The Pigeon Did It!


How many times have we heard that the solution to a murder involved the butler? Maybe not in American mysteries, but definitely in British drama. Although, come to think of it I can't remember the last time I watched a "Midsummer Murders" episode when the butler actually did it. With 22 seasons, I'm sure I've forgotten or missed the butler-as-murderer episode. But, I digress...

One of the things that captured my imagination with the blog title 'Getting Traction' is its application in my mind to so many aspects of life. Business, creativity, longevity, fitness... I could go on. And today I'm thinking about the dangers of forgetting I'm no longer 40 when I decided to get back into fitness.

I bet you think you know what's coming...

Like many of you, my fitness has suffered after three years of lockdowns, semi-lockdowns, and seniors hesitant to get out of the house. I live in a senior community and when I moved here I was excited because there are five clubhouses, multiple pools, over 200 clubs, and abundant temptations for the semi-introverted senior I've become. Then, of course, the unexpected detour when everything shut down three months after I moved in. We all have our tales of that time, but living alone and knowing no one made it even harder for me to adjust.

Fast forward to 2023 and it became apparent that if I didn't get my health and fitness back to normal I'd end up an old woman before my time. Ever since my ill-fated river cruise in Europe, I've struggled with long COVID issues, so I'd become lazy. But now was the time, I told myself. When you get to the point where your coffee mug feels too heavy to hold up for ten minutes, you should know it's time to get serious.
Getting traction on your fitness project turns out to be tricky at 76. And a combination of activities conspired to mess up my knee. Limping around in pain makes me feel really old and pissed off. Too intense at the gym, then back to yoga after months of avoidance, then a walk on a soggy, hole-ridden hillside put the icing on the cake. I've been limping ever since. But the true culprit was the pigeon!

Before I elaborate on the pigeon, I'd like to explore how procrastination derails my ability to get traction on the important goals in life. By now, the list of projects is overwhelming and my focus is still, well 'unfocused'. I believe I'm not alone. So what is the strategy? After decades of personal development workshops, you'd think I would know exactly what to do. Well, that's a 'yes' and a 'no'. Perhaps the fear of failure is creeping back into my life.

But then, the idea of eating an elephant one bite at a time reminded me of my past love of lists. I love that sense of accomplishment when I can check off even the smallest task. So I'm going back to my lists. Big projects, broken down into little bites. 1000 words on my writing a day, instead of finish the books, blog, or newsletters by a certain time. One phone call a day to inch toward bigger goals. This makes me sound like a kid again, but that's OK.

Now back to that pigeon... if you know yoga at all, you know the pigeon pose. I used to love that pose, so when I went back to my yoga routine I went into a deep pigeon. That was the final straw for my aging knee. Too much, too soon.

So it seems if you're embarking on eating your elephants one bite at a time, make the bites small enough to prevent overwhelm or injury, but big enough for a sense of progress and accomplishment. That's the tricky bit, but the secret to forward progress. With my writing, I'm working on a daily session. With fitness, I'll walk every day and go easy with those pigeons. I won't bore you with my long list of projects.  After all, you might have your own lists to work on.