Living Priorities

Time Management
Credit: xkcd

A few weeks ago, I got frustrated with a pattern I’d observed. I would, in non “crazy” week work out 5-6 times. Then the following week something would happen – I’d have to take a trip, be out every night, get sick… something. And work out maybe once.

This oscillation and unpredictability – sometimes working out a lot, sometimes hardly at all – was not working for me. It was messing with my energy levels, my eating habits, my sleep cycle, and my happiness.

Eventually, I hit a wall. And I realized that I either had to start living in such a way that I made the things that I think are my priorities a priority, or I had to admit that my priorities were different. And I realized that that meant sometimes ignoring, sometimes just not doing as good a job at the things people try and make my priority (typically via my inbox, one of the many reasons I loathe and avoid it). I also realized that it would be easier if I were to return more to my preferred schedule of early mornings and early nights, rather than the later schedule that my boyfriend and teammates (and, really, most nerdy guys) seem to live on. But, I also realized that with a clear space of time free from travel, this was an opportunity to make this change.

I didn’t write about this, and I didn’t really tell anyone until I’d successfully done this for a month. I just set myself a simple goal, reminiscent of my “one positive thing” approach.

The goal: work out five times a week.

I set no restrictions on length, time, or diet. It was pretty much what you can fit in, when you can fit it in, and eat whatever will enable you to do this.

One week I had Girl Geek Dinner, Awesome Foundation, and a trip to the border to do my visa. I got up early and did 30 minutes on the cross trainer at the gym in the office before work, and I went to spin class after a day in the car even though I had a splitting headache. Total workouts that week? Six. After about six weeks of this, it’s still a conscious setting of priorities, but the big change has been that exercise is no longer a chore, it’s something I want to do.

I’m happier. I have more energy. I’m sleeping better. It’s been nearly two years since I dislocated my kneecap, nearly 18 months since I messed up my shoulder, and I finally have a workout that I enjoy, that is not causing me “bad” pain. I am loving spinning. Last week I actually did “the double” – 6am, and 5:30pm. I felt amazing – although the next day hurt!

Yes – some things have slipped – not as many as I thought, though. The truth is, none of them are as important to me as this. For me, it’s been a question of accepting that there are some things I will not do, because they are not as important. And if it is important, I will arrange my life so that I can get up early for spin class, or just some time on the cross trainer. Next week will be challenging, because I’m travelling – but my priorities don’t really change, even if my location is temporarily different.

I think that actions are so much more important than words. My question: the priorities that you would like to think you have, are they reflected in how you live? What – simple – goal or rule could you set yourself to align your actions with your thoughts?

Spinning colors in the sky.
Credit: flickr / .Andi

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