Why is this so hard?

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Tom L. Fritz is the Engagement Director of the North Neighborhood at Michigan State University. In that role, he serves as the co-convener of the Health and Wellness Pillar of the Neighborhood initiative, which brings leaders of health services across campus together to discuss the holistic health of undergraduate students. His commitment to better health comes from a want to be healthy for his future family, and more active for his border collie puppy. He can be reached through Facebook or Twitter (@TomLFritz). 

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I am not a person who will ever choose to work out over having a slice of pizza. I have come to terms with this. I know that working out and being healthy is always going to take a conscious effort from me. I am really good at the beginning — I decide I am going to start walking, or biking, or going to the gym — and for the first three weeks or so, I am PUMPED. I never miss a workout, I feel the good pain, and I ride the post-workout high.

Then, I miss one workout, because I am not feeling well. Then another, because I got stuck at work late. And before I know it, I am off the wagon.

But why? I feel better, I am feel stronger, I look better (my wife tells me that), and not as tired during the day. I know this. I can see tangible results. So, why is this so hard?

Research tells us it is so much more difficult to adopt to the habit of exercising, taking nearly twice as long to normalize than most other new activities. But, how many times do we need to hear from our doctors, our family, or our co-workers that we need to take care of ourselves for it to stick permanently?

As you can tell by the post up to this point, I got the funk (and not in a George Clinton kind of way). But something is different for me this time. I have the support of a community of others in my same line of work that understands the regular stresses we face. #SAFIT has given me the opportunity to recognize that I am in a funk, and given me ways to control the skid and make the change.

How have I done this:

1. Finding an accountability person, maybe somebody who is struggling as well, and figure out how to make each other successful. #SAFIT has given me the chance to find multiple people to help with this; from my formal Coach Ed, to my new digi-friend Kelley — I am able to be vulnerable with them about the real reasons I am struggling and they help me come up with a solution that works for me.

2. Sharing workouts, recipes, and success tips in a common space. After I start eating healthy, I tend to become bored quickly, and my meals turn into… insert healthy protein A, add a large amount of steamed vegetable B, and sprinkle small portion of healthy grain C. Hearing what others are making for dinner, or new recipes they’ve tried, or what they know about eating at conferences, gives me a boost – they help me come up with my own strategy!

3. Becoming more comfortable being vulnerable about my health. This community has really allowed everyone to share successful moments, and not-so-successful moments. And each is embraced regardless. I always had the support of those around me, but seeing all of us communicating as equals — the marathon runner and the guy walking an extra ten minutes a day — makes me feel like I can actually do this.

We are all pursuing the goal of health. That means something different for everyone.  For some it is a number on a scale, the time on a race, or pounds on a barbell. Regardless of the goal – every bead of sweat we produce, every mile run, every conscious good food choice we make is an investment in our own future. Here’s to a future of long years, happy memories, and perpetual health.

What investment are you making in your future this week? How can the #SAFIT community help you in that commitment?

2 comments to Why is this so hard?

  • Shana Meyer  says:

    Read “Change or Die…” It’s all about how change is hard–even when a doctor tells a heart patient to change diet, exercise, etc–OR DIE–typically the patient will revert back to unhealthy ways. It’s a great read!

  • Teri  says:

    Great job Tom! You can do this! T

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