{the life} A 31 Day Challenge

by Rachel on June 18, 2012

rachel yoga bagFor the past few months, I’ve felt like I’ve been treading water when it comes to healthy eating and exercising. I’m not drowning, but I feel like I’m working pretty hard just to do the bare minimum. I’ve had a lot on my plate and I often feel like I’m just one bad week away from gaining 50 pounds.

This weekend, I began to worry that that one bad week could come in the form of the four weeks leading up to closing on our house. My motivation drops considerably in the summer, and with more important things to do (meet our Realtor at the house to sign documents, look for freelance work to have some extra cash for the move) or just more fun things to do (wander Lowe’s or look for decor inspiration on Pinterest for an hour with Eric), I feel like things could quickly spiral out of control for me. I think for most people, when every day and every week feels different, it’s hard to make goals or get motivated. And from there, it’s so easy to just let one bad decision (or fast food meal or skipped workout) turn into another and then another. But one of the major lessons I’ve learned over the years is just not to do that. So I decided that rather than retreat to the couch with my carbs, or even just retreat with semi-healthy foods and the minimum amount of exercise, I’m going to try something new: run directly toward the challenge by taking on an additional challenge.

The challenge: practice yoga for 31 days straight until we close on the house.

That’s it. That’s my only goal. I don’t have a goal for minutes or types of classes or anything like that. I’m not worried about what I’m eating or not eating or what I’m doing outside of practicing. I’m not worried about losing weight/inches or gaining muscle. I just want to practice yoga every single day. The only result I’m hoping to achieve is “feel really good because I did something hard that I wasn’t sure if I could do.”

And I’m already off — I started yesterday!

Day 31: 75-minute Vinyasa class

After realizing that I wanted to make this goal, I went directly to an afternoon Vinyasa class. It moved slower than the really challenging class I took earlier in the week, so I was thinking it was an easier class. Uh, I was wrong. The instructor threw in a few tough poses that I don’t have a lot of practice with and it ended up being really hard; by the end of the class, I was basically in a puddle on my mat.

Once I scraped myself off the mat and dragged myself home, I felt pretty good about life, and that spilled over into the rest of the night. Eric and I planned our meals for the week, made a grocery list, and then went to the grocery store. A healthy dinner was already in the slow cooker (French dips), so that freed up time to do some other chores that would get the week off to a good start. We tidied up the kitchen and made bran muffins and cold-pressed coffee for this morning.

As the night wore on, I realized I was really sore and tired from the class and started to doubt whether I could really practice yoga every day for 31 days. However, I’m not planing to take a hard, 75-minute class every day of the challenge. Not only do I not have the time, I’m just not physically capable of doing that at this point. So some days I will simply be doing a few hip openers before bed. (I’ve actually been doing that more regularly for the past couple months and I gotta say, it really does make a difference in how I feel.) This is definitely going to be a challenge for me, but I don’t feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew either. And I think I’ll feel great by the time July hits and it’s time to move.

Today’s plan is to go to a new class at my studio, and I’m pretty nervous about it. I feel like yesterday’s class was unexpectedly hard (and I’m still pretty achy this morning), but I know tonight’s class is going to be hard for me. It’s a new sculpt class that incorporates hand weights and it’s just like…Oh God, this is going to be a wreck. Like I said, I’ve been doing the bare minimum lately, and that means my progress has stalled. I wish I were at a point where I could walk into almost any new class without feeling like I was going to have my ass handed to me, but I’m not, so, well, I’m planning to have my ass handed to me tonight. And quite regularly for the next month.