I was eavesdropping on a conversation Friday between two women encouraging each other to be more active. They kept gently reminding each other not to get overwhelmed with the big picture; ‘start small’ they kept telling each other. They were casting around for ideas on how exactly to start with something they could do now, maintain, enjoy and build on…
They got rolling with some great ideas…
I really enjoyed their conversation. And TOTALLY had to fight the urge to just jump in uninvited! 🙂
Think about watching a child learning to walk….
They crawl. They pull themselves up on things so they can stand, assisted. Then they attempt to let go… Halting, uncertain, determined focus. Throw in a few temper tantrums. Plenty of falling down and getting back up. Countless failed attempts.
BUT, they will NOT give up.
Then ONE step finally leads to two and… before you know it… they’re off and running with abandon. 🙂
Liz, one of my best friends, sent me this note, when I asked her for some feedback on my blog.
“You told me you got started with more exercise just by parking far away at work.
I think that’s a fantastic tip/story for your readers. Where did you get the idea? How many more steps did you get in?
You’ve come a long way from getting your exercise by walking to your car.
Show your readers just how slow you started.
Baby steps.” — Liz
Three and half years ago I was taking lots of baby steps.
They genuinely felt like HUGE, monster steps to me! But they were actually just the right/bite-sized pieces needed to get to the much bigger goal.
I was down to 285 pounds from a high of 392. I was taking 3 shots a day. Handfuls of pills. Walking in from my car to my desk took genuine effort. To change all of that; I knew I had to take ALL of that stuff and break it down into small, tiny, manageable, must-not-panic-and-quit pieces. It was the only way I was ever going to get started with building a healthy lifestyle and being active.
So what were some of the first and small steps I took towards moving more?
- I parked farther away from my office. Grocery store. Mall. I no longer took the closest parking spots.
- I took the stairs EVEN when if it meant I showed up to a meeting with a sweaty head, red face and gasping for air. (I carried baby wipes and a bandana in my bag. No excuses.)
- I wore a pedometer every day and tried to hit 5,000 steps. Then 10,000. Then 15,000.
- I put on workout clothes and went for walks on purpose at least 3 days a week ON TOP of the 10,000 steps.
- I picked meeting spots that were as far away from my office as possible so I was required to walk. Given that I tend to cut timing close — it meant it was always a ‘brisk’ walk. 🙂
- I turned lunches/coffee meetings into walking meetings with willing and understanding coworkers.
Baby steps. Adding on a just a little at a time.
I often get asked how long my first run was – what was ‘my starting mileage’. I ALWAYS start by explaining that I walked for years. Literally. I walked. A lot. I walked faster, walked farther — I worked on walking before I ever tried to run a step. And when I ran? I wanted to be able to run between telephone poles. I made it across a driveway. My starting mileage was FEET. And I was PROUD OF THAT! (Still am to be honest!)
I abso-freaking-lutely walked a TON before I ever, ever tried to run.
Baby steps is what this whole adventure is really about. 🙂
What baby steps did you take when you were teaching yourself to make exercise a habit?!