We don’t have to compromise with our thoughts.
Every morning for a few weeks now, I wake up and follow the same routine. Ritualizing my morning helps keep me on task and ensures I honor my commitments to health, habits, and personal energy.
There is one commitment, though, that I try to get out of every morning. Exercise. I’m not a fan of exercise. I love being active; I just hate mindlessly repeating a task for the sole purpose of making my body sore so it will, in theory, feel better. Nonetheless, I recognize the importance of exercise and because I lead a very sedentary, non-active life most of the time, I know I need exercise.
It’s a small commitment, too. Each morning, I wake up, remind myself to be in a good mood and embrace the day ahead, open the windows, start my work computer (which takes 20 minutes to boot up), drink a BIG glass of water, feed the cat, use the bathroom, start up a podcast, and then… 30 push ups and 3 minutes of jumping rope, followed by a little stretching and 10 minutes of meditation. It’s not a lot (it used to be less), but it’s better than no exercise at all. It’s a small enough commitment that I can fit it in the morning and not hate my life.
Still, each day, I try to rationalize my way out of it. “You woke up too late,” my brain says, “There’s not enough time today,” or “You’re tired; just double up on it when you get home instead,” or “You deserve a day off… just one; make up for it on Saturday,” etc. Sometimes it’s just a straightforward, “I don’t want to!”
It’s very taxing mentally, to have this internal debate each morning. I really don’t like exercise for the sake of exercise and I won’t sacrifice any more time to go to the gym or take classes or find other times to be active, so what am I to do?
I only just came to realize that I don’t have to listen to my brain! I don’t have to compromise. I can just do the exercise anyway. My brain’s job is to be lazy, to put the minimal amount of physical effort forward (after all, if I’m not doing anything, then my brain is no in danger of being hurt) and my brain wants to conserve energy for thinking (because that’s all it does so it wants as much energy as possible to devote to its only task).
My brain doesn’t want my body to waste time and energy getting strong or worrying about fitness or looks. My brain just wants to think. And it will think about anything. If the most interesting thing going on is debating over exercise or more sleep, it’s going to think about it (and it’s going to vote for more sleep where it does its best and funnest thinking!).
So today, I realized my brain is just trying to trick me into doing what it wants instead of what my ego wants. “Ego” is a bad word in modern society but I do not agree with that at all. My ego always wants what is best for me. It wants me to be my best, to look my best, to eat better (so I look my best), to feel great and have high self-esteem. My ego’s job is to help me live up to my potential. Despite what people “think”, ego is not bad. Of course, too much of anything can be bad but to those people who say the only way to live is to be selfless and only considerate of anyone but yourself, I say: “Leggo my Ego!”
To be fair, many people don’t use their brains enough, but sometimes it is better to ignore your thoughts and just do what you set out to do… because you know what’s best for you even if you try to think your way out of it.