The gym parking lot looked like a New Year’s resolutions yesterday. A regular, I had to park in the overflow area, grab a locker in the back, squeeze into a crowded aerobics class and hot tub after and wait in line at the showers. This is the way it goes every year. Newbies jump in, but by Valentine’s day, they’re back out.
It’s so easy to quit. I did it too before exercise became a necessary habit and I sort of got addicted to the endorphins and energy, so I know resolutions don’t stick unless they are simple, convenient, doable, and you get buy in from the part of you that is most resistant to change and most likely to put the brakes on anything beyond status quo. Even if it’s good for you.
Nadia is what I call my inner saboteur since it sounds so much like my real name. She is cunningly seductive, has a slight-yet-sultry French accent and naturally pouty lips. She enjoys crafting, the spa and leisurely binge-watching Netflix series, cooking healthy gourmet, zoning out with smooth jazz in silk lounge wear, and dark organic chocolate filled with blueberry cream. Somehow, she got me, a tea drinker, addicted to mochas for half of last year, so she is very, very slick. She also excels at quietly pointing out all of the reasons WE are not ditching our comfortable routine. Not one bit. With her exotic, flavorful bent, you’d think she’d embrace change, not fight it like she has had Special Forces training.
I have to come up from behind Nadia in sales-pitch mode with an appealing mission that she will consent to. For example, to get her to exercise five days a week, I had to promise the following:
- Fun. At a nearby pool with water aerobics classes, the work seems like play.
- Variety. She can pick the fitness method as long as we’re moving, so for a few years my primary winter exercise was skating. Fortunately, she also enjoys walking as long as we switch up paths.
- Convenience. I live 15-20 minutes from EVERYTHING, so there are a lot of options.
- Treats. Unlike Nailah, Nadia does not believe in “Just Do It” or internal rewards. There has to be a concrete indulgence after, even if it’s just Jasmine tea, mp3 downloads, Pinterest time or a movie. She’s generally good with little somethings, but if the pool is closed and we have to do the elliptical machine, the kitty goes up. Once, I had to buy her an Italian Frittata and Omelet Pan.
- Sometimes, she gets to vent. About it being too early, too cold, too much, or whatever else she has to say. I listen respectfully, nodding occasionally, and when she winds down, I grab the gym bag by the front door and head out feeling like she’s giving me the finger in my mind, but will comply.
Somehow I think we all have that little saboteur who pipes up shortly into resolution season and we just have to figure out what she wants and negotiate, then push on.