Walking is one of the things that I do. My habit has been to get up early and go for a walk before anyone else is up and about. I made it one of my “non-negotiables”: It was something I would do every day, no excuses, unless I was very unwell (or potentially contagious in the current climate) or if doing so would risk my health. Thunderstorms, tree branches threatening to fall on me, icy roads or driveways that I had a high chance of falling on and injuring my back. That level of stuff. No excuses.
I got sick a couple of months ago and decided going out in the freezing cold wasn’t going to aid my recovery, so I lightened up on my “non-negotiable” stance. But once I was feeling better, it was difficult for me to get back into the habit of getting up early. It’s still dark in the morning, it’s freezing cold and I don’t particularly enjoy it, even though I do like being out when no one else is around.
Thinking about what Lisa Byrne has said about “joyful movement”, and talking about “movement” rather than “exercise, I wondered if forcing myself to stick to my “non-negotiable” rule was actually serving me.
My original reason for going out early was to make sure I got some exercise. If I left it until later in the day and something else came up during the day that might prevent me from going for a walk, I might end up not doing it. Not exercising is Very Bad, right?
That reeks of seeing walking as an obligation, not as a means to get moving. It’s not why I want to do it. I want to do it because I want to do it and I want to move, not because I have to exercise. Obligations imply “should” and consequent guilt for not “shoulding” and high expectations and perfectionism and all those things I struggle with in most parts of my life.
Why would I make something I used to enjoy, and want to do for enjoyment, into something that causes me guilt and frustration when I don’t do it?
I’m not buying into that shit any more.
My morning walk has became a lunch time walk. By that time of day it’s less cold, it’s light and I’ve been sitting down for several hours. I actually want to go out, and I enjoy it. I look forward to the days getting lighter and wanting to go out again in the morning when I wake up, and enjoying that too.
Around the same time as I released the obligation to get up super early, I wondered what would happen if took my Fitbit off. I’ve been in the Fitbit cult for many years and every Tuesday I get an email for them that tells me how many steps I took the last week, which days I met my step target (which was once 15,000 steps, became 12,000 steps and later 10,00 steps because *they* say you have to take 10,000 steps a day for some probably not very scientific reason), and whether I had taken more or fewer steps than I had the previous week. And a few other things.
The more I thought about this, the more I felt like it was pushing me into the *should* territory. It was sending me data that I could use to beat myself up with, if I hadn’t taken “enough” steps, or hadn’t slept “enough” or had “failed” on any of the other measures. I know that the information collected by the Fitbit is just raw data with no meaning and that it’s me attaching the judgement to it. It’s a tool and whether I use the tool to serve myself or to attack myself is entirely my decision.
But using any tool to attack myself isn’t healthy, just as forcing myself to exercise isn’t healthy. So for now at least, the Fitbit is on the bench, while I take some time out to decide whether I need it any more.
22 for 2022 update
I dared to look in the cupboard where my attempt to revive my kombucha scoby (thing 5) was festering away. It’s gone completely mouldy so there’s no way I can save it. At least it was worth a try. Lil Sis said she can give me another scoby and some more starter brew to get me started again, so all is not completely lost!
Sunday was the start of what is supposed to be ten days of rain and I stayed inside all day and spent way too much time on my computer than is good for my body. I know this because my body is now complaining very loudly about it. It needs to move more and I didn’t let it.
I spent most of Sunday working on my Hobart Street Corners Instagram project and I wrote a blog post reflecting on the project and its future. It wasn’t on my list of things to do this week but it jumped out at me as something I needed to give some attention to, so that’s what I did. There’s a lot more work to do on that one.
22 for 2022 summary
Things completed to date: 8 (8, 10, 11, 13, 18, 19, 20, 22)
Things completed this week: 20
Things I worked on this week: 3: (5, 12, 21)
Things in progress: 4 (1, 5, 12, 21)
Things not started: 2 (14, 17)
Things that are parked until the end of September: 6 (2, 3, 4, 6, 15, 16)
Things I’m not going to do: 2 (7, 9)
What do I want to do next week?
Work on my instruction manual (thing 12)
Listen to the bonus material for the romance writing course (thing 20)
Finish week 3 of the INTP program
Review 4000 Weeks and work on the blog post about it
Work on my photo project
What was the best thing about this week?
I had my performance review at work and that went really well.
What did I learn this week?
I need to remember to take a breath before I start a meeting and make sure everyone knows each other and why we’re having the meeting.
What I’m reading this week
Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole by Susan Cain
The Dance of Intimacy by Harriet Lerner
The Alexander Technique: A Skill for life by Pedro de Alcantata
I completely lost track of my habits this week . . .