Life Lessons I Learned on my Treadmill

I am a thinker.  If you know me, you probably know that I ask a LOT of questions, and that I am always chewing on something.  It’s great to know that if you’re ever in a meeting with me, too, because I will often not have any answers for you on what I think about the topic right then–but if you get back with me the next day, I’ll have a big, long list of things I want to talk to you about!

I’ve shared some of that thinking here before, related to me as a reader and a writer.  I’ve even wrote about things you should know about me as a runner.

And so that brings me to this post here today: Life Lessons I Learned on My Treadmill.  Surprisingly, even when I’m running and sweating on my treadmill at night, my brain is working.  I’m thinking.  And usually I’m thinking about what I’m going to write about next, or what I will write at my next Facebook status (weird, I know. 🙂 ).

Hope you’ll enjoy what I was thinking about during my run tonight:

1. Just do it.  Even if you don’t want to.  There are times in each of our lives when we don’t want to do something, but know it’s good for us, or maybe that we have to do it because someone’s told us to, or is expecting us to.  Tonight was one of those nights when I just wanted to sit on my couch and veg out–to check my email and Facebook, hang out on Twitter and blog.  But what I needed to do was run.  It was a running day (every other day is), and it shouldn’t matter if I’m tired.  And so I had to ignore those voices screaming in my head for me to be lazy and just. Do. It.  And you know what?  Once I got started, I was SO glad I had made that decision.  And just like with running, sometimes you just have to stop thinking about how much you DON’T want to do it (a project, homework, the laundry, whatever) and DO it.  Usually that takes less time than the whining part anyway.

2. Take someone with you.  In this case my “someone” is not a real “someone,” but is instead a music playlist.  Many times when I run, I watch TV–shows that no one else in my house cares about, that I can watch while I’m alone and exercising.  Tonight, though, I took my friends from Pandora with me instead, and it made the time pass much more quickly.  Instead of paying attention to the clock or the time I had left in my workout, I was singing along (yes, at the top of my lungs!) and not even noticing the time.  Many things are like that–having a friend (real or on the radio) there to chat with, laugh with, learn with makes the whole thing much more enjoyable.  You might even learn something new without knowing it.

3. You just feel better when you’re moving. This one might be a personal opinion rather than something I’ve learned, but I can definitely say I feel loads better when I’m moving than when I’m not.  There were some weeks months when I wasn’t doing anything in terms of exercise.  I had started running a year or so ago, and was loving it and what it had done to me and for me physically.  And then school started again.  And I started my Masters program.  And I had a little one start kindergarten.  You get the idea.  Suddenly I looked up and it was JANUARY and I hadn’t run a single step since August.  And I didn’t feel very well.  I was sluggish, run down and just felt plain icky.  And yes, I had gotten a little larger than where I was at the end of the summer.  And so just after the first of the year I started over and relaced my running shoes.  And am feeling so amazing again.  Now it’s hard NOT to run because of the fabulous way it makes me feel when I do it. (I’m not really sure how this one relates to learning specifically, except for I guess that your brain works better when you’re active than when you’re a couch potato.  It’s a muscle, right?)

4. You will make time for what’s important to you. This one is true about whatever it is in your life that you want to do, but for me it’s running and writing.  People often ask me how I find time to keep up with this blog, do what I need to do as a wife, mother and teacher, running, etc. and the short answer is that I make it.  Ok, really I tell them that I don’t sleep.  But that’s not at all true because I love me a good nap!  We all have the same number of hours in the day; it’s about how you use them.  Instead of watching TV or playing a game, I choose to write on my blog or read a book I want to share with my 5th graders.  Instead of watching TV (or WHILE I’m watching TV) I run.  And so I guess another part of the answer is that I am a master at multi-tasking.  I don’t do much sitting.  I do many things all at the same time, because I want to make sure I have time to do them all.  Doing the things that are important to you first is another strategy I choose to employ, too, and then I make sure there’s time for them.  If you want to, you will.

5. Think before.  I was going to make that title say “Think before you speak,” but then I thought about it (ha!), and really I’d say it’s a great thing to do before you do LOTS of things: think before you speak, think before you write, think before you act, think before you eat, think before (and while!) you read, etc…thinking is just a good thing in general, and there are many people who just don’t do it!  They move and do and go, without really knowing where they’re going or why, what they’ll do when they get there, or the process they’re going to use while they’re there.  I mentioned already that I am always thinking.  The whole time I was running, I was drafting what this blog post would sound like!  See? Multi-tasking.

6. Smile. Smiling just makes everything better, and can even fool you into liking something you didn’t think you would.  Plus it makes your face look nicer. 🙂

7. Don’t listen to Adele Radio.  That Pandora station doesn’t play enough Adele.  Pick the Sara Bareilles station instead.  Much better stuff.

Your turn: what life lessons have you learned lately?  Where or when did you learn them?  Share your ideas with me and my students!  We’d love to learn from you!