A Better Life

Just some thoughts on my life…and how I am trying to live it better

So, here we go!

Posted by Aaron on January 10, 2010

So, how to get to the ‘better life?’

Well…here is the deal. I feel to be able to live a better life I need to get myself going stronger in the right directions. Ever since I started seriously attempting to create and follow-through on ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ I always thought of it in a 3-pronged fashion. 1) Mind. 2) Body. 3) Soul. The most important of these being Soul, but really all 3 are so intertwined that all must be worked on in conjunction. I will say I think, especially since last summer, I have made some pretty strong strides in the right direction in all of these areas. I just feel I need to step it up a notch.

I started reviewing my life and making goals using these three ‘basis points’ back during the retreats I went on in January of each of my college years, and some there-after with a church group I belonged to at the time. I so often didn’t get further than a month until it seemed everything ‘fell apart’ and I stopped reviewing what I was supposed to be doing, and I fell back into the ‘same ‘ole rut’ of my life…moving forward with no real direction from the goals I had once established. Now…older, and (hopefully) wiser, I am hoping with the support from various sources I will be able to set better, more reasonable goals, and if I fall away from those goals, I will be able to take another look, re-assess, reset, and move forward again in an effective way instead of just quitting, or forgetting.

I truly believe that we should always be reviewing your own life and setting goals both near term and long. We should always be mindful of where we are going, and what we are doing, and where we have been as a benchmark for the future. We shouldn’t have to need to set ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’ but, I do believe that if we haven’t reviewed our life and aren’t constantly trying to round it out and make it better, the New Year is as good of a time as any! So here I am.

I have heard my wife, who is I see as a very spiritual and holy woman, say that she likes to use not the beginning of the calendar year, but the beginning of the liturgical year (we are Roman Catholic), the begging of Advent as the time to make her ‘resolutions.’ So, this year, I used Advent (the 4 weeks prior to Christmas, usually starting the Sunday after Thanksgiving) to review, and try to establish some goals and direction for my life. This, right here what you are reading, is one of the fruitions of this thought. The particular thought being that I need something else besides myself and my family to help keep me accountable to my goals. While my thought on the actions I need (not want – NEED) to take in my life will be ongoing, I feel that through that time, and the Christmas Season, I have come up with some ideas and actions that I have already been working to make reality in my life.

The Soul.

So… with regards to working on my soul…. I go to mass most Sundays, but I need to get there during the week (I can go to noon mass everyday at a basilica here in downtown, near work), and I truly enjoy going to mass. I really believe that it is the “perfect prayer” in our lives. Well, now I do know that ideally mass every day would be the perfect thing….but I feel that ‘setting the bar’ that high would be setting myself up for failure. I feel that with my work schedule (I work from 7:00am until at least 5:00pm each day) if I could get to mass (at the basilica or not) at least 2 times a week, other than our normal Sunday mass, that would be perfect. Of course, more is good, but at least 2 days…and we will see about ‘raising the bar’ a bit for the special seasons (Lent, etc.). I have some more ideas for personal prayer, but let’s track this for the time being….I will talk about other things with regard to making the soul better later…

The Mind.

Hmmm…how to help make the mind better? Well…I feel this is one way. Writing this, getting my thoughts written down. Getting them expressed and hearing what anyone else has to say about them and see how I defend or change my mind about the topic. Some things are truth and some are opinions. Opinions can change…Truth cannot. This is a very simple fact. I think I know where truth is and where my opinions lay. As I go through this, I hope to be more fervent in Truth, and understanding in my opinions.

The other thing I have been toying with is the TV. Television occupies a lot of my time. Unfortunately. I do enjoy learning, so reading is appealing to me, but I feel I just don’t do enough of it. I feel I need to do more. TV shows such as Lost and 24 are going to be starting soon, and they are each shows I have watched pretty regularly with intensity since their beginning, and am actually excited about them coming back, but should I take the time to really watch them this year? I mean that is another 2 hours taken away from more worthy pursuits. That and I’m already regularly following a number of other shows (Flashforward, Brothers&Sisters, Grey’s Anatomy, and the list could go on…)…should I even consider wiping all of them off of my ‘radar’ and focus on spending more time with my family and reading about what I want to learn more about? Tell me what you guys think. I am curious. What should I do? Maybe there is a balance out there. You know. 75 yrs ago, there wasn’t anything like the TV and even the radio was state-of-the-art, and relatively new….maybe I should try to increase my non-viewing pleasure?

The Body.

A number of months ago I hopped on the shipping weight scale at work and was not-so-pleasantly surprised to find myself weighing over 20 lbs more than I have been accustomed to for the past 15 yrs. I have since that eye opening sight I have been trying to figure ways to drop some poundage…I was already overweight, but now…now I knew I was really ‘fat.’ I also was finding that with young, active kids had a tough time just walking briskly to the end of the street, little lone doing anything such as actively playing soccer or running after a miss-thrown kickball. So, I joined a local, inexpensive gym and started to go with some regularity last fall, but then my activity fell off again…and now with the new year, I am trying to get to the gym again. I am thinking that if I can make it to the gym 3 days a week, and do some cardio work along with some minor, repetitive strength training, that would be good. And a real good week would be making it EVERY day to the gym. BUT….here is the kicker…I have to be at work by 7:00am, a 45 minute commute away. So I should leave by 6 or 6:15am…meaning that the workout needs to be done by 5:30 in order to get a shower and ready for the day…and if I want to do at least a half of an hour of Cardio (bike, elliptical, etc.) along with some other stuff, I really should make it to the gym when it opens at 4:30am. Well…I should do this so that my exercising does not encroach on my evening family time. I have been able to do this in the past…a couple of times, so I know it is possible to make it happen somewhat regularly. I just need to make it happen very regularly.

Also, in reviewing the way I eat….I just eat too much. Too big of portions, too often, and sometimes not the right stuff. I mean, I have a tough time stopping eating when something is good. And I have a tough time not eating when I am bored. I have begun to really focus on this, and ensure try to ensure that I don’t eat when I am not truly hungry. I mean…I need to wait until I can feel the ‘need’ to eat, not just the ‘want’ to eat. Well…I hope you know what I mean. I am sure I will get into this more in the days weeks to come….

Well, I have been rambling a bit too long, so my wife says…so I had better sign off before I make my life ‘worse’ with her instead of better!! – (a joke).

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9 Responses to “So, here we go!”

  1. Kasia (Sawhill) Williams said

    I am right there with you buddy (O: All three areas I think we ALL struggle with, but differently. I enjoy your honesty & that you are aware that you need change in these areas & willing to do something about it.

    Soul – In my Christian walk I try to live my life in constant prayer. The amazing thing is, God is with us & we don’t have to be at church to come before Him, but setting time apart with Him where we can stay focused & read His word & listen to what He has put on our hearts each day, including going to church 1, 2 or even 7 times a week.

    Mind – TV is a big one. It does consume us doesn’t it? It sounds like you are being convicted in your heart that it is consuming your time, & then I think you should listen to what the Lord may be telling you with that. One thing that may be helpful is if you choose to watch some of your favorite shows once they come out on DVD with no commercials & you can make date nights out of them. Or pick a favorite show & watch it one night a week instead of several shows every night. Or even limit the time per night as your “I just got home & need to relax” time. Give each day of the week a special activity to look forward to. Family Game Night, TV night, Date Night, Sports Night, Bible Study Night(home fellowship/men’s study), Its easiest to do things with your spouse as a team effort, even the kids can take part (O: Making realistic goals for yourself & your family helps, as you already know.

    Food – is my biggest enemy! I hate it! I wish I could just stop eating all together because I would. But i need it to be survive, but i also need to eat healthy. I have lost over 50 pounds and gained some back, but it is a constant struggle for me. I love food, i admit it. Find your weakness and steer clear. My family has several health issues that MADE me take a closer look at what we eat. I know a lot, but being consistent with what I know is the hardest part. Several tips I can offer you are…
    1. Always eat within 1 hour of waking up & Eat several(5-6) small portions a day.
    2. Drink plenty of water in between meals. Take your body weight & divide the number in half & the answer is how many ounces of water you need in one day.
    3. 30 minutes of physical activity a day is key. Find what you like or maybe easy to do with a partner or your family & do it. Walking your neighborhood while the kids ride bikes. Playing fris-bee at the field near your house. These are in addition to your 3 work outs a week.
    4. What we cook with & drink is important too. Try avoiding countless calories. Avoid soda, coffee creamer, excess juice, etc. I use olive oil for cooking, reduced fat dairy products, natural fruit & veggies, less processed foods. I recently started avoiding high fructose corn syrup & hydrogenated oils too.
    5. Find a health book or magazine to help educate yourself about your ideal body type & healthy recipes, etc. Dr.Oz, Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels, there is also a doctor who has a book called the 4 day diet, also Great.

    Well who is rambling on now?…I am sure I can think of plenty to talk about…but you started it (O: Well off to bed now. My hubby is in Chicago for work so no need to rush off, but I must sleep so I can take care of the kiddos & pack our house for our big move next Saturday!

    Have a great week. Start each day with a clean slate (O:

    Kasia (Sawhill) Williams

  2. Kasia (Sawhill) Williams said

    one more thing…okay a few more things.

    Mayo made with olive oil !!! my new favorite item, half the calories & fat, but great taste & better for you!! (O:

    Butter)O: Love the stuff! BUT try Brummel & Brown made with natural yogurt, blueish container. but great taste & better for you!! (O:

    Dont eat out!!! Pre measure your portions for snacks and dont eat directly out of the container. Have quick snacks ready to go @ home in the office, & car…homemade trail mix, nuts, light string cheese, dried or fresh fruit,home popped popcorn. etc.

    • Aaron said

      Kasia, On the Mayo made with Olive oil…do you make it or can you buy it? more expensive?? also does it taste any different?

      Also, in baking, can olive oil be used instead of Canola or regular vegitable oil, and still have the finished product keep the same flavor?

      And to ALL of you…thank you SOO much for all of your feedback! another post will be comming soon.

      • Kasia (Sawhill) Williams said

        You can purchase it at Albertsons & I found the best price was at a Target store, reasonable price though.It is a Newer item so it may not be every where YET, but you can make a request to your local store to carry it. Tom does not enjoy light mayo but he DOES like this one. It is in an easy squeeze container with olive green label & lid.

        I like to use an olive oil that does not have a strong taste to it. The more extra virgin the more taste changes. I get mine at Costco in the big jug to be more cost effective. Yes, I use it in place of other oils with the same measurements and all.

  3. Kevin Perry said

    I am in the same boat with you my friend. Ours is a difficult journey as we try to improve our lives against our very nature that fights against us – and add to that Lost or 24 and there is a real dilemma! I am happy to join you on this trek, hoping and anticipating your success in every update.

  4. my two cents re: tv and solving all of your wishes

    how important is t.v. in your life? it sounds like you already know that you are watching too much of it.

    quit television. when you want to watch a tv show, go for a walk with your wife or kids instead. read to your kids. go do sit ups. do the cardio work you mean to do. i think one of the greatest challenges living in the times that we do is that we think we can do it all.

    you cannot. you have to choose what is important for you every day.

    i have a television. the sole purpose of that television is to watch movies i get from netflix.

    cheers,
    jay

    • Aaron said

      Excellent points…and in talking with my wife about the TV last night, I feel this is nearly what I will do. just about quit it. stop following the shows….do something else…have a good time with the kids or just read…and I love the idea of just going for a walk….Thanks Jay!

      • hang in there, quitting something is never easy.

        my guilty pleasure whenever sue (my wife) and i travel: i love sitting in the hotel and watching television. we don’t have cable (never have), so it is like going to the candy factory for my brain. it usually takes two sittings before i feel over-full on t.v.

  5. David Sawhill said

    Two suggestions on your post.

    1. You have to make a lifestyle change and not a goal just for this year. I’ve lost 40 pounds in the last year and it had everything to do with dedicating myself to a lifestyle change. I was dedicated to having small portion sizes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and absolutely no snacks throughout the day. When I was hungry I wouldn’t have a healthy snack or drink water, I would just wait until the next meal. I have dessert once a week.

    In addition, before I take a shower I do as many pushups as I can and 3 sets of situps. I started doing 5 pushups and I’m now at 25. This routine was very simple and it didn’t require me to go to the gym. While I do go to the gym once or twice a week for aqua class, it is not as important as the change in diet. Don’t look to magic, but to personal strength in portion sizes. (By the way, at dinner set a plate of food in front of you, but do not have bowls of food where you can get seconds. Katherine usually sets a plate in front of me and that is it.)

    2. Pick a TV show and look forward to watching it every week. Possibly one show you can watch with your family. I don’t recommend cutting off the television completely.

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