It's happened to everyone. You wake up, you look at the clock (or more likely your phone) and you see that it's time to get up. “Man, I really don't want to do ________ today,” you think to yourself. Maybe you hit snooze and get back under the covers for just a few more minutes, trying to put off the inevitable. This feeling of, I'll call it dread, happens to the best of us. It doesn't always happen first thing in the morning, but at some point there is something that we have to do that we really don't want to do.
When it's something like going to work, we don't have much of a choice. Sure we could call in sick, but then we have to lie to the boss, explain it to our colleagues, and deal with the aftermath the next day. Not really worth it, most of the time.
When it comes to something like working out, the consequences might not seem so dire. “Ugh, I'm really not feeling it today, I think I'm gonna skip the gym.” And then you don't go. And then... Nothing happens, right?
In a case like this (which I assure you also happens to the best of us), you might not end up with the same backlash from skipping it, but there are certainly consequences. Even if you aren't letting someone else down, like your workout buddy or your trainer, your goals are pushed back by one more day and you've dug yourself one shovel-full deeper into the habit of not going. Perhaps you feel guilty about it and get into that old self-defeating shame spiral that makes you wonder why you ever decided to start working out in the first place, and then once it's too late (the appointment has passed or the gym is closed) you think “I really should have gone, I'll go again tomorrow.”
So what do you do? The answer is, you show up. Show up to the training session. Show up to the class. Show up to the appointment you have with your friend who is waiting for you to start the run. You don't feel like it? You don't really wanna? You don't know if it's worth it? Then why did you make the commitment/appointment/note on your calendar in the first place? You know the answer to that question, and it may be something worth re-examining if you are having that much trouble keeping up with it.
Now, of course it is possible that you've over-committed yourself, or that you're sick, or that you actually can't make it that day, or whatever. If you have a valid reason rather than an excuse, then by all means take the day off. Just be sure that you're being honest with yourself. If not, show up.
Even more important is to show up mentally as well as physically. You've seen the folks at the gym on the recumbent bikes scrolling through Facebook on their phone while pedalling at a snail's pace, or the people messing around with the weights with no real plan or even idea of what to do. They're there, but they didn't show up. At best, they are wasting their time, at worst they might suffer an injury because they aren't paying enough attention to what they're doing. In either case they likely wonder why they aren't seeing results after spending so much time at the gym. If you're there, but you aren't really into it, you are doing yourself a great disservice.
So show up, and then Show Up. Hopefully you are there for you, and for healthy reasons. If you have decided to make positive changes in your life, then the only one who can make sure that happens is you.
Ryan Casselman is a personal trainer, musician, and the founder of Real Trainers. Stay tuned as he finds out what he's going to write about each week or so!