Carnie Wilson is almost more famous for her weight losses and gains than for her singing; and her habits have definitely held her back in her career as an artist. I watched Carnie talk about this with Dr. Oz on his show. He was trying to help her to lose weight and had asked her to walk 10,000 steps a day. Carnie gave so many excuses about why she hadn’t done it, even the angelic Dr. Oz became annoyed with her.
Carnie’s excuses annoyed me too, but they say you shouldn’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. After gaining some weight I decided to do what Carnie had been unable to do …. walk 10,000 steps a day. I live in Los Angeles where most walking is done in a parking lot, between the car and the store, but still, I didn’t think it would be that difficult.
I bought a pedometer and discovered my regular routine logged out at 2500 to 3000 steps a day. Walking 10,000 steps a day wasn’t going to be as easy as I’d thought.
To add 7000 more steps into my routine took an extra hour out of a day. Many days I couldn’t find the time. Instead of developing a new habit, pretty soon I was making as many excuses as Carnie had.
Then I remembered the twenty minute rule. It’s the trick that I use to get myself to write when I don’t want to write. I learned the twenty minute rule from Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. She told me that being a mother taught her how to write whenever she had a few minutes between baby’s naps and feedings. She’s written over thirty books that way.
I too have found that I can do almost anything if I tell myself I’m only going to do it for twenty minutes. The twenty minute rule has helped me to write 100′s of poems and articles . . . more than I would have written otherwise.
Today I used the “twenty minute rule to get me to walk. After I came home from the store, I left all my stuff in the car and walked around my neighborhood. I ended up walking for even longer than I intended . . . 35 minutes. I came home feeling virtuous and refreshed.
Plus during my walk, the idea for this article came to me. That’s the thing about walking . . . it gets me into the flow. I used my iphone to record my ideas and emailed them to myself so I wouldn’t forget them before I had a chance to sit down and write. (In the old days, before the iphone I used to scribble the thoughts that came to me while I was walking in a small notebook.)
Tomorrow is another day for walking. And the day after that. I can only hope the twenty minute rule will break through my excuses again. And again. Because walking, one day at a time is not only good for my body; it’s good for my creativity.