Doing all the things

We returned from our holiday trip in the early hours of January 6th -- our flight landed at 2 AM to be precise. On the return trip it was just the four of us -- me, the husband, Becca and Parker -- as we'd deposited the older two in their cozy (meaning crowded) college apartment while still in frigid Utah. 

It was a busy and exciting Fall/Winter for us. I think I'm a bit of an anticipation junkie, so with a trip to France and a ski trip and Thanksgiving! and Christmas!, I was all aglow with plans and schemes. But Monday, as we rushed back towards home in the darkness of night, I knew that it had all been done. We'd done all of the things. I waited for the hollowness to hit -- the disappointment that the fun and togetherness was over, but honestly -- I felt just fine, so I tromped my suitcase into the house, threw on some clean pajamas, climbed up into my big bed (spent the holiday on a queen), and zonked out. 

When I woke up I felt fine too. So, I watched Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife while carefully packing away the Christmas ornaments. I bought fish for dinner in an attempt to counteract the past ten days of eating out (cuz that usually works for me). I trudged all of the luggage and snow boots and ski helmets up to the attic. And I played 27 rounds of Trivia Crack (anyone want to play?).

I'm not sure if or when the January doldrums are going to hit, but I'm doing my best to stave them off, and I'm thinking a worthwhile 2015 goal will help out. I like to go for one big goal -- just one thing to improve upon because I'm easily distracted (Netflix, duh). In 2014 I was bound and determined to get fit. I'm no real athlete (by any stretch of the imagination), but I did workout 4-5 days a week for the ENTIRE YEAR. I made exercise a habit, and I almost like it now. Not quite, but almost. This year -- in 2015 -- I'm finishing my dissertation. My goal is to work on it 5 days a week, a minimum of two hours per day. No excuses. I've printed this worksheet to help me out (and because it seems like an adult sticker chart, which I love).

Mostly, my goal is simply to be a hard worker -- no wasting time, no procrastination. I recognize that this will be a process, not an automatic change of self and bad habits. I'm aiming for day by day improvement (perhaps sprinkled in with a few setbacks). But overall, I'm feeling positive that I can finish this old dissertation. After which I will celebrate like it's 1999. 

Hope your new year is filled with hope and positive vibes. Let's proceed together, shall we?






It's a chipper

Do you know how I wrote about losing my Fall mojo? Part of my reticence to JUMP right into Fall is this certain and unalterable knowledge that the school year is LONG and it's a big commitment. I feel like I've been running a marathon for oh, let's say, fifteen years, and I'm approaching another big hill. Except my previous experience of fifteen years of running is screaming at me, "NO MORE BIG HILLS." And then my previous experience whispers in my ear, "You just can't take the hills honey."

Am I being unclear? It's simple. I'm loathe to wake up every morning at 5 AM, and make the lunches, and monitor the grades, and keep everybody hopping and happy. It's a big job, and right now . . . momma is tired.

Also happening right now? Momma is relearning a handy little mode of operation known as THE CHIPPER.

THE CHIPPER is nothing revolutionary. It's good, plain common sense. Also? It's from Crossfit.


Don't click away. I'll be quick with the Crossfit portion of this public service announcement.

You see, in Crossfit, from time to time, we get a workout known as a 'chipper.' It's usually a long laundry list of exercises -- like 25 pushups, then 25 air squats, then 25 pushups, then 25 sit ups, then 25 push ups, then 25 goblet squats, then 25 pushups, then 25 med ball sit ups. On the surface it seems terrible. (And underneath the surface? It is terrible.) But the reason it's called a chipper is because in order to make it through YOU JUST CHIP AWAY AT IT.

One push up at a time. One movement. Then another. Then another. Every movement takes you one step closer to being DONE. Keep going. JUST CHIP AWAY AT IT.

My Rebecca, a high school junior, is taking a heavy course load this year. She has mountains of homework which, when piled up each evening, are overwhelming. I tell her, "Just chip away at it. One set of notes at a time. One reading assignment at a time. Fifteen minute blocks of studying. Each movement brings you closer to being DONE."

It's not a magic pill, but it's something. And it works.

For me? I'm chipping away at the new school year. One early morning at a time. One track meet. A day of lunches made. A chapter read. Two pages written. Three loads of laundry folded. 

My favorite new saying? When I come across a difficult task (or something I plain don't want to do), I just think to myself, "It's a chipper." And somewhere, back in the foggy recesses of my mind, I remember that I can do hard things if only I'll take a step forward.

The chipper method is akin to Anne Lamott's bird analogy, which I love. Annie wrote about that here.