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Just Start

by on March 28, 2013

The hardest part of the day is is often the act of simply getting out of the bed in the morning.  The snooze button’s promise of those 8 extra minutes of sleep is often too alluring to resist.  But after a few presses of that beautiful rectangular button, I inevitably drag my carcass out of bed, and the day typically gets easier from there.  I get some coffee and a shower, and all of a sudden I’m ready to face the day.  It wasn’t so hard after all, but the next day will almost certainly bring the same routine.

Our lives are filled with these routines.  Making sure that your e-mail inbox is empty when you leave work on Friday afternoon, checking in with your extended family or in-laws once in a while, or making sure you write at least 1500 words a week for your blog are all examples of routines that can be tedious and painstaking.  Yet we still do them.  We do them because we like the results.  We like having the freedom of a care-free weekend, knowing that our work for the week has been done.

We endure all kinds of small unpleasant routines because they make our lives simpler, happier, and healthier.  But we tend to get stuck in our routines, and find it tough to start and maintain new ones, or to stop doing the unproductive ones.  I often find myself thinking my way out of a new routine before I even start it.  “I can’t work out after work because then I’ll have no time to play with my son before dinner, and I can’t work out during lunch because it takes too long, and I can’t work out before work because I have to get my son to school… Ah, screw it!”  I have found that the best way to get into a routine is to just start: Stop thinking, start acting.

We all know the cliche about a journey of a thousand miles.  We all know that a novel is written one word at a time, and that a building is constructed brick by brick.  But we’re not going to walk that road, or write that novel, or build that building until we take that first step, pick up that pen, or mix up that mortar.  That’s what I’m doing, both with my fitness, and with my writing.  I have taken the first step.  And like waking up in the morning, that first step is the hardest.  freightrn

It takes an incredible amount of energy to get a freight train moving.  The engine works hard to get it up to speed.  Once the train is moving, however, it takes considerably less energy to maintain its speed.  The freight train of my personal health and fitness has left the station.  And my engine is working overtime to get up to cruising speed.  But without that first chug, I’d still be sitting at the station, watching the other trains roll past me.

I encourage anyone who reads this to just start something.  Stop planning, stop thinking, stop hemming and hawing, and just start.  Whatever routine you want to add to your life, whatever goal you may have–just give it a try.  It won’t hurt–unless you’re starting to exercise after a long period of not exercising–that’s going to hurt.  God, does it hurt.  But in a good way!

I’d love to read some of your experiences with getting started on a new routine.  What did you use as a catalyst?  What about your false starts and failures?



From → Get Moving

One Comment
  1. Regarding false starts and failures, I find I do better when I recognize that those are going to happen. I may take a step back. I may find I’ve gained pounds instead of losing. I might discover I can’t hit the speed, duration, distance, or weight I meant to achieve. That’s ok, so long as I do not give up. When I find I took a wrong turn, I don’t give up and keep driving the wrong way. I realize it and turn back around.

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