My cousin Rachel was over for dinner the other day. She’s in her late 20s and art-y and youthful, and, as is often the case with young people, also wise. We were catching up on my patio over homemade Ethiopian food and talking about doing things that don’t excite you and Rachel told me about one of her favourite sayings “HELL YES! and nothing less.” Basically, you should do things that truly excite you and that things that don’t really excite you, aren’t worth your energy.
I’m often thinking about ways to bring more of what I love into my life. Particularly, as I feel a keen sense of “if not now, when?”, having just celebrated a milestone birthday (50).
There are things one has to do out of responsibility. We all have different barometers of comfort with respect to living outside our comfort zone. Doing what we SHOULD do vs. what we WANT to do. Is the measure of a successful life, finding that sweet spot where those two places merge?
On occasion, I think I should take some “time off” from my day job and spend some time really finding things I enjoy doing, speak to me as “Nicole, you have one time on this Earth”, but that also allow me to continue to pay my mortgage and enjoy certain perks of a regular, full-time, corporate job. But, my “practical side” has won over so far and I continue to do what I “should” do on that front.
But, this is a fitness blog. Where might “HELL YES! and nothing less”, fit into a fitness routine?
I already subscribe to doing what I enjoy when it comes to exercise. In fact, when Rachel asked me what I was looking forward to the week, my answer was “my scheduled exercise”, oh and, the Alanis (Morissette) concert on the weekend.
There has been talk on this blog about the rewards of doing something hard. For example, a half or full marathon is hard. There is a euphoric feeling when finishing that hard thing. BUT, if I didn’t want to do it in the first place, I don’t think I would have that same reward hook at the end.
Doing things that are a “Yes!” to you doesn’t necessarily imply they are easy though. They just speak to you. When you think about them, your automatic response, inside your brain and inside your heart, is “YES”. What are some of those fitness-y things for me:
- should I go for a run?
- should I schedule my regular strength and conditioning workout(s)?
- should I walk to (store, friend’s house, restaurant, work)?
- should I take a rest day (my initial response is usually no, but if I really listen to my body, the response is YES and when I do take it, my body thanks me)?
At the same time, movement should be (mostly) fun. It most certainly shouldn’t feel like a chore. Some people naturally find movement fun. Some find it hard to start, but fun once they are doing it. Some find a lot of movement a chore. I am lucky that I find each of the activities I listed above, naturally, fun. But, if I didn’t, I would hope that I would look for ones that work for me. Note to say that I am not dismissing that in many cases, wanting to do something is not all that’s necessary. There are other factors that can prevent someone from participating in certain movement, whether a disability or a real lack of time.
Assuming someone can do something and has the time, I love the idea of people finding time for movement they enjoy. Also, I love the idea of people finding joy in movement, where they didn’t expect to. AND, not spending time on movement that feels mediocre to you. It might be someone else’s jam, but not for you. That’s OK, find what IS FOR YOU.
What forms of fitness do you automatically say YES to? What can you let go of that is mediocre for you? Letting go of the mediocre activities might make room for the ones that excite you. Let me know what types of activities make you respond with “HELL YES!”?