January 14, 2020 3 min read

You have probably heard of The Whole Life Challenge. I may be only person on the planet who had not heard of this 6-week program that addresses nutrition, exercise, reflection and so on.  My son's company is big into fitness and well -being, and Rick, one of the owners, invited everyone in the company to participate at company expense.  Johnny got the invitation, and being a big fitness guy anyway, he jumped right on it.

"Do you want to do the challenge with me, Mom?"

Gulp. While Johnny's enthusiasm is contagious, I also know that Rick, who sent the invitation, is an ex-Marine Combat Officer. He regularly does the Iron Man and recently climbed Denali with his son. Let's just say I was more than a little intimidated. 

"What exactly is involved?" I wondered "Like, especially the exercise part..." I love Barre and Pilates, and the occasional yoga class, but hardcore exercise like running or weights, not so much. In fact, you could say I hate it. When we downloaded the requirements, to my great shock, the exercise requirement said only this:

Be active 10 minutes a day 

That was it. What a relief! Just 10 minutes. Shoot. I can do almost anything for 10 minutes. Even stuff I hate. But they're not asking you to do stuff you hate. They don't care what you do to be active. In fact, they want you to do something you enjoy. It's about the habit. The habit of being active. The whole thing is about positive habits. Okay. 10 minutes. I'm in.

The 10 minutes thing is funny because that is exactly what I tell new knitters after their first lesson.  "Your homework is to knit for 10 minutes a day."  No arduous hours of practice. Just 10 minutes. When I told Kathy, my most recent student, she laughed, "Okay, but 10 minutes might be just one row."  That's okay.  Doesn't matter.  It's not actually that 10 minutes is a magical number, you could say 5 minutes or 15 minutes. It's about daily consistency.  Those 10 minutes each day reinforce the lesson and build neural pathways that facilitate recall.  In other words, it's during those 10 minutes each and every day that learning happens. It doesn't have to be 10 minutes all at once either.  I'm sure we could break it up into two five minute chunks, if that's what schedules allow.

I think there's also something important about setting the time aside and getting started. Getting started is the hardest part of any task.  We always have a million other things, and unless we schedule those 10 minutes, we're not going to get them in. We can look at our calendar and see a 10 minute slot and get up and go for a quick walk around the block.  We can grab our knitting while we're waiting for the water to boil, or for half-time to be over, or whatever.  We can do our 10 minutes, check it off our list, and be done. That happens sometimes. But more often than not, once we've started, we find that it's actually quite pleasant to be walking or sitting quietly with our knitting, and before we know it, we've accomplished much more than our 10-minute goal. Either way, progress happens in those tiny consistent chunks we hardly notice, and then we're there.

I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table ‑whether for 10 minutes or much longer. You are always welcome here.


Back to 14 January 2020 Newsletter