The Independent

Discipline and momentum

As February quickly wanes, those New Year’s resolutions seem pretty far away. And yet, moving from sedentary to active requires discipline and ongoing work.

Last week I had what people like to call “cheat days.” I don’t think of it that way, but they are still days when the lofty goals I’ve set for myself, chiefly around exercise and diet, go by the wayside. Sometimes that means exercise goes out the window, or perhaps my ongoing love affair with cake raises its head for a birthday or other celebration. There will always be something to disrupt my routine. Always.

Last week, I traded in working out for just working, as I did the delivery route for this newspaper. For whatever reason, the bottoms of every single box had been stuffed full of newspapers—and it was up to me to clean up the mess. Being the boss does have its ups and downs, after all.

It took me two days to finish the delivery route. We take the papers all around the East Mountains and Estancia Valley, a route about 150 miles long—and that’s after picking up the press run from The New Mexican in Santa Fe. Over the course of that route, it is necessary to get in and out of the car dozens of times, bending, lifting, standing, sitting, and then doing it all over and over again for two days straight.

I logged more than 10 miles walking in those two days, and my fitness tracker was also convinced I had climbed many flights of stairs. I did not, but all of that getting up and down got logged in as stairs by the tracker’s altimeter. What I did know without a shadow of a doubt was that I was working hard. And, side note: I noticed that I felt very much stronger than I had the last time I ran this route—last spring and early summer. My balance is better, and my arms and legs are a lot stronger. It feels good.

Still, between a funeral the week before and unexpected work for the newspaper this week, plus a jaunt up to Santa Fe to the Legislature with the New Mexico Press Association, my routine was out the window. Again. My routine is destroyed so regularly that the irregularity is actually part of my routine, if you can follow that twisted sentence.

Waking up today, Monday morning, after snow had fallen overnight, was tough. All I wanted in the dark of the early hours was to snuggle down into that warm bed forever. But an Edgewood fitness coach I know says, “Never miss a Monday!” I thought of her this morning as I argued myself out of my nice warm bed and hit my workout. I might have cussed her a little, in a dammit-you-are-right sort of way. Today it was weight lifting, which I picked because the workout was half an hour long, and because I love weight lifting. The whole thing was just about showing up for myself this morning.

I’ve made change at a snail’s pace, it sometimes seems to me, but I’m hoping that means the changes I’m making will be lasting. So this morning when I overcame my desire to snuggle down and instead jumped out of bed, put on my workout gear, and pumped some iron, it feels like a significant change. Far more often in my life I would have blown the workout (or said another way, myself) off and slept in for another hour.

I was thinking about momentum, and how much I’ve been getting done in recent weeks. I’ve made so much progress that I pulled out another pair of pants I was convinced would be skin-tight, only to discover they are a little loose. I’ve gotten exercise more days than I have slacked off, and whenever I do that for long enough, my body starts to change.

My old pattern would then have me fall off the wagon—landing squarely on my head—for a couple of months of backsliding and losing progress, before picking up the pieces and starting again. That’s actually my new old pattern. My old old pattern would have me give up for a year or more. This time around, I really want to keep that momentum going.

It is already time for the first events in the Torrance County 50+ Games—with track and field ready to bite my hindquarters in just a few short months! No time for slacking now. I’ll see you on the track.

Have you lost momentum or are you crushing your New Year’s goals? You can contact me at leota@lobo.net or 505-286-1212, or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!”