This will be another boring post, unless you enjoy reading my inner monologue about what goes into developing and maintaining certain habits.
In a previous post, I wrote about how we can have some developmental stumbles while forming new habits. Today, I’m realizing that seasonal changes can pose new obstacles too. I’ve written quite a bit about the process of developing a walking habit again. Last month, I wrote about some of the specific things I needed to do in order to make this a habit (and when I say *I*, I mean “me, personally.” Other people may have different needs and circumstances to address).
The walking habit took a while to find a groove. I am just starting to hit my stride with this now. There were several obstacles I addressed before this habit became easier to do:
- leg fatigue from weightlifting (which make the hills in my neighborhood look really unappealing). Solution: avoid the hills or go walk on easy trails instead.
- scheduling (balancing a job, taking care of my kiddo, weightlifting, and my other responsibilities)
- initially the goal was that only walks of a certain distance would “count,” and a distance goal wasn’t practical on days kiddo walks. The reality of taking walks with a kid is that sometimes you will let them walk, and not cover as much distance, and other days you will walk alone or with kiddo on your back, and you can cover more distance. Therefore, I tweaked the goal so that any “walking on purpose” counted (not walking from a parking lot into a building, but any walk that had the intention of being an actual walk)
- realizing that I don’t enjoying walking on pavement in bright sun and summer humidity, so if I want to enjoy my walking in the summer, trail walking in the woods would be a good option.
The fourth bullet point has to do with summer and what I need to do in order to enjoy walking more in the summer. Living in New England, though, we are always anticipating winter. So I sent a message to my mother (who enjoys winter hiking) and asked her what kind of clothing and gear I would need to purchase if I want to continue walking in the winter. I felt all proud of myself and pat myself on the back, thinking I was ahead of the game. Now it’s fall, and most days have been really pleasant for walks. “I’ve got this,” I told myself.
And then I woke up to pouring rain this morning. And a forecast of many rainy days over the next week. How silly that I didn’t even think about rain! My inner monologue went something like this:
“Okay then. It’s no big deal. Let’s think about some options! One option: be okay with fewer walks on a rainy week. That’s certainly an option. That’s why I set a yearly goal, rather than a weekly goal. Totally okay for some weeks to take more walks, and others less, based on weather considerations. Another option – consider renewing my gym membership and walking on a treadmill or rowing on a rowing machine on bad weather days. Nope, that’s boring and I’ll hate it. Not gonna do that. Well, guess I’ll come back to this later; gotta go to work!”
While I was at work, the rain stopped and the sun came out right around lunchtime. I was really happy about it and took a walk through the fields for a few minutes. There. Got my walk in. I can check that off my spreadsheet for today. Back to patting myself on the back.
I still think the walking goal is reasonable enough to meet, even when accounting for some rainy days, so maybe I don’t need a rainy day plan. We’ll see.
I also have the idea of back-up plans on the brain because I have a gym membership that is up for renewal and I’m on the fence about whether to renew it. Last year I paid up front for the year because it was a good deal at the time. But I haven’t used it since I bought weights for my own porch gym in April, because lifting at home was just so much more convenient and it’s been nice to lift outside. I will need an alternative to the porch gym in the wintertime, but I don’t think this gym will allow me to properly train for Olympic weightlifting (no dropping weights allowed, and they don’t have bumper plates). I have been curious about trying some powerlifting in the wintertime…..but I already have most of the equipment I need for it at home. So do I renew the gym membership, or use that money to get some floor protection and a flat bench and then I’d be good to go for training at home? Now that I am used to training at home, it seems like the only advantage to having the gym membership is having a place to go with kiddo in the wintertime. More options for leaving the house could be a bigger advantage in the wintertime than I’m thinking it is right now! But….now that kiddo is old enough to enjoy playing by himself in his room, there is a lot to be said for not having to clear off my car in the winter too.
So, I don’t think I’ll be making my decision on this today. Just sharing, inner monologue style, what goes into developing and maintaining a couple specific habits as the weather changes.
If you enjoy walking in cold weather with kids and have any tips, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment!