Easing on into it

Monday, January 20, 2014

Confession: I am just like everyone else. In fact, I am so much like everyone else that I'm going to describe a situation below and you're immediately going to start nodding in an emphatic way because you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Here goes.

It's a brand new day. It's the day you decided you're going to change the entire world. It'd the day you're going to try something new. It's going to be AMAZING. In fact, you go out hard and fast and you work so very hard at doing what you planned that by the end of the day you feel blissfully exhausted that you've done so much to accomplish your goals.

Then the next day comes and you attack it again - you're a little bit tired from the day before; but, through sheer strength of will and perseverance you attack your goals and accomplish everything you can - even on a half empty tank.

Three days. Four days. Maybe a week. After a few days you've exhausted your resolve. You've pushed too hard and dove too deep. Suddenly, well, you can't swim anymore. You can't do anything anymore. Suddenly, well, you just don't feel like you can get anywhere.

There are three things that make a difference when it comes to making a behavioral change stick.

First, there is the need for allies and cheer-squads. There's a need for support.

Second, there is a need for restraint. You have to be willing to play the long game.

Third, there is a need to be realistic. The goals you set must be attainable and your plans to meet them must fall under the second guide of restraint.

I went out for a run on Thursday night with the running club - after my usual three mile loop you could have easily convinced me I ran a half marathon. I was soooo sore. I was also kind of disappointed with myself for the amount of struggling I did. And then, well, I reminded myself of the above.

No, I can't go out and run three miles without a stitch of training and expect not to feel it after. No, I can't magically expect to be able to run my planned half-marathon in may without putting in the miles.

I'm easing into this. Getting back into not only the habit of blogging, tracking, and running is taking a fair amount of focus; but, that's okay. It's okay for things to be bumpy, nobody learned how to run before they learned how to walk and without a few tumbles.

Here's my question to you, Sparklers: What have you thrown yourself into only to realize you need to pull back in order to make it stick?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your commentary is VERY WISE. I've learned to ease into these changes that require physical stamina, but that's because I've paid the piper in the past. Example:

    I used to ride a bike everywhere - didn't even own a car - so I decided to start riding a bike the three miles to work and home again. HOWEVER - it has been a good 30 plus years since I did that bike as transit routine and I now live on a hill that is pretty steep above the bike trail I need to use. I ride my bike, but not great distances. I am not a competitive type bicycle rider. Without doing any serious tuning up on my bicycling stamina, I decided to ride my bike to work. WRONG! I hit a pothole, fell and scraped my knee bloody, went home with the bike and took the bus to work. Life got in the way and I haven't tried to take my bike to work since.
    2719 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6892401
    I like your first, second and third comments. If you over exercise without a rest day, you risk burning out or getting injured. We all want to so desperately to stay on track, but we do have to take rest/light days. I like to call them "active rest days" just to point out that I am doing it on purpose and it is part of the long term plan!
    2742 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/20/2014 7:06:59 PM
  • TIGER_LILY_613
    So. Many. Times.

    There was the 2-month stint of doing an hour of cardio 3 times a day. And the time I ate only salads for weeks. Or the time I took 3 dance classes the same day and had to limp home .... Each time I was so desperate to lose weight that I threw myself in full-throttle, and got completely burnt out.

    I'm a full supporter of small steps now. They're easier to start, easier to maintain, and it's a healthier approach over all emoticon

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing this ! emoticon
    2742 days ago
    Since I am inherently lazy (just ask my step-mom!) I have never gone full tilt into weight loss, but I have definitely gone full tilt into other things only to burn myself out and never do it again, or not do it for a long time. (Sewing costumes for the Renaissance Faire for instance. I spend 2 hardcore months going crazy then I don't touch my machine for the rest of the year!)
    2742 days ago

    I do push myself but I have learned to back off and rest. If I don't my arthritic hip will remind me that it was not a prudent move on my part. I basically aim for 3 exercise sessions a week and feel good about them. If I do more, I feel even better. Sounds like you are on a good path! emoticon
    2742 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13370898
    You make a great point about not jumping in too fast. It sounds like you've got your head in a good place right now, seeing that you need to pace yourself.

    Good luck with your half marathon training!
    2742 days ago
    I learn to listen to my body, if it hurt I know to pulled back. emoticon
    2742 days ago
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