Monday, January 31

The Inevitable Fall from Grace

I fell off the wagon. Plummeted, really.

This is why I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. They’re so difficult to maintain and I hate feeling like a failure. This is also why I deleted the word “obey” from my wedding vows. I had no intention of keeping that promise either.

My challenge in leading a healthy life is always the exercise component. Okay, and the meditation. And now that I think about it, I probably drink way too much wine as well. But the biggest problem, by far, is how easily I let exercise slip, specifically my cardio workouts.

My excuses are varied, quite colorful and sometimes even legitimate.

Like last week, I was staying at a friend’s house on the Chesapeake Bay by myself for a writer’s retreat. I’m working on a book and I needed a bit of solitude to get the creative juices flowing. I wrote and wrote and wrote and it was spectacularly productive, but there was absolutely no exercise involved.

I could have done something, like go for a run or walk down to the bay for a break. But no, instead, to clear my head I chose to watch Atonement, Planet Earth, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Love Actually. (And I have to say, I now have a huge crush on Colin Firth.)

Now the worst part of not exercising has set in—guilt. Well, that and my flabby thighs, but mostly it’s guilt.

If last week was the only time I’d not maintained my exercise routine I wouldn’t worry about it. But honestly, I haven’t even started on my New Year’s resolution to complete two cardio workouts a week.

Finally, I’ve decided that this lackadaisical attitude of mine has to go. So what’s preventing me from getting my now flabby thighs out the door and in to cycling class?


Sir Isaac Newton defined inertia as “every body … endeavours to preserve its present state, whether it be of rest or of moving…”

What Sir Newton is saying is that it’s easier to maintain the status quo than to change. This is why we get stuck in a rut. Because it’s familiar, comfortable. And change is hard, sometimes frightening.

According to Newton, the only way to get unstuck is to apply a force directly to the object. You need a metaphorical kick in the arse. 

So what force could possibly motivate me to change?

Surprisingly, it was a friend of mine. She’s 48 and looks fabulous. I had no idea how old she was until recently and if you’d asked me I would’ve guessed she was 10 years younger.

“Holy crap,” I responded when she told me her age, “You look fantastic.”

“It’s exercise,” she said. “I’m telling you, exercise is the cure-all for aging. Working out several times a week can cover up a lot of other sins.”

Ooh, that’s right. I had forgotten about that. And cardio in particular burns tons of calories.

Sunday, I was back in cycling class, peddling away. It appears that the fear of aging is my motivation. How could I have forgotten that?

If you’re stuck in the status quo or know you’re slipping from your goals, remind yourself why you wanted to lose weight/eat healthier/mediate more and take the first step to get back on the wagon. The hardest part is that first move, getting yourself unstuck. Once you complete that step, you’ll be at a new state of being. And as Sir Isaac Newton noted, you’ll want to stay there.

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