We are not all that different – you and I.
Pushing yourself to go to the gym and exercise is a miserable experience and I don’t even mean the activity of exercising! Just trying to convince yourself to go is an experience so unpleasant, it’s enough to derail any focused and disciplined individual – yes, even me.
I am also not always at my peak performance.
I almost always drop in strength and gain fat in the winter. I’ve learned to accept that my body will go through ups and downs.
I go through the same mental anguish of deciding to workout today or put it off to tomorrow because we all believe that tomorrow is when:
- I will have had a better night’s sleep
- I will have eaten healthier
- I will have less urgent work to finish
- My mind will be more focused
- I will be more motivated
- the list goes on…
I also go through the same guilty feelings as you because we know the above list is bullshit.
I know it’s incredibly hard to sum up the energy in this cold, dark, wet weather to go to the gym and to spend even more energy doing things that are uncomfortable, and painful. It’s almost against our biology! Aren’t we supposed to try and conserve energy during the winter months!
Well, the answer is yes – if you are a starving animal living out in the wild.
But fortunately, we are well-fed (too well-fed!), living in relatively comfortable homes with heaters (‘relatively’ is the operative word), and with too many distractions (tv, mobile phones, games, BED).
In this case, the answer is no. We are not supposed to conserve energy as our environment has already given us an abundance of energy (in the form of fat and sugars in our diet) and has made us too soft and lazy.
So, I have to force myself to exercise, even though I would rather go out for dinner with friends or watch tv series at home, because I know:
- I’m a little vain and want to look good
- if I go tomorrow, I will not be more motivated, but less motivated
- my body’s health depends on my regular training
- my mind’s mental capacity operates better
- I will be more energetic after the workout and not less
- and because I am a person that goes to the gym.
I would say the last point is the most important point.
The single most powerful factor why I keep going to the gym and working out since I started working out when I was a teenager is for the simple fact that that is who I am.
I am someone who goes to the gym.
Sounds overly simple and you probably are thinking to yourself right now what a waste of time it is reading this blog.
But let me dissect it a bit more.
Despite all the friction of getting my ass to the gym and working out, I still do it on a fairly regular basis of at least once a week because the act of working out is so ingrained in my identity that if I don’t go at least once a week, I don’t feel right.
If I see myself and know myself to be a fairly fit person and a healthy person, then this is something I just have to do in my life.
In my mind, it’s not possible to continue to see myself as a healthy and fit individual if I only worked out once in a while. It’s just not consistent.
There are some good literature out there in the psychology world that explains this. Your belief in your identity is fairly strong, and your behaviour will fall in place to maintain the integrity of your beliefs.
By simply believing that you are a person who goes to the gym, you will take the necessary actions and behaviours to ensure that happens.
So, you will drag your lazy ass to the gym, and you will do a shitty workout (but who knows, maybe you’ll end up with a really good workout!) but at least you still did it and kept up what you know to be is good for you and more importantly, what you know to be who you are.
1 – Author: James Clear – “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”