The treadmills rules: Why this New Year's Resolution will last

I bought myself a treadmill for Christmas.

For once, I didn't make the purchase on the secondary market. I didn't even do my usual due diligence and check with Consumer Reports. I'm half-embarrassed to say that I went out and bought a Gold's Gym treadmill at Walmart. I'll tell you in a year or two whether it was a good choice. The issue this time isn't about the quality of the treadmill but whether or not I'll actually do what I intend to do with it: use it regularly.

Like thousands of other Americans, I've had my share of gym memberships. I've joined for a month or a year or bought a punch card. In October, I joined the local senior center (sigh) because three days a week there's a resort with a pool midway between my condo and my office that I can use free now that I am of advanced age. I was enthusiastic about the idea. The only problem is that I haven't gotten there. I don't like to get wet when it's cold.
Last year, I collected assorted pilates and yoga tapes but I was too depressed to use them.

In other words, like most Americans, I'm long on intention and short on discipline. Here's the thing about discipline though. There's something I've noticed about the people I know who are most successful. Unfortunately, perhaps not accidentally, they all happen to be men. They range in age from 20 to 70 and they have a work ethic that doesn't suffer much from the interruptions that define most women's lives. In addition to making money, all of them are fit. Two of them exercise first thing in the morning - and I do mean first thing. That is, they get out of bed and hit the elliptical or the gym.

Since there's nowhere else to put it, the treadmill is just beyond the foot of my bed which makes it hard to open my eyes in the morning and not recall the plan. The plan is simple. There are two things (beyond the plain necessities) that I do first in the morning. I let the Border Collie out for her own necessities and then 7 days a week I get on the treadmill for twenty minutes. No coffee, no television (unless it's the tiny one in front of the treadmill). I'm starting slow but it's twenty non-negotiable minutes. Three days in, I can tell you that my mood and energy have improved. Imagine if I break a sweat!

It shouldn't be a hard habit to build. It's my New Year's resolution, the only one.

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