Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Skin in the game

I've never been able to find out the origins of that phrase, although I gave a speech with that title once at an Eagle Toastmasters open house.  Here's an excerpt from that:

I don't know what sport that comes from, but sources seem to agree that it means to have a stake in the outcome, to make an investment of some sort in the endeavor. Having some skin in the game shows your commitment to the outcome. It also makes the game much more meaningful, exciting, and involving. It's the difference, for example, between just watching a horse race, and watching a race you've bet on. But it's also the difference between watching and participating. Think of how exciting the race is to the jockey, for example, and the owners and trainers. Not to mention the horse! They all have some skin in the game.  

It's so easy for me to get caught up in the mundane mertutials* of life, that I forget how much fun it is to challenge myself in some way. It's exciting to see what I can do.

I've been working sloooowly on my free weight program, from the book Strong Women Stay Young, by Miriam E. Nelson, Ph.D. And I do mean slow. But that's ok. But I've been working on the upper body stuff with 5 lb weights, and realized that it was becoming less of a challenge. So I tried 10 lbs for the first set (2 sets of 8 for biceps curl, overhead press, and upward row) back to 5 for the second. That was tough, but not too tough. So the next session, I decided to try 10 lbs for both sets. I was surprised to find myself getting a bit excited! Would I be able to do it? Would I be able to lift my coffee cup afterwards?

Yes, to both.

This may not be the big thrill of winning the Tour de France for the 6th time, but it was a small thrill for me.

My other attempt at putting some skin in the game was submitting an article to a newsletter. I only did that yesterday, so it'll take a while before I hear anything. But, did it put some zest into my day. I submitted it electronically, so there's a good chance that I'll hear something any day -- even if it's only a canned reply about receiving my submission. But I think about someone other than my sister reading the article and what a rush.

From Sniglets, by Rich Hall: mertutials are the daily, boring things we need to do, such as brushing teeth and doing laundry.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Staying on Track

That's the hard part of any exercise/weight-loss plan.

Well, heaving free weights around or trekking up Sleeping Giant are no small potatoes, either. But I have a habit of starting enthusiastically, and then wandering off the track after a month or so. I just get busy, or I miss a few days and then forget: "Oh yeah, I was going to exercise this morning*. Oops."

This blog is one way I'm going to try to stay on track, but what will remind me to blog after the initial enthusiasm wears off, as I know it will?

I just read an article on Staying On Track, which has some tips. The two ideas that really grab me are: Three Most Important Goals, and Keep Your Goals in Front of You.

If I can reduce my goals to 3 important ones, then they're easy to keep in front of me, right?

So I think Ben Franklin summed it up pretty neatly with "...healthy, wealthy, and wise." Not necessarily in that order of importance.
  1. Wise
  2. Healthy
  3. Wealthy
These three might mean something different to someone else. Wealth to Bill Gates, is something I'll never have, and what I have now would be considered wealth to a lot of people in the world today. So I'm going to spend some time thinking about what they mean to me. I'll post anything meaningful (to me) that I come up with.

But for a short, pithy, easy-to-remember set of goals, they're hard to beat.

* Or, this month

Thursday, July 22, 2004

6 Impossible Things

This morning I did one impossible thing before breakfast -- a session with my free weights.

At the time, I really didn't want to, but I've been slacking off lately, and I just started this blog, so I would have been embarrassed if I'd skipped it, even if no one is watching.

I felt pretty darn good about myself afterwards, and thought "The rest of the day will be wonderful, since I started it off so well!"

But I was wrong. It was a sucky day. I got concerned that maybe I'd peaked too soon, like, right after my shower. Maybe exercising so early isn't a good idea.

Now that it's almost bed time, I realize that it was a good thing after all. No matter how sucky the rest of the day was, I did one impossible thing before breakfast!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Why the joy of movement?

This morning I woke up at 3:49 AM, after having fallen asleep somewhere around 10:30 PM.    That's only about 5 hours, which isn't enough for me.  But I couldn't fall back to sleep, so I tried: 

  1.  reading (Terry Pratchett's Small Gods)
  2. listening to Radio FreeBeanie (FM transmitter hooked up to my PC, RealAudio set to NPR, radio tuned to 88.6 FM)
  3. listening to a book on my Audible.com Otis player (Working with Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman).

Nothing worked, so at 5, I decided to get up, and go for a walk, thus getting in the exercise I'd been skipping for the past 2 days.

But my bed was so comfy, even though I wasn't sleepy. 

"Why should I leave my nice, soft, cozy bed?" I asked myself.

I answered, "For the joy of movement."

It worked, and a blog was born.