In my never-ending pursuit of ways to fool my mind and body into making it through outdoor workouts during this extreme heat wave of 100 degree and higher days, I tried something different this morning. It’s fairly common for me to try to jog a certain distance as measured by blocks or lamp posts at the park, and then give myself a break of a much shorter distance. For example, maybe I’ll jog four blocks and then walk one block, or when looping around Seneca Park I’ll jog past four lamp posts and then walk past one.
What I did different today was to count down to zero from each of those starting points rather than to start counting up from zero. The end result was that it made the distances seem shorter and more doable for me. To start counting at four and then soon be at three, then two, then one, then zero seemed shorter and more motivating than starting at zero and slowly counting upward to the goal. There was the added bonus of the excitement of a countdown.
That makes sense when you consider the countdowns connected with other events. Counting the number of seconds in the year leading up to the big Times Square ball drop on New Year’s Eve just doesn’t have the same ring to it as taking that final minute and counting down to zero. Marketers are far more likely to building excitement about how many shopping days are left before Christmas or some other point in time than they are to count how many days it has been since the last one. The young man whose wedding I will attend tomorrow is probably counting down the hours until he is married as opposed to the number of hours he hasn’t been.
So my advice for the day is to think about something you’re looking forward to – even the potential drudgery of a physical workout – and associate it with the excitement of a countdown. The time may pass just a little faster.
Leap year lesson #187 is Counting down beats counting up.