exercise

What Renovating a House and Working Out Have in Common (besides me)

Josie Feather Blog

Here’s a riddle for you, what does working out and renovating a house have in common? You know, besides leaving you sweaty and muscles sore that you hadn’t the faintest idea even existed.

Baby steps, and a hell of a lot of patience.

We’ve been renovating our house for over 5 years now. I’ve been running for over 3 years, and working out almost daily for over a year. When we started renovations I thought we’d have a mostly picture-perfect looking house in a year. When I started working out I thought I’d have abs in a month.

I can hear you laughing at your computer, you know. So rude.

It sometimes feels like the themes of my life are resilience and patience. I can, unfortunately, relate too deeply with Violet Beauregarde when she yells “I want it now.” I’m impatient and itchy. I hate to admit it, but I do want it now. but the reality is that nothing works like that, especially not the good stuff. Well, maybe it does for Paris Hilton, but even she has to work to get abs (unless they have plastic surgery that can do that now? Don’t even tell me, I don’t want to know).

“The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.”
- Gary Keller

Every house project, every work out, every run, has only been finished by me focusing on each step. One at a time. One foot in front of the other. One piece of wallpaper scraped at a time. One painful burpee by painful burpee at a time. Usually, it’s at best dull, and at worst physically painful (both the workouts and the house work), but every time I’ve finished, I step back and feel the pain of the work melt away and satisfaction wash over me. The workout over, I breathe deeper. But it’s only with bull dogged determination and willingness to take those baby steps that things get done. I always walk away feeling like queen of the world after, even when rewatching The Office on Netflix for the 800th time sounded so much better then going to the gym or spending hours spackling a room. In the end I am always so glad I took those first steps, otherwise I wouldn’t be running now.

How to Know When to Take a Break

How to Know When to Take a Break - Josie Feather Blog

I’m one of those all-or-nothing types. Either I’m obsessively doing something all the time, or I drop it and completely forget about it altogether. I really struggle with balance which I know a lot of other people do as well. I tend to think that if I’m going to miss one day at the gym, well then, I might as well just skip the whole week! It’s a really damaging way to think and often leads to feeling either depressed about missing one measly workout, or pushing through even when I shouldn’t and hurting myself physically or mentally.

The thing is, it’s all mindset. There’s no other way to avoid it then to change how you view it, which is way harder to me then just physically pushing through something. I’d so much rather attempt to run a 5k on a broken leg then try to wrangle my thoughts under control. The all or nothing mindset has been something I have really been trying to work on lately.

Even though I’ve got a long way to go, I thought it’d be nice to share those signs I’ve been tying to keep an eye out for that tell me it’s time to take a much needed break. I’ve been trying to apply these same ideas to all areas of my life, but have been trying to really focus in on what it means for my exercise routine.

PAIN

The most obvious sign. If you’ve been working out hard and are experiencing pain in your muscles, it’s time to take a break! Let your body rest so you can come back and kill it next time. You’ll only make things worse, and probably cause a full blown injury, by pushing through. Also take it as an opportunity to look at your habits and see if you can adjust anything to avoid pain in the future (you know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout - stretching!).

EXHAUSTION

It’s honestly hard for me to tell the difference between physical and mental exhaustion, it all just runs together in my mind, so let’s talk about both. Last week i was feeling it for a lot of reasons. When it first hit me I tried to talk myself into ignoring it and plowing through, but instead I took a step back and saw how much I had been doing - hitting the gym 6 days a week for the past few weeks, walking a lot even on my off days, and running from thing to thing in my personal life. Honestly, I wasn’t even excited to go to the gym the next day, which is actually really rare for me. So I decided to take a day off right in the middle of the week. Instead of letting myself worry that it was the end of the world that I skipped one day, I set my sights on enjoying a rare weekday morning at home before work, and rekindling my excitement to get back to the gym the next day.

LACK OF MOTIVATION

Let’s be straight here, I’m not talking about when you are just getting started and motivation is hard as h*ck, I’m talking about when you have already pushed through that phase and have found that you usually love working out, but all the sudden it’s become a chore. Take a look at why that is. If you’re feeling a little depressed, it may be good to keep pushing through since it may actually help, but if you’re otherwise feeling fine and you’re just dreading your workout then maybe it’s time to take a break and come back with a new plan.

I was starting to feel a little blah about my gym time a few months ago and decided to start a new workout plan, and I am so glad I did! It’s hugely helped me reconnect with what I love about working out, and seeing results from all my hard work gets me even more excited to keep going!

You Don't Have to Love It // The Secret to Getting Started

You Don't Have to Love It, The Secret to Getting Started - Josie Feather Blog

The other day I was checking in with a friend on how of her fitness goals have been going and she said they had come to a halt because she “just hates running”. Oh gosh, have I been there. If you all think that I was born loving to run, work out, meditate, eat spinach, or basically any of the other things I do on almost a daily basis, well let me just tell ya - you’re wrong.

When I started running I hated it. If they handed out world records for how incredibly bad you could be at running then I would have easily won. My breathing was so bad I felt like I was constantly being strangled. I got side cramps like you wouldn’t believe. I was slow. SO SLOW. In fact, I am still incredibly slow compared to most “runners”. When I started going to the gym I hated that too. I felt like everyone was looking at me, probably thinking about how I was using every single machine wrong. All I wanted to do was get the heck outta there. Don’t even get me started on my switch to working out in the morning, that just felt like some type of cruel and unusual punishment.

But I didn’t stop running, I didn’t stop going to the gym, and I didn’t stop waking myself up at some ungodly hour to sweat first thing in the morning.

Even though I truly and deeply hated these things, and was legitimately bad at them, I kept with them. I knew they would make me a better person long term, and they were part of a process of achieving bigger goals, and if I gave up I would save myself the short term pain, but set myself up for long term frustration. I know that, because I had given up about a million times before that, and it had only served to make me feel worse.

You go to work every day even though maybe you don’t absolutely love it, right? Filing documents, answering annoying emails, or dealing with customers may not be at the top of your list of things you love, but you find a way to get it done anyway. So what if I told you that when it comes to things that are good for you, you don’t have to love them? You don’t need to feel like they’re your life’s calling in order to do them. What if you stopped putting the pressure on yourself to love every single thing you do, and instead learned to sit with that discomfort?

In fact, I’m giving you full permission to hate those things.

but hate them while you do them

Let’s get something straight here though. I’m not talking about forcing yourself to do the bizarre things that the “Wellness” or “fitness” communities tell you to - or basically anything anyone tells you to do (except maybe your doctor). I’m talking about things you intuitively know are important for you. I definitely don’t believe that everyone needs to run, but I do know that everyone needs some type of regular movement in their life. I don’t think you need to eat all organic food or swap your chocolate chips for fancy cacao nibs, but you should probably make sure that you at least eat some veggies occasionally.


All I’m trying to say here is, there are things in our life that are good for us, even though we don’t love them, and that’s okay.


It’s okay not to love them, but never eating a vegetable because you don’t love them is probably something you need to work on getting over.

This is definitely not just about exercise or eating right, it’ll probably come up with almost any habits you try to build in your life. Let me tell you, I still don’t love waking up at 5am even though I’ve been doing it almost every day for a year. I’m okay with the fact that I’ll probably never love it, but I can see how much good it does in my life, so I keep my focus on that instead of constantly talking to myself about how much I hate it.

Learning to sit with the discomfort of not liking something, but pushing through it anyway has taught me so much more then I ever would have learned by avoiding tough things. And who knows? you might find yourself ending up like me and learning to adore some of the things you used to absolutely loathe, like running!