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MOTIVATION 001. Working Out When Life Sucks
It’s great to have a fitness program. But if there’s one thing that can throat punch all our good intentions, it’s life. I’ve spent so many rest periods between sets thinking about life crises that were going on at the time. I’d pick up the weight and think, “How could my girlfriend dump me like that?” “What did my boss mean in that email?” “What if I just left — or didn’t go at all — and fixed this little work issue that’s bugging me?”
All these voices claw at us, telling us that exercise is unimportant and trivial and vain and unnecessary. It drags us down, and keeps us chained to the floor of busyness, never really achieving the things we want — Things like feeling strong, being strong, being fast, the satisfaction of making yourself healthy, the joy of adding decades to your life.
Easily stolen one day at a time with a little lie — And that lie is this: Exercise does not matter, because you have other obligations in life. And this is what you say to that voice:
Exercise matters because I have more important things to do.
I have a whole life left to live.
I have a family to protect.
I have body to care for.
I have a job that requires my vitality and my focus.
I have a fleshly craving to which I must learn to say “No.”
I have a mind to strengthen.
I have muscles that will either get weaker or stronger.
Exercise matters because everything in my life will get better, or worse, depending on whether I go to the gym today and pick up that weight and eat that healthy food.
Bosses will always be there to email you.
Boyfriends and girlfriends will always be there to break your heart.
That email will always need to be sent.
That little thing will always be undone.
That bill will always need to be paid.
We never, ever have a perfect mental situation for working out.
But we do know that that boss, that family, that relationship, that email, and that little detail, they’re taking from your focus. Don’t liquidate your mental energy first thing the morning, and offer your body on the altar of sacrifice to the little details that will repeat themselves tomorrow. As much as you want to, don’t put the oxygen mask on the kid first.
Put your oxygen mask on first. Make yourself strong. Push through the set. Pick up the weight, even when you’re plagued with anxiety and depression and all the distractions are screaming at you to leave. Just do the work you’ve written down on the page. Lift the weight. Perform the rep. The more you do this, the more you’re gonna own all that other crap even better.
You’re strong. You’re capable. You’re ready. Don’t think. Just do. If you don’t, you’ll just push your failure out of your mind, because you’re so good at that. But if you show up and do that hard physical work, yourself later today will be on their knees in gratitude that you were strong enough to push through.