08
Dec 16

The Yoga Approach to Life

I’ve written about a transformational experience I’ve had in yoga class before, but I think the real change comes with adopting the yoga approach to life.

The Yoga Approach to Life

What is the yoga approach to life? Well, firstly, it’s not like a thing in the official sense, unless it is a thing and I don’t know about it. What it is though is a way you are supposed to approach your yoga practice. And I’ve found that approaching life the way I approach my practice can make an immense amount of difference.

The Yoga Approach

In yoga, you are encouraged to do what your body needs, not what you think your body should be capable of. It’s very easy to think “I did this thing last week, so I should be able to do it for twice as long this week.” That’s terrible thinking because our bodies don’t conform to logical progressions.

For me, there are days when my arms feel so strong that I can hold a plank for minutes, and my chaturanga is fluid and smooth. Hell, I’m even able to hug my elbows to my ribs, and slowly flow through it. But, there are other days. And on those days, I have to stay on my knees through the plank. And my chaturanga is a terrible caricature of a belly flop. But that’s okay.

The thing about yoga is that you’re constantly evolving as a practitioner, which means your practice is constantly evolving. And like real scientific evolution, it’s not a straight line progression. There are weird forks and offshoots and strange mutations. And that’s okay. It’s your practice, and the yoga approach is to appreciate your body throughout your practice, and to do what your body and spirit need.

I can’t force my arms to be strong on days when they’re so sore from all the tension I carry in my shoulders. I can’t force myself to do a handstand just because all the other women in the class are doing one. I can’t force my body to do things it can’t do. And it’s a complete waste of time to get mad about or stew over things your body can’t do.

But you will never regret the time you spend thanking your body for what it has done for you. You will never regret the extra rest you give yourself when you know you need it. You will never regret going to the gym for a quick gentle yoga session that will help your muscles relax. You will never regret those few extra minutes of meditation where your mind is still.

In yoga there is no comparison. There is no shame. (Even if you fart in class.) In yoga, it’s just you and what you can do that day.

In yoga there is no comparison. There is no shame. (Even if you fart in class.) Click To Tweet

The Yoga Approach to Life

So, what does this look like in your everyday life? Well, a lot of things.

For me, the yoga approach to life is about not beating myself up. So I accidentally overslept. So I ate a “bad” food I “shouldn’t have.” (Don’t get me started on how screwed up it is to put moral implications behind sustenance.) So I wasn’t able to crank out 5,000 words in one day. So I didn’t finish grading every last paper by a self-imposed deadline.

If any of these events occur, the sun will rise the next day. The world will continue going on as it always has.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I want for those things to occur. In fact, I will still work to prevent them from occurring. But what the yoga approach to life lets me do is not beat myself up about it. If I oversleep and miss a workout, I may still wish that I hadn’t missed the workout. But I won’t be mad at myself because there are probably thousands of workouts ahead of me. If I miss a self-imposed deadline, there will still be hours in the future where I can work on what needs to be finished.

If I eat a “bad” food, there will be plenty of healthier meals that follow it. And, to that end, if I happen to gain a little weight around a holiday, or I don’t look a certain way in an article of clothing I’m trying on, I DO NOT LOSE SLEEP OVER IT. My body is what is at whatever time it is. It will change shape all through my life. All I can do is nourish it by eating the foods that sustain me best, by resting when I feel I need to, and doing the sorts of exercises that make me happy.

Just Weeds in a Ditch

Recently, I had the pleasure of hanging out with some fellow bloggers, and I got to meet Dee. I mentioned to Dee that I’m kind of a failure when it comes to gardening. (You remember El Generalisimo and my ill-gotten tomatoes, right? Oh, and this orchid is still alive through no fault of my own.) Then, Dee straight up dropped some hard knowledge on me.

She said that my generation is so results-oriented that we can’t focus on the journey. (GUILTY.) Then, she basically said that gardening was like yoga because it’s a practice. (Perfect metaphor for me, Dee.) Not only is she 100% correct, but it made me stop and think about how much this “failure” mindset has poisoned my self-image.

If you think about it, yoga and gardening are both very futile pursuits. Sure, you may get fitter and healthier with yoga, but mostly you’ll feel very stagnant and like you’ll never be the girl in a Lululemon ad. And sure, you may grow a tomato or two in your garden, but you may also find that your soil is infected with some weird sort of Dutch fungus that is deadly when eaten but could potentially make a great substitute for penicillin. (Or something. Again, I suck at gardens.)

But that’s the thing about life, isn’t it? You could grow up to be the very best at everything and well loved by all, but you’re still going to wind up dead in the dirt.

So, it only makes sense to appreciate your time, and do what you need during that time, regardless of whether or not it meets your expectations.

It only makes sense to appreciate your time, and do what you need during that time, regardless of… Click To Tweet

30
Sep 16

10 Self-Care Strategies for When the Universe Is Conspiring Against You

Self-care strategies are important because there are so many ways that everyday life wants to ruin your day. Even when you do everything you possibly can to ensure you have a good day, that doesn’t mean that the universe isn’t trying to ruin it.

10 self-care strategies for when the universe is conspiring against you

I’ve been using these self-care strategies lately for the times when other people’s chaos tries to get me down, or when I find myself in a situation that’s completely out of my control. Granted, none of these self-care strategies fix any of the external problems, but they do make it easier to deal with the problems. So today I thought I’d share my 10 self-care strategies for when the universe is conspiring against you.

10 Self-Care Strategies for When the Universe is Conspiring Against You Click To Tweet

001: Move.

I am by no means an athlete, and if you try to convince me to sign up for CrossFit, I’m gonna roll my eyes so far back in my head that my retinas will detach. Instead, I think everyone should focus on a workout that they enjoy, and stick to that. There are far too many terrible things we have to do in the day without adding another thing you don’t want to do to the list. For me, my favorite way to move is going to yoga class, or watching TV on the treadmill or elliptical. But never underestimate the power of getting up from your desk and just walking around for a few minutes. Seriously. It feels good.

002: Read.

I cannot express the joy I feel when I unplug from everything and cuddle up with a book. I love shutting out everything else, and getting absorbed in a completely different world for a while. And when I’m done, I always have that feeling of renewal because it’s like I’ve taken a break from life for a while.

003: Write.

I used to be in the practice of journaling every morning, and it was seriously the most mind clearing thing I have ever done. While I no longer do it religiously like I once did, I always reach for a pen when I need to get my head right.

004: Eat.

For the longest time, I would feed myself whatever garbage I was craving, and that was fine until about a few years ago. The older I get, the harder it is to eat junk. In fact, junk food now gives me hangover-like symptoms. (Aging is a joy.) So, now, to take care of myself, I’m eating more fruit and leafy greens. And even though I would love a pile of cheese fries or a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream at all times, I know I can’t have that and still be a productive person. A healthy meal goes a long way when it comes to my mood and overall well-being.

005: Primp.

Weird thing I’ve been into lately: moisturizing my cuticles and nails. I’ve noticed that my nails are super strong, and my cuticles no longer look like they were chewed off by a pack of wild dogs. And while how my nails look isn’t that important, it is important that I’m taking some time to do something for me that makes me happy.

006: Work.

There’s just something about scratching something off your to do list that’s good for the soul. I’m addicted to getting stuff done before noon, because it feels so good to know that I have the rest of the day to not stress about the things that I haven’t done. Sure, I forget this sometimes and procrastinate the day away. But I’m trying remind myself on those mornings when I want to slack how utterly terrible I will feel at the end of the day. And that tends to keep me in line.

007: Rest.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that resting is not scrolling through Instagram or reading all the tweets from the past 2 hours. Sure, I’m generally laying down when I do those things, but I’m not letting my mind have a break when it needs it. Instead, I’ve recently become a fan of the power nap. It’s a great way to take 20 minutes to recharge, and I wake up ready to go. And if I’m not feeling the nap that day, I like to rest by stepping out into the backyard with Rosie. We like to sit in chairs on the back porch and just watch the squirrels jump from tree to tree.

008: Listen.

Over the summer while I worked with the Institute of Reading Development, my record player was piled under tons of books. Now that everything is all cleaned up, I’ve been listening to a few special edition 45s from The Gaslight Anthem, and it’s made me fall back in love with just sitting and listening to music. I’ve even taken this into my work life. When people or technology issues get tough, I pick a playlist on my phone, and play it through my bluetooth speaker. Sure, it doesn’t fix the problem, but it calms me down enough to deal with it.

It doesn't fix the problem, but it calms me down enough to deal with it. Click To Tweet

009: Laugh.

This is perhaps one of the most narcissistic things I do, but I feel I should share it with you so you can also enjoy this silly tactic. I like to think of funny things I’ve said or done, because it makes me laugh out loud. I am my own biggest fan, and I’m sure I’m the only one who can fully appreciate my jokes. And thinking about my old jokes invariably leads into thinking about all the great jokes I will tell in the future, which is a great way to cheer up. Now, you don’t have to sit around and bask in your own comedic glory, but you absolutely should take some time to laugh. So, whatever makes you giggle, go for it.

010: Bond.

Whether I’m looking into Rosie’s eyes while I scratch her ears, or I’m talking about my day with Chris, I like to spend one-on-one time with people (yeah, Rosie’s a people) I love. And I think the one-on-one is important. No one bonds with a large group of people all at the same time.

 

What about you? What are your self-care strategies for when the universe is conspiring against you?


27
Sep 16

How to Be a Morning Person

It’s no secret I’m a morning person. If you’ve ever sent me a text after 9 PM, then it was probably clear to you that I’m a morning person when I responded before 6 AM the next day. I also really enjoy going to bed early, all curled up with a book. For me, early to bed, early to rise isn’t just good advice. It’s the only way to live.

How to be a morning person

I wasn’t always a morning person, but once I discovered how good it felt to wake up early and get shit done, I was hooked. Even if you only get menial or easy tasks done before 9 AM, it just feels so good to know that you’re ahead of the rest of the world. I love that waking up early gives me time that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It’s time when I get to do things just for me. So I try to make the most of it.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a morning person, but don’t know where to start, keep reading.

5 things you can do to be a morning person Click To Tweet

001: Set an alarm and don’t snooze.
The snooze button is your enemy. If you want to be a morning person, you have to break up with him. I have been using this alarm clock, and it’s definitely a game changer. It lights up before it’s time to get up, and it gets brighter and brighter as it gets closer to your alarm time. It’s such a nice and chill way to wake up. Sure, it still makes a terrible alarm sound, but I’m usually awake by that time anyway since the light slowly wakes you up.

002: Don’t look at your phone first thing.
If you take one thing from reading this blog, take this: Smart phone notifications are someone else’s agenda for your time. The only difference between those little app badge notifications and a pebble in your shoe is that once you remove the pebble, it doesn’t keep coming back.

If you check your phone first thing when you open your eyes, you are setting yourself up for productivity failure. Why? Because you’re starting your day with someone else’s agenda, and not your own. Let the morning be your time to use for yourself. I can say from experience that it’s almost impossible to wake up early for someone else because the motivation isn’t there. Also, why the hell would you go to the trouble of waking up early only to spend time looking at your phone? Seriously, that thing will be in your back pocket, just taunting you for the rest of the day. There will be plenty of time later to make sure you’re all caught up on Snapchat.

003: Make waking up early your morning linch pin.
I think the one key thing that keeps me a morning person is that if I don’t get up, there’s a whole series of events that don’t occur. If I don’t wake up early and feed Rosie, then she will start acting out. (Does anyone else have a dog that makes themselves vomit to get your attention?) If I don’t wake up early, then no one will set the coffee maker, because I do that while Rosie is horfing down her kibble. And most importantly, if I don’t wake up early, then I won’t work out. It’s too hard to go to the gym at the end of the day. I enjoy starting my day with some cardio and yoga. And my mental health is so much better for it. And even if I don’t get to the gym, I fill that morning time with reading or writing. And those are two things I wouldn’t have time for unless I got up early.

004: Be consistent. 
I’m not saying you can’t sleep in on the weekends, but what I am saying is that you can’t wake up at 5:15 AM on weekdays, and then sleep until 11 AM on the weekends. For me, sleeping in means getting up around 6:30 AM or 7. But, if I’m being honest, I still wake up at the normal time my alarm goes off on the weekends even if I don’t set an alarm. I do make myself doze back off though, just because the gym isn’t open that early on the weekends, and I know Chris needs the sleep so I shouldn’t get up and piddle around. (I still make sure to get up early enough so that Rosie doesn’t play her vomit game. Damn dog.)

005: You have to want it.
For a year or so there, I thought I might not be a morning person anymore. I was struggling to wake up when I wanted to, and hit the snooze button a lot. Well, one week of using a real alarm clock on the other side of the room changed my mind. I have been consistently waking up about 10-15 minutes before my 5:20 AM alarm, and it’s been awesome to get to the gym just as they open.

But the major thing that changed here is that I wanted to get up, so I stopped using my phone and used a real alarm clock. And by putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room, I cut out the opportunity for snoozing since I have to get up to turn it off. And I did this because I really wanted to get up and get back in the habit of working out.

 

What about you? What are your ride-or-die tips for being a morning person?


06
Sep 16

Guarding the Fuck Bucket

I realize “fuck bucket” may offend some. I’m also well aware it’s often used a derogatory term for a woman, but I’m taking that phrase and turning it into something else. I’m reclaiming it so I can talk about the amount of energy we have to deal with life. So if you got to this post thinking it was going to be closer to the Urban Dictionary definition, then you may want to leave.

Guarding the Fuck Bucket

You may also want to leave if you’re simply offended by the word “fuck.” I get that. You’re not alone. Plenty of people don’t like curse words. However, curse words are my love language. So, if you don’t like how many times I use the word “fuck” in this post, feel free to not read. I won’t apologize for saying fuck though, because soon you’ll see exactly how many fucks in my personal bucket that I have to give on that score. (Spoilers: It’s none.)

Curse words are my love language. Click To Tweet

Now that all the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s get down to business. How did the fuck bucket come about?

“Look at all the fucks I give!”

We’ve all said it before, or perhaps a more PG version. Basically, we hit a point where we acknowledge that we simply cannot care about something because we’ve hit a wall. That’s when we acknowledge that we don’t have fucks to give to a particular thing.

This is because everyone has a very specific amount of fucks they have to give to any given situation. It’s like a budget, if you will. We know, generally speaking, what we will encounter during the day. We tend to save our fucks and expend them on things we know we will have to give fucks about — paying bills, our friends and families, taking care of ourselves, home repairs, grocery shopping, etc. We also have some discretionary fucks to give for extracurricular things like office gossip, our favorite Game of Thrones characters, and which people from high school have blocked us on Facebook for no good reason.

For the most part, we allot our fucks subconsciously. We know we have to care about certain things, thus we care about them by giving them the majority of our fucks. Then, whatever we have leftover goes into our discretionary fucks. Sometimes you will have to spend more or less than you usually do, like when a family member gets sick or when you watched “The Red Wedding” episode of GoT. But generally speaking, the amount of fucks you give remains relatively constant.

Sometimes, however, something happens and we realize we don’t have enough fucks to give. For me, that happens when I don’t think about how many fucks I’m giving on things I didn’t budget my fucks for — like when your coworker becomes emotionally needy and wants to complain to you for an hour, or when you attend a large family get together.

So how do you ensure that you always have enough fucks to give?

Enter the Fuck Bucket

Everyone has a fuck bucket. It’s the bucket where you keep your fucks. Some people have gigantic 5-gallon Home Depot bucket for all their fucks. Others have those little tin novelty buckets you can get Michael’s to stick some Easter candy in. Your bucket size (mine is a good, sturdy Sterilite mop bucket with a spout in case I find myself needing to quickly pour out my fucks) determines the amount of fucks you have to give at any time.

Everyone has a fuck bucket. Click To Tweet

For me, I don’t have the smallest bucket, but I also don’t have the biggest. Like most fuck buckets, I have just enough to get me through the day comfortably. Sure, occasionally that bucket runs dry, and sometimes my fuck bucket runneth over. But generally speaking, I know with relative certainty how many fucks are in my fuck bucket at any given time, and how many I have to give for any given thing.

Lolrus and his fuck bucket

If you find that you’ve been running out of fucks pretty often lately, it might be time to take stock of your bucket. By looking at your fuck bucket budget, you can see where you’re expending the most energy, and where you can make some changes.

My Fuck Bucket Breakdown

My fuck bucket breaks down into the following categories:

  • Family (this includes Chris and my dog, Rosie)
  • Work and blogging
  • Writing and reading
  • Spending time at home
  • Discretionary fucks (yoga, social media, gossip, shows on Netflix, clothing, YouTube makeup tutorials, photography, cheese fries, etc.)

I also made this breakdown to show roughly how I allot my fucks:

This pie chart illustrates how I allot the fucks in my fuck bucket.

Your fuck bucket will look very different from mine. In fact, all fuck buckets should be different. And don’t try to give your fucks where you don’t want to. That way lies madness. Let them fall where they may. But if you find yourself running out of fucks, there’s only one thing to do.

Don't try to give your fucks where you don't want to. Click To Tweet

Guarding the Fuck Bucket

It’s easy to give fucks where you shouldn’t. It’s much harder to think critically about where your fucks are going and how you can stanch the flow. The first step to guarding your fuck bucket is to make sure it doesn’t run dry. And to do that, you have to stop giving fucks where you shouldn’t.

Right now, I’m sure you have something that’s bugging you, something that’s taking up your time, something that’s taking fucks away from something else. Think about that thing. Do you need to give a fuck about it? If it’s a leaky faucet or if your dog just puked, then unfortunately you do. But if it’s something that, in the grand scheme of things, you can avoid with little to no consequences, then fuck it. (Which is not a way to say that you should allot fucks to it, but rather forget about it.) There are infinite fucks in the universe, which means that someone else can generally give a fuck about the things that you can’t. Don’t give your fucks on things that you don’t have to.

There are infinite fucks in the universe. Click To Tweet

The second thing to do when you need to guard your fuck bucket, is get yourself out of situations where you have to expend fucks that you don’t have. You wouldn’t continue to pay for something you can’t afford, so why would you continue to spend fucks you don’t have? Getting yourself out of situations may sound big, but it can be really small. In some cases, it may just mean avoiding an intersection that bugs you, or not going into the break room when a specific coworker is there. Of course, it could also be big. It may mean quitting a job or getting out of a relationship.

Whatever it means, you have to do what you have to do to guard your fuck bucket. So, take a look at what’s in your fuck bucket, and where you spend the majority of your fucks. Think critically about where the fucks are going. Reset your fuck budget to balance your fuck bucket. Because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can.


01
Apr 16

Be Intentional: Changes I’m Making This April

Be intentional MarisaMohi.com

I make an effort to be intentional. On a good day, I’m just doing my best to get by. On a bad day, I’m an amalgamation of my bad habits in the worst possible way.

I have a lot of bad habits that have become second nature — nail biting to quell anxiety, using junk food as a crutch in stressful situations, sleeping in instead of going to the gym, and procrastinating so I don’t have to start grading the stack of papers that will, in all honesty, probably only take a good 2-4 hours to grade. And giving in to these habits makes it really hard to be intentional.

Ideally, I would wake up in the morning, chug some water, write in my journal, and then get myself to the gym. I would do cardio and yoga or weights, and then I’d come home and do some grading before I had to be in my office. I set my class schedule to make this easier. The earliest I teach is 1:30 PM. The earliest I have to be at the office is 11:00 AM. My mornings should be spent in a fit of productivity.

But that’s rarely the case. There is always an excuse to sleep in. There’s always an excuse to stay home from the gym. There’s always something else to do besides grading. And there will always be a million other things that I’d rather do. And if I don’t think about it, I will always give into these things.

One of the things I’m really great at is making action plans. I love designing schedules and projects and setting everything up. Where I screw up is the execution. I love that I can be intentional just by making lists or plans. Sure, it’s one thing to create an entire spreadsheet of the workout plan you want to accomplish over the next three months, but it’s entirely another to get out of bed at 5:30 every morning and make sure you get that workout in. It’s one thing to plan out your evenings for maximum efficiency, but it’s entirely another to tell your friends that you can’t meet them for dinner because you really need to crush it this week.

I know where I fail. It’s the same place every time. I just want to indulge. I’m like one of those lab rats that hits the pleasure button until they die. (Do you know what I’m talking about? Is this a well-known modern parable? I think it is, but sometimes I reference things and then everyone looks at me like I’m crazy, which isn’t far off.) It feels like every single day has become an opportunity for indulgence, and my self-discipline isn’t that strong. And when that’s the case, it’s hard to be intentional. Hell. It’s hard to just get the bare minimum done.

I’m not talking lavish dinners and champagne brunches here. What I’m talking about is all the little first world comforts that we, as first world consumers, feel we are entitled to. I deserve this ice cream because it’s been a stressful week. I deserve this second glass of wine because I really need to relax. I deserve to buy this $50 eye shadow palette because it will help me look more professional at my day job. I deserve to sleep in because I stayed up a little later than usual.

Even though I want to be intentional, I tend to make a lot of excuses for indulgent behaviors. I don’t deserve ice cream. I don’t deserve that second glass of wine. I don’t deserve a $50 eye shadow palette. I don’t deserve to sleep in. These are all things I want, and I justify it by using language that makes it seem okay.

We all do this. We want so badly to give in to things. And that’s completely human. But look at how often you give in. Did someone leave cookies in the break room? (This is the bane of my existence.) When you went in there to heat up your healthy lunch, did you scarf three Oreos before the microwave dinged? Did CVS have a sale on your favorite candy, and it would’ve been silly to not buy it while you were there for some Claritin? Did you stay up an hour past your bed time binge watching Netflix, so naturally you can’t wake up on time?

Perhaps you are a model of self-control and never give in when it comes to things like this. Perhaps it’s not hard for you to be intentional. I commend you. But if you’re like me, you catch yourself giving in, so much so that it’s second nature to just give in, and you don’t want to think about it at the end of the day because when you do, you really start to hate yourself.

That’s where I am right now. I feel behind, I feel unhealthy, and I feel out of control of my own life. I want to stop procrastinating, because I hate having to get everything done at the last minute. I want to feel healthy, because I know I’m a better person mentally and emotionally when I eat right and exercise. And I want to feel in control of my own life, not just a person who gives in to bad habits all day. I really just want to be intentional.

That’s what this April is going to be about for me. I needed to hit the reset button, and I hope that 30 days of intentional behavior will do wonders for resetting habits.

Be Intentional MarisaMohi.com

But what do I mean by “be intentional?”

I want to make a plan and stick to it. I don’t want to spend time thinking about where I got derailed. I don’t want to use my sliding scale of justification. I want to see some sort of result.

(Side note: If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my #continuouspractice posts. Because I have a tendency to give in to bad habits, I got off track with my journaling. So I’m using Instagram to keep myself accountable, and to track my journaling. If you aren’t following me on Instagram, you can do so here.)

Here’s what I’ll be doing through the entire month of April to reset bad habits, be intentional, and keep me from giving in to my indulgent side.

I’m giving up alcohol.

I’m not much of a binge drinker, though I was when I was in college and grad school, as were the majority of my classmates. Now, when I drink, I generally have one or two beverages and call it a night. But I know that if I even have just one, I won’t want to get to the gym the next morning. And if I have wine, I will be too dehydrated to get to the gym the next morning. (Seriously, we’re talking charlie horses the size of Texas in my calves.) I’ve also come to realize that I use alcohol as a crutch in social situations, because my introvert nature would rather gargle broken glass than have to spend time engaging in conversation with more than one person at a time.

This April, I will avoid alcohol. For 30 days, I will drink water and black coffee, which, if we’re being honest, are my two favorite beverages anyway. And I will probably get back on the green tea wagon, because I have very productive afternoons when I consume it instead of Diet Coke. I won’t have a beer just because other people are drinking, and I definitely won’t be able to use “having a beer” as an excuse to eat pizza.

And I think it’s worth mentioning here that I’ve recently met two women that I really respect who told me they don’t drink anymore, and that it’s made a huge difference in their lives. It may be time to bring back the “straight edge” Marisa I used to be about 11 years ago.

I’m giving up spontaneous spending.

I have a real bad habit of impulse buying. It can be as harmless as picking up a tube of chapstick as I stand in the check out line, or it can be as bad as “I bet this obscure product listed on Amazon is totally worth it” and before you know it, I’ve got a new thing that cost money and takes up space in my home. I’m done with that.

This month, I will only purchase necessities. So, of course I will buy groceries, and fill up my gas tank, and take my car in for an oil change. But I will not stop at 7-Eleven to get an Icy. I won’t pop into CVS to get some toothpaste and walk out with 3 new lipsticks. I want pop over to the Starbucks in the student union to get a 400-calorie coffee. I will not be buying food from fast food restaurants or vending machines. These are all little things that I feel I deserve, but do not need. And if I’m being honest, they are doing just as much damage to my health as they are to my wallet. (The lipstick isn’t really affecting my health, at least, not that I’m aware of.)

So I will not allow myself to purchase unnecessary things. And I won’t go places where the impulse to buy is too strong.

I’m giving junk food.

I have a lot of really healthy intentions. I meal plan most weeks, and pre-pack my lunches for the week. I will even have breakfasts ready and waiting for me in the morning. Dinners are usually something that we can just whip up really quickly if we’ve planned enough. But here’s the thing: I’m incredibly lazy. And it’s so easy to opt for junk if you’re even slightly tired.

The Order Up app has become my arch nemesis. It’s so easy to just scroll through, pick a place you want to eat, and then have it delivered. You can pretty much just get in your PJs the minute you get home from work, and wait for someone else to bring you food. And if you’ve got some candy in your bag or desk, it’s just easier to eat that than it is to take your lunch into the break room and heat it up. And if you don’t really feel like eating the salad you made, it’s just so easy to give in by getting a burger and fries or a pizza.

I’m done with all that. I’m tired of wasting groceries I don’t eat, and I’m tired of wasting money on food that is probably giving me diabetes and is definitely giving me heartburn. So, sorry if you invite me out this month. I will either say no, or be one of those really annoying people who packs food for themselves.

I’m giving up staying up late and sleeping in.

I love crawling into bed at night, but I hate getting up. I used to be able to just pop right up, but it’s been really hard lately. This is largely due to a combination of things. I think if I eat better, I will feel healthier overall, and be more rested when I sleep. I also know that I just have to make myself get up until my body is in the habit of doing it. Ideally, I need to be at the gym by 6:15 AM. On Mondays and Wednesdays I need to do 30 minutes of cardio before I do 45 minutes of yoga. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I need to do 20-30 minutes of weights, and then 30 minutes of cardio. And I need to get up early to do all this, so that I still have time in the morning to do some paper grading and lesson planning. And hell, maybe even writing if by some weird stroke of luck there happens to be time for that.

But if I get up and get to the gym, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something before 8 AM. That’s important. That sense of accomplishment can carry me through the day. And even on days when I don’t go to the gym, I need to continue to get up early, because there are little things I can accomplish in the morning that will give me the same feeling.

So no more sleeping in, and no more staying up way too late. I need to be in bed by 10 PM at the latest, and out of bed by 5:15 AM so that I can journal and get to the gym early.

At the end of the day, I don’t need to do all the extra little things. I just came here to #tellstories, and hopefully a month where I am able to be intentional will make that a priority.