Thursday, January 6, 2011

Setting my mind to it~

Here it is again. That turning point called the NEW YEAR, the start of which is considered a perfect moment to try, try again to do whatever it was you’d vowed to do at the start of last year, but failed to maintain for 365 days.

Why is it so hard to stick to goals? Especially when they are good for you? And even when you really WANT to stick to them?

I don’t know.

When I was slim and trim (and young), exercise was a reward in itself. I loved the relaxed feeling after working up a sweat in an aerobics class, the feeling of power after weight training, the slim, trim body with defined muscles. I exercised routinely for years and years.

Then, when I was forty-six, I had some minor surgery and had to stop working-out for a while. I discovered how nice it was to come straight home from work and sit with a cup of tea and the newspaper. Somehow I never got back into consistent daily exercise. I'd start and stop, start and stop, with longer and longer times before I started again.

After I retired, I determined to get back into shape. I searched for something that would keep me invested, even when results were not immediate as they were in the days when I could skip lunch and lose five pounds. I thought I'd found it.

When Chicken Soup for the Soul sought essays--true stories by men and women who found a way to make diet or exercise work for them--I wrote up my tale and sent it in.  It was accepted, and SHAPING the NEW YOU was published more than a year later.

When my copies arrived in the mail recently, my husband read my story. Then he looked at me and asked, “Is this true?”

“Yes, it’s true,” I said, somewhat indignantly.

“I don’t remember you going to the gym,” he said.

“Well, I did.”

It can take more than a year from submission of an essay to publication of the book, and although I’d been exercising consistently at the Y, sometime in that pre-publication period, I’d quit.  Again!

My husband asked, “Why did you stop going?”

I don’t know.

I need to let the memory of a formerly buff body fall by the wayside, and view exercise as a health insurance policy. Keeping my bones and heart strong, getting rid of evil belly fat should be front and center. I won’t ever look twenty again, or forty for that matter, but I can set a plan in motion that will keep me in good health.  But how do I jump-start the desire to do what it will take?

I don’t know.

“You just set your mind to it and do it,” says my husband.

But my mind doesn’t set so well any more. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What I need is someone to make me do what I can.”

Now who would do that?

I don’t know.

Actually, I do. Me. Who else?


Pauline said...

I would if I could but I can't so I don't - that's pretty much my take on carrying out resolutions or making it to goals I've set, especially weight goals. I don't know either why I can't "make myself" do things that are good for me. I just don't, telling myself I can't. Self pep talks take me only so far. Engaging friends to help inevitable fails. Right now I've taken to sipping water whenever the desire to put something in my mouth overwhelms me and taking a walk whenever I am plagued by the munchies. Getting a severe case of the stomach flu helped too, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Alice Folkart said...

Ah, Ruth - an oft told tale. It should ring bells in many heads. I followed the same pattern and here I am paying my dues at the Y, but never going. I walk every day and hope that that's enough. I swam (past tense)and keep meaning to get back to it. And I don't even have 'weather' to contend with. Yes, there comes a point . . . I'm sure that your bit of Chicken Soup for the Soul will give many others comfort.


Ruth D~ said...

Nice to have guests at this party who experience the same thing. :>)

Wanda said...

Story of my life, however I never got it published....HaHa

You are so special Ruth, your charm, your wit, your talent for writing. I love how I feel like I'm sitting on your couch with a cup of tea, listening to your stories.

Love and Hug for both of us in having a Healthy New Year,.

Wanda ~

deanna said...

Congratulations, Ruth, on the publication! I think I submitted to that book and didn't make it in, so though I exercise somewhat regularly, I fall short in writing for Chicken Soup folks. I guess we're all working toward something that does or doesn't work from time to time, and that's reality. Anyway, I love how you put life into words. :o)

Karna said...

Hi Ruth. I walk once a week -- to socialize! And only during the school year :) Exercising is much over-rated; a cup of tea is much better. Happy New Year!

sc morgan said...

Nice piece, Ruth, and nice to see you blogging again. No, we will never look 20 again but we do the best we can. Seems unfair to me that we have to work harder the older we get to keep all that flesh in (sort of) the right place. ;-)

Montana Scribbler said...

If I could jump start myself and stay motivated I'd gladly share my secret. Congratulations on your Chicken Soup sale! Cash the check ~~ and enjoy another cup of tea. Mona :)