It was early April, the Spring of 2014.
The winter was finally saying its last goodbye and I was more than ready to let it go. We had just experienced one of the worst winters on record with below average temperatures and above average snow fall. It had been months since I went for a walk. I was eager to step outside and enjoy a nice long walk with the family.
Unfortunately I discovered that a long walk was out of the question. Even a short walk would have been nice, but there wasn’t a chance of that happening anytime soon.
With each step that I took, my back seized up again and again.
Seriously? I was 49-years-old and I couldn’t walk 1/2 a mile? Make that 1/4 mile.
I couldn’t help but notice other families walking by, including a senior couple who looked to be in their 70s.
I had a long list of excuses, and believe me–I used them. My dad died, my medication is weight gaining, I’m tired all the time, and I’m too busy to exercise…
I can’t even begin to tell you how ashamed I am that I had let myself get to this point. Only five years earlier I was exercising about an hour/day. I was in great shape. In fact I had built a stone patio in our front yard all by myself.
But that was then, this was now, and something had to be done…
Enter Project 365.
I started Project 365 on my birthday (April 14th) hoping to get fit before 50.
It’s not a 21-day diet or a 31-day exercise regimen–it’s a challenge to change the things you can one day at a time.
With whatever it is that you’re hoping to change, challenge yourself for 365 days.
Think of each day as one point. The goal is to reach 365 points in total–keeping track of your progress. Every day that you choose well or complete the task that you’ve assigned for yourself, you earn one point.
The idea is to measure your effort, not your results. Results can be discouraging. Anyone who has stood on a scale after a week of eating well can attest to this. If you don’t see the number you were hoping for, a sense of failure sets in.
And what about those weeks when you’re doing so well and you let yourself slip? First thing that comes to mind is, “Well, since I’ve eaten too much today, I might as well finish the night off with as much food as I can.”
The next day you wake up feeling bad because you spoiled everything. You fell off of your diet and you start to question whether you can ever possibly eat like a normal person again.
Project 365 is different. If you have a bad day, don’t count it. Start the next day fresh, and add your points once again.
What if your goal is to eat well and exercise right? You can always give yourself one point for each and finish up in 183 days. Have fun with the challenge–be flexible.
My personal journey…
I started walking with my son in April. My goal was to exercise 20 minutes/day. For the first three to five days the pain was bad. Real bad. I had to stop and rest every few minutes or so. My lower back was in excruciating pain. I was so embarrassed. We walked slow, and some days I had to turn back before we got very far, but after a week the pain lessened and I started to walk a little further. After a while we started exploring and walking was fun.
I was keeping track of my effort, and before long, I accumulated 85 points. I couldn’t wait until I reached my first goal of 100 points.
Sometime in late May, my daughter got her beginner’s drivers license. She was so excited about driving that every night she asked if we could go out for another ride. It was a great summer. But while most of our nights were spent driving, I stopped exercising again.
Project 365 sat on the shelf–until Fall.
I picked it up again last October, but this time I fine-tuned my goal. I figured that if I could walk, I could certainly run. Couldn’t I?
Yes, and no.
For the first two months, running felt nearly impossible. I couldn’t run more than 15 seconds at a time, and walking was slow. So I walked and I ran, and I walked and I walked, and I ran. But mostly I walked.
Three weeks in I sent a note to a friend of mine asking her if it ever stops hurting. The pain was unreal. 15 second intervals and my calves were killing me each and every time. You heard right–15 seconds.
But here’s the thing… I pressed on. I’m no where near to what anyone would call a good runner, but last night I was able to run for two minutes straight, and it felt incredible. I walked and I ran and I walked. It was awesome.
It’s been a slow process for me. It’s been one exhausting day at a time, but the pain has been worth the gain.
Where am I now?
I’m at 150 days and climbing. I walk effortlessly and I’m starting to build up my running time.
I’ve also started eating better and just this past week I began bench pressing.
How You Can Get Started
1. Get yourself a journal where you can start recording your progress.
2. Designate the first page to state your project. You might right something like, “Project 365: To Study the Bible Every Day.” Or, “Project 365: To Eat Well Every Day.” You choose the project.
3. Record your progress daily. It might look something like this:
365 – 1 = 364!!
4. Celebrate each small success. Did you make it five days? Why not give yourself a gold star today! Was your workout extra good? Give yourself a happy face. 🙂
5. Motivate yourself daily by finding encouraging quotes, Bible verses, or related thoughts and recording them in the journal.
6. Join the Facebook group, where you can motivate others and share your progress: Project 365 Facebook Group
7. Join us here again next week for some 365 encouragement! I’ll be posting on this topic every Monday this month.
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
Pick up a copy of my books: