Each month in 2014, I'm attempting either to make or break a habit. In January I gave up all shopping, in February I tried to exercise every day for 30 minutes. At the end of this post I announce what I'm giving up in March.
As soon as I formulated the Make or Break Habits for 2014, I knew that exercise had to be one of the challenges. I started to dread it even before I started the year. I decided to get it out of the way early and I chose the shortest month of the year just to shave off a few days of stupid physical activity.
The challenge was to spend 30 minutes a day exercising. Three and a half weeks into the most physical exercise I’ve had as an adult, I’m here to tell you that all the cliches are true.
- I feel better. My mood has improved, my anxiety has ebbed, I’ve slept harder, and I have more energy. I sort of thought all those things were a myth.
- I look better. I don’t weigh myself, but my clothes feel better and my skin looks more clear. Exercise isn’t the only factor in this, of course, but not much else changed. I didn’t really alter my eating habits. The blood pumping through the veins brings my face a little color. And yes, I even feel sexier.
- I don’t hate it anymore. I dreaded it every single day until about day 13 and something just clicked. I sort of liked it. Then I sort of craved it. No one is more surprised by this than I am.
I definitely do better at some things than others. I am flabbergasted that I prefer the elliptical to walking outside. I like being outside (and all of my outdoor walks were pushing a stroller filled with Pirate), but I’m more consistent in pace and the time goes more quickly when I’m at my house with trashy tv on. I’ve started to like the elliptical so much that I’m going faster and sweating a lot more than I did when I started.
Classes are good for me and break up the monotony. I found both a yoga class and a pilates class that I really like. And I was going with a friend, which made it fun. I didn’t get a chance to try some of the things I wanted to, but I still will. It’s only been a few weeks, after all. What I wanted to happen, happened: I (hopefully) created a habit that I want to stick to.
As I lamented on facebook at the beginning, the hardest part of the whole exercise challenge wasn’t the actual physical activity, but finding time for it in the schedule. 30 minutes of exercise can become 90 minutes once you factor in drive time and a shower afterwards. Some days I got up early or went to an evening class, but other times I had to wait until my daughter went to school or I had someone to watch Pirate. Since this happens mid-morning, by the time I was done exercising and sitting down to work, it was noon. This was a major wrench in my regular day. I’m still figuring it all out, but this is where the home elliptical comes in handy. It’s much easier to steal 30 minutes upstairs than any other way.
So, I did it. Well, almost. I missed a few more days than my set allowance. The days I missed were all do to schedule. If I was supposed to exercise at night, inevitably something came up. One night friends came over. One night we got last minute tickets to a game. Still, I’m okay with it. I genuinely feel like I gave it my best effort. I really, really want to keep this one going. Not every day, but most days. Four or five times a week.
Hold me to it?
As you might have read in the Secret Posts, my challenge for next month might be even harder than exercising every day. In March I’m going on a social media fast.
Social media is how I spend my day. Which is the problem. I love social media, and think it’s good and important for people from the most casual user to the way it’s changed news and information. But I’ve lost myself in it a bit. I spend way too much time on my personal facebook page and have lost hours to Instagram. Hours I needed.
I want to be really clear on something: I do not think social media is bad. It does not make me hate my neighbor. I have never experienced Pinterest depression. I definitely do not believe that an active social media life makes me a lesser parent, any more than any other mother in any other generation with distractions. I know there are whole blogs and books and posts dedicated to keeping moms off their phones, but that is not my message.
For me, a break from social media is about time. And also possibly about stillness. All the noise can be numbing, like a buzzing television in the background. What’s great about the internet (and tv) is that you can turn it off. (Unlike, say, the two little screaming people that live in my house.) But if you never turn it off, then the quiet gets further and further away.
I need to hug the quiet. I need to roll around naked in the quiet. Figuratively, of course.
This challenge will start on March 3 and go until April 3, instead of the first of the month. I’ll be tweeting from Bloggy Boot Camp this weekend and also live-tweeting (from my couch) the Oscars on Sunday. Throughout the month I’ll still be blogging, and my posts will automatically be linked on facebook and twitter if that’s the way you find new HH content. So I’ll be here, but I won’t be here. Or here. Or here.
This will take more will power than the last two challenges combined. You in?