Wednesday, November 28, 2012

8 Ways to Get Motivated

Lately, I've been feeling drained, which is the opposite of how I want to be and how I need to be in order to make my simple life happen. Motivation is not a mystery, but it is cyclical and therefore easy to get trapped. When you don't get things done, you don't feel like doing things. When you're motivated, you get things done and want to keep going. The trick is to get on the good side of motivation.

1. Start somewhere. Checking one item off the list is often a catalyst for another and another. So, what are you waiting for?

2. Oh, and make lists. I've been talking about making short to-do lists a lot lately, but they are that good. The key is to keep it short and realistic. Make sure the list is somewhere visible so you don't have to make a special point to see it and to give yourself some healthy guilt.

3. Schedule it. "Someday," while sounding like a day of the week, is not on anybody's calendar.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

8 Reasons I Write and You Should Too

Typewriter by munhitsu, Flickr
I posted about journaling and how I have a hard time maintaining a journal. Then I realized that I write all the time. I write here on this blog and I also write along with my students in class when I give them a writing prompt. I also often end up writing essays or parts of essays to give them examples of assignments. It adds up. I just don't accumulate all these things in one place.

Writing is a pretty simple concept yet kind of amazing at the same time. Here's why I keep coming back to it and why you should too: 

1. It makes me think. Ever wonder why you had to take those composition classes in college even though you were a computer science major? This is why. When we write, we learn. Suddenly, new thoughts come into our head when we start committing ideas to paper. Regardless of your chosen profession, the world needs more people who can understand complex problems and formulate complex solutions, and writing is an excellent way to develop those skills.

2. It helps me learn. If I'm writing, I often have to research something and discover something new and interesting. 

3. It makes me take a stance on things. It's a cop out to go through life saying, "Everyone's entitled to their opinions," and "I don't know." It's safe and easy and boring, and frankly, it doesn't help anybody come up with real answers to real problems. Have some conviction already. 

4. It makes me remember things. Thinking is one thing; committing something to long-term memory is another. Writing creates more memorable experiences just by committing those experiences to paper. Also, more simply, writing something down like a grocery list is far more reliable than my memory. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

8 Weekday Vegetarian Pros and Cons

At the start of this year, I became a weekday vegetarian. I went veggie for a short time a few years back, and I liked it but didn't really put a lot of effort into eating balanced, healthy meals, so it wasn't good for me to keep it up. I wanted to try again but allow myself to eat meat if I truly wanted to. I'm happy eating this way, and I have no intention of stopping now. Here's what I've learned over the past 10+ months:

1. It really is nice having the freedom to eat meat. It's the whole "don't think of an elephant" thing (you just thought about an elephant, didn't you?). If you tell yourself you can't eat meat, it'll be all you think about. Sometimes I really want a ham sandwich or a pepperoni pizza. This way, I don't feel deprived. It gives me flexibility rather than a strict regimen, and it's probably what's allowed me to keep it up for as long as I have.

2. It's hard to explain to others. I actually thought that people would totally get it, but I guess it's not a common concept. Maybe people think it seems non-committal or maybe they think I'm trying to ride the ethical coat tails of vegetarians while not actually being one. I don't know.

3. Red meat does not sit well with me anymore. At all. Bleh. I now feel how bad red meat is for the body. Today I smelled a hamburger from the college cafeteria, and it smelled like heaven. But I can't imagine actually eating another hamburger ever again.