This year I’ve been setting a series of challenges for myself. It’s been a wonderfully successful experiment in learning how much I can take on. For instance, in January, I challenged myself to write 100 days of gratitude in my journal. I’m about to complete those 100 days and I can’t tell you how beneficial it has been to write these things down. Now my journal become a depository for the wonderful things in my life, as opposed to my woes, which it was before. Some entries are as brief as a sentence, but others are two or three pages long. And almost all of them have been about the people in my life–not the things. Isn’t that funny?
After that became a habit in my life, I challenged myself to give up chocolate for Lent. I’ve never successfully given anything up for the 40 days and nights before Easter, partly because I never set the challenge for myself, and partly because the one time I did it quickly fell apart. Not this time. I last 40 days and nights! In fact, I lasted 41 days and nights because I didn’t realize that Lent was over the Thursday before the Easter weekend and I ended up caving on Saturday (after checking when Lent was over!) The reason it worked was because I told people about it and they kept me honest!
Now that I know I can deal with both self-denial in small form and creating a habit, I challenged myself to a spring runstreak. I tried it in early winter when a friend introduced me to the concept, but I quickly lost momentum when the weather got too cold and I wasn’t able to transition to a gym or get warmer clothing, so I decided I needed to try again in the spring when things began to warm up.
So here I am. I’ve challenged myself to run at least 1 mile per day. However, the challenge has somewhat morphed since I made it. Some days I just can’t get a full run in because I don’t have the time. Also, my body is not used to this much exercise and I don’t want to injure myself. So I’ve given myself permission to include other forms of exercises into the challenge. This is why it’s called a “Springstreak” now instead of a run streak. The goal is still 1 mile a day, but if I can do something else I’ll do that as well. So far I’ve incorporated long distance walks and yoga into the mix.
The goal here is not to say I ran the mile. The goal is to get my body moving again. If I were a more analytical person I would say the goal is to run the mile so I can track the time, the calories burned and the speed. Which I do. But it’s not the only thing that’s important to me.
The first week was difficult. I spent the entire week in pain. But this week I’ve woken up with fresh muscles that are not in pain. Which means the hard part is over and now I can actually concentrate on getting better at exercising. The initial go of it is always difficult because your body is not used to the movement and it protests the sudden activity. Or rather it tells you that it’s not used to the movement and tells you what parts have recently been put into action.
And as I’ve begun doing this I’ve developed a few more goals for myself to help me move past the initial 30 days (which ends on the May 2-4 weekend. See, I plan these things very well.)
I’d like to lose thirty pounds this year. It’s a big number, but I’m giving myself until November, which is about when I’ll stop running outside. So when I break that down it becomes four pounds per month. A little more reasonable, right? And, again, I’m not being a fascist about this. This is a goal I’m working towards.
The reason I’ve incorporated yoga as well is because I’m stiff. I need stretching out and yoga is the best practice for it. Luckily, I found a very good class in my neighborhood that I’m actually looking forward to taking! So that will help me in the long run as well.
Maintain My Health
My father’s illness and death last year made me take a really long, hard look at how I was treating my body and how I could do a better job of it. I spent the last two years largely ignoring huge swaths of my life trying to maintain my sanity and when even that went out the window I knew that this was because I wasn’t taking care of myself as a whole. So now I pay more attention to these things and I know part of what becoming a more active person means is that I will stay healthier for longer. My dad died way too young and that’s not a fate I wish to go through, so this is me saying my health is important to me.
A study published by Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California confirmed that when you write down your goals and you share them with your friends you are more likely to accomplish them than if you were to just think about them. So I’m sharing these with you, friends. Got any goals you wish to share with me?