Friday, December 30, 2011

Running Down the Clock on 2011...Lining up for 2012

Remembering where I was in June 2010...
at 210 lbs.

My biggest fear for the holidays is that I'd gain 10 lbs because pretty much like clockwork, every time I'm off from work, my activity level drops because I don't need to be on my feet 8 hrs a day on top of my normal workouts. The good news is as of this morning, my weight was exactly the same as it was before break, and the same as it was last February when I reached my goal of being down to my wedding day weight. Tomorrow morning I'll be joining my buddy Raina and her running group for an 11 mile long run. That means I'll be running down the clock on 2011 on a positive fitness note and ready to dive into my goals for 2012.

Taken yesterday...
Finishing up the holidays and 2011 at 154 lbs,
what I weighed in 2003 when Brandon and I wed.
(That's Brandon on the bed, and Petey our rescued pup on the cot.)

Speaking of goals, I've got three for 2012.
1. Body fat down (with a goal of a weight of 125 lbs, or less, if that is healthier for me)
2. Successfully complete a marathon event in 5.5 hours (or less)
3. SIMPLIFY (-- fiscal, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual --) in order to live life fully.

The first two items are pretty self-explanatory, but the third needs some detail. I've decided to not take the two art classes I was registered for this spring because they're not essential to my certification and the one class that I must have isn't being offered at this time. Instead, my free time will be devoted to meeting my goals. I've loaded up my car TWICE over the holiday break with stuff that I no longer want or need and brought it to Goodwill. I've organized my closets and started to focus on what I want most for 2012 -- the peace of mind that comes with finishing what I started (weight loss, marathon, debts paid off and much more).

May 2012 be my best year yet and may I have more than enough energy, time and joy to pay it forward again and again. Here's hoping 2012 is at least as bright as your dreams allow. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I'm Not Dead...Really

Let's see...what's new in my fiscal and physical health journey. The good news is I'm learning to live a bit more in this new year.

Oct 28th I did the Spinx Half Marathon with my running pal Raina. She was coming back from an injury and I was returning from apathy. We did 1 minute intervals of run/walk and finished in almost the same time as our first half-marathon event back in April. Not back for being out of the groove.

On Black Friday, I FINALLY got to try my walking odyssey. Unfortunately, blisters formed between miles 5-10. They kept getting worse. I slowed way down, to about 3 mph. It took me 9 hours and 6 rest breaks to repair my feet, but I can say I officially finished a marathon. My blisters were as large as my heels when I finished, and my spirit and mind were ready to keep at it, but I decided it was for my highest good to stop at 26.2 miles. For a first attempt, I can live with that, and I didn't want any long-term injury issues. The next morning I was fine to walk the dog and two days later I was pain-free. Gotta love that quick recovery when the furthest I'd gone before that day was 15 miles.

My fiscal health hasn't improved as I hoped, but that's because my physical health priorities are changing. I'm going raw vegan as much as possible to help my digestion and to get as fit as possible inside and out (for always), so I bought an Excalibur dehydrator and a Ninja Professional Kitchen System (blender/processor combo...if you believe the hype). Loving both appliances and feeling much healthier, but the bank account isn't pretty.

Looking forward to 2012, and after watching week 12 of The Biggest Loser, I'm more determined than ever to finish a marathon in less than 5.5 hours.

What's new with you? Are you dreaming about 2012, too?

Friday, September 30, 2011

We've Got Goal

I did the math. If we earn a mere $1400 more per month than we currently earn, we will reach our goal. $200,000 of debt gone, with another $200,000 saved. This calculation doesn't take into account interest. Seeing that possibility was better than a light bulb moment. It was like seeing a lighthouse in a storm. Safety is on the horizon.

How can we earn that much more per month after taxes?
1. Sell stuff we have and don't use.
2. Upload all my stories and poems for sale through audio, video and print.
3. Get interest rate cuts in our outstanding debts.
4. Work extra hours, get bonuses, and raises.
5. Continue to take care of our home and sell it for a profit when the market warrants the sale.
6. Do freelance gigs.
7. Ask politely for donations to my blog? :-)
8. Sell my artwork.
9. Hold a fund raiser like PBS or NPR?
10. Find a rich benefactor who wants us to take over his/her business when he/she retires?

I know, I'm being a bit silly; nevertheless, I expect growing new income will start very slowly at first and build as we get better at saving, paying off debit, working on our physical fitness and stamina and putting sweat equity into our home. I know many will think I'm nuts, but I plan to keep playing the lottery and brainstorming every angle I can think of to earn this dough legally and efficiently.

Our dream can be our reality, in fewer years than I ever imagined. Today, my secret pal at work left me a little gift. It is a plaque that says, "Dreams come true if you believe." What do you think?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Starting the New Year with the End in Mind

I'm cleaning house in all ways imaginable this week as the Jewish new year begins. I'm sick, truly, with a digestive issue and migraine, and metaphorically, emotionally with all my unfinished business. Several years ago when Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Madonna and a few others started wearing red wool bracelets and embracing the kabbalah, I took a quiz to see which name of G-d fit me. The name means, "Finish what you started," and well, true to form, it has taken me over half a decade to get around to it. Oh, I've done plenty in the meantime, but my bad habits are hard to break without a plan. So, here, I'm doing my typical new year's resolutions, but in this case, they're lifestyle changes that will allow me to reach my ultimate goal within 7 years.

The Goals:
To be the best physical and fiscal shape of our lives, including each being at our healthiest body weight, with a strong level of fitness, while 100% debt-free and move to our dream home working for ourselves at our each of our life's mission by the time I'm 50 years old. (This gives us about 7 years.)

The Big Milestones:
  • Pay off cars, school loans, credit card debt, and home.
  • Get home and yard ready for resale.
  • Build a savings that will allow us to buy our new home with cash.
  • Find our "forever home."
  • Identify what we want to do working for ourselves and have those businesses paid for in cash upfront when we open our doors.
  • Make sure our desires match our missions.
The Big Challenges:
We're both need to lose weight, pare down our bodies and spending, stick to a plan, develop a workout routine that is for life, identify our missions, and most importantly, enjoy the journey as we work on our goals.

Anticipated Outcomes:
I expect we may never move away from where we live right now. Sure, we will probably desire to change neighborhoods, but we might just decide even though we're square pegs in the bible belt, that we can live with the things we dislike currently about our living situation if our physical and fiscal health is optimal. In other words, I hope we'll find we have enough of all that we need right here, but if we don't, we'll have the fiscal fitness to move anywhere our hearts desire.

Game Plan:
  • We've joined the local upstate YMCA system.
  • We have a financial planner who is paying it forward and is willing to help us now for free if we promise to invest with him when we're ready to do so.
  • We're going to online payments for everything that is a current debt, and paying cash for everything else. No cash = no spending.
  • We're revamping our budget to limit spending on things we tend to play too much with (entertainment and food are our biggest budget busters) and have a visible plan of repayment for everything else.
  • Pay off $200,000 in debt.
  • Save at least equal to what we've paid off for future use (new home/business needs).

The Whole Truth
  • I've already lost about 60 lbs but have been struggling to keep it off due to poor choices, falling back into old, familiar bad habits, and stress.
  • Hubby had to give up his workouts when work and school added up to 16 hr days, and is just getting back on the activity wagon.
  • We're about $200,000 in debt.
  • We earn less than $70,000 a year.
  • We have no savings thanks to my 60% job reduction last year, and hubby needing to cut back at his day job to finish school (in a field that is healthier and a safer, long-term career).
  • One of us might not have full-time work at any given moment due to living in a right-to-work state during our national financial crisis.
Other Unfinished Business:
  • Scads of little home-improvement projects.
  • I need to finish TWO different certifications I've started but let slide due to letting life get in the way.
  • I've met several resolutions for this calendar year, but still haven't met my weight-loss goal. (As of this morning, I have 17.5 lbs to go to hit it.)
  • Hubby has his own weight-loss goal, but we haven't really discussed it much.
  • We're so busy rushing around trying to be and do so much that we're losing out on the best parts of daily living. This, we believe, will improve with a routine and plan and each success will only make us healthier and happier.
Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not healthy today. No, I don't have a fever and I'm not delusional, but I do believe my dis-ease is connected to being unfit spiritually, physically and fiscally, and I think healing the budget and body will also heal the spirit. Today, I stomp my foot and cry, "Enough!"

So, on this day, it is written, and with G-d's grace, it will be sealed.