The First 20 Minutes are the Hardest

IMG-20120116-00116On Sunday night, the fam headed to our local Snap Fitness.  Yes – it is part of a resolution for some of us, but others were there for the cable television. When we got rid of our cable in August, I do not think that we realized it would propel us to the gym to catch some of our favorite shows…but whatever gets you to the gym, right? After reading my “true fitness” friends’ posts on Facebook about the resolutioners crowding the gyms, I had decided to take the first few weeks off from the gym.  Haha!  Ok – let’s be honest, I had taken four months off from the gym. Rather than moving when my back hurt, I moved less.  Not a good idea.

Needless to say, the return to the gym is a good idea. I have things I want to accomplish this year. I want to do some 5k walks, and I even want to try a 2k run. I would like to drop a few pounds and tone up some not-so-toned parts of my body, I want to have some good cardio health, and I want to do all that I can to ensure that I am mobile well into my 80s like my grandmothers. I know as well as anyone that these things do not happen overnight.

I just did not expect it to hurt so much to start again.

This past summer, I had put in some good time getting myself whipped into shape physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Oddly (at least to me), exercise played a big role in all three of these areas. The physical side is pretty obvious, but the emotional and spiritual sides of me also do better when I move. Walking (I’m not to the running part yet) is a bilateral movement (using right and left sides) and allows my brain to think more openly. There is actually a psychological therapy that uses this with eye movement. I have found that walking does similar things. My mind makes connections and re-wires when I am walking. I find that I think much more clearly when I am walking, and I should have a recording device along with me as I create new systems for work, consider new ways of seeing a problem at home, and just feel better.  Spiritually, I find that God shows me things when I am walking – even if it is on a treadmill.

On Monday morning, when I headed to the gym, God showed me something about perseverance.  On Sunday evening, I had put in nearly an hour on the treadmill. It was grueling for the first twenty minutes. I was angry and upset that I had waited so long. I had a laundry list of reasons why I hated being at the gym…many of these had to do with how I saw my body and how I assumed that everyone else there saw me too.  In my clear thinking, I know that most people do not really care about how I look – they probably do not even think about me at all.  After I got past the first twenty minutes, I did not even think about any of this either…but I did not realize it.

Monday morning, though, it was so clear to me that the first twenty minutes were the key to my success.  I just had to get through the first twenty minutes…after that, I could have gone for an hour or two hours – if I would not have promised to do some fun things with the girl all day.  Seriously, it was amazing! At ten minutes, I just wanted to get off of the treadmill and leave the gym.  I was angry and upset (again) and came up with a huge laundry list of reasons why this exercise thing was not going to work.  At the 19:02 mark, though, something switched, and I found that I was unhappy that the work out was going to end in the near future.

I am going to apply this twenty minute theory to a few other things in my life and see if makes a difference.  If I get past the twenty minute mark of a craving (when I am not truly hungry), can I go until I am truly hungry?  If I can get past the twenty minute mark on a project, will I suddenly be free to finish the project even if it takes hours?  If I get past the twenty minute mark of cleaning the house, will I want to finish and clean the whole thing?

I will report back in a week or two and let you all know what I find.  What do you think about this theory? Is there some research to support it?

1 Comment

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One response to “The First 20 Minutes are the Hardest

  1. Bex

    Great insight Stacy! Later today I will definitely try to apply this 20 minute rule to folding and putting away the laundry. At the current moment, however, I need to apply it to the hunger pangs I’m having from the cookie dough that I made a half an hour ago. hmph! 🙂 Love ya!


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