New Hampshire Sunrise_SnapseedIt’s the first day of a new year and I’ve made some very ambitious goals that focus on body and intellect. First, because I am not getting any younger, I have to seriously watch what I eat and exercise.

Last year, I managed to reach my heaviest weight and it took me four months to lose ten pounds. Part of the reason—and I noticed the error of my ways—was that although I was eating healthy, my portions were still too big, and I was exercising so hard (burning over 1,000 calories) per session that I was eating back what I burned. This whole idea that you can eat back what you burned in nothing but a big burlap sack of horse manure. Yes, you need to fuel your body but you need a deficit to lose the blubber.

Okay, tangent there, this is isn’t a fitness blog (which incidentally, I will revive the one I have so I can bone up on writing articles for nutrition and fitness. That one is

But this whole weight thing does preoccupy me quite a bit because there are moments that I feel like sludge is leaving a slimy trail through my cardio-vascular system to eventually settle in my brain and voilà—a stroke. That’s the worst case scenario, but it’s a focus issue, an overall feeling blah and that I’m not one hundred percent putting my mental energy into productive work.

Years and years ago, I used to be fidgety. I was that person at the movie theater or in the classroom who couldn’t stay still. I shifted in my seat, twisted a strand of hair, bounced my leg up and down, fiddled with pens. You know the type—lots of nervous energy that could have been used more productively. Apart from distracting my classmates, teachers, and friends, it started to get to me. So I made the decision that I would break myself of the habit and force myself to be still. It took about a month, but I did it. And what I noticed was that I became more focused.

So what does this have to do anything? It’s all about will power and putting it to use. I don’t fidget anymore, but in the middle of a project I will check email and Facebook, go to the kitchen for a coffee refill, allow myself to be interrupted to do some task that the other person can easily do himself. It’s mental fidgeting, if you think about it. So this year, it’s learning to still the mind—ignore the call of email and social media, barking dogs, ringing phones, personal requests, and coffee hankerings.

There’s no question that it will be hard at first. As I write this Mr. Bessie is barking, the Ol’ Man cleaned out the fireplace and is cursing, the email alert chimed and I’ve checked it at least twice. But like a meditation practice, each time I start a project I’ll be able to shut out the distractions for longer periods of time and actually finish what I start.


  • You hit the nail on the head about the willpower. It’s such a potent skill that too many of us neglect to exercise. It’s all about balance. Love your determination– and I’ll be joining you on this quest. Here’s to an amazing new year!

  • This seems to be a theme this year with a lot of the writers I “listen to.” I’m working on actually showing up to the commitments I want to keep (for myself!) and being present while I’m there. That includes a stillness of the mind I’m definitely not very comfortable with yet. Here’s to success and quietness for us all.

    • @Becky Levine I definitely think this is something we grow into. For me, I’ve noticed that it’s been something that I’ve aspired to, but didn’t really know how to get there. I’ve tried several things to quiet the mind, but at the end of the day it really comes down to will power and learning to say, “no.”