The Doug Miracle

Every so often I go through a self-improvement phase. They never last long, which in part explains my relative lack of improvement. I am a creature of self-gratifying habit, and habits are hard to break, so I muddle along and do the best I can.

But sometimes motivation takes hold and my resolve stiffens, usually only long enough for me to compile an exotic list of all the things I could and should be doing to make life better for myself and the people who depend on me. Sometimes it is the realization I’m getting older that motivates me, especially as it relates to exercise and diet, or preservation of brain cells I might need to do crossword puzzles in my dotage.

This particular burst of self-improvement was inspired by the idea that I have the capacity to change my life for the better, perhaps significantly so, just by making relatively small changes that are well within my power to make. I like to call this the Doug Miracle, because if I’m able to change my life in these simple ways, it would be like a miracle happened and made me a fitter, happier, more productive person. Except: I cause the miracle. I’m talking about simple things, such as:

1. Resume my daily regimen of pushups and situps, and minimize my daily regimen of fuckups.
2. Stop drinking pop, except on special occasions or in serious times of need.
3. Be at work every day at 7:00 AM sharp.
4. Eat breakfast.
5. Write for 30 minutes each day (which isn’t necessarily the same as posting to Pipeline every day).
6. Stay on budget.
7. Work on a project for 30 minutes each day.
8. Eat at least 1 serving of fruit and vegetable each day.
9. Do my housework for 30 minutes each day.
10. Play guitar for 30 minutes each day.

Each of these things are within my power, and if I were able to accomplish even half of them on half my days, I would be way ahead of where I am now. It’s all about getting into a routine, but once that’s done the Doug Miracle will flourish and spread joy all around.

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2 Responses to The Doug Miracle

  1. David says:

    If you want some advice… your list is too long. Cut it in half. Do that consistently for a while, then add on. Plus, when are you going to find time to play chess?

  2. paul says:

    Inspiring. My half ass advice:

    1) Don’t do pushups and sit ups everyday. Do one hard set of each one day a week. Elevate your feet if the pushups become too easy. Truthfully, tho, doing cardio is much more important than doing pushups.

    2) If you like them, protein bars are a good breakfast substitute. Easy to fit in b/c you can eat them in the car or at work.

    3) Vitamins — take them. Next best thing to a balanced diet, fruits, veggies and whatnot.

    4) Stick with the no pop resolution. It’s so bad for you. I have a similar problem, in particular b/c there’s a soda fountain in our pantry at work. I finally announced a “soft drink bounty” of a sorta silly amount of money that I would donate to charity if anyone caught me drinking pop. Haven’t had any since.

    5) Tracy and I do a daily budget where we each get a certain amount of cash to spend each day (not including set expenses like utilities, etc). You can save cash on one day to blow over the weekend, or on whatever treat you want, but at the end of the month, you have to have met the budget. Everyday we write down our expenses and calculate whether we’re over or under budget based on the number of days that have passed and our daily limit, which lets you know what you need to do over the next week or so to get back on budget. We don’t do this every month, and remembering to write down your daily total can be a pain, but it’s been very effective when we’ve needed to tighten our belts.

    Good luck!

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