Friday, April 04, 2008

oh interwebs, I have missed you so!

Hello from yet another hotel room. This one is lovely, though. I could enjoy business travel if it were always this nice. I even got into the fitness room this morning and got a good workout in, though as always with business travel, I'm sure I made up for my extra activity with the sweets they always feed you to keep your energy up at these events.

I read David Allen's book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity on the plane on the way here. I like the philosophy behind the book a lot. He explains stress in a way that I've never heard before. Stress, he says, is the result of us not keeping the commitments we've made to ourselves:
as soon as you tell yourself that you need to be doing something...there's a part of yourself that thinks you need to be doing that something all the time. Everything you've told yourself you ought to do, it thinks you should be doing right now.
The way to manage this stress, he says, is to have a system in place to remind us of the actions we need to be taking outside of our brains, and to check it regularly. Only then will our brains stop bugging us, because we'll be keeping our commitments. The trick is to ask ourselves what the next concrete action we should take toward a goal, and then to make ourselves accountable for doing that action. If we keep taking the next action toward our goal, we'll reach it without stress.

For me, those next actions in the weight loss game are to commit to a reasonable fitness plan and food plan. I need to plan out the workouts I want to do next week, and then do them. I think having some concrete steps, rather than a vague idea that "I should be eating better," or "I should exercise more," will make me both less likely to obsess about it and more likely to take appropriate actions.

So what's your next action?


  1. I'm impressed that you're working out on the road. That is something I've never done--planned to do, yes; accomplished, no.

    David Allen's advice is quite good. As a Ph.D. student, any time spent not working on my dissertation (like right now) makes me feel guilty and stressed out. So, if I'm reading this correctly, Allen suggests making small, concrete goals, like "write two pages today" rather than "write chapter 2"--right?

    Your application of this advice to your weight-loss and exercise goals makes a lot of sense, too.

    My next action is to run for 30 minutes this afternoon (8 mins running/ 2 mins walking x3) and to make a smart choice tonight when out to dinner with my friend.

    What is your next action, Jen? :)

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07