Resistance is futile

“Shows a reluctance to move.”

I will give any excuse in the book not to exercise. It’s too windy, it’s too cold, let’s wait till the afternoon, by that time neither of us feel like it, it’s too hot. The tyres on the bike are flat. I don’t have anything to wear! I can’t find my pedometer! I used to be so active. I can’t believe this is what I have become. I don’t like it one bit. (I have a pedometer clipped onto my bra now so at least I can tell how many steps I do each day.)

Resistance is futile. This is what I told myself. I am going to exercise whether I like it or not. I have been walking five days a week. By walking I don’t mean power walking, I mean parking the car at the furthest spot in the car park. I mean going to two or three places and walking about and going home. I’m moving. We have been doing this for about a month and the effort is paying off. The fresh air, the forced interaction with people is pleasantly surprising.

Stationary Bike is next. So far three days in and going strong. Twenty minutes is where I am starting at and after a month I will see how I feel. Exercising as soon as I wake up lifts the guilt on will I or won’t I exercise. It’s done and out of the way. The act of exercising for me at the moment is not fun. It is a chore. It is something to do to get better physical and mental health. It seems to be working. If it only gets rid of the guilt that is more than enough.

“Shows a reluctance to continue despite…..” numerous attempts at walking and the cycling machine. I am back to square one again. I was trying to combine walking and cycling but I am back to just walking. Walking 4,000 steps is my daily goal. I read somewhere recently that if we change the word from “goal” to “promise” the intention becomes more personal and we have a greater determination to keep your promise. Do you agree?

My goal is to walk 4,000 step every day.

I promise to walk 4,000 steps every day.

or better still….
Does that really make a difference? If I wrote it down longhand, with paper and pen would it become even more personal and make an even greater difference? Does adding “I” into the sentence make a difference or is it the word “promise” that makes the difference? Or does it not matter at all? Some days I don’t feel like doing anything and other days I could walk forever. My best will not be the same each day. What I mean by that is on a good day the effort to walk 4,000 is so easy, yet on a reluctant day the number 4000 may seem unreachable. The effort for the good day will be less than on the bad day despite the number of steps being different. Just looking at the numbers doesn’t tell the whole story. Only I know my best. That being said the point is not to use up all your energy on a good day. Conserve your effort so that you may continue the next day. If you decide that you are doing so well you decide to walk 10,000 steps when your average is 4,000 steps then you can imagine that your body will be tired the next day. Isn’t it better to do 4,000 consistently instead of bursts of energy followed by inactivity?

Goal Setting
I am on the fence with goal setting. I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t see the point in making a resolution that will not be fulfilled. I used to write a long list of things on my list. But the disappointment of not completing the tasks became more than the reason for writing them in the first place.
However I do use a calendar and write down things to remember. I have to do lists. I am trying to set up a routine so that my habits become automatic. This is a work in progress. I think my goals may not be written specific enough. That’s why I am on the fence.

Personal Goals
 I let my imagination run wild and I come up with six cards. Now on these cards, hand written cards, I have a mentor’s photo and name written in the top left hand corner, and I write the goals on the right hand side. Each card represents a different aspect of my life. For example, Christine de Pizan (1364 – c. 1430) is one of my mentors. Yes, she may be dead but she inspires me. I still consider her a mentor or guide. It may be stretching the boundaries of the word mentor but that works for me. I also try to find female mentors where possible.

Write It Down
I write down what I would like to achieve. On paper my goals look great. They are grand ideas. They are good ideas. Some people say that you should write your goals down. I’ve done that. Others take it a step further and say you should verbalise your goals to others. This part I am not so sure if I agree with here.

To share or not to share your goals
If you state your goal out loud to someone then  you have an increased feeling of pressure. For some people that may be encouraging, for others it is a burden. You know when you announce that you are going to do something and then you don’t do it, you know the feeling when you are asked about it later, and you have to say, well actually I didn’t do it, or I didn’t finish it or I’m doing something else now. It embarrasses both the person asking and the person replying. I think after trial and error that stating goals on paper is better than verbalising. People have been known to cheat and bend their own rules in order to complete their goals. Results get made to fit the hypothesis. Sometimes the results should be surprising or unexpected. Only we know if we have completed out goals properly or not. I’m not sharing the goals on my cards for the very reasons I have mentioned.

Get Specific
But what happens if you are stuck on the journey and you don’t know how to proceed? Say a fork in the road, at a roundabout with multiple exits and you are without a road map or snowed in for the winter. That’s when it gets tricky. Maybe you wrote down a goal that wasn’t specific enough. Maybe you need to tweak your goal with more precise language.  This is when I think you need to break down the BIG GOAL into many little goals, or baby steps on the way. Maybe you need to add deadlines to your goal. Always review your goals. You may decide that your goal is no longer relevant to your life and it may no longer serve its purpose. Time to make a new one. Sometimes we may just need a reminder of what we wanted to do after becoming sidetracked with life.

Break It Down
My cards look great and already one mentor is going to be replaced. I need to find a replacement. I want to break the goal into smaller goals and set myself a time limit. I may have six cards but that doesn’t mean that I am chasing six tails. I am not juggling at the moment. I am with my feet up at the inn waiting on the snow to clear. Or I could get a shovel and start digging my way out. In order to do that I need a shovel, some wet weather gear, a thermos of hot tea and patience. I could have been digging daily so that the snow didn’t build up in the first place. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. I could just wait till spring and enjoy curling up with my kindle and watching the flames of the log-burner.

Even making a fire needs steps broken down.
What do you need? Newspaper, kindling, smaller logs, larger logs, matches, hand fan.
How do you build a fire up? Layers, newspaper, stack kindling on top of the newspaper, place the smaller logs on top of the kindling. Open the damper to allow maximum air into the log-burner. Light the newspaper in several spots. Close the door of the log-burner. Wait for the kindling to catch fire. Wave the hand fan if needed. Add larger logs once the smaller logs are well lit. Add logs as needed.

Writing out the steps to achieve your goals makes achieving them manageable and it allows you to SEE how to get there. If one way doesn’t work, try a different route for your steps.

Prioritise Your Steps
This is a challenge for me sometimes, priority. It is easier to do low priority stuff than high priority usually. But if we break down the high priority tasks into smaller tasks then the tasks will appear more manageable and less daunting. Working out how to tackle a plan can make a difference between starting or abandoning it.

Visualise Your Goal
Try having a Photoshopped finished goal for your desk if appropriate. For example: Photoshop yourself recieving a prize for your artwork. Superimpose your artwork onto the winning frame and Photoshop yourself into the recipriants body.

I do not multitask. I think it allows you to do all things poorly. I would rather do one thing at a time and one thing well. It helps with concentration. However sometimes it is better to do something poorly than never have tried though. Life is never black and white, it tends to be a lot of gray.

Reaching a Goal
When we reach a goal we can sometimes feel elation followed by deflation. While on the journey we can see where we will end up but not how. Once we have reached “there” we have nowhere to go next. It’s a bit like getting to end of a good book. Satisfied, disappointed yet a little bit of angry that there are no more pages to read. Selfish thoughts really. That is where the next goal comes into play. And the race is off again and the journey to reach the next goal.

To Do Lists
I think I have given myself enough work to do with getting back on track with my goal cards. I wrote the steps down and saved them onto my computer. What the file name is, I have no idea, well maybe some idea. Having a paperless room is great in theory but if it is anything like my floor at the moment I cannot see how I will be able to find things. I am yet to be paperless but I hope to be despite my reservations. Not being able to see the paper will be enough reward. My goals are not broken down well enough, time to address the problem. I think I have plenty to do.

Revisiting what I write down is important. I may need to rewrite the ideas again to feel it. I need reminders. I need prodding. I also need to remember that sometimes I slip back into bad habits. This is normal. Gently guiding myself back to the right path is needed constantly until the new good habit is formed. But again I slip again and again. Sometimes I don’t want direction and that’s okay. All in good time. Sometimes I need rest. Sometimes the goals are wrong too. Sometimes they need to be dropped. Deciding.  It’s part of life. Perfection is not. Perfection is in a sunset or a leaf. I’m looking for contentment and peace of mind.
And to be perfectly honest the exercise at the moment is not working as I had hoped. I am trying but it is like trying to get a cat into a bath. I am going to try walking with headphones.  So let’s say half an hour, 3 minutes a song, I need 10 songs with good tempo. What’s a good songs to walk to?

OK Go – Here It Goes Again

2 thoughts on “Resistance is futile

  1. Ha ha! Stop thinking / talking. Get a dog. Not a little lap/yap dog, but a working or sporting dog. They LOVE exercise and will soon have trained to go for walks. You will WANT TO go exercise after you realize how good it makes you feel. In the meantime it is good that you have begun…keep going.

    • I hate dogs. Okay that’s unfair. I I have had a dog in the past. Dogs and me don’t gel. Plus they smell terrible and dribble. In theory it is a good suggestion. Reality is another.
      I have walked myself today. 🙂
      Your advice to stop thinking/talking is an excellent one. Thank you. If only the voice in my head that belittles me would listen, but then I wouldn’t be in this ridiculous situation.
      Going out again later for a “headphones on” walk.

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