What I'm doing now is a great example of what NOT to do. I started this blog challenge on June 1st with the best of intentions which petered out around June 20th (just short of my "new habit" goal). Now that it's June 29th and I have 20 entries in June, if I want to finish I need 10 blog entries for two days. I can do it, but it won't be fun, and it probably won't be as good as it would have been if I'd done it once entry per day. I used to do this kind of thing in college all the time. In fact, I started writing papers at the last minute purposely, believing I did better work under pressure. Sometimes, I really did! Unfortunately, working under pressure all the time is not sustainable. I've had to re-learn this lesson a lot in my life, and I still have trouble keeping it straight.
I turned 30 last Tuesday and it has me thinking a lot about the long term. Where my life is going, what I want to make of my business, my relationships, my hobbies and ambitions. I'll be starting a retirement account later today, in fact. I don't have a ton of money to put into it, but the hope is that if I put a little in every week or month for the next... well, at least 35 years, by the end I'll have something I can retire on. I've heard many, many disheartening stories about people waiting too long to start saving and never being able to retire. According to all of the financial experts, I should have started saving in my 20s. Well, I didn't, but I'm not letting that stop me from starting now.
Where is this long ramble heading and how does it relate to fitness? Our bodies are kind of the same as retirement accounts. The more we invest in it and the longer we do so, the better off we will be throughout our lives. You might be a young person thinking about looking hot in a bikini right now, but what about when you're 70? You probably want to be able to get up the stairs at that point, right? It's never too late to start, because something is always better than nothing, but the earlier you start, the better. And your efforts need to be steady, sustainable and constant for the best results. You can't play frantic catchup and hope everything will work out ok, like going on crazy crash diets for your high school reunion and doing nothing for your health and fitness most of the time. This just doesn't help, and eventually will leave you worse off than if you hadn't done it.
So, beyond what you want to look like or fit into next week or next month or next year, give some thought to the long haul and how your lifestyle is gong to contribute to your health in the years to come. You'll start to understand that crazy diets and unsustainable exercise programs are not going to do it. Change has to be sustainable throughout a lifetime, and for that kind of change, slow and steady wins the race.