While I have recently joined a new gym in our new city after the move, I have used it once as of writing. I have yet to work out a schedule that allows me to easily pick up the habit of exercising. This is, of course, a terrible excuse to not exercise.
Exercising at the gym will either be something I do before work, or something done after work. Each of these options have complications that provide just enough friction that implementing them is stopped by my slothful lizard brain.
In order to exercise at the gym before work, I’d have to wake up earlier. This is hard for me for a few reasons:
- Because I work at the bar a few nights per week, my sleep schedule is variable, so keeping a consistent bed and wake-up time is challenging.
- I’m a heavy sleeper, so finding a way to wake me up without disturbing my partner is difficult.
- I’ve developed a habit of snoozing when my alarm goes off.
- Being late to work is bad, so if I’m late to get to the gym, it throws things off for me.
- I’m lazy.
In order to exercise at the gym after work, I have a few barriers that I’d need to overcome. Ideally, I’d go straight from work, but:
- On days when the dog is at daycare, I’m usually the only one who can pick him up before they close since my work is closer.
- On days when the dog is at home, I need to go home first to take him out to relieve himself.
- Because I’m the first one home, it makes more sense for me to start dinner.
- I have the habit that once my “pants come off,” or if I sit on the couch, it’s hard for me to get up and go again.
- Exercising after work is challenging if I’m tired from work.
- I wouldn’t be able to workout on days after work when I also work at the bar or have board meetings (mornings are more likely to be clear of other scheduled activities).
- I value spending time with my significant other over going to the gym.
These are all excuses. They are in no way real impediments to going to the gym. Instead, they provide just enough friction to stop me from making a change.
Another option would be for me to workout at home. Until recently, we’ve been limited in what we could unpack while the renovations were ongoing. However, now that the renos are done, we are in a position to reclaim more space in the basement. The disassembled elliptical was buried behind boxes of stuff, and there was little extra floor space that could be used to set up the machine.
Last week, I decided that I wanted to finally set up the elliptical so that I had no excuses for skipping some form of exercise. I wanted to take back some locus of control for my fitness. Everything listed above is coded in language that suggests I have no control over my situation. There’s always a reason outside of myself that prevents me from committing to exercise – “if only things were different, I’d exercise.”
But this is wrong.
In truth, there is nothing stopping me from exercising. I’m making excuses on why I’m not modifying my behaviour. Instead of whining and whinging about why I can’t exercise, I need to address the nagging feeling that I am drifting about in my day to day life. I don’t feel in control of things, but this is false. I tend to react, without intention. I act as if I don’t have an active agency in how I spend my time. By not making decisions about how to fix my behaviour, I’m still making a decision – only now I’m pretending to be a victim of circumstance and pushing off ownership of that decision to do nothing.
And so, last week I decided to take back some locus of control and re-assemble the elliptical and go for a run. This is not a behaviour change, but merely a first step. (Or several steps according to my FitBit…)
Now, I must be responsible for continuing to take those steps.