Getting Over Your Hump

We are reading stories of people who are taking the time of sheltering in place to learn new things---playing an instrument, knitting, baking---or writing a novel, or making instructional videos. Many of us however are finding that the spirit is willing but the flesh is unable. We would like to start a self-improvement program but find that a whole day has passed and all we have managed to accomplish is bingeing a season of a favorite old sit-com. We promise ourselves to get ourselves in gear but before we know it another couple of hours have passed and here we still sit.

We are stuck in a cycle of lassitude: we will get moving as soon as we get moving. How do we get past that seemingly insurmountable hump? Let’s weaponize our bad habits to work in our favor. The television is on anyway. Instead of Netflix, switch the channel to YouTube and find an exercise video. Start with a short one, no need to leap over the mountain on your first try. Get some blood pumping. Then turn the TV off. You already have a list of wanna-do items in your head. Again, find a simple one that won’t overwhelm you. Take small bites before you work your way up to bigger ones. If you’ve ever participated in a dietary fast you know that you can’t have a half of an apple pie to break your fast. Always start small so that you can build up to bigger and better things, both with your exercising and with your self-improvement projects. Easing into things is the best way to cheat your body into doing the right thing.

So why are you still sitting there?

David Salvage, MD, FAPM

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