August 3-tiny steps of exercise

I am a high school English teacher. Teaching, despite what people think, is sometimes a very physically demanding job (on your feet all day). A lot of teachers get out of shape during the summer. I don’t think I am out of shape, but I am definitely not in “ready form” to begin school. School meetings start in 20 days. Starting today, I am doing the elliptical for one MORE minute each day so that 20 days from now, I am exercising for 20 minutes.

I am typing this after completing my one minute today. Tomorrow, I will do two minutes. The next day, three minutes and so on. This may seem silly to you and I won’t lie, it felt silly right now to complete the minute and then getting off the elliptical because I was “done for the day.” However, that is the secret sauce of tiny steps.

Today felt easy. I am motivated, not discouraged, to exercise again tomorrow. Could I have done more? Absolutely. But I have done that before (especially around Jan 1, wink wink) You have too, I know it. You get excited and motivated. You join a gym. You buy new sneakers or a fitness monitor. You workout and feel good and then the next day (or day after) you are sore so you push your workout to Wednesday. And then your kid gets sick so you don’t exercise the next day. Now, its Friday-because we ALWAYS start on a Monday! And its Friday, so you sleep a little later and have a donut at work and someone brought you a coffee and you are going out after work for drinks with your colleagues. Then its Saturday and Sunday and you are right back where you started. You had the best of intentions but life got in the way.

Here is where the tiny steps come in-I am not going to let life get in the way. I can do one minute. And tomorrow I can do two. No matter what. And I keep going until I feel like I can’t do anymore. Maybe its 20? Maybe its 30? Maybe 45? I don’t know. What I do know is that I will keep increasing the minutes until I feel like I “can’t.” And if that is only 15 minutes a day? Then it is 15 minutes more than I have previously been doing so that is good! I will be more ready for school this year than if I had done nothing, and that is the point. I will keep you posted on my progress!

Thank you to my 54 followers! Each morning on the elliptical, I will think of you. Keep it tiny!

August 2-tiny changes can make a BIG difference

I am sure you have heard the above phrase and have maybe even considered it. However, like most people you think that it is crazy and you blow it off. Well, I am here to tell you that you can’t blow off this statement.

Last night, I cleaned the fascia of our house. I am not sure if that is exactly the right word for it, but we are having gutters installed in the next week or so and I thought I would clean the little trim piece of the house that is right above the gutters and below the roof.

WOW. I mean wow. It looks SO much better. To the unsuspecting eye, I am sure it looks like nothing. To me, it looks like accomplishment, hard work, cleanliness and pride in home ownership. It may seem silly that cleaning that little piece of my house could do so much, but it really did. It was a tiny little change that makes me super proud. We got a W today.

In sports, getting a W means that you got a win. This clean part of trim is a win. We also (my husband mostly) built a fire pit yesterday. How can a simple metal ring with some pavers around it make you feel? AMAZING. Another win! These are not huge changes to the house. Yes, they required some sweat and hard work and a little bit of money. But they have both made a huge improvement to the house.

We bought a bit of a fixer upper house, something very new for us, and so we have been making small changes for the last 5 weeks. Similar to a person, a house needs love and this house had not gotten any love for quite some time. (Older owner, then mother with 5 kids), so we are putting the love back into it and just like a neglected child, there are good days and not so good days.

Today is a good day. Today is a W.

To my 52 followers, I hope you have a W today!

July 25-be honest with yourself

I would love to be a professional writer. In my mind, a professional writer wakes up, drinks some coffee for inspiration, types out words that inspire and teach and entertain others, and then receives a check in the mail every few weeks that is more money that she can make at a “day job.”

I realize a lot of you are laughing out loud right now. The professional writer “dream” or “wish” is what I described above. It is kind of like wishing or dreaming of winning the lottery. It is something you want to have happen and you think it will make your life perfect if it does.

However, here’s the disconnect. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket and you can’t become a writer if you don’t put pen to paper. I understand the first one, so why am I struggling with the second one? I think it is because I want the fantasy of being a writer-a JK Rowling that puts an idea on cocktail napkins and then has more money than the Queen of England. But fantasy does not get the job done. It does not get the actual job of WRITING done.

So this morning I had to be honest with myself-how much time and effort am I truly putting into this dream? And if I am completely honest? It is kind of like I am buying a lottery ticket and then just waiting for something to happen. I get on facebook, do a load of laundry, do some dishes, drive to the grocery store, etc… I am not REALLY trying very hard. And that is a tough pill to swallow.

So I have two choices-I can keep “dreaming and wishing” and hoping that someone shows up at my doorstep with a giant monetary advance OR I can swallow the bitter pill of honesty and start taking steps toward figuring out how to be a professional, aka PAID, writer.

The first one is much easier. But it is not producing any results. So it looks like I need to start in on the second one.

First tiny step-be honest with myself.

Second tiny step-make a dedicated writing spot.

Third tiny step-apply butt to chair (my writing professor in college told me that one) and start writing, and researching, and reaching out to others to figure out how the heck to do this. I will keep you posted.

THANK YOU to my 52 followers! You inspire me to keep going every day!

No matter how slowly, keep moving

Feb 7 (Superbowl Sunday)

Last week felt like a bit of a failure, hence the title of the post.

So last week’s little steps

7:30 min of elliptical to 8:30 min of elliptical

Money-used cash that I had in my coat for a few purchases so I didn’t put much on my credit card. Credit card balance is zero right now (hoping to keep it that way so that I can buy a house in the next few months)  However, it is Michigan so I use it at the gas pump because it is so cold out (13 degrees today)

Health-parked farther away in parking lot again-did elliptical 3 times this week. Not as much as usual but more than not doing it at all.

Work-Wrote for blog before work today about 10 min-did that 4 days in a row, also wrote some fiction-I have  a book idea I am working on, graded papers during my planning period at school (this may seem like an obvious task but a lot of times a teacher’s planning period gets taken away by meetings or things that have to be done that have nothing to do with teaching)

Home-pulled comforter up on bed, wash dishes out from lunch at school. On Friday I had a snow day so Thursday night I left a lot of dishes in the sink. (below are my thoughts on how that was a bad idea and why)

130 seconds of dishes while my coffee was brewing. I saw a woman on youtube, speed cleaning her house. It was huge. Twins and toddler. Giant house. So much stuff. I’m not telling anyone how to live but I will tell my story about this morning. My one coffee mug was in the sink and dirty. I had to wash it. So I solved two problems. Less clutter in sink and one more dish washed. In contrast, her speed cleaning video was amazing. It was awesome.  Super motivating.  However a small part of me wondered if she let it get that way so that she could have the big moment of cleaning it all or if she lives like that every single day. And I’m not judging! Lord knows I am not Mrs. Susie cleaning pants, but if she did a little each day would it not be so overwhelming and require an entire Saturday to clean the living room and kitchen and dining room and all the things she cleaned? By the way, during my second cup coffee, I finished washing the dishes in the sink. I also know the principle- like attracts like. When you have one cup and one spoon in the sink you feel like you can wash them quickly and move on. As soon as you start piling up dishes in the sink (which is what I did yesterday) then I just kept piling because I thought well I will get to them all later. The problem is then later I didn’t want to do it either so I just kept piling dishes in the sink and the more you pile the bigger problem it becomes. It’s kind of like losing weight-if you wait till you have 30 pounds to lose, it seems like a huge arduous task; if you start when you have five extra pounds to lose it’s a little less difficult. However, losing weight is always hard so I will just stick with my dish washing for now!

Mental-read an article about how journaling your feelings can be just as effective as taking anti-depressants

Other– Wrote a letter of thanks to a former friend of mine

Bursts-cleaned off dresser and desk in room. Cleaned out underwear drawer.  Vacuumed. 


Didn’t have a single day that was “NO SUGAR” and that is disappointing.  6, 4, 5,2,0  Thats the last 5 weeks of “no sugar days”  Clearly, I wasn’t ready for it. I went “too fast” and then I crashed and burned when I hit stress. That is exactly what I am trying to prevent with my tiny steps and tiny habits-making the task seem so doable that I accomplish it every day.  So as I look at next week, I will try for one day of not eating sugar.  I wanted to go “full keto” and think that is a bad idea because if I cant give up sugar, then I am not ready to give up sugar AND carbs. I really think this is why diets fail so many people. We go way too big and then crash and burn at the first sign of stress/trouble/failure/disappointment/etc…

Next steps

Try for 9:30  or 10min on elliptical (trying to prepare for Vegas-it is a lot of walking around and so it helps to be in good physical shape)

Move money for “no sugar days” into a separate account (going to be a Vegas account now that we have booked that) (trying this as a reward system for eating well)

Health-9000 steps a day, ONE day of no sugar and be proud if I do that

Work-notes each day, purchase a blog site and post this post (I did that and am posting again this week. Sunday will be my post day)

Home-put away clean clothes. Put sheets on bed Clean off dresser. (did all that) Home is pretty clean right now so will just maintain this week.

Others write a letter to Grandma (she is 96 and loves getting mail)

Start now

Sunday Jan 31 2021

A lot of people have given up their resolutions already. I live in Michigan so its cold and blowing and snowing and ugh feeling. The sun has been hiding from us. I can see the appeal of just putting on a comfortable sweater and some leggings or stretchy pants and riding out the winter.  However, eventually spring will  arrive and I (we) will all wish that we had worked a little harder in the winter. The key here is a LITTLE.  This blog is all about the little tiny steps I take each week to accomplish my goals. And when I say LITTLE TINY steps, I mean very very tiny. You see, I feel like I have figured out the secret of getting things accomplished. This blog will be my attempt at sharing my methods with you.

So last week’s little steps Jan 24-Jan 30. (each Sunday I will post about my progress from the following week)

Money-sold some protein bars that I wasnt eating (25.00), returned a pair of boots that didnt fit right. Used a gift card for my hair appointment so was able to stock up on some products. Instead of buying a humidifier or new candle, I am using my diffuser and essential oils. 

Health-parked farther away in parking lot. Took two laps in hallway. Brought in half container of cookies so I didn’t eat them, walked to mail box, increased from 6.5 min on elliptical to 7.5 min, no sugar 3/6 days, good snack (fruit) after school. 

Work-Wrote for blog before work today about 10 min, graded papers during planning period, set laptop on lap when got home.

Home-pulled comforter up on bed, washed dishes out from lunch at school. Washed sheets and laundry. 

Mental-watched 2 “Google talks” about choice and meditation

Other– Wrote a letter of thanks to Debbie Macomber for writing a delightful book.

The “bursts” are not little steps. They are moments of motivation/inspiration in which I feel like doing more than the “little bit.”

Bursts-selling 3 bags of clothes and jewlery and shoes and cleaned out front seat of car. Also cleaned off my desk at school (completely)

Missteps (This is where I need improvement)

I was doing fine and then my husband had a bad day at work. So in order to handle what he told me, I ate rice for dinner (for comfort) and an entire chocolate bar (the trader joe dark chocolate kind but still it was an entire bar)

Next steps

Try for 8:30 min on elliptical

Move money for “no sugar days” into a separate account (trying a reward system as motivation to eat properly)

Health-9000 steps a day

Work-notes on tiny little habits each day, purchase a blog site and post my first post

Home-Put away clean clothes. Put sheets on bed. Clean off dresser. 

Other- write a letter to N.M. (a thank you letter for some kind words)