It’s February. I told myself I’d introduce my 2015 goals slowly so that I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and quit on them. It’s mostly worked and I feel like I’m making progress, except with the working out thing. Somehow I haven’t been able (willing?) to make it happen.
I talked about getting a pedometer so that I could track my steps. As it happens, though, I feel crazy doing laps from one end of the house to the other in order to up a step count. Then, too, I have no intention of going outside. That left me wondering whether I needed to splurge and purchase a machine like this. It’s always been my tried-and-true form of exercise in the past. I even owned one in India and used it every, single day.
I finally bit the bullet and bought one. Yesterday I got on it for the first time for ten minutes. Ten minutes was all it took for my bronchial tube to feel as tight as one of those coffee stirrers in a hospital cafeteria. When I finished my “workout” (I’d managed to log just over a mile), I was basically doing Lamaze to catch up on oxygen. My daughter looked at me and said, “Good job, Mom?” She seemed unsure whether to say more.
Now, ten minutes is nothing, right? Really almost not worth putting on my ancient running shoes for. And it was ten minutes of hurt, adding insult to shortness of breath. But the thing I’ve come to realize is this: all worthwhile achievements start out as little yesses that look like nothing much and hurt a little (or a lot).
So today I will get back on my machine. I will play my radio station on Pandora and set my timer for ten minutes again. I’ll do this for a week without lengthening the amount of time I work out. Next week, I’ll make it fifteen minutes, then twenty, until I’ve reached a length of time I think is beneficial. I’ve learned that the key to establishing better fitness is not to despise these early ten minute sessions, not to try to speed through them to get on the other side of a goal. They’re necessary to establish habit and endurance.
Maybe, in the end, 2015 is really about my learning to appreciate the wobbly, feeble beginnings of things, to keep saying little yesses, one day at a time. Because without beginnings there’s nowhere to go.
What about you? Do you find yourself hating the beginnings of new habits? Do you wish you could skip to the “this is easy” phase? How do you keep going when you aren’t there yet?