On day 146 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I did something I didn’t want to do.
Yesterday, I didn’t want to go to the gym.
I mean, I wanted what going to the gym would ultimately bring me: increased strength, more energy, cravings for healthier foods, and an overall improvement in my personal fitness.
But what I didn’t want to do was the work.
I know I’m not alone in my struggles to maintain motivation for achieving my goals. I’ve written about this many times over the past 5 months of this year-long challenge.
Motivation ebbs and flows, and many factors play into our decisions to act (or not to act) on our desires. Over and over again, my vision board has proven to be effective at re-inspiring me to put energy into the things that matter most to me. And it has shown me that maintaining high levels of motivation requires a certain level of vigilance.
The difficult thing about many goals is that it takes time to realize the benefits. Not going to the gym provides me with immediate gratification in the form of avoidance: Not having to change clothes, not having to battle traffic to get there, not having to give up time that I could be using to work on other projects. The benefits seemed a lifetime away in that moment.
And science backs this up. Just ask the researchers behind the book The Marshmallow Test (Amazon Associate Link). Humans don’t do well with delayed gratification.
For yesterday’s act of self-care, I did something I didn’t want to do. Yep, I ignored the itty bitty shitty committee’s pleas to skip exercise, and I drove to the gym to attend one of my favorite classes.
And I loved it!
I even hopped on the treadmill when I got home to accumulate a few more minutes of activity. In a way, exercise is a motivator to exercise. Interesting, huh?