Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Don't want to go to the gym? Relax around the issue.

 Over and over again, I've experienced the following phenomenon:  I haven't worked out in a couple of days, and I'm internally exhorting myself to get to the gym.  A few more days go by, and I just can't get up the energy of activation and get there.

This week I did the opposite:  I was having some tendinitis pain, and was feeling, at least early in the day, incredibly unmotivated to go to the gym.  That's when I wrote that post "Take a week off, not 8 months."  Something interesting happened though: a few hours after giving myself permission to not feel bad about missing the gym, I suddenly, without exhortation, wanted to go.

It was 9pm, but I just got a Planet Fitness membership, so no problem.

This whole phenomenon reminds me of something that used to happen constantly when I was writing code.  I'd hit a road block, and then one of two things would happen:  I'd sit there banging my head against it, making no progress for hours, _or_ I'd get up, go to a coffee shop or take a shower and relax my head around the problem.  Inevitably the unconscious would solve the problem for me and sitting back down I could code up a solution right away.

That seems like a similar deal to this.  Putting pressure on ourselves to do something might work if we traditionally respond well to authoritarianism or discipline.  However if you, like me, are only motivated to work on stuff when I actually intrinsically want to work on stuff, then relaxing around the issue might be more productive.