Friday, January 27, 2012

Get Moving

The purpose of this blog is to provide a conversation-starter for your Friday night dinner table - please print and share....

Remember the Little Engine That Could?

Does any kid ever believe that story?

We all believe in the power of positive thinking, but is it enough?

Three months ago or so I wrote about my year-long attempt to get into shape and  my quest for a 6:30 mile.

It appeared that much of what was holding me back was my belief that I could do it.

Since then, I've been pushing myself hard to stay at that plateau.

Then, last week, it occurred to me that I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I could. So it was time to try for hte 6 minute mile.

For the record, I don't have a particularly intense exercise routine. Just 3x/week, walk a mile, stretch, run a mile, stretch, calesthenics and maybe a few weights. That's about it. Unstudied, unschooled, I do what feels right to me.

But following the strategy as then, I got the same results, i.e. I'm now a 6 minute miler.

Who cares? The length of 1 mile and the time are so arbitrary. What difference does it make?

I think the answer is that although they are arbitrary, they give me a goal to work for. Without concrete goals, it's hard to feel like you're getting anywhere.

Have you ever tried to learn a language outside the classroom? You get a book, maybe some CDs or videos. You dabble. But if you decided, "I'm going to try to learn the Hebrew alphabet by February 27, 2012" you are highly likely to succeed. Or how about this: "I want to learn 1 new Hebrew phrase a day for 30 days." You'll do it, if you give yourself a deadline and numerical goal.

(I'm not saying you have to be Daniel Tammet, the kid who learned fluent Icelandic in one week, but watch this video and maybe you'll be inspired.)

Some readers may recall that when I first started exercising a year ago, I was so afraid of failure I actually bet a friend $500 that I could lose 8 pounds in 8 weeks. I knew that I could do it but wanted to make sure I did it. Put my money where my mouth was, quite literally.

But now something new has happened. For the first time, I'm thinking the previously unthinkable. I'm wondering if I could run a five minute mile. Is it conceivable or ridiculous? Understand, I'm not even close to what you would call an athletic person. I'm the kind of guy that real athletes smirk at if they see me in the gym. I did some googling around to see what's considered a good mile for the over-40 crowd. It seems that five may be a bit optimistic. Very very few achieve this, even with the intense motivation of competition. Five minutes looks too ambitious.

What do you think?

Here's today's question for your table: Which of your goals do you know you could achieve in the next 60 days if you were sufficiently motivated?

(If you say it's a top goal, and you know you could achieve it, but you're not willing to put your money with your mouth is, then it's not a real goal. Think about it.)

Shabbat Shalom

PS -  Version 2.1 of my iphone app was released last week. Thanks for all the great feedback that went into making these revisions. Hope you enjoy it (links below).

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