Hands down, my top two things to put off are writing and working out. I’m a master at saying what I want to accomplish for both these activities, but follow-through hasn’t always matched the plans.
I learnt rather quickly for example, that wanting to write and actually tapping out a story are two very different things. The same goes for saying, “I want to be the fittest I’ve ever been in my life,” and sticking to my workout plan.
So do I really want to write and workout more, or does this just look good on paper?
Excuses suck. They act like friends giving us a hand, when really they’re friend-enemies keeping us grounded. My excuses sounded perfectly believable on my ears – It’s too cold to go running; I’ll write a few paragraphs… tomorrow; I’ll do ten push-ups cause that’s something at least; I’m too tired to type even a single word.
I had others, but didn’t want to keep relying on these outs. I wanted to do better for myself and be disciplined when it counted. All that led to a truthful answer – yes, I do want write and work out more.
For you it might be other things. Maybe you’re putting off seeing family, or cooking healthy meals in favour of takeout or, getting a job finished. You may genuinely not want to do the thing you’re putting off. If you break it down and realise you don’t, don’t feel bad. Even if it’s for your betterment, I’ve learnt that until we’re truly ready to do something, we simply don’t, or we start and don’t stick to it.
For me, I realised there was a deeper reason for this procrastination and sometimes that’s just the way it is. I had to look within myself and find out why.
The reason isn’t always some crazy, deep dark emotional baggage you’re carrying around. For example, with working out I was just being lazy… end. I didn’t workout because I didn’t feel like and I gave in to that emotion and sloth life.
Writing is a different matter.
It isn’t laziness that kept me from writing, it was anxiety coated with fear.
When I was younger, I’d write prose all the time, hours on end. Many things slowed this down over the years, but as I say in my Are You A Reader post, I didn’t actually stop. Then 2015 happened, the year I got so fed up with different things on my then writing journey, that I took a hiatus from writing prose. It wasn’t on purpose, I didn’t consciously decide, it just sort of happened.
Imagine what it was like picking it all back up and finishing my first novel in five years back in March. Since then I’ve written a lot more prose with no signs of stopping, but getting there wasn’t easy. I felt like I needed to fight through this invisible forcefield to even sit and open my laptop. “What if I start writing and then no more words come,” I wondered. This irrational fear gripped me, taking me away from something I’ve loved from childhood.
Have any idea the kind of thing I’m talking about?
Don’t go with feelings, they’re fleeting.My lovely mum
She says this to me a lot and she’s right. What I feel regarding working out or writing, has nothing to do with actually doing these things. I don’t feel like practicing yoga today, but in a few hours, I’ll get up, log on to Zoom and get “doing” with my instructor.
This isn’t something that one person can do and another can’t. We can all push through the muck keeping us from doing things that often secure positive progress. It’s challenging, it can feel like your chest and stomach are caving in each time you try, but it’s in those moments we have to be disciplined and fight harder.
One of the amazing things about human beings, is our ability to retrain our minds. We’re able to switch mindset, develop it, and become another version of ourselves.
I don’t write prose everyday, and sometimes the forcefield reappears, but it has way less strength than it did six months ago because I haven’t given up. So much so, that now on my personal writing plate are a novel, and two web series.
As for working out? I want to be the fittest I’ve ever been within a year. I started that journey in June 2020 and the only way it happens is if I stick to my workouts and healthier eating. Sure, sometimes they’re things completely out of our control throwing us off-track. Even then we shouldn’t socialise with excuses and should aim to get back on-track as soon as possible.
Forget the feeling of, “I don’t want to” and push yourself to do that thing you’re putting off :).