Get Your Sh*t Together #3 - My Reply To a Redditor
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In these posts I write a reply to a real person on Reddit who needs advice. Reddit has many communities dedicated to Self-Improvement and people ask for help about a broad range of issues.
Can I make myself like working out?
As of now I dread the thought of it. Sure, the end result seems nice but it’s hard and hard things are hard to do. Is there some kind of mindset I can try to implement? Or is it always going to be something that I dread? -u/StreamedOrange57
It’s a cliché saying, but if working out were easy everyone would do it. The thing with cliché’s though is they don’t become one unless they’re true. You’re not alone in hating exercise because most people don’t enjoy it. This includes many of the famous fitness people known for it. What these people do differently is they don’t rely on motivation.
One of the biggest killers of productivity is waiting for the motivation to do something before you do it. This leads people to believe they have a motivation problem. They don’t have a motivation problem though; they have a system problem.
Fear not though. Working out can be easier when you implement a better system. I’m going to share some strategies that will help you with this.
Find your inner drive
Doing difficult things gets easier when you have a burning desire for it. Fear is a fantastic way to create desire.
Finding the motivation to run isn’t an issue when a tiger’s chasing you.
Make fear work for you by imagining the consequences of not working out. Imagine how you’ll look and feel 5 to 10 years from now if you give up working out.
I’m fortunate to have a secure job that still offers a pension. I haven’t allowed the security to make me soft though. I still workout, and I even find time to do it in the middle of my workday. I can’t say this for my co-workers. Many of them let themselves go. When someone brings donuts, they’re the first in line. They have high-blood pressure and let the stress get to them. By the time they get to retirement age they’re old beyond their years. It’s not uncommon for these workers to live less than 5 years after retiring.
This doesn’t have to be you if you learn from other people’s mistakes.
Don’t negotiate with yourself
One of the most inspirational personalities in fitness is David Goggins. David Goggins is an ultra-runner and retired Navy Seal. David Goggin’s mental strategy is simple. He never negotiates with himself.
When you don’t want to do something and start thinking about the reasons for not doing it, you’re negotiating with yourself. According to David Goggin’s this is a form of excuse making. Most people are in the habit of giving into their excuses.
Break the habit of negotiating by thinking of working out as a job. When you have bills to pay, are you going to go into the office when you don’t want to? Absolutely, if you want to see your next paycheck.
Working out should have the same priority as work, if not higher.
Build the Habit
If you hate working out, don’t sign up for a weeklong bootcamp or pay thousands of dollars for a personal trainer. This is what most people do though. They think if they have someone to force them to do burpee’s they’ll get the results they want. This is only half true. What they’re not getting is the habit of taking care of themselves.
Our successes, failures, and even personalities are basically the sum of our habits. You can change the trajectory of your life if you commit to changing your habits.
Building the habit of doing something is more important than the result. One hard workout isn’t going to make a difference. But a thousand moderately challenging ones will.
The master key to building a habit is to make it so easy that you can’t say no.
If the idea of doing 10 pushups makes you want to vomit, then do 1 push up, every day. If you struggle to get through 45 minutes at the gym, then only go for 5 minutes, every day. The idea is to do the thing consistently until it becomes a habit. The ground becomes fertile for growth once something’s a habit. All you must do after that is improve 1% a day.
Improvement then becomes like compound interest. You want compound interest on your side because it’s the strongest force in the universe.
The strongest force in the universe is Compound Interest – Albert Einstein
Do What you Enjoy
Fitness marketing has us convinced that exercising looks a certain way. It’s convinced the public that it involves gym memberships, sexy clothes, supplements, and personal trainers that make you feel like shit about yourself. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
The best form of exercise is the one you do.
If there’s a physical activity you enjoy doing, then make it your chief form of exercise. I know a 62-year-old man who loves playing basketball at the local YMCA. It’s his only form of exercise and he’s in great shape for someone his age.
He’s in better shape than some people half his age.
If all you have the energy to do is walk, then walk your ass off. There are plenty of ways to make walking more challenging too. Walk on trails, walk up hills, walk upstairs, or go for a walk with a weighted vest.
In closing, finding the motivation to work out doesn’t have to be hard. It involves imagining the consequences of not working out, making it non-negotiable, building the habit, and doing something you enjoy.
Working out is difficult for most people because they’re chasing something that’s unnatural. Much of what’s popular in fitness is unnatural. Body builders who deadlift 1,000 lbs. and die at 42 years old are unnatural. The asses on Instagram influencers are unnatural.
Positive change happens seamlessly when it feels natural and flows with your daily life.
Image by @doze