The real reason you’re lazy.
Your brain is to blame.
Well the truth is this: your brain is the reason your lazy. What I mean by this is that you can’t actually blame your body for being out of shape. It’s all in your head.
Good intentions translation: is your brain being so smart at allowing you to be lazy.
Good habits translation: is knowing that you’d rather sit on a couch when you get home but you put your exercise kit on and like Nike says ‘just do it’, even though you’d rather poke one, or two? eyes out.
Good understanding aka ‘nice try’ translation: is being 100% aware when your brain is saying ‘lets just press snooze’ and you know thats a slippery slope to an hour later and you’re still in bed. So you just get the freak up and go.
Knowing your ‘brain tricks’ is the key to changing behaviors. Whether they are relating to exercise, food, wellness, work, relationships, (drugs/alcohol?)
It happened to me last night (not the drugs or alcohol bit). I had every intention when I got home to get changed and go to the gym. The entire drive home I was psyching myself up with energizing music. As I was walking into my building I was mentally finding where I had left my runners from the day before and wondering if I can get one more wear out of my exercise pants before they really really need a wash. But as soon as I walked in the door my brain said this:
‘Wwwooohhhooo – you are home.
It’s a Friday.
You are home.
You made it though another week.
You are home….. (brain winning)
…..We are staying home.
I don’t know where your shoes are.
Take off your work shoes and put warm socks on.
You are home!!
Then I promptly turned on the TV and heater, txt my housemate about what we might like to order from the local Chinese joint. Found cheese and crackers…
Brain 1: Body 0
My brain is so smart at being lazy it’s scary. I swear it would like nothing more than for me to just sit on my arse all day. It basically does everything it can ‘think’ of to ensure that this is what happens. However, when I realized that my body was actually the most efficient and amazing instrument, EVER, I began to look at it all a bit differently. Which means I can no longer play the ‘hating on my body for how it looks’ card anymore. My brain has tricked me into thinking that its my body’s responsibility to get up off the couch and go to the gym, but in (biology) reality, my brain is the master control center that essential runs that show, its just cleverly hiding behind my physical self.
It’s my brain that tells my body to get into a room that has equipment so I can ‘workout’. And when I’m in this room, its my brain that tells my body which part of it needs to push, pull and lift. My body is following orders. Sure it can signal physical fatigue, pain and other sensory information, but it’s my brain that reads this and then chooses the next action.
The body just cannot compete with the tricky spin your brain can come up with. Your brain is S.M.A.R.T. at letting your body be L.A.Z.Y!
From this I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to actually out-smart my brains drive for me to be lazy. After all it doesn’t want us to be lazy to shame us, its version of lazy is there for preservation. Preservation of our fuel resource’s. Again it comes right back to cave man days of saving up our energy in case we have to chase our meal down, or run so we don’t become something else’s meal. Makes perfect sense to me. Our body will respond on demand to our brain. But if your brain is running the ‘lazy-boy show’ then you’ll never actually win.
However all is not lost. You can work with your brain. Re-program if you like. But this takes some work and talking out loud to, well, often just yourself. First step in this is to know when exercising works for you. Are you an early morning exerciser, midday, afterwork or after dinner? It doesn’t matter when you do it. You body works best and thus gets better results when you know what time works for you.
I’ll give you an example of what works for me:
I love to get up early and walk, before anything in my day starts. I like to walk and watch the sun come up. So I do it. Because my brain thinks this is fun, i.e. I get loads of enjoyment out of it = not-exercise-to-brain. But I also like to go to the gym for weights. I have no strength in the morning for weights, my body is still waking up and I find that I can’t really ‘resist’ (aka weight training) in the morning. So I don’t do that kind of exercise then, because then I would then it and never do it. I realize that I’m strongest just after work around 5pm. So I go then. But I also know that after-work time for me is dangerous because its when my ‘want to go home and sit on the couch’ mantra is the strongest. So here is where you need to play the mind games a bit. You need to find the joy factor in exercising, which sounds wanky i know. But for me it’s a feeling of being strong both physically and mentally, followed closely by the results I see in my physical body from this type of activity (vanity? who cares). It’s this double barrel approach that makes it happen. It takes some mental muscle to keep working towards achieving this internal motivation. Which is vastly different from other exercise goals like fitting into a size X dress or upcoming holiday where a bikin is your main get up. You need to see it like a maintenance project. Same as you would putting petrol in your car or buying groceries so you can eat. You just need to find the outcome that will drive you to keep wanting to do it. And to be skinny isn’t enough. For some it could be relaxation, stress release, health reason, wanting to be healthy for your family, mental health, managing illness. Whatever it is it needs to be strong enough to keep you wanting to do it. There will be changes in level of frequency and type, but just keep doing it. Your brain will ask less questions if it’s a regular thing.
So find out what it is that makes you happy when you’re moving. Then just keep doing that. Make time or find time. You are accountable for how you look, not your DNA, genetics, blah blah blah BS. Your brain chooses how and when you move, what you eat and when you do it. Outcome is yours.
Your body will work for you whenever you’re ready to use it.