shopping. This one I have been more or less successful with. More successful with when I have less money, and less successful with when I have more money. If I want to reach my savings goals by the time I turn 25 I will have to focus on saving more when I have more money, rather than spending more.

Number three, create a budget, I have done since I wrote the first post. Sticking to it is a different story. I have stuck to my budget for the past 5 months though, so at least I’m moving in the right direction.

money money money

In the coming months I’m going to refocus on my own advice. Follow it a little more. Let’s see how that goes. I wish I disliked spending money in the way that Ishmael dislikes spending money. Things would be easier then.

“The act of paying is perhaps the most uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon us.”               – Herman Mellvile

As long as we put child birth aside, I wish I agreed more with him. It’s probably a good idea to model one’s choices after Ishmael’s opinions, right?

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not dieting/starting again/stopping/then starting again

This probably sounds like a cliché, or an all too often told story. About people who try different fad diets, only to eventually fail at them, to then try some other diet that’s big right now.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about. And, honestly, without sounding to preachy or as if I’m trying to sell you something, I think I’ve found a few things that work when it comes to dieting.

Side bar: I am seriously not going to try to sell you anything. Seriously. I have no money to gain here. It is also probably important to emphasize that I am not in the field of health and nutrition. I have no background education in the matter. I told you all about how I’m a pre-school teacher. What I can say is that if we listened to the pre-schoolers we’d eat a whole lot of candy and cookies. That stuff is tasty! But, I do try to limit the advice I take from 5 and 6 year olds. (Though at times they are truly inspiring.) I’m rambling, the point here is don’t by anything from me, and take my advice with a grain of salt. Do your own research, and find out what works for you.

PN plate

found here

That being said, I think I’ll say it again. I really do not think there is anything better when it comes to “dieting” than doing your own research and finding what works for you. I want to put dieting in bunny quotes because what I do I don’t actually feel is dieting. Yes I am changing my diet. But ideally I am changing my diet for good. For the forseeable future. My personal goal, when I say I want to get fit (and yes I believe a big part of that is through making conscious decisions about one’s diet), is to find a diet that works for me and the lifestyle I want to lead, forever.

THAT being said, I’m here today to tell you a little about what I have found works for me, and my own personal experience with changing the way I eat (more commonly known as dieting).

Start slowly. I’ve read a million articles online about diets that are guaranteed to work, and just follow these easy 10 steps to a healthier you! (It was a million, I counted.) The problem is, it is almost never that I find all the “steps” in all the different “processes” to be simple. I find the biggest problem with dieting is failing at it. That’s why I choose my own steps. In order for this post to stay at a readable length I’m going to list my top three pieces of advice, or first three steps I took when trying to change my diet.

  1. Make it easy for yourself. I believe that successfully completing your goals sets you up for future success. Therefore, when beginning a new project (any project really) I start as small as possible. Miniscule. I make that first step seem like the easiest thing in the world, that I can definitely accomplish. Then comes the important part, that once I do accomplish my easy first step, I go on and make another step in the right direction. (But again, a very, ridiculously, awesomely easy step.)
    For example: If I want to eat less sugar, first I’ll take a look at what my sugar in take is currently. Let’s say I eat a good amount of sugar every day and want to reduce that. So I’ll first just look at one meal. Every morning I put two tea spoons of sugar in my tea. My super easy step then could be to only add one teaspoon of sugar. I think I can manage that with 100% success, so that’s what I choose to change.
  2. Keep track of what you’re doing. There are a bunch of apps out there, or you can go the old write-it-down-with-pen-and-paper rout. Whatever you do, keep track of what you’re doing and how you feel. If you keep track you will be able to easier tell what is working, and what isn’t. (Hint: this can even be one of your first small changes – make it easy for yourself!)
  3. Be allowed to cheat. They say (by they I mean the internet) that your “diet” will be successful if you follow it 90% of the time. That’s pretty sweet I think. If you eat 6 meals a day for 7 days a week that means you eat 42 meals in a week. That means you only have to follow your diet for about 37 meals. That’s 5 meals/week that you get to eat whatever you want. (Within reason and portion size.) I’m fairly sure if you eat seven pizzas for four meals a week you won’t be getting any fitter, regardless of what you eat the other 37 times.

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How do I know that these steps work? Like I said, I’ve read approximately 1 million articles online regarding changing the way one eats. In the internet wonderland I have found these ideas, and I have tested them myself to see what works best for me.

yummy fruit

found here

To be honest, it hasn’t been a perfect run, as the title of this post would suggest. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Dropped the ball. Let it slide. Whichever idiom you like. That’s why I find it important to have my three steps. When it starts going less well, I can take it back to the basics. Back to what I know works. (And keep track of what hasn’t work, and maybe even ponder why it hasn’t worked.)

I tried to keep this short and sweet, but certainly have more to say on the topic.

Stay tuned.

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2013 – looking back

At the end of each year I like to take a moment to reflect on a year gone. Okay, no, that was a bold faced lie, sounded good though, right?

This year at least I would like to take a look at last year’s New Year’s resolutions which read as follows:

  1. Paint a painting.
  2. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do.
  3. Make homemade macaroni and cheese.
  4. Bake a rulltårta.
  5. Watch more movies.

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It seems the only resolution I have successfully been able to follow is number five. To be fair I have also completed 3 & 4, but really just in the past few days as a last ditch attempt to be successful with my resolutions. Yes, I deem 3/5 successful. Passing grade people!

In regards to the first two. I’m pretty okay with their lack of completion, as they are both well on their way. For my birthday Evelina got me two canvases and some paints. I have already planned out what I am going to paint and how I’m going to paint it. Half way there. As for number 2…Evelina has exasperatingly explained that she does not like lasagna. She will not like lasagna. As she does not like cheese, which is a main ingredient in lasagna. Little does she know I plan on adding these two uncompleted resolutions to my new resolution list (coming 2014) and I have a little something up my sleeve. Cue evil laugh.

found here

found here

I don’t want to dwell on the things I haven’t accomplished, but rather take a look at the things I have.

  1. Well on my way on learning Swedish
  2. Read Wuthering Heights
  3. Went to Mexico
  4. Read a book a month (despite some delays in posting about it – coming soon)
  5. Own the complete 10 seasons of Friends

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And those are just the things off of my 25 before 25 list. I’ve even:

  1. Planned a Lucia celebration
  2. Celebrated my Dad’s birthday with him
  3. Attended my brother’s high school graduation
  4. Listened to my calendar when it told me to eat chocolate for breakfast
  5. Learned even more about Sweden

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I’d say this has been a successful year.

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