October 12, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
JUST DO IT.
written by Elisabeth Meany
A week or so ago, I really started thinking about what it is that motivates me to do the things I do. Why do I get out of bed in the morning? I mean, besides the obvious answer, which is because I have to get my butt out of bed every day in order to be a functional member of society. Why do I choose to eat healthy when I don’t want to? Why do I exercise even on the days when I would rather sit on the couch and eat crème puffs and bon-bons? I am always thinking about ways to motivate other people and sometimes I think it’s helpful for me to reflect on ways that I am able to motivate myself. I have given this particular topic of motivation a lot of thought recently, and I came to a solid conclusion. I have concluded that there is NOTHING different between me and every single overweight, unhealthy individual out there. I love food. I love being lazy. I struggle with the desire to overeat and not exercise. My idea of a good time is a delicious pizza and a cold beer…
So if I am exactly like the millions of overweight and unhealthy people out there, how come I’m not overweight and unhealthy? There is one critical difference between myself and others—it’s not a difference in wants or desires, it’s simply a difference in behavior. The difference is that I just do it. When I don’t want to wake up an hour early to run before class, I JUST DO IT. When I don’t want to order the salmon salad, I JUST DO IT. When I don’t want to walk away from the hours d’oerve table at a party, I JUST DO IT. When I don’t want to skip cocktails on Friday night so I can wake up early on Saturday and run, I JUST DO IT. When I don’t want to keep running because my legs are sore from the day before, I JUST DO IT. When I don’t want to squeeze in a workout after a long day of classes, studying, running errands, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and cleaning the house…Yes, that’s right. I JUST DO IT.
*If you’re at all confused about what this proverbial “IT” is that I speak of, let me help clear that up.
IT = the healthier choice.
I don’t do it because sitting on my butt watching TV doesn’t make me happy—because it totally does. I don’t do it because I don’t love the taste of terrible, over-sugared, over-salted, packaged and processed foods—because sometimes I do. I have a package of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Toaster Pastries, a bag of pumpkin M&M’s, and a bag of candy corn in my cupboard to prove it. I do “it” because I know that it will make me feel better. Do chocolate bars and ice cream make me feel better? Sure, but only for a minute or two. That better feeling is so short-lived compared to the feeling that I get when I make healthy choices for myself.
It’s not that I am super-human and resistant to the temptations of life. It is just that I am able to recognize the consequences that making poor choices has on my mind and body. Knowing that the backlash of skipping my workout is going to mean a poor night’s sleep and unnecessary anxiety is motivation enough to get myself to JUST DO IT. Knowing that the fully-loaded Farmer’s skillet and side of bacon at breakfast will make me feel heavy, lethargic, and unmotivated to move is enough motivation to choose the egg-white omelette with veggies.
I am frequently asked by my clients and friends what it is that I tell myself to get moving. You know my secret now. I don’t have a nice fluffy mantra to get myself out of bed and motivated to take on the world. When the alarm goes off, I roll over and open my eyes. Then I promptly tell myself, “Self, JUST DO IT.” Ummmm…yes. I totally refer to myself as “self” when I am talking to myself in my head. And yes, I realize how crazy that sentence just sounded. It’s okay. I promise that I’m not completely looney tunes.
When you think about it, you really only have two choices when it comes to living healthy—you either do it or you don’t. It’s actually pretty simple. There’s really not a whole lot of thinking and analyzing involved. It’s just a matter of looking at each decision that you are presented with and choosing to do what you KNOW is healthier for you. All of those small decisions eventually come together to form days, weeks, months, years, and before you know it, you are a healthier, happier, and more vibrant version of your old self.
I know that the journey to health and fitness can be rough. It can be long and tedious, and it can most certainly be overwhelming. I personally find it incredibly helpful to take things one day at a time. One run at a time. One salad at a time. One walk at a time. One chicken breast at a time. One swim, bike or hike at time. Don’t get caught up in focusing on how far you have to go in order to reach your overall goal. Focus on making good choices for yourself at each little step along the way. Other than, “Just do it,” I often tell myself, “One foot in front of the other.” Because that’s how we get there, right? It really comes down to putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward in the right direction.
Choice by choice, day by day, start doing the things that you know will keep you moving in the right direction. When presented with the option, always choose to JUST DO IT. Don’t make it complicated. Don’t overthink it. JUST DO IT.