A Healthy Challenge: From 28% to 100%

Once, when I was having an exceptionally bad day, I walked across a bridge and thought about how wonderful it would be to jump into the river below, letting life just swim past you as you simply watched, no longer feeling the pressure to participate. As soon as the thought popped in my head, another booming voice countered it, saying I cannot die having never finished a novel.

Oh how I wish this thought had inspired me to actually work on the damn thing.

But no, instead it’s been almost a year since that moment and yet I still have not crossed that bridge, I still have not finished either one of the multiple novels I have started. Sitting next to those novels on my unfinished to-do list is an impressively large line of projects, all started with vigor and excitement, all abandoned with regret and often apathy.

Whenever I cry to my beau, depressed at how little I’ve truly finished in my 28 years of life, ze rattles off a seemingly impressive list of accomplishments consisting of:

  • A Bachelor of Arts in Cinema
  • A Juris Doctorate (law degree, I’m not actually a doctor)
  • Having lived in Italy, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Mexico, traveled all over Europe
  • Running a successful blog
  • Being published in national magazines
  • Writing two novels
  • Being involved with and caring for my family
The problem is, as proud as I am of those accomplishments, I still often feel like I’ve sold myself short on everything I’ve done. For example:
  • A B.A. in Cinema – never made a film or finished the five screenplays I started
  • A J.D. – never took the bar, really didn’t do the whole lawyer thing
  • Lived in Italy, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Mexico – came home earlier than planned from 3/4 of those adventures
  • Running a successful blog – that has hundreds of half-written draft posts waiting to be finished
  • Being published in national magazines – haven’t pitched a new article in almost a year
  • Writing two novels – neither are finished and I’ve never pitched or published either of them
  • Being involved with and carrying for my family – I keep moving farther away from them

There’s an old Czech proverb that says “It is better not to begin than, having begun, leave unfinished.” Which works fine for the Czechs, but what about us who grew up hearing “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”?

I loved film school. I loved law school. I loved Italy, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Mexico. I love running this blog. I love being published in magazines and I really really love writing novels. I have loved so many glorious projects. But what happens when I’ve lost that love and I leave my project unfinished?

Is it better to do 100 things at 28% or 28 things at 100%?

With all the chaos and illness in my life these past months, I know it’s time to make some kind of change, but I’m beginning to wonder if that change should be finally finishing a project instead of taking on something completely new. This Healthy Challenge feels like a good compromise, something I can take on with the intent to actually finish. It’s new, in that I just started it months ago, but it’s also old, in that I’ve always strived to be healthier. I’ve set clear goals, so there’s some structure, and I’ve made those goals attainable, so there’s no overwhelming feeling to the whole thing.

A Healthy Challenge is the perfect project to finish because, even though it’s never-ending, the steps along the way are clear, concise and helpful to all other goals in my life. If I workout, do yoga and meditate every day, my mental clarity – and subsequently writing – will drastically improve. If I make conscious food decisions and eat out less, my cooking skills will flourish. If I keep my apartment de-cluttered, I’ll be able to find and do things easier. If I lose body fat, I’ll feel lighter and less weighed down. And most of all, if I’m healthy, I’ll have the energy and ability to finally finish that rather large to-do list.

So, as part of my Healthy Challenge, I’m forcing myself to go into this with 100% dedication to finish it, if only because finishing means simply being conscious, healthy and active, something anybody can accomplish, even a procrastinator like me. I promise – to myself and to my readers – that I will take this on not with the 28% vigor I’ve taken everything else on in my 28 years, but with the 100% vigor of someone aiming to live 100 more.

Bi-monthly progress report for September 26, 2011 (photo taken 9/20/11):

Carrying my Niece for my Sister

  • Weight: 214
  • Chest, Waist, Hips Measurements: 47, 41.5, 52.5
  • Dress size: 18
  • Resting Heart Rate: 72 bpm
  • BMI: 44% (according to a body-fat scale I have)
  • # of sit-ups I can do: 20
  • # of push-ups I can do: 0 regular, 20 “assisted”
  • Amount of time I can jog without having to stop for air: 2 minutes
  • Amount of time I can focus in a meditation: 3 minutes
  • Level of clutter in my apartment (1-10 scale, 1 being clean, 10 being hurricane): 5
(Check out my original progress report here to see how far I’ve come)

About Queerie Bradshaw

Lauren Marie Fleming is a writer, speaker and motivator known for her intimate, informative and often hilarious look at sex, relationships and body-image. Lauren runs the critically-acclaimed QueerieBradshaw.com blog, writes for major news sources including VICE, Nerve, Huffington Post and Curve, and is the author of her memoir Losing It: My Life as a Sex Blogger. In 2013, Lauren founded Frisky Feminist Press (FriskyFeminist.com) as a way to enhance conversations about sexuality through educational guides, online classes and entertaining publications. A law school graduate, Lauren has spoken all over the United States and is internationally recognized for her dynamic, engaging style. In everything she does, Lauren’s goal is to educate, remove stigmas and encourage people to achieve their desires.
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2 Responses to A Healthy Challenge: From 28% to 100%

  1. Laura says:

    I’m rooting for you – and trying to do the same thing. I hope we are both successful. Great post!

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