Lately what I’ve observed most about peole who “intend” to get fit — the Intenders — is that they haven’t committed to making a change. What is a productive way to start thinking about how to put this essential back into our lives?
Was it already there at some point?
Oh , yes! Just look at children. Where do they get their energy, we ask? It comes from their human condition. Somewhere in the not-so-distant past, when we grew up, we just took that childhood energy and put it to work for ourselves — in fields, forests, rivers — wherever it was we found our daily bread. Now we convert that “go power” to mental energy to do other work we love — at desks, in buildings, behind steering wheels of all sorts. It’s not a bad trade. But no one told our bodies we’d made that transfer!
Today’s focus (and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrrow, creeping into our petty pace if we will just let it) combines what we know about habit forming with what we know for certain about our bodies’ enduring needs for movement. You’ve read your Napolean Hill. You know that to develop a new habit it takes 21 days of consistently performing the new action. Sometimes we do this unconsciouly – and end up with a bad habit. Sometimes we unleash the mighty power of our will and consiously go after a new, beneficial habit. Here’s how to do that in order to put fitness back into your life:
Set your alarm clock for five minutes earlier! No more, no less. Faithfully get up five minutes earlier and instantly do something! You can begin with sets of toe raises. It’s easy. Stand all tucked in — you know, abs tight, shoulders down, tail slightly tucked under and forward. Hold lightly on to the side of the dressser or bed post (you just got up, remember?). Standing on your right foot, place your left foot hooked slightly behind your right heel. Gently raise up on the ball of your right foot — with control both up and down. Repeat twelve times, slowly. Switch legs. How many slow sets can you fit into five minutes? (I’d be curious, actually. My number is surprisingly low if I do it with intention.
That’s it! You have now made a beginning. And from there you build. Back to the future one might say. Recapture that childhood energy to harness how you will — five minutes at a time.