Wednesday, October 12, 2011

TDC* Unintended Side Effects

*TDC=Thirty Day Challenge

Only twelve days in and I’ve already noticed a few peculiar behaviors arising as a result of my TDC.  One result has been for me to see how much I can actually do of something in a day.  Like with my housecleaning chores.  I have it all broken down into about 50 different tasks, so that I can perform one or more a day.  Simple, right?  Well, as I look at it and I’m realizing the time it will take to do each item, I’m calculating in my head how many I’m going to need to do on certain days so that I can do the more heinous time consuming ones over multiple days.  I’ve only allotted myself an hour a day for them in my schedule, you see, so some are definitely going to be multi-dayers.  My filing, for one thing.  I haven’t filed anything in over a year (actually a lot more than that.  I’ll spare ya the details—it’s kinda embarrassing.  No wonder I can never find any paperwork when I want it).  All my filing is in boxes and bags and needs sorting and organizing and…blech.  Needless to say, this will be a MAJOR job.

Anyway, this seeing how much I can do of something in a day isn’t so simple as you would think.  No, I have discovered that my competitive nature has reared her ugly head.   I’m not really very competitive with other people, but I am competitive with myself.  I turn my inner competitions into games.  It’s how, in 2005, I lost 30 pounds as I went from being my heaviest weight ever (at that time) by walking.  I started out only being able to walk for 10 or 15 minutes at a time—much like now.  But within four months, I had increased my walking activity so much that I was able to walk a half marathon!  I kept pushing myself and pushing myself to see what I could do.  How much farther could I go this time?  How much faster?  Same thing has happened to me with swimming.  In the past I’ve gotten from not being able to swim a single lap to swimming over a mile within a matter of several weeks.

So, taking this competitive streak along its logical path, you will see that I’m starting to competitively clean.  I’m doing a chore and seeing how fast and how well I can get it done.  Then I’m looking around the house and seeing what else I can do.  If this keeps up, I’m going to run out of odd-ball chores I’ve been putting off.  Hah!  That would be AWESOME!  

And then I re-remember what happens when I get on my competitive streaks.  I get hurt.  When I was walking so much, my foot ended up needing an orthotic and my hips were protesting because I was trying to work in jogging way too early.  My hips and knees couldn't handle the stress of my heavy body weight just yet and they were complaining.  I was in a lot of pain until I dropped the jogging and cooled things off a little and gave myself some breathing room.   Soooo... with all of my efforts of the completion of my tasks on this Thirty Day Challenge, I got ouchies.  It actually physically hurt to move, since my back was seriously tweaked.  I cleaned my bedroom, reorganized it, and re-arranged the furniture all by myself.  No wonder I was having back spasms!  So I had to stop and not do jack shit physically for a few days so that I could get my back to like me again.

My new working space.  It's a desk!  And it's clean!
The second thing I noticed is that I’m allowing my competitive streak be an excuse not to do stuff that I’m having trouble with/don’t want to do.  Case in point, my writing.  I did all sorts of stuff yesterday, especially reading-wise because I Just had to finish that book, and my writing got pushed aside (I was feeling rather writer’s block-ish).  If I’m busy doing something on the list, and it’s keeping me from doing something else, I have a legit excuse, right?  Hah!  Nope.  I have to figure out when to let out the competitive beast and when to rein it in.  One thing I might do is make myself do the things that I least want to do on the list first in my schedule, so that I can then get all medieval on the rest of my list.  Yeah, that would probably solve the problem right there.  I'll have to remember to try and do that.

And, while all of this seems rather negative, I have discovered one good side effect from all of this.  I've been way motivated at home to do things I haven't done in forever.  One of the folks commenting on this site and I talked about diet and exercise logs and she pointed me in the direction of a wonderful online tool by Calorie Count.  This thing figures everything out for you.  You can even set your own nutrient goals if you have a specific sort of diet need, which is awesome!  I started using it on October 4th and have logged my foods every day since.  It's amazing to see just how our foods break down.  I'm eating healthier and I'm losing weight, too!  I hadn't intended to start doing another daily activity, but I was inspired.  That inspiration is contagious.  Now I'm planning out my life, figuring out longer and shorter term goals...

So while these 30 day challenges haven't gone exactly as I had hoped or planned, especially with not being able to complete every task every day (what was I THINKING signing myself up for so much?!  Talk about trying to be an over-achiever!), but instead of feeling down or inadequate, I feel more energized and motivated than I have felt in a very long time.

Yay, me!