The Death of Jabba

1 Feb

I’m christening February with a brand new shiny post. Since that’s the most I’ve written in 3 months, I’m going to go buy and eat an entire pack of Oreos in celebration.

Now – last month I threw down (as I often do) and made much of my obsession with resolutions and goal-setting. It left some folks wondering what exactly I was going to do for the year if I was parading around trying to get everyone else do to things. Behold: the plan.

When I took a nice hard look at my current life approach, I observed some great attempts at superhumanism (Post-a-Day Challenge, Lollipop Tuesdays, Project Fat Ass 365, Completing a half marathon) juxtaposed almost immediately by Jabba The Hut-like life halts. I come, I conquer, I shut it all down. Way down.

It’s all here on this blog – it’s chronicled. Extreme highs and lows. I lose 30 pounds and am fitter than I’ve ever been in my life then I’m half naked on my couch buried in Skittles. I’m a human machine, then I have to attach fly papers throughout my apartment because I haven’t cleaned in so long that my potatoes are self-imploding in the kitchen. I don’t post for three months, I post twice in a row and eat a whole pack of Oreos. For all my self-discipline, I’m unbelievably undisciplined.

Now, granted, I have made some meaningful and real change in my life as a result of sharing my degradation and my paralyzing, anxiety-filled monologue with you all. But in the midst of all these highs and lows and personal achievements, I’ve continually wondered what a well-balanced life looks like.

Are there people who actually meditate every day? Who manage to eat breakfast every day without counting M&Ms? Somewhere out there, are there humans who have drawers of clean underwear and can touch their toes all year? Can balance be learned?

Let’s face it folks – if I can’t do it before the babies start falling out of my body then it will never happen. Because you know what my babies will want to do? Sit around half naked and eat Skittles. I’ll be doomed to live this way forever and to create an entire line of humans who do the same. 

So that’s the ultimate goal for the year: to experience a well-balanced life in order to save myself from sending my defective seed into the future thereby dooming my entire lineage. Now, as you studious jackieblog pupils will recall, that’s not really an actionable goal. We need specifics- things that I can concretely accomplish on a daily basis. Numbers. Expectations. Measurable outcomes. It’s sciencey and stuff.

(You can hop on board if you want. It’s never too late. That’s a rule here. There aren’t many but the few we have are legit. In fact, check out this rock star over at FattieGettingFit who began her journey on Jan. 27th. It’s not too late in the year, and it’s definitely never too late in your life.)

So here’s the plan.

The “One Good Thing” Challenge

  • Make a list of habits you wish you had or believe that you would have if you were your best self. Make them reasonable and beneficial long-term.
  • Hold each habit at least 7 days. You can’t move on unless you can envision adding a new habit without being overwhelmed.
  • You cannot move on early and all habits must be additive, not subtractive. Not doing something is not a habit. (that’s a good thing to remember for life in general.)
  • Reward yourself along the way at whatever intervals you please and with whatever rewards you find meaningful.

That’s it. Seems like it should work, right?

Here are a few examples of good things I personally think that doing every single day would help make me a more balanced, healthy version of myself:

  • Eating breakfast
  • Flossing
  • Prayer/Meditation
  • Exercise/Stretching
  • Sleep for 8 hours (this is the most unfathomable for me)
  • Moisturize
  • Sending a note to someone I care about
  • Doing something creative

My list goes on. It’s big. I don’t even brush my hair every day.

My rewards list is also big because I plan to kick this squarely in the ass.

I started by picking one and doing it every day, no excuses. The deal is that I have to maintain it for 7 days straight. If I make it to day 6 and miss a day, I start again as if it’s my first day trying to do that habit. It’s okay if I spend half the year making an effort to eat breakfast every day. At least after 6 months I’ll be eating breakfast every day. Once I get two habits in the bucket, I cash in on a reward.

I started at the beginning of January and I’m 3 habits deep.  I’ve eaten breakfast every single day (perhaps a lifetime record at this point), worked out/stretched for at least 5 minutes first thing in the morning, and moisturized every day. I’m working on adding prayer/mediation. So far I’ve discovered the seemingly obvious: that the easier I make it for these things to happen naturally, the more likely they are to happen. I have a yoga mat and weights right beside my bed ready to go so that in the morning all I have to do is convince myself to roll over and start stretching. That usually leads to a little exercise. And that usually leads to me wanting breakfast. Sure – it’s just 5 minutes of movement and a breakfast sandwich now, but by the end of the year, who knows? I could be going for a long morning stroll to see the sun rise, get a cup of coffee and a newspaper (which I’ll presumably make time to read), and make myself Eggs Benedict before work. It will be a page straight out of Real Simple magazine.

I’ve been able to manage all right thus far, but I have to admit I’m having a hard time imagining getting too much farther. Sleeping eight hours every single night hasn’t happened since 3rd grade. That’s on the list. And sooner or later I’m going to have to come to terms with how to make it happen. I’m afraid I’m going to have to let some things go. I do a lot of my work while everyone else is sleeping. Like this blog post which I’m writing at 1AM and auto-scheduling for the following morning. 

So that’s the plan, folks. 2016 is the year I figure out what balance looks like so that in 2017 I can determine whether or not it’s all just a load of horse manure and go back to my night owlish, junk food injecting, willy-nilly ways with no regrets. I’ve got 11 months to go in my next human self-experiment. Yeeeeehaw. 

Psst:  I have a long list of ideas for daily habits, but I could use more.  What do you think is a daily habit of a well-balanced person? Let me know in the comments and help me to abandon my Jabba the Hut-like ways. 

20 Responses to “The Death of Jabba”

  1. Ice_Badger February 1, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    I wish I knew how to be balanced!! This is part of my goal (as yet undefined) for 2016 too…

    I am considering Yoga…it is apparently good to counteract craziness!

    It made me laugh when you said youdidn’t brush your hair every day…I don’t even brush mine every week… it is super fuzzy if I do and (confession time) I have only washed my hair once this year that i can remember. It was last week and I literally couldn’t remember when I last washed it before that so thought I probably should! I am (reasonably) sure it was after NYE but it could have been 1st Jan…

    I have super dry super curly hair which apparently doesnt get greasy or look any different whether I wash it or not…

    (eeek that looks awful now I read it back…I should totally out that on the 2016 list wash hair at least once a fortnight!)


    • Jackie February 1, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

      I have super straight, easily oily hair so your problem sounds like an excellent one to have, actually. Switch for the year?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ice_Badger February 2, 2016 at 2:09 am #

        Maybe for a month :)!
        Mine does often look like I have been dragged through a hedge…and brushing it hurts…
        But I am pretty lucky with it really 🙂


    • knotrune February 2, 2016 at 5:53 am #

      It’s better for your hair and scalp if you don’t wash too often, so I’d say you’re doing OK 🙂 I’ve been working on reducing how often I wash mine, it’s very short so I still have to do it every ten days or so, but the less you wash, the less oil it produces apparently, so I am hoping that gap will get longer!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ice_Badger February 2, 2016 at 5:55 am #

        Thank you:-) this makes me feel better!!
        😀 I have never washed it that often to be honest, it is just that sort of hair that doesn’t get oily…
        although that could be because I don’t wash it that often 🙂
        I did have to wash it more often when it was really short, mainly because of all the waxy stuff i put in it!!
        I just think I should at least be able to remember the last time I washed it 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. analaeiram February 1, 2016 at 9:28 am #

    Have you read Zen Habits by Leo something or other? It’s a good blog where he more or less talks about what you’re trying to do.

    I’ve actually started doing the same although I am 3 habits behind and still on the first one (although still maintaining it everyday). Today in light of your post, I will add another one!

    I’m looking forward to seeing a picture of your eggs benny one day! 😊


    • Jackie February 1, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      No, I haven’t! I’ll google hunt it – thanks so much for the tip.

      If I start to think of this in terms of missed habits stacking up, I’ll never make it through. I’m going to just look at every habit acquired as a win. Otherwise when I look back on the year I’ll be mourning the fact that when I read the paper over a coffee after my sunrise walk, I didn’t do my hair as well.

      Thanks for the support, and so cool that you do it too! I checked to see if I could follow you but you have a private blog. If you post about your habit journey I’d love to follow 🙂


      • analaeiram May 28, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

        Hello Jackie, it’s been awhile since I’ve logged on to my wordpress account and I just saw your message. Thanks for replying! To tell you the truth, I can’t seem to make up my mind about what I want my blog to be about. As of now it’s just a strange mixture of a travel blog, a new habit diary, and more personal posts trying to reconcile a difficult past. lol Every 6 months or so I try and point it in one direction and then inevitably it starts going off in a variety of directions… story of my life. I guess in a way, that’s what it is, an honest portrayal of what I’m thinking or doing at any given moment which tends to fluctuate a lot. I will invite you to my blog as soon as I figure out how to do that 🙂 Thanks for your words and keep writing! You’re an amazing writer. I really enjoy reading your blog. 🙂


        • Jackie June 5, 2016 at 11:43 pm #

          All of those things sound like great ideas for blogs. I really appreciate you responding! Good luck – the best way to start is to just start. 🙂


  3. FattieGettingFit February 1, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    Love it! Stealing it! Or, perhaps more accurately, copying it! On my list:
    Water imbibing
    One healthy meal eating
    Lunchtime walking
    Drinking (one glass only!!)
    Waking @ 5AM
    Loving myself

    Since I’m 5 days in to the Blogging, I’ll start there and only need two more days to make it a week!


    • Jackie February 1, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

      Ah, gratituding. Good idea and an even better word 😉


  4. knotrune February 2, 2016 at 5:46 am #

    How can you not eat breakfast? I am the least sorted person on the planet, but it is no effort for me to eat breakfast! I feel most unwell if I don’t get my breakfast. Cereal is the easiest meal on the planet, shove some cereal in a bowl, add milk and a bit of sugar, eat. It is dry goods so you can keep a big enough supply to not run out. OK keeping milk in stock can be an issue, but UHT is better than nothing. I have had other things for breakfast, but I always seem to go back to cereal. It’s not even something I consider an achievement! Now, cleaning my teeth after breakfast I don’t always get to… (But I never skip cleaning them before bed.) In fact, I’m going to go clean them now, as I’ve just finished my cereal… I’ll be back to read the rest of your blog in a minute!


  5. knotrune February 2, 2016 at 6:01 am #

    Not sure I can think of any habits I want to add to my daily schedule. I accept about myself that I like variety and I already do the bare minimum of daily habits! Drinking water (40 gulps a day, 10 when I wake, 10 midday, 10 in the afternoon, 10 early evening) and cleaning my teeth before bed is enough for me 🙂 I’m even getting worse at checking my email and FB…

    But I am still making progress – this year my big challenge is sorting my house out (which is sooo hard for me!) and I am doing really well so far! And I’ve taken up line dancing once a week for exercise, so that’s good too 🙂 I’ll be happy to watch your progress from the sidelines and cheer you guys on, while managing my goals in my more flexible way that works for me 🙂 Good luck with it and well done for 3 habits already!


    • Jackie February 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm #

      Well who needs habit practice when you’ve already nailed breakfast so well? 😛 I’m usually in a rush in the morning and I blow off breakfast. Then I get ravenous and eat grossness for lunch (also in a rush). By the time I get to dinner I tell myself the day is down the tubes anyway so why bother with eating something thought out. I’ve found that by trying to be intentional about it, I end up doing a bowl of cereal when I’m in a rush and making something the rest of the mornings. Serious upgrade for me!

      Good luck with the sorting of the house. I moved in August and I still have 6 boxes collecting dust in my middle room. I moved them there so that I would be forced to deal with them but apparently I’m content to have them as decoration 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • knotrune February 4, 2016 at 5:04 am #

        I know that feeling so well, of putting things to deal with in a really annoying place and then managing somehow to ignore them for months!

        6 boxes doesn’t sound so bad. I still have undealt with boxes from 3 moves ago… eek! I had to get a storage unit to fill with all my crap so I can see the wood for the trees, so even once I have finished the house (and I am trying to say when and not if!) I still have all that to wade through…


  6. Jules February 3, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    BRING ME SOLO! Since you mentioned Jabba, have you seen the new Star Wars? Pretty good if you can ignore some of the very PC elements.

    Anyway, I’ve signed up for the sixpackofpeaks dot com challenge! Basically it’s hiking lots of trails in high elevation in the local mountains. It actually comes at an opportune time since my few select crew of outdoorsy friends are moving up to Oregon.T_T So, hopefully, I’ll be able to network and make new friends. Meeting new people to hang out with is surprisingly difficult when you’re out of school. (fml)


    • Jackie February 3, 2016 at 11:44 pm #

      Yes – I saw it twice! (Once with my dad and once with my Dave.) Not sure what PC elements you’re referring to, but if it’s the moments where the girl tells the guy she can run faster if he doesn’t hold her hand, I loved that stuff. As a chick who was raised on action movies and sci-fi, there aren’t a lot of moments where the dame gets to stand on her own so I couldn’t help but geek out.

      Hiking in high elevation! That’s intense. Hiking itself is hard but up there where the air is thin? That sounds serious. I’m sure you’ll meet fellow woodpeople and connect through the challenge. I hear you – meeting people (quality people) after school is rough. All the friends move away and you’re left with acquaintances. Thank goodness I got to make theater my full time gig – it comes with its own community so it was a perfect solution for someone who doesn’t actually want to seek it out.

      Happy trails!


      • Jules March 8, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

        Woodpeople. I like this. 10/10 would laugh again.



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