This blog post has been rolling around in my head since January. Every time I decided it was time to sit down and finally put it on paper, something else would come up and I would put it on the back burner. It's not like that "something else" was always important, unless one considers finishing the fifth season of Dexter really important. It was just that, in that moment, I lost the motivation to write.
The Hard Truth
The truth is that motivation is fleeting and we often use lack of "motivation" or its cousin "will-power" as excuses for not doing something. This is especially true when it comes to nutrition and exercise. To put it very simply, motivation is great but it's not always enough. Sometimes it just takes discipline. I'm sure what you expect to follow is a list of tips and tricks to help keep you motivated to hit the weights, treadmill, pavement....whatever. Nope. That stuff has been covered ad nauseum. What I am offering are the things to remember when all those tricks have failed.
You Have to Exercise
Exercise is not a luxury, it is a necessity. That's it, plain and simple. If you aren't in the habit of exercising regularly, then you really cannot afford to skip a day or two of your routine. It is too easy for two days to become three and for three to become four. Unfortunately, there is no realistic formula to determine how long it takes for a habit to form (too many variables). You just have to become so regular at exercising that your body tells you when you have missed too many days. The good news is that the changes you are hoping for often happen while you're getting yourself into your new habit. The more changes you experience, the less you will have to fight yourself to keep at it.
Your Future Health Depends on It
This is WHY you have to exercise. Although an admirable goal, looking good in your shortie shorts just doesn't cut it as a motivator sometimes. I've been there. I've searched through racks of clothes looking for something that would hide my slowly growing muffin-top because I had decided to accept it. What I really, really couldn't accept was the fact that at 38 years old I could not physically handle my two hour daily commute. I began considering how I felt then and how the coming years would compound those feelings if I did nothing. It scared the bejeezus out of me.
Think about it. Think about having to use your PTO for sick days instead of vacation because of illnesses and injuries related to inactivity and poor nutritoin. Think about all the money you will spend on medications, co-pays, special equipment, etcettera to deal with those illnesses and injuries. Think about not being able to pick up or get down on the floor to play with your future grandchildren. Think about the constant fear of falling and breaking a hip. I'm really not trying to be a downer here, but think about it. Is this what you want your future to look like?
You Deserve It
When all else fails, this is the final, absolute truth. You DESERVE the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition. You deserve a stronger heart, sturdier bones, and a more clever brain. You deserve muscles that will power you through the rest of your life with confidence. You deserve to be steady on your feet and have the flexibility to bend over and tie your shoes. You have earned the right to feel as good as possible, at this moment, with the body that you have.
Next time you feel tempted to skip a day because motivation took a vacation, keep in mind that even people who exercise regularly aren't always motivated to do it. I have had to talk myself into and through workouts on more occasions than I care to admit, BUT I have never been disappointed that I did. In fact, as a former couch potato, those are the times when I am most proud of myself.
Just remember, you have to exercise because your future depends on it and you deserve it. Good Luck!