Just get the F*CK on with it
Posted on 5th February 2020 at 17:31
There are probably hundreds of important things you already do which don’t require a motivation talk to psyche yourself up for, like brushing your teeth, picking your kids up from school on time and sorting out your direct debit. These aren’t exciting things, but they just need doing. And so does exercise and anything related to improving your health.
We live in an age of ever-increasing comfort; we have spent generations upon generations trying to make our lives more and more comfortable.
waking up on top of a memory foam mattress smothered with a thousand thread count duvet, then its downstairs to enjoy a machine made smooth coffee to prepare us for a tough day starting with a drive in a car which manufacturers have worked tirelessly year after year to make ever increasingly more and more comfortable. We sit on a comfy ergogenic chair, share messages digitally to avoid the discomfort of face to face interactions and then go home to unwind from it all in the comfort of a nice sofa and online entertainment.
We love it so much we think we need motivating to get away from all this comfort!
People rely too much on motivation, they become stagnant. When I typed ‘motivation’ into YouTube this was one of the first videos that came up:
It has over 21 million views and relies heavily on a build-up of music and powerful dramatic home truths that might just motivate people to do something for about ten seconds. Because when reality kicks in and the motivational talk wears off, the easy option of just quitting will always be an attractive one.
I’m now just 17 weeks away from my ultra-running challenge where I must run 80 miles across The Yorkshire Wolds Way in under 24 hours (check out my story here). Training now is 75 miles per week, usually 15 miles per day Monday to Friday. As you might expect, it can be difficult to fit this amount of running in. I’ll often get up early to hit the roads before work, even setting the alarm for 4am so I can clock up the millage before a busy day at the gym.
Over the years people have often asked me how I get myself motivated for exercise. Is there some secret that I could share that might be helpful for their own training?
All those miles on the road have given me time for contemplation and I’d like to share with you some of my thoughts.
I’ll start with the key to motivation; this will be the only piece of advice you’ll ever need on the subject.
Just Get The F**k On With It (JGTFOWI)
I’m not trying to be flippant. I don’t mean to dismiss all the genuine reasons that people have for not taking positive action to ensure their physical or mental wellbeing.
But my point is this: despite all these reasons, you still need to JGTFOWI.
Yeah… I know, you have a lot of work to do. Sure. It’s hard to stay on top of things. And exercise hurts. It’s unpleasant. It can make you feel sick, dizzy and sore for days.
But none of that matters, because it’s still something that needs to be done if you want to be healthy. There is no skirting around it. I’m not talking about a gruelling session sprinting up hills and smashing out press-ups either. Even just getting out for a walk, hitting 10,000 steps a day or doing a lightweight circuit - anything that would help you burn calories - will help you maintain a healthy weight, thus decreasing your chances of developing disease and lessening the symptoms of any existing health issues.
The benefits of exercise are enormous and well known. Who wouldn’t want more energy and less joint pain? Who doesn’t want to feel happier and suffer less frequently with bouts of illness? Exercise does all these things, and it doesn’t matter if you’re hyped up to do it or not. Just get on with it anyway. The result will be the same. It just needs doing.
I work out because it needs to be done, I push myself harder than most people because I’m curious about what my body is capable of and I want to fulfil my potential.
For all the years I’ve worked out, I can’t think of many moments where I looked forward to an exercise session, but I know hand-on-heart, with 100% certainty, that I always felt better at the end of those sessions.
Your brain will always try to give you solid reasons why you should delay doing something important, these aren’t lies, you really do have a lot of work to catch up on and you really are already tired all the time and your knee is hurting and you need to spend more time with family and loved ones.
And yet, if you apply the principle of JGTFOWI, you find more energy, your joints hurt less, you get through work quicker because you have more energy and as one of my clients put it to me, everything is better when you’re healthy (he lost a few stone and felt more confident, even achieving a promotion at work).
I have a lot more insights to share over the next few months, but I’ll leave you with one more gem I recently picked up which has had a profound difference on my running performance. It’s from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it simply involves changing one word to alter our perspective.
So, I’m ten miles into a twenty-mile run and I realise I have another ten miles to complete (I’m also thinking about how I will have another 70 miles when I do the Yorkshire Wolds Way). I’m acutely aware of my own self talk, my mind and body are like a toddler screaming the house down because they’ve banged their knee and want attention. My joints ache, I’m sucking up air so hard it’s hurting my chest. I’m in pain and I want to just stop and walk.
But here is the thing.
I don’t HAVE to run another ten miles, I GET to.
It’s a choice, I can stop any time I like, but simply having the ability to do this is a privilege, even pain is a privilege, life isn’t just about joy and comfort and pleasure.
I get to experience these things knowing full well that some of my former military colleagues could never experience this again. Sure, my legs hurt, but at least I have legs, and sure the pain is sometimes overwhelming, but at least I’m alive to feel it, and when I can accept and embrace that I no longer mind.
I GET to do these things and I feel truly blessed.
I don’t HAVE to do anything; nobody is forcing me. It’s my own choice. This Hull personal trainer will JGTFOWI. Will you?
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