“She’s just a girl and she’s on fire…”
Driving home from work last Thursday I found myself belting out those Alicia Keys lyrics as they blasted through the speakers in the car. As I sang I couldn’t help but think about how great I’m feeling about the unexpected spinoffs of the Healthy Family Challenge.
I’ve been going to the gym. That may be table stakes for many of you but it hasn’t been part of my weekly routine for years. The Challenge taught me that time really isn’t a good excuse anymore. For years I just labeled myself as a brutal meal planner and I now realize that I just wasn’t using my time effectively. Now I find the time with the kids or after they go to bed while watching a show (versus sitting on the couch to watch like I used to).
The same thing applies to exercise. I used to think it was impossible to find time to work out. The kids are up too early, I’m exhausted after they go to bed and work is just too busy. The embarrassing truth is that I am a member at a gym that is one escalator ride down from my office. When I went back a few weeks ago, the person looking at my account said, “It has been 182 days since your last visit.” Although I didn’t ask, I bet that I was there for one or two workouts around that time and it was likely another 182 days since I’d been there before that. It was a wake-up call. Why can’t I find the time to do this for myself? I can leave my desk, work out, get ready again and be back within an hour. So for the last three weeks I’ve been scheduling hour long meetings with myself at the gym and, honestly, the middle-of-the-day break with great tunes blasting in my ear has been great for my head.
You know what I’ve also realized? When my head is in a good spot, the whole family is in a good spot. Maybe it sounds egotistical but I now really believe that how I’m feeling has a direct impact on how the family is feeling as a whole. I’m more patient, I’m excited to put time into the right things, we’re stocked with great food and I’m OK with putting off the “have-to-dos” for the things we “want to do” with the kids.
Nothing is perfect (and I don’t expect it to be). I very happily devoured an entire baked goat cheese and breadstick appetizer along with four cosmopolitans while out with the girls Saturday night. I don’t have my groceries for the week yet. I didn’t exercise at all this weekend. The point is that I actually think I can handle it and not fall back on old habits thanks to what I’ve learned about myself through the Challenge. If I do start to slip, well, I’m just going to blast that Alicia Keys song and give myself the spark required to once again be on fire.