Category Archives: Thesis

Now what do I do?

In truth, I should have made my April resolution to finish my thesis.  It’s the only thing I managed to think about this month, and it was, for the most part, all I did (outside of working and sleeping).  It was the resolution that mattered to me most, but it wasn’t a monthly resolution (technically, I started this in April of LAST YEAR).  Plus, I was sick of thinking about, talking about, and (most of all) working on my thesis, so I rejected that resolution completely.  Besides, NOT keeping this resolution wasn’t an option, right?

My misguided attempt to focus on my health was quickly thwarted by spring allergies, a sinus infection, lack of sleep, and poor food choices.  Oh, and lack of exercise.  Ha!

The good news is, it’s done and I haven’t died of malnutrition in the process.

(Done, by the way, means it is submitted, I have defended it, and I passed.  Big time Hooray.)

I could spend my new free time pondering why, when we need it the most, humans are often unable to maintain healthy behaviors and make good choices.   I could, but I’m not going to.

Instead, I’m going to sit on my porch, have a drink, look at the river, and RELAX.

I will not use this last week of April to research and explore possible resolutions for May.

I will not use this last week of April to ponder the new cooking class I want to start for food stamp recipients.

I will not use this last week of April to begin my home inventory and catch up on minor repairs.

I will sit on my porch, have a drink, look at the river, and RELAX.

Now THAT is taking care of myself.


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Filed under Health, Research, Resolutions, Thesis

Ok, Let’s Review

I’m nearing the three month mark of my twelve month experiment, one resolution a month.  As the end of March approaches, my mind is already turning towards the selection of a resolution for April.  But before I begin that debate, I thought it was time for a quick review.

If I had to sum up my experiment in two words, they would be FUN and SURPRISING.

Fun – I’ve enjoyed this way more than I imagined I would, even though I had an inkling it would be interesting.

Surprising – I’m thoroughly surprised and delighted that people are reading my blog and really enjoy the comments I get, both online and in conversations with folks.  The extrovert in me who processes by interaction and dialog is very grateful and thoroughly enjoying herself.  THANKS!

Here’s a summary with my best tips from each resolution so far.

Five Servings a Day

I had a 100% success rate with eating five servings of fruits/vegetables in January.  I’ve tried to maintain this behavior since then and am having success. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that I now eat more fruits/veggies as snacks – way more.  If I haven’t had my five servings yet, I don’t let myself snack unless it’s a fruit/veggie.  Wow, this cuts down on the potato chips.

Since I’m no longer a Type-A, obsessive “J” (seriously, I’m not)(no really, I’ve changed), I am not tracking my behavior too rigidly now that my official resolution month is over.  That being said, it’s now a habit to count servings every day and I don’t even need a chart on my refrigerator.  I’ve missed two to three days max since January 1, and even on those days I’ve had 3-4 servings.   Not bad veggie girl, not bad.

Buy the fruits and veggies you like.
It seems obvious, but often we try too hard to do all of the right things.  If you only like broccoli and apples, start by just eating five servings of broccoli and apples.  SURE, it’s best to have variety nutritionally, but give yourself a break and start with what you like!

Get the day started right.
It’s a lot easier to achieve this goal if you add fruits and veggies to breakfast and lunch.  Dinner seems much harder to control, especially since someone else might be cooking it.  If you don’t eat at least one serving at each breakfast and lunch, it will be almost impossible to catch up with dinner.


This month was all about not drinking for me, though you could really pick anything you wanted to stop for a month, just to see what it’s like.  This resolution was easy for me to keep (another perfect record), but I’ve changed very little of my behavior now that the month is over.  I’d like to consider this more but I can’t seem to spend mental energy on this – perhaps that has something to do with my pending thesis deadline.  Is there a correlation between approaching deadlines and the need for a gin and tonic?  I THINK SO.

Announce your resolution.
It’s helpful to let others in on your goal, especially when our culture has such expectations about indulgence.  Whether it’s not drinking or skipping dessert, I found others much more supportive of my choice when they knew I had made a promise to myself.

Don’t avoid situations just to keep your resolution.
You don’t learn much about yourself if you just avoid the situations where you’d normally engage in the ‘forbidden’ behavior.  And besides, being sober while everyone around you is drinking is kind of entertaining!


When I realized I could not touch my toes I knew it was time for action.  Stretching action, that is.  I haven’t failed at this resolution – in fact I’ve learned a lot – but I am batting about .600 on this one (too bad it’s not baseball, I’d be a pro!).  This behavior feels the most NEW for me, though, and I’m really enjoying what I’ve learned and how I’ve experimented with building this into my routine.  I think it will take me more than 30 days to do it, but I still hope to create a habit out of this one.

Find your time and space.
No, I don’t mean early 21st century, planet Earth.  I mean you need to find the time of day that works for you as well as the place where you will enjoy this exercise.  I learned that I like morning stretching best, but I also enjoy a post-workout stretch.  I also learned that I need to be in a warm room and that a quiet environment isn’t as important to me as an open space.

Get the gear.
No, you don’t need $100 yoga pants to stretch every day.  But having a good yoga mat and some comfy clothing, plus a DVD or two has been incredibly helpful to me.

Think “Days Off” not “I’ve Failed”
When I skipped a few days in a row, it was important for me to just give myself permission to consider those days ‘off’ instead of thinking that I had completely failed to keep my resolution.  I know, I said earlier I’m not a perfectionist any more (ha!), but even us go-with-the-flow P’s can be hard on ourselves sometimes.  Lighten up and give yourself a break!

What Does April Have in Store?

The word is still out on April’s resolution and I probably won’t decide until the last minute.   I’ve got one more month before I graduate, so I still need a resolution that doesn’t require a ton of time.  I have some ideas (as always, the conference room in my head is debating the merits of a clean house vs. starting a garden as I write), but I’m interested: Any suggestions?


Filed under Fitness, Resolutions, Thesis, Tips and Resources

Will the real resolution please stand up?

I’ve been having trouble with March.

My approach to this whole ‘one resolution a month’ enterprise has been intentionally casual.  I didn’t want to fence myself in with a pre-planned year.  I wanted to take advantage of my mood, external factors like work and family, and, you know, advice from Charlie Sheen. ‘Cause he seems to really have life in perspective.

Anyway, in my continued efforts to embrace spontaneity and stop over-planning my life, I’ve promised myself that I wouldn’t make any resolution decisions until right before each month is about to begin.   Problem is, it’s March 1st, and I still haven’t made a decision.  Unlike January and February, I’ve had no last minute ‘aha!’ moment, no gut feeling, to guide me.

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it.  Believe me, I have.

There is a conference room in my head full of Shelbies, and they have been discussing the March resolution ad nauseum for a few weeks now.

Student Shelby has been lobbying hard for the ‘finish your thesis’ resolution.
It’s true, I’ve given my self an April 1 deadline for submitting my first full draft to my adviser.  This means March should be a month filled with reading and writing about descriptive statistics and correlations.  Why not make that my resolution?

Foodie Shelby has been making a strong case for the ‘eat asparagus every day’ resolution.
Yes, that’s right.  I LOVE asparagus.  And March is asparagus season.   Some would say that I eat asparagus almost every day in March anyway.  I could play with different recipes and ways of cooking asparagus.  Soup, souffle, omelets, pastries, pastas – endless possibilities!  So why not make that my resolution?

Friend Shelby has been feeling quite out of touch with her network (see student Shelby above) so she wants me to write a meaningful e-mail/letter to a new friend every day.    I mean, I’m DYING to get my life back.

Frugal Shelby wants to start a money saving project.

Work Shelby wants to finish her summer conference proposals early.

Hiker Shelby wants to get outside and into the woods.

There are more Shelbies, but I think you get the picture.

One thing that the conference room has agreed on is that the March resolution needs to be easy.   While the committee has rejected making the thesis draft the resolution (just. not. fun. enough.), all agree that the thesis draft WILL happen in March and no new resolution blogging fun can interfere.

Without realizing it, I selected January and February resolutions (5 fruit and vegetable servings a day and no alcohol, respectively) which required no additional time in my schedule.  In fact, some would argue that not drinking actually saved me some time.   I haven’t been able to reproduce that schedule-wise brilliance, however.   Ugh.




So here it is:  STRETCHING!

Not part of the conference room discussion until very late in the month, Limber Shelby (she’s in there somewhere) launched an impressive late-February campaign which reached a frenzied pitch about the same time as the Academy Award hosts realized that they were NOT FUNNY.  It’s not terribly exciting, but stretching is good for you.  I’m sure it is.  (It is, isn’t it?).  And right this minute, I’ve decided it fits well with my goals for March and my goals for the year.  Here’s what I hope at least 15 minutes of stretching every day will do:

  • Help me move my body daily which will keep me energized for, that’s right, the thesis.  Coming soon to a theater near you.
  • Improve flexibility in preparation for spring/summer hiking season.  I’m going backpacking as soon as this damn thesis is done, thank you very much.
  • Facilitate the overriding goal of 2011 – fully embrace the moment of transition.   I am still having trouble getting up in the morning.  Embracing that transition is harder than it sounds.  I wonder, could that have anything to do with MY THESIS?

Ok, I think the real reason I need to stretch every day is because I need to give myself 15 minutes, AT THE LEAST, to nurture my body and rest my mind.  I need to tell the conference room to take a break, give it a rest, STFU – so I can recharge and make this one last push.

I can do it!


Filed under Resolutions, Thesis