Morning Walks: A new habit
I'm on week three of starting a new habit: waking early several mornings a week to walk, before the kids wake up and Mike leaves for work. The first week was awesome. Monday April 1st I woke up and it was barely light when I headed out. Mother nature decided to make this morning extra magical for me by shrouding our neighborhood in a misty fog. Even the moon was out to cheer me on. It was so wonderful.
Twice more that week I rose with the sun and got my walk on. My favorite part of this new ritual is stepping outside into the fresh, cool, morning air and being greeted by the joyful sound of birds singing. A friend even joined me one day - what a great way to start the day!
Spring finally has sprung around here and the trees were showing off too.
Week 2 Life decided to throw some challenges at me. Monday went off without a hitch, but Wednesday Gerry woke around 4 am and didn't go back to sleep. I tried convincing him to join me in the stroller for a walk as the sun peeked up over the horizon, but he wasn't going for it. I was exhausted, so I didn't push it.
The good news - my parents were coming through town that day. That evening the kids, my parents, and I went on a walk and climbed the stairs at the Masonic Temple which is a couple blocks away from our house. The view at night was so beautiful and the kids loved climbing the steps.
On Thursday we went downtown to go to the Natural History museum (Gerry had been wanting to go to "our dinosaur museum" since watching an episode of Team UmiZoomi that has dinosaurs ;-) and we saw the blossoms. Lots of walking done that day too! So I still got 3 good walks in that week even though only one was in the morning. I also walked to Mike's work after my last Hypnobabies class on Saturday - so that's 4!
Sunday night I had that feeling in my head, "ugh, do I really want to get up early tomorrow?" That made me laugh at myself - it's so easy to get off track! So I reminded myself how amazing I felt the last two weeks and how much I enjoy walking as soon as I'm out. One of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits written by Leo Babauta, talks about how to change our lives and make things regular habits. One idea that helps is going "public" with your intentions - with your family or friends, or even on your blog or social media. Once you know that others know you said you are doing something, you are much more likely to do it! I've definitely found this to be true. I know that there is something magical about "21 days" too - I'm not sure how this will apply to me since this isn't something I'm aiming to do every day, but I know that the longer I do it the more deeply ingrained in my every day life it will be.
Leo's recent post, The 38 Best Methods of Successful Exercisers, has been really helpful to me too. So many people said that they schedule their exercise into their lives and it just is NOT an option to miss it - only a TRUE emergency keeps them from keeping their habit up. Remembering this has helped me keep on when I feel a bit tired the night before. The cool thing is that I've been waking up before my alarm on most mornings that I plan to walk.
Here are some pictures of today's walk. I decided to head over to the temple again and do some stairs to get my blood pumping.
If there was a soundtrack to put to this post it would be birds singing. I decided to take a little video while I walked to capture some of the early morning sounds. I just happened to capture two crows squawking at this cat! Haha, not exactly the most beautiful sound, but it was kind of funny. (btw - do you have an opinion on keeping cats in the house? The past couple of years I've heard several people voice the opinion that cats should NOT be let outside because of how many birds they kill. My first reaction is, huh?? I think most carnivores kill other animals and I don't see how cooping cats up inside is fair or the answer. But maybe I'm missing something?)
This new habit has been a long time in the making. I've wanted to get back into some kind of routine for a while now, but have struggled to find a way that works for our whole family. Right now turned out to be the perfect time. Gerry recently started sleeping from roughly 7:30 pm to 7 am or so. So I knew that getting up around 6:30 am wouldn't disrupt any of our sleep too much. Even so it's been a bit of an adjustment, but the benefits are so worth it! With Spring, more light, and nicer weather, it's been a great new beginning. I feel energized and accomplished now by the time that I used to be just rolling out of bed. Keeping it to every other day has been smart though, so we don't get too tired or sleep-deprived.
My other inspiration is the book, The Blue Zones. I plan on writing more about it in the future, but I really am thinking of walking and exercising as a life habit - something that becomes as natural and essential to me as eating or breathing. Ideally it is something that I will do every day eventually, even more than once.
Have you started any new habits lately? Has spring inspired any fresh starts for you? What helps you stay on track?
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.