Do and Enjoy: a Daily Balance

The key to being happy and healthy is to keep your habits consistent day after day, as you will learn in greater detail when my book Disaster Fitness, the Traumatized Child’s Hot Body Guide, comes out in a couple of weeks. If you work out every day with no questions asked—or if you take one day off each week, the same day, consistently—you will regain hours of time you used to piss away on internal debates with yourself over whether today’s a good day, whether you feel up to it, whether you have time, etc.

It’s always a better day when you get an endorphin fix. You will always feel better once you get going. It is always a positive step to attach your traumatized brain ever more strongly to a positive addiction. And with very few exceptions—which will be obvious, since they usually involve very loud sirens and/or cleaning up body fluids—a half hour to an hour is better invested into releasing nervous energy than into deciding how anxious you are and whether you have time to do something to stop yourself being anxious. Make the decision for yourself, now, permanently. No more dithering when you get out of bed.

On the other hand, if you force yourself through a workout you despise, you will be building negative connections between exercise and your mind and tearing down positive ones.

This is why it’s important to always have a contingency plan for days when you feel like shit.

It may make you feel worse rather than better to start jumping up and down when you’re hung over or recovering from the flu. But it’s almost always also going to make you feel worse to sit there and stew. Walking to work is going to make you feel better than going through your day sedentary, letting the garbage in your blood accumulate.

The trick is to set a threshold for how bad you have to feel in order to scale back and go with your easy workout. This also needs to be decided upon and stuck to. It will make your life on a day-to-day basis unbelievably easy. Once I figured this out, I couldn’t believe I had been winging it—and having these goddamned repetitive, irritating arguments with myselfˆ—every day.

If you think exercise is boring, then you’ll think that argument is torture. But it’s one you need to have with yourself if you want to live a physically pleasant life. Have it once, and have it now. You’re welcome in advance.

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