Three months ago I had a minor operation which meant I could not exercise for 8 weeks.
What a perfect excuse. I did not feel any remorse or guilt every time I drove past the gym or every time I did not wake up for a quick morning exercise routine. It was heavenly. My shoulders did not carry this unnecessary burden of guilt around.
But two months later, it was over. No more excuses. Well, no more excuses that did not make me feel guilty. The one legitimate reason I had was over. And I had to get my butt into gear. The problem I faced was that after two months of doing nothing, it was hard to get back into a routine of doing something. My body was lethargic; my mind cloudy and my heart not up to the task. So week after week the excuses rolled in and I rolled over and further into my blanket of comfort. How was I going to beat this lethargy?
I had to dig deep. And when I mean dig deep, I mean real deep. I had to attempt remembering how healthy I felt when I did exercise. And when I did eat healthy. “Remember that extra energy you had when you went to gym?” “Remember how less bloated you felt when you ate 5 small meals?” “Remember how much clearer your mind was?” I would ask these questions over and over. Week one: No effect. Week two: Nothing. Week three: Miracle. “Yes, I remember! And I want it back!”
And it all happened suddenly. I prepared my meals the night before and the next day I was back in gym, pulling myself back from overdoing the first session in months. I was excited to start feeling healthy again. Except it was not sudden. It had taken weeks of building up motivation to reach that point.
From time to time, we forget the prep work required in order to start something. We forget that it takes time and preparation, mentally and physically, before we even reach the starting point. We need to be able to build up the motivation to start and then keep the momentum to continue. If I could not understand the impact of those first two weeks of prompts, I would most likely never have remembered the feeling that I wanted and I probably would have returned to gym out of guilt, for a session or two. Hated it and not returned until the guilt overwhelmed me again. Or I would never have returned to begin with. I had to choose what would make me do something; the guilt of knowing I should do it or the memory of how good the results made me feel after doing something.
What a better way though to do something because a good feeling is the prompt, rather than the guilt.