The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney
Ah, so I’ve finally picked up the subject that populates most of the internet (next to things of an erotic nature and cats). You can’t swipe something fast enough without meeting with a motivational quote, accompanied with an image that defies laws of Physics. And the thing is, there are a lot of people out there who can similarly defy them, inspired by such pictures and what they say. Motivational quotes often accomplish, for a lot of people, what they set out to achieve: motivation.
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you already know what I’m about to say next (or, more or less, through the length of this blog): I can’t get motivated. Especially, when it comes to exercise. I know you have a quote, personal story or fitness app to recommend to me the moment you read this, but imagine me as a drunk, old person sitting next to you in a bar, relating difficult truths about his life: I’ve tried them all, all of them, but I still can’t make exercise a habit.
I’ve been to six doctors, for six different reasons, in 2016. Whereas some people might speak of getting married, having a baby, getting a promotion or a new job, or even a holiday or some personal achievement as the highlight of their year, mine was surgery. And the reason I got surgery for still can’t be solved, while my other ailments continue. All this has heaped upon my depressive tendencies. Now, exercise could help with all these things, to a considerable extent. I know, I tried it. But, I can’t stick to it. I can’t enjoy it. I can’t bring myself to want to do it. I can’t motivate myself to do it.
I’ve discussed it in my blog post Of Exercise before, but I’ve never been the one to exercise. I was shamefully non-athletic when I was a child. I am going to use the introvert card here and say gyms, or any type of communal exercising (often competitive, even if competition is with self), terrify me. Previously, I burned calories through my enthusiasm for life. Walking, running, jumping with a purpose, laughing, copying dance moves from popular musical entertainment in the privacy of your home or in a party situation, standing in queues, taking the stairs etc., were just some things I did, without thinking about it, that kept me fit. And then, I got to the point where I didn’t want to do them, or much of anything else. I chose to lead my life as sedentarily as possible.
When some people give up on life, they settle for what’s safe instead of what excites them. But, it’s often in the smallest details of your everyday that you realise: you’ve either grown up, or given up. I know for a fact that I haven’t grown up. Destroying your vital organs slowly with a bad lifestyle isn’t being grown up. Giving up, on the other hand, is especially true when you can’t motivate yourself to try. (A little) Younger Me would have the loved the opportunity to join a dance class, or a laughing club. The Now Me can’t think of doing something so ridiculous.
More importantly, there are so many other things I have to prioritise over feeling alive. Like procrastinating doing the dishes by 45 minutes every night. Enough with the whining now, you might say, but I wouldn’t be whining if I was doing. I’ve done it before. I’ve exercised regularly before to get healthy. Feeling fit and boosting confidence was just a side-effect. It now seems painful confirmation of the same motivational quotes I was previously trying to be clever about. You know why they are clichés? Because they work. Because some people are open enough to let them work. Not closed, closed like me.
I really want to be healthy. I’ve never been the definition of health nor will I ever be, but I remember vividly the times I’ve been better. For now, I just can’t motivate myself to find the motivation to get going in that direction.
How do you get motivated?