It’s much more than that.
Consider how much discipline it takes to workout three to five days a week. Think about how hard it is to keep stretching beyond our comfort zones and how challenging it is to exercise at high intensities. Consider the self-resolve required to eat healthy foods and drink lots of water every day when temptations surround us everywhere we go. But if you have the courage to respect your body – the temple that houses your mind and spirit – personal mastery will not be far away. It says a lot about who you are as a person when you invest the time to take care of yourself. It says you respect and love yourself enough to do the things necessary for you to be at your personal best.
Each time you get into the gym for a workout on a day when you just don’t feel like exercising, you grow a little stronger as a human being. Each time you go for a run or walk on a cold winter’s day when you just feel like staying under the warm, cozy covers, you strengthen your character. When you endure a tough workout, it enables you to persevere through any other challenge in your life. Working on improving your physical conditioning will not only enrich your life and make you a better person, you’ll also become a better parent, a better spouse, a better and more productive worker, and a better friend. Exercising regularly, eating well and taking the time to relax and nourish your body will make you feel happier. It will provide you with more energy than you have ever known. It will give you greater stamina, mental toughness and make you a clearer, stronger thinker. It will make you more patient and loving.
There are 168 hours in a week. Surely each and every one of us regardless of our hectic schedules can carve out four or five of them to care for our bodies and work on mastering our physical state. And you must remember that a missed workout is much more than just a missed workout! When you miss a workout, you don’t just stay at the same level you were at – you actually take a few steps back.
Every time you miss a workout, you have done something to strengthen the habit of not working out. When you’ve made the promise to yourself to exercise so many times per week and then you break that promise, you start to lose trust in yourself. With each missed workout, you start to lose self-confidence and begin to question whether you can actually stick with it at all. A missed workout fuels self-doubt and makes that negative habit stronger. Miss enough workouts, and eventually that negative habit of not working out will replace the positive habit of exercising that you have worked so hard to cultivate. Every time you fail to do the right thing, you fuel the habit of doing the wrong thing.
So the next time you’re trying to justify pressing the snooze button and skipping your workout, or working through lunch instead of taking a walk break or heading right home after work instead of stopping at the gym, just don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even allow yourself the opportunity to talk yourself out of doing what you know you need to do to be at your best. Just remember that you’ll feel like a million bucks once you’re done.
The real challenge for most people is not the workout itself, but actually overcoming the negative thoughts that try to sabotage your very good intentions. The greatest irony of our physical life is that when we are young, we are willing to sacrifice every bit of our health for wealth, and when we grow old, we are willing to sacrifice so much of our wealth for just one day of health. Don’t let this happen to you. The little things in life are actually the big things and the quality of success that you will experience in your life ultimately depends upon the tiny choices you make every minute of every hour of every day. It’s the small daily acts and habits that define how big we end up living.