Higher energy…better mental focus…less downtime due to illness and disease…it’s obvious pursuing fitness can be a great boon to writers. Yet even as we ponder the benefits of being more physical active and healthier, the reality is that many of us come up against a number of obstacles that discourage us from either establishing or maintaining a lifestyle grounded on fitness.
What are the biggest challenges and how can they be overcome? You might not be surprised to discover many of these are similar to ones writers already wrestle with.
- Super-Squeezed Schedules: Time is precious for us all, and we all have the same amount to do with as we choose. I’ve often heard the complaint among would-be writers and would-be exercisers that they “just don’t have the time.”
Basic Solution: While, yes, schedules can get hectic and logistics can get cramped, if you truly care about something, you will find ways to fit it in. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run whole marathons in order to help your fitness. There are many ways to see fitness gains in half an hour or less a day.
- Gymtimidation: Ever stare at a blank page and blinking cursor for so long you got so intimidated by the task that you closed the document without ever writing a word? Many people get the same flustered feeling when just thinking about the gym. It’s an unknown quantity and so represents a level of risk and exposure (and an avenue for self-shaming when you start comparing yourself to all the “stronger, healthier” members).
Basic Approach: While I mention gyms here, that’s hardly the only available option. If you don’t like traditional gyms, there are numerous other fitness outlets you can explore (not the least of which is home-workout programs). If you’re just getting into fitness, you don’t have to dive into the deep end. Find what works according to your comfort levels.
- Low Energy/Motivation: Bit of a Catch-22 here, huh? We know that exercise can increase energy levels, but if you don’t have the motivation or original oomph to go exercise in the first place, whatcha gonna do?
Basic Approach: You could try working out earlier in the day, before all your energy gets sucked away by the usual culprits. Also, consider giving yourself external motivation to get up and moving so you aren’t rely on just your own gumption (methods for this upcoming in another post).
- Unhealthy Habits: We’re stressed and we head for the fridge. We’re tired and we chug soda. We eat out and order a bag full of grease and sugar. Half the time, we don’t even think about what we’re doing or the choices we’re making and how they impact our bodies—or we do and just don’t care enough to change.
Basic Approach: Recognize, remove, and replace with better alternatives. Far easier said than done, of course.
- Whatsthepointitis: “Why bother working out? Why bother making myself feel miserable when I could be enjoying a whole supreme pizza by my lonesome? The instant I stop, I’m going to lose any this progress I’ve made, and I’ll lose it all when I get older anyways.”
Basic Approach: Y’know, you could take this attitude toward almost anything in life, and that’d be pretty depressing. Let’s not get utterly nihilistic here, all right? Recognize health and fitness are long-term investments in your overall quality of life and will affect how well you maintain mental and physical alacrity as you age. It’s not pointless. It’s a way of caring for yourself both now and in the future.
- Unfocused Fitness: You’ve got no clue where to start, how to progress, or determine if the work you’re doing is making any sort of positive impact. If you don’t have any milestones or signposts guiding your efforts, it can be greatly discouraging and you might not even realize how much you’ve advanced from where you began.
Basic Approach: Educate yourself, establish a healthy plan that works for you, and find ways to track your growth. All things we’ll talk about more in-depth soon!
Which of these obstacles are stalling your fitness efforts? We’ll unpack some of these in more detail as the series progresses. For now, take the time to recognize what attitudes, mindsets, or lifestyle choices are blocking your path. Simply being aware of them is an important first step in overcoming them.
Next up…do you have a plan?