8 flights: steps toward becoming a better person

I am a complainer. Correction: I was a complainer. I complained about work, about my body, about a lot of things. I don't necessarily think I complained enough to bother people around me, but I know it bothered me. So I stopped.

Truly, I stopped just like that. Now, I still complain from time to time, but what I realized more than anything is I need to stop complaining about things that are in my control. There are so many things that I cannot control in my life, so I needed to be in charge of the things that I could.

It all started with 8 flights. Of stairs. My office is on the eighth floor. Now, I typically take the escalator to the second floor everyday, followed by an elevator trip up to eight. It was easy, it was simple, obvious. But then I realized I complain about my body almost every day, every time I look in the mirror. If I claim that I don't have time to work out, isn't taking the stairs every day at least something?

So I took the stairs. And I wanted to die. By the time I got to the top my legs were killing me and my lungs were on fire. But I did it again the next day, and again the next. Finally, taking the stairs has become a part of my daily routine. Along with my 8 flights, I have adopted a few other tidbits that I think are making me a better person. Maybe they can help you in some small way too.

1. Do something BIG
Now, I'm not suggesting that you quit your job and move to a tropical island. Instead, take that class you've always wanted to take, go camping for the first time, or go skydiving. For me, something big was chopping off about eight inches of hair (the number 8 seems to be a reoccurring theme here). Seriously though, I've always been the girl with the pretty long hair and I was sick of it. So I went to the salon and had it hacked off. Although I cried while blow drying it the next day, I've been in love with it ever since.


And now!

Pardon the crappy, MySpace style photos-- of course the professional photographer boyfriend was at work when both of these were taken. Regardless, this change has been incredible. Something as silly as hair has changed my outward attitude and how I look at myself. Now, if quitting your day job and moving to a tropical island is your definition of big, then go for it!

Now, this seems to be big on a lot of blogs lately, so I can't begin to claim this was my idea. But I have made it my own. I've read of people having gratitude lists five, ten, fifteen items long. I focus on one. Now, I know most if not all of my readers use some sort of planner. This makes your gratitude list (or item) easy to track. I literally write one thing I am grateful for each day on my Filofax day per page. So I can look back and see what I was thankful for each day. Sometimes they are serious, "I am grateful that I got to know my dad, even if it was just for a little while" and some of them are fun, "I am grateful that B left for work early so I got to have the bed all to myself this morning." Looking back on my grateful items has made me realize that despite the flaws in my life, I have a lot going for me.

Ok, get your minds out of the gutter. (But if that's the kind of physical you want to be, go for it!) What I mean is be the healthiest you that you can be. I started with eight flights of stairs a day. Since then, I've decided to start working out, something I used to despise. Instead of setting up some sort of routine, I made one rule: I must do something physical every day. Whether that's 30 minutes on the eliptical, or going for a bike ride, or hiking, I make sure that each day has some sort of activity in it (outside of regular walking). This lack of a strict schedule has led to me actually enjoying the act of working out. In the last two or so weeks, I've ended up going to the gym at least four times a week, spending half hour on the eliptical followed by time on arms, abs, and legs. 

Being active has led to me wanting to eat healthier as well. Now, I love my ice cream and potato chips, but if I've spent time working out, I want to make healthier choices. I love to cook, so this has also allowed me to try new recipes, like my beloved sweet potato fried. I'll share the recipe soon!

Whew, this was a long post. But for me, it has become a very important topic and something that has honestly changed my life. I never thought that three little concepts could alter my outlook on life. I've noticed that not only do I feel better, I feel happier. And while I don't know how noticeable my complaining was, Bri has told me that he can tell that I am in a much better place these last few weeks. Hopefully I can continue on this long, happy road. 

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