Category Archives: about me

Changing Habits: Flossing is not hard

I think about habits a lot – how and why they form, why I do some things that someone else never would, why I don’t do other things. What motivates our habits? How do our personalities influence our habits?

The list goes on. My brain spins.

Most of my day-to-day {wellness} coaching focuses on helping people change their habits. It’s relatively easy to find information on nutrition, exercise and stress management around the internets. You could do your research and know what to do. The how is the stump – sometimes the mountain. Plenty of people will start a conversation with, “I know what I’m supposed to do…”.  This is typically followed by something they feel they “should” be doing, but, “it’s hard”.

Nope.

Whole 30 quote

 

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Eating healthy isn’t hard. Low-intensity exercise a few days per week isn’t hard. Taking a deep breath instead of letting stress add another victory notch to its belt is not hard. It’s a personal challenge to change your habits, which can be humbling, frustrating and rewarding, but is it not hard.

But I’m still working on convincing people of that. Myself (sometimes) included.

I have a few personal habits that I’m constantly working on, and sometimes wonder why I can’t manage to hit that magic balance when I can help others do so all the time! Ah, the irony.

For example: every time I go to the dentist I’m reminded that I do not floss often enough. For the next few weeks I’ll do so somewhat diligently, usually half-heartedly, and then suddenly, I just don’t. Bye, floss.

Flossing is not hard. It usually takes less than 5 minutes – we only have so many teeth-gaps, the number doesn’t change (if it does..well, another day another problem). I always brush my teeth, so why don’t I remember to always floss?

The truth: I rarely forget, I just sometimes decide to skip it. I sometimes look at that unassuming box of floss and do a mental “nope”. I’d rather get into bed, or not make my gums bleed (but yes, I know they wouldn’t be as sensitive if I did it more often), or just simply don’t feel like spending the very little amount of energy it takes to pull out a string of floss, and pull it between my teeth. ….?! Oof.

I listened to an episode of “The One You Feed” a few weeks ago that mentioned common things people do that either help or hinder their habit-building intention(s). Two that resonated with me:

1) Build a streak
2) Don’t let yourself fail twice.

In relation to my seemingly insignificant flossing goal: Start noticing how many days in a row I stick to it, but if I skip one day? Don’t feel derailed – just do not skip the next day! Don’t do it. Simple as that. Get the brain & motivation in check –  like, C’mon you guys, this is simple! Do not let a thin piece of string beat you. Do. Not. Pull, cut, floss, repeat. Do it.

I’d like to proudly state that as of today, my happy (non-bleeding) gums have been flossed 27 days in a row (not a coincidence that it’s January 27th).

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There are so many unique ways to do this and we’ll all respond differently to varying techniques and strategies – add that to the challenge of coaching habit change – but I think that’s a positive for people working on habits. If you’ve tried something that just flat-out didn’t motivate or inspire you, try something else. (Insanity won’t do us any favors, yo.)

What habits are you having a “hard” time changing?
Or what type of habit seems to continuously elude you?
Any unique strategy / tips?

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More on this ish:

No Meat Athlete’s “Roadmap” for building a new habit

Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project Blog: Why Rewarding Yourself May Be a Bad Idea, For Habits

(Gretchen also has an entire book devoted to this coming out soon.)

MarieTV’s “One Simple Habit to “Fast Track” the Life You Want

 

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Out of the Woods, Into the Canyon

I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t written-while-jamming-to Tay. Converted. Not ashamed.

The MLK-weekend trip to Austin with my sister + SIL and was a grand ol’ time. It’s a quirky city with a lot to offer the outdoor enthusiast, foodie and music lover – or any combination of. We had some great recommendations for lodging, eats and walking/running trails that kept us busy for the 72-hour trip.

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The flight back to SFO on Monday afternoon marked my last airplane experience until the end of March, and my 14th flight in 15 weeks. So, yeah, I’m pretty f-ing pumped to be grounded for a little while.

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NOW, for the first time in a few months, my Training Peaks schedule is filled with 7 days of real workouts. Not every run is “easy” with a side of “see how things feel” and a large dose of mental paranoia {about my knee}. Instead, I spend those 45-60 minutes more concerned about my heart rate and the prescribed workout for the day. It’s an odd bliss, I know. My brain remembers what it’s like to just run again. Maybe not entirely, ever, but for the most part, we’re out of the woods.

I am patient.
I am okay with going slow & steady, for now. (Rinse. Repeat.)

Adios, forest de injury! You’re not so fun to navigate, but you’re extremely satisfying to leave.

Now, I’m training to get back some fitness and prep for the Canyonlands Half-Marathon. We registered because it’s an excuse to travel through southern Utah (which needs no excuse) and some of the team will be there, too. Win, win!

What spring race(s) is/are on your agenda / radar?

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Calm, to the Sun & Back

I’m working my way through the YTT readings this week, found myself happily saluting the sun in the SFO yoga room an hour ago, and just had a conference call about a Mindfulness project (for work). To say I’m feeling pretty calm, cool and collected (+ caffeinated) seems accurate.

steaming coffee_DOTR

Not something you hear often from people sitting and working in an airport, but there are many players here! First of all: hats off to you, SFO. The yoga room? Superb. It’s pretty small and serene, quietly situated between two terminals, so you don’t hear very much. Etiquette is posted on the outside (“Remove shoes”, etc) and mats are nicely rolled up and waiting for you to let them loose.

yoga room_SFO_DOTR

A few sun salutations and hip-openers later, I’m all ready for the {travel} day. Simple as that.

And last, but not least, my boss just nonchalantly mentionedCalm.com – which sounds like something a Gen-X/Y-er would say to describe their current state of affairs, but is actually a website + app. And very literal. Go there, let it be the soundtrack of your day, and man, you’re all set.

With that, I’m off to enjoy a long weekend in Texas’ oasis with two of my favorite gals. My sis has her cowgirl boots shined n’ ready for some two-stepping and Austin adventuring. Enjoy all of the above and remember it never hurts to tone it down a notch! 

Namaste, y’all.

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5 Down: 200 Hour YTT

My research began long before we physically arrived in Monterey. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) has been on my mind for years; as with many major life goals, there will be a lot of things that seemingly keep you from checking the box (really, you just stubbornly stand in your own way). But this little break from DC life seemed too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I found a studio, found their training schedule, and kept it bookmarked for months.

I barely mailed my deposit in on time, as the ghost of resistance finally faded with moments to spare. Adios, yo. We’re gonna do this.

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We’ll have seven weekends of Thursday – Sunday trainings over the next four months. We’ll complete at least 180 hours of training, 15+ classes of Prana yoga, and multiple other projects and observations. Last night got the process started – 5 hours in a small room with 15 other anxious yogis. In the 5 minutes spent sitting in silence, waiting, transitioning from student to teacher-in-training, my brain flipped through every yoga moment I can remember from the past 5 years. It also sat there being like “Do you have everything you’re supposed to? {Nope, not yet…} Don’t forget to bring a check tomorrow. 8 hours is a long time in one room. I wonder if it’ll be sunny this weekend…”, reveling in the last 5 minutes of the unknown, I s’pose.

Ytt_Day1

We completed a 90-minute heated class in the middle, sweating out any lingering nerves, doubts, annoying to-do lists or fears. We have 5 hours in, and endless asanas to go. This is exactly where each of us are meant to be, right now.

Ommmm, y’all.

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Outstanding in the Field: Big Sur Secret (2014)

Public Service Announcement: there’s a traveling bus, table and quirky crew that stop at farms all around the country and bring delicious dinners, drinks and desserts to you – all courtesy of local farms and chefs. Outstanding in the Field (OITF). No matter where you are, I bet they’ve come close.

Last summer, we dined with them in Whitefield, ME, and proceeded to stalk their 2014 scheduling knowing they would very likely stop somewhere near our new digs around the Bay. We opted for the “Big Sur Secret Location”…

DSCN2814 There’s not a single bad spot along Highway 1, heading south to Big Sur. The scenery stuns and amazes, mile after mile. If nothing else, we did this for the drive and the confidence that you can’t go wrong with doing anything in Big Sur. Confirmed.

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We parked about 15 minutes away (driving) from the actual spot, as there’s no parking near this hideaway. An OITF shuttle took us to/from. We arrived to the familiar bus, without the usual farm setting. We may not have been surrounded by fields of vegetation, but our table was perked right atop a cliff and backed by the Pacific Ocean. (Literally, take 2 steps away from those back seats and adios!, down the cliff you go!)

OITF Big Sur 2014

With each OITF event you’re treated to appetizers and local libations; in this case, we had freshly baked flatbread pizzas with artichokes and smoked leek sauce, sea urchin, mussels, dashi braised pork belly and Alma Rosa wines.

Chef: Clark Staub, of Full of Life Flatbread (Santa Barbara, CA)
Farms: Sea Stephanie Fish; The Abalone Farm (Cayucos, CA), Drake Family Farms.

DSCN2855 DSCN2860 DSCN2865 We were also treated to absolutely perfect November weather, comfortable in jeans and sleeves while the sun was out and as it set right behind us on the ocean.

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We dined on Abalone and seaweed soup to start (a first for these two!), fresh vegetables and herbs, and white sea bass for the main dish (fine by this pescetarian!). Our dessert was a spiced walnut cake with pine and wild fig ice-cream, and all courses were accompanied by wine pairings. Each section of the long group table is served family-style, so you get plenty of eats and friendly conversations!

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We’re already anxiously awaiting the 2015 schedule, as we fully intent to capitalize on our current California to catch this delightful crew once or twice next year. It’s a pricey ticket, but considering the full afternoon-to-evening experience, delicious local eats and should-you-choose-to-indulge beer/wine pairings, it’s more than worth the splurge.

Have you joined them for a dinner? Any location recommendations? We’ve planned a trip around this meal before and will likely do it again…

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