Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Priorities

Years ago I had a manager who took me under his wing and helped my do some serious growing, both as an engineer and as a project manager. Funny how some little things stick in ones head, as the years go by - the thing I remember about Ken was a time that he needed me to get something done for him quickly. As in as-soon-as-I-could. Like NOW!

He gave me a bit of a pep-talk to get me started - helping me understand how one should treat a project that one’s boss wants done NOW.

He talked about how easy it is to put things off, to let other things, like answering e-mails, or even answering the phone, get in the way. His point was that when ones boss needs something, and lets you know he needs it, well, nothing less than moving heaven and earth is in fact expected.

I was thinking about priorities today - partially because of a friend who is in fairly bad shape - significant bone loss due to osteoporosis, and some joint challenges due to a recent accident. His doctor made it pretty clear how important it is for him to make exercise and stretching a priority in his life.

And, hey, for the first couple of weeks he was very regular at the gym. But, time has gone by, and, even though I started doing a stretch session each day so that he has the opportunity to join a group and make the stretching more fun, well he is down to one or two days a week.

At this point in his life exercise and stretching likely will make the difference in being able to walk and run and, well, live his life.

So, a quiz for you: What is the most important thing in your day? What will reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, some forms of cancer - heck, likely even things like Shingles? Just think, if there was a pill you could take to achieve all of those health benefits - why, we would all be taking it.

Oh - there is something that will do all of this. Just it’s not a pill - and it takes somethign very precious - your time - to achieve. Yup, exercise will do all of this. And, if you treat it like the life-saving miracle that it is, and if you get in as much as you can, hey, people will start thinking you are 10, 15 or perhaps 20 years younger than you are.

Because your body will in fact be 10, 15, or 20 younger than it might otherwise be.

I have learned, over the years, that there are two things that get me to the gym (besides seeing how fit my body is every morning while I get dressed): Routine - Every weekday, come 1:30 pm, I am heading out the door. And, the second thing? The every weekday part - people know I am going to be at the gym in the afternoon. If they forget - well, they don’t find me at home.

This is the thing that I do for myself every weekday - the thing no one is going to take away from me.

Yes, I take off the weekends. At this point my workouts are averaging 3 hours per day. My body, just like the bodies of the 20 year olds that I work out with, needs a chance to recover. And, by Monday I am ready to hit it again, full bore - leading around my pack of 20-something’s at the gym. Brings to mind a recent balance session - there were 5 of us, all standing on one leg on BOSU balls, all doing curls with a dumbbell in one hand. Someone dubbed it the “Dumbbell Chorus Line”.

Somehow I suspect you would have to be there to appreciate how funny that was.

Priority - well, I guess you could say my priority is to be fit enough to do whatever I want to do. A lot of people tell me that is their priority. It’s just that they really don’t know how to achieve such a goal - they don’t understand that being fit demands their doing everything they can, every day, getting to the gym, pushing themselves, finding work-out buddies that want to work out, not talk. They really don't get it - they likely will have to do without some of the things that might otherwise fill their time.

So, in your life, what has a higher priority than life and death? Watching TV? Eating? Playing computer games? How about finding a new reality - with a focus on working out!

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