Sunday, September 30, 2012

Be Strong Challenge: September Update

On my 50th birthday I challenged myself to become a stronger person in my 50th year. This challenge got off to a slow start due to a bout with insomnia, but I think I made up for it in September. Here is a roundup of my progress:
Be Strong:
I named my challenge Be Strong and set a few goals:

1 - To continue to work on knowing myself.
2 - To work on both my physical and mental strength.
3 - Each month I need to come up with one activity or challenge that leads to more effective communication, since becoming a better communicator is my ultimate goal.

I realize I have to start with baby steps. If I step too far out of my comfort zone too soon – with a public speaking class or by joining toastmasters - I know myself well enough to know I will abandon this project altogether.
Push-up challenge:
I joined a push-up challenge. Each day I am to do 1 more push up than I did the day before. I’ve split them into two sessions and am now up to 17 at one time, with a total of 25 in one day. This is more push-ups than I’ve ever done before in one day. A couple of years ago I stopped working out my upper body entirely when I injured my shoulder. After the shoulder pain subsided I experienced a clicking sound and pain in my elbows while working out with resistance bands, so I was leery of push-ups. My elbows do click occasionally while doing push-ups, but there is no pain and since I began this challenge my elbows no longer click when working out with resistance bands.
Clean my desk challenge:
I challenged myself to clean my desk at work. My desk is still not perfectly clean and organized, but I have made progress. I completed several outstanding projects and now spend time each day tackling new paperwork so it doesn’t pile up. I also organize my desk before leaving on Fridays which has done wonders for my Monday morning mood. Thanks to all who left comments and suggestions on my post, you’ve helped keep me motivated.
I attended a seminar on assertive communication:
The seminar’s presenter teaches this course at a local college, so she attempted to pack an entire semester’s worth of knowledge into one hour. She did an excellent job of describing the six different types of motivators (a positive or negative need for power, achievement or affiliation) and how to communicate with each type. I referred to one of these communication techniques in my post Do I listen to my manager or the boss. For further study on communication between the sexes, she suggests reading Deborah Tannen’s You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in ConversationThat's Not What I Meant!: How Conversational Style Makes or Breaks Relationships and Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work.
I read inspiring blog posts:
I read Always the Planner's post What Kind of Life do I Want? where she recommended viewing a TEDx video by Priya Parker and watched Marie Forleo’s video How to Reprogram your Subconscious Mind to Get What You Really Want on the same day. Both helped my realize the one thing I want is to be as physically active in my life for as long as possible; not being able to walk or wear shoes will severely impact that life. Lately, I’ve experiencing foot pain during most physical activity including walking and while wearing shoes. I decided it was time I considered foot surgery, so I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon the very next day.
I visited an orthopedic surgeon to inquire about bunion surgery:
I learned the bunion on my right foot is between moderate and severe and the left one isn’t too bad. The surgeon doesn’t feel I need immediate surgery, but made it clear my foot will never get any better. Recovery from this surgery will require me to be on crutches for 5-6 weeks, which rules out having the surgery in winter. The last thing I need is to walk with crutches down a hill to my unattached garage on snow and ice. If possible I'd like to put off surgery until fall of next year.  In the mean time I’ve been wearing the flattest, widest shoes I own and modifying workout activities (especially lunges) that bother my feet.
I have added one small challenge for October:
I have challenged myself to stop eating the popcorn from my company’s popcorn machine. First, the popcorn is really for customers not employees. Second, it is covered in salt and is most likely made with the cheapest, unhealthiest oil they can buy. For the rest of this year I am challenging myself to not eat anymore of this popcorn.

That is it for September. October is going to be a short month, since my husband and I are traveling to California for a ten day vacation. This will be the longest vacation I’ve taken, since I began work in 1986. I am not sure how active I will be on this blog or if I will be able to maintain a clean desk during October – perhaps that will be the ultimate challenge.

What makes you feel strong?
If you have a Be Strong suggestion or are interested in writing a guest post about how you've achieved greater strength please leave a comment below or email me at


  1. You have done such a great job this past month! Congrats on everything that you have accomplished. 25 push-ups in a day is AWESOME and 17 at one time? I know that it must be frustrating about your feet. You're right that winter probably isn't the best time but I am glad that you went to see a doctor. Excited to see what October has in store!

  2. Thinks Christine.
    FYI - Your latest post has "Are you strong" is full of ideas for October. Learning to accept a compliment for one.
    Thanks for stopping in and keeping me motivated.