The surprise benefit of a simple fitness challenge

So it turns out that I can now do a 3-minute wall sit, thanks to the February wall sit challenge.

I didn’t think I could – not even while I was doing it, focusing intently on the Johnny Cash song I’d cued up rather than the clock – but it’s in the books, along with 15 other daily wall-sit tasks that led up to it, each one making the next one more attainable.

Underneath it all is some kind of blind faith that this workout plan was designed for success. If I do this day’s task, then I can do the next one, and the one after that, until finally I arrive at the 5-minute wall sit at the end of the rainbow.

All too often I get ahead of myself and start fretting about what’s coming up in the days or weeks ahead instead of just focusing on what I need to do today. Maybe that’s because I don’t have as much faith in my daily to-do list as I do in that workout regimen.

I read somewhere once that if your hopes and dreams aren’t reflected in your daily to-do list – not giant tasks but simply small, concrete steps that move you toward your goal – then you’ll never get there. You’ll spend time and energy every day pining for the things you think you want out of life, but you won’t move any closer toward achieving those goals.

I get that part – aligning your big-picture goals with your daily plan. What I’ve always struggled with is accepting that one day is only so big. Just as I once tried to cram too much food on my plate (and sometimes still do), I tend to try to cram too much into a day. And then feel bad when I don’t get it done.

Probably the reason I’m having some success with this wall-sit challenge is that the stakes aren’t that high. Yes, it’s hard. But I can do it in a couple of minutes without overthinking it.

It’s kinda cool to think about acquiring a weird new parlor trick, being able to hold a 5-minute wall sit. But ultimately I feel like what I might really gain from this experiment is a bit more mental clarity – and that’s even better.

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2 Responses to The surprise benefit of a simple fitness challenge

  1. bgddyjim says:

    Of course, the other side of this (and I’ve seen it in action) is that one spends so much time on lists and trying to figure out the next concrete step to take that they have no time to actually take the step. Very interesting topic for thought.

  2. tischcaylor says:

    Oh, I’ve been there, for sure. I tend to do better the less I have on my list — ideally, so short I don’t even need to write it down. But this remains a learning process for me.

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