Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Making Things Happen

'm not particularly good at spontaneity. Despite how things might appear if you look at my exercise schedule, I'm actually incredibly lazy and if I don't have something planned and scheduled into my diary I'm more than capable of sitting doing nothing for hours on end and then wondering where the time went.

This isn't necessarily a problem all the time, sometimes it's nice to just switch off and do nothing. But it doesn't help with all those vague plans - days out, and things like that. If I start the weekend thinking "I might do x", I rarely do. I decide that the weather's not nice enough, or the money would be better saved rather than spent on a day out, or that I simply can't overcome my lethargy. Sometimes it's just that I don't have a good enough idea of what I actually want to do, and having too much choice leads me to decide to do nothing.

Recently it's been particularly bad. The incessant rain really hasn't inspired me to do anything spur of the moment, even though a lot of the time it hasn't been bad enough to mean I have to stay inside, just not nice enough to persuade me to venture out. If I arranged to meet someone else and do stuff with them I suppose I'd be more inclined to get out there anyway, but when it's just me I'm not letting anyone but myself down, and I'm quite happy to be left alone on the sofa with the Sunday papers.

To some extent this is a bit inconsistent. I actually enjoy running and cycling in the rain (as long as it's just moderate rain, not the torrential stuff we had last Monday). It makes me feel invigorated and alive, like it's washing my worries away. If it's on my plan to go outside in it, I'll go out and I'll love it. But if it's not scheduled in, I use the weather like a pathetic excuse.

So this weekend there's a new plan. Instead of saying that I might do something, and making tentative plans for what I might do if it's nice, I'm going to make plans and do it anyway. If it's planned in enough detail, I can just take the first step and then the rest of the day will follow from that, rather than having a vague plan and not really having any idea of how I'm going to go about it.

So instead of putting "walking in the Dales?" in my diary, I've looked at bus timetables and routes. I know what time I need to get the bus into town to catch the Dalesbus, I know how long there is between the morning bus up there and the afternoon bus back. I have bought a map so that I can work out a route, and I've started thinking about what I need to put in my bag (food!), and what time I need to set the alarm to catch the buses.

This way if my alarm goes off and it's not raining heavily I'm all set and ready to go, rather than waking up, realising the weather's OK but having missed the bus, not wanting to drive and putting it off until another day.

The same applies to most things, really. Particularly dieting. It's one thing talking constantly, as some of the secretaries at work are, about going on a diet tomorrow, but another thing waking up tomorrow morning with everything already in place to start doing it. Having a training plan has worked wonders for keeping me exercising. I don't just wake up and think whether I feel like exercising (the answer to that question is no far more often than you'd think looking at the consistency with which I exercise), I wake up and get it done because it's planned, and because not feeling like it at the start isn't a good enough reason to skip it (I usually do enjoy it once I get going). Sometimes things seem overwhelming if you just make a goal to lose weight, or run a marathon. But you can commit to writing a healthy menu for the week, then shopping for it, then cooking it, or to going for a single run today. Break it down into steps and it feels a lot easier.

So on Sunday I'm not going for a day out walking in the Dales. I'm going to wake up early and get the bus into town with the bag I'll have packed on Saturday night, then I'm going to take it from there. It seems a bit contrived, putting a plan together to make sure I get out and do something, but I know what I'm like, even (or maybe especially) when it comes to having fun.


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