Monday, January 04, 2010

Why the Silence in the New Year, You Ask?

Well, after the madness of MLA, I've pretty much crashed for the past 4 days. Well, not actually, though. Really my primary focus has been on my New Year's Resolution, which to get off the ground has taken no small amount of focus. (Note to self: this may be why I've always failed at the fitness resolution in the past: I've never devoted adequate resources to it.)

So anyway, Since the 1st I've been busy with a) daily trips to the gym, b) shopping for a v. detailed menu created on New Year's Eve, c) cooking delicious meals and eating them. In addition, there has been napping, catching up with various folks on the phone, and playtime with the kittens.

Now, lest you think I've totally lost my mind, the daily gym regime is not something that I expect to continue for the rest of my life (or even the rest of the month or year). I think daily gym trips are not likely something that I can sustain. However, in the interest of making going to the gym a "habit" I'm doing the daily thing for the first week, and then I will move over to the schedule that I've created for my real life, which will be four days (scheduled, on a calendar, no excuses other than dire illness will allow me out of that schedule) on which I am committed to go to the gym. There will be no bargaining about "Oh, I'm going to change days" or "Oh, I'll just go three days this week and five next week." The minute I start allowing myself to negotiate with myself, that's the minute that the whole house of cards is in jeopardy.

The other days of the week I am going to do my best to be active, and surely I'll work out if I feel like it, but I am not scheduled to do so, and if I don't, that's just fine. This particular schedule is in place for the month of January, and I will evaluate whether it needs tweaking at the end of the month. Oh, and another part of this schedule is that Thursdays have been set aside for weekly menu planning and grocery list making, and I will not work out on Thursdays. On Fridays, I'll shop for supplies. I decided that scheduling this part of things was necessary as well, if I intend to stay on track with eating well in a way that I can really sustain. Because if I fall into eating boring food, I will very quickly start supplementing the boring food with food that is very, very bad for me. It is my way.

You may note that all of this is very.... regimented. Well, in reflecting on the fact that I'm now the heaviest I've ever been in my life, and how I got there, and what that all means, I realized that part of my problem is that I always figured that the fitness stuff would just somehow do itself if I worked out irregularly or was fairly active and ate basically reasonably. While that was true when I was 20, that is not true now. But as I thought about it, I realized I used to think about writing/research that way, too. Before graduate school, and particularly before the dissertation, writing was something that just somehow did itself. After, I learned that I needed to be very focused and detail-oriented in my planning, that I needed to allow for set-backs, that I needed to approach writing/research like a job - not like something that happened magically. Well, all of that, after 10+ years of working at it, is like second nature. And that sort of very carefully designed structure feels very comfortable to me. So I thought to myself, "self, if you want to be successful at the fitness thing, you need to approach it in the same way that you've approached your research/writing work. You don't need to resolve to do that anymore for work because it's so ingrained that you just do it. The trick - and the challenge - is trying to make the same thing happen with the fitness stuff."

So, today I shall be heading (briefly) to campus and then I shall go to the gym, and then I shall come home to make black bean soup and eat some lunch. I also need to do some crap for the 2011 MLA, respond to some emails, do syllabi for next week (eek! Though seriously there's not much to do beyond changing dates and a couple of tweaks based on some failed experiments this semester), continue thinking about what I want to propose for a summer conference....

Yeah, so I'd better get to all of that :)


Bardiac said...

That sounds like a great plan!

For me, doing something I really like makes all the difference, as does not freezing. Winter sucks.

FrauTech said...

I like your plan. Sounds like you have it under control, so maybe it's patronizing to say good luck. But good luck!

Susan said...

I actually think you're right about the schedule -- it's why working with a trainer is good. When I've done it (usually once a week) i know I have to go to the gym at least two other times so that I'm not embarrassed!

Flavia said...

I had a similar realization w/r/t writing and working out. As you know, I'm working out now for, basically, the first time ever, and I think that the experience of writing a dissertation/book has absolutely been important in allowing me to stick with it.

Like you say, establishing a routine is huge, and for me it's been really useful to realize that, hey: some days of working out, like some days of writing, just suck. You feel like crap and the end result may be seriously subpar (fewer words/fewer minutes on the machine, or crappier words/slower pace). . . but you have to put in the sucky days to have the good days--and even the sucky days can produce something that helps you reach the overall goal. The important thing is to keep putting in the time.

But cooking, now. . . that's too ambitious for me!

Rock on, C.

PhysioProf said...

If you want to make exercise a long-term substantial part of your life, the best way to do it is to make it a part of your DAILY routine. This way, there is no self-negotiating about whether it is really a "workout day" and/or telling yourself that you'll give yourself today off and then make it up later in the week, blah, blah, blah. DAILY means DAILY, no bullshit.

human said...

Oooh, how about a post about your writing routines/habits/planning etc.? I'd like to read that!