Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

What Are The Seven Changes You’d Make to Reboot Your Life?

reboot-computer-keyboard-button-570x300A reader who is celebrating her 41st birthday today (Happy Birthday!), sent me this link about rebooting one’s life, saying: “I always do the ‘new year’s resolution/ examine my life thing’ on my birthday instead of on January 1st, and I liked that this approach was what I have been struggling with after a year of making excuses.” I, too, could use a bit of a life reboot after a few months of pretty difficult challenges (adjusting to a second child, trying to get Jackson adjusted to having a sibling and starting a new school and being away from home/me 30+ hours a week, and then experiencing my father-in-law’s sudden illness and very fast death and now dealing with the emotional and logistical repercussions of these events). And I, too, liked Will Wheaton’s approach to a life reboot, choosing seven things to change in his daily activities and behavior. Below are the seven changes I will make great effort to commit to:

1. Exercise more.
I started running (or, “running”) again about six weeks ago, mixing it in with regular bike rides. I haven’t been doing it quite frequently or long enough for it to be a habit yet — or for it to not suck so much when I do do it — and it’s very likely that, once it gets cold and icy, I’ll take a couple months off, which is even more reason I need to find exercise I can do that isn’t weather-dependent, like fitness classes and at-home work-outs. About a month ago, Drew and I made a pact to do 20 minutes of exercise every evening — push-ups, hand weights, sit-ups, that kind of thing — figuring that, even if we’re super tired, which we always are, 20 minutes is doable and, if we do that every day, it can make a small difference. But as soon as we made that pact and got about three nights under our belt, the proverbial shit hit the fan and we haven’t made the effort since. That changes this week! (Seeing my FIL live to 95 has made me especially motivated to stay as healthy as I can. If I’m lucky enough to live that long, I’d like to be in good enough shape to enjoy myself).

2. Drink smoothies.
I usually start my day with a latte (that I make at home with this) and some scrambled eggs and/or yogurt or a granola bar. Smoothies, packed with lots of good stuff like kale and spinach and fruit and protein powder and all that hippie dippy stuff is better. Imma do better.

3. Read more.
I say this all the damn time, but it needs to happen. I’m a better writer, a better thinker, and a better person when I’m reading regularly. I just bought this book after watching everyone lose their shit over it for the last couple of years…

4. Spend quality time with Joanie and Jackson.
Joanie is with our part-time nanny three mornings a week until 1 p.m. and Jackson is in school every day until 2:30. I squeeze as much DW work, household work, errands, exercise, and “me time” into those child-free hours as I can (they go fast though). In the past, I have been guilty of letting all those activities sort of bleed into my time with the kids, but, with the exception of some occasional errands and chores, I am making a concerted effort to focus on my children during the time they are with me, especially the mornings I have Joanie. It’s so easy when you have a little baby who’s still immobile and naps a lot to stick her in a bouncy chair or on a mat and go about your business, but this time is short and I don’t want to miss out on quality time. I have designated work hours and, if there are pressing issues I need to address outside of those work hours, I can wait until the evening or when everyone is napping/asleep.

5. Go on more dates with Drew.
We are usually pretty good about spending quality time together, but it has been more challenging in the last couple of months for obvious reasons. To be so stressed out AND not spending quality time together is not good for a relationship. No good at all. We recognize this and plan to fix things asap. (We have a sitter scheduled this Saturday).

6. Go out with friends more and have weekly phone dates with long distance friends.
Friendships are so incredibly important. I am lucky to have some wonderful friends in my life, both long-distance and nearby, and I want to continue nurturing and fostering those bonds despite my limited time and energy. When I’m feeling anxious or sad or isolated, there’s nothing like a good conversation with a great friend, either in person or over the phone, to boost my mood, and make me feel loved and less alone in this world.

Also, when you go through something traumatic, like losing a parent (or parent-in-law), you especially realize how important friendships are. In the past couple of weeks, our friends stepped up with babysitting, food, shiva calls, transportation, texts and emails and phone calls, cards, and late night visits. I even had one friend who came over to help fold laundry. If you’re ever in a position where your husband is sitting by his father’s death bed around-the-clock for days on end and you’re home alone caring for a 4-year-old and a baby while also making the 1-hour-each-way commute to visit your dying FIL and support your husband through one of the most painful experiences in life, you will count your blessings if you have a friend who will drive from her home in the ‘burbs to bring you wine and offer to fold your clean laundry. (And you will also count your blessings if you have a sister who will fly up from Miami to watch your son all weekend so you can be at your husband’s side as he waits for his dad to die; it’s good to have good people in your life).

7. Sleep more.
Ha! That’s actually a joke, since I don’t foresee more sleep in my life for the next few years. Instead, my seventh change is to find a therapist. With the variety of stressors in my life at the moment, I think speaking to someone who can help give me tools to manage my anxiety (and what sometimes feels like low-grade depression) will be super beneficial for me and my whole family. (Hopefully!).

What are the seven changes you’d make to reboot your life?

37 comments… add one
  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ November 3, 2015, 1:27 pm

    1. Exercise daily. This one is fairly self-explanatory, I suppose.
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    2. Call my mother more. We stay in touch, but I can and will do better.
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    3. Spend time each day just playing with my dogs.
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    4. Work on my Spanish every day.
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    5. Actually stick to a budget. Blergh.
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    6. Take time each day to just process and slow down. I tend to get blinded by the list of things I need to get done and forget to just be.
    .
    7. Be more available and in the moment with my marriage, my friends, my family, etc. This one is related to Number 6, I guess. But I find sometimes that I’m not able to just listen and be present.

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    RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 1:42 pm

    I don’t know. Personally, this stuff just stresses me out. I’m not good at sticking to resolutions or anything, I’m more of a go with the flow kind of person. I’ll start exercising, do it for awhile, then stop. Same with pretty much everything. But it’s worked for me so far (I turn 40 in a few weeks!) so I’m just gonna keep on keepin’ on. Sure, I’d have a better figure if I exercised more. Sure, the house would be cleaner if I made a bigger effort to focus on housework. But things are fine how they are. The only real “focus items” I have are my relationships with my husband, son, and other family and friends. As long as those are good, I’m good.

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      MissDre November 3, 2015, 1:51 pm

      It stresses me out. I’ve been making declarations like this on the first of every month for the last year. Stop going to tim hortons so much. Go to the gym. Stick to my budget. I can’t seem to make any of these things happen.

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        RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 1:58 pm

        Yep, exact same scenario for me. In the end, I figure all that really matters is if I’m happy, and if the relationships I consider important are good. Everything else can figure itself out. I don’t know if it’s the best way to “run” my life, but it matches my style. 🙂 And like I said, it’s worked for me, I’m pretty happy with my life.

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        MissDre November 3, 2015, 2:05 pm

        I have been quite frustrated with my weight lately, so I do think I need to make some lasting changes. The hard part is figuring out what changes are realistic enough to actually stick to.

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        RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 2:08 pm

        What I do is make the change at the grocery store. If you buy a bag of chips, you’re gonna eat a bag of chips. 🙂 I like to buy the hallowe’en size candy, or a big chocolate bar that breaks up into squares, and give myself one or two bits every night as my treat. And don’t buy anything else except healthy food.

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      SasLinna November 3, 2015, 2:18 pm

      I’m an overanxious person, so my resolution basically has to be “no resolutions!” or I will stress myself out too much. Reading more sounds really good though. Especially reading more novels.

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        SasLinna November 3, 2015, 2:21 pm

        Oh, and I’m also starting therapy, which I’ve wanted to do for years. Fingers crossed that the therapist I picked will be a good fit.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne November 3, 2015, 1:47 pm

    1. Make and stick to a budget – we keep talking about it, and arguing about money, but never do anything to fix it. So this is something I am committed to and hopefully my husband helps.
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    2. Let go of things I can’t control – I had two miscarriages this year and I am now pregnant for the third time in 7 months and trying to stay calm and remind myself that I can only do so much to bring this little babe to life. But this applies to other areas of my life. I can only control what I can and the rest I need to let go and just accept what happens.
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    3. Keep my house clutter free – I would say that my husband and I are fairly clean people. But man, the clutter. We will both walk by a pair of misplaced shoes on the floor or a cleaning product sitting on the counter a couple dozen times before one of us puts it where it belongs. I really want to be better about it.
    .
    4. Less procrastinating – I am a master procrastinator. I feel it fuels my success because I work well under pressure and am also extremely efficient once I am actually working. But I feel guilty when I know I have a to-do list sitting on my desk right now, and here I am thinking about my reset button.
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    5. Exercise – Right now, I am taking it easy due to a subchorionic hematoma (basically a blood clot that has caused me to bleed the last 2 weeks) that’s between my baby’s gestational sac and the placenta, but once it’s resolved and I can be more active, I really want to start doing some prenatal yoga. I think a regular practice will help me with number 2 above, as well.
    .
    6. Find a hobby – I don’t really have any hobbies, per se. Sure, I like to read and cook, but I don’t have anything else that I “do.” I used to sing and perform in shows when I was a kid/teenager and into my early 20s, but I don’t anymore. I also used to play softball as an adult and loved it. But now my “hobbies” are really hanging out with friends, eating out at restaurants, and shopping/decorating my house. I want to find something else that I can be passionate about.
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    7. Figure out my relationships with my mom’s side of the family – this one has been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t really talk to my mom, grandfather, aunt, or uncle, whom I was close with throughout childhood and young adulthood. I know why we’re not as close and why I don’t talk to my mom, but I need to figure out what that will look like going forward so I can move on – either knowing I am making the best decision by keeping it as is, or figuring out how I can have them in my life in a healthy way for me.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 2:22 pm

      I have a subchorionic hemorrhage too. 🙁 Mine seems to be getting smaller, fingers crossed. I wish you all the best with yours.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne November 3, 2015, 2:26 pm

        I have so many questions for you! I discovered I had one because I thought I was having another miscarriage at 9 weeks 1 day. Mine was about 2 cm at that time and they think it was bigger and the big bleed/clotting was some of it passing. When/How did you find out about yours? How long have you had it? Are you still bleeding/spotting? Sorry if this is all TMI, but I am just so curious about others in a similar situation.

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        RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 2:46 pm

        I never bled actually, I guess it didn’t open up enough for that. I found out about it because I needed to get a dating ultrasound, because at 5 weeks I looked like I was about 4 months along already. Lol. It’s my second baby, and my first was huge, so I guess my body decided it better get a jump on things. So yeah, at about 6 weeks I went in for my ultrasound and there it was. 🙁 Mine was about 2 cm as well. I had to go for another ultrasound at 9 weeks to see how it was doing, and it was smaller. So my doctor is hopeful it is going away. She said she had them with all three of her kids, and it resolved itself with all of them. I’m at 12 weeks now and I guess I need another ultrasound soon, which will double-check again.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne November 3, 2015, 2:58 pm

        Thanks for the info. My midwife is amazing. Due to my miscarriage history, she’s having me in weekly to hear the hearbeat (mostly just to keep me calm) and we’re going to do every other week ultrasounds to check on the SCH. I have my 3rd u/s on Thursday (I’ll be 11 weeks), as well as an appointment with her. Hope to see it shrinking and hear a nice strong heartbeat again!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy November 3, 2015, 2:47 pm

      Congrats, Lianne, and best of luck for a happy and successful pregnancy!! Sending lots of good vibes your way.

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      • Lianne

        Lianne November 3, 2015, 2:59 pm

        Thanks so much, Wendy! So far pregnancy has equaled drama for me, so hoping this results in a healthy baby 🙂

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    • veritek33

      veritek33 November 3, 2015, 3:05 pm

      I really like your #2. I need to do this so badly. Obviously I have different reasons and such, but it’s a very good goal. I try to control my dating life and everything around that and it’s really just beyond my control. Must let go.

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    • Regina Chapman

      Regina Chapman November 4, 2015, 4:44 am

      Sending you all the blessings/good thoughts for your pregnancy, Lianne!

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      • Lianne

        Lianne November 4, 2015, 10:38 am

        Thanks, RC!

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  • avatar

    keyblade November 3, 2015, 2:20 pm

    1. Start meditating.
    2. Spend time outdoors, even if its colder than I’d like.
    3. Socialize more.
    4. Spend more time focusing on my body, it doesn’t matter whether its through focusing what I eat, exercising, or stretching
    5. Be less distracted
    6. Take some risks
    7. Have more distraction-free conversations with the people I love

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  • avatar

    K November 3, 2015, 2:36 pm

    1) Eat better.
    2) Exercise more – I usually exercise by hiking and kayaking. Hiking took a hit over the summer because I was really busy with attending 6 weddings and the various related events, and being maid of honor in 2 of them. I do hike during the winter, but darkness makes it hard to hike after work now. I have night hiked a bunch of times in the past, but I’m sort of over night hiking in cold weather. I may force myself to get up earlier and at least go for a walk, once in awhile.
    3) Save more money – I mostly spend money on going out to eat/take out, so I need to cut back. I guess this is sort of the same as sticking to a budget. I’m tracking my expenses starting this month.
    4) Apply for new jobs – I’m unhappy in my current job and nothing will ever change if I don’t start applying. Even though I have no idea what sort of jobs I should be applying for (my background is kind of odd).
    5) Read more.
    6) Clean my apartment/my boyfriend’s apartment (I spend most of my time at my boyfriend’s) – organize things, clean more, throw out things that I don’t need anymore.
    7) I can’t think of a really good 7th one, so…try to be less road ragey.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh November 3, 2015, 3:24 pm

    1. Re-vamp my diet, I exercise so much and do an ok job on my diet but I need to really need to change some things up.
    2. Work on my long distance friendships. It’s not that I don’t care but I feel like some of my friends are better at showing they care than I am.
    3. Get more sleep. Or better sleep. Or just stay up reading in bed less.
    4. Organize my house. I feel like I never finished putting things together after we moved in 6 months ago. I also want to get rid of things I don’t need and donate them.

    I can’t think of any others although I do like K’s be less road ragey. I tend to get all of my anger out yelling at other drivers in traffic 🙂 Good thing they can’t hear me!

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  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl November 3, 2015, 3:39 pm

    Ain’t nothing wrong with the nespresso!

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      RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 4:00 pm

      And smoothies have a downside, in that your body doesn’t register them as “food” and doesn’t make you as full as if you ate the food itself. So you get hungry again earlier and consume extra calories later on through the day. It’s better to just eat the food, I know it takes extra time though. Also chewing and digesting it burns extra calories compared to drinking a smoothie, which is partially “pre-digested”.
      .
      You know what I saw that I want to try?
      https://www.buzzfeed.com/melissaharrison/muffin-tin-breakfasts#.mtdmddR2n
      .
      I know a lot of those are definitely not healthy, but if you use egg whites as your base you can add the same stuff that you were talking about with the smoothie, and it wouldn’t be so many wasted calories. I’ve seen people comment that they make a dozen at a time, freeze them, and then just reheat one each morning for breakfast.

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      • MaterialsGirl

        MaterialsGirl November 3, 2015, 4:09 pm

        That is true, although I like a smoothie on occasion. I guess what we’re saying is, @Wendy, have a little of this and a little of that! I’m trying to have a smoothie a week so I can put some hippy-dippy vitamins and sh*t i dont’ want to take by the spoonful.

        That being said, does anyone have a protein powder they like? I usually just rely on greek yogurt for the protein.

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        RedRoverRedRover November 3, 2015, 4:43 pm

        I like them too. I just think of them more as a “treat” than a meal replacement. Because in reality they’re an extra meal, or maybe half an extra meal, not a replacement meal. But if you can stick in some vitamins and stuff, at least it’s better than a chocolate bar or something. 🙂

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      • avatar

        snoopy128 November 3, 2015, 6:29 pm

        Warning- I despise the taste of baked eggs and found the texture to be really weird. Same with quinoa baked with eggs in a muffin tin.

        I find smoothies a great way to get more veggies into my breakfasts. Especially because the smoothies I make are 50% veg, 50% fruit (sometimes 60:40 in favour of veg). But I agree, no matter how much fiber and protein I put in them, they don’t fill me up like real food.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana November 4, 2015, 10:48 am

        If you put a protein powder in a smoothie, along with flax and chia seeds it does do the trick for filling you up, at least me. I use whey protein usually in a vanilla flavor, no particular brand. In this way they become real meal replacements rather than just “meal” replacements.

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  • othy

    othy November 3, 2015, 4:41 pm

    1) Exercise more efficiently. I do exercise regularly, but I feel I often slack off in the middle of my workout. And I think I’d get more out of a hard 20 minute workout than I would out of an easy hour long workout.
    2) Avoid Negativity (or embrace positivity). A lot of the people I’m around regularly can be quite negative at times. I need to avoid getting sucked into it too, because I tend to get grouchy when I’m too negative.
    3) Cut impulse spending. We’re doing fine with our current saving patterns, especially considering Othello will be graduating from school next month and presumably start working. However, I need to stop spending the money he’s not making yet. Even though it is really tempting to spend hypothetical money.
    4) Thank others more. I really do think it’s better for everyone when we let people know we appreciate them and why we do. When I’m appreciating others more frequently, it helps me achieve #2.
    5) Eat healthier (I say as I drink a coke). While I do exercise regularly, I often use it as an excuse to eat like shit. But, I never burn enough calories to justify the shitty food I eat. And I feel better when I’m eating better.
    6) Spend more time with my nieces. I love having 3 of my 4 nieces living near by, but often I can go several weeks without seeing them. I now they love hanging out with me, so I should make more time for them (especially when we ‘kidnap’ them for ‘adventures’). I should skype with the niece who lives far away, and make plans to see her.
    7) Drop things I can’t control. I stress too much about things completely outside of my control. I need to learn to let others handle it, rather than worrying about it myself.

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  • avatar

    Rangerchic November 3, 2015, 5:18 pm

    So I used to go to the gym all the time but since we moved I haven’t been able to afford it. My daughter and I started doing at home workouts to Fitness Blender and they are amazing. They also have short workouts, long workouts and you can do them all for free or purchase one their plans (they are only like 9.99) which puts it all together for you. I just bought the 2nd 8 week 30 minutes or less workout plan. Look them up!

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      snoopy128 November 3, 2015, 6:30 pm

      I love the fitness blender workouts! When I need to switch up my core routine or want a new arm routine with free weights, I use fitness blender to change it up.

      Tony Horton (the P90x guy) also has an amazing ab video that kills me. And it pretty much kills the fitness model showing you the exercises. I totally get a kick out of Tony trying to coach her through it. She does a good job of grinning and bearing it.

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  • avatar

    Rangerchic November 3, 2015, 5:25 pm

    I also needed a re-boot in my life. I didn’t realize it until we moved 12 hours away (my husband, youngest daughter, and myself). I thought I was happy and I guess I was in a sense. But I’ve been really happy ever since we moved and it has more to do with separating from our oldest daughter rather than moving. I didn’t realize how much stress I had been under. She turned 20 just before we moved. She had been a very difficult teenager and person to live with. I think we have a better relationship now that we don’t live together.
    .
    We didn’t move just cause…my husband received a promotion that we couldn’t pass up so I know moving isn’t an option for most people. Just sharing my experience!

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  • avatar

    g November 3, 2015, 5:56 pm

    1. Be slower with my emotions; take time before I make an action choice.
    2. Breathe mindfully.
    3. Write/draw every day; read before bed.
    4. Do my calisthenics every other day.
    5. Dance.
    6. Sing.
    7. Practice positive thinking instead of catastrophic thinking.

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  • Regina Chapman

    Regina Chapman November 4, 2015, 4:42 am

    This is very timely because yay!!, my health/Fibromyalgia has been slowly getting better over the past two months due to a new medication. At the same time, this has made me acutely aware of the stamina and muscle mass I’ve lost over the past years. I’m going to make a conscious effort to build it back up!
    1. Long, brisk walk at least once a week (an hour minimum), as well as a vigorous yoga/swim session of at least 20 mins.
    2. Try to spend at least three full days entirely out of bed.
    3. Try to get up at the same time every morning.
    4. No more extreme paleo, vegan, sugarfree or whatever dieting to try and improve health. I fare way better on just eating good bread, fruit (smoothie) for snacks, a salad or homemade soup here and there, and a reasonable dinner. That’s good enough, and the stress is just not worth it.
    5. Be there for friends/family at important moments and take health setback into account with planning.
    6. Walk outside every day (in daylight:)).
    7. Write and/or meditate every day.

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    • avatar

      azgirl November 4, 2015, 10:55 am

      I don’t comment much, but felt I had to when I read your list Regina. This:
      4. No more extreme paleo, vegan, sugarfree or whatever dieting to try and improve health. I fare way better on just eating good bread, fruit (smoothie) for snacks, a salad or homemade soup here and there, and a reasonable dinner. That’s good enough, and the stress is just not worth it.
      I think we could all benefit from dropping the extremes and just be more mindful. I try those extreme’s and end up failing after 2 weeks. It is so disheartening and typically causes me to go eat a big ole cheeseburger and fries. (mmmmmm) I have decided to quit drinking soda, limiting my starchy foods (HELLO! 100 ways to make a potato) and incorporate more veggies into my daily eating. It feels much more reasonable. The weight may not be falling off, but these are healthy changes I can make that I know I can sustain.

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      • Regina Chapman

        Regina Chapman November 4, 2015, 2:21 pm

        Way to go. 🙂
        And just dropping sodas can make HUGE difference!

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  • muchachaenlaventana

    muchachaenlaventana November 4, 2015, 10:50 am

    I need to start waking up earlier. I am so bad at waking up in the mornings, its just this insane feat to get me out of bed, even if I have gotten plenty of sleep. The reason that I need to get up earlier is so I can start jogging in the mornings because its getting darker earlier and I have been doing an amazing job on staying in shape and jogging regularly since August and feel awesome and I know as winter approaches, its going to be more and more difficult to stay motivated, and it is so much easier when its daylight out in the mornings. Ugh not excited for winter.

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      SasLinna November 5, 2015, 4:42 am

      I have just started waking up earlier for this reason (not the jogging, just the morning sunlight – the sun currently rises around 7 a.m. and settles between 4 and 5 p.m.), and it’s worked quite well. Because some work was being done on my apartment I had to let craftspeople in rather early in the morning, so that helped me establish the new routine. Now I also get tired earlier in the evening, so shifting my waking hours by about 1 hour seems to work out.

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