It's now been six months since I made the decision to sit less and move more. After reading and researching how terrible excessive sitting is on our health, I'm now doing something about it. I can't say it's been easy to end the chair affair, but it hasn't been that hard either.
And last night, I got to see just how far I've come. A friend of mine was in a one-hour production of Don Quixote and several of us went to see the play. I enjoyed it immensely. The costumes, the choreography, and the acting were all superb. But I found it almost impossible and very uncomfortable to sit in a chair uninterrupted for 60 minutes. Sure, I toe-tapped and clapped at the appropriate moments, but still, it was a lot of sitting! I never sit uninterrupted for an hour anymore. Fifteen minutes is usually my limit before I have to get up and stretch and move around a bit. I am not a sitter anymore.
After the intermission and congratulating my friend on a job well done, I walked out of the theater. There was a different production immediately after (that my friend wasn't in), but I realized I had reached my sitting saturation point. It was time to get moving.
The old me could have easily sat through several hours of TV, a long movie, or tons of web searching and not have given it a second thought. I wasn't even aware of how much I was sitting because I was doing it all the time. Sitting was a habit, but fortunately habits can be changed. I'm not the same person that I was six months ago. I am not a sitter anymore.
I've used a handful of strategies to make the transition out of the chair, but by far the most impactful has been to change my identity. I've just decided that I am not someone who routinely sits. I am not someone who is content to sit and watch or read about other people leading active, interesting, and engaged lives. I want that for myself and I am making it happen. And because I'm not a sitter, I find alternative ways to do what I need to do and want to do that do not require prolonged sitting. It's not that I never sit, but I never stay seated anymore and that's been a huge change for me. One of my favorite bloggers, James Clear, has written a masterful piece noting how habits can be changed by changing our identity... by changing how we see ourselves and who we believe we are. I think he's nailed it.
Over the next few weeks I'll have more to say about the other strategies that I've used to end my chair affair. I know what has worked for me may not work for someone else. We are all different and we sit for different reasons. But hopefully some of what I've discovered can help other people. I am sure of this: I am not a sitter anymore.
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