Some time ago, we met a fitness freak.. If the description suggests a woman who exercises all day long, forget it. She is a compulsive reader of fitness. Books, pamphlets, magazines – anything she can lay her hands upon. She never misses a single TV fitness programme. She has long, earnest conversations about calories and cholesterol with every doctor, dietician, and food-shop attendant she chances upon. One of her ambitions in life is to “chart out a programme” – columns giving advice on what she would eat and drink, what kind of exercises she would perform. When we bumped into her again, she said seriously, “I haven’t started exercising because i haven’t yet drawn up my chart.” She, probably, never will.
It’s amazing how the thought of exercising can bring out the procrastinator in a person. Perhaps it’s because the easiest way in any situation is not to do anything. Don Marquis defined it as ‘the art of keeping up with yesterday’. We nave given exercising charts in subsequent chapters. Such programmes are to motivate you through information. You can change them to suit your own individuality. A combination of aerobics and tummy-flatteners are the best pepups for a slack body.
But, if you – like the fitness freak – have been putting off the inevitable, it’s time to do some introspection. What are the ‘rewards’ of procrastination? There’s only one – self-delusion. Promising yourself that you will get on with it gives you a convenient cover. You keep your image of being an active person intact, even as you find reasons why you shouldn’t do it today. You never have to admit that you are not a ‘doer’. Procrastination also gives you escape valves. You can trot out your pet themes: that exercising is boring; that you are so busy that you have never got down to it, even though you are dying to. Strangely, your attitude attracts sympathy from others. But, if you examine it a little deeper, you will realise that there is only one loser in the procrastination game – you.
It’s you who will always be moaning about your tight schedule, your health. It’s you who won’t be fit. It’s you who will never taste the exhilarating fruits of fitness. It’s your belly that’s going to protrude embarrassingly and uncomfortably. Your clothes are going to feel like they belong to somebody else.
So, what do you do? Ask yourself: is it worth it? You are using up precious energy in the most negative way possible. Instead of channelising it to success, you are piping it in to failure. A vacuum of doing nothing. We have seen it dffecting the personality of people. They become compulsive moaners. They are always feeling fatigued, ill, weak, sleepy, bored. In the process of avoiding exercising, they cut themselves off from enjoying life freely. Once they trap themselves in the ‘I’m – tired’ slogan, they can’t do the things they may genuinely want to do. They begin to criticise others because it’s easier to carp than to act.
It’s a vicious cycle because the more you tell yourself “I’m tired”, the more you turn into an eternally fatigued person. It’s self-destructive. You become a blueprint of a five-year-plan that never gets off the board.
It’s never too late to change. You can do it. There are several simple techniques to overcome such putting-off-for-tomorrow habits.
Turn yourself from a ‘later’ person to a ‘now’ one. Stop planning for a tomorrow that never comes. Live for today – starting now.
Ask yourself: “Am I so unimportant to myself that I haven’t begun taking note of my physical appearance and exercising?” If you view yourself as insignificant, so will your friends eventually.That ought to jerk you into action.
Enumerate what you could be missing out on by not exercising. Smarter clothes. That energetic feeling, Confidence. All these could drive you over the sandy hillock of procrastination you have built and patted into shape for yourself.
Use your mind creatively by over exercising to eliminate that bored feeling. Being bored is a choice you have made. As Dr. Wayne Dyer puts it, “When you procrastinate, you use your present moments doing nothing, as an alternative to doing anything.” You can choose not to be bored.
Decide never to be tired. Once you. close your mind to this excuse and begin exercising, you will find your circulation rewing up. You will be so busy with your workout, you won’t have time to think about fatigue.
Wipe out words like ‘hope’, ‘want to’, ‘tomorrow’ from your fitness vocabulary. Substitute them with ‘must’, ‘today’ and ‘right now.’ Finally, what are you doing at this moment?
Your next action would probably be to reach for a cigarette. Or your cup of tea. Don’t. Stop thinking. Get up. Let the song of motivation sing through you. Leave everything as it is. Decide you are going to exercise now. Switch on the music. And start your warm-ups. There’s no better time than now. Just do it!