To Succeed, Plod with Pride!
Want good health? Opt for steadiness.
I remember the first time my hubby referred to me as a “plodder.” Not a plotter, like a sneaky schemer or maybe someone who makes graphs, but a PLODDER, one who plods! Oh, so young back then, I expressed vague horror. I threw him an impressive stink eye. Was I really that boring, resigned, and rote? Shouldn’t I be more of a maverick, more spontaneous, you know, someone with more razzle dazzle? “Plodder” conjured images of the tragic Willie Loman. But Patrick meant it as a compliment in terms of how I approached commitments. And over the years, I’ve come to see what he meant. I’ve come to realize that, in my world, to plod means to be steadfast, to move steadily forward, to keep sight of the goal day in and day out and day in and day out. No matter what.
More than daily hype and rah-rah, we need a plodding spirit when it comes to health & fitness. (Okay, yes, a dose of daily hype also helps. Keep those playlists blasting. Keep those personal fans of yours close.) Staying healthy requires doing the same things many days over with no end date (well, ideally til the Big End Date, if we’re frank). Being predictable provides the best line of defense against lapsed habits. When your family knows that they’ll find you on the treadmill at 7am, when visitors know what they’ll see in your fridge, when friends know not to text you after a particular time because you’ll be in bed, then you know you’re a successful plodder. When you break routine and people seem slightly shocked, congrats! You’ve mastered predictability.
Does your very core resist this? I get it. One, as mentioned, none of us wants to appear to love drudgery. And two, my gosh, being predictable means making a HUGE commitment to healthy habits. Secretly, we want options. We want exits should we desire one. We want to believe our diet & workout plans might one day come to a close, leaving us in a permanently, impressively, physically changed state. Alas, wellness doesn’t work this way. To help your body & spirit stay their healthiest, you have to make some effort every day—or most days, like six of seven each week.
Nervous about plodding? May I share a few thoughts?
• You can still feed your sense of excitement. Pick challenging workouts. Try new things, like new recipes. Or don’t. Instead, you could stay super steady in meals, workouts, etc, and channel challenge & creativity into other parts of life—work projects, hobbies, cool clothes, volunteer pursuits, relationships...the sky’s the limit. Being predictable in one part of life doesn’t require it in ALL parts of life.
• What you perceive as a flat, routine lifestyle, others likely admire. When hubby referred to me as a plodder, what did I do? I immediately put a negative spin on things. But we actually applaud plodders, if you think about it; we praise the perseverance of people who hike the entire Appalachian Trail or dedicate themselves to decades of a noble profession, for example. Way back when, my perception didn’t match Patrick’s. He actually respected my dedication & follow-through. And that’s likely what YOU experience as you commit daily to a healthy lifestyle. We look up to people who stick with habits come what may—because we all know how difficult it is to do so!
• Good health (at least, the pieces within our control) is built on small choices. When we consciously decide to improve or maintain our health, we tend to think we’ve got to go BIG. I’d argue that this is simply a side effect of the media we might consume. If a workout video doesn’t catch our eye, we’ll probably skip it. If a weight loss plan doesn’t require a total pantry makeover, we might not believe it could work. In reality, staying healthy means making hundreds of tiny choices each week. Should I put on my sneakers and go for that walk? Should I bother to make a grilled chicken salad or just eat takeout? Should I watch one more episode or go to bed? These little decisions act like a rudder to steer you toward better health. You have to plod through them to be effective.
So, plod away, my friends. Or if you prefer another phrase, then: stay the course; remain stalwart; show up repeatedly for you; or march faithfully onward each day. Whatever you call it, just keep going.