Create Gratitude

So, this was not going to be my next post, but with everything going on, I believe it’s more important than what I was planning.

I am an avid listener to a relatively new podcast called The Upside with Callie and Jeff. They are big on the topic of gratitude and finding the upside in the everyday, and they make a point to be a break from the news that clogs our social media and other outlets. I started listening to Jeff almost 20 years ago when he was a radio DJ in Atlanta, and I cannot recommend them enough.

Anyway, a lot of what I am writing here comes from what I have gotten out of that podcast, hence the quick plug. Gratitude is so important in the world we live in. When everything seems dark and negative, a simple “thank you” can change someone’s day. You can show gratitude in other ways as well- an act of service, being there for someone who was there for you, a smile, whatever. You are not restricted in this area.

Start keeping track of what you are grateful for. My planner has a section at the back of each month that I can write what I am thankful for and why. I have included things like my crock-pot, my husband, my cats, working from home, and milkshakes. It doesn’t have to be something life changing. But keeping up with it will change your view on life.

Right now I am thankful that my position allows me to continue to work remotely during this global crisis. As most of the world is stuck at home, please think about those who still have to show up:

  • Doctors, nurses, other medical professionals
  • Our military
  • Our first responders
  • The customer service reps who are trying to help you reschedule your spring break plans (my heart goes out to my fellow cast members who are dealing with thousands of calls)
  • The grocery store clerks that cannot control what is out of stock
  • The other service workers such as trash collection, mail, deliveries, etc.

If you interact with someone in one of these professions, remember that they are human too. They are not the business that told them to come in. They are working for their paycheck. They are tired. Treat them with kindness.

On the other side of the same coin, check in on the local businesses that may not have the resources to survive the shut down. I know of a few bakeries and restaurants that are still open, but only serving carry out and delivery orders. Show them gratitude, even if you don’t order from them- comment on a post on Facebook or something.

But the best way to show gratitude right now? Do not go out unless you have to. Remember that there are other medical emergencies going on, and the hospitals are not only dealing with this virus. Stay away from beaches and crowds. We are trying to slow the spread for the benefit of our community. By working together, we will be able to go back to Disney World sooner rather than later.

Here is the link to The Upside if anyone is interested: https://www.callieandjeff.com/

Creating Health Goals

So, being an accountant means that I basically sit on my rump 40-50 hours a week (including commute time). Then there is Netflix and other non-active activities to engage in when I’m home. This has led to being at a state of health that I do not like. I have tried combating it with spur of the moment diets, halfhearted home gym work outs, and even a personal trainer. Nothing has really stuck. 2020 is the year I change that.

In October, I started going to OrangeTheory Fitness. I go twice a week as my work schedule allows, and I really enjoy it. OTF is an hour long HIIT group class that utilizes the row machine, treadmill, and weight floor in order to improve muscle and cardio. The coaches are super supportive so far, and I feel like I can modify as needed, depending on what my body tells me. You also earn “splatpoints” which is a great pull on my competitive side and makes me push harder.

On the food side of things, I am working on snacking less and eating more veges and fruits. This is a huge challenge, and it’s where I am the weakest. I am using MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros, but I know I am not doing enough in this area to really get me where I want to be.

Now that the setup is complete, I give you my health goals for 2020:

  • Lose an overall 10-15 pounds
  • Move to a jogger from a power walker
  • Complete my first 5K with a time under 50 minutes (which, I actually have signed up for one at the end of April)- I currently have a 16.5ish minute mile.
  • Complete my first 10K with a time around 1 hour 45 minute (the original plan was only to do the 5K, but I managed to snag spots for the Wine and Dine 10K in EPCOT in November!)
  • Cook with more fresh veggies
  • Less SUPER processed foods for meals (I love my Chef Boyarde ravioli in a pinch, but I will not be unrealistic and say all processed foods. I’m still human)

I have dedicated a page in the back of my planner to keeping track of my progress when it comes to OTF. Every month I update/ choose new parameters for myself. Basically, as my fitness gets better, my speed on the treadmill and weights on the floor increase. I know it’s not always going to be a linear thing- it is very import to listen to what your body tells you. One day I be able to jog a few minutes, the next power walking may be a struggle. The progress is in the long game.

To everyone in their own health and fitness journey: may we all suffer together and support each other. This is a team sport, y’all.

The Word of the Year is Create

I am a big fan of having a word of the year. And after having more “serious” words the last few years, I decided to do something more fun. My 2020 word is “create.”

I am not sure if you can read all of the headers, but the pictures above say “In 2020 I will Create…”

  • Stories
  • A Healthy Lifestyle
  • Ears
  • Better Relationships
  • A Loving Home
  • Memories
  • Stable Financials
  • Gratitude

I have four blank columns left, but all of these correspond to some goal I have for myself this year. I want to work on what makes me better as a person, which means I need to create the habits and hobbies that will get me there. I have also noticed that I have stopped spending time doing the things that make me relaxed an happy, which is why you see stories and ears at the front of the list.

And by ears, I mean Mickey. I have started making my own, because even with my cast member discount, those things are expensive. Plus, it’s fun to design and make. It’s putting my sewing machine to good use. I’m not making them to sell, though. I am no where as talented as some of the people I see on Etsy.

I will post about each of these areas- either separately or a couple at a time. There is a lot that will go into each one, but some are hard to describe/ explain correctly. Plus, some just seem to go together so well that it would make sense to talk about them at the same time. I encourage you all to have your own word of the year. I find them to be good motivators.

There’s a light…

At the end of the tax season tunnel. While Friday is business return deadline and everyone is stressed, we have just over a month until freedom.

And for me, that freedom means actual weekends and Disney World.

Things have gotten to a slightly more manageable than they were. I’m settling into this senior role with all it’s weird management like responsibilities. It’s getting easier every day, but that does not mean I am less overwhelmed by it all at times.

What has really helped has been going to the gym before work. That’s right. My husband and I are getting up at 5 and going to the gym most mornings now- except on the one day a week I see my personal trainer. My mood has been a lot better and I don’t have an excuse to not go to the gym.

Also, I rock the wet braid look at work.

This week will be a challenge thanks to deadline PLUS daylight savings time. I’m already sleep deprived so let’s take away an hour on top of long days.

Good luck fellow accountants. Five weeks until the end and we can sleep until extended deadline.

I’m Still Here!

We are a week and a half away from the first deadline of tax season. By January first, all W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, etc must be prepped, mailed out, and filed. As such, I have been super busy. I have averaged about 53 hours a week the past three weeks, and I am in a constant state of tired and stressed.

Even my personal trainer has noticed. He was very concerned when I came in Thursday, and I just told him that I’m going to look like a zombie until April 15. I also apologized to him in advance for any crabbiness and rudeness he does not deserve.

The most challenging part this year is learning how to be in my new senior role. I am in charge of a lot more things this year, and, as such, my stress level is a tad high for how early it is in the season. I have too many excel tracking workbooks to count, and I am more or less in charge of training the interns we have on all things tax. I also have to make sure I am keeping them busy. Managing is hard, you guys. I’m doing my best, but I know I have a lot more to learn.

Health wise I’m struggling to find a routine right now. It is very easy for me to say I am too tired to go to the gym. I am really only going once or twice outside my personal training appointment, and I want to get it back up to three (for a total of four workout days during the week). As for food… We eat out a lot in tax season. I try to stick to salads, but that is not always easy. This is an area that needs more work right now. I have goals, and I need to work towards them, no matter how tired I am.

Just as a FYI: I can’t answer most questions about the new tax law. We won’t really know what changes until we see it in action. This first year is a big one for all of us as we see how the IRS treats the different rules. It may take longer to process things this year. Please be patient with us accountants.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their 2019!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe celebration last night. We have officially said goodbye to 2018! Today is the first blank page of 2019, and the book can be anything you want it to be. I’ve been spending the past few weeks thinking about what I want to accomplish the coming year, and I want you guys to help me stay accountable.

  1. Lose 20 Pounds
    1. I want to be in much better shape by the end of this year.
    2. I still have my personal trainer once a week, but I need to be better at going to the gym at least three other days in addition.
    3. I have a snacking problem that I need to work on. It’s bad, especially on lazy days or crazy work days.
  2. Work on Crafting
    1. Now that I have free time again, I want to learn new things.
    2. Quilting is my number one new craft this year. I already have plans with my aunt for her to teach me this summer.
    3. Making my own Mickey Ears. This one should be easier than quilting, but it looks just as fun.
    4. Sewing my own cosplays. This is probably a forever work in progress as I learn how to use my sewing machine.
  3. Better money management
    1. We want to buy a house this year. That means a lot of planning for down payments and cost of movers and new furniture. It’s a huge decision and I can’t wait.
    2. Two pretty big vacations this year in addition to moving. After tax season we are going to Disney World for a couple of days, and labor day weekend we are going on an Alaskan cruise. We have saved quite a bit for these, but they are both big spending trips.
    3. I am weak when it comes to books, leggings, and Amazon. My goal for this year is to cut down on the extra spending on non-needed things so we can afford all of our big purchases this year.

What are your main girls for this year? Maybe we can help each other out!

2018: A Reflection

Gosh, what a year. I passed the CPA exam, swam with sea turtles, started with a personal trainer, and did a bunch of stuff in between. As for my 2018 goals, let’s review together:

  • Pass the CPA exam- check!
  • Lose 10 pounds and be healthier- I could have done better here. I got really close to the goal, but I got really lazy this month which put me at half my weight goal. I did lose an average of 1.5 inches all around, and people keep telling me muscle weights more so maybe I can blame some of the weight on that. But I mostly stuck to a workout routine and ate healthier overall so I count that as a mostly win.
  • Increase monthly savings- check! I now put money into 2 different savings account at each paycheck. One is for our future house and the other is for vacations.
  • Focus more on mental health and self care- This one was a hit and miss during the year. I did get back into reading which is relaxing for me, but I did not do things like face masks and I still need to work on telling people no and removing myself from stressful situations even if it is just a ten minute break. Balance is another struggle that will need more work in the coming year, both in my work and personal lives.
  • Improve back/ posture- honestly no idea on this one. I never got my scoliosis checked (it’s been almost 15 years since I’ve had to wear a back brace) but I did yoga and wear a lumbar brace sometimes. Soooo 50/50 check?

The good:

  • Went on 3 vacations this year, two beach trips and a cruise.
  • Had a fairly food handle on finances even if Christmas went a little crazy
  • No more studying!
  • Got more serious about health goals

The bad:

  • Some issues at work that have been discussed and won’t be said here
  • Passing of family members
  • Did not won 1.6 billion lotto

The ugly:

  • Had to get new mouthguard that insurance didn’t cover but it was very needed
  • Rent and other expenses increased
  • Tax season is always ugly

So 2018 could have been a little better goal wise, but it was still a great year. I know what I need to work on in 2019, and I really hope it does not involve too many intense, serious conversations (I know I can’t avoid it in some situations, but I really hate it).

Let’s Do an Update

So, I’m a little tired and blah while writing this because I had a dream that  I was at Disneyland and then I woke up and had to go to work instead. BUT I did log in to my work email to a company wide back and forth about Elsa as one of the girls in another office cosplayed as her to read to kids. There was a little confusion involving the White Witch from Narnia, but the record was set straight.

Anyway, I figured it’s been almost a month since the last health update. I’m still seeing a personal trainer once a week, but I feel like I have gotten worse instead of better since the cruise. Most of that is the struggle to get back into the routine I had before vacation, but I have also eaten out a lot while not going to the gym as many times as I probably should.

I’m going to fix that this week. I had a grueling session with Chris last night that really pointed out that I’m not doing so hot. So, I am going to do cardio at least three times before I see him again next week, and I’m going to eat healthier this week (no out to eats for this girl).

I’m pretty sure my end of the month measurements are not going to be very different than what they were in September, but I am praying that they did not increase. I don’t think I have the measurements posted here, but you can see them on my Instagram @AccountantHealthDreams. I try to take my measurements on the last day of every month depending on what is going on. So far I have seen an overall improvement, but there are months where nothing really changes and that is frustrating. At least this month I know I have been “bad” about things which makes me prepared.

I would give an update on Taylor as well, but I honestly don’t know if he’s gotten back into a gym routine since our cruise. Maybe we need another challenge to get us back on track.

Challenge Report

Well, we changed the challenge end date to this past weekend from the 15th as we both forgot to weigh in that day, but both of us completed the challenge! My husband and I have each lost ten pounds in the past couple of months. Yay us!

My swimsuit reward has been ordered, and I am hoping that it will get here in time for our cruise next week. Taylor has not officially chosen his prize, so for now it is me nagging him to choose. Apparently he has too many books in his TBR pile for that to be the prize as originally suggested.

There is not a new challenge goal yet, because vacation. But we are going to try to not overdo the buffet style foods and sugary drinks while on board the ship. We also plan to go to the fitness room at least twice during the week. I know vacations are about enjoying yourself, and we will. I just don’t want to undo all the hard work we’ve done in this challenge.

 

I’m Taking A Step Towards Health, and My Wallet Hates It

As you know, I signed up for the gym at the very beginning of the month. Well, I have signed up for personal training sessions as well. I feel like I need the push a trainer will give me, plus some other added benefits.

I have scoliosis. My back is as curvy as a snake, and that causes me back pains as I don’t do what I should to take care of it. The personal trainer that I have been assigned also has physical therapy training, so he should be able to teach me how to strengthen my back so I don’t have as much pain during the day at the office.

My family history is riddled with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and everything else fun you can think of. By taking the steps to learn how to better take care of myself now, I can prevent my family history from catching up with me. I am hoping that this is the start of a lifestyle change that will follow me around, even without a personal trainer.

THEY GAVE ME A PLANNER TO TRACK WORK OUTS AND MEASUREMENTS. That’s not really important health wise, but it made me super excited. I love planners.

The downsize to all of this is the added cost. A gym membership is not bad by itself, but the cost of the membership and the personal training is pretty big. I’m not too worried about my budget, but my wallet really hates me this month. Next month will probably be a “no-spend” month outside of the cruise and other necessities.

Also, healthy food is stupid expensive. We already stick to chicken and turkey for a majority of our meals, but it’s more expensive to get stuff for salads for a week than it is for sandwiches. Then you have to hope the produce at the grocery store looks okay enough to buy (and, believe me, that is not a guarantee). Not to mention you barely have a few days to eat said produce before it goes bad, ESPECIALLY avocados and bananas. Don’t really know why bananas go bad so fast, but they do.

So, I’ve got to revamp our menu and grocery budget to include more fruits and veggies and less sugar and carbs (my heart hurts typing carbs. Carbs are my life.). If you have any tips, please let me know, and wish me luck with the personal training! I’m only slightly nervous that they are going to kill me.