Monday, March 22, 2010

Quitting the Gym

For the fifth time now, I've tried, and failed, to maintain a regular schedule at the gym. Every time, I go for a few days in the first week, sometimes even four in a row. I feel super excited. The next week, I go once. The week after that, I go twice. Then I stop altogether for weeks at a time and start all over again a month or so later.

Three of times I went through this cycle, I was paying for the membership. Twice, I had a workout buddy to go with. This most recent time, I had a wedding to get in shape for.

Every week for the last year, I've gone to bed on Sunday with every intention of going to the gym after work every day. I knew all the tricks: pack your bag the night before, keep it in the car, go to the gym closest to your work, park the car close to the gym so you have no excuse. Nothing helped.

Instead of beating myself up about this, this time, I've decided to accept defeat. I totally fail at going to the gym.

They say a failure isn't really a failure if you learn something from the experience. I don't care if I learned anything except that I don't consistently go to the gym.

There are lots of reasons people give, and I have in the past given, for not going to the gym. I used to be very self-conscious about changing in the locker rooms and everyone seeing me attempt a 20-minute mile on the treadmill, panting and clutching my side. I'm proud of how less self-conscious I've felt at the gym this most recent try, so that's not what is keeping me away.

It's not that I'm bored either. I often had a lot of fun exercising, was always happy after a work out, and several times I did lots of different exercises and had a great time.

Maybe the gym just isn't for me. Maybe that's just what people say when they give up on something. Who cares? I'm not going to renew my subscription and waste more money. Instead, I'm taking a different approach: bringing more balance to my life.

I've started doing silly little yoga poses in my living room every morning before breakfast; Maddie thinks I've gone nuts. I think about the amount of vegetables and fruits I consume compared with the amount of carbs instead of beating myself up over missing 30 minutes on the treadmill.

Since it's summer, I want to take advantage of how easy it is to be outside by taking longer walks with Maddie. I also want to go camping as often as possible - wouldn't it be awesome to go on a hiking/camping trip? Hike deep into the woods somewhere with everything you need on your back, sleep under the trees for a few nights, and then return to civilization? I think so.

That is the kind of activeness I want to pursue. I thought the gym would be a part of that, and maybe it will be in the future. Maybe all I need is great self-discipline and mindfulness and I'll become a gym junkie. But from now I, I refuse to feel guilty about not having a gym membership that I don't use and instead work on those skills for free!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Gig

Things have been quite here at Thinking for a while, but not because I was lynched for my series on conversation (this blog doesn’t get enough traffic for that). It’s because I have a SOCIAL MEDIA WRITING GIG.

Sort of. I’m working with Tyson Goodridge at Dialogue (OMG I'M ON THE BIO PAGE) a social media marketing consulting firm that looks at the big picture – how the way we have conversations are changing because of the tools we use. Awesome right? Tyson and I collaborate on blog posts for the Dialogue site; sometime this week, hopefully, I'll be meeting the rest of the team. It’s really exciting to be a part of a growing company (right in my own backyard!) in the same sector I’ve been voraciously consuming information about for the last eight months.

I can’t even tell you how exciting is ok? There is no way to convey that in a blog. Except writing in all caps, but then you wouldn’t be able to read it. Ok? But remember: I’m REALLY EXCITED about this.

Anyway, after we worked on this post, I found some more information pertaining to social media use today that is interesting.

First, we have a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life project that says nearly all Americans get their news from more than one source, which includes the Internet, but only a little more than half get it exclusively from the Web. The study reads:
In the digital era, news has become omnipresent. Americans access it in multiple formats on multiple platforms on myriad devices. The days of loyalty to a particular news organization on a particular piece of technology in a particular form are gone.
...and I'm not sure that's entirely true. I access the news online, but usually through just a few sources. CNN for one. Of course, I'm also in love with Thoora, which may mean my habits will change in time. But I think the bigger picture is people aren't loyal to a particular news organization, but to particular curators of news. For example, I like ReadWriteWeb and True/Slant, which draw information from a wide variety of sources (but I LOVE T/S).

The study also emphasized that people are getting more news through social networking. I would guess Facebook especially, though the 37% who said news is a social experience (and by that I mean they share and comment on items reguarly) for them did cite Twitter too.

Cool tidbit: the survey highlighted weather specifically as one of the most common topics of information people look for online. The study said 81% of respondants look for weather information online. Why wait for Local on the 8s when you can get instant access? Makes me curious to see what the Weather Channel is doing to beef up its online presence. I perfer NOAA personally. Blame CW for that one.

The other interesting article I found was from ReadWriteWeb, citing a report from Hitwise Intelligence that said Facebook is quickly growing to be a major driver of traffic to news items all over the Web. And I love that it talks about how great this is for encouraging freer thought and more dialogue around current events. We all know how I feel about Big News. Of course, that good news is tempered:
Perhaps more importantly, though, Facebook, Google News (1.4%). and Google Reader together account for less than 5% of news sites' total traffic [emphasis their's]. The #1, 2 and 3 drivers of traffic to news sites? Google, Yahoo and MSN - portals and search engines where the editorial judgement is made by centralized algorithms and powerful front-page editors.
And as much as I love Facebook, I love RSS readers better, and this article said those just aren't competeting. I say its a matter of people not realizing what they are missing, so I digress:

I use Google Reader, which has the trademark simplicity and clean look of all Google's applications. There are so features I'd add, but it certainly gets the job done. I highly reccomend you try it out, but there are others to choose from; here are a few to consider.

It's simple to use, but start by going to your favorite sites, like those you have bookmarked, and look around for a little orange box with three white curves in it; scroll down this page and look at the left hand column until you hit the Subsribe section - that's what you want to find. Follow the prompts, add it to your Reader, and then check back every morning or, when you get more subscriptions, every few hours to see what's new. You'll always have something interesting to read, and YOU can CONTROL what information you absorb, not Someone Else who is also interested in selling you more Stuff.

Feels good to be back here writing!