Yesterday I finally got around to getting my old bike out of the basement and taking it out for a ride. I’ve been promising myself to do this since early May but something always seems to get in the way. Now that the book is basically done and the blog is up and running I don’t have any more excuses, the hard work has been done and the hay is in the barn as they say.
Strong Body Strong Mind
The weather was hot and windy with my goal being to do what used to be an easy 20km ride – but it turned out to be anything but easy. I find it interesting how my mind works. Little discomforts start to add up, it’s difficult riding into a strong wind and I’d forgotten how hard a bike seat can be. At some point my mind started suggesting to me that maybe I should abort the ride before I got hurt and the suggestions got louder and louder the further I rode. It bothers me when I realize how weak-minded I have become and I attribute it to all the stresses that have taken their toll on me over the years – yes, writing a book was part of that stress. A good stress, but a stress nonetheless.
While I’m no doctor I’ve come to realize that there is a very important connection between my personal well-being and my physical health. When I’m fit, I feel good, have lots of energy and can push through most obstacles. But when I’m out of shape and over-weight like I find myself today, my energy is low and I lose the ability to deal effectively with the many challenges that life throws my way. I’ve noticed that I’ve lost the ability to focus, to stay in the moment and my mind tends to wander more than it should.
It’s unfortunate that when life gets out of control we tend to let our health take a back seat and this is what I allowed to happen to me. Now while I might be able to get away living like this for awhile I also know that eventually a price will need to be paid, usually in the form of coronary heart disease or some other form of major illness. Once you have lost your health it really doesn’t matter how hard you worked or how much money you have managed to save over the years for retirement, does it?
But the good news is that we have the ability to reverse things. The body is a wonderful thing when you think about it, but change takes effort and we need to learn to push again.
Habit Change Isn’t Easy
It’s not easy but it’s necessary if we want to improve the quality of our remaining years. Most of us are aware of what bad habits we have that need to be changed and what good habits we need to adopt in order to improve our lives. We know what we need to do but for some reason don’t follow through as our minds (and a lack of willpower) get in the way. A useful exercise is to list all the bad things that will happen if you don’t change your bad habits, then list all the good things that will happen if you make the required changes. When you start with the end in mind it’s easier to analyze each choice closely and make a conscious choice so you can achieve your goals.
The secret is to make small daily changes that will compound into significant positive change over time. I picked riding for 20k because I knew it was well within what I was capable of physically and that the only thing that I would have to deal with was the upcoming battle with my mind and learning how to push again.
While it was nice getting back on the bike again, it’s only a start and there is still a lot of work to do to get where I want to be both mentally and physically. But the important point is that I’ve finally started and I expect that it will be quite a ride from here on in.
Where there is a will there is a way, keep pushing!