Today was a GORGEOUS day and my aerial teachers are out of town, stopping me from going to class at all this weekend, so I decided it was time to go for a run. I have run approximately twice since March, and the last time I tried – about two months ago – I only made it two miles, so I decided to set a stretch goal of three miles and see how it went.
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 mentioned a few weeks ago that I’ve started taking aerialclasses and that’s it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done. Still totally true on both counts. But now I actually have a decent number of classes under my belt, and I cannot get enough of it. Seriously. I’m going like 3-4 times a week, as often as I can and there are classes available for me to take. And I don’t ever want to stop because it is SO. COOL.
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!
There are a lot of things, body image-wise, that I’ve become more confident about since I started working out on a regular basis. It’s difficult for me to attribute most of those to an increase in confidence since they came from an actual improvement in how I look, however, there’s one thing that I’ve become more confident about that most certainly has not changed: my ponytail.
I used to hate putting my hair up. I’d do it when I had to (read: my hair was too greasy to leave down), but I was so self-conscious about it that it was literally distracting to me – for nearly the entire time I had it up. That was, I used to… until I started working out.
In my last stay in shape post, I talked about how in order to reach my fitness goals I had to stop making excuses. Back when I wrote that post, I had just run a 10k. Now I have a casual birthday half marathon under my belt and am training for an actual half marathon race in October. Not making excuses has been a really important part of making it to that point!
But, it’s not the only thing I’ve learned; far from it, in fact. So here’s part two – with another really important lesson: it’s going to suck at first. Probably for a while. Keep doing it anyway.