(When I first committed this to my computer’s memory, it only had the first 11 steps or so. It’s much more humorous now… thus, it’s getting posted.)

1. Decide that you need to do something about your health/weight/appearance. Not because you want to. Just because you’re supposed to. To meet some stupid standard. Grumble about how in former times, ‘large’ people were indications of prosperity.

2. Decide that if your husband is going to be a total stud, you need to not look quite so dumpy next to him. Besides, it would be very nice to NOT buy another pair of jeans this size

3. Spend several days contemplating where you may have stored your pilates dvd that you haven’t seen since you moved time before last. After all, the brain needs exercise too. It’s part of the body and your goal is to increase your body’s health/weight/appearance, right?

4. Spend several more days groaning internally about why we can’t just put by-pass switches on our stomachs for a few weeks. Spend part of your time looking up exercise videos you can stream from netflix.

5. Realize that all of the exercise videos feature people doing graceful things. Grace has never been your strong suit. Grumble about how the whole idea of health is dumb. Exercise is dumb. Eating is dumb. Cookie dough should rule the world!

6. Find a “Quick Results” Pilates DVD. Decide Pilates is what you need. You don’t notice you’re actually DOING anything until it’s over and you try to move normally. Perfect! Plus, it might give you the grace you need to quit running into those protruding door frames.

7. Decide that you aren’t going to pressure yourself. It would be ridiculous to try and make huge changes when you don’t want to make them anyway, now wouldn’t it? Commit to spending 10 minutes at least three times this week doing… um… something.. . ANYTHING towards being healthy. You can do 10 minutes. Yes, you can. STOP IT! YOU CAN TOO! Grumble some more.

8. Spend a few weeks annoyed at those 10 minutes of nothing. Realize that if you’re going to actually DO something, you should probably make it something that would actually make a difference. Try to find something that won’t annoy you. Fail.

9. Call your sister and ask her to nag you to the point where doing the actual exercise thing is LESS annoying than listening to her spiel everyday. Realize that she’s too kind to actually make you miserable. Try to pretend that she will anyway. Decide that you HAVE to do this because you are an accountability partner now and if one of you flops it will discourage the other one. For the good of the sister! For the good of the body! We can DO this!

10. Put in your time. Five days a week. On a bike. Annoyed. Sometimes barely pedaling because you are SO not into this. (Not because it’s hard, because it’s DUMB!) See number 5.

11. Decide if you’re going to be a wimp on a bike, the least you can do is substitute Carnation Instant breakfast for a meal or two. You used to do that anyway.

12. Realize that you can watch 24 while pedaling, and pedal much faster (because you have to save Jack or Chloe or ‘bald guy #3” or whoever is in mortal peril this episode.) Hey! If Tony can keep going after that kind of an injury, surely you can do some arm work while pedaling fast against high resistance. Realize that because you are so caught up in the ‘save the president/country/daughter’ hype you don’t realize that you’re pedaling beyond the 30 minute mark.

13. Your month-long commitment expires and you and your sister decide that since you are both super awesome at this whole new habit forming stuff that you’ll just add a NEW habit this next month. We’re SO disciplined and on top of it!

14. Do both habits faithfully for a few days… fall off the wagon… skull crashingly hard.

15. Realize that you’ve overestimated the amount of personal discipline you have to do tasks you disdain.

16. Stop calling your sister because you can no longer say, “I did it! I’m finished for the day!”. She stops calling you. Instead of being accountability partners, you are now avoidance experts.

17. Discuss that with her.

18. Go back to the “I’m not actually going to do this long term. Why bother. I finished 24 season 8 already and besides…. this is dumb.” (See point #5 again)

19. Settle for eating less per meal and cutting out chocolate… most days anyway.

20. Develop a craving for salsa… even though you’ve never liked tomatoes, peppers, or anything like this before in your entire known existence. Strangely enough this alien urge to devour plant products comes upon you while  watching Inception… with your husband… who LOVES salsa… and is using it as a movie snack… and who CLAIMS he’s never seen the movie and doesn’t know how to plant ideas in your mind.  Sure, honey!

21. Consider eating salsa instead of snickers or cookie dough can count as a weight loss plan.

22. Except on the days when you get sick of your big fat jeans and realize that getting out of them will be much faster if you’re actually moving part of the day. Contemplate returning to the bike scene with season 1 of 24.

23. Rationalize not doing so by saying that spring is just around the corner and when you’re out filling and hauling 5 gallon water buckets and feeders and chasing animals and kids around and riding to the ‘big hill’ with Orion and teaching Lithany how to ride without training wheels.. well, it will all be done ‘naturally’ and with a far lesser ‘hamster on a wheel’ factor which is the main annoyance anyway, so why be a hamster? You’re a woman, not a mouse’s distant cousin! And you still have the Instant Breakfast and salsa thing going for you. Besides, after all…

24. See point #5… again.

Thank you.