Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Change Challenge

A bit more than a year ago, I decided to start exercising as a way to reclaim my physical health. I committed to doing crunches, push-ups, and running. More workout details will follow when I need a quick and easy blog entry, but the structure of the regimen is not the point today. The point is the essence of the big challenge.

I find it easy to make a big change in my life. I can go from slovenly to neat, from fast-fooding to fat-free, or from uninformed to totally in-the-know. My problem is maintaining the change. Big change for a short period of time is easy. Small, sustained change is hard. Making the transition from "I'm gonna do this" to "I'm gonna keep doing this" is not easy for me.

My runs are neither fast nor long, but I keep on doing them. I had to rest five times as I sauntered ("jog" would be an exaggeration) for that first mile last year. It was pretty sad. Over the course of the next weeks and months, I gradually took fewer and fewer breaks en route to finishing my mile and then a bit more than a mile. By keeping at it for weeks and months on end, I have worked my way up to running a few miles without resting. This past year, I have set a low bar for myself, but have doggedly stuck to it. I don't run on consecutive days. I don't run when I am hurt. I don't run far. The bar is low and really unimpressive, but attainable.

Eating better is even tougher for me than the exercise and the holidays make it a fair bit tougher. At this time of year, I am reminded of a man I know who quit smoking cold turkey. I once mentioned how amazed I was that he could quit while his wife, sister-in-law, and her husband all kept right on puffing away like chimneys. He told me that he craves a cigarette every single day, but keeps on resisting because his health depends on it. Like him, I resist stuffing large quantities of unhealthy food down my gullet because I must, but every day I go past the vending machine in the office (offering everything from Ho Ho's to glazed cinnamon buns to Pop Tarts all for just a quarter), it is a struggle.

One day at a time.

BTW: I can resist the vending machine, but if The Wife's chocolate chip cookies are wrong, I don't want to be right.

The Renovation
Herb (the electrician) made it in. This was impressive and quite a relief. He's been really great and we are glad that we finally have real switches for the lights instead of having to plug in the big, nasty cable that was jerry-rigged straight to the wiring. There is also under-cabinet lighting as well as recessed lights over the peninsula. The sink and faucet are hooked up and functional. The granite guys didn't drill holes for attaching the dishwasher, so Doug called them up and will have them come fix that. The cabinets have pulls, so that's nice.

Tomorrow: We are still waiting on one more upper cabinet, so maybe it will arrive and be installed tomorrow.

The Day
  • Workout: slow, short (3-mile) run on very scenic, snowy paths
  • Music: Dido, Chicago, Beethoven, Maynard Ferguson

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