Adding Up

It has been twenty-two days since the end of Lent.

Twenty-two days since I promised I would start a new challenge to follow my forty days without chocolate.  As I am now slightly over halfway done, it seems like a good time for an update.

I freely admitted during my deprivation that I wasn’t entirely certain I could make it.  Sometimes I wasn’t certain I even wanted to make it.  I wasn’t doing it for a religious reason, and there would be no technical ramifications for my failure.  The only one holding me accountable was me, and I was a cruel taskmaster.  I had to be; no one could see what I was doing, and there was no tangible benefits to life without chocolate.  I didn’t lose large amounts of weight, or gain the ability to fly.  It was a matter of will power.  While I have never had a large amount of will power, I am stubborn enough to not want to admit defeat.

I was counting on that same stubbornness to get me through an add in challenge.  I had taken something that was not good for me away, now it was time to add in something that was.

I wanted it to be something simple, easily taken with me if I needed to travel and not time consuming.  I considered promising to run a mile everyday, but as I was already having trouble there, it seemed a poor choice.

Instead I went with five easily done exercises, just a few reps of each.  Everyday now I jump rope for fifty jumps, do twenty squats, twenty-five crunches, ten push-ups, and twenty reps with a thigh master. Yes, I have a thigh master.  No, I’m not sure why.  The entire routine takes about two minutes.

I wasn’t entirely confident when I selected this routine.  I considered cutting the add in down to three weeks, in order to make sure I could do it.  It’s not because any of it is particularly hard on it’s own, but because I wasn’t sure I could keep pushing myself through exercises I was not any good at for forty days.  I could barely do one push up on my knees on day one, and I stopped halfway through my jump roping in order to use the ladies room for the first week. But I pushed through.

And I can see a difference already.  My pushups are still done on my knees, but the last one isn’t as difficult as it was to begin with.  I can feel the slight muscle definition on my arms, and the firming on my legs.  I can almost always get through my fifty jumps without missing a jump, and my crunches are something I easily zip through.  Overall, I am calling this a success.

I know I can’t attribute everything to this little add in.  It’s not the only thing I am doing, and I did miss a day.  (It was only one, but I completely forgot until I was in bed half asleep and I was not getting back up.)  All the other work I am doing is certainly adding to the success of this experiment.  But it’s nice to see results from hard work.

So many things I do are long term projects.  Writing, school, raising children, training for races; these all take years of my time.  Nothing is quick and easy, and nothing guarantees results.  To take on a project that is allowing me to feel the difference after three weeks is gratifying.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep it up after the forty days, or if I will try another challenge, but I can say I am happy I tried this.  Sometimes you need a win, and I feel like I am getting one.

If you challenged yourself to add something to your day, everyday, what would you add?

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