12. consistency

About 8 years ago, I was an out of shape a mother of a 1 and 4-year-old too dedicated to my job and family to give time to my health. Tired of myself, I decided that I wanted to improve my fitness and my mood. Coming back from a good work out gave me positive energy to tackle everyday demands and precious “me time” I hadn’t had regularly since my first was born.

I got a calendar out and I set my alarm.  I woke up early some days, then more days, then 5 days a week and went to the gym.  I marked the calendar for every day I went.  When 30 days were marked, I bought myself a too-fancy-for-me sweater.  It was buttercream cashmere like wrapping up in a toasty marshmallow. Clicking the buy button was an indulgent luxury, but I reasoned I had earned it for every time I coddled my limp and protesting ass out of bed and into my workout clothes.  That was real work.

It took a couple of 30 day cycles and indulgent rewards before I didn’t need either to motivate me. My mornings became a ritual with its own rewards; a better mood, a fitter body, more strength, more energy, a fun work out, and more personal time. All the rewards the fitness professionals tell you, they are true.

Now, going daily to the gym is so stubbornly set in my psyche’s mortar that trying to extract it would require a new accoutrement of trickery. 8 years later, and you would have to drag me to a psychiatric ward before I’d give up on my muscles. I couldn’t tell you exactly when this transformation occurred, but I can say that you know it when you feel it. It is complete when its an unmovable fact of your identity and even better if everyone knows it.

I had forgotten I was another way until a friend of mine reminded me that I had transformed myself, and I could do it again. Now, I know “just do it” isn’t enough. Change isn’t a wish and it isn’t easy. It requires deliberate planning, action, patience, bribery and deception to motivate yourself into a new habit. But consistency is the cornerstone of a new me.

C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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