Just start.

If I’m being honest, typically the last week in the month is a bit of a free for all when it comes to “good habits.” Meaning, I tend to put off working out… pour myself a second glass of wine… eat another slice of pizza… because there’s next month to start over!

I am the queen of fresh starts and clean slates. Usually- and I’m not exaggerating here – if I don’t start something on the first of the month, there is a good chance I’ll put it off for another 29 – 30 days.

I have a friend who did a 30 Day Yoga Challenge (which I’ve done a few of myself) and she just randomly started on like the 8th or something. When she told me this, my mind just couldn’t comprehend. I could never start something so abruptly. I need a “fitting” timeline (like starting on the first of the month!). Structure (4 week milestones neatly lumped together on my calendar for easy reference and note taking). An end goal (what’s a better “end” than the end of a month or year?!).

I remember actually asking her, “how can you just start something like that so randomly?”

This friend is a lot more laid back than I am. I’m sure she is often entertained (and exhausted) by my complex – sometimes complicated – way of thinking about things. She stared back at me. “What do you mean? You just start!”


Say, wha?

I’m not 100% behind these words just yet but I am getting better at not letting the need for “fresh starts” take such superiority.

Even if it is against my nature. I really do like the idea of starting something new (or again, in most cases… eat better, drink less, move more…) at an appropriate time. My mind is run by timelines and To Do lists (don’t you want to be friends with me!?). At the beginning of each month I sit down with my planner and write down my fitness, writing, and personal goals. Surface level, I would say this is a good habit. It keeps me focused for the month but doesn’t result in boredom because I am constantly changing things up.


The trouble begins when … life gets in the way. Which, of course, it is BOUND to do. For example, this week I had planned to do the classic cardio and strengthen training combination everyday.

And then I remembered I had a work dinner on Monday night.

And I was invited to a work event Tuesday afternoon/evening.

Two out of five of my workouts were already failures*. Typically, at this point, (PARTICULARLY because it is nearing the end of the month, the easiest time to let myself off the hook) I would have given up and resolved to start up again next week (or, next month).

But, I’m starting to recognize that consistency is best; not having a “perfect” month. So on Wednesday after work, I laced up my shoes, grabbed the trash (trying to save time and a trip down the stairs by taking  it out on my way for a run), and headed out the door.

And then I dropped my keys with the trash in the dumpster.

Luckily my neighbor was home and helped me fish them out but by the time we got them, Mike was home and we had to go pick up my car from getting some routine maintenance before the dealership closed.

Dumpster diving

Three days in a row of life getting in the way of my perfectly planned workouts…

When we got home, I was getting hungry but I knew I had to do something. I headed outside again with the intention of running/walking 2 miles but by the time I was done with my 1st mile, I was ready to go in and start dinner. I figured 1 mile was better than nothing and decided to “make it up” on Thursday (today) and Friday. If I just did a 1/2 mile more each day, I would still come close to hitting my goal.

Today I set out for my 2.5 miles and was hit by an allergy attack after my first mile! I tried to continue but I was sneezing and snotting everywhere (not cute).

Another day of sub par exercise.

To summarize, my goal for this week was to workout everyday. I got out twice and only did 2 miles. But I’m going to go out again tomorrow (it’s the 1st of the month anyway!) and the next day and …well, then it’s Sunday and I’ll probably sleep in then but you get the point.

Just start. Just go. Just do it. (#Nike)


*I could have gotten up early and worked out in the morning but my success rate is pretty much 0 here so I didn’t even try.

Yoga Mat Confessions

I have a confession. I workout like … a grandma.

I don’t push myself to the max.

I rarely break a sweat when I “work out.”

I like to go on leisurely walks and do simple yoga flows.

…Sometimes I will add in a 5 pound “strength training” circuit.

Like I said, I work out like a grandma.

(It’s actually quite possible that many “grandmas*” work out harder than I do.)

I always say I am going to push myself harder and get stronger, faster, more toned, …better. But after I run I feel like I have the flu (no joke, my nose runs, my body aches, my head hurts) and I cannot physically lift more than 10 pounds without ruining my form.

I see some of my friends on Instagram with their rock hard abs and strong legs and think dayyymmmn… if only I had the time… 

But, the thing is, I do. I do have time to hit the gym and keep increasing the pounds I lift; even if I tremble and shake and can only do one repetition at first. I have the time to play soccer – or pick up another cardio focused sport – and work out while having fun so it doesn’t even feel like a work out. If I really wanted to, I could carve out time in my day for working out hard; like I find time for writing and walking and yoga and for reading every label in the grocery store (it literally takes me hours to shop for food).

But, for me, working out for any reason other than to move (because, let’s face it, we all feel better after a walk and some downward dog… we just do) and to mentally decompress just isn’t my thing.

So I officially declare that I accept my “grandma” workout tendencies. My stomach is soft and my thighs touch. My calves jiggle and, guess what?, so do my arms. Most days I opt for modifications while I do my chaturanga. I walker slower around one corner just to deeply inhale these insanely delicious purple flowers on my block. I don’t drag myself to the gym before daylight or try hard for muscle definition. That’s just not how I roll. I work out slow and soft. It’s a bike ride to the farmer’s market over an hour on the treadmill. It’s a light flow on my patio on a nice day over the 26 postures in Bikram yoga. It’s low-impact and minimal results. It’s letting go of the “perfect” body and, really, the time it would take to achieve it…

But, please know, that if you do subscribe to the No Pain, No Gain notion, I salute you. You are likely physically stronger than I am. You choose to dedicate your time and energy and hard work to your body, while I reserve those efforts for other aspects of my life. You probably have more strength (more muscle, more endurance) than me, but we are equally fierce. Neither is better as long as we are both happy and healthy.

On that note, make no mistake, this is not an anthem for not moving at all. I’m not writing this as an excuse to throw in the towel and swear off all exercise. I am not asking you to join my tribe and rebel against joining CrossFit. I am by no means saying I rather watch Netflix all day than be outside, working my feet and legs, breathing in the air, and knowing my heart is working a little harder pumping my blood throughout my body.

I have to move. I have to move for my mind and my body. But I don’t have to move for results. I can simultaneously respect the hard work it takes to get abs of steel but not become a slave to the gym myself.

I choose to take the hour a day dedicated to my body doing something that releases tension instead of creating soreness, but that’s just me. After all, I workout like a grandma, remember?


♡ Ashley

*I just like to use this term for elderly ladies, ok? However, of course, I do realize not every woman over the age of 60 is actually a grandmother… Like my own grandmother always reminds me!