January 1st came and I started this whole 30-days-of-exercise, life-list thing with enthusiasm. I went for a run and felt alive. And I kept going day after day – I ran, I walked hard, I did yoga. I boot camped. And not once, for nine days straight, did I feel like I didn’t want to get some exercise. I wanted to get out there.
Then came day 10. On that day I was aware of the required exercise, not as a weight or an obligation but a question. What should I do? By all rights that day should have been a day for a “proper” workout, but I wasn’t feeling it. It didn’t happen during the day, and by 9:30 I was sitting down with a cup of tea, having almost forgotten that I still needed to do something. I certainly wasn’t going to break the streak after getting a third of the way through the 30 days, so I put the tea down and chose yoga. Jillian Michaels would have to wait for the next day.
It felt like a bit of a cop out, to be honest. And if I had planned it better I probably would have done some cardio or strength training. But maybe what my body needed — what I needed — was a day of being kind to myself. My hamstrings were still complaining loudly after boot camp on Day 7, and my back has been bothering me. (It’s a recurring thing unrelated to my recent bout of exercise.) I want to make yoga more of a regular practice and not something I just do when I’m signed up for a class, and it’s what felt doable that night. So that’s what I did.
And that’s what this whole thing is really about. It’s not about going hard core and busting my butt for 30 days in a row. It’s about getting out there. It’s about moving. It doesn’t matter how, necessarily. What matters is that I listen to myself.
Compilation of photos I’ve taken during or after workouts
For me, going for a walk every day wouldn’t feel like exercise, but to another it might. I already know I need the harder stuff – the stuff that really makes me sweat. I need to feel the sore muscles and chug the water to feel like I’m really doing something for my body. But I also need the balance. I need a walk in the sunshine, at a quick pace, to get some fresh air and appreciate my surroundings. That’s when I soak in the view. It’s when I really catch the rays of the sunset.
And I need the gentleness of yoga and the mindfulness it brings too. During my Day 10 session I felt my sore muscles giving, just a little. I felt the tension — brought both by boot camp and by life — starting to ease. But, even so, when I got to Shavasana, I felt myself wanting to get up. My tea called, mere seconds away from being warm again, and the quietness of the house suggested bedtime. But I didn’t listen.
Instead I listened to my shoulders and my back. I stayed on the floor and I let go. It was only for a few minutes, but that’s all that mattered.
Sometimes you just have to do it.
On Day 11 I fulfilled my promise to sweat with Jillian.
And so it continues.
Speaking of goals, one of the things I’m working on this year is getting more writing opportunities. (Related aside: Did you see that I’m now blogging for Huffington Post? SO excited about that.) In exchange for telling you about it, I was given a trial membership to Wealthy Web Writer, which is described as “the writer’s roadmap to making money online.” I’ve explored a few different writers’ sites like this, and the thing I like about this one is that, in addition to the usual tips and job listings, it features some very specific training (like the 3-Minute Guru videos that cover all sorts of things you might want to know how to do) and resources (like a Building Your Business section that addresses the things writers need to know but may not be instinctively good at). There’s a community aspect and they take suggestions for training. They also accept submissions (so, hey, another place you might be able to get paid for your writing).
Overall, I quite like this site and the people behind it seem genuinely helpful. That said, I’m hopeless at using things like this and tend to look for resources as I need them. If I were throwing myself 100% into freelance writing, though, this might be a very handy option.