Knitting is the reward for…

by Christina

Ironically, on my walk today I found an inviting place to I think more and more about walking, the temptation to sit is everywhere.

A place to sit...

A place to sit...

In my last post, I started talking about “incentives”. I thought now might be an appropriate time to expand on this topic. 

What a treat it is to be able to knit. At least, I think that most of the time…perhaps I wasn’t thinking this as I frogged my recent design over and over again.  As I continue down the path of designing knitted garments and accessories, I find myself wanting to take the simple road and knit someone else’s designs. But where is the reward in that? I must persevere. Knitting is definitely my treat.

In a recent workshop on finding time to write, I learned a trick about perseverance.  There was a lot of focus on setting rewards…the expectation was that one would write 30 minutes a day and with this completed you could provide yourself with a treat.  At first I was annoyed by this activity…why was I to “gift” myself for something I was supposed to do as part of my job? What I had failed to realize was that the treat was there to assist with developing feelings of pleasure and positive energy with the act of writing.

So, let’s remove the word “writing” and insert “walking”. If it is a challenge to find time to walk or focus on being physically active, then we need to find ways to incentivize the act of walking. While we might easily be able to acknowledge that walking is healthy and “I should go for that walk” sometimes it isn’t that simple. Sometimes you just don’t want to do it…but we need to find ways to develop and sustain a walking practice. So, let’s reward our walking behavior until we have established our walking as a fundamental part of our day that won’t be derailed by other aspects of our life.

As knitters, we find time to knit…many times we knit before we do anything else. Therefore, we sit and knit.  What if we made knitting our reward for walking? Let’s go for a walk and then, upon our return, let’s knit. Providing yourself with the anticipation of knitting to get yourself out the door to go for a walk, might just get you moving.

Let’s brainstorm a few other ways we can use knitting as a reward. 

The laundry needs to be folded, right? Fold for five minutes, knit for five minutes, repeat.

If you happen to be knitting and watching television, use the commercials to your advantage.  Do some wall-sits, push-ups, sit-ups, walk around the house…all modified as needed, then you can return to knitting during your show.

Perhaps you need a longer term incentive. Perhaps there is a lovely skein of hand-dyed yarn that you have been coveting.  Let’s say you want to walk 50 miles in a month. Let’s map this out…that’s about 12.5 miles in a week. This means you need to walk about 2 miles or 40 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Once you accomplish your monthly goal, you can treat yourself to the skein of yarn. While 50 miles in a month sounds like a lot, once we broke it down into a daily activity, it seemed just a bit more realistic.

All of this is good but we haven’t quite finished assuring how we might reach this monthly goal. We need to plan when this will happen each day. If you just think you’ll find the time each day chances are it won't happen.

I like to plan my “day off” for later in the week just in case life happens. I’d hate to plan on using this early (unless I really needed to due to other obligations) and then be caught without a day off later in the week when I might be feeling physically or emotionally more drained.  So, I’m going to plan to walk each morning after my kids go to school before I head to my office.  I know that this is the best plan for my day…you know your schedule best.

When’s the best time of day for you to walk? It might be morning, afternoon, evening…it is best to find a time that you can consistently walk and not be sporadic, e.g. morning on Mondays, afternoon on Tuesdays, etc. Success comes from building a routine. Find a time and stick to it.

Using bigger incentives. Perhaps there is a retreat that you want to attend…you could use this as a reward.  Keep in mind though that attending a retreat requires you to make a commitment in advance, probably long before you have completed your goal. So, you will go no matter what happens to your walking, right? So you’ll need to find a way to hold yourself accountable each day despite the fact that you won’t be removing your name from the list if you don’t meet your walking goals.

Bottom line, be honest with yourself and honor your walking and knitting practice. Start thinking about your walking (or other activity) goals and how you will accomplish them. 

Spring is coming…let’s be ready to go.