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Walking to the Sky

Just a Very Small Change

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Chasqui (Luis Tamayo)

I guess that’s really what makes a good resolution.  A small change.  Not a huge overhaul of your life, but a slight adjustment, a minor activity that, when repeated over and over, makes a significant improvement in your life.

At the beginning of July, I started a new walking program.  I decided that instead of sitting at my computer after dinner, first, I would go for a walk.  I put no other parameters on my walk.  Just get up from the table, put on my walking shoes (tennies) and head out.

Depending on what’s gone on that day, I may or may not take the dog.  As much as I love her, she spends way too much time sniffing all the pmail.  She saunters and my natural walk is to get and keep moving.  If I have to drag her after me, I just get annoyed and I can get annoyed enough all by myself – I don’t need her help to get p’ed off.

A Surprise

All day long, I eat in a controlled way.  I take breakfast, snacks, lunch, and afternoon snacks all with me.  None of this is huge, but one of the things I’ve been concentrating on is to not get too hungry.  This works right up until dinner.  By the time I get home, I am usually famished.  This results in me eating a “hearty” dinner.  In other words, I probably don’t stop when I should because my “Full” meter is slow to catch up with my ability to eat.  (Salad slows me down, but not much else does.)

Then, I do what I’m supposed to – I get out and walk.  But, guess what, I’m overly full and I can’t really breathe deeply because I’m stuffed.  You know the feeling.

Well… wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, I’ve started cutting back just a little bit on dinner.  I’m not trying to “be healthier.”  I’m trying to walk easier.  And, this little bit of walking results in a little bit less food consumed at dinner.  Hmmmm…

And More Surprises

I’d like to take credit for this brilliant idea, but, in fairness, I have to give credit to [amazon-product text=”The Power of Habit” type=”text”]1400069289[/amazon-product] by Charles Duhigg.  He begins the book with the story of a woman who decided to stop smoking, and, as the result of that decision changes much of her life without ever really choosing to.

She quit smoking.  As a result she also:

  • Began to run.
  • Ran marathons.
  • Ate more healthy food.
  • Paid off her debt.
  • Got and kept a job for the first time in her adult life.

And all she had decided initially was that she wanted to quit smoking.

What did I do?  I had been walking but the longer I’ve been in my current job, the less I walked.  I had all kinds of excuses.  I’ve got two hours less per day available in my discretionary time during the week because of the commute.  It’s 20° hotter where I work than where I live.  There is NO WAY that I can walk during lunch and be comfortable working in the afternoon.  It’s just too hot.

But, I decided that I could carve out 30-40 minutes after dinner, IF I got home early enough.  And, that’s what I do.  I go out from the hot house into the cool evening and I walk.  It means that I can be more functional when I am in front of the computer after my walk.  And the side benefit is that there have been consequences.

I can already feel my level of fitness improving.  That says a lot for something I’ve been doing less than three weeks.

I have more energy.  Initially, it was hard to get up and out.  Now, I look forward to it.  It’s a chance for me to listen to a book.  It’s usually cooler outdoors than in and I feel more optimistic.

I started walking at lunch.  I eat my lunch and relax over my book.  Then, I walk around the 2nd floor inside the building.  Sometimes I circle once and sometimes I circle twice.  Each circle takes about 5-10 minutes.  As I started doing this, I’ve noticed I’m not the only one doing it.  I pass other people in their tennies, listening to music or whatever.

I’ve found the energy to start new projects.  This seems absurd to me, but taking 30-45 minutes out of my day has resulted in me feeling like I have more time.  The math doesn’t seem to work, but, at the very least I’m getting more done.

There you have it.  I made a small change and it seems to be reaping big rewards.  The most significant reward I’m getting is that I feel more in control.  I don’t feel like a victim of my life anymore.  I feel like a victor.  It’s a nice change.

So, think about it.  Is there a small change you could make?  It might make a big difference.

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