Monday, January 12, 2009


I think this week is going to end up being good in the long run but for the present, it is going to suck. I have been in a right crappy mood lately due to a lot of factors that I have mentioned before and a couple of new ones. Well, I am sick of being bothered about stuff so it is time to change some plans and get on the right track.

The first thing that has bothered me (for years) is my weight. Since I have come back to the U.S. I have slowly but surely been getting bigger. Where I am at now isn't bad but unless I make some corrections it is going to get out of hand and that isn't going to happen. I attribute the weight gain to me not eating Japanese food two thirds of the time and me not riding my bike like I was over there. Eating American food the way most Americans eat food is basically signing up to kill yourself in a slow and delicious fashion. Portion sizes and I have never gotten along and I think I am going to take control of that now. Also, I have been working out more but it is irregularly and I am getting myself on a set workout routine. Until now, I have been working out when I finish with work for the day. This has been problematic for several reasons: 1)There are days when you get done with work and just don't want to go to the gym. 2)There are days when you are going to hang out with friends after work and have a life. 3)School is also after work. To correct this problematic scheduling, I am going in the morning. I hate getting up in the morning. I loathe it. But I need to do it. So starting tomorrow, I will be waking up at 6:30am in order to be at the gym by 7am. This will allow me to get my full workout in and still have plenty of time to get ready for work. The other advantage to subjecting myself to this dawnish hell is that I will eventually get used to it and it will put me right on schedule for when I get a legit teaching job. I am still not a fan of this idea but it needs to happen. I hate how I look and there is now good reason to sleep in everyday until 9:30am so this kills two birds with one stone.

The second area that needs adjusting is my financial state of mind. Last Fall, I took a bit out of my IRA to get some debt taken care of and that has been very nice. The problem is that I should have taken out more to give me a cushion in my checking account so that I am not constantly going paycheck to paycheck. So I am going to dip into Mr. IRA for a second and final time. This time I am going to get enough to pay for school this semester instead of having my dad pay for school and me pay him and get enough to get rid of the little debt I have accrued (like a few hundred bucks...not much)and give me a cushion that I will use to pad my checking account and possibly start a savings account with. I am not overly trusting in the stock market as of late and starting a savings account is a good second option. It also allows me to get into it without the stupid penalties and taxes that you deal with when dealing with the IRA. What irritates me is that I almost took more out the first time and I should have because a week after I started all of the IRA stuff up, the market went to hell and I lost about six grand in about a week. Beh...stupid markets. I am also setting early February as my date to start going cash only on purchases and day to day living. There might be a couple of extenuating circumstances to this rule but for the most part, I want to go cash only.

All of this leads up to the goals that I have set for myself this year. Last year I had eight goals and all but two of them got accomplished. This year I have five goals but they are a little bit harder than last year's.

First, I really need to find a girlfriend. This whole single thing sucks. The downside to this goal is that I can't totally control it. I can do things to help it out though. The working out thing can't hurt and I am also getting out more thanks to finding this online group that isn't online dating but more like an online event finder called, Meetin. I am hoping I can widen my social interactions through some of the events available on the site. I am going to my first Meetin event tomorrow, nothing big, just a dinner club that is meeting at Shige's for sushi. I am not expecting a ton but I am looking forward to at least meeting new people and I need that...and I have been craving good sushi lately so here is to hoping.

Second, I need to finish school. This is the easiest goal because nothing is more brain dead than attending graduate courses at BSU. I wish classes were harder but I am not going to argue with a good hour or so each night dedicated to Facebook.

Third, I need to get out of my parents' basement. Living here has not been bad, I like my parents and it is free. But having all of my stuff either in boxes or crammed into my room is slowly driving me insane. The other thing that irks me is that it seems like I am the only one that does not have my own house or apartment. As much as I applaud them for achieving it, hearing about all of my brother's friends that are getting houses is almost like listening to nails on a chalkboard. These people are five years younger than me and they are getting houses! I do not have a house. I know all of the decent reasons as to why I don't have a house but it still doesn't mute the voice in my head that is constantly reminding me that I don't have my own place. This needs to be rectified. Finishing school and shoring up my finances are helping this but honestly, until I get a legit teaching job, the house thing will probably not happen. In the mean time, I am considering finding a reasonable apartment and possibly moving there. The downside is that the job I have now is a tad unpredictable and that makes getting an apartment, let alone a housing loan, something that mildly creeps me out.

Fourth, getting a legit teaching job. Finishing school pretty much guarantees me getting a Special Ed position. I think I just need patience here. I am doing everything I need to be doing for this to happen and it is really a matter of time but sooner than later is a very very good thing.

Fifth, is losing weight and getting in habits that make me healthier. This means eating smaller portions, limiting my self to one Coke a day if even that, working out on a routine, eating all meals(something I rarely do), taking my daily multivitamin, trying to eat more green crap, and put a limit on the booze. It isn't like a drink a ton right now but cutting down saves money and calories. I know what I need to do and I think if I follow the above rules, I can succeed at this goal. I don't snack very much so that isn't really a problem for me. I just need to get correct eating habits put into place and not deviate from them.

That is pretty much it. If you want to know what I am thinking about for 75% of my waking hours, the above stuff is pretty much it. A couple of other things have been nagging at me this week but they aren't important and will pass. I think the time of year it is also has not been helping me. I have not been taking a lot of pictures lately because the weather has not been kind to photography and I have not been cooking as much because of time constraints. I just need to chill out and get into a positive groove. I think I will be there in a couple of weeks.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger dustin said...

You've got a lot of ambitious goals on here. Your first goal is really two goals: get up early on a consistent basis and hit the gym regularly. You could accomplish one without doing the other, so it might be helpful, if you're tracking them, to put them down separately.

I apologize in advance for all this advice, but here I go anyway. First, a cash-only policy is beneficial if you don't trust yourself with credit cards, but I've found that using the card for everything and paying it off each month is a really good way to go. I get tons of rewards points that magically turn into Amazon gift certificates or cash about 3-4 times a year. It also lets me leave money in my savings account all month, so I'm earning interest while Chase holds my debt free of charge for 30+ days. Plus, using your card actively helps your credit score, which makes it easier to get that house loan you're thinking about.

There are tons of penalties for withdrawing early from an IRA, as I'm sure you know. It might be worth your time to look into a small loan instead. Rates aren't gonna get lower than they are right now! Also, pulling out your investment while the economy is in the dumps guarantees that you'll lose your money. If at all possible, try to keep that money in there, and when the economy rebounds you'll get it back and more.

My last note is about snacking. Everything I've read says snacking is actually a very good thing if you stick with healthy snacks. Eating throughout the day keeps your metabolism up, so you're burning more calories all day long. Also, I've noticed that snacking and drinking lots of water all day keeps me from overindulging at mealtime.

You've probably heard all this stuff before. I just wanted to share what's working for me right now.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Ben said...

I see two action items here, behaving healthier and finishing school:

Finishing school leads to the teaching job.

Getting a teaching job leads to getting yourself in a consistent and repeatable saving habit by increasing the earning in earning*(1-tax rate)-spending-debt=positive $.

Getting yourself in a consistent and repeatable saving habit leads to affording a place to rent which means getting out of your parents basement by increasing spending while still remembering that it needs to be well below the earning in the above equation.

All of the above plus behaving healthier by working out and eating better will lead to feeling better about yourself which along with a good dose of axe(TM) should attract the ladies.

To accomplish said action items, measurable change is key. Setting a numeric goal and tracking it could be beneficial here when dealing with $, lbs, calories, days left of school, etc.

I have a proposal. Keep track of your weight weekly (or more frequently if you like). Be fair and consistent (same time of day and before meals, etc). Start your training now, get in the rhythm, and begin shedding lbs through exercise and healthy eating. The amount of weight you lose in lbs between Feb 1 and March 1 is an amount I will pay you in dollars. You must agree to keep this money in non-volatile savings until you finish school. This is a no brainier triple incentive.


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