Lessons Learned #12 – When to Follow the Example of Others

This post is part of a series that began here. By sharing my “lessons learned” I hope to illustrate the power of this daily practice of gentle self-observation. Please follow along and share your own.

#1 – Timers Can Work

Today I followed Mona Grayson‘s example and used a timer (to be more specific, the “alarms” that are part of my calendar software) to help me move from one thing to the next throughout my day.

When I’ve tried this in the past, I’ve felt really nagged by it, which just inspired instant rebellion. Disaster. (I don’t like being bossed about by machines. For instance, I can’t stand the self-check lanes at grocery stores.)

But because of the way Mona has reframed using a timer to create a certain kind of work space and rhythm, this time around – well, today anyway (just began this experiment) – I felt pulled forward through my day. To my surprise, I didn’t feel rushed or interrupted. My gentle reminders kept me from over-focusing on one thing to the detriment of others and helped me to take needed breaks.

It actually worked the way I hoped it would. So, yay Mona. Yay timers.

#2 – There is a difference between doing and getting ready to do

In my mind, when that little calendar reminder popped up, I was all set to take a break midday for a short workout.  But the only thing that was ready was my mind.  The running about to get all the little necessary things together was a workout in itself.  Took twice as long. Forgot to schedule time to prepare. Duh. Honestly, I know better…

#3 – If it ain’t broke…

I also had it in my head that I should do yoga during my midday workout (note the should). Until I started doing the yoga (with my dog’s uninvited participation, which kind of made it doga which is not nearly as adorable as it sounds) – and remembered I don’t really like yoga.

Seems like everyone I know can’t get enough, so I figure I should like it. But I don’t. First there is the boredom which is then followed by the swearing.

So today, almost before I knew it, I’d traded the yoga tape for the ancient workout tape that is my favorite (it is such an embarrassing guilty pleasure I can’t bring myself to tell you what it is) and did my thing, inserting a little Pilates here and there, before spending a some time on the elliptical on the back porch.

[ I love my elliptical.  It makes me feel like a really graceful runner even though I am so so not.  I cruise along, going nowhere, feeling powerful and fast while Jamiroquai reminds me to Use the Force. How can yoga top that? ]

Anyway, my point is this: the mash-up that is my exercise routine is the one that works.  It’s the one I like enough to actually do.  So why am I messing with perfection because of what (I think) everyone else is doing?

There are times when modeling what others are doing is very effective.  And times when it’s not.

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