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Anyone who owns a Mac and has run into an error screen probably knows this answer: What’s the first thing the good folks in the I.T. department recommend you try?

Restart your computer.

For some reason, that often does the trick.

I’ve been leaving my MacBook on overnight, plugged in to the wall and on sleep mode. For a while, all is good: My programs are running just fine and dandy, and everything, on the surface, seems to be running smoothly.

But then, the error messages begin. Or my computer decides it’s time to shut down, and a gray screen slowly covers my desktop, demanding a restart. I open a work-order ticket for I.T., and they investigate.

So one day, I.T. superman Brent says: “When was the last time you shut down your computer overnight?”

Wait, I should be shutting down? How often?

“Ideally, it would be great it you shut down your computer every night. If you don’t need it running to perform tasks or back up to the server, it’ll save energy.” It still draws power while it’s off and plugged in, only not so much when it’s shut down.

All those issues that crop up only to be fixed by a simple reboot can also be eliminated or greatly lessened. “You sleep at night, right? So your body can repair and you’re fresh in the morning?” he asked. “It’s kind of similar for your computer.”

No way! I didn’t ask any more questions, and I’m sure he didn’t want to get into the technical details, because some would argue there are perks to leaving your computer on overnight, every night. But his logic made sense to me, so I bought in. I need to reboot, as does my Mac.

I kept this in mind when I had my call with life coach Lauren today. I admitted to struggling since the move, having a bit of “vacation mindset” when it comes to my new environment and the last weeks of summer, along with the challenges I posted about yesterday.

Note on waning enthusiasm and the late-summer months: I came across this mention in our article, “The Fitness Almanac,” which will run again in our December issue, and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone or just “being lazy.”

Life in mid- to late summer can be intense and hectic, full of vacation travel, family events, sweltering weather and back-to-school shopping. Work can be busy, too, as people return from vacations and are forced to play catch-up, [executive life coach Kate] Larsen notes. It’s easy to get into a fitness rut around this time — or to relapse into old, unhealthy behaviors.

Aha! Life and work have been busy, and August in Minnesota is generally when it feels like crunch time to enjoy the warm weather before it’s gone. But I haven’t made it to the beach! Or, I still need to get to the cabin! And that restaurant patio that I love! Or that fantastic public garden. And, Wait, the State Fair opens NEXT week?!?

Clearly, I’ve had a lot on my mind and on my plate.

So Lauren and I agreed: Let’s go back to what works. Sending her my “promises” every night, a journal-like entry with what I ate and drank and when, what I did for exercise and activity, and how much television I watched. (I love my TV a little too much, although not as much as the average American: Nielsen’s 2011 report has the average American watching 5 hours and 11 minutes of TV each day.)

Here’s my journal from yesterday:

Thursday, August 15
8:30: 1 handful raw sunflower seeds, 6 oz. Simply Orange OJ
10: 1 cup coffee w/1 tsp. Organic Valley half & half (out of coconut milk creamer at work)
11:30: 1 cup chai tea black
1: salad bar — mixed greens, kale salad, 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 spoonful chickpeas, 1 spoonful peanut-marinated tofu, green onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, beets, carrots, 2 tsp. sesame dressings, chia sprinkles, flax-meal sprinkles, 1 tsp. raw walnuts; 1 can La Croix cran-raspberry
3:30: 1 cup green tea
6 (dinner out with College Gals): 1 bowl chili (just meat, beans and tomatoes — I called in advance to make sure it was gluten-free) w/jalapeno peppers, 2 bites of iceberg salad w/oil and vinegar (it came with the meal but wasn’t very good so I didn’t eat much), 2 cups water
7:30: 1 pint Surly coffee bender beer (dark) while catching up with the girls. Also, 1 large glass water (1.5 to 2 cups?).

Exercise: none
TV time: none

Besides the beer (which has gluten in it) and the creamer (I feel better without dairy), not too shabby. I’ve been glued to my chair yesterday and today, but have plans for some long walks this weekend. And I committed to joining the Boot Camp group on Tuesday for a workout.

Sometimes a reboot is the fix you need.

Thoughts to share?

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