I have a confession to make; I do not jump out of bed in the morning eager to put on my workout clothes and knock out a hard training session. As the day goes on, I’m even less inclined to pick up some weights. By midafternoon, instead of trying to cram in a workout, I try to justify cramming in a nap. I try to cram a nap into my jam-packed schedule instead of a workout. In the evening, I want ice cream for dinner, not fish and vegetables. And at night I try to get my kids into bed as early as possible so that I can watch tv, not jump on the treadmill. Believe it or not, I don’t live to exercise. I have a husband, daughter a son, a dogs, and full time job that requires a lot of my time and energy and most of the time I just don’t want to exercise or eat healthy.
People assume that being fit comes easy to me, that I am naturally thin or have endless amounts of energy. In truth, I gain weight very easily and am just as tired as everyone else. I also have such a weakness for some foods that my husband literally has to hide the box Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal in the house whenever he buys it. I tell you these things to show that I am not superwoman when it comes to being healthy. I struggle with the same challenges everyone does on a daily basis. If I were to delay exercising for the moment I really wanted to do it, that moment would never come. There is always something else I’d rather do- take a nap, eat unhealthy or watch tv.
As much as I want to engage in unhealthy habits, I have clearly identified other things I want and value even more. I want to look physically fit, I want to compete in random races and triathlons, and more than anything I want to keep up with my toddler at the playground. These things have become my “whys,” my answers to the questions I ask myself when don’t feel like exercising or eating right. Why do I have to workout instead of taking a nap? Because I want to do well in the Greely Triathlon. Why can’t I have that donut? Because I want to fit comfortably in my jeans.
I have to identify my “whys” clearly, and ahead of time. If there is even a moment’s hesitation between asking myself a question and my answer, I will given myself enough time to create an excuse. My success depends on my ability to start the day prepared and clearly aware of my goals.
Everyone’s “whys” are different. But they should have several things in common. First, they must be strong enough to motivate you at your weakest point. If weight loss itself fails to motivate you, compete in a race or create a fitness challenge among your friends. It will take some creativity but you can always find something that will give you such a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment than sitting on the couch ever could. Second, they must be specific and clear. Simply wanting to be healthy and fit are too vague. Aim for specific health targets, like lowering your blood pressure 10 points, or running up the stairs at work without stopping.
You do not have to become fitness obsessed to be healthy, but you do have to a purpose for doing so. Have an answer ready for the moment when someone asks why your workouts are so important or why you are sticking to your diet. I’d love to hear and share some of your “whys.” Why do you engage in healthy activities and make smart food choices? Once you define your why select your plan and start working fitness and wellness into your busy lifestyle.