Despite the silly flipchart this week implying that once fall arrives we’ll all be wearing ski suits, the concept of figuring out how to get back on track is a very important one. Assuming you’ll sail along on your journey to goal without any slip-ups is pretty naïve. Most everyone “falls off the wagon” at some point. But what separates the Lifetime Members from the rest is the ability to get back on track and continue on the journey.
Meeting topics often work out to be very timely for me, and this is no exception. A few weeks ago I realized that where once I was a very faithful and regular morning exerciser, something at some point had changed. More hours of daylight, an occasional meet-up with running friends in the afternoon, and all of a sudden I was sleeping through my alarm. On days where I ended the day with a bout of exercise that was okay, but more and more I found myself sleeping in…and then doing nothing in the evening either. Once I was tasked with making my ActiveLink lights blink, I knew that had to change! And staring down a budget season at my full-time job, where overtime is often necessary but not known until the last minute, I knew I needed to get back into the habit of getting my exercise done in the morning, when there were sure to be no other conflicts.
One of the tips in this week’s topic was to start with baby steps, and that’s just what I decided I’d do.
Step 1: I at least need to wake up to my alarm!
That’s really the hardest part, isn’t it? I told myself all I needed to do was to get out of bed. That’s it. Even if I don’t exercise, I at least need to get back into the habit of getting out of bed at zero dark thirty.
Step 2: I just need to put my workout clothes on.
Funny enough, once I get out of bed, it’s not so hard to take the next step. But maybe I don’t feel like going out for a run. Well, it doesn’t get me sweaty to put on my workout gear, and strap on the heart rate monitor. Just do that. Something that I found is that I am 100% successful at exercising when I put on my gear. Mentally it seems ridiculous to me to go through the act of changing clothes only to then not use them – especially when I will then have to change clothes AGAIN to go into work. Why go through the hassle of changing two times in the morning if I’m not going to do anything with it?
Step 3: I don’t have to work out hard or for a long period of time, I just need to do something.
So now that I’m awake a little bit and dressed, I’m not dreading exercise as much, but maybe I’m not feeling like running for a whole hour. Okay, well how about a walk? How about running for ten minutes? Just get out the door and DO SOMETHING. Usually, once I’m out there, extending the length of time is easy – I get the momentum going. Or if I’m walking, I realize how much longer it takes me to cover the same distance, and so I start to run. Sometimes I don’t, and sometimes I end the route at a shorter distance than I intended. But at that point, what I’m doing is gravy. A month ago I was sleeping through my alarm. Now I’ve run for 30 minutes! Victory!
So far I’m about two weeks into it. The more I practice the habit, the easier it gets. With practice, it transforms from ZOMG THIS HABIT I’M DOING THAT’S A HUGE CHANGE into Hey, This Is Just What I Do.