Self reflection and self improvement naturally follow after becoming sober. The thing I need to realise is to stop trying to do it all at once. To stop trying so hard. The process is a lifetime commitment. The mission does not finish on Tuesday next week. There is no endgame. It is not a race for perfection. It is not a race at all. If I try running for the rest of my life I will end up with stitch in my side and collapsed in a heap unable to breathe. I need to walk. I need to rest. I need to reflect. And then repeat in no particular order. It won’t be a straight path so there is no point in rushing ahead quickly. It might be the wrong path. If I were to compare anyone else with me it would only be with my former self and my current self and wonder about my future self. No one else needs to enter into the sphere and that is why it’s called self improvement.
I set myself a task for this month of June: To walk every day. I wasn’t very specific with the terms. I didn’t say how far I needed to walk. I didn’t say that it had to be outside but I implied that. The walk was to be outside, to get myself into fresh air and have a moment in nature. Again the nature part was implied. If I were to write the task now it would read as follows: To walk my Buddy every day outside to a park or a Pokestop. Who is Buddy and what is a Pokestop? Well my motivation to walk is the app PokemonGo and become Level 40. To do that I need to collect Pokemon, battle and evolve Pokemon. The entire game is designed around encouraging introverts to get outside and walk. It’s working. I don’t think the designer had fifty year olds in mind when he made the game. It was for youngsters. I’m still young at heart.
I missed a day walking because I was exhausted. The last day of May I walked a ridiculously long way and completely knackered myself. I didn’t give myself a rest. My body decided for me. I felt guilty for taking a day off after only a few days into the challenge. I felt like I had let myself down. For most of the day I kept wondering if I could go and do it and then deciding no. I wasted a lot of mind time on a decision that I didn’t take lightly. I gave myself a hard time because I had given myself a task and I had already broken my streak so soon. I was disappointed in myself.
Disappointment came because I was striving for the wrong thing. Disappointment came because I focused on the perfection of the perfectly crossed off days in a row. What I should have been focused on was the simple act of getting outside and walking. I missed a day. So what. Big deal. It happens. Get back out there and do it the next day. Keep trying. I am learning not to beat myself up with a gap in my habit tracker. It happened. I keep going.
My method up till now in life has been full speed ahead, a snail’s pace or stop. I haven’t managed to figure out that continuous regular pace or effort. Consistency. That’s the word I’m looking for, yes, consistency. To achieve this I must face boredom.
Before long with my walking challenge the walking route that I have chosen will become easy and I will become restless to change it up. If I continue with the route that becomes too easy I will become bored with it and that might cause me to stop walking completely. In order for the walking challenge to work I need to keep changing the route or location to relieve my boredom. For now I happy to continue the same route because i am getting my body used to this new shock of a routine, movement out in the fresh air. It is still a novelty for me. The boredom of the route hasn’t set in yet but I am almost there. After a few more days and I know I need to change it up. I know myself.
I used to make every excuse under the sun not to exercise. It’s too windy. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s too early. I can’t be bothered. I had associated the wind with excuses so much that I began to dislike the wind. Today I can say that I enjoy the wind on my face. I am embracing the wind. The wind doesn’t hold any excuse now for me not to go outside. I put on a hat, cover my ears and close the door behind me. I have a new relationship with the wind, a good one.
Back to boredom. Not every day that I walk will be wonderful. Some days I imagine it will be very ordinary, boring most likely. The role of the walk is as regular exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The long game is my good health. The walk is one part of it. I will find some parts of walking boring. I know I will. I need to be ready for that. I need to make walking more desirable or the reward more desirable. I don’t have all the answers yet but I am working on that. Exploring new places will make walking more desirable. What do I do when the weather turns nasty? What makes for a good reward when the end of June rolls around? No idea yet. I will ponder this on my next walk.
Sober as a double knotted shoelace.