Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Danger of Slippage  

In a recent blog post I mentioned that if you miss a day of a workout, it's really easy to miss the next day. I thought it was true when I wrote it, but a week or so later I started adding the days up and realized it was far more true than I anticipated.

Aikido has classes Monday through Saturday, sometimes twice a day. My last Aikido workout was Friday the 6th, and I elected not to go to the Saturday morning workout. In my defense I haven't gone to any of the Saturday morning workouts as I'm still a beginner, but after that decision not to attend Aikido, I found that I couldn't attend Aikido on any of the following days because:
  • Monday the 9th was my 4oth birthday party, one day early because of...
  • Tuesday the 10th was my standing commitment to my writer's group (I am one of the two leaders while the primary facilitator is on maternity leave).
  • Wednesday the 11th my wife and I took a trip to San Francisco for our yearly Valentine's Day trip, dining at the Stinking Rose and dancing at Bondage-a-Go-Go.
  • Thursday the 12th the trip continued, with a day at Muir Woods and dinner at Teatro Zinzani.
  • Friday the 13th: no class for the Aikido Winter Camp, which I was not signed up for because I just joined the dojo.
  • Saturday the 14th: no class for Aikido Winter Camp.
  • Monday the 16th: no class for President's Day.
  • Tuesday the 17th: standing committment to writer's group.
  • Wednesday the 18th: out sick with a cold.
  • Thursday the 19th: recovering from being sick.
  • Friday the 20th: first day that I could have attended, but I forgot my uniform and ended taking the opportunity to surprise my wife with a romantic dinner before she left town.
  • Saturday the 21st: prior committment to hang out with my wife on the last day before her 1-month business trip.
  • Monday the 23rd: second day I could have attended, but my car ended up being in the shop for longer than I expected ... *and* I forgot my uniform again.
  • Tuesday the 24th: standing committment to writer's group.
So after that one decision to skip class, there were fourteen straight sessions that I skipped because of lame excuses, valid excuses, or outright cancellations. So I'm going to put this down as the Centaur's Fourth Law: If you choose to miss a commitment, you're much less likely to catch the next one.(1)

To combat this, I've developed an attitude that works: put the workout or the exercise or the development activity on a regular schedule and treat it like a true commitment that can't be missed. That's the only thing that worked for me for karate in Atlanta or for the writer's group out here. Treating a development activity as an unbreakable commitment sometimes can get you in trouble - I missed one of my wife's art gallery openings for a karate class before I learned when it was safe for me to relax the rule, and I still regret that to this day - but for me, if I don't, I'll end up a victim of the Centaur's Fourth Law.

So now again: let's renew the commitment and get back on the horse. And as for Wednesday the 25th? Let's just say my gym bag, with uniform in it, is placed so it blocks the front door.

-the Centaur
(1) It's the fourth law because I'm sure I can come up with at least three laws more important than that, like You're almost certainly wrong about something you're almost certain you're right about or maybe The more successful you are at staying 'on message', the more successful you'll be at alienating your audience. But I don't have a labeled list or anything at this point.

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