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I’m pretty sure it’s all part of my “meddling” nature, but I really love it when you all email me. Hubby James (that’s him in the pic) calls me “The Meddler,” and does his best Snidely Whiplash impression when he does so. My two kids, both in their 20’s, would agree that I am the World’s Biggest Meddler, and I’m sure they’d like to thank you all profusely for distracting me with your emails so that I meddle less in their lives, and more in yours.
I recently started chatting with a reader, let’s call him “M” so I don’t embarrass him too much, who’s just about to retire and hit the road in his RV. He already has some fitness habits established even though he dislikes exercise, and he’s worried about maintaining those habits once he’s on the road. It’s a pretty common challenge we RVers face, so I wanted to share my advice on this one, especially since this is such a common struggle for many of us.
Here’s a quote from M’s email:
“I’ve reached a point where I love life so much more when I am working-out regularly …. more energy, less back pain, more self confidence/satisfaction, etc. Additionally, I simply love how I feel after a good, hard work-out (emphasis on the word “after“). However, if I’m to be totally honest, the exercising itself pretty much sucks. I don’t exercise because I like it. Instead, it’s for all the aforementioned benefits.”
It’s pretty easy to relate to M’s feelings on exercise. But M’s getting it all wrong. The problem isn’t that he doesn’t like exercising. The real problem is his assumption that he needs to like exercising in order to be successful at it. This is where many of us self-sabotage our efforts. We try so hard to get motivated to exercise, and then we get frustrated with the feelings we are having (namely, “this sucks”). That completely conflicts with the feelings we WANT to have about exercise, and the whole endeavor is thrown into a funk almost before it starts.
So here’s my tough-love advice for M, and the rest of you who dislike exercise. Stop trying so hard to enjoy it! Instead, think of it like all your other tasks that you simply do because you have to. Just get going, and exercise. Once you start a workout session, those negative feelings will slowly dissipate. By the end, you’ll be feeling pretty darned good, and I guarantee you won’t regret that workout.
Think of it this way. How many people like doing laundry?* We all do the laundry, without any internal conflict that we have to LIKE doing it. No one makes it their New Year’s Resolution to ENJOY doing laundry. It might be to DO it, but not to enjoy it. There’s no stigma built up about needing motivation to do the laundry, and there’s also no “Unwashed Laundry Epidemic.” Maybe if we all took the same approach we use to get our laundry done, there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic, either.
*OK. James actually likes to fold the laundry, but he’s kind of weird that way, so let’s not consider him…
And I realize, gang, that my message here…to simply get going and exercise whether you’d like to or not…is easier said than done. But I hope at least I’ve given you something to think about as you look ahead to your future years and the “better self” we hope to become. I know, I know, I say this all the time. But life is much, much better in a fit body.
AND, I must admit, in clean clothes.