Today I began my next personal challenge, the “31 Days of Fitness Challenge”. My goal is simple, get at least 31 minutes of exercise every day for 31 days. It can be running, walking, lifting weights, yoga.. you get the picture. The key is to do something every day, until the habit forms and exercise becomes as common as eating lunch.
This is the biggest thing I’ve learned from the 30 Days of Blogging challenge. My intent was to become comfortable with writing and doing it until the habit forms and I can publish posts without waiting for them to be perfect. This did work, and I have no problem now releasing my inane ramblings out into the interweb, and some of them I’m surprised have been pretty well received!
But this experiment has had an additional effect. I’ve learned that when have set a goal, and you have installed a devise that will hold you accountable, you are going to meet that goal even on days you don’t feel up to the task. Not only has this writing challenge strengthened my blogging skills, but it has helped develop a stronger sense of determination.
I have written posts at 11:30 at night, when I was half asleep, when I was on the road and even on my lunch break at work, where I have wrote a post in an email and mailed it to myself. I even wrote possibly my best post ever last night, on what should have been one of the happiest nights of the year, but ended up being one of the saddest I have experienced in a long time
Sadly, I had to say goodbye to our family dog, who has been with us for close to 17 years. His health had deteriorated over the last few months, and last night my wife and I had to make the tough decision to have him put to sleep. All this on our 30th wedding anniversary. It was painful and gut wrenching and even now as I am writing this I need to pause in order to wipe the tears from my eyes. I know, some big tough guy I am, huh?
Even after all that, when we got home from the Veterinarian’s office I was able to gain my composure and pump out a 1000 word essay on one of the happiest days of my life, my wedding day. It was therapeutic in a way, since the memories of that wonderful day flooded my mind, and pushed away the pain of losing my puppy dog, even if only for a little while.
As I said though, the determination to reach my goal was stronger than the pain I had in my heart, and the result was I was able to write a piece that made me feel better, and even put a smile on my wife’s face, which was really my underlying motivation to write that in the first place.
Today, that same determination helped me to begin my 31 Days of Fitness Challenge. I felt like crap all day today. My eyes were puffy swollen from crying all night and even on my way into work, ( I know, I’m a wimp, but I really miss my dog ), and I Just felt like crap and the Excuse Fairy was on the job. She quickly convinced me that going to the gym tonight was a bad idea, given the way I felt, and as I got in my car, I almost had my mind made up that this new challenge was a stupid idea.
This is where the determination comes in. Determination that I’ve develeoped through this project. I had put out to my seven readers that I was going to do this, and I was not going to fail before I even began. I was depressed. That was the real issue. I needed to get 31 minutes of exercise and I happen to work in one of the most beautiful places in New England. I decided a hike in a scenic coastal park is just what I needed to do to start this challenge. So that’s what I did.
In retrospect, it was a wise decision. The walk boosted my mood dramatically, and it made me smile to remember all the hikes I had taken with my dog in the past. He really enjoyed being outdoors with us when he was younger and those memories really lifted my spirits.
Honestly, a good 1 hour hike was the best way to begin this, instead of hitting it hard the first day. In the end, it was the wisest choice I could have made, and day one of my challenge was in the books.
I have come to believe that determination is more than likely the key to success in anything we do, and it can be developed the more we use it.
If I can do it, so can you.