In December I decided to develop the habit of exercise. That was interesting, not successful based on my original intent, but successful in another way – more on that later.

This month I have decided to do something I’ve needed to do for a long time – develop a daily green habit. As in, leafy greens. They’re so important for our health, and I can’t even say that I don’t like them. Just that I’m lazy. They require cleaning, careful storing or frequent grocery store trips, and then…the chewing. So much chewing! Yet they’re loaded with nutrients, and vital for our health.

It is really just a habit thing. Much like water. Once I’m in the habit of eating them every day, I’ll feel better, and it will build on itself.

Today was my first day of this habit. Yes, it is the 3rd, but it is pointless to start a habit before you are prepared! And I needed to go to the grocery store first, and I didn’t get around to it until today. But today I did start. I had a small salad and tofu scramble with some chopped wilted kale for dinner. It was ever so yummy. Both of them were. Though I admit I didn’t completely finish the small salad. chew chew chew.

So a reflection on last month’s habit of exercise. My goal was to exercise every day in the month of December, but it needed only a minimum of 10 minutes to “count”. Easy, no problem, right? Right. Except in some ways it was too easy. A quick walk, nothing. I did start to go to yoga, which was fantastic, and I look forward to increasing my weekly yoga from 2x/week to 3, and maybe more as I carve out more time for it. I really love it.

I started counting my 3+ hours work at the sanctuary as exercise, because sometimes it really was. Like the time I had to pull a wagon of hay from the pig barn to the goat barn. That’s the first time in my memory, including the years I was on the crew team in college (anyone who has rowed knows what I’m talking about), the times I’ve run distances of 13+ miles, the times I’ve hiked outside Bariloche until I thought my legs were going to give out…no, it was pulling that damn wagon of hay that brought me closer to my quads simply giving out than I have ever been in my entire life. So odd! They didn’t. But that seems deserving of being called exercise!

I also counted the errands I’d run on foot – the post office, the library, the trips to the coffeeshop or the thai place. They were at least 10 minutes round trip, usually more. So that counts, right?

What I found is that it was hard to motivate. The 10 minutes was so easy, it was like why bother? And when I’d walk my errands, that didn’t feel like exercise. Neither did the time at the sanctuary. Yoga I could feel, but I like it so much, it still doesn’t feel like exercise!

So in the end, I didn’t always do the 10 minutes. I “failed”, in that sense. I missed or skipped at least 5 days. The bigger “failure” is that overall the month did not help me form a daily exercise habit, even if I had done the 10 minutes every single day, I still wouldn’t have really been in the habit of daily exercise. I am working out more often, because of the yoga classes, which is good. I did form a regular yoga habit. Perhaps the problem was counting the errands I’d run on foot, but it seemed so silly to go out and walk 10 minutes, which was hardly exercise, after I’d already walked 15 or more to go to and from the post office!

Still, I don’t see it as a failure, because what happened is that I ended up forming a different habit than the one I’d set out to form. It is now my habit to walk my errands – the post office, the library, the coffeeshop, the thai place. I’m pleased to have formed this habit, so I count the month as a success, if not in the area I’d planned on.

dessert, vegan style

Next month I’m probably going to give up added sugar, but this month…this month I’ll be making mojito pie.