Lately I have been feeling grateful for how effortless my exercise habits have become. They are purposefully modest ones. My focus has been on making exercise pleasurable and doable. Now it is usually a matter of when, rather than if, I’m going to exercise. I’m especially happy that when I get stressed out my reaction is to want to get outside and go for a walk. I still dream of consistently attending dance classes or doing one of my longer DVD’s, but most days I manage to do the AM workout from 7 Minutes of Magic in addition to my walk.

Although I’m usually looking forward to my walks, I still have days that I struggle with resistance. Yesterday was one of those days. I just did not want to go and an internal conversation ensued. “I don’t want to go.” “Walking is good for you.” “Missing one day is no big deal.” “You know you’ll feel better once you get out there.” “It’s cold.” “Dress warm, besides walking will warm you up.” “I don’t know.” “Just go!” In the end I went because over time, I had developed faith in my walking practice. That I would feel better after I got out there.

I knew I just had to get over the hurdle of walking out the door. I didn’t need to commit to any length of time or other goal. Just out the door. Down the block. And sure enough my mood lifted and my body celebrated an opportunity to move. Having segmented walking routes helps me take longer walks. I only need to plan to do the smaller segment and then usually end up adding additional segments after I realize how good it feels to be out walking. Last night I went out with the freedom to do a short walk but along the way made choices that resulted in a respectable 30-minute walk.

Freedom. Pleasure. Choice. A far cry from the tortured treadmill walking I used to do at a gym. My instinct to stay away from “discipline” focused exercise has been the right thing for me. Instead of thinking of exercise as something I need to force myself to do, I look forward to it. Then on the days that my mood gets in the way of remembering how good it feels, I can have faith that the practice will remind me.