Many times lately I’ve driven to the gym and lingered in my car with the heat blaring, sipping tea and watching others drift in to workout, thinking Good for them.
Sometimes I wave.
The sun is rarely up and I am in this hazy space between knowing exercise is a friend and wanting to go back home, make an enormous frittata with a side of fresh guacamole and binge-watch HGTV Beach Hunters.
I won’t though.
I will get out of the car, flick my membership card across the scanner, do that hour of aerobics, soak in the hot tub and race back to the car pumped that I conquered this one big thing.
Long ago, it took about a year to bake in this habit and another year to realize I had done it.
Exercise is a tricky promise until the endorphins kick in, and at first, I had to promise myself other things. New swimsuits and cute sneakers, brunch, and a bunch of other stuff that made no sense. Like a new tube of red lipstick and strappy tee that said Rebel.
Now, that five-minute delay in the car is ridiculous, but much cheaper than post-workout ‘treats.’
What it all comes down to, though, is that I’ve been getting it done for a long time and as a result, I am fit and healthy, have energy and sleep well.
Sure there is intrinsic value in exercising. Doctors and studies tell us that all the time. But none of that matters when it’s You vs. Your Workout because your brain doesn’t want to hear it. Resolutions fail unless you take that extra step to brainwash yourself with a really compelling motivation and add a few dashes of sheer will until the motivation becomes habit.
Beyond that, you will have to show up and move no matter how you feel.
No matter who’s watching.
No matter what you’re wearing.
Until it feels stranger than strange not to.
My motivation is pretty simple. I want to outrun the Type 2 diabetes rampant in my blood line and also I have in my head to ride this body until the wheels fall off. Better health, better ride.
So, I don’t sprint into the gym smiling. No one does. Not even the lady who insists on wearing tiaras, who I assume needs more motivation than most.
But I get there. Sweet-talk myself out of the car and when the arctic blast makes my face feel like it’s going to crack, I pretend Big Foot is chasing me all yelly and crazy, and chant my battle cry:
Let’s do this!