Monthly Archives: December 2014

Project Push-Up: Form vs. Time

This is my first effort at making a video selfie. I am old school, preferring to read on-line than click on talkies.* However, in my quest to perfect the push-up and do ten by year’s end, I submit today’s efforts for public critique. Are push-ups hard because my form is off. . . or just because they are hard? Ok, I know the answer is to just keep at it, but any tips are welcome. Out of nervousness, I say I am working on handstands in the video. Oops. Well, this should help me with handstands eventually, right? I am also not too keen on the boob shot, but my arms would not have allowed a retake!

*From wikipedia: By the early 1930s, the talkies were a global phenomenon. In the United States, they helped secure Hollywood’s position as one of the world’s most powerful cultural/commercial systems (see Cinema of the United States). In Europe (and, to a lesser degree, elsewhere), the new development was treated with suspicion by many filmmakers and critics, who worried that a focus on dialogue would subvert the unique aesthetic virtues of soundless cinema.

End of Year Pep-o-Meter

Warning: If you are not in the mood for peppy encouragement and extended ice skating metaphors, read no more. But if you want to sprint skate triumphantly to the end of the year, I can help.

Haven’t lived up to your 2014 resolutions? Do not despair! You have 14 days to close the year with head held high. Maybe you aren’t going to nail the quadruple lutz you hoped for, but the show is not over. Modify an unfulfilled goal, add some short-term, achievable tasks, then check them off with a smile. A double lutz is still something to be proud of, especially if you add a few elements to compensate. Or maybe try to squeeze in a daunting move. Even if you miss, you’ll be one step closer to mastery. And give yourself credit for what you did accomplish last year, no matter how shitty it was. This will quiet December’s reproaches, and give loft to January’s promises.

Examples of shooting high, falling, and recovering start at about 3:00.

If you need help lowering refining 4th quarter expectations, I can run your current report through my Pep-o-Meter (POM)* to create a short term work plan and increase confidence for the weeks ahead. For example, take my brilliant friend, Clare, who just bought a fixer upper. When asked to weigh in on the question of year-end resolutions, she sent a classic self-rebuking response. But hidden within were concrete, achievable, short term accomplishments. Missing were examples of kick-ass moments from previous months.

I must admit you’ve caught me at a weird time. This time last year I was killing it with my goal to run every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s — a relatively straightforward goal that I could check off my list every day.  This time I’m just trying to get the downstairs bathroom functioning by the time my in-laws come for a visit this weekend –right now it’s just a homemade subfloor and a sewer-gas emitting pipe. I’m trying to grade final exams, unpack one box every day, get the kids to school on time, and tell my husband that I love him at least once a day. I have zero fitness goals.

Pep-o-Meter revision:

Note Clare's speed.  I dare anyone to complain that their first floor bathroom has no toilet.
Note Clare’s speed. I dare anyone to complain that their first floor bathroom has no toilet.

I got a lot done this year.

  • I bought a fixer upper! And I have the skills to fix it up.
  • I write an awesome blog with thousands of followers.
  • My fixing-upping will provide lots of inspiration for said blog.
  • I crushed a half marathon and 10-K, and will have no problems upping my miles in the New Year.

Between now and the end of the year, I will:

  • Tell Scott I love him at least once a day
  • Unpack a box a day
  • Grade final exams with vim and vigor
  • Write at least one more blog post
  • Get my kids to school on time or close enough (just one more day!)
  • Not beat myself up about running less than usual
  • Strive to get the first floor bathroom functioning by this weekend. But if I don’t, oh well. People will understand (they better understand!) that we just moved in to a fixer upper.

If you are feeling disappointed by what you did not do in 2014, and are succumbing to the torpor induced by short, dark, gloomy days, I would love to run your self-reproach through the Pep-o-Meter. (For another example, see some of my POM results below.) Let’s use these next two weeks to meet some easy-ish goals, aim high for some tough ones, and gain momentum for kicking ass in 2015.

Noodle arm, circa January 2014.
Noodle arm, circa January 2014.
  • I am not going to lose 15 pounds by January 1st. POM: But I did start doing push-ups a few weeks ago. Increasing upper body strength is more important than fitting into aspirational red jeans anyway.
  • My goal was to do 10 by January 1. I can now do about 5, which is 5 more than when I started, but I slacked off last week. My biceps softened as the days darkened. POM: But I have decided I am still going for 10. If I miss, so what? At least I will have momentum, and my noodly arms can raise a champagne glass with pride on New Year’s Eve.
  • I started the year intending to blog a lot, submit writing to publications, and build a wide audience of adoring fans. I wrote less than I hoped, and blog-published even less. POM: But I am happy with some of the pieces in terms of capturing a moment/memory, and I have great friends and family (Hi, Uncle Jim!) who cheer me on. My mini goal for the next two weeks is to complete some posts and a poem I have been wrangling with for months.
  • My go for gold effort is to draft a children’s book. Even if it’s crap, or spiraling out of control, I will have something to work from in January.

*Thanks, Clare for pointing out that Pep-o-Meter>POM>POM POM>cheerleading!