With great power comes great responsibility.
That’s what Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben said.
Of course he probably should have advised a fitness plan to go with the entire package.
I have a big new job as editor of The Charleston Daily Mail, and I’ve been thinking I should take care of myself better than the lifestyle exhibited by Peter Parker’s mean old boss — stress-embracing, cigar-smoking J. Jonah Jameson.
A lot of people are counting on me these days, including my staff, my wife and my children.
Oh, and me! I count on me too.
The tricky part is, good habits don’t come naturally to me.
I’d rather lounge on the couch and read a book than to take off running. And if I have a hankering for a calorie-laden breakfast sandwich, it’s all too easy to drive through.
Fortunately, I’ve been getting some good advice lately.
One handy tidbit came from my colleague Nancy March, editor of the Pottstown Mercury in Pennsylvania.
In a blog post titled “The Balancing Act,” she advised this:
“Pay yourself first. This is a truism of financial management that can be adopted to time management as well. Do something for yourself first thing in the day before you start working. Once you get into the newsroom, the beast takes over.
“For years, I went for a 3- to 5-mile run in my neighborhood after getting the kids off to school and before I came into the office. These days, I bike to work. On days I don’t ride, I do yoga at home. I pay myself first with an exercise investment before I feed the hungry news beast. The day starts better.”
I like the advice, and I will try it.
The challenge for me is blending in a little early-day time for myself while the kids are getting ready for school and need a ride there — and when my thoughts of the workday demands ahead are already mounting.
That brings me to some more advice — this time from Butch Ward on the Poynter Institute’s website.
He wrote that he knew he should exercise but wasn’t fitting it into his day.
He would go to bed with good intentions but — “then come morning, I’d wake up and check my e-mail. Or decide to get to the office a little early to get organized. Or just sleep an extra half hour.”
I know the feeling.
One afternoon, Ward was sharing my frustration over this with a coworker.
“As soon as you wake up,” the coworker said, “put on your running shoes.”
“That’s it?” Ward asked.
“Sure,” she said. “If you put your running shoes on, chances are, you’ll use them. If you don’t, you’ll probably keep finding excuses not to.”
The advice led to success, Ward wrote.
“Bingo! In the past 18 months, I’ve done a combination of walking and running about three miles on more than 300 mornings.”
I have an additional motivator — a nervous terrier who also needs exercise.
If I see him waiting by the door, tail wagging, then it’s hard to say no to a walk or a run.
I just need to make sure I already have my running shoes on.
What about you? How do you motivate yourself to get the exercise and stress relief you need?