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Camp report no. 4 – Regular exercise

After doing nothing for my Camp NaNo┬ánovel for three days, I have clawed my way back up today. Not to the point where I should be, but close enough to be able to relax again. I went from 11,742 to 16,028 words today, which means that I wrote 4286 words (luckily, the website tells me that, otherwise I would have needed to find a calculator – I’m that bad at numbers). For me, that’s A LOT. My goal was to crack 16k today, and I did, and I feel good about it!

While writing, I asked myself why I don’t write these kind of numbers every day. Or, even more pertinently, why I just don’t write the minimum number of 1667 words every day and be done with it. Why do I lean back and not do anything for three days, and then have to scramble to get back?

When I moved back in with my parents two and a half months ago (a temporary arrangement, quite definitely), one of the things I listed on my internal pro/con list as a point on the positive side, was the fact that my Mum has quite a few gym machines in the cellar. There’s a bike thingy, and a running thingy, and lots of stuff for doing other kinds of exercises. And as I’m not as fit as I should or could be, I made the decision to go running on the machine every day. Every day. Even though I hate running. And I did do it.

Yep, you noticed the tense, didn’t you? You’re right. I started out the first week, running for half an hour every morning, and not hating it. Even feeling rather good and smug about myself. And then the inevitable started – one day, I couldn’t make myself get up on time. Another day, I had a headache. The next day, I just felt too hungry and wanted to have breakfast straight away. So I only went running twice a week, then only once, and then I stopped altogether. Now, I haven’t exercised for several weeks, despite the fact that I tell myself every day that I really need it, that I will feel better afterwards.

Why am I not running? Why am I not writing every day? For me, the answer is, quite sadly, pressure. It’s a very depressing conclusion to come to: that apparently, I do not have enough discipline to do what I want to do, what I know is good for me, on a regular basis without external pressure. Such a very dispiriting thing to have to face about oneself! Especially if one is, as I am, very much against pressure and very much against having to do what others say one has to do.

I’ve started to see the light, however. Knowing this about myself will help me deal with it. I just need to create pressure for myself. Apparently, that’s what I’ve been doing unconsciously already, with letting myself fall back on the writing goal. For writing, I can create pressure by timing myself. I can use the falling-back-and-catching-up-again-technique. I can work with motivators like food (‘you’ll only eat if you get to x words!’). I can ask people to hold me accountable (actually, that’s where the cabin system of the Camp NaNo website does wonders!).

Pressure for exercising regularly? Well, I’ve recently thought that I will put a photo of my younger, slimmer, fitter self on my laptop and use it as a desktop image. Or resurrect my old training pal, who is conveniently totally imaginary, but won’t let that stop her from kicking my butt all the same.

Somehow, I feel more confident about the writing than about the exercising. Help?

P.S. If you need pressure to work as well, please do leave a comment. I won’t feel so lonely. And if you don’t need pressure, could you teach me how to do that as well?

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