07 in ’12: Starting

Today, I am filled with sadness.

I wish I knew the reason behind it, but I do not. All I know is that it’s something that’s been hanging over my head and last night was relatively sleepless because of it.

But I have never been one to wallow in the woes of my life – I think I stopped doing that the day I decided I will no longer hide behind my parents’ death. So let’s talk about something else in my life. Soon, I know my sorrow will pass.

So anyway.

As you all know, I follow several blogs too – finding inspiration from it, and, at times, using it as a springboard for my own entries. I was reading a post from The Positivity Blog (to read it too, click here) and I suddenly realized how simple and true the first tip was.

* * *

Tip #1: The secret of getting ahead…

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

This is a very good tip and one of the best ones I have ever discovered and used to handle procrastination.

When you start to look too far into the future any task or project can seem close to impossible. And so you shut down because you become overwhelmed or fearful (of success or failure) and start surfing the internet aimlessly instead.

So instead, break that task into small and practical steps.

Then just focus on taking the first step today. That is all you need to focus on, nothing else. By taking the first step you change your mental state from resistant to “hey, I’m doing this, cool”. You put yourself in state where you become more positive and open, a state where you may not be enthusiastic about taking the next step after this first one but you are at least accepting it.

And so you can take the next step. And the next one after that.

Until you have arrived at your destination and completion.

* * *

Since my early twenties, I have perpetually been in the state of trying to lose weight. I’m always “trying” because I never actually lost all the weight I wanted to lose. In the many, many years that I have been “trying”, I have come to realize that nothing really beats hard work and a healthy diet.

I have also come to realize that there is no denying that I am an extremely impatient person. When I do something, I want the results to be immediate. Admittedly, has led to countless discontinued diets or workouts. Every single day, after doing something relatively strenuous, I cannot resist stepping on a scale and checking my weight. And then when I see that my weight has not changed, I lose interest because I feel it is not effective. Did I ever consider the fact that it might be too soon to see the difference? No. That’s how impatient I am.

Last year, I decided to start running. Or, to be more accurate, Brian finally convinced me to join him during his runs. So I did – I mean, I whined, bitched and complained along the way, but I still did it. In October of 2010, I ran 12 times and was able to cover a total distance of 48.2k. For a beginner, I was rather disciplined – I never let more than 3 days pass without running again.

Then October ended.

The following month, despite being able to run longer distances, I only covered a total distance of 11.1k. That was because I only ran twice in November – once on the 8th and then again on the 16th. And then I got really “busy” (lazy) and started justifying (making up excuses) why I wasn’t running as much as I used to.

The the time I decided to run again, it was December 30th. During the last 2 days of the year, I desperately tried to reach 5k on a single run, but I had let myself go and just couldn’t get back to it.

At this point, you might be wondering why I keep talking about running and losing weight when I started out with Mark Twain. The thing is, I realized two very important things towards the end of last year.

First, that I was running for the wrong reason. I ran because I wanted to lose weight. It was exactly the same way when I was going to the gym – I kept working out because I wanted to get thinner. And when I did, I couldn’t bring myself to continue working out. At one point, I read somewhere that if you’re going to run, don’t run for weight loss. Run for fitness, because fitness is a lifestyle. I totally get that now.

Second, I took on too much, too soon. Sometimes, I really have to take things one step at a time. When you take on too much, everything becomes overwhelming. It starts to look daunting, which leads you to question your ability to do it. And there starts your downward spiral to despair. I’ve been there many, many times and I’m telling you, it’s not somewhere you would want to be.

Now I honestly want to say that I’m running for fitness, but I can’t. I’m not sure if I’m there yet. But I do know I’m on my way.

I used fatigue from work as one of the more common excuses for not running. I get home at past 7 o’clock in the evening on a normal work day. When I get home, the only thing I can bring myself to do is collapse on my bed. After explaining this to him for the hundredth time, Brian told me to put on my shoes and take a walk anyway. “If after 5 minutes, you still feel tired, that means your body’s really not up to it. Go home and rest.”

These days, I begin every run with that thought in mind: “Five minutes”. For the last couple of times, by the time five minutes have passed, I realized that I’ve been running for the last two.

At the end of the day, it really is about the little things. It really is about the first step.

If you want to become someone… If you want to do something… The first thing you have to do is Start.


Ciao Bella!

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Filed under iRead, Secret Life of Bees, This So-Called Life

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