Liz Morales documents her life in Columbus in the weekly "New to Town" series.

Tyler Ellyson, The Columbus Telegram

COLUMBUS — I used to be a very active person, especially in high school.

I worked part time after classes and performed in the school band. Jazz band, piano and French horn lessons and running the dogs around the property kept me from teenage boredom.

As I got older, I started to learn how to manage my time a little better and became a regular at the local YMCA.

Then life got busier and work mixed with a social life and those precious moments to myself dominated the day. I guess some call this adulthood.

Before my move up north I promised to be as hard on myself as possible to get back to the daily grind.

Well, I’ve been trying.

Not long after I moved to town I learned the Columbus Family YMCA does these fitness assessments. It’s essentially a stepping test that has you do small, repetitive movements for about three minutes, or until you collapse. The point is to test your blood pressure to see where you are on that level. I signed myself up and went in to see how far behind I was.

The results said “meh, not bad," which I found encouraging. I got a lot of healthy food, a blender for smoothies on the go and a weekly food plan to make sure I eat like a polite caveman. I made going to the YMCA a slow-moving habit to not break myself too early. I was just getting to the point where I was entertaining the idea of going to an aerobics class when it happened.

I got a couch.

It’s really a love seat, but when you’re small like I am it’s a couch. Before the purchase it was described to me as black pleather, small and light. The previous owner forgot to mention the magnet that's hidden somewhere on the bottom. As soon as I get home from activities that thing calls me. It urges, begs me to relax.

'"King of the Hill' is almost on. Come on. Sit down. Stay down."

So I did.

Dishes piled up and my motivation to get in motion went down. It’s not my fault at all, I tell you. That couch has a magnet in it somewhere. Sure, lying around for a few days was pretty nice, but then the guilt washed over me. I was doing so well there for a bit. So I wallowed in my self-pity for a day or four. Then I poked around online one day and saw a quote that shook me to my core.

“One day, or Day 1?”

Most everyone looks forward to the new year so they can essentially start over. So they can push themselves to the gym, or put that cookie down and consume broccoli instead. But it’s that Day 1, New Year’s Day, when they want to start doing it. I’ve always thought of the beginning of each month the same way.

But that quote really got me thinking. How bad do I want to be better? Not just working out and being svelte again, but how badly do I want to feel better? How many things have I wanted to do for so long and never got around to it because some minor issue like my undiagnosed procrastination?

So I sat down and made a big list of all the things I don’t like about myself. That sounds terribly dark, but mind you I wanted to think about the things I can change. I then got a big poster board and wrote everything out along with schedules and realistic expectations for myself. I called the project “Morales Motivation," but cut some letters out to make it sound more macho: “Mo’s Moto."

Soon it became two poster boards decorated with vibrant pink and purple slips of paper. I drew flowers and hearts all over it to match the organizational theme I managed. The idea is to keep being consistent with my newfound life and, as each day passes, I rip off a pink or purple sheet. Big accomplishments were denoted with the flowers or hearts and crudely drawn butterflies.

Now is a good time to note I hate girly things. For myself, that is. If you like them, then I am happy for you.

The idea is to finish each day and celebrate by ripping off a purple paper. The more I did each day the less unfavorable decorations I had to see all the time. It was a great idea, I think.

I was making good progress until an unfortunate accident took place.

I had to rearrange all the things in my second bedroom to make room for my new desk. This desk takes up a sizable chunk of the room, so most of my belongings were smashed into a closet. Something fell over and I heard a series of rips. Then I saw a cascade of pink and purple happiness fall from my bookcase onto the floor.

My Moto board was destroyed.

All things considered, this was fine. I hated that eyesore, which is exactly why it worked so well. Now that it’s gone I can either make an entirely new one or just try my hand at responsibility and learn another schedule.

I must say part of the motivation comes from writing this column every week. I’m supposed to tell our readers how I perceive being new to Columbus. I can’t experience too much while glued to my couch. If anyone wanted to know what happened during a TV show, they wouldn’t come to my column to find out.

So thank you Columbus for being a part of Mo’s Moto.

Editor's note: The "New to Town" series features regular columns by Telegram reporter Liz Morales as she documents her transition to Columbus and what she learns along the way.


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