But an idea came to me that I couldn’t shake. I stink at giving things up, but what if I added something instead? I’ve been doing a modest workout two or three times a week since last summer, but—full disclosure--I treat myself to a lot of days off. Could I set a goal to work out every day for the 40 days of Lent? ME? Every day?? That’s just crazy talk!
But I decided to give the crazy idea a try, the way you get into a cold pool—one toe at a time. I worked out two days in a row, then hey look, three days . . . hey look, five days . . . . I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want to make a dork out of myself when I gave up after a few days, nor did I want to seem like I was bragging, and I sure didn’t want anyone to expect me to drop 50 lbs. But here I am at Day 20. I’m halfway there! (Except that I just looked it up and NO, I’m not halfway there, because I’m an underachiever and can’t do math or count boxes on a calendar and Lent is actually 46 days this year! So I’m almost halfway there. Meh, close enough.)
A couple things you should know:
1. Do not expect any amazing weight loss stories here. They say you get fit in the gym and lose weight in the kitchen, and I’m still eating cheeseburgers and leftover Valentine candy. One goal at a time.
2. I’m not really doing this as a spiritual endeavor, just mostly as a way of committing to a time frame and marking a finish line. If I wanted to be fancy I’d say there’s a connection between caring for my physical health and my spiritual health, and developing discipline in either area can’t be bad. But I’m not that fancy. If I have any spiritual epiphanies I’ll let you know.
A couple things I’ve noticed:
1. Gyms are COMPLETELY different places at night than they are in the morning. I usually go early in the morning, but one day I missed my chance and went around 6 p.m. Huge mistake for an introvert. The place was full of people--sweaty muscle guys, girls in matchy-matchy outfits watching the guys, it was stinky, the music was loud and if my sister hadn’t been there I’d have left. I was panicky, and when my fight-or-flight response kicks in, I’m all about the flight. I much prefer the early mornings, with my old people in t-shirts and baggy sweats, professional-looking women who work out and then get ready for the office and leave looking perfect, and the most courageous group: the ones who look like their doctors scared them into going.
2. Just when I think I’ve created a rock-solid new habit, there comes a morning when I’ve slept badly or I’m just sick of winter and it would be easy to tell myself I deserve a break and it’s not like I’m going to make it to the goal anyway. Even this morning, knowing I intended to post this, I struggled with that voice: “It’s cold. It’s dark. There could be a bad guy in the parking lot. You don’t have to do this. Nobody will know you started and gave up.” But I’m happy to say that if I can just get vertical, my body clock says “let’s go” and I go. That’s a first for me.
This is NOT me giving any kind of advice. I decided to share this now, at the halfway point, because it will make it harder for me to abandon this commitment if I’ve told people about it. Also I have set the bar low. You’re welcome.