Saturday, July 12, 2014

Change Password

Thinking again about ways to be healthy. I've just finished week one of the Seven Valleys Writing Project Summer Institute. We meet 8:30 to 4:00 each day, but I start at 6:30 and stay until 4:15. I love it, but we sit in chairs, typing, talking, reading, and eating food. A different person bring breakfast each morning and people outdo one another with fancy, sweet goodies that pack on the pounds. I'm drinking too much coffee, not enough water, and doing no physical activity. Bleh!

This morning, I have twenty-three hours before running the Boilermaker 15K in Utica. I'm not ready to run hard, so I'll run easy but with purpose. I'm not looking to prove what shape I'm in. I'm pear-shaped. Just looking is proof enough. Instead, I'm reminding myself of what I'm trying to accomplish.

What am I trying to accomplish?

It would be swell to weigh 185 pounds, have lean, muscled legs and arms, and run nine-minute miles. Those are good long-term goals, but I'm not great at long-term goals. What about now?

I want to focus on this moment and the long-term goal. I start well but peter out fast. I'd like to sustain the effort.

I have it in me. I've written 750 words every day for fifty days (after a streak of over two hundred). I've done longhand "morning pages" all week getting up early to do them before the writing project. I can stick to a plan.

With health, my plans fall prey to anxiety and habit. Food has been my reward. If I'm good, there's ice cream or Oreos. If I'm sad, grab chocolate chips or a pizza and bleu cheese to dip it in. If I'm angry, a milkshake might soothe. Beyond that, there's the routines of eating. Home from work, I stand in the kitchen eating while discussing the day with Stephanie.

Creating a new habit, as I've written many times, is a challenge. I found a new tool for that last night in an article on Medium entitled How a Password Changed My Life. In it, Mauricio Estrella, during a painful divorce, was required to change his password. He came up with this: Forgive@h3r. He typed that password several times each day. Thirty days later, he had forgiven her and his life was better.

I love it. So simple.A reminder he gave himself. No one else involved. Passwords are secret. Just him and the change he needed to make.

I changed my password last night. Each log-in is a reminder. This morning I reminded myself to go for a run and eat a good breakfast. And that reminder is enough.

My new email password at work reminds me to get a new job. I wonder if the IT folks will get it.

The Writing Project Summer Institute is changing me. Morning pages done longhand are changing me. The passwords are changing me. And of course, fueling my change and growth, is this writing and the habit I established long ago to write on.