Serious, excessive, dangerous situation, extreme, severe were all adjective being used to describe the temperatures predicted for today. While the weather people reframed shouting Armageddon from the roof top, the message was clear, life as we know it is coming to an end…for at least the next couple of days. Find the nearest cooling station and hunker down until the all-clear signal is given.
Immediately, the Walt Disney cartoon where Donald Duck comes face-to-face with the Angel Donald and Devil Donald comes to mind as my internal dialogue started.
Devil Christine: Maybe I should skip exercising today? The weather predictors are calling for heat indexes of 100 to 110 degrees. One day won’t kill me.
Angel Christine: It is 7:00 AM and it is only 77 degrees. They are calling on four days of excessive heat in the AFTERNOON and four days will have an impact on your program.
Devil Christine: But you don’t want to get heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Angel Christine: Just do it! (Yes, Angel Christine talks in advertising tag lines)
Clearly, I was looking for an excuse.
But an excuse to do what? Not exercise? I love my morning outings whether at home or on travel. This morning as I briskly walked through the 91st Street Garden along the Hudson River, I was able to enjoy all the blooming trees and plants. Prior to 9:00 AM dogs are allowed to be off their leases so every type of canine was roaming free. Champagne colored poodles, Lassie look-a-likes and other assorted breeds were out enjoying the morning. It was a fun morning and I almost missed it because…I don’t know why I was about to let the manufactured urgency of the news media deter me from my plan. (Let me say here, I was raised in Florida and I understand and respect the need to be cautious in extreme heat. I know that one should exercise in off hours, stay indoors during peak hours and stay hydrated.)
So why was I looking for an excuse to get off plan? Boredom. Possibly. I have been exercising daily and working on maintaining a healthy diet. It is not always easy. It requires sticking to a routine and I think this morning I didn’t want to follow the routine. Unfortunately, given the heat wave hitting New York City, I couldn’t shift my exercise period to another time because of the severe heat. It was in morning or not at all. So the Angle Christine was correct, Just Do It! or miss your opportunity.
Over the course of my life, I have learned the difference between an excuse and a reason. An excuse is an effort to remove blame such as “it is not my fault that I can’t walk today because the heat index is going to be 110 this afternoon”. A reason is a rational ground such as “I broke my ankle and I can’t walk on it until it heals”. I had no rational motive for not walking today; I was looking for an excuse.
I have a goal to run a 10K and to reach that goal. I must lose weight and get my body in shape. I have lost 10.5 pounds and I can now climb the subway stairs without feeling I am holding up the folks behind me. The hard part is staying the course. I have declared my goal, I have developed the plan, I have started working the plan but the hard part is upon me; the day-in and day-out effort to happily maintain the routine or mix it up when possible. Or when it is not possible to happily maintain the routine then I must just push through the boredom.
I ask you, what is keeping you from accomplishing your goals? Who is whispering in your ear…the excuse devil or the angel of reason?