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Seeing the good in the good-for-you

There’s something in modern culture that would have us believe that good, clean fun is an oxymoron.  If it’s delicious it probably has too many calories.  If it’s healthy for the body it’s either boring or it hurts, or both.  We entertain ourselves with junk food and junk activities.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Enjoying ourselves depends on us, not what we’re doing. Continue reading “Seeing the good in the good-for-you”

Tiny steps, huge results

I’ve just completed the last day of a 30-day challenge with a simple objective:  Pick something, and work on it every day.  Feeling moderately ambitious  back in late August, I had decided to work on two things:  Revising a manuscript, and continuing a renovation project in my house that had stalled.

This afternoon, I got to check off the September 30 squares on the two calendars I had been keeping since the beginning of the month.  At the end of it all, I achieved a perfect score on both objectives, working a little on each of them every day. Continue reading “Tiny steps, huge results”

The fine art of breaking and re-breaking habits

Probably one of my most stubborn habits is a liking for fast food.  Not that many years ago, whenever I stepped outside the house there was a high probability of me buying something in a restaurant or coffee shop before returning home.  If not a burger while out shopping, perhaps a coffee and donut on my way to the office the next morning.  It was the rule rather than the exception.  That $20 bill in my wallet had to be spent.

Eating out is an expensive hobby, and if I actually take the time to taste what’s in front of me, and honestly assess it, it usually isn’t as good as home fare.  It isn’t usually the food I’m after, though; it’s the restaurant ambiance, and the feeling of being somewhere because I thought I had to be there.

Continue reading “The fine art of breaking and re-breaking habits”

Even glaciers move eventually

I’m sitting here doodling on an electronic drawing tablet that my daughter gave me.  That in itself is not particularly noteworthy, but the fact that the tablet is actually connected, configured and in use is a pretty significant win.

I’ve had this device for a couple of years, but didn’t really have a place at my desk for it.  As a result, it sat abandoned in a file tray where it would remind me of its presence every time I walked into my office, but it wouldn’t get taken out of the tray and plugged in. Continue reading “Even glaciers move eventually”

Déjà do

Sometimes I get the feeling that there’s an echo in my life, and that everything happens to me twice.  Strictly speaking this isn’t true, but it definitely feels like it when I’m doing home renovations.  Up until very recently I rarely got something right the first time, and ended up demolishing or uninstalling or repainting because the first iteration of the project simply didn’t work out.

To make matters worse, this is my second house.  One would think that all the hard lessons were learned there, and that things would naturally work out better this time around.

Well, things are better than they were at house #1 — a lot better, in fact — but a few mistakes were still made. It’s taken a lot of time and patience to develop the skill to not just jump in and start doing things without a solid plan in place. Continue reading “Déjà do”

Do something. Anything.

I’m working my way through a huge household project that’s been ongoing for more than a decade, the renovation of a large room on the second floor of my house.  If it had been a kitchen or bedroom or bathroom, the need for functional space would have driven the project forward and it would be finished by now.  This is more of a lounge with an office at one end, and nothing terrible would happen if I didn’t work on it for a while.

What is terrible, though, is how projects like this weaken motivation — not just for the project itself, but for other things.  Even when we’re not consciously working on it, unfinished work of any kind commands a part of our attention and reminds us that we haven’t won this one yet.

Continue reading “Do something. Anything.”

That mattress I decided not to buy

There have been some funny banner ads on the buses lately for a mattress company.  After being entertained by them for a month or so, I decided to surf over to their website to see what they had on offer.

And then I paused and asked myself, “Do I really need to spend all that money on a new mattress?”  There’s nothing egregiously wrong with the one that I have now.  It isn’t all that old, and it’s not broken.

That got me thinking:  What did the bus advertising promise to me, and what can I do to fulfill that promise in a more sensible way?  As with virtually other bedding promotion since the beginning of time, the answer is “comfort.”  Stripped down to its bare essentials, a bed is a place to sleep, and a good bed is a comfortable place to sleep. Continue reading “That mattress I decided not to buy”