[personal] On exercise

asked me in comments how I motivated myself to exercise. I liked my answer enough to promote it to a blog post of its own.

First, calling it “body movement” instead of “exercise” took a lot of the emotional freight out of the situation. I went to elementary school and junior high in the 1970s, where the typical gym teacher motivational strategy was to goat the hell out of one kid to motivate all the others. I was almost always the goat. That kind of persistent victimization leaves a mark. By the time I was 14, I was violently allergic to exercise and anyone who practiced it. So changing terms — reframing, in Lakoffian dialectic — helped me a lot.

Second, public reporting of my activity. I’m accountable to the world. Not that anyone’s keeping score (that I know of). It just means if I miss or slough off a day, I can’t rationalize it away or “forget”. I have to admit it, in print, in public. For me, that works well. For some, that would probably be a horror show.

Third, I convinced myself that body movement was and is an essential component of my writing strategy. If I don’t get out and move around, my energy levels are lower, I’m logier, I don’t have as much energy and focus to write. Once I was able to accept it as a writing-related program activity, just as important as story marketing, reading or research, then it became a lot easier to adapt my behavior.

Your thoughts?

2 thoughts on “[personal] On exercise

  1. Wait, we’re not supposed to be tracking it? Damn. ::tosses papers::

    Here at the day thing they have a big “Wellness” initiative. Being one of larger proportions, I’m also a target of “helpful people” who want me to do more. And then I explain that in the past 2 years I’ve lost 50lbs, I go to my doctor every 3 months for a weigh in (for my metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance), and when I say “yard work” I mean chainsaws, splitting wood and wheelbarrows full of material. When they get into full gear of “Well, you should lose more” I explain my whole schedule (day job, night job, freelance, and starting the writing career). Then I loose my line, “If the (day job boss) would like to pay me $5 a hour more, I’d be glad to drop the night job and the freelance to make more time to exercise.” That usually keeps them off me until the HR people get reoriented by our health insurance and we repeat the cycle.

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