Just over a year ago, when I decided to move house, I mentally told myself that I’d probably never touch my barely-a-year-old mountain bike again. The sight of that very steep hill on the main road between my office and my new home presented a clear and present obstacle. I knew I would have to walk my bicycle up and down.
Similarly I dismissed walking up that hill.
During the day it gets too hot to walk under the naked sun. I’d have to get up early.
I’ve been warned not to walk through the park in the dark. This means having to leave the office before it gets dark.
When I got busy, taking the car was the easiest and most obvious thing to do. Even though I’d have to fire up the car, drive for 3 minutes, and spend another 3 minutes looking for parking, it was still quicker than the 30 minute walk.
Besides, I’d have to wear shorts and walking shoes and then change into working clothes and shoes. That’s more time wasted.
Too many constraints, I decided.
When I first moved to the cottage with the panoramic Pacific Ocean view, my next door neighbor invited me to walk on her flawless green lawn, around and in front of her house to get to a short-cut through the park to my office. I tried it a few times, always provoking her daughter’s pit-bull to loud barking fits.
That was another reason not to walk, I decided. I didn’t feel comfortable trespassing. And I did not like the attention from a leashed dog.
Recently I decided to revisit that decision not to walk to my office and back. After my long haul travels, I wanted to lose weight and get fit.
My mother has always preached the positive health effects of walking. There was a two page spread in a local London newspaper about how walking prevents various ailments such as heart disease and cancer. I’ve heard that it balances the mind: right, left, right, left.
I’ve long wanted to walk or cycle and be free of the car. I knew that regular exercise helps clear the brain. Walkers are slim as are yoga practitioners. I wanted to have that kind of body, mind, and spirit.
Given that I wanted to walk, why did I set up these obstacles to prevent myself from walking to work?
- lack of time
- too hot during day
- no proper short cut
When I started thinking about it, I soon realized it was quite ridiculous. I just needed to make time. I had to get up early enough which meant going to bed early. I had to find a better short cut. Using the google map on my smart phone, I found a straight path that did not cut through private property. I timed the short cut. I changed my schedule so I could walk to and back from the office.
It’s less than 20 minutes to walk downhill to my office and less than 30 minutes to return. During that time I clear my head.
Moral of the story:
Ask yourself why you are not achieving the outcomes you want. Have you set up imaginary obstacles? What’s the payoff for not doing what you want? Is it worth figuring out how to remove those obstacles and get to where you want to be?