Last night, I read Annette Gendler's blog post on taking walks. It made me admire her, made me feel more than a little guilty and also gave me some impetus to get back to regular walking for exercise.
For several years, I walked on a regular basis. I started when my doctor recommended that I try it to lower my blood pressure and to ease some of the arthritis misery I'd been having. It wasn't easy to establish the habit, but when I did, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed my walks. In the spring and summer, I walked early in the morning and switched to afternoons the other two seasons of the year. Even those winter walks became a pleasure if I dressed in the proper attire. If ice and snow made the walks too treacherous, I drove to the mall and walked inside. I didn't like it nearly as well but it kept the habit going.
I found that those solitary walks provided me with time to consider new story ideas. For some reason, they popped into my mind as I walked along the wooded trail not far from our house, much more easily than when I sat staring at my computer screen.
Many days, I spent time counting my blessings as I placed one foot in front of the other for about 45 minutes. Nothing is so spirit lifting as realizing how many truly good things there are in one's life. If I had a problem of some kind, the walking time allowed me to consider it from several angles and to sort it out. I also liked hearing birds trill, the stages of the trees and flowers along the walking trail and the sky that treated me to a new look every day.
I stopped walking when I had some health problems that made if difficult. Once the habit is broken, it's not so easy to get it back.Then came a time that I knew I needed to establish the habit again. I thought about it many times but I managed to assemble a long list of reasons that I wouldn't walk that day. I'd do it for 2 or 3 days in a row and enjoy it. Then, I'd miss a couple days and start in with the excuses again.I became an expert at finding reasons not to walk. Now, it's been longer than I even want to admit.
I know I'd feel better. I know that regular exercise is beneficial. I know that I might lose a pound or two if I start walking regularly. I know that it takes discipline to establish the habit once again. I don't want to wait and make it a New Year's Resolution. Instead, I'm going to try short walks to begin with and hope to work up to 45 minutes once again. This is probably a bad week to begin because arctic air is to keep us in its grip from Tuesday into the early part of next week. It could be a good excuse to wait and begin the following week, but....
We get away from writing on a regular basis sometimes, too. If we write a little every day, we've established a habit. It needn't be hours worth. Twenty minutes will do. One of the reasons I started this blog was to make myself write something five days a week. The more I did it, the easier it became. Stop writing for a week or two and guess what happens? It's a whole lot easier not to write on week 3 or 4 or 5 or... Have you ever said to yourself I've got to get back to writing? I think we've all done so at some time in our writing life.
It's hard work to establish a habit. It doesn't always happen in a flash. We need a goal. We need discipline. We need determination. We need to see the benefit it will bring to us.
So how about it? Do you have something you want to do on a regular basis but haven't accomplished it yet? I'm going to work on getting that daily walk back into my life. If I miss a day, or even two, I'm not going to talk myself out of walking the next day.