2018 Resolutions

It may be halfway through January already (?!) but it’s never too late to set resolutions and intentions for the year! My most cumbersome but most personally valuable posts on this blog are my beginning- and end-of-year blogs, with the resolutions post kicking off the year with ways I can bring myself closer to the person I want to be.

2018 Resolutions: photo featuring a hand holding a sparkler above water

Last year’s resolutions focused a lot around making concrete plans to do things that I’ve been making resolutions for over the past several years. I didn’t check all those boxes off, but I know that specific goals are easier for me to achieve than vague ones. By the end of 2017, I found myself formulating  new concrete goals, some of which were not even considerations at the beginning of the year. Here are the ways I aim to improve myself in 2018…Read More »

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Making Fitness a Habit (with ClassPass)

Back when I was setting my New Year’s Resolutions for the year, I really wanted to take my fitness resolutions more seriously, as they are pretty consistently the resolutions I take the least seriously and, as a result, see the least amount of progress on.

I set 3 concrete fitness resolutions and follow-up resolutions:

  1. Learn to lift + lift a certain weight once I did
  2. Run a mile without stopping + get that mile within a certain time
  3. Do a full split + both vertically and horizontally

We are almost halfway-through the year, so it is time for me to get to the point of looking at the follow-up resolutions and check in on my progress. While these resolutions have not been the primary focus of my short-term fitness goals, I have been doing really well with making fitness a regular weekly habit for myself since January and I really do have to thank ClassPass for it.

ClassPass is a monthly membership that gives you access to many, many boutique fitness studios and gyms in over 30 cities around the world. It’s great specifically if:

  • … you want to try out classes at a boutique studio or using the equipment at a gym but don’t want to commit to a membership fee without knowing if you like it
  • … you would rather go to many different studios and gyms throughout the month than commit to one kind of workout or one facility

In celebration of that “new year, new me” mentality, ClassPass was running a promotion in January: 50% off their usual $55 for 5 classes deal, which meant I got 5 classes a month for $27, with each class being just a little over $6, for 3 months. That’s an awesome deal, so I went for it, hoping that 3 months was enough time for me to form a habit.

Long story short, I think this was one of the better moves I’ve made with my time and money in a really long time. I’ve found studios and classes that I really love. With my ClassPass plan, I’m able to visit a studio 2 times within a month, so I’m able to switch it up while still visiting my favorite workout spots twice a month. It’s added something to my routine and I am seeing physical results. There are little baby pre-muscle bumps on my legs and my arms that weren’t there at the beginning of January, and I cannot tell you how exciting that is!

I won’t mince words: it was, and remains, really hard. I knew that the only time I could regularly commit to working out was in the morning before work, since my post-work schedule varies wildly but usually is filled with other activities. To give myself enough time to work out in the mornings meant I was choosing 7AM classes, which still kills me many mornings. The pain was also intense. I was going from being quite sedentary to working out 1-2 times a week (and up to 4 or 5 times a week some weeks), and that was extremely painful. I felt sore sore sore and the hardest class for me was my first session at a local kickboxing gym where I do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Because it was so painful for me to just walk out of that gym, on top of the several days where I was so sore that it was difficult to bring food to my mouth, I have made that kickboxing gym one of the spots that I visit twice a month, every month. It’s one of my shortest workouts at 30 minutes and I love it loads.

One thing that has helped with the amount of soreness and reducing my recovery time from days to singular days is consuming protein powder. I know, I KNOW, I hardly recognize myself right now. But there are a lot of fitness and weight-lifting enthusiasts in my office, and I overheard one of them suggesting increasing another person’s protein intake upon hearing that the other person was taking a long time to recover from muscle soreness. I figured it wouldn’t hurt, and whaddya know, I am not feeling as sore for as long. (In fact, sometimes I am suspicious that I’m not working out hard enough because I am not feeling as sore as I did those first 4 weeks I started working out.)

On top of my 5 fitness classes a month, I am also trying to take advantage of the gym in my office building that is available to me free of charge! Especially during weeks that I only have one fitness class scheduled, I’ll try to make time to go to my building gym (again, at 7AM), and lift weights and then run on the treadmill. I’m going to be honest: I never have a real plan when I lift weights. This is a problem that I think may be remedied by me investing in a trainer, as was my original plan back in December, but right now I do essentially every exercise I know I can do with dumbbells and that takes me about 40 minutes. Then I run for about 20 minutes. I move up to heavier dumbbells when the ones I usually use are not on the rack. That is maybe not the best reason to increase weight but that’s what I do!

This is really uncharted territory here. I now own grippy socks and boxing handwraps, because my favorite classes are barre and kickboxing. (?!) I have a tub of protein powder in my pantry. I am increasingly finding myself in the unfamiliar dilemma of needing more workout clothes because I really don’t do laundry frequently enough to get by on how much I have currently.

And I like working out. That is maybe the most bizarre thing to me, but I look forward to my workouts. It’s a time when I am too busy trying to keep myself alive to worry about the myriad of other things I concern myself with usually. Exercise keeps me too physically busy to be anxious. It becomes an almost meditative experience, that I’m able to be so focused on physical activity that my mental activity has to take a backseat.

I’m not expecting to be swole (despite how much I joke about it). (It is maybe not funny how many times I now utter the word “swole” out loud.) I am still in that stage where I talk about my working out pretty often because I’m still in a state of shock that I’m doing it and I kind of need to vocalize it to confirm that it’s really happening. There are weeks where I don’t work out as much as I know I should and I’m still struggling with problem areas on my body that need more attention. I need to really get serious about weight-lifting if I want to set certain weight goals there to reach by December, and that will require me to do something different from just… all the dumbbell exercises I know. I also need to get more serious about running and flexibility.

But I think I like this new version of myself that is exercising and investing time and money and energy into my health. And I hope I like her enough to keep investing in her and making her better.


How do you stay in shape? The studios I have favorited are barre, kickboxing, and yoga. I am a creature of habit, which means I’m actually having a hard time trying out any new classes, so if you’re in the DC area and have specific studios to recommend or you just have a workout to recommend in general (I keep seeing Bodypump pop up!), let me know!

Do you like group fitness or doing your own thing at the gym more? I really love group fitness, because I think the peer pressure of a bunch of strangers really keeps me on track and helps push me a bit farther than if I were just working out on my own. I don’t like working out with friends very much because I know I’m not in shape and I fear judgement from people I know and care about. I am getting better about working on out my own at the gym, but my biggest source of anxiety there is just running into coworkers. This social pressure is all in my head, I know, and I am getting over it little by little as I get stronger, little by little. I also tend to not push myself quite as hard and, of course, not have a particularly good comprehensive workout plan when I am on my own.

This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I just wouldn’t be in the place I am in right now without having paid for a month of exercise upfront for 4 months, and I know that, and ClassPass has been really great for me and my needs specifically. I am including a referral link if you’re interested in trying it out for $30 off.

2017 Resolutions

It is that time of year again. Time to reflect on what kind of person I want to be and what I can do to become that person.

2016 was one of the best years yet with regards to achieving personal goals and growth. I made more time for friends, I got and kept a great new job in a brand new career, I have been reading, and I have been blogging on a regular schedule since I actually committed to doing so in February! (With the brief exception of the change in schedule that I made and then immediately realized was a huge mistake.)

So what can I do in 2017 to continue with my self-improvement? With my personal stake in world-improvement? Here are my CONCRETE RESOLUTIONS that I will resolve to have achieved by December 31, 2017…Read More »

2016 Resolutions

Even though it seems contrived to repeat myself year after year after year, my resolutions posts are easily the most important blog posts I write. I could write nothing else but resolution posts and they would validate the existence of my blog, personally. It’s important for me to have them bookmarked so that I can look back on them. Yes, most of the time, most of my resolutions go unkept by December 31, but it’s still important for me to set these goals for myself. I like the promise of a fresh Gregorian calendar year ahead of me to taking more steps towards becoming the person I want to be.

This year, I’m going to do what I’ve been futzing about and not doing in past years: I’m going to schedule time for these resolutions every day, every week, every month. After not achieving certain resolutions year after year after year (see #1 and #2), I really understand the value of me making time for myself and the goals I am setting for myself. Even though my schedule has been — and will remain for some time — painfully uncertain, I can still make sure to make time for goals that are important to me. I’ll denote things I need to schedule with an asterisk(*).

2016 Resolutions
Here we go!

Read More »

2015 Resolutions – Abstract

Ah… the tough list. The one that gnaws at me every day of the new year. The one that has more to do with who I am rather than simply what I do. If you thought concrete resolutions were hard to keep, you should see how much harder it is to modify thoughts over behaviors. But I studied psychology – I know it can be done.

Here’s what I’d like to do in 2015:

  1. Spend fewer weekend evenings alone. I spent a lot of time this past year just sitting by myself. As an extrovert, this bothered me a lot. I’m not comfortable spending that much time with myself and only myself. It would get extra difficult on the weekends, because I am so used to reserving my weekends as time to be spent with other people. Spending those Friday and Saturday nights alone was not good for me, so I just have to resolve not to do that anymore.
  2. In fact, learn how to be alone, full stop. The most frustrating thing I learned about my extroversion was that I could never pull a Thoreau and run off into the woods to live alone. The fact of the matter is that I cannot 100% control if I am alone or not; that depends on other people’s cooperation. So, I have to learn not to fall apart if I am alone.
  3. Ask for what I want. I don’t know where I got this idea that dropping hints about what I wanted and then pretending I’d be surprised if I somehow did get it was a better idea than just asking for what I want. It’s not. 2015 is the year when I start being frank and direct about what I would like to see from myself and my life.
  4. Practice my languages. I definitely dropped the ball with my goals here last year, but I need to work on this skillset that I once had. I’ll definitely be trying to dust off my Chinese and French. Will I be able to read a book in a different language by December? Ehhh who knows! This is why this resolution has been moved off the concrete list 😛
  5. Make time for fitness. AKA the most common and cliché resolution of all time? What I need to do is find something that will keep me on track, whether it’s a class or an event. (Another 5K? Ugh… maybe…) I’d love to find a fitness class that I feel obligated to keep up with, so that’s probably my best bet. This could be a concrete resolution, but in general, I just want to carve out more time for being active.
  6. Spend more time outside. Sometime in the past 10 years, I went from being a really outdoorsy girl to being an awfully indoorsy girl. It’s probably a combination of my new fear of the sun, aversion to extreme temperatures, and general sexist suggestions that I stay indoors rather than exerting myself outside. I miss being outside. I miss breathing in fresh air. I miss the warmth of the sun on my (SPFed) face without a window interrupting. There is just this alive energy that you can feel when you’re outside and I miss it. Maybe I’ll start hiking this year, who knows!
  7. Trim the fat. Not only with regards to the above fitness-related resolution. I find that there is a lot of dead weight in my life, in the form of people, attitudes, etc. etc. etc. It’s time to just get rid of all of that, even though it won’t be easy.
  8. Create schedules and stick to them. I shied away from the idea of writing down an hour-by-hour itinerary for my days but maybe I need that. I know that I am the kind of person who needs a lot of structure to work effectively, and maybe knowing that my 11-12 block is for blogging and not for YouTube is important. On a similar note:
  9. Have plans every week. This goes with my concrete resolution of keeping up with my planner; it’s hard to make sure there’s something written every week if I don’t have anything planned. It doesn’t have to be going out or meeting up with people but having things to look forward to in the week is really important for my mental health. I used to joke that having really small rewards like whatever I wanted for dessert on a Friday was all that got me through the week. But it was true. Sometimes the only thing that kept me going was knowing I could get an eclair AND chocolate cake AND mango mousse at dinner in just a few days, so I need to make sure I have similar little rewards for just surviving.
  10. Discipline, discipline, discipline. This will always be one of my biggest struggles but I think the key is creating a system where I have no choice but to do what I need to do. Again, structure reigns supreme in my life, and if I create a sturdy frame for my life, everything else should fall into place.

 

:)

This year feels different. I ended 2014 feeling a bit down, but last night, I struggled to sleep because I was riding this momentum swelling within me. I was so excited about the things I wanted to do and the person I wanted to be that I couldn’t sleep. What was almost as energizing as this feeling was the fact that I was feeling it at all. Just days ago, I was feeling stuck, not sure where I was or where I was going, more than happy to just sleep all of my days away to escape that feeling.

It’s a great way for me to start the year and I feel optimistic that I can change for the better and get closer to becoming the person I want to be.