What's Important to Me

Personal values are very unique. They're also somewhat tough to capture on paper! After a short brainstorming session, these are what pop for me. 

1. Move often. Yes, on 2-3 days per week I don't get a workout, so I build regular movement into my day. Here's are ways to build more movement into your days.

  • Once per hour: Light-to-moderate movement. Stand up. Do a couple squats, cat-cows, push-ups, or an inversion. Do a quick light housekeeping task (home or work).
  • Every few hours. Moderate-to-vigorous activities. Get out. Take a brisk 5-10-minute walk, or 5-10 burpees every minute on the minute for five minutes.
  • Sedentary leisure time. Do prehab work. Stretch your body. Grab your foam roller.

2. Challenge my edge. This means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me this has included putting myself in front of strangers when I'd prefer not to, dramatically changing my diet to the chagrin of my family, and embarking on a quest to do my first ever handstand beginning on my 38th birthday. There was a time when it meant running my 5-mile loop as hard as I could. 

My definition of finding my edge is doing whatever I can to push myself into discomfort -- physical or emotional (because that's where the growth occurs, right?). Therefore searching for your edge can come in many forms: starting a meditation practice, training for an endurance event, trying an art class despite your "Art isn't my thing" point of view, traveling to a place where you don't speak the language, mastering your first pull-up (or 5th-20th), or considering a career that is completely foreign to you. You get to decide what that edge will be!

3. Eat to Fuel & practice Peganism (cross between Paleo and Veganism) Eat mostly plants and less grains, dairy, and meat. Sugar is okay in treat form once in a while. 
Wholeheartedly dump: preservatives, artificial food coloring, fake sugar, seed oils.

4. Lift heavy stuff and get out of breath. This value used to be way more important to me. My identity as an athlete was wrapped up in how I trained, and how often I trained, as well as my resultant appearance. (We were all 25 once, right?) Now I can get away with doing a mere fraction of my former training program and still try a physically demanding activity and not feel horrible or be forced to stop.

My personal number is 60. Sixty minutes of vigorous exercise per week. I sprint the dog, do a 10-minute burpee workout, take a challenging class, or do a 20-minute YouTube video. Sixty minutes per week is simple by the math, right?!

Heavy lifting:  If you haven't figured it out yet, my M.O. is time-efficient training. Lifting lighter weights just TAKES more time (lift heavy weights 8 times or lift lighter ones 20 times). I also think it's just good health to have a strong chassis for injury prevention, not to mention just the effects of life in general. I also strongly encourage you to do your own heavy lifting, if not simply for the motivation of slowing the typical loss of strength (1-2 pounds of muscle per year starting at age 30-ish) so you're still able to sit and stand from the toilet without help when you're old. 

5. Sleep, dammit! Seven hours is my bare minimum. What's yours? Lately, it's been even more important to separate my day life with my night life, which has improved the quality of my sleep. For more ideas check out this 'better sleep' guide by Shawn Stevenson. 

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6. Make time for love and friendship. I try to take little opportunities to ask a kid to sit and read with me, or have a picnic lunch with my husband, or talk to my parents on the phone. Often it requires the sometimes tedious and seemingly unnecessary scheduling, but without that it might not happen!

7. Get in touch with your budgeteer (yourself). I've always stepped back when it comes to calculating how much we should save and how much should go into the kid's college savings account and tracking where my spending goes each month. This has changed dramatically in the past year, as I've become a hyper-tracker. It came about, of course, after a tax year where my business almost caused us to owe the government for the first time in years. If you don't know where to begin, try Ramit Sethi's "I Will Teach you to be Rich." You can also just go check out his blog

8. Provide yourself with a creative outlet! If you've never seen this video for proof, watch it and know that without the power of creativity, you're stifled. I love to sew, read fiction, practice amateur photography and album making, and play the piano. I normally get only small bits of time to do so, but I always approach these activities as equally important to my work and family, as it helps determine my happiness! By the way, play (at the kid's playgrounds, play tug with my dog) also counts. 

9. Get outside. Fresh air is scientifically proven to be beneficial for your Vitamin D deficiency, sleep, and mental health. Then there's the sheer joy of putting your feet on the grass and feeling the weather on your face. It's always invigorating! 

There they are! It has changed somewhat since I wrote a similar post two years ago, so I imagine my values will keep changing. What are your own Top 3?!

Anne KoskiComment