March 9: Limiting stress and sodium intake

Lent begins today. I have celebrated Lent consistently for the last 10 years. Almost always I give up something during the 40 days and nights during this holy time. This year is no exception. I knew that I wanted to do something to help lower my blood pressure back around 120/80. I have been pessimistic lately with regards to American politics and the economy. I have pedestrian rage, which is like road rage only I walk instead of drive. I have a high sodium diet even when I exclude daily Lean Cuisine entrees for lunch.

So, for Lent I have decided that I’m going to limit my daily sodium intake to 1500 mg or less and make a concerted effort to better manage my stress. I think making it through the next 40 days will be more challenging than when I gave up chocolate. That’s saying a lot. My primary motivation for lowering my sodium intake and finding better ways to manage my stress is of course physical health. What I really want to say 40 days from now is that I developed and honed life-long skills of eating healthier meals and coping with stressful situations that are way beyond my control.

December 31: Introduction

I’m sitting in my living room watching Bob Harper’s Cardio Training DVD. I read reviews on Amazon and it sounded up my alley. I’m always looking for a new challenge when it comes to my physical fitness. See, I become bored rather easily. I actually wasn’t aware of this until one of my best friends made the comment a few years ago. Initially, I didn’t take her seriously, but being self-reflective I began to notice the pattern repeating in my personal, academic and professional lives.

Perhaps my constant need for change motivated me to set an ostentatious new year’s resolution for 2011: try as many new things as possible. I’ve spent eight years trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grow up. I am a chemist by training; I completed my doctoral research in chemical education. With my sole focus on academics and training for my future career, I lost some of my zest for life; I just wanted to cross that finish line after the metaphorical ultra-marathon. Graduate school is not for the faint of heart.
Well, I have my Ph.D. and a new lease on life. I have a bigger paycheck, too, which is important because some adventures will require some funds. I should probably make a budget, but that just takes some of the fun out of it. I’m cheap, so I won’t be foolish with my money. But I like options. So, what are some of the new things I plan on trying? I asked friends and co-workers for ideas because I had a grand total of 10 at the beginning of December. I’m still open to suggestions! Below is a small sampling of what I plan to try.

Give a stranger money
Run a 10 K
See the Nutcracker ballet
Bake bread from scratch
Wear a bikini – in public
Visit a state I have never visited
Try new spices, foods, and dishes
Go ice skating
Wear skinny jeans
Automated blood donation (rather than whole blood donation)

I will chronicle my journey in this blog, which is something new for me. It’s really for me to see how much I have grown as the year progresses. Experts recommend finding a group of like-minded individuals to help stay accountable for any goal. Even if no one reads my musings, the blog serves as a barometer of how much I have grown as I strive to try as many new things as possible in 2011. Who knows, maybe someone else will be inspired to break free from their comfort zone and try some of these things, too. As for Bob Harper’s DVD, I will keep my cell phone close in case I need to call 911! Hahaha ;op