The company I work for does a competition every summer where employees can register, receive a free pedometer, and then track their “steps” to work toward earning a reward. The rewards are in progressions so the more steps you take, the larger the reward.
Naturally, I’m aiming for the biggest. Fortunately, you can convert non-step physical activity into steps so I’m getting lots of credit for the 5-10 hours a week of aerial I’ve been doing. Unfortunately, even when I do two aerial classes in one day (which I do at least twice a week), it’s not enough.
I enjoy running. I really do. Even when it’s hard, even when I’m out of breath, even when I just want to quit, running is a positive activity for me. I often find when I’m stressed, angry, or upset, my first reaction is to go for a run. And the feeling of accomplishment when I go faster or further than I could before is incredible.
But sometimes, I still don’t make it out the door.
Aerial, on the other hand, I love. And I consistently have no trouble making it to class four, five, or even six days a week – sometimes twice a day. I feel like I could spend all day, every day in an aerial class and I would never get tired of it. Well, my muscles would get tired, but my brain wouldn’t! And that’s what brings me to Part 6 of my indefinitely long series of reaching fitness goals:
I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about losing weight. And there’s a valid reason for that – I’ve put a lot of effort into losing weight, I feel great about the results, and it’s something that a lot of people are trying to do and/or struggling with.
But today I want to talk about something completely different. Today I want to talk about getting bigger, wider even, and why I am absolutely thrilled! Although no, it’s not about the size of my waist.
Ever since I moved to Charleston, any time I mentioned running to anyone, the very first response I got was “oh, are you going to do the bridge run?” Fortunately I have a friend at Clemson who told me about the race before I even moved, so we’d already agreed to run it together and I knew what they were talking about. But I still assumed that their insistence that it’s a really big deal was just Charleston people being proud of Charleston.
That picture right there is a big deal. And it’s not because of the bruises you can just barely make out on the tops of my feet (those are from the trapeze when I tried to do this). It’s because of the yoga pants.
I work in IT. More importantly, I work in IT in a global company that has offices all around the country and 95% of all their meetings online to accommodate people being in several different work locations. In other words, in order to do my job, I have to spend the vast majority of my time at work at my desk, in front of my computer. And it drives me insane.
I wear a Fitbit (a fancy pedometer) on my wrist every day with a goal set to 10,000 steps (about five miles total of walking throughout the day). If I’m lucky, on a good day, I MIGHT get to just over 2,000 steps by the time I’m leaving work. Considering by that point I’m about halfway through my waking hours for the day, that’s pretty pathetic. So after a lot whining, complaining, and insisting this was important to me without actually making any serious changes (a familiar pattern for people wanting to “exercise more” or “get in shape”), I’ve decided to do something about it. Here’s my plan of action:
It’s fun talking about things that happened nearly a month ago and all, but at some point I feel like I should start getting into where I’ve been for the past two months and why I was barely blogging. I do have a few good semi-decent excuses (I went to boyfriend’s house for Christmas and didn’t bring my laptop, I was on a cruise without internet access, etc.), but those only cover part of the time that I’ve been MIA and only tell a very small part of the story.
The short version of the story is that I sorta just let everything in my life fall apart. But that version sounds sad, and the real story isn’t that depressing, so I’m going to take it upon myself to tell it in full.
Over the summer I read a book about habits which taught me about something really important: keystone habits. Keystone habits are that one change you make that then spirals outward into a whole bunch more habits, all as a result of that very first one. Ideally, and in my case, that habit and the ones resulting from it are positive. So in January of last year I started training for a 10k. That meant running on a regular basis, which led to learning about and starting to implement proper training habits, which led to improving my nutritional profile and starting to do strength training, which led to losing weight and feeling awesome about myself, which led to flossing and using mouthwash every night to be even more awesome, which somewhere in there led to using a to-do list to track everything I needed to get done (i.e. blogging) and do it on time so that I fell into super-productivity and amazingness.
It was incredible. I felt like I had every part of my life super under control – and it had all started with a random inclination to run a 10K in Disney World. The one small problem with this method of habit forming, though, was that as soon as one thing fell apart… it all did.
You know how last week I wrote a post saying I’d been really tired lately? And it sounded like it was just a really long, lame excuse for not keeping up with my blogging? Well on Tuesday night I went to bed at 8:30 pm, and I didn’t even feel bad about it.
For the record, I am not a go to bed early person. If a year ago you’d told me that a year from then I would have either run a half marathon in just over two hours or gone to bed at 8:30 pm once, I would have picked the half marathon. Seriously.
But anyway. Fitness goals.
You hear a lot of talk out there about fitness accountability, and for good reason. It’s pretty easy to be like, “you know what, self? I’m not feeling that five mile run today. Let’s skip it.” And your self will be like, “I was thinking the exact same thing! I’ve got some serious couching to do today.” But it’s a lot harder to call up a friend and be like, “you know what, friend? I’m not feeling those plans we made to exercise together. I’m just not gonna show up.”
The problem with this is that I strongly prefer running on my own; it’s my me time. And I know I’m not the only one who prefers exercising all by their one-some. So the good news is that exercise with friends is not the only way to hold yourself accountable!