Is there something you should do but you don’t always want to?
Exercise perhaps, or laundry? Dishes? Cleaning and decluttering?
Last year I listened to Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It was a fun, relatable, well-researched and –reasoned book on habit formation and change. I have recommended it to many patients for its myriad practical strategies. One that particularly resonated with me was the idea of pairing. Basically if we combine the thing we should-but-don’t-want-to-do with something we like or do-want-to-do, we are more likely to form and strengthen the habit of the ‘sbdwtd’.
In one of those Eureka! moments of instant understanding and integration, I started saving my favorite TV show to watch while doing the interval program on my elliptical. Thanks to the hubs for positioning the cardio machine right in front of the TV in the basement! Sadly, The Big Bang Theory has concluded and there are no other 30 minute shows quite so compelling to get me moving. Thankfully I have my favorite podcast and Liked Songs list on Spotify, so I’m not totally sedentary. On days when I’m really motivated, I still do the 7 minute workout or a TRX program.
Do you wish you could connect more often with friends?
Years ago I remember talking on the phone while unloading and putting away groceries or folding laundry. My friend was in San Francisco, I in Chicago. We knew each other’s days off and would just call when we had a moment, and talk if we were free. Farther back, in college and med school, we could all just hang out at each other’s apartments, pretending to study, but really just eating and talking. Now we text, which is nice, but it’s not the same. Somehow it feels harder to get folks on the phone anymore, and even harder to meet in person… I miss my friends.
I’m getting a little better, though. Sometimes I make phone dates with people for my commute. It can be challenging across time zones, but we make it work. It’s finite and somewhat reliable—I have to spend 30-40 minutes in the car at some point on any given morning and evening on workdays. I even managed to connect with two Counsel members for pep talks before important meetings recently.
This month my new friend Alex and I started a new connection method, the Cardio Catch-Up. She lives in DC and has to walk her dog. I still need to work out, which I usually do in the evenings. So we arranged a call over exercise tonight. It was perfect! I had to commit to a certain time, and my friend held me accountable. I got on the machine and didn’t even notice the time going by (okay it just went by a lot faster), while we bonded over our LOH learnings, musings on human behavior and tribal dynamics, and our shared progressive values and aspirations for the planet. I got my workout in, check. And we both alighted on themes for future blog posts. Tonight’s nascent idea: Is the contagion of urgency the best vehicle for motivation? Who knows where it will lead, into what it will grow, with what it will merge? Regardless, it was born of an optimal pairing.
The Cardio Catch-Up is the perfect multi-win: Move the body, release stress and tension, connect with another beautiful human, exercise the mind, and inspire the spirit. Who wants to do it with me next week?