Thursday, January 13, 2011

A change in perception

It is amazing how your perception of an activity can change over time. When I started going to the gym on a regular basis last January, I felt good if I made it 3 days a week, 30 minutes at a time. Now, I generally try to go to the gym every weekday for 45 minutes at the very minimum. The change didn't happen over night - it took months of dragging myself out of bed, of bickering with myself in my head about why I should just stay home, of making myself get on the elliptical machine. When simply showing up became routine, I found a new way to push myself, with a trainer. I still had days when I couldn't face the gym, but mostly, I made it. The important key here is that I did keep at it. Over time, as my body got stronger, as I felt the benefits of the regular practice, I came to crave my morning exercise, so that now, when it is 17 degrees in the morning, and staying cuddled down in my warm bed seems preferable, I get up without much of a struggle. Because I know I will feel better if I go, because I want to push myself, because I want to get stronger.

This is a good lesson to learn, and it is one that can only be learned through doing. No one can just tell you this, as I am doing, and magically make you believe it. You have to go out and do the thing that needs to be done to learn it in your bones. It works for anything: not a good reader? Just try to read a little bit more every day. Not a good cook? Try to make one thing a day, or one or two meals a week. Just try. Keep at it. Eventually, if you are committed to change, it will come. You'll be amazed at what can happen.

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