Procrastination is the thief of time.
“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
I was just out in our little German town, running bank and grocery errands. I headed out at 9:00 in the morning, and I think every senior citizen was out running their errands, too—it’s the second day of the month, so everyone is taking care of their financial business and hitting the stores, too of course. Plus, it’s a gorgeously sunny and very warm summer day already, so taking care of business in the morning before it gets too hot just makes sense!
Seeing all these seniors out, and waiting in longer lines gave me the chance to make a few observations. At the bank, an elderly couple had trouble sorting through their change, and much of it had ended up on the floor. Neither of them was stable or strong enough to kneel down to pick it up, so one of the bank employees was assisting them. Many other older people in the bank had some difficulty walking, moving stiffly and uncertainly. Others had postural issues, like a dowager’s hump and what appeared to be scoliosis.
Then there were other seniors, out pushing their grand babies in strollers, marching along at a brisk pace, upright and strong. Others who moved more easily, more joyfully, more certainly.
It kind of hit me over the head during the time I was taking this all in, that I turn 41 at the end of the month. I swear the last 10 years passed in the blink of the eye.
Seeing all the seniors and elderly around me this morning was a reminder that I won’t always be this young, maybe this mobile, this strong and vital. Seeing those around me who could not move with comfort or confidence also made me even more committed to maintaining my health and strength for as long as I am able.
This morning’s observations made me grateful, again, for my good health, my strength and vitality.
But it’s no accident or just good luck that I feel as good as I do at this point in life.
In 2006, when my daughter was just 11 months old and I was just starting to ‘get back in shape,’ I went riding with a friend who owned barrel racers. Having seen me ride a few times before, she thought I could handle her mare. Unfortunately, the mare was cranky and disagreed, and she darted out of the safety of the sand ring, across the hardened red clay furrows of the Louisiana fields, at Mach 5 in true barrel racer style. Not wanting to wanting to break my neck should she trip and fall, I ditched and landed on my right side, causing tons of soft tissue damage/trauma to my right hip, lumbar spine/both SI joints/pelvis as well as two broken ribs.
After the initial recovery, I was faced with a choice: work hard and do what it took to recover or be in pain or on pain meds for the foreseeable future.
I chose to learn what I needed to do to get better. I chose to act, to do the hard work physical therapy required. I chose to invest myself in healing and strengthening my body. I didn’t know what the end result would be, and there were no guarantees of ‘success.’ I just committed myself to working hard each day, putting forth the effort one workout at a time, changing my eating habits slowly, and had faith in the process.
The result was a body that was transformed over time by consistent efforts with strength training, conscientious cardiovascular activity, and a changed approach to nutrition.
Key words there: OVER TIME. This transformation took a few years. The initial healing and rebuilding took right about a year to get back to ‘normal,’ where I was able to run and move pain-free, but the overall body composition and improved athletic capacity has been a work in progress since 2006.
I’ve hesitated to tell people how long my transformation and athletic development has taken because I’ve been scared that telling people that it takes time—LOTS of time—would be off-putting. That it would dissuade people from getting started, because people like to see results FAST.
People want a guarantee that their efforts will yield a certain outcome in a certain period of time.
But here’s the deal: there are no guarantees. Sometimes, well all the time really, you just have to move forward in faith. You just have to get started, and you just have to keep doing the work consistently over time.
Yes, changing your body composition or regaining a certain level of fitness will take time. But what else would you be doing with that time??? Wishing, and wondering, and feeling discouraged or stuck or hopeless even?
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
~ Earl Nightingale
This is a call to action.
Stop putting off your self-care until tomorrow. Stop assuming you’ll always have another chance to get fit or improve your health. Stop thinking you have all the time in the world to wait and postpone and avoid doing the hard work that getting fit and changing one’s lifestyle sometimes is.
Because you don’t.
Our time is finite, and although I often say ‘there is only one finish line’ and ‘it’s never too late to start,’ the truth is we don’t know where that finish line is. We don’t know how much time we have left for sure. We can guess and hope and bargain, but in the end we just don’t know.
So stop wasting your time waiting, and get busy living.
- If you don’t know what to do to get started, find someone with knowledge and experience to help you—a personal trainer, a health coach, a knowledgeable fitness professional.
- If you’ve tried something before and it didn’t work, try again.
- Try something different.
- Find a new approach.
- Have faith in the process.
- Practice patience.
- Be consistent.
Put your passing time to the best possible use.
There’s no guarantee how many tomorrows we might have, but we can commit ourselves to making the tomorrows we have the best they can be.
Seriously, get busy living.
I’m always here for you.