Here I am at the halfway point for my intentional April.

Intentional April

(Yes, I know Friday was the halfway point of intentional April. But this spring is pulling me in a million different directions. With research papers to grade, an interview for a summer tutoring position, and OKC Litfest all converging together last weekend, well…I delayed this post.)

I’m proud to say that, for the most part, things are going well. I don’t feel like these changes have changed the way I feel at all, which is okay. I’m just happy to stick to something. Plus, we are smack dab in the middle of the most stressful time of the year for a writing instructor (grading 116 research papers may actually kill me), so I don’t expect to feel rejuvenated and full of energy. I’m really just trying not to buckle under stress and use retail therapy or fast food as a coping mechanism. And to that end, I’m succeeding.

Also, I went into this month knowing that I would probably trip up here and there. I think perfection is impossible, and it’s not like you can change an ingrained habit overnight. So, when I have slipped up, I haven’t been hard on myself for it. There’s no reason to punish myself for not being perfect when I’m just trying to get better. Instead, every time I’ve transgressed, I’ve just thought of Alfred Pennyworth encouraging Bruce Wayne in the Christopher Nolan movies, and it’s helped immensely.

(How much do you think it would cost to have Sir Michael Caine follow me around all day and give me words of encouragement? Since this is technically for my mental health, do you think insurance would cover it?)

So, in the interest of accountability, I’ll let you know how I’ve been doing on my intentional April goals. Fair warning: I haven’t undergone some fantastic change. Like, I didn’t go into this month a torpid lump of a fast food-loving caterpillar who is now in the cocoon of self-discovery, and will emerge at the end of the month as a self-aware individual who can read Goop and find the recipes not only relevant, but delicious.

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That is definitely not the case. But in the interest of truth and keeping it real, I’ll tell you where I’m at with the four goals I set for myself this month.


I have not had a drop all month. This was probably the easiest thing to give up. I’m not a very good drinker, which is to say that I usually need to go to bed halfway through a glass of wine. But intentionally choosing not to drink has still been a bit of a challenge, just because I want to have a drink when other people do. And we attended Norman’s Art Walk this week, which you know is full of free alcohol. But I didn’t have any.

Admittedly, this is one that I don’t plan to keep going after this month. In fact, as soon as the semester ends, I plan to sit on the patio at The Mont sipping swirls with friends. But it is nice to know that if I want to stop drinking for a month, I totally can and it’s super easy.

Spontaneous Spending

Spending has probably been the second easiest thing to give up. I’ve been reading about Cait’s 2-year shopping ban, and have been really inspired. And while I’m not quite ready to do a ban on all shopping, I’d really like to try a shorter one. And if I’m being honest, it’s going to be harder than I thought, because I haven’t exactly kept to the no spending thing this month. (Intentional April is hard.)

Here’s all the money I’ve spent this month on non-necessities:

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Junk Food

So, as you see above, I had some chicken tenders. And fries. I regret nothing. I was honestly so tired of salads, and sometimes you just need a little something deep fried to soothe your soul. I refuse to be down on myself about this though, because leading up to it, I was incredibly healthy. (We’re talking chia seeds and spinach and cage-free eggs.) So, overall, it’s still a win, because in March, it’s likely I would eat chicken fingers and fries, a burger, pizza, and ice cream all in the same week.

And, because I’m being honest here, I didn’t have the healthiest menu option at Subway when I met with Lindsey for lunch. And I had a free blueberry muffin at OKC Litfest. But t’s only because I was so tired of saying no to free baked goods, which I did at the workshop I went to with Mari.

Okay, and on Sunday the tenth, I totally had homemade waffles. But like, if the love of your life offers to make waffles on a Sunday morning, you don’t say no. Also, I feel like I can technically blame this one on Chris. He’s the one that made the waffles.

Let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed all the junk I consumed this intentional April, even though I said I wasn’t going to. Sure, it may not be intentional, but it is in keeping with my overall goal of enjoying everything I eat in 2016. So as long as I’m keeping with at least one goal, I call it a win.

Not Staying Up and Not Sleeping In

Going to bed at the right time and waking up at the right time has been the hardest thing. I’m sure it is for others as well. There’s a lot to do in the day, and when I have to grade papers on top of everything else, it’s hard to fit it all in. For this reason, I haven’t been attending yoga regularly. Sure, I miss it like crazy. And if it were an hour earlier, I would still be going. But I have to wake up early and get a jump on grading so I can finish it all before finals week. Currently, I have approximately 100 hours worth of grading that I need to complete by May 9. That’s about 33 hours of extra work a week on top of what I normally have. So, I’m trying to fit it all in where I can and early in the morning is the best time. If I wait until the evening, I will just fall asleep.

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And while I had intended to get to the gym and do a lot more working out, this is probably not the best month for it. Mental exhaustion is hard enough without starting a new workout regimen. Judge me if you want, but my mental health means more to me than the opinions of people on the internet. So once papers are all graded, I’ll be back to my morning yoga classes, as well as getting in some cardio.

In other news, I’ve prepped my meals for this week, and I’m excited to continue on through my intentional April. What about you? How are you being intentional this month?

5 Responses

  1. I think you deserved those chicken fingers and fries. Call it a mental health necessity as grading papers is hella hard and sometimes a box of all brown food is the only thing to get you through the trenches.

    1. Amen! I’m back on the wagon, but if need be, I’m hauling ass to the union for more deep fried brown goodness.

  2. I suppose, if ever there were an Arby’s go up right in the middle of Blue 7, I’d be done for…

    In other news, I am also an alcoholic lightweight. Halfway through a glass of wine I wish also to go to bed, and my nose gets numb. It’s so weird.

  3. Good for you Marisa. I’m impressed with your focus, after all I believe it was your little orderly notebook I saw last fall that showed me how to make note of my time.

    As for grading papers, all I can say is that my heart goes out to you. I did that for years while teaching, and sometimes it just wore me out. Good luck.

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