See that girl up there? The one in the yellow? The one blowing the bubble instead of werkin’ the bubble?
That’s me, most days of my life.
Change is hard, man. And the older you get, the more you need it. Not just “I really need a new pair of sling backs” need, either. I’m talking the “I really need to get my blood pressure down” need. At some point, whether you think you look good or not, you realize that your body isn’t going to run itself. More over, if you don’t start running it, and doing so intentionally, it’s going to start running you.
And as someone who turns really red when she starts exercising again for the first time in months, I can assure you, the later ain’t very pretty.
I’ve been a long time advocate of the “oh, I don’t work out” lifestyle. Why? Because I don’t work out. Because I’d rather be shopping. Or drinking coffee. Or eating croissants. Or watching re-runs of Gossip Girl. Or scrolling through blogs. Or moving apartments. Or anything else. Because up until this point in my life, my body has been doing a fine job running itself. On the outside, anyway.
Things are starting to fall apart a little bit, though.
For example, it takes me like, 7 months to lose 2 pounds. I’m getting headaches. I can no longer do the splits the middle way. It’s horrible. I feel like I’m losing control of the body I’m living in. It’s an awful feeling. Just because my pants still fit doesn’t mean I’m doing it right.
So, the age old question: how does one go from being a basically sedentary pizza and wine addict to being a babe — on the inside, and out?
I have a pretty good idea . . .
1 // Start.
But actually, not just “duh.”
I had a really off day on Tuesday. It was long (11 hours at the office long), I was multi-tasking in a way that actually made me feel counter-productive, I had forgotten my lunch (and breakfast, and dinner) so had devoured like, 42 chocolate-mint Girl Guide cookies, and I had spent way too much time slouching over a computer screen. I wasn’t feeling well. In fact, I was feeling down-right horrible. I scoured Pinterest and Insta and Facebook (FYI, Facebook should never make the cut when you’re trying to distract yourself from feeling gross), and eventually even Tumblr trying to find some advice.
After looking at enough “inspiring” Nike ads, I sucked up the cold, hard truth. Sure, I could wait until tomorrow to start “fresh” — but I could also stop making terrible choices right now. This very moment. I could pour out my 7PM coffee and make some green tea. I could walk part way home instead of taking transit. I could smile in the face of stress, & when I [finally] got home, I could have a long, hot shower and go to bed nice and early so I was ready to wake up at 6 to go for that jog I was regretting missing.
You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to start. You can, however small, start right this very second.
2 // Follow through.
When I set my alarm for 5:45am I was happy about it.
Not happy because I’m sick in the head, but happy because if I did manage to follow through, I’d be pleased with myself. Because Wednesday would immediately be better than Tuesday. Now — I’m only human — I hit snooze twice. But at 6:45am, which is much more reasonable anyway, I got up. I got dressed. I didn’t bother brushing my teeth — because you’re a liar if you say you do that before going for your morning work out — and I followed through with what I said I was going to do yesterday.
When I got home, I felt amazing. It was 7:30am, I had already sweat my butt off, and I had already Instagramed. I didn’t care what else happened that day, I was on top of it.
When you follow through with the promises you make yourself, you begin to feel more in control of your life.
3 // Follow up.
Just because you did it once doesn’t make you a pro.
Trust me, all you need to do is ask some select girlfriends of mine how well I parallel park to know that even though I’ve done it once or twice, doesn’t mean I can always nail it. In fact, 95% of the time I do every single thing except nail it. Just because I ran today — just because I drank a lot of water, ate 12 fewer Girl Guide cookies, was kind to myself and didn’t over do the espresso — doesn’t mean I don’t have to do it again tomorrow. The more we do these things, the better we’ll feel. Imagine how you’d feel in a month! In a year!
Your body isn’t a one hit wonder — it’s Elton John. Keep it coming.
I’m not going to go from zero to hero in a matter of seconds — if only it were that easy!
But by changing the way I see success, by taking pleasure in the journey, by being kind to myself when I fall off the wagon and — heaven forbid — sleep in until 7:30am, I’ll get there. And so will you.
Where do you need to make changes in your life? Can you use the same steps?
Answer: yes, yes you can.
Start. Follow through. Follow up. Repeat.