There are good days, and there are, well, not-so-good days. The important thing is to show up.
This is true for life, and it’s true for fitness. (It’s actually the banal things in life that often prove more challenging to show up for, I find.)
Fitness has increasingly become important to me, in such a gradual way that I did not even realise it before it had become a natural part of my life. Just because it is so integral or I’ve been doing it for a long time does not mean it happens easily, however. There are days when it is a challenge to keep up with my commitment to staying fit.
I woke up, groggily. It’s getting colder now, so staying under the covers was definitely tempting. Nevertheless, I dragged myself out and tried not to think about anything as I put on my workout gear. I rolled out my yoga mat, and stared at it for a few minutes. Move, my brain said. My body refused. I just stood there, blank. It’s challenging to motivate oneself when the brain and body are not in sync.
Moments passed. My workout flashed through my mind, the exercises I wanted to do, how great the exertion would feel as a reward. Visualizing failed. I didn’t move. So, I thought, I’ll stretch. Let me start with that. Maybe, once the blood starts moving and the energy is coarsing through, I’ll crank up the machine for more energetic pushes.
I stretched, more than I usually do. I stayed with the stretch, moved into it, and felt it fully. Like a lazy cat, I flowed down the length. Soon, I was gently tugging out a shoulder here, leaning my neck this way and that, breathing into the little movements to occupy them completely.
The workout never materialized; it was filled, instead, with a long-drawn stretch session. Not what I intended, not what I planned on. Still, I showed up. Sometimes, it’s all that matters, reporting for duty. It keeps the momentum, even if at a lower pace than expected, and it’s a vital affirmation to oneself of one’s commitment. That’s the difference between motivation and discipline. That’s the true measure of success – it may not feel like it at the time, but soon enough, with each little step, with each effort to keep moving forward, success is achieved.
(I wanted to share this because I have just written about discipline and how it has helped me with my fitness regimen, a recent blogpost called A thousand tiny choices. That blogpost might feel too perfect, like it’s easy to make the choice to work out every time. I wanted to share the struggle it is to make the choice, and how unwieldy the choice can be. Nevertheless, making the choice, however imperfect, is what matters.)