Generally, at the first of the month, I post about the habit I’m trying to change. Today is the 10th, and I still haven’t posted about how the wellness challenge is going. This is perhaps because I’m reluctant to admit to all of you that I fell off the wagon. Ate ridiculous foods at Christmas (cookies, in particular. Pounds of them), stayed up way too late because school was on vacation, didn’t do anything proactive to prevent the wall of stress that is the start of spring semester…but I’m making an effort to resume my good habits like eating real dinners, getting more sleep, and reducing negative stress. And today, I’m declaring my habit change for the month. I decided that I would get more exercise. Specifically, I will walk more. And I’ve figured out how to make a habit change that I won’t let drop over winter break, or on the weekends. No, this is a habit I’ll be practicing every single day, for at least the next decade. Here’s my method for how to walk more, in 3 easy steps.
(Note: following this method will in no way simplify your life. Quite the opposite, actually).
Step 1: Go to a pet adoption event for a great local rescue group like this one. Find a wonderful dog (I went with a hound/lab/shepherd/whatever mix, but you can vary this step as much as you like). To really up your exercise level, get a puppy, with a lot of energy:
Step 2: Adopt the puppy and bring him (or her) home. Chaos will likely ensue, as the puppy takes over your life and eats all of your stuff, no matter how closely you watch him. Fall in love with him anyway, because he is adorable and sweet. Give him a bed, and a collar, and tags with his name and address on them (we shortened Aristotle, the name he came with, to Arlo). Buy him lots of fun chew toys and spoil him rotten, and try to persuade him to make friends with your cats.
Step 3: Determine that the puppy needs more exercise. Lots more, so that he looks less like this:
and more like this:
Ta da! You are now a bonafide walking machine. Enjoy more sunshine and fresh air, and see more of the stars at night. Experience lots of weather, from rain and snow to sunny, cloudless skies. Make new friends! You’ll meet TONS of other neighbors who also have puppies and walk/jog/bike with them outside a lot. Your pup will also enjoy exploring the outdoors, so you’ll notice lots of things you never paid attention to before (this pipe running across a creek was particularly fascinating to Arlo):
Have fun! Your new habit is guaranteed to last a long, long time, and as an added bonus, your house will minify itself (with your pup’s help – mine is great at keeping clutter at bay. He gets rid of socks, receipts, shoes, and pens, without even being asked!) You’ve also gained a new best friend. Pets are good for your health…and if life with them is less simple, it’s also more fun and full of laughter.
* (Note: This post is tongue in cheek. Only adopt a dog if you want a lifelong companion. Not for protection, or exercise, or a playmate for a child. Adopt a dog if you want your own very best friend, and all of the responsibility and joy that comes with him)