Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
~Jim Rohn

It’s hard to believe, but the first month of this shiny new year is nearly over. Even though I didn’t make any resolutions, I have been working on developing sounder lifestyle habits. I am trying to do a better job of keeping my house presentable, putting nutritious meals on the table for my family at dinnertime, and improving my overall fitness.

With the encouragement of the FlyLady, most nights I go to bed with a shiny sink; most mornings I wake up and make my bed and empty the dishwasher and swish and swipe the bathrooms. But I’m not following her instructions to the letter. For example, one of her directives is to lay out your clothes the night before and get dressed as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning down to lace-up shoes. Here I draw the line. I enjoy staying in my pajamas and fuzzy socks while I complete my morning routines of journalling, housekeeping, music practice, and writing;  then I throw on my exercise clothes and do my daily workout before taking a shower, choosing what I want to wear, and starting my teaching day. Yes, I am mortified on those occasions when I am forced to answer the door wearing sweat pants and no make-up. But this happens very rarely and the pleasure of lounging in my flannel nightgown far outweighs the risk involved.

Also thanks to the FlyLady I take the time to ask myself the question, “What’s for dinner?” every morning, when there is still time to pull an item out of the freezer or run to the grocery store for an essential ingredient. Granted, it would be better to ask myself this question over the weekend, then plan meals for the entire week and do all my shopping at once. The closest I have been able to come to that ideal is to pull out my overstuffed recipe box, select two or three recipes that I want to try, make a list of the things I need to prepare them, and take it with me when I go shopping. But even with my haphazard approach, I have managed to put a hot meal on the table almost every night, and the leftovers tide the boys over on those evenings when I am teaching too late to be able to sit down and eat with them. Click HERE for a couple of my favorite new recipes.

Finally, I am really excited about the new running program I have started. My sister-in-law SeDonna and I are training for the Zooma Atlanta Half Marathon in April and yesterday I started an adaptation of this training schedule to get ready. But I did a minimum of thirty minutes of walking/running or elliptical machine 22 of the 31 days in the month of January, so as far as I am concerned I am well on my way.

The excess fluff is coming off slowly; although I am down 4.8 pounds for the month – about what I gained during the month of December – during the past two weeks I have lost a total of exactly ONE pound. That is a little bit frustrating, considering all the chocolate I have resisted and all the hours I have logged at the gym. The inches aren’t disappearing, either. Sometimes I think life is nothing more than a struggle not to gain weight. But I must not give in to these feelings of discouragement; I have to believe that slow and steady will win this race like it wins so many others. Another 4.8 pounds and I will be in a smaller dress size. I think I can.

You might think that with all this housework, cooking and exercising I don’t have time for anything else besides teaching. Somehow, the opposite is true. I am practicing my music; I am adding new pieces to my Etsy store.  I am reading; I am writing. I am spending unprecedented amounts of time with friends and family; I am sleeping better than I have slept in years.  At the end of January I usually wish I could dig a big hole and bury myself in it. This year I feel like dancing. I must be doing something right.

How are you faring on this 31st day of January? Any tips from the trenches?