While the Kettle is Coming to the Boil

I hate exercising.  I don’t know why this is, exactly, as I do enjoy having exercised — who doesn’t? — and it pleases me to be sore from vigorous activity, and certainly I’d like to be agile, fit, strong.  (Who wouldn’t?  Nobody says to himself, aha! my goal for this year: to be over-plump.)  I have a sheepish interest in gymnastics and figure skating and parkour and all sorts of activities I have never been and probably will never be good at and, apart from learning how to do a cartwheel, will probably not try to become good at this year.


I do want to be agile, fit, and strong — or at least more agile, fitter, and stronger than I am at the moment.  So I find I have to trick myself into exercising.   Going to fencing, even only once a week, is a great boon, because it makes me want to get better, and that makes me want to be fitter, and therefore I start trying harder to do things at home.  I haven’t quite worked myself up to the point of actually going to the gym apart from going to fencing, but perhaps I’ll get there eventually.

One step at a time.  I did put some serious physical fitness goals on my list; apart from the walking-out-of-the-city one, there’s that quadruple whammy of becoming able to do 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and 100 consecutive jumped ropes.

This morning, while the kettle was coming to a boil, I did what I could: 3 very bad push-ups from my knees; 10 sit-ups; 10 squats; and I didn’t try skipping because it’s hard to do indoors.  Yet I did do that small amount.

My kettle takes just under ten minutes to come to the boil.  In that period of time I can do a tiny bit of vigorous early-morning activity.  It wakes me up; it makes me feel I am doing something; it may eventually lead to longer periods of exercise, as over the past year writing for fifteen minutes first thing led to writing for half an hour and now a full hour.

I am going to try working through this person’s six-week scheme of becoming able to do the one hundred.  I suspect it will take me much longer than six weeks, but then again, I have all year.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I make tea at other points in the day.  There are all sorts of small things I could do in just under ten minutes, scattered throughout the day: I might read a poem, or watch the passers-by, or learn the name of a star, or sweep my kitchen, or write a card, or plot out a scene for my book, or . . . all sorts of things.  I needn’t wait for a full hour to do interesting things.  Ten minutes will do.

What might you do while the kettle is coming to the boil?


7 thoughts on “While the Kettle is Coming to the Boil

  1. Good for you, Victoria. Going to the gym was hard for me at first but after a while it turned into a real escape/stress-relief etc. and now I’ve been missing it a lot!

    If I could offer a bit of advice… Rather than set up one goal of doing 100 of each in a year, may I suggest you set up multiple smaller goals along the way to achieving this? For example, you could say, I want to be able to do 25 of each by the end of March, 50 by the end of June, etc. Having smaller goals which you can achieve has been shown to be helpful because a) it allows for more frequent rewards once the goal has been achieved, which in turn b) can increase motivation, c) allows you to monitor your progress more effectively and d) allows you to work steadily toward your fitness goal, rather than in spurts as is wont to happen.

    What are your cardio and stretching routines?

    Your goal is admirable and -more importantly- attainable. Best of luck and keep us posted.

    Incidentally I’ve read everyone of your blog posts to date and have been enjoying them very much! It’s a great way to relax over a cup of tea.


  2. well in response to last question, while waiting on coffee I usually look at the dishes in the sink, think “I should really do those,” then get distracted by something, then get annoyed because coffee is taking forever, then look back at dishes, then hear coffee bubbling up, then think “oh no time to do dishes now.” Your way sounds much better!


  3. When my coffee’s brewing, I usually do the dishes in my sink and read through the Psalms listed for the day’s morning prayer in the BCP. And then, if there’s time remaining, be nice to my cat.


  4. @ Trish: I have to admit my cardio and stretching routines are quite minimal at the moment, but I’m working on them. (I do stretch before fencing . . .) I have mentally broken down my year’s goals, and will perhaps report back when I attain the smaller units. I hadn’t put dates on the fitness ones, but I think that’s a very good idea; thanks for that advice and the encouragement!


  5. Leo from Zen Habits preaches small changes – start with 5 minutes of excersize a day, and work up to 30 minutes. Or start with 5 sit-ups a day, and work up to 30, you get the idea. While in theory I think that is probably the best way to acquire a new habit, I find myself thinking and reading about all these good intentions without ever actually taking any action. I do admire that you’ve been able to build the habit of writing 15 minutes a day and are already up to an hour each day. Perhaps it’s a good thing that the time for making new year’s resolutions is drawing closer…


  6. Well, I must say I found the chart method to work the best, at least so far. Basically, rule one is not to add too many new habits at once, and rule two is to make a wall chart and cross off each day you’ve done it. Not wanting to break the visual chain helps with not breaking the chain of the good habit you’re trying to form — obviously it works equally effectively with bad habits! The writing did take me a while to get into, especially the getting up earlier. I’ve been breaking up my hour, half an hour to forty-five minutes in the morning, then the rest elsewhere in the day — where, though, it usually ends up being longer, which is a good thing.

    So, with the good intentions, perhaps just start with one? Adding to the old habit — as the writing time for me — is easier than starting a new habit, which (for me) is the exercising.


  7. Pingback: Writing More or Less Every Day « The Rose and Phoenix Inn

Join the Conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s