When I started this 52-week challenge, my motivation was to get out of a place of feeling 'stuck'.
In that first post, I hypothesised:
"The first step to getting unstuck is to move."
This idea isn't revolutionary - logically, if you're stuck or stagnating, you're probably not moving.... so the solution is to get some momentum going and to move.
Every week since that time, I've attempted to move by writing something new and publishing it here as a newsletter and have tried to make each prompt action oriented - with ideas that I hope stimulate action of some kind.
From 'connect' to 'smile', to 'learn', to 'remember' to 'savour', and even to 'be still' - most weeks have been action orientated and about getting me (and some of you) moving again.
As we approach the halfway point in my year of prompts, I thought the word 'move' might be a good prompt.
You're welcome to interpret the prompt in any number of ways.
Here are a few thoughts.
Move it or Lose It
When I think of the word 'Move', several thoughts come to mind - but the one that rings loudest is the saying "move it or lose it" (or "use it or lose it").
It's something that can be applied to many areas of life, but perhaps the most common is in the area of physical movement and exercise.
From a fairly young age, we are all taught the importance of physical movement and the consequences of not doing it.
One of the problems of the modern workday that many of us engage in is that we are largely sedentary for long periods - seated and staring at a computer screen.
The World Health Organisation identifies this sedentary lifestyle as one of the biggest causes of death and disability today:
Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety. According to WHO, 60 to 85% of people in the world—from both developed and developing countries—lead sedentary lifestyles, making it one of the more serious yet insufficiently addressed public health problems of our time.
I'm also reminded of a time back in 2014 when I challenged myself to do the 10,000 steps a day challenge.
It didn't start with a lofty 10,000-step goal.
It started with a rather embarrassing discovery one day when I realised Google had been tracking my movements, and I looked at a map of where I had been over the past 30 days.
I had been virtually nowhere!
That's right - I'd barely left a 500-meter radius of our house.
Google may have been tracking me - but all they learned about me was that I lived a very boring suburban life.
Our kid's school, church, supermarket, and most friends were within that radius. While I walked to them all - I wasn't going far.
I think looking at the step count that Apple counted in my health app and saw I walked, on average, an appalling 1100 steps a day!
No wonder I had been gradually putting on weight each year and feeling a bit glum.
I decided immediately that I needed to go for a walk and went out for an hour during my lunch break - and made sure I went outside my normal 500-meter radius.
I remember coming home from that walk (having walked more steps than I typically walked in a week in a single hour) and sitting back down at my desk and feeling good.
My work improved, my mood improved, and all it took was to spend my lunch break walking instead of sitting at my desk.
I decided I would do the same walk every day for a week and see how I felt.
I felt good!
At the end of the week, I checked my step count and saw that I was doing about 8,000 steps a day and decided to add two short walks - one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon - to get me up to 10,000.
It was achievable, and I felt great.
I decided to see how long I could keep the 10,000 steps a day streak going. There were days when it was hard (I remember several rainy days walking from one end of the house to the other or dancing in the living room before bed to get my steps in), but I managed to keep it going for well over a year.
In the month (and years) that followed, I saw remarkable improvements in my physical and mental health.
Daily walks built momentum in other ways too.
While out, I started listening to podcasts and getting exposed to new ideas.
Seeing gains in my fitness, I felt more confident to try going to see a personal trainer to do some strength training for the first time.
Similarly, I felt more motivated to make changes to my diet.
All of these changes led to big changes for my health - the biggest of which was losing 19 kilograms - but also lower blood pressure and have a lot more energy.
I also found that by moving outside my normal close-to-home radius, I started to see new things, meet new people and have different perspectives on life.
It was quite remarkable what that one-hour walk led to!
I kept my daily walks and personal training going for quite a few years - but as I mentioned a few weeks back - physical exercise has been one of those areas that have slipped for me - particularly over the many months of lockdown we experienced here in Melbourne during the pandemic.
The lack of exercise has, of course, had consequences. Two frozen shoulders (and recovery from surgery), putting on weight and, of course, the flow on to poorer mental health.
While there is more to it than just exercise, I think the stagnation in this area has impacted some of the feelings of stuckness I've had over the last couple of years.
So - it is time for some change in this area - it is time to start moving again!
If you're like me - you might like to interpret this week's prompt in this area of physical movement.
In fact - I just paused the writing of this article and just enrolled myself in a short Yoga course for men that a local studio is running - my first class is tonight!
Here's how I envisage I'll look in a couple of weeks! ;-)
There are any number of ways to get moving - walking, and going to the gym has worked for me in the past, and I'm going to give Yoga a try - but you could enrol in a dance class, take up jogging, get out on your bike or roller blades, go rock climbing, try pilates, jump on a trampoline or any number of other things!
Of course, 'movement' can be an idea you could apply to other areas of your life. It is easy to become stagnant in all manner of parts of life.
- Maybe it's time to move your mind - stimulating it with some learning by reading a book, taking a course, or engaging in some healthy debate.
- Maybe you need to make a decision and move forward on something you've been procrastinating about making a call on.
- Maybe you need to make some moves to work on your mental health - finding a counsellor or therapist to talk through an issue with.
- Maybe you feel prompted to think about movement on a spiritual level - have you become stagnant and need to make some changes to how you engage - a new meditation or prayer routine, for example?
- Maybe it's time to make some moves financially - is it time to put together a savings plan or to work hard for a period to pay down some debt? Maybe it's time to book in to see a financial planner.
- Maybe it's time to start moving creatively in your life - trying to learn a new instrument, doing a course in pottery or painting or writing.
- Maybe it's time to move in your career. Things can get stagnant there, and maybe it's time to talk to your boss about some new responsibilities or even to see what other employment jobs are out there.
- Maybe it's time to start that business that you've always thought about starting. It could be by beginning a side hustle or seeking some coaching to help you get going.
- Maybe you need to make some moves relationally - to address some issues in friendships or family. Or maybe it's time to put yourself out there in some new social settings to meet some new people.
- Maybe it could be time to try something new in terms of your past times - to start a new hobby or to go back to one that you've let slip.
How will you Move this Week?
Take some time this week to think about where in your life you feel like you've become a little stagnant. Where is it time to shake things up a little?
Then identify some ways to bring back some movement into your life.
The movement doesn't always need to be massive at first.
Remember what a one-hour walk led to for me?
Small steps can lead to bigger ones in time. The key is to do something!
And as always, be kind to yourself. Like me, maybe you may have stagnated for one reason or another of late. Don't be too hard on yourself - instead, choose something simple to get moving in the right direction again.
I can't wait to hear what movement you have planned this week! Drop by the group to let us know.
PS: it's now the day after I wrote this article, and I did go to that first Yoga class and, despite feeling a little sore today, really enjoyed it.
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