Monday, December 30, 2013

A review of 2013 lessons

Similar to last year, I am re-posting some of the most salient lessons from the year:

(1) It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.
-Seneca Letters
(2)  Making it through life requires the creativity to constantly reinvent yourself. (at least making it through my life.)
(3) Mastery over self starts in small ways.
(4) Even the Best still practice
(5) This struggle is invaluable
(6) If you are not making someone else's life better then you are wasting your time.
-Will Smith
(7) Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity (the fresh prince again)
(8) Do it or die trying.
(9) Isolate the problem. Attack it strategically. Annihilate it.
(10) NEVER BE DEFEATED
(11) "There's always someone watching."
(12) Ask questions. Find out who other people really are and how/what they think by asking questions.
(13) Document relentlessly. It's the most efficient way to track, catch, and correct your mistakes (in anything.)
(14) The unexamined life is not worth living. -Socrates which is why we all ought to do more of #12
(15) standing in an attack position seems to be effective at asserting power. Here's to POWER POSING! 
(16) The only person you can rely on 100% is yourself.
(17) Victorious warriors win first and then go to war. -The Art of War
(18) “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
(19) Do not wait for the future to take action.
(20)  Success comes only when the training, of
whatever kind (memory, muscles, mind, willpower,
stamina), takes a man to the limit of his capacity. When
the end of the training becomes torture. When a man cries
out from pain and exhaustion...
Training is effective only
when it takes a man to the very limit of his capacity and
he knows exactly where the limit is...

That's the road to glory. That's the path to
success. To work only at the very limit of your capacity.
To work at the brink of collapse.
You can become a
champion only if you are the sort of person who, knowing
that the bar is about to fall and crush him, nevertheless
heaves it upwards. The only ones who have conquered
themselves, who have defeated their own fear, their own
laziness and their own lack of confidence

-Abstract of the 1985 book Aquarium by Victor Suvorov about Soviet military intelligence
(21) Never give up. Never give in.

*without even realizing it Swimming has achieved one thing on her bucket list by learning to cook meat this year. Score one for Swimming at Sea! Onwards and upwards to 2014 we go!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Etiquette Wednesday: Christmas Etiquette

Merry Christmas to all!

It's been a while since I've added to this segment but I felt inspired after coming across this.
I'd like to present a poem for Christmas Etiquette:

Good Evenin' to you!
And how do you do?
"What's the proper way to greet?" you ask
"I don't want to be rude!"

Well I'll tell you some things
on greetings and givings
so you'll be equipped
with Etiquette for Kings!

First enter my home
with a great big welcome,
but leave your shoes at the door
to avoid winter slush on the floor.

I shall offer you a seat
and some coffee, tea, and treats
and you'll begin your stories
of this year's victories and glories.

But be not too haughty
as there's still time to be naughty
and no one likes a guest
who brags on and on about his best.

I will give you a gift
and our spirits will lift!
And what could be better than a returnable sweater!

A great gift for me
sits atop the giant tree.
A sprinkle from a potion
of your love and devotion.

"Splendid!" You'll say
"That we are all here on Christmas day!"
What could be more wonderful
than Christmas on Etiquette Wednesday!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Years Resolutions: Being reborn!

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
Buddha

As I indicated last year, I prefer to start my NYR around Thanksgiving so I have a 6 week jumpstart to fix what doesn't work and fine-tune things before the New Year so I'm already in full-gear by then. Here is last year's post and a few weeks ago I already listed the things I'm consistently grateful for here. I'll spend another post on the most salient lessons learned this year, but I want to spend this post reassessing 2013.

Overall, I feel as if I had a productive year. Without realizing, I read about 25 books this year which I'm very proud of (and have never done before) and I am thankful for having open access to information (and Amazon Prime!) which allowed me to do so. I am also incredibly proud that I made the decision to do graduate school. The final decision/process was incredibly impulsive, but this was something I had thought about for many years so I'm really glad that I just bit the bullet, applied, and went and I'm so grateful that my life has eased down and worked itself out here. On that note, I still cannot believe that in 3 weeks I somehow managed to not only complete my research project (an endeavor that appeared to be at a road-block for the longest time and broke-through just in time while putting in 90+ hours each week) and also pack, ship, and move my entire life half-way across the country all by myself without help from anyone. (This was madness in its finest form since I'd come home around midnight, pack all my stuff for 4 hours since I arranged FedEx to come in the morning and then after getting in a fight with my concierge I had to hire a TaskRabbit to sit next to the concierge booth and guard my stuff until FedEx arrived and only have 4 hours to sleep before going back to the lab to finish.) I love and thrive being so insanely busy and feel an incredible rush of adrenaline to have a lifestyle where I'm preoccupied towards something big 90 hours/week. Additionally, this might be seem like a small victory in comparison, I learned how to cook meat for the first time in my life. This really was a huge deal for me as I've never cooked a proper chicken before and I not only successfully cooked a chicken but I learned to do it all on my own. So yes, it is possible (thanks to Google) to truly be an Independent Woman. (Capital I, capital W.)  After everything, I feel reborn. 

Here's the breakdown of my specific resolutions from last year:

1. Have an undefeated mind and conquer pain. -I don't think this is something I will ever cross off my list, but I definitely tried and will always need to keep trying.
2. Stability --YES! Somehow amidst the chaos that ensued in Boston (the terrible aftermath of the marathon, lockdown, snowstorms, heat waves, moving misery etc...) I managed to adhere to my schedule a good 60-70% of the time which is more than I can say for previous years. 
3. Stop impulse purchasing (to the best of my ability during hypomania). -Oh goodness no, but I've made this a priority for 2014 and am trending quite well so far. 
4. No excuses, no exceptions. Always play like a champion. -Yes and no. This is hard to quantify. 
5. Deliberate practice. Everyday. -YES. Not everyday,  but my practice matrices and wonderful literature that I've read to help guide me have really helped make me better. 
6. Care -Goodness, not even sure what I meant by this, but my current interpretation is for others and the world and I would say yes. I'm significantly more conscious (of both others and the environment.)  
7. Remove/minimize encounter with life toxins--YES and on multiple levels. 
8. Improve cholesterol to "best" range for LDL and improve vitamin D levels to well within the range.-I won't know this one until Feb 6th since Swimming procrastinated on scheduling her annual physical, but I guess this buys me 2 more months to improve my health. 
9. Resolve-to be better everyday? YES. 
10. Resilience: Fall Down Seven times, Get up eight-more like fall down 7000 times and get up 7001. YES.
11. Grit-YES.
12. Diet: Minimize sugar intake. Sugar is a killer. Eat fresh things and eat 3 meals per day.--Yes and no. This is a battle, but I am trying everyday. I am on basically an entirely fresh-food diet especially with my return to the kitchen.

What are my 2014 resolutions? Well all of them frame around the idea of being a more true individual in every aspect of my life for the purpose of better serving my future patients.
1. Confidence! (How fortuitous that I am watching the real Sound of Music and this song comes on.)
2. Consistency
3. Stop impulse purchasing/online shopping. Darn you Amazon Prime and your convenience (as I just 1-click purchased 6 boxes of Matzos.) 
4. Assertiveness (Lean IN here I come!)
5. Consistently improving performance.
6. Continue having an undefeated mind and conquering pain.
7. Apply to medical school (for real this time, goodness me it's now on my blog so I finally have to do it!) Admittedly I have been in fear of the 60% rejection rate statistic but that will never change (and will probably get higher) so I just need to go for it next year. Furthermore some of the best physicians I know had to reapply and they are some of my role models and ended up just fine. From what I know and have heard, this process is daunting and transformative but also a great deal of luck is involved and perhaps even a crapshoot. The fact that 60% are rejected each year really only indicates that some great physicians are delayed by 1 year. Thus, when I do #7 I must keep in mind #8!
8. Grit/Resolve.
9. Be Fearless everyday.
10. Serenity.
11. Eloquence/abstain from profanity. I would like to get back to being more language-appropriate. Boston was a tough city and I think a way I coped with things was with foul language. According to this my dialect is from Boston/Worcester, MA and Glendale, CA and the exact opposite of Cleveland (how bizarre eh? Apparently the first 20+ years of my life growing up in Michigan made no difference in my conversation habits.)
12. Stay within a budget--this is more because I really don't want to be a physician that isn't conscious of budgets especially since more individuals have access to healthcare it is a reality that my patients may not be able to afford every top standard quality of care available and I would like to already be equipped to strategize how to work around that for myself and eventually for them.
13. Weekly meal planning (I half-ass this but would like to get better and more consistent!)
14. Improve cholesterol to "best" range for LDL and improve vitamin D levels to well within the range.
15, 12,000 steps per day.

Thanks again to all the readers who keep this blog alive. I will definitely be blogging about more health-related and medical things to come but I'll always be sure to keep things fun and informative!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"If you never quit, you will achieve your goal. It’s just a matter of time."

I was randomly reading some previous posts today and came across this gem from back in 2012 (Failure is never permanent) After a mopey Friday of "how did my life pass me by?" this post is just what I needed. Here it is re-posted below. Enjoy!

Hey, I just wanted you to know that there are always going to be obstacles in life. Obstacles to getting your dream body. That six pack. Losing weight. Getting a job. Falling in love. The list is endless. You CAN’T avoid these obstacles... BUT you can choose how you react to them. When life knocks you down, do you stay down or do you rise to fight again?
Success in fitness, and life, is dependent on persistence, tenacity and determination. There is a great saying in martial arts - “a black belt is a white belt who never quit”. If you never quit, you will achieve your goal. It’s just a matter of time.
You went and gorged yourself on cake. This could easily lead into a week of binge eating or more...
You were supposed to do a workout today. Did you miss it because of other commitments? Do you miss the rest of your workouts for the week out of a sense of failure? Do you stay down?
Hell no! Get back up, do it now! A year from now you’ll wish you started today.
Failure is never permanent... when you get back up. Pretty soon you will string together a few days of success, then a few more. Soon you’ve lost a few inches. Your muscles are beginning to show. You fall down, you get up. You lose a little more weight. You fall, you get up. You will soon reach your goal.
As you exercise, work and play this week, remember - “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

-Mike e-trainer