It’s that time of year again. More specifically, Saturday. September. Witness months of mulling over whether I’ll ride my bike, go for a jog, or lift a weight. Every night I say tomorrow morning and every tomorrow morning I say tonight. Ad nauseam. The result? I’m still feeling good and sexy in my body, but I’m sliding downhill faster than a speeding bullet. Okay, the metaphor was mixed and sucky, but so are my feelings these days toward working out, so it works out well. Besides, I secretly love mixed metaphors; like, who doesn’t?
In the kitchen, everything is set up for cooking; everything but one thing. Behind me lies months of scattered workouts; before me lies the promise of, let’s just say, a lot of carbs. Outside, clouds darken the sky. It would be sensible to take the car, but with the planet losing its fight to survive and my thighs losing muscle mass, I do the thing I’ve been saying I would do but haven’t done. I pull on my sneakers and pull out my bike.
Stepping outside, clutching the handlebars, I feel like a stranger in a familiar land, giddy and anxious. Not anxious in a good way. Anxious in the I haven’t done this in a while, and my body is cursing my inconsistency one moment and the next moment begging me to stay (like one of those annoying relationships where you kind of want to stay, but you kind of want to go, so you linger and suffer a dull sense of dread instead).
It’s all silly, of course. I’ve never regretted a workout in my life. I always feel better, stronger, more alive. It’s just that damn getting back onto the wagon business that kills me. Or is it the falling off the wagon that kills me? Anyhow, I’m ready to take off when I notice that the tires need air. Certain this is some sick test of the universe, I stand in my driveway grappling. Do I dare re-enter the house? Will I ever come out again? Is this my only chance to make things right? The weight of storm clouds rests on my shoulders.
I decide that I’m a big girl and declare my intention to do whatever it takes to get on this bike. This ride will be challenging enough, I don’t need to make it miserable by riding on deflated tires.
Did I mention that the sun was sheltered by clouds, the cool breeze in the air, the low humidity and the pretty sky? I feel proud and energetic, in love with the day.
Halfway to my destination, my thighs give out a faint whimper. I’m incredulous. How dare my muscles not be exactly where I left them months ago? Of course, I wasn’t incredulous in the true sense. I’ve been feeling my muscles soften and melt away for months, but I like living on the edge. Preferring my endeavors to have a whiff of desperation in them, I hold out till the last minute like a game of chicken. Oh, my muscles haven’t completely vanished yet? Let me wait it out a little longer.
I turn my attention to things outside my body, like the smell of barbecue coming from a nearby house. Dammit. I turn my attention somewhere else. The breeze, the people, the trees– the infamous hill. So, there’s this hill, and my grocery store is at the top of this hill. The size of the hill is dependent on how long it’s been that I haven’t worked out. Today the hill is big. Anytime I face a physical challenge like this one, I like to tell myself cheesy things in preparation, things like I’m Rocky Balboa. I lift my butt off the seat, sing out loud, and power through.
I walk into Publix invigorated but am deflated when I see hurricane is coming type lines at the registers. Why are all these people here? Did I miss something? Is there something wonderful happening somewhere that I don’t know about? Somewhere sports bars are filling up, lawn chairs are being whipped out onto lawns, folks are gathering on the couch for what promises to be the greatest show ever. Everyone will watch it with salsa and chips; I’ll hear about it the next day on Instagram.
My friends will say, “Oh yeah, I thought you knew about it. You’re so into that sort of stuff. You would’ve loved it.”
Standing in the express lane, which is now just the less slow lane, I lean over to the man in front of me and ask what all the fuss is about. He doesn’t know, he’s visiting the area. We make witty banter, and in no time I’m all checked out. On my bike at the top of the hill, I feel accomplished and empowered. I remember that I can feel my heart pumping, blood flowing, deep breathing, muscles tightening, nerves tingling any time I want. It’s in my control.
Let’s face it. Inconsistency is a pain. Having to get back on track over and over again can sometimes feel like standing still, but here’s what I’ve found:
Calling myself terrible names only drains my energy. Focusing on my disappointment makes me feel crappy. Seeing myself as a failure makes me more likely to fail. If there’s something you want to do but haven’t done. Try to look at each day as bringing you closer to your goal, not further away from it.
Instead of: There goes another week of me not working out. What a fail.
Try: It’s been a week of me not working out. I can’t wait to get back to it tomorrow. It’s going to feel great to get back on track.
My intention is to make September the month of me getting back on track. It’s starting with a bike ride to the grocery store. What do you intend on getting back to?
If you haven’t checked me out on Instagram, I’d love it if you would! I’ll be going on Live a couple times this week to discuss this topic more, so hit that follow button 🙂