One does not simply walk into Mordor…
Except that one does. Well, Frodo and Sam certainly did. I think Gollum sort of slunk or slithered his way in.
But to get to the point…
Last month I signed up with Nerd Fitness Academy. NFA is a website that offers advice, informatin, and motivation for people looking to get into better shape. It’s set up like a traditional RPG for the most part, allowing users to choose a character class – warrior, assassin, ranger, and ninja – to help people set fitness and health goals and achieve them. The more goals or “quests” you achieve, the more points you accrue on NFA, and as you accrue points, you level up. The program makes good use of the nerd/geek theme to motivate users, I think, and so far, I’ve had fun following the various parts of the program and working on quests.
One of the quests I’ve been working on is the “Walk to Mordor.” The goal of the Walk to Mordor is to get into the habit of walking daily. To complete the quest, you have to walk for at least 5 minutes a day for 2 weeks straight. I’ve been working hard at this one for over a month now. Sadly, I have not yet achieved that goal.
Why? Why can I not manage to get in at least a 5-minute walk every day?
Well, it all comes down to priorites. Most weeks, I have been able to walk at least 30 minutes every day for 6 days straight. Then the 7th day comes along. The 7th day is usually the day I have a Girl Scout event to run – a troop meeting, an outing, a certain murder mystery party, etc. Girl Scouts usually takes up one full day of my week, every week, in addition to the 1-2 hours I put into volunteering for Girl Scouts everyday.
I have come to realize that 6 out of every 7 days, I can and will make walking a top priority. As soon as I get up on those 6 days, I will put on my exercise clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head out the door. I will walk 3-4 miles a day during those 6 days. But come that 7th day, my priorities are very different.
On the days that I work Girl Scout events, my only priority is Girl Scouts. I am up by 6:30AM, sometimes even earlier. Chances are very good that I was up until after midnight the night before, preparing for the event in question. So I’ll be a little low on sleep. But I will be up early because I need that time to clean my house (if the event is at my home), prepare a meal and/or snacks for the girls, double-check paperwork for the event, set out supplies for activities, check email for any last-minute communications from other volunteers or parents, drive to the event if it’s not at my home, probably pick up some Girl Scouts along the way who need a ride, gather and store receipts for anything we purchase that day (because I have to account for how the troop spends its money), check in girls at the event, run and/or get through the event, surpervise the girls in their activities, lead the activities, supervise clean-up after the activities, check the girls back out when their parents come to pick them up, drive home any girls that came with me, file the receipts and paperwork, etc., etc., etc.
On days when I do Girl Scout events, I am on my feet all day long. I do not go out for a walk, but I do not stop moving until the event is done and the paperwork is taken care of. And on some days, I don’t even manage to finish that final paperwork before I collapse into bed and pass out. Those days are busy and exhausting. Going for a walk, even a 5-minute walk, doesn’t even enter my mind.
So how can I complete this quest for NFA? Tomorrow, I know I will get up and get out the door and take at least a 3-mile walk. I’ll easily walk more than 10,000 steps (the recommended daily step count) before dinner. And I’ll do the same the next day and the day after that for 6 days straight. But on the 7th day…
I have a Girl Scout troop meeting scheduled. It will run from noon to 5PM. And I guarantee you I will be up by 6:30 that morning to cook, clean, prepare for and run that meeting. I will be busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest until that meeting is over, and then I’ll be deader than a zombie who hasn’t eaten her daily alotment of brains. And I probably will not have taken even a 5-minute walk that day. I will have been moving all day long, but that isn’t part of the qualifications for the “Walk to Mordor” quest.
What to do? Should I get up just a bit earlier so I can take that 5-minute walk? I’ll probably be low on sleep that morning, but I could try it. Or maybe I should adjust the goals of the quest a bit? Instead of walking 14 days in a row, set the goal of walking 6 days a week for 4 weeks straight?
I don’t know. I’m considering posting the question on the NFA forums to see what people think. In fact, that’s probably exactly what I should do. And maybe I will if. Unless, of course, I choose to use that time to go for a 5-minute walk instead.
Like I said, it’s about priorities. And choosing how to spend 5 minutes can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to achieve a goal.