Yet again I find myself coming back to the theme of this blog, a life in details. Following on from the changes I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this process of embracing my dreams really does come down to the adjustment of detailed aspects of my lifestyle on a constant, daily basis. We change through what we DO, by engaging in actions that will result in us becoming different people, who live different lives.
I’ve been particularly conscious of this this week, trying to maintain some of the changes I made while I was on off work as I now have to go back to work. I am tired, but I think I can say so far that things are going more to plan than they were before my holiday when things falling all over the place. There are key elements, key details in my routine, that I need to be able to bank on if I want this lifestyle to take hold.
Food: I’ve been trying to go largely starch-free, not just to try and lose weight but to reduce the sleepiness which is my biggest trigger to eat more. This is a big change for someone who used to eat bread every day and a lot of rice and potatoes too! It’s possible to do but I need to make sure these elements are in place:
- I need to make sure the right foods are in the fridge at home and at work, which means lots of short shopping trips – I have to make sure there are bananas in the house as they’re my go-to food any time of day if I’m hungry. I have to make sure there are protein snacks at work and yoghurt for breakfasts at home, and plenty of vegetables and salad for our regular meals.
- I have to make sure there are portable breakfast options available – at the moment this means making a weekly batch of crustless quiche or frittata
- I have to make sure there are “nice” fruits available for snacking/”puddings” – strawberries, cherries, melon, mangoes, that kind of thing. These feel like a special “treat” to me and having them to hand at any time stops me feeling like I’m on a diet or any kind of deprivation regime.
- I have to spend a little time each day researching recipes and new ideas for meals – especially at weekends, we easily fall into a rut of eating the same things ALL THE TIME or fall back on things you can make easily with different types of (yes you’ve guessed it) bread! It would be fine to fall into a rut if it were a tasty/healthy one of recipes we routinely enjoyed, but again I find at weekends that cooking something that’s a bit new or takes a bit more effort makes it feel special and less like a diet. I’ve set this as a daily challenge through July to try and gather some new ideas.
Exercise: I have a fairly hectic workout schedule – again not just for losing weight but for the energy-boost and mood-regulating benefits. That daily boost of activity has slotted itself quite happily into my schedule but there’s a constant cycling of kit that goes on in the background:
- Swim kit comes in and out three times a week – that’s washing and hanging that needs to be done pretty quickly (especially in this heat!)
- At the moment I only have one “favourite” set of running gear (plus some old stuff for backup) so that needs to be washed straight away ready for the next run. This morning for the first time I ran the wash right after getting back and it was done before I left for work! Super efficient!
- For swimming there’s the extra little logistical element of needing to have shower kit and little bottles of everything ready to take, plus clothes to change into etc. And 20ps for the lockers!
- I walk a lot during the work week so I guess updating my Spotify/ipod each weekend with new stuff to listen to would also go in here.
Music: I have a load of parallel projects on the go so even music goals can be broken down into 15 minutes here and half an hour there.
- As above, updating tracks to listen to (things I’m learning, people I want to hear more of, and versions of my own that I want to analyse and hone) is key to making sure I get as much as I can out of the time I spend away from home.
- Vocal warmups – this can be a quick 15 minutes or a longer session but it’s important to do this as many days as possible to keep things flexible and improve range and ability.
- Songwriting – this doesn’t have to take long either, but a quick 10-minutes playing through everything that’s unfinished can lead to a longer session of writing.
- Piano songs – as well as guitar, I want to get back to piano songs so I’m aiming to spend an hour a week on this.
- I want to spend at least an hour each week developing songs for the album after this one, now that we’re in the second half of the year and I feel I can spread my creativity around a bit more!
- Likewise I’m going to focus on learning one cover super-well each week – that’s another hour or two
- I want to have a weekly recording session – something for the website and then a quick take of the album songs so I can monitor my progress.
- This will mean one lot of editing to do each week too!
- The main element is to keep practicing the songs I want to record for the album until they’re brilliant and perfect!
- It’s helpful if at some point after work (usually before or after dinner) I get into a bit of a cleaning frenzy! This has happened a few nights in a row and means I can get through a handful of tasks and keep things ticking over – and saves time at the weekend too. This is another thing where I’ve noticed the benefits, having a really clean flat puts me in an awesome mood and it’s worthwhile keeping on top of it.
- I’m starting to add back in language tasks on my journeys now that I’m not cramming for my exam. I’ve realised that I may not hit all my overall goals for this year but I can complete a lot of the reading if I have a day each on different books, and I’ve found a kanji testing app that makes it fun to do a little bit of practice on the train. I was stressing myself out before with expectations of how much I could get done in the time available – now I’m just trying to see it as a fun hobby and do what I can when it seems like fun.
- I’m also blogging more on the train and organising my thoughts, which feels good. I like the way the blog looks at the moment and it’s nice to have somewhere to collect my musings.
I’m trying not to be too prescriptive about WHEN or HOW LONG I spend doing each activity in one go or during each week – I’m hoping that by focusing on the list of things that need to get done, I’ll find that the time stacks up quite nicely and that I’ll discover the most obvious time-slots for various activities, that will fit with my energy flow and available time.
I like to set little challenges to try to do everyday for a month or half a month – this is my list for the first half of July.