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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Praus, MSE, LPCC

Why it’s so hard to do that thing.

I’m sitting on the couch thinking about exercise. I’m thinking about doing it. I need to do it. I should do it. I don’t really want to do it.

I tell myself that I will exercise at 8a, but breakfast sounds better. If I eat breakfast at 8, then I need an hour for my stomach to digest. I guess I’ll exercise at 9a. 9a rolls around and I’m stuck catching up on paperwork (which I’m also not really doing). So, I tell myself that it’s best if I do it at 10a. 10a is just around the corner and I’m starting to feel a bit hungry again. Seems like this is a good time for a snack. I should definitely eat a snack if I’m hungry. After all, I shouldn’t ignore what my body is telling me.

I eat my snack and it’s delicious! I should definitely wait a bit to let my stomach settle before I start my workout. Right?

Why is it so hard for me to do that thing?… to EXERCISE.

Why is it so hard for me to do many things?… exercise, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork.

Because, my friends, I have the FEELS towards those things. Like exercise. I feel a lot of pain and discomfort when I exercise. I literally push my body to a point where I feel exhausted, tired, and weak. It may, or may not, take much to get to that point, but, at some point in the routine, I feel the feels. And I HATE those feels. Sometimes those feels also bring me other feels like shame and guilt. Those feels are the worst. Who wants to feel like an ashamed, guilt-ridden, weak being. Not me. These feels make me uncomfortable and anything that make me feel uncomfortable is something that I want to put off doing.

I, my friends, do not like moving past my comfort zone into the realm of discomfort. Discomfort is most definitely my sworn enemy. And when I see my enemy, I don’t put on my warrior gear, stand tall, puff my chest out, look it in the eye, and say “I’m coming for you.” I RUN. I run far, far away. I’ve gotten pretty good at running from my enemy. I can do it for hours and sometimes days. Some might call my running away avoidance or procrastination. I guess you could say that, and I guess I know that. But we can’t all be fighters, can we?

If I don’t like it, I won’t fight the dislike. I’ll embrace the dislike. I will let the dislike woo me over and talk smoothly to me. The dislike tells me that not doing that thing is the best choice for me. The dislike woos me minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour. My inner voice says, “Sam, you don’t need to exercise. You need relaxation. You’ve worked so hard this week, why make yourself work any harder? Sam, you can always just do it tomorrow. Tomorrow looks like a much better day to do that thing. In fact, tomorrow is the day you will do it at 8a. Yeah, tomorrow. Let’s do it tomorrow.”

My, friends, this smooth talking voice grabs hold of me, wraps it’s arms around me, and pulls me in. I am sold at not doing that thing. I watch tv. I prep and cook an entire meal. I might even scrub the toilet so I don’t have to do “that thing.” I do anything and everything to not have to do that thing.

Except for today my friends. Today is the day that I start off by putting off that thing, but then something in me clicks, and I start to shift towards doing that thing. Eventually, I succeed in conquering that thing. I acknowledged my feels and then I fought my feels. I told myself that I could at least try. I started by putting on those workout pants. JUST THE PANTS. Hmm, ok. I have the pants on. Success! Now I should put on the rest. I squeeze myself into my spots bra. The bra that makes me feel all sorts of trapped the moment I get it over my head. The bra that tangles around my shoulders and proceeds to be stubborn as I pull it down over my chest. Getting this bra on is like a workout in itself. Which, as a side note, reminds me that I need to get new sports bras. Perhaps if I find a bra that doesn’t feel so much like a struggle, that may help with the process.

Ok, I have my workout clothes on. Success! Next step: go and be with the weights. Just be with them. Don’t commit to them yet. Just be. Friends, I’m with the weights. I see them. I’m staring them down. I’m remembering that these weights cause me pain, suffering and weakness. I’m starting to feel a little defeated. But then I remind myself that I showed those weights who’s boss at the last workout. I mean, I kind of showed them. And I intend to be an even more pronounced boss this workout. Yeah, I’M THE BOSS! Take that weights.

Friends, I’ve picked up a couple of weights and I’m doing that thing. I’m working out. BOOM! I move through the motions and I follow the routine. I’m tired along the way and I start to feel weak. I acknowledge the weakness and encourage myself to continue. At some point, I conquer the workout. BOSS SAM IS BACK IN BUSINESS!

And this, my friends, is how I do those things that are so hard to do. I take it one step at a time. I do not go from sitting on the couch to diving right it. I sit on the couch and I make an effort to stand up. Once I stand up, I move my feet, and I keep moving until I’m closer to the bedroom. Then I allow myself to begin the process of dressing myself for the workout. I break this down into steps. Then I take a deep breath and I move towards my workout mat. I stand on my mat and start to become more comfortable in that space. I think about the weights. I pick up a weight and feel it in my hand. Then I grab the second weight. I start the exercise. I keep exercising. I say kind things to myself and encourage myself when I start to feel discouraged. When I feel the feels and I know I’m uncomfortable, I acknowledge the discomfort. I know that the discomfort can shut me down. The discomfort is really good at getting into my head and talking me into quitting. I tell my discomfit that I am the boss and I commit to a few more minutes. I push myself to complete the exercise routine. And, boom, I’m done. I did that thing and I crossed it off my list. Now I’m free. I’M FREE. I’m free to move on and do something else with my day. I will feel great… until the next time. This battle will continue, and I will continue to practice choosing to embrace the feels, to challenge the discomfort, and to conquer that thing that is so hard to do. I will take it one step at a time.

If you are struggling to get out of bed, take it one step at a time. Start with sitting up in bed.

If your struggling to complete a homework assignment, take it one step at a time. Start with bringing your book to the table.

If you are putting off walking your dog, take it one step at a time. Start with putting on your socks and tennis shoes.

Start small. Break your undesirable tasks down and aim for small goals. If you make it to the exercise room, but you do not exercise, know that you still succeeded. Keep trying and eventually you will make it to the exercise room and pick up a weight. At some point, you will make it through all of the steps and complete that task. Some goals are not always easy to reach, but they lead to bigger ones. If you keep trying, you will reach that bigger goal!

You can do this and you WILL do this. Practice and keep trying until you get there. I’m rooting for you!


The Wonderful Steps to Help You Kick That Thing That’s SO Hard to Do in the Butt:

1. Acknowledge that you are running from that thing that's so hard to do. You are avoiding and procrastinating.

2. Recognize and acknowledge the feels: shame, guilt, anxiety, nerves, worry boredom, pain, etc.

3. Acknowledge that these feels bring discomfort.

4. Challenge the discomfort.

5. Say kind and encouraging things to yourself.

6. Start small. Break your undesirable task into attainable small goals.

7. Praise yourself after you complete each small goal.

8. Continue to acknowledge the feels and discomfort.

9. Continued saying kind and encouraging words to yourself.

10. Continue accomplishing the small goals.

11. Kick that thing that’s so hard to do in the butt!

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