How Exercise Helps Me Achieve My Goals

I recently shared my list of goals for the year and announced my word of the year: WORK. After that post, I realized I wanted to share a bit more about why I chose the word “work” to intentionally drive and focus my year ahead. Intentionally focusing 2017 around the word “work” was a decision I made during the last quarter of 2016 after a lot of reflection and prayer. 2016 was, by and large, a year of grad school for me. After I completed my coursework in September, I spent the remainder of the year resting, reflecting, and looking ahead.

Making 2017 my year of work lead me to some (somewhat) unexpected places: I’m finding time for exercise. In the past, it always seemed counterintuitive to me that so many successful people I knew made time for exercise. Wouldn’t it deplete their energy? How do they come back from the gym looking so happy? Where do they find time for the activities they actually enjoy?

I now know that exercise gives energy rather than depleting it. I also know that finding an exercise that’s enjoyable not only leaves me feeling happy, but it is also becoming an activity I look forward to most days.

My exercise routine is not one intended to transform myself into a body builder or to rapidly drop weight. Instead, the purpose of my routine is to help me have more energy and happiness. Focusing on work this year meant that I absolutely had to find a way to be more productive with my time, and exercise has helped me find more energy, which, in turn, has made it feel as if I have more time to dedicate to all those areas needing my attention.

Instead of feeling encumbered by needing to log an hour at the gym or 30 minutes on the treadmill, I know that I’ll gain enough energy to help me get through all of my tasks ahead.

Here’s some benefits I’ve noticed from regular exercise in my own life:

  1. More energy.
  2. More mental focus and clarity.
  3. I’m making better use of my time. Rather than crashing on the couch for several hours each evening out of sheer exhaustion, I’m now accomplishing more with my time because I feel better.
  4. I’m more intentional about taking my AdvoCare products, which make me feel better every single day.
  5. I’m happier.
  6. I’m sleeping better.
  7. I have more fun in my life.
  8. Household chores no longer exhaust me.
  9. I’m saying “yes” more.
  10. My work is more focused. I’m making better use of my time.
  11. Travis and I are spending more quality time together playing games, doing puzzles, or some other activity I never had the energy for before.

For the longest time, I thought exercise was absolutely no fun at all. In fact, I hated it. Finding the right routine for me has really changed my mindset about exercise. So, what’s my exercise routine look like?  I see a personal trainer for one hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I try to walk/jog on my treadmill for 30-40 minutes at least one day a week (usually Monday), I do a yoga flow class on Friday, and I try to be a little active in some way during the weekend. Examples: walking the dog, yard work, cleaning, etc.

I don’t have a stringent program that’s impossible for me to keep up with. In fact, I don’t always have time in my schedule for this exact routine, but I do the best I can. I know that I have two hours scheduled every week with my trainer, and I do the best I can to squeeze some activity into every single day. And, it’s totally working for me right now! Have I lost a ton of weight? Nope. Have I lost some weight? Yep. I feel so much better every single day that I truly think in the year ahead I’ll be able to continue focusing on exercise to help me do great things during my year of “work.”

Grad School Survival Kit

I recently completed coursework for my master’s degree. During the last year and a half, I’ve been exhausted, overworked, and pushed to my breaking point, but I have proven to myself time and time again that I am far more capable than I give myself credit.

Along the way, I’ve relied on a few simple things to keep me motivated and productive. Since school is back in session for so many this month, it seemed like a good idea to share the products that helped me through my accelerated master’s program.

First up on my list is AdvoCare Spark Energy. Last fall, I relied on coffee to give me the extra boost of energy I needed in the morning. However, I crashed HARD every single afternoon, and I was gaining weight from the tasty additions (flavored creamers, sugar, etc.) to my morning brew. With Spark, I have lost weight while receiving not only a morning boost but also mental clarity that lasts all day long. I can’t imagine starting my day any other way now. Plus the flavors are absolutely delicious.

The next item on my list is tiny but crucial to my ability to focus: bobby pins. (These are my favorite!) I have spent countless hours at my desk every single day for the past year and a half hunched over textbooks, and bobby pins ensure I can focus on the task at hand by keeping my hair out of the way. It’s a simple thing, but it makes a big difference.

A good planner. It’s been said time and time again that one simply cannot be organized without some type of planner, whether digital or paper based. In my world, if I don’t write an engagement down, it doesn’t exist. I’ve used a leather Day-Timer planner with monthly and weekly calendars for the past two years, and I love it. On each week, I insert a to-do list for all of the assignments I must complete each week. The entire thing zips up so it’s professional enough when I need to travel for meetings, etc. Plus, the entire thing is customizable to my preferences. I can also stuff quite a few extras inside it (calculator, pens, notes, business cards, etc.)

School Survival at BetweenWeekdays.com2

Lots and lots of paper. As an MBA student, I find myself constantly scribbling formulas and notes. I really like larger notebooks with dividers as well as project planners for individual assignments. The larger notebooks were especially handy for the math required in my accounting and finance classes, while I preferred the project planners for the individual projects required for each class as well as work meetings and projects.

I also discovered that I definitely have a preference when it comes to highlighters as gel highlighters are so much better than their marker counterpoints. I prefer the Sharpie brand of highlighters. Gel highlighters are mess free, and honestly, they’re just more fun to use.

Felt pens are also one of my favorite office supplies at the moment. I liked to use different colors for different classes when taking notes or filling out my planner. I also liked to coordinate my pen colors to my highlighter colors for study sessions. Having that visual representation in color really helped me when studying and preparing for the week ahead. (Felt pens are also good for taking mental health breaks to color  in adult coloring books!)

Tabs make it easy for me to reference my textbooks for important information. I adore the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery Tabs for several reasons:

  1. They’re large enough for me to write on.
  2. They’re pretty.
  3. The tabs remove easily when I’m done with the subject and it’s time to return my textbook.

I certainly am glad to not be heading back to the (virtual) classroom this semester, but I do hope some of these products may be beneficial to others who are. I still have one academic requirement left to complete before I can don a cap and gown again to earn my MBA this December, but, in the meantime, I’m glad to return to a slower pace for a few weeks and hopefully resume blogging on a more regular schedule soon.

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