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!