I drove my car to the Wellness Center, parked and then reached over and grabbed my bottle of water and gym bag. I checked into the gym and proceeded to the room where we conduct our spin classes.
I reached in my gym bag and pulled out my cycling cleats. I slipped off my tennis shoes and traded them for the cleats. I hopped onto the spin bike and carefully clicked my cycling cleats onto the pedals. With each snap, I let out a slight sigh. Not because it was a hard thing to do, but because it meant I was in place and ready to begin my cycling class.
Im sure I could do this process with my eyes closed because it has become such a habit for me -- one that I started years ago and have continued to do. It is said repetition is how new habits are formed or old ones replaced.
The process of beginning a spin class and continuing it for years is somewhat surprising for me. I used to hate exercise, but now I hate to miss it. In fact, having been curtailed from riding my regular outside bike because of developing blood clots in my legs, I have relished my spin classes. Im thrilled that my doctors approved my continuing because otherwise Id be miserable.
My spin teachers often say that getting to the gym is the hardest part. Once youre there, the rest falls into place.
It doesnt matter what task is in front of you. Whether its exercising, cooking, cleaning or anything else we may have to do on any given day, we must show up with an enthusiasm to begin. Before we can tackle any job set before us, we have to be fully present and in place.
What hinders us are excuses. They creep in like unwanted pests and cause us to shift our focus and lose our momentum. They try to sabotage our intentions and goals. We have to stand up to them.
God knows, I personally know how hard it is not to go down the winding path leading directly to excuses. Over the years, Ive put off so many projects I couldnt even begin to list them. What Ive learned is that Procrastination is Excuses best friend. They love working together. Hand in hand they tag team, leaving us in a dismal place with Guilt and Self-doubt.
When we make excuses, Guilt is happy to jump in uninvited and work on our minds. You shouldve already done it, Guilt whispers. You are a bad person, Self-doubt gloats. Unfortunately, we believe them.
How many times have we all put off something that we dreaded doing? Every week, I have a meeting with my wife, Debra, and we make a list of projects I need to accomplish that particular week. Its a time where all of my spinning out of control thoughts get concisely written down on paper in a logical, prioritized order.
Ive learned so much about making lists from Debra. Theres something about seeing something written down that elevates it a step closer to getting accomplished. Unless you can see something and check it off the list, it may continue to be just an idea thrown into a pot of indecision. Decide it needs to be done, put it on a list and, as the Nike ad suggests, Just Do It.
Ive found that if I put myself in a place to begin, then chances are I will begin. Recently, I was stuck about halfway through a painting not knowing which direction to take it. I put it aside to allow my mind to clear and approach it on another day with a fresh look.
But each time I saw this incomplete painting, I avoided it as quickly as I could. In fact, I sort of hid it from my view because thats what Excuse suggested. Then Procrastination jumped on board and, well, we all know what happened next: Guilt visited.
The unfinished painting, even though out of physical sight, became an albatross in my mind for several days as deadlines quickly ticked away allowing projects to pile up. No matter what other project I finished, this painting hung over me like a thick cloud.
Even though the actual words finally came from Debras mouth, I had already said them to myself at least a hundred times. Mark, just sit down and get finished so you can check it off the list! So I did.
Pushing Excuse, Procrastination, Guilt and Self-doubt aside, I sat down in front of the painting, stared straight at it, picked up a paintbrush and began. Before I knew it, I was all caught up in the painting again. Things began falling into place and I was enjoying the process so much I finished it in a relatively short time. This thing that caused me to make excuses, doubt myself and put off completing was finally finished and I was both pleased and happy.
Dont make mountains out of molehills, my daddy used to say. I had most certainly done just that with this painting. I wasted time procrastinating and making excuses when all I needed to do was start.
I understand this concept clearly when I go to my spin class. I certainly cant spin if Im not sitting in place on the bike. We must all remember not to allow unfinished projects or unfulfilled dreams to bring us down.
The solution is simple: Just put yourself in a position to start and the rest will fall into place.
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