Dorothy Harris

No more excuses

Everyone’s trying to get serious. We’re all tired of talking about it and never following through for more than a few weeks. Life seems to conspire against us, but it’s time to get serious about exercising.

The gals are trying to do this together to help motivate one another, but something always comes up to divert the very best intentions. Still sandwiched between working full time while caring for families, we find ourselves without the time to focus on our own needs. Does that sound familiar?

A few have already raised their brood and are living life on their own terms once again. To those of us still in the trenches of “not enough time”, it seems a mirage. To think I could schedule something every day for myself and remain true to that time was honestly just a distant memory for me. When I think back to those mornings of weight lifting and running before I headed off to a late shift at work, I wonder if it really happened. Did I really have all that time to myself? The days of spending dedicated hours every single day exercising, no matter what, really only happens when there are no “what’s” in your life. As soon as they show up, one finds personal time is history.

Around Harris & Co. however, most of us are rapidly approaching a stage when the “what’s” are moving on or are pretty much self-managing. No longer are we needed every single moment and if we plan carefully, these moments can be strung together in a strand of lustrous personal time. The question when one is handed this treasure thus becomes, now “what”?

How do I make the best use of this precious gift of time I’ve craved for so long? Do I exercise like I keep saying I should? Shall I be indulgent and read a book? Or should I be productive and do something I’ve put off until I had more time? For instance, maybe I should iron those clothes I wore once and never got back to pressing after their first washing. Will they still fit? (Perhaps exercising is the best place to start after all.)

For me, exercising before the day even begins is still currently the only way to ensure it actually happens. It’s so hard some days to get up and get moving, but I’ve discovered sleep walking seems to be relatively easy once you stop thinking and just do it.

If I remain in bed, considering whether I should get up, I’m in danger of missing my morning stroll. I find I have to just push myself out of bed - the cats help with this, believe me - get dressed, and go. Forget thinking, forget checking the weather and absolutely forget what I feel like or what hurts that day. Hush you whiny girl, my inner drill sergeant barks; pointing my bleary self toward the door. Get moving!

As I sleep walk the neighborhood, all those concerns about family demands, my work schedule, the afternoon storms and what might have been a late-day-lack-of-motivation disappear to the whisper of my sneakers zipping through the sleeping neighborhood. Amazingly, I’ve found few demands popping up that might infringe on my efforts at 5:00 a.m., so missing my daily exercise is no longer a concern.

When my day gets hectic or storms blow in, I remind myself I’ve already put in a few miles. It’s wonderful to finally have time to exercise every day once again, even if I had to steal it from my sleep.