Small Bites Add Up – Tackling Exercise and Organization
Hi, my name is Amy, and I’m the poster girl for starting out strong and fizzling out fast. I start things with so much enthusiasm and organization. I have plans and charts and I put things in my calendar three years out. I get really excited and tell everybody what I’m doing. I overdo whatever it is because of my enthusiasm, and either hurt myself (through too much exercise too fast) or lose interest. Lather Rinse Repeat. For a couple of decades now.
The only way I’m ever going to overcome this horrible trait of mine is through…a big giant project that I will make charts for and plan out and get really excited about!!
No, no, no, I kid. The only way I’m ever going to get over this is with small, sustainable changes. Tiny steps. Doable, bite-sized projects that I don’t need to sweep everything else off of my schedule for.
The first thing on my to-do list to tackle is exercise. Every time I start an exercise program, I do my research and determine certain (often contradictory) things:
- A woman my age needs to exercise for half an hour a day just to keep up with my slowing metabolism. If I want to actually lose weight, I have to increase that to an hour a day. And that doesn’t include warm-up, cool-down, stretching, figuring out which Netflix show I’m going to watch during my workout, etc.
- I need to exercise in the morning, which is the time of day that will give me the most benefit.
- I need to exercise at the same time every day in order to get into a routine.
- I need to do weight training in order to build muscle and burn more calories.
- I need to do cardio in order to build my endurance.
- I need to exercise on an empty stomach in order to burn more fat during my workout.
- I need to eat a small breakfast right before working out.
- I need to eat a big breakfast, let it digest for an hour, and then work out.
Yeah. I can sustain all of that for maybe two days. On day three I’d be eating potato chips in my workout clothes and telling myself that I was born to be big and beautiful.
See, it’s really easy to get caught up in what we should ideally be doing instead of examining where we can fit in changes that we can live with. I have an exercise bike that faces a TV. I have hand weights. I can do ten minutes on the bike and then lift some weights and do some squats and not feel like I just scaled Everest and need to go back to bed. I’m not going to get a supermodel’s body that way, but frankly, having that kind of body while also being this smart and funny would just be too intimidating.
And I should do it when I have time to fit it in! Sometimes that’s in the morning, sometimes that’s before bed, sometimes that’s while my kids are pestering each other and I need to get away from them for a little while. Sure, lots of studies show that working out in the morning is better. But you know what’s even better than that? Actually working out.
The bottom line is, 20-25 minutes of exercise three days a week is something I can actually do, and it’s better than what I’ve been doing all winter, which is nothing.
I’m taking the same approach with my house. There are areas of my house that just get messy again no matter what I do. I could spend all of my energy hounding my family to keep those areas neat and tidy, or I could put the messes in baskets. A mess in a basket is no longer a mess, just by virtue of being in a basket. Baskets are the casseroles of home organization.
As good as everything being in its correct place? No. But since the maid has had the last 9,347 days off, this is better than crap collecting on tables and counters.
The piles of paperwork have been a bigger problem, because some of those need to be taken care of. So I divided them up into three piles: Do Now, Do Soon, and Scan. The scan pile was the biggest – papers that I can’t really get rid of, but can’t really take any action on right now (brochures for products I might write about, recipes I want to make, etc). Scanning them in and storing them on my computer took care of them without really taking care of them! I didn’t spend a ton of time on it – I didn’t even sort them into organized folders or anything. But I did make sure to give each one a descriptive title so that I can search for specific papers later. So much better than searching through piles of paper lying around my dining room!
Don’t get sucked into my world of “Do it right or don’t do it at all!” You know that old joke: How do you eat an elephant? One small bite at a time. Small bites of exercise and organization can really add up!