The third time in a week that I canceled my gym time with my daughter was the one that got my attention.
Now don’t get me wrong. I had good reasons all three times: feeling nauseous, I forgot, and blizzardy weather. Okay, I had a good reason twice. Still, the third time made me sit up and take notice. I am avoiding my workout.
This is a sticky spot for me.
That’s because when I feel down, I know that exercise will make me feel better.
When I feel unmotivated, I know that exercise will help me to feel motivated again—there’s nothing quite like getting the job done to make me feel like working.
When I am not meeting my workout goals, the simplest and most obvious thing to do to correct that is, you guessed it, to get some exercise.
I notice patterns; that’s one of the reasons my third cancellation struck me. It is starting to be a pattern.
Part of my old, bad, and unhelpful pattern was that when I would miss my diet and exercise goal for whatever reason, I would then spend a lot of time beating myself up about that. That beating-up time displaces other activities, like things that will make me feel better. Like getting some exercise. It seems like a neat little Catch-22.
I’ve been around that merry-go-round a million times, and I know exactly where it goes: Nowhere.
So where does that leave me now? I did not get any exercise yesterday, over the weekend, or last week. Today it’s my deadline day, meaning I’ll be at work tonight until the newspaper is finished and put to bed, late tonight. I don’t have time today to exercise, although I’m questioning that belief even as I type it out.
Tomorrow and the rest of this week will be the same. We are putting together a special section, and I’ll be working all weekend. I’ve got meetings to cover, stories to investigate, photo opps to shoot photos at. Thanksgiving to prepare for.
My old bad pattern would have been to blow off caring for myself right through the holiday season, then coming up with a great-sounding New Year’s Resolution to make it all better. That old pattern really didn’t work for the past 30 years, and I have no reason to think it would work now.
Also, my current challenge is to take care of myself. Diabetes doesn’t care about Thanksgiving or Christmas, and I really don’t want to be diabetic. That means I have to think about my health every day of the year, not just when it’s easy. When it’s hard is where the rubber hits the road.
Probably my biggest accomplishment over the past month has been not throwing all of my hard work out the window when I have not lived up to my own goals and expectations.
That seems like nothing, but it really is an accomplishment, and I’m still celebrating it. So for instance, today, I have my protein shake for supper and I have home-prepared meals for my lunches.
Have you ever seen the acrobats who balance spinning plates on the tops of tall poles? I feel like that a lot. I’ll be spinning along like crazy, when all of a sudden one of the plates starts to wobble. Quick! Run over there and stabilize that plate! Meanwhile, three more plates have started to wobble. You get the drift.
A few years ago I would have just let all the plates fall, telling myself a dismal tale while doing so: “It’s too hard. I don’t know how to do it. I’ll never get it right. I just can’t figure out how to make this work.”
Like any endeavor worth doing, this one requires a lot of effort. Put one foot in front of the other, and take a step. There’s a cute internet meme that says something about two steps forward and one step back being a cha-cha. My perception is very important here, because it determines how I will choose to react.
This is how: I will make time to make my health a priority. I am important enough to take care of. I deserve to be cared for. I am worthy of the best treatment I can give to myself. I love myself enough to keep working at it, even when it seems that work has been for nothing. My health and wellbeing is worth the effort.
What are your strategies for meeting your goals? I’d love to hear them. You can contact me at 505-286-1212, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!” And, as of just a few weeks ago, now you can read my column on our new website, edgewood.news.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at email@example.com.