Work/Life Balance- Our Anniversary Reflection

Today we celebrate our 12th Wedding Anniversary. We are fortunate to be able to celebrate at the end of each year as this provides us with an opportunity to renew our vows to each other based on our priorities for the coming year.   We have had an amazing ride over the last 12 years and have learned so much about each other and accomplished so much together.  We have grown in all aspects of our relationship and feel as though the journey we have been on is truly just the beginning of an even stronger more powerful marriage.

Today, on our Anniversary we wanted to share with you one of our biggest challenges and how we approach it as a couple as we believe it is one of the biggest challenges many individuals and couples face today.  We hope that our messages helps you in a positive way.

Our Anniversary Reflection- Work/Life Balance 

One of our biggest challenge as a couple is to figure out how to best manage our work/life balance especially given the fact that both of us work in the technology industry.  As the new year is around the corner it brings with it the opportunity to look back on our lives as individuals as well as a couple and set new goals for the future- to RESET.  Most people set new goals for exercise, changing their eating habits, saving money, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, these are important and are a part of our overall plan as well.  However, we truly feel the most important goal for us is to set a goal of how we will manage our work/life balance in the coming year.  Without work/life balance, I am not quite sure we can be successful with all the other goals we are trying to accomplish.

Work/Life balance affects everything.  Especially relationships with spouses, family and friends.  As we reflect on the past 12 years, we feel we have done a pretty good job of successfully managing work/life balance.  I don’t think we would have been able to complete a marathon on every continent had we not.  We also realize that there is so much room for improvement.

We believe much of our success is related to the fact that we set goals and guidelines as a couple as to what we wish to achieve together and how we want to ensure that we have a good work/life balance.  Setting goals together is a continual work in progress.  We are challenged every day, every week, every month as our business changes and the demands from our company put stresses on us that we were not prepared for when setting our goals together.  This is going to happen.

Prior to the beginning of each new year we look back and reflect on where we had challenges or communication breakdowns in regards to work and accomplishing our personal goals together.  We look at the resolutions we agreed upon and decipher if the proposed resolution accomplished our goal.  Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn’t.

We then have a serious discussion about how we want to see our relationship improve and grow over the coming year and WRITE DOWN these goals.  We discuss, based on the information gathered over the previous year what hurdles may keep us from having the relationship we desire.  We put a plan (written)  in place to meet our goals as well as how we will deal with the issues as they arise from work, outside distractions beyond our control, etc.  that may interrupt us from meeting our goals.

This has worked for us over the years and each year we learn to appreciate each other more and more.  We have grown closer each year because we have taken the time to “care” about each other as well as to understand what is important for each of us individually.  Don’t get me wrong, we do have disagreements and we do “break” our agreements sometimes due to pressures.  The learnings we obtain from our discussions around our disagreements far out weigh the negatives from our disagreements.

A few of our goals to drive a stronger work/life balance:

  • We put our mobile phones away  at 6pm every evening until we decide to go to bed.  This allows us to spend time together without interruptions.  It creates conversation and keeps us “in touch” with each other. This also allows up to start to tackle many of the action items needed to complete the goals we set out for the year- such as training for marathons, learning to play piano or guitar, etc.
  • Insure that our managers are aware of our work/life balance goals.  When we work- we work hard.  When we are off work, we are off work (accept for those special circumstances at year end/quarter end, etc).  Managers that take work/life balance seriously and lead by example  are the strongest managers to have in your organization
  • Leave our phones in the car when we are dining out as a couple.
  • Set goals outside of work (ie. marathons, time fishing or hunting, time with family, friends and neighbors, etc.).  Make and take time for ourselves.
  • Social Media management.  We take time to look at facebook and other social media networks (mainly on the weekend).  We do not “live” in facebook and other social networks.  We realize that this takes time away from us communicating with each other and can totally disrupt a marriage.

We hope that you have enjoyed this post and would love for you to share how you are driving towards a stronger work/life balance.

Happy New Year

Two-Gether Runners

Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle Two-Gether!

I realize it has been a while since I have posted a blog. Even though I have not posted, we have been running and have some great accomplishments to share (I will be updating my blog over the next month or so).

During this post I wanted to share with you how David and I worked together to change our eating habits and thus our overall lifestyle so that we can enjoy many wonderful and healthy years ahead together.

About a month ago, we both realized that it was time to make some changes. Even though we had been exercising we both felt sluggish, over weight, not focused and just plain not engaged with each other as much as we had in the past. It seemed as though we fell into the same rut that we have talked about in the past due to the pressures from work and the constant interruptions from technology.

One morning I was sitting in bed and came across an article on the “Bone Broth Diet” http://bonebrothdietbook.com/revolution. I found it to be quite interesting especially since I have always struggled with immune system problems and it seemed like this diet was targeted at reducing inflammation throughout the body. Although I had not had any large breakouts from my immune disorder for over a year it seemed as though I was constantly taking Tums and just did not feel right. I felt it was time for a change.  David had been exercising quite a bit but was not seeing as much progress as far a losing weight and getting his blood pressure and cholesterol under control as he would have liked to see. After explaining the diet to him and the fact that it was only a three-week commitment we decided to try it out and STICK to it Together!

I spent a good two days making the bone broth for our three-week diet.   I never thought it would be so hard to find bones! I went to many butchers and they said that they gave their bones to some other company. The bones that were available for sale in the grocery stores were pretty high priced. I was continually wondering how I was going to even begin this if I could not find the bones! We had a great time together searching for bones. I am sure you can imagine the conversations we had (I actually laughing as I am typing these words). I finally found a bunch of chicken feet (lots of great cartilage) in a local store and mixed these with the carcasses of chicken and turkey. With these bones and the beef bones I was able to make enough broth to last the entire three weeks. Actually still have a great deal of broth left today!

The Bone Broth Diet Book continually talks about all the stages one will go through as they move through the three-week diet. I will have to say that the only tough part of this was the “fasting” days. The other days were pretty easy, although energy levels were low due to low calorie consumption. The biggest challenge for us at the beginning was not having our wine. David and I typically have a glass or 2 of wine about 4 evenings a week. During winter many of our special times together are spent sitting by the fire with a glass of wine watching our favorite TV Shows like the Walking Dead. We decided that during this three-week period we would try different types of hot tea together in replacement of wine. We actually enjoyed this and now have become quite accustomed to having tea together in the evenings as opposed to wine every other night.

During the diet you are not supposed to weigh yourself accept at the beginning and at the end. David and I are both very different as far as following these types of rules. David likes to see the changes and the effects of the change immediately and I prefer to just wait until the end. I have been on diets before and no progress day after day makes me anxious and therefore I typically just give up. Given this, David was receiving positive reinforcement daily with the weight loss he was experiencing. I just kept focused on the goal of changing my eating habits over the three week period.

We were successful! We made it through the three weeks and have completely transformed the way we will eat going forward. After completion of the three-week diet we no longer crave bread, chips, sweets, grains or any of the high glycemic foods that impact our bodies in negative ways. As runners we always thought that we had to have carbohydrates to fuel our bodies during our training and our marathons. After going through this change from high carbohydrate diet to a low carbohydrate/high protein diet we have more energy than we have ever had in the past even while running! We have made many new choices for food consumption together. David now substitutes carrots for wheat thins (wondering if he will be able to give up his eye glasses..haha). We both no longer eat bread with our meals. If we have a hamburger or turkey burger we either have it on a lettuce wrap or without a bun. We have breakfast together every morning (something we have not done in the past) consisting of eggs, sausage or bacon. We no longer crave or need toast (even to dip in our egg yolk- boy I never thought I would see this day!). We still drink the bone broth soup. I have modified it into a chili type soup now by incorporating fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste into the broth. This will probably remain a consistent part of our diet as we move forward as it brings many benefits to help eliminate inflammation throughout the body.

The beauty of all of this is that we have changed together. Yes, we both lost weight. David lost 18 pounds and I lost 9. A week after the diet our weight remains consistent while our muscle mass continues to increase as we burn fat as opposed to carbohydrate. It is so amazing to look at each other and see the transformation we have made together in body, mind and soul. It truly puts a smile on my face.

Individually making this lifestyle change would have been difficult if not next to impossible at best. Doing this together, supporting each other throughout the change, made it not only doable but also enjoyable. Now that we are sharing the same eating habits and exercise habits there is a higher likelihood that we will continue to embrace this new lifestyle together throughout the coming years. We truly had fun embarking on this journey together!

Life is so much better sharing every moment with someone you love.