But then I would see the final exam date scheduled on the syllabus, and I'd realize I hadn't studied at all. So I would cram. So many times, I attempted all-nighters to learn a semester's worth of material in 24 hours. I would be so mad at myself for not keeping up with the work. I could see by reading the material that it wasn't impossible to learn, this was just too much to learn all at once.
Now here it is spring. Some of us studied and went to fitness class this winter, some of us didn't. Or maybe it was just inconsistent. I was sick for several weeks, which got me all kinds of off track.
How many of you have done the spring fitness math? Something along the lines of, there are 35 days until Memorial Day. If I cut way back on my food and work out every day, I'll fit into my summer clothes. Or lose ten quick pounds.
It's such a predictable mental thing to have happen, if you struggled with consistency. But it is the equivalent of cramming. A strict diet to get us summer-ready ensures we don't really learn anything. You want to really change your lifestyle and get healthy and fit? Implement study habits that get you ready for your exams NEXT spring.
What we choose today impacts this summer, yes. But next summer, too.
I have to continually ask myself, am I in this for life? Am I committed to my health and fitness long-term? If I am, I don't need to cram. I just need to gently get back to what I know is good for me, and then get as consistent as I can with it.
The difficult thing about this is results are slower. The wonderful thing about this is it's much more peaceful, and less anxious and desperate, that cramming. I don't ever want to send my body the message again that it's just not good enough to enjoy summer. Or that I'm going to starve and deprive it until it LOOKS good enough. That just feels horrible to me.
The message I am going to try to send, is that I matter and I am worth taking care of. I'm deserving of optimal heath and fitness. I am ready feel good about myself all year long, and for the rest of my life.
If you feel the anxiety of spring coming upon you, take a deep breath. Spring is a wonderful time to take the next step into your fitness. But it is not the time to let all-or-nothing thinking take over. Slow, steady steps win the race. Fitness and health from a place of peace becomes commitment. Study a little bit every day. Do a little to honor your health and your life every day. You will find that these small, steady steps add up to a life of fitness, but without having to cram.
Daily practice is the key. Your daily practice becomes commitment. So find a study partner or group, hire a tutor, or whatever you need to get consistent. So when next spring comes around, you can celebrate your health and fitness by skipping the spring diet, and going to a concert instead.