Last year I resolved to run 500 miles in 2016. I didn't do it. I stopped caring pretty soon into 2016 when running didn't fit easily into my regular schedule. I say "easily" with intention - I could have made an effort to fit running into my routine. I could have. I wanted to. Just not enough to actually make it happen.
Isn't that how it goes with goals we don't end up achieving? We wanted them, but not enough? Or something else got in the way?
This year I decided a better goal was to run one mile every day. Not 365 miles by the end of the year, but at least one mile each day. It was more about the habit than the distance covered.
Well, it's January 5 and I did not run one mile yesterday. I went to a yoga class and I did some fancy math to count it as my one mile for the day. (It was a power vinyasa class, okay?) I did not run one mile today, either. I did more yoga.
I like running and I like yoga. As the days pass and I either run my mile or practice yoga I get the feeling that maybe the resolution of "one mile a day" isn't as much about developing the habit of running as it is the habit of practicing wellness every single day.
I love that word. I used to hate it. "Practice" used to mean spending an hour each day playing the flute. I liked playing the flute, but "practice" felt restricting. Demanding. I hate demands. I hate restrictions. I hate feeling pinned down or attached to a requirement. (And yet I love being married. Go figure.)
But when I understand "practice" to be about daily living it takes on new meaning. Practicing wellness isn't something I have to do. It's not an activity I add to my already full calendar. Practicing wellness is how I live. It's as natural and essential as breathing.
Then again, maybe I'm saying all of these things just to make myself feel better about not running yesterday or today. Except I don't feel bad. Not at all. I feel well.
Like I've practiced.
Sometimes when we make resolutions or set goals we forget to consider what our life is actually like. We forget our actual reality. It's not bad to aspire to run 500 miles in one year (and for many people that's just what they do), but it didn't fit into my actual life at all. I wasn't willing to make room for it. There were other things I chose to keep.
Instead of dreaming up things we wish we could do and leaving it at that, maybe it's healthier compare our dreams with reality. My dream? Running more. My reality? Little energy and limited time. A ridiculous goal? Running 3 miles a day. A doable goal? Running 15 minutes a day (or most days). It's okay to adjust your goals to fit what you are capable of doing. It's okay to take baby steps. It's okay to make smaller adjustments and sacrifices and changes in the name of seeing progress and success, instead of making grand resolutions that never come to fruition. It's okay to start small.
Anyway. I'm starting small with this wellness practice. Running (okay, jogging) for those 10-15 minutes a day (most days). Spending time doing a yoga flow either at home or the studio. Not overbooking myself and forcing myself to do too many things - even good things - in a day (or week, or month). These are baby steps. You're never too old for baby steps.
Even at thirty-four-and-a-half.