Since I’ve been actively trying to get moving a little more this year and escape the existence of a couch potato, I’ve been trying to take a lot more walks through our neighborhood.
When you leave our house, you have two choices.
You can turn to the left, and very shortly you’ll come to the end of the street and to a busy road with no sidewalks. It’s not exactly safe to walk on. This route I try to avoid.
You can turn to the right and go down a steep hill further into the neighborhood.
It’s a lovely little neighborhood. There isn’t much traffic, because there’s only one way in or out. The yards are mostly big and wooded. The neighbors are friendly. It’s inviting to take a walk through the neighborhood, except that you know that you’ll end up walking up that big darn hill at the end.
The first part of a walk is easy, as you head down the hill. There’s a spring in your step. That makes it easy to head up the next little hill and on into the flatter parts of the neighborhood. Eventually you have to turn around and come back and struggle up the hill if you want to make it home.
When we first moved here, I took very few walks. I was intimidated by the hill, or at least the prospect of pushing the baby stroller up the hill. So while we lived in a reasonably good walking neighborhood, I didn’t do much walking. I didn’t do much exercise either.
Eventually I admitted to myself that what I was doing wasn’t working. It wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t making any progress toward fitness goals or weight loss goals. I knew the one type of exercise I’d ever been able to do consistently and regularly as an adult was walking, but I wasn’t walking anymore. And getting a FitBit showed exactly how little exercise I was getting each day.
I had a choice. I could drive somewhere else to walk or I could walk in our neighborhood. But I knew driving somewhere to walk adds an extra step, and getting comfortable walking through the neighborhood was a better plan for meeting my long term goals. I’d just have to deal with the big darn hill.
All the Big Darn Hills
As I walked through the neighborhood, I realized that there are so many big darn hills out there that keep me from doing things that are good for me.
Rejection is a big darn hill. Fear of rejection can keep you from looking for a better job, or from broadening your circle of friends, or from putting forward your own ideas. Why put yourself out there and offer yourself, only to have someone turn you down?
But if you don’t, you’ll never get the better job. You’ll never broaden your ciricle. You’ll never be recognized for your good idea, or fix a problem or make something better.
Fear of Failure is a big darn hill. Why try anything new, or anything that will stretch your capabilities? Why put your heart and effort into something if you aren’t sure you can succeed?
But if you don’t try with all your might, you’ll never grow. You’ll never know what you could have done. You’ll never live up to your potential.
Change is a big darn hill. What if life isn’t as good as it is now? What if you make things worse?
But if you don’t change, things are as likely to go bad from your inaction as from your action. And if you don’t change, nothing will ever get better.
It’s all big darn hills. Life is a big darn hill. But if you sit at home on the couch, you’re not really living, are you? You’re just letting life pass you by.
Conquering the Big Darn Hill
So, now I’m regularly walking down and then up the big darn hill. I’m not sitting on the couch. I’m trying to get my step goals, and trying to be healthy.
I may not have reached every goal, but I’m not letting the fact that I have to climb a hill stop me.
The big hill is only intimidating if I allow it to be.Once I started walking, I realized that not only is it not bad, it’s kind of nice, and it gets easier every day.
I stretch my legs. My lungs fill with fresh air. The sunlight warms my face and the wind kisses my cheeks. I hear the birds singing and smell flowers blooming. And when I get to the top each day, I feel a little sense of accomplishment.
The big darn hill isn’t going to keep me from taking a walk, or doing anything else.
What are the big darn hills of your life? What keeps you sitting on the couch when you know you should be out exercising your talents and resources?