A Summer Well Spent

Summer_2013

I don’t know about you, but summer has always been my favorite time of year. That probably comes from having some of the best childhood experiences ever during the summer. I always spent weeks at camp, visited amusement parks, went to all-nighters, took mission trips, and had countless sleepovers with friends. When you’ve had such incredible childhood summers, it’s hard to come to grips with summer as an adult.

As this summer started, I found myself worn out from the daily grind of life. I tend to be so busy during the week that often I struggle to let loose and have fun on the weekends. I feel obligated to catch up on all the personal to-do’s I haven’t had time to attend to during the work week. But as I reflected on the incredible memories I created with chock-full summers as a child, I knew I wanted to look back on this summer and know that I didn’t let it just pass me by. So, as I often do, I created a summer bucket list. (Ones italics I actually accomplished!) It is hard to believe Labor Day weekend has come and gone!

    • Go to the Jersey Shore at least 3 times
      • Trip 1 – June Day trip to Spring Lake Beach with girl friends
      • Trip 2 – August weekend in Avalon with my Temple U roomies
      • Trip 3 – Failed. But I am going for a weekend later this month with my family!
    • Go Hiking – Ventured out to Harriman State Park in NY with Nick and Diane
    • Visit Hoboken’s open-air bar, Pier 13 (I’ve made it out there at least 4 times!)
    • Run a 5K – I participated in my first official race, the ‘Party with Purpose‘ 5K, and met my goal (9 min/mi) despite a “real feel” heat index over 100 degrees!
    • Spend a day on Governor’s Island – This was kind of half-crossed off the list. My friend Gentry came to visit and we spent a couple hours checking out Fête Paradiso and feeling like we’d been transported to another time, a la LOST.
    • Bike NYC’s West Side Highway (this has been on the list FOREVER.)
    • Make gourmet popsicles (I bought the molds, now have to settle on some recipes.)
    • Go Auburn – I’ve got the box, now I just have to commit and make the time 😉

What was on your summer bucket list? What were your favorite activities or memories from this summer?

 

Resolutions for 2013: The 52 & 7 Challenge

Reading on Pier A in Hoboken

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I promise I did make resolutions at the beginning of the month, but only wrote them down in my old fashioned paper journal. Since its the last day of January, I thought I had better share them! I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin over my recent anniversary trip, and am feeling inspired to change my life in little but significant ways in 2013. Instead of the traditional practice of making resolutions and then completely ignoring them, I am going to jump on fellow ENFP Jon Acuff’s bandwagon: The 52 & 7 Challenge.

Spiritual

  • Read the Daily Office throughout the day, not just AM & PM
  • Practice Examen/Journal at least once a week

Family

  • Plan at least 2 date nights with Nick in mind

Social

  • Go on 1 double date a month to spend more time with couple friends we rarely see
  • Schedule a Dinner Group Connection Event

Career

  • Treat my office work day as if it starts before 9 AM (get there early)
  • Be more efficient in order to leave the office by no later than 5:30 PM
  • Blog at least 8 times (once a week on average)
  • Pitch 1 article to an outside source like RELEVANT or A Practical Wedding

Financial

  • Start a Roth IRA and mutual fund (Baby Step 4)
  • Eat out less/have dinner at home 2-3 times a week
  • Bring lunch to work at least 2 times a week

Physical

  • Go to bed earlier (Get 7.5 hrs+ per night)
  • Exercise 20 mins 2-3 times a week
  • Aim to lose 7 pounds (1 lb per week)

Mental

  • Project a more positive attitude (complain less)
  • Read at least 1 chapter a day (give up mindless TV if necessary)
  • Read 2 books (1 fiction, 1 non-fiction)

The first deadline for reviewing these goals from the time I wrote them down is February 25th. I’ll be checking back in to let you know how I did.

What resolutions or goals have you made for 2013? How is it going so far?

Gaining Momentum (and Shedding Pounds)

Yes, this is me looking like a hipster.

People! I’m not burying the lead on this one. I completed week five of my commitment to getting healthier, and I am very excited to share that I am .10 lbs shy of losing 8.5 lbs and I am feeling great! It is shocking to find that I am feeling healthier and more confident now at 2-4 lbs over my “freshman 15” weight than I ever did at 18 years old. The difference is intentionality – pursuing change and actually seeing results.

I am beginning to see that being disciplined in my diet and exercise habits is strengthening my those muscles (literally and figuratively) and making me want to be better disciplined in other areas of my life. Being intentional about my eating and seeing successful results is making me want to show up here and write more often. (Shoutout to my friend Paul at Hunting for God for being one of the catalysts for completing this post!) Success in my physical health is making me want to grow spiritually. This is showing me – hey, you can do hard things. And you know what? They’re actually not that hard. Ok, being disciplined isn’t necessarily fun and doesn’t really feel good, but I am finding that it is worth it. I can feel the momentum building.

This is not a dramatic, overnight life change. It is being intentional, one meal at a time, one day at a time. Living a healthier, fuller, happier life requires me to choose 30 minutes of activity instead of watching a brainless 30 minute TV show. It’s stopping myself from mindlessly surfing the net and instead reading articles that challenge my thought processes and my faith. It’s reading the daily office on my lectionary app on my commute or listening to worship music instead of playing games or zoning out. These little choices – one by one – they add up.

We watched this TED talk at work some weeks back that was another one of those pushes towards readjusting my priorities. (Yes, we have “TED talk Fridays” at work where we start off our morning eating snacks and watch something inspirational, how great is that?) Psychologist Shawn Achor talks about how to be happy at work – and the catch is, it’s really about being happier in life in general first (shocker). But seriously, if you are sitting on the edge, debating whether or not to start making that first choice to begin changing your life, watch this. I dare you to be uninspired.

Now… if I can only get a handle on my less-than-ideal midnight bedtime sleeping habits and succeed at practicing some of these things before my work day begins! Ha 😉

*This entry brought to you by my subway commute home ten days ago and a miraculous spare 45 minutes before dinner group last night (See? It can be done.)