Thursday, September 8, 2011

The First Step

Have you ever watched a baby learn to walk? The little one is all full of trepidation and wobbling. They hold on to the coffee table or their mommy or the couch. They refuse to let go until something in them switches and they just KNOW they can do it and suddenly they’re walking….and then they don’t stop.

That’s how I felt at the beginning of this journey. As I come up upon the one year mark I see that we take first steps every day. Sometimes we’re wobbly, sometimes we jump up and go. Either way, once you’ve taken that first step all the steps that come after seem a bit easier.

I’ve been trying to run in the mornings. I really love the way I feel when I’ve accomplished my run before many people I know have even gotten out of bed. I love that I pass the same guy who can only be described as FAAAAST (he passed me 3 times yesterday) and the same older lady who won’t even nod “hello”, she just stares straight ahead. Maybe I’m scary at 6:30am? No, for sure I’m scary that early. I love that it’s cool out and even though I sweat it’s not unbearable.

I hate getting up that early. I like to sleep. I have a hard time falling asleep. My mind races when I lay in bed because, well, it’s the only time I stop. I go, go, go all day and my brain finally has some time to work stuff out at night. This means I often don’t fall asleep at a decent hour so I definitely don’t want to wake up at the a$$ crack of dawn.

However, I’ve come to notice that once I’m up, I’m up. If I can just get my two feet on the floor and butt out of bed, then it all comes naturally. I brush my teeth, wash my face, change into my running clothes, turn on my Garmin and I’m gone.

It’s totally that first step.

It’s the same way with this whole journey. Once I started making the commitment to living healthier I couldn’t stop. Do I have moments of weakness? Of course. I like sweets and fried food and beer. Do I have moments of laziness? Of course. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is sit on your booty and rest. However, I can’t stop living like this. It’s like a baby learning to walk and then thinking, “Meh, This blows. I'll just crawl or that nice lady I call Mommy will carry me....forever.”

Once you start, you can’t stop.

Life often gets in the way. A lot of people have ups and downs on the journey to look better, feel stronger and live healthier. The thing is, if we would only remember that the first step is the hardest we’d realize how easy the rest of it is. It becomes second nature, like putting one foot in front of the other.

So the next time my alarm goes off at that god-awful early time, I’ll try, in my weakened and sleepy state, to remember that this is the hardest part.

I’m not saying the rest will be easy. There are decisions that have to be made and pressures that have to be dealt with. We all have crazy schedules, different amounts of stress and friends who can eat whatever they want and never exercise.

But once we stop wobbling we can use our courage, our determination and our new-found strength to let go of the coffee table and move forward towards our goals.

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