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We all know we need our friends who are going through the same thing we’re going through.

We also need our friends who will give us the heads up as to what’s coming next.

There is a group of us who try to plan a dinner out once a month. Now that our kids are young but no longer babies anymore, it’s getting harder to carve out the time –  everyone has team sports and gymnastics and fundraisers to attend. We’ve been a little less diligent about it, but we still get together with some amount of regularity.

Listen carefully. If you’re a mom and you don’t have a once-a-month mom’s dinner tradition, start one right now. It’s a two-hour evening that can refresh you for an entire month.

We went out on Monday to the new Japanese place in town. We live in the cornfields, so “new” means it went up sometime in the last three years or so. There were four of us – three of us are in our early 30s with three kids. The fourth is in her early 40s with two kids.

She’s a runner whose program was set back a bit from surgery then an injury. Itching to get back into her routine, she started talking about exercise in general, and what she wanted from it.

She’s not the type to push advice on people, so when she stopped eating to tell us something important, our ears perked up a bit.

She had a very strong recommendation regarding exercise. She wasn’t lukewarm about it – she was telling us in no uncertain terms something that she wished she had heard ten years ago.

She wished that she had started earlier, and she urged us to start now.

“It is so much easier to start at 30 than at 40. And it’s probably easier to start at 40 than at 50. Get that habit going now. If you start at 30, everything feels fine and it’s a matter of showing up. If you start at 40, things don’t feel the way they used to, and it’s discouraging.”

With that, she gave the gift of intrinsic motivation to the three of us, sitting there in our capable 30-something bodies. We’re all similar in that the mirror isn’t going to get us to do anything. We needed a reason that made sense beyond looking skinny, and we got it.

I’m not at all sedentary, but I’m not on a program like I would like to be – yet. We’re buddying up in a few weeks here, when school starts. That way, we can make it part of our days. Sure, the school year changes, but if we can start when there’s some rhythm to the week, we will be accustomed to meeting up at the gym even when the routine switches up.

Start now.

You can say that about anything. Want to start a business, a blog, a new habit? Want to quit doing something that’s not so healthy or constructive?

Start now.

It might not be so easy later.

Is there anything you would like to start? Maybe we can motivate each other?

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