Routine is everything.
Life is incredibly demanding. Sometimes I feel like it’s holding me hostage. It has way too many expectations of me, what I should be doing, what I ought to be capable of. It’s overwhelming. Nobody wants to walk through life feeling like they can’t keep up.
And yet, before I started working out, this was how I felt. Great, now I have to work out, another thing on my to-do list. As if I don’t have enough on my plate already.
So how’d I do it? I just started. I didn’t really have a plan for exactly when I would workout during day, but I knew I had three options: before work, on my lunch break, or right after work. The gym system I was using required you to book a place in the gym, even if you were just going to work out by yourself. It was kind of a pain, but I was grateful for the way in which it held me accountable. If I wanted to go to the gym, I had to book my place in advance; and once I’d booked something, I was far less likely to miss it. If I suddenly realised I couldn’t make a particular time, I’d move the time rather than cancelling it entirely.
Despite that, it was still a struggle to go the gym those first few weeks. If it was cold outside, or I hadn’t slept well, the struggle was that much harder, but I wouldn’t let myself miss it. I remember telling a coworker, ‘I hate working out, but I hate the idea of not working out more‘. I think at a certain point I realised that while the easy option might be to miss a workout because I ‘didn’t feel like it’, it would make it that much harder to go to the next workout, especially if I didn’t feel like it then either. I didn’t want to make it harder for ‘future me’ to exercise. That was the shift. I started thinking about ‘future me’, more than I was thinking about ‘current me’.
I think that’s why I was able to workout through the holidays. My circumstances changed a little, being that I was home and didn’t have a strict schedule; but I already had the routine of working out, so it was something that was just a natural part of my day, like brushing my teeth, or eating breakfast.
Working out had become a routine.
Isn’t that insane? I have a workout a routine. I have a workout routine.
Why am I telling you guys all this? I’m telling you this because I’ve realised that whenever you’re starting something new, you always start at some kind of disadvantage. Maybe it’s an ‘experience disadvantage’, because you don’t have experience doing it; or maybe it’s a ‘comfort disadvantage’, because it forces you to shift some things around or get out of your comfort zone; whatever it is, it’s okay. Those disadvantages only go away once you master them. If you’re inexperienced, the only way to beat it is to get experienced. If you’re uncomfortable, the only way to beat it is to get comfortable.
Working out three times a week only became normal to me after I’d been doing it for some time. It wasn’t normal before, now it’s a new normal. Now I know that I can have a full-time job, and a social life, and workout three-times a week. It’s possible. It just requires a little thought-mastery.
/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out